Confession #5: The Game of Love

Posted by on Oct 10, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Confessions of a wandering astrologer #5…The Game of Love [Waxing gibbous Moon in Pisces approaching conjunction with Neptune.] What is this game of love that we play? Is it for us a game of pleasure and passion, a game of joy and freedom, or a game of duty or responsibility? Is it a game of suffering and longing; pain and loss? Maybe, and probably, it partakes of all these at different times. And if love is so important to us as human beings, then to whom are we dedicating it? To our lover or spouse? To ourselves? To the living presence of Love, herself? As an astrologer, the question of love and relationship is the one I am most frequently presented with by my clients. And when we dig down further, the question tends to be along the lines of: what am I really looking for from relationship, what do I want? And, perhaps, especially in the karmic cases: what are the deep, shadowed, driving forces that draw me into the arms of another like a magnet, and keep me bound there? So are we primarily seeking passion, sexual intensity, or sexual freedom? Or are we motivated more by the desire to build family, deepen in friendship or for the sake of emotional or financial security? Are we unconsciously driven by childhood trauma or abuse? Or by the need for redemption, or the need to control or be controlled? Or some form of manipulation like martyrdom, or victimhood? Is it the longing for our soul mate, the wish to be re-united forever with our karmic lover, or to redeem some lost part of ourselves? Or are we looking primarily for freedom, for self-acceptance, for spiritual union? And if some, most or even all of these motivations are present, then how on earth can we expect these to be fulfilled by one person, as society has traditionally told us we should?!! Our experience of disappointment, abuse or betrayal in love may have persuaded us to abstain from the game altogether, of course. So are we in, or are we out? Can we face the pain? Can we risk our heart again, or do we play it safe and protect the vulnerable places that the powerful desire for union opens up in us? I myself have experienced relationship from many different sides, and I have often felt its karmic harness. Having my retrograde Venus in a close conjunction to Saturn in Aries, I have experienced and tended to manifest a ‘heaviness’ in relationships, and found them difficult to sustain. Saturn has loomed as a shadow over my more innate Arien impulse and enthusiasm for love and sexual expression being something alive and free in the moment, which has led to a lot of frustration, disappointment and heartbreak. Of late, though, I find myself in exciting new territory, experiencing genuinely open relationship for the first time in my life, and realising that love can truly be an expression of freedom through radical honesty, open communication and consent. And this brings me to the crux of what I want to open up to in this confession. For my journey with astrology has convinced me that the difficult signatures in our birth charts do not compel us to repeat the same pattern over and...

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Confessions of a Wandering Astrologer #4: What is speaking to you from the horizon?

Posted by on Oct 8, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Confessions of a wandering astrologer #4… Waxing gibbous moon, with Moon in Aquarius trine the Sun in Libra, and Venus ingress into Scorpio today… I have just completed a four day training in the Yew Mysteries, with the extraordinary Michael Dunning, journeying deeply into the Otherworld sentience of the Yew, the most long-lived and ancient tree on Earth. It has been profoundly insightful and I want to share a particularly striking insight here in relation to the horizon, as it pertains to astrology. We worked a lot during the course with the mantles or membranes of sentience, remembered by these ancient yews, that recall an original, embryonic shape to our being, prior to sense perception. We connected with how, in embryonic form, our sentience is peripheral before there is any experience of a centre to focus our embodiment. Some indigenous tribes experience Great Spirit speaking to them from the horizon, and part of the practice on the course involved extending our awareness out to the horizon, where this world meets the Otherworld, and where the spirits of the Otherworld ‘touch’ us and penetrate our embodied experience. This might all sound a bit abstract, and really needs to be experienced within the context of the wider yew mysteries teaching and its practice, but it did produce for me this powerful insight… The sign on the eastern horizon at the moment of birth, the ascendant, is what marks each incarnation with what is rising from the periphery of our being. It identifies that which is returning from the Otherworld / Underworld, just as the descendant marks what is setting, and therefore what is returning to the Underworld. As it touches the outer sheath of our embodied being, it impregnates it with a quality; a quality which permeates through the membranes of sentience to give a particular shape and direction to each incarnation. The ascendant was called the ‘horoskopos’ in ancient astrology and it was considered to be the most important signature of a person’s birth map, distinguishing a quality of presence that shines through our being. It is where we are touched by an otherworldly light. It is the first light, the first impression of life that we have and the first impression that we make, it is the light in our eyes; our eyes that are the windows to the soul. What is rising in our charts carries a wholly different type of origin signature to that of the moon, which carries an instinctive or somatic memory of our earthly embodiment, an impression which clings to our senses and feeds on what is familiar. And the ‘horoskopos’ is very different from (and traditionally more significant than) the Sun sign, which characterises the way that consciousness is ordered; how the solar light enters our awareness and centres it, giving us a coherent sense of identity. Often I hear the rising sign being played down in its significance, usually within a psychological context, as being indicative of a mask that covers over the ‘true’ nature of who we are; our ‘true self’ supposedly having more to do with the Sun sign. I don’t go along with this. As someone who works a lot with mask, through my astrodrama work, I have never accepted this diminished rendering of the ascendant. For me, it...

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Confessions of a Wandering Astrologer #3: Chiron’s Wound

Posted by on Oct 6, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Confessions of a wandering astrologer #3. It is first quarter moon time today, with the moon now in Capricorn, square the Sun in Libra. And Mars has now entered Libra; the warrior turning up for battle just as a ceasefire is called! So he must his ply his energy into peace, justice and reconciliation, initiating open dialogue to create more harmonious agreements. Today Mars makes a conjunction to my natal Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in the seventh house of my chart, exactly as I am initiating a more radical commitment to love, openness and communication within relationship. Mars will also oppose my Sun-Chiron conjunction in Aries in the coming days, challenging a lot of my former identity about who I am in relation to others. In this ‘confession’, I will say something about Chiron, the kindly centaur, mentor to the heroes, and wounder-healer. I hit 50 this year and so this is the year of my Chiron return, with my natal Chiron being in Aries in the first house, and conjunct my Aries Sun, I have really had to revisit that core wound around identity, who I am in the world, who I am for others, who I am for myself. For the first 21 years of my life, I never felt that I fitted in anywhere. Then, at that age, it was revealed to me, unequivocally, that my vocation was to become an astrologer – hardly the most acceptable of professions! I remember when I first started telling people that I was an astrologer, the response was along the lines of: ‘what? that’s not something you can be!’ In the myth, Chiron is a maverick figure who lives on the margins, away from his own kin, as the otherworldly medicine man. The eccentric orbit of the tiny planetoid we know as Chiron reflects this liminal, maverick quality, moving as it does between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus. Being occasionally inside the orbit of Saturn, and at other times, beyond that of Uranus, Chiron is like a bridge between the personal and transpersonal realm, partaking of both but belonging to neither. I am currently in the midst of a four-day training with Michael Dunning in the Yew Mysteries, and, interestingly, I learned yesterday that the seed of the yew berry is known as the ‘arrow poison’, it being deadly if ingested. It reminded me of Chiron, who suffers a fatal wound from a poisoned arrow, but because he is immortal he cannot die and so is destined to suffer with a wound that will never properly heal. The Chironic experience can feel like this; it points to the core wound that revisits us again and again. Yet, when we can really embody that wounded part of us and come to know its essential place within our being, that same wound can be the very key that opens up our particular healing vocation. With my own Chiron position, I have had to face and transcend a lot of shame, and accept that it is ok simply to show up as myself; for in that showing up, my true nature can radiate out and become an inspiration to others. And I have been shown again and again that I am most effective as an astrologer, teacher, lover and friend, when I am...

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Confessions of a Wandering Astrologer #2: What is a Planet?

Posted by on Oct 3, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Confessions of a wandering astrologer #2…Pluto turns direct today. Moon is in Sagittarius. Mercury enters Scorpio. Venus is beginning to be (briefly) visible in the evening sky. And I’m on my way to Shropshire to do a four day course on the mysteries of the Yew tree. …For my second ‘confession’, I’d like to talk about what we astrologers mean when we talk about a planet. To the modern mind, a planet is simply a physical ‘object’ out there in the solar system, rotating around the Sun under the force of gravity. We look to scientific explanations as to how it ended up there, the result of rocks or gases released 5 billion years when our Sun was ‘born’; how gravity accounts for both its spherical natural and its cyclical orbit. We are used to seeing photographs of the planets, identifying them according to their physical properties, and that is how we think of them. What makes the astrologer’s perspective so unpalatable to the modern scientific worldview is that we look to a pre-modern understanding of what a planet is, one that imbues it with some form of divine agency which transcends its physical properties. So the planet Venus is not simply named after the Goddess of Love, the planet is in ‘sympathy’ with her, to use that term in its traditional sense. With her radiant presence in the morning or evening sky, the presence of the Goddess is embodied in the planet, just as she is embodied in copper, in the shape of the pentagram and in the scent of the rose, among numerous others aspects of our world with which she is sympathetically connected. Such as when our tastebuds are excited, when we sense a garden growing, fall in love, or indeed contract a venereal disease. The divine energy of Venus or Aphrodite is in the world all around us in our everyday experience and her planetary movements in the heavens offers up to the fire of the astrological imagination a sign which would seem to indicate her intent, her purpose, her desire. So when she is in Taurus, we might picture her in a garden, surrounded by the splendour of nature’s gifts; we imagine her full of passion and charged with sexual energy when in conjunction to Mars; or conducting some secret affair when she is in the twelfth house. In Vedic astrology, the planets are known as ‘graha’, which loosely translated means the ‘grabbers’, the archetypal forces beyond your conscious comprehension and control that grab hold of your individual soul and exert their own agency upon it, mark it with their own power of intention. That’s a very uncomfortable idea for us moderns. We like to think of ourselves as being in control, of being responsible and accountable for our thoughts, behaviours and actions. We don’t generally like to consider that we might be under the grip of a power greater than our own mind, the rationality of which we prize so highly; to be possessed of something beyond one’s own power of reason. Yet this was certainly the ancient or pre-modern view. In earlier times, if you committed a crime under the light of a full moon, or during an eclipse, you might well have been considered ‘not in your right mind’. Being under...

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Confessions of a Wandering Astrologer #1: To Be a Wanderer

Posted by on Oct 1, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Confessions of a wandering astrologer #1 … So I’ve had this idea to start a new blog, with this title. I feel drawn to share my insights and astrologically inspired reflections, and something of my rather strange life as an astrologer. For now I’m going to post on here, until I get a new blog website set up. The idea came at the Libra new moon on Saturday, as I was reflecting on where I am right now in my life. Today the moon is in Scorpio, and Venus is about to return from the underworld, where you might just briefly glimpse her in the twilight of dusk over the coming days, as she begins her eight month residency as an ‘evening star’. Here we go with my first confession… I chose the title for the blog, when it occurred to me that, of late, my life has become increasingly like that of the planets, known as ‘wanderers’ to the ancients. For just as they wander through the stars of the Zodiac, so I observe myself endlessly moving and being moved by what is turning within my soul. For alignment, I tend to look to the motions of the heavenly spheres and a dedication to the stars, rather than turning toward a particular place, home or relationship for orientation. Over the next six months, I will make temporary homes in Canterbury, Los Angeles, London, Berlin, Bali, Thailand, Glastonbury, and other places too. Ecologically irresponsible, perhaps, yet driven by a vocational calling that is compelling, and apparently necessary for whatever purpose I cannot yet say. So I have been contemplating that if my destiny is to wander this world, and for home to be a series of transient places on earth, then what about my relationship to the centre, to the central core of my being? For a nomadic tribe, this would have been honoured in the erection of the pole in the centre of their yurts, a type of axis mundi, that would connect sky and earth, hearth and home. On the pilgrimage I led recently on the Glastonbury Zodiac Milky Way path, our group visited the Zodiac’s centre at Park Wood in Butleigh, which lies close to the Milky Way path. For the past ten years, a few of us zodiac pilgrims have been paying respect to a particular yew tree there, as being the world tree of the landscape zodiac, reaching to the centre of the ecliptic; that one fixed and stable point of orientation in the heavens. It sits in the heart of the constellation of Draco (there is a dragon legend associated with Park Wood), and it is the only place in the sky that is unaffected by the 26,000 year cycle of precession, located as it is at the centre of the precessional ‘wobble’ in the northern sky. It is fairly close to the pole star, which visibly holds its position in the nightly round, and orients us to north (at least in our current era), but that will shift in time. This point in the heart of the dragon, though, is the omphalos, the umbilicus of the Zodiac and it remains forever constant. It is the point at the centre of the circle, and at the centre of your birth chart. Whenever I...

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New Moon in Libra – Sept 28th 2019

Posted by on Sep 28, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

We have a new moon in Libra today (7.26pm UK time), conjoining with Mercury and Venus also, being in her dignity in Libra. Ideally this is a time, not for action, but for consideration and contemplation. It is an opportune moment to ponder different options, possibilities and points of view. It is an invitation to weigh the potential benefits and pitfalls of a particular attitude, behaviour or course of action in the balancing scales of the contemplative mind. And the art to which we are best employed at at a time like this is that of suspending judgment as to the ultimate value or merit of whatever is being considered. We are not very good at this in our culture, we are quick to act and react, quick to assert, judge and condemn. Being a new moon, today is a seed moment in the month, an opportunity to plant a seed of intention to simply “be with” the inevitable polarities, dilemmas and oppositions that we are faced with. Can we be comfortable with duality, or must we allow our urgency for decision to unbalance us and force our hand. There is a time for decisiveness and direct action, of course, and we must mindful of the difference between the necessary art of consideration and the tendency to vacillate, to avoid taking up a position out of the fear of consequence. But if we are to be guided by the rhythm of the season, then today and over the coming few days, let us heed the wisdom of the philosopher who takes the time to dwell on the inherent contradictions of existence, the poet whose very domain is that of ambiguity, and the witness who role is simply to listen and observe. Blessings of this new moon to one and...

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New Moon in Virgo 30th Aug 2019

Posted by on Aug 30, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

New Moon in Virgo today. (11.37am UK time). “I discern what is essential to my well-being, and it becomes my practice”. This is the Virgo mantra that I propose in my book, ‘Your Zodiac Soul’, and with all five of the so-called personal planets in Virgo today, we should really heed the call of this sign’s medicine for the month ahead. Virgo connects us to the deep feminine wisdom of the body and our relationship to the earth’s natural cycles, reminding us to pay attention to our body’s innate intelligence and be guided by more subtle cues and changes in the body, rather than just what is happening in our mental field. If we cannot see clearly the bigger picture right now, then better to focus on the next step, and stay with what is happening in our immediate field of awareness. Sexual energy is very strong with Mars being in such close conjunction to the Sun and Moon, and again it is the mindfulness of how our sexual energy is moving within us moment to moment that is important. At the same time, with Venus being more particular than usual about what pleases her, and Mercury being especially acute in his critical faculty, there is a lot of control being imposed on the way that our energy is being expressed. Virgo seeks rhythm and ritual order, purification and mindful attention to the details of everyday life, so that we can better serve the whole. This is a time to purify the body, through diet or some form of cleansing purge, become more dedicated in a ritual practice, or undertake a Taoist or tantric practice to train the sexual energy. Uranus is in an exact trine aspect to the Sun-Moon conjunction, so there can be a radical breakthrough here in our self-expression if the Virgo energy can be integrated. A new moon is a planting time, and the seeds that are sown today will grow in us over the next fourteen days to the full moon, and then what is realised at the full moon can be fruitfully disseminated in the waning phase of the moon’s cycle. New moon blessings to...

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Glastonbury Zodiac Milky Way Pilgrimage

Posted by on Aug 11, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

  I am at Lamyatt Beacon this morning, just above Bruton, in Somerset, and this is a fossilised scallop shell, symbol of pilgrimage, of the Camino de Santiago, of St Jacques de Compostela. There are thousands of them up here. It is one of the magical synchronicities of the Glastonbury Zodiac Milky Way trackway pilgrimage, of which this happens to be the start point. The route was discovered by Anthony Thorley and Celia Gunn in 2000. It is 28 miles in length, and it mirrors on the earth the Milky Way in the sky and it crosses the Glastonbury Zodiac in the same way that the Milky Way reaches across the band of the ecliptic with its zodiac constellations in the heavens. The path ends at St Andrews Church, High Ham, near Langport. There are seven churches en route, which makes it, in many ways, a mirror of the Camino Frances (from the French Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela) which has seven cathedrals along the way, and the mythical route from Santiago to Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, which is characterised by its seven planetary oracle sites. I have been leading groups on this pilgrimage since 2013 and I have had several requests to lead another this Autumn (around end September). It involves a two day walk, with stops along the way to connect with the seven sacred sites, and then an overnight stopover in Butleigh. We walk 14 miles each day, starting early in the morning, so you would need to be reasonably fit. If anyone would be interested in participating in this, please message me and I will let you have more details. The cost is between £95 – £120 per person, according to numbers, (minimum 8, maximum 12) plus one night’s accommodation (around...

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Full Moon in Scorpio

Posted by on May 18, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

We have a powerful full moon in Scorpio this evening (10.11pm, UK time), with the Sun conjunct Mercury in Taurus and it carries themes of gratitude, sacrifice, sacred offering, and the relinquishing of attachment. I offer up this brief meditation in an attempt to express the polarity of this full moon… How might we appreciate and cherish that which is most precious to us while at the same time relinquishing our claim upon it? How might we intensify our longing, and stretch our capacity for love so that we might experience the fullness of desire, even whilst deepening our spiritual life? How might we revel in the blessing of the earth’s abundant beauty and bounty, without compromising our desire for truth; the truth that our earthly life is but a transient feast already consumed with its ultimate demise? Consider this: if we are to express the fullness of love and desire for the beings and experiences that cross our path, then we must simultaneously release our grip upon them and permit them to go their own way. If (through Venus), Taurus offers us that which is beautiful, delicious and pleasurable then (through Mars and Pluto), Scorpio’s highest complement to her is to sow the seed of death within the very heart of that beauty. To be truly in love with life, and to fully accept its gift, is to embrace death as a spiritual doorway within a greater cycle of life for which this life is a brief, yet vital stage, on the long pilgrimage of the...

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Jupiter Enters Sagittarius

Posted by on Nov 8, 2018 in Uncategorized | 1 comment

Today Jupiter has moved into Sagittarius, the sign that it rules, and it will spend just over a year here (until 2nd Dec 2019). With Saturn also in Capricorn, we now have Jupiter and Saturn in the signs of their dignity, as we last did in 1959/1960. Those of you born: 11th Feb – 24th April 1959; 6th Oct 1959 – 29th Feb 1960; and 11th June – 26th Oct 1960 will have this in your own natal chart. Saturn has been in Capricorn for almost a year now and has been significantly strengthened by being in its own sign. Jupiter is now strengthened by being in Sagittarius and can therefore meet Saturn on equal terms. Jupiter amplifies, expands and promotes whatever it touches, so for the past year, whilst in Scorpio, it has been magnifying and elevating the Scorpionic aspects of life and those qualities of the soul. It has been bringing to light the darker, hidden aspects of human nature, advancing the cause of its traditional ruler Mars (confrontation, war, energy, courage, strength of will) and its modern ruler Pluto (underworld, shadow, power, initiation). Jupiter has been compelling us all in our own way to face the unpleasant contents of our own suppressed psychic baggage, forcing us to look deeper into the neglected state of our true nature; to face it, to own it, and with hope, to transform it. Jupiter, in its essence as an archetype, represents the moral dimension of the soul, creating and promoting the values that we live by, as a society, as families, as individuals. It enlarges our perspective, inspires the philosophical quest for meaning, the aspiration to ascend to the highest heaven and to know the mind of God. Entering Sagittarius now, Jupiter can align faithfully to that mission, lifting us and directing us to look to the heavens, to reach beyond where we have been before, to seek out new possibilities and forge new pathways of understanding. And fiery Sagittarius is not interested in just talking about it, it is philosophy-in-action – the horse power energy of this sign carries an instinctive drive. And that breadth of knowing that Jupiter provides, can be actively channelled through the single-minded focus of an archer whose eye is trained on the goal. There are dangers here, of course; the blind conviction of Sagittarius can lead to fanatical ideas and the deluded certainty that there is one way to ascertain truth. We must remain ever mindful of becoming too broad in our assumptions, or so elevated in our ideas that we forget our wits and neglect to communicate properly. Jupiter will help us here too, though, enlightening us to the fundamentalist belief structures that we humans get fixated on, and continually seeking to expand the scope of our imagination. So the return of Jupiter to its home sign is undoubtedly something to welcome and to celebrate. Let us grasp the opportunity to go beyond our often self-imposed limitations; and however things may look in hard Saturnian reality, let us imagine a greater possibility for our lives, for our society, for our planet, and live each moment as if that were...

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