Our burning Lady


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It is clear from reading some of the commentaries that have appeared these past days, that the Notre Dame fire, 16h50, 16th April 2019, Paris, France, may be viewed as a sign of the times. Astrologer Louise Edington points out in her fascinating Medium article “Here we have Notre Dame cathedral in Paris burning down in front of our eyes as Venus and Lilith meet at the 23˚ mark of Pisces in aspect to Pluto at 23˚ and right after Eris in Aries is conjoined by the Sun, also at 23˚.[…] One could suggest that the divine feminine is rejecting the control imposed by the Patriarchy!”

It is always important to access differing views, I believe that room remains for other interpretations.

A great deal also depends upon our view of Lilith. Whilst much has been written about Lilith, one book I have truly appreciated is called The Gospel of Lilith, by Savannah Blaze Lee. This is the most beautiful book! In the Gospel, the author allows Lilith to speak, and hers is a voice of humility, of love, of heartbreak for the very considerable burdens she bore, along with a certain compassion for a creator who appeared to allow things to run amok that we might learn better of ourselves. In my reading of the Gospel, any antagonism between Lilith and Notre Dame seems out of place. In fact, the conjunction between Lilith, and Venus is for me about allowing our inner and repressed feminine speak out alongside our values (Venus). The moment is, of course, highly Plutonic.

The voice of Lilith decries all hypocrisy, all inequality, all persecution. Lilith of the Gospel left Adam on account of his lack of love, and insistence that he was superior. Lilith’s solo journey is one of compassion. She sought compassion for others, yes, but that compassion began with compassion for herself, and was then extended outward.

If we see Notre Dame (the building) as a manifestation of the greater feminine, as distinct from Notre Dame (the institution of Patriarchy) we can open into a different space of reflection. I think it is highly relevant that a sanctuary was not only a sacred space, generally referring to the altar room of a church, but, in medieval Europe, this term also had a legal meaning. A person who had committed a crime could claim sanctuary, or asylum, by hiding from law officials inside a church. This would extend to anyone who was being unjustly persecuted and who would seek refuge or Sanctuary.

We must, therefore, return and enter the fabric of the building and connect with our feelings, as we walk or sit in prayer, amid the hushed voices, in the darkness, which itself becomes a kind of womb and inner temple. How many of us have gone there to light candles for the departed, for our loved ones, for peace in times of war and for justice in times of its absence?

Whilst Notre Dame will remain, of course, a symbol of Catholicism, and of France, it is foremost in my own mind a House of Spirit. A place where many have come to rest their weary selves in troubled times, during their own dark nights of the soul.

For many, such places continue to be sought out by our inner spiritual guidance, before feelings of belonging to any one faith or spiritual school. I may be of a Shamanic and Astrological persuasion, but such has never stopped me from taking time to meditate and pray in such a lieu.

As a student, I would visit Durham Cathedral, another example of the hundred or so Gothic Giants that were erected all over Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries. We can so easily forget that these buildings were a call to people to raise their eyes to a higher dimension, and in doing so, bring Divine light into their hearts; to partake of the mystery that was incarnated by the Gothic builders and explore in person the geometry of soul which inhabits such places, since the 12th century.


A further issue has also come to light in the symbol of the burning cathedral. In a matter of days, a number of extremely wealthy “patrons of fashion and industry” have contributed almost a billion euros to the rebuilding and repairs of Notre Dame. To these acts, many have called out the facility with which the extremely wealthy will donate to rebuilding a ruin, whilst there continues widespread poverty in France and in the world.

To this, I can only reply that in the great chain of things, I would certainly prefer these men to donate to a rebuild of Notre Dame than purchase yet another yacht or plane or luxury villa. At the same time, their ability to be “generous” in this context contrasts with the poverty and anger flowing through French society currently expressed weekend after weekend by the Gilets Jaunes movement.

Notre Dame’s moment of truth highlights yet again the brutal inequality in our societies and the facility of the super-wealthy to act as and when they choose. Notre Dame will be rebuilt, without a doubt. The poor will continue to be poor unless we change things from within our own hearts.


The historical Mary saw her son die, and no matter where the theology of Jesus might have taken him, there remains something fundamental and absolute about the experience of any mother who must hold her dead child, still and silent, in her arms. Tragedy can come to each of us and in many forms.

Whatever else we might believe, the Notre Dame of Our Lady is part of the greater feminine. She has always refused to be ruled by the Patriarchy. Perhaps Notre Dame is here to offer us two lessons in her burning: first, that the old structures are indeed more fragile than we think; second, that we should now put human lives and sufferings before our buildings. Each human life is a Cathedral. How many have already burned in silence and in anonymity.

In this, the burning of Notre Dame is closer to the Spirit of Lilith than one might imagine.


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Thanks as always, to the author and wikimedia / creative commons for this photo.
Burning candle / Горящая свеча.

The torchbearer

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A torchbearer amidst a group, in the night, on a 21st-anniversary vigil. I feel the emotion, the memories re-lived, depicted in this photograph. There is a feeling of presence, and a feeling of the past somehow having run amok, out of control.

The chart for the 12th April brings to mind a similar situation, in which Pluto and Saturn sit together upon the South Node, whilst they are squared, I might even say blind-sided, by the Sun at the 22° degree of Aries, and confronted by the Moon on the North Node. Let’s look at the chart:

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In evolutionary astrology, the Sun squaring the Lunar Nodes can be equated with a loss of identity as one is pulled into the orbit of another individual or thing. In Aries, this might equate to the need to assert one’s self, even to dominate. Aries is our I, me, my, and whilst some of this is necessary to any healthy sense of self, obsession with this becomes literally blinding.

If we look for a moment at what is happening in the UK, it is not hard to see an ancestral wound, the lost ‘greatness of Empire’, rearing up in a desperate need to take back control, to dominate borders, reclaim lost seas. This Sun, squaring the Nodes on the second date upon which Britain should have left the EU, shows exactly the institutional chaos to which such blindness leads.

This Pluto transit of Capricorn is rare indeed, Pluto orbiting the Sun once every 248 years. Many human beings will never have experienced such a transit in their lives. So why us, why now? The answer is that with the awakenings of the 60’s — a generation was born with Pluto in Virgo — we come to a place of both humbling, and of self-improvement. If Pluto in Leo roared, this generation represents the realization that we now have to clean up the mess we made, and actually become better folks. 

One of the hardest tasks facing us today is in leaving our planetary home in better shape than we found it, a better place for our children and grandchildren. Ironically for all our introspection and our education, it is the kids who are now standing up collecting ovations for pointing out what we are not doing. Many of these were born with Pluto in Sagittarius. We shall come to them in another post.

Saturn represents the structure, the law, the government, the institutions. How many issues and corruptions have come to light over the past years? Pluto does not look tenderly on such abuses, and it is here that we will discover exactly what his capacity to transmute really is. And yes, the lights might actually go out, and suddenly too, for Uranus is waiting in the wings. This is not to write doom and gloom. There is no doom and gloom in awakening. There should be however real humility in realizing that in a changing world, we too have to change. Yes, we might have been wrong.

So to return to our torch-bearers, in their night of remembrance, we might remember that in a world whose institutions have become increasingly dysfunctional, we are on a soul journey too. The souls that choose to incarnate at this time have known hardship, and are returning to earth to heal, to discover a sense of home and the beauties and the joys that an Earthly incarnation can bring.

It is our duty to co-create this vision, to literally bring it down to Earth, so that they may heal. And as we make this world a more clement place, so shall we be healed too. The hardships and traumas inflicted by institutions upon individuals the world over are many, and often indescribable. Anyone who has lost their home, whether it be it through typhoon or delayed pay-cheque, knows full well the nature of our fragility.

Saturn and Pluto on the South Node are messengers asking us to reflect upon this fragility. They ask us to step up. To help these new souls on their own journey of becoming — that this earth will offer them not another dose of hell, but truly a place of peace. Their homecoming.

They deserve this. Let us help them!




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Thanks to Laihiuyeung Ryanne, for use of this photo: 21st anniversary candlelight vigil, shared via Creative Commons / Wiki-Media


Skara Brae: teachings from Venus, Neptune, Pluto, Saturn and the South Node



In looking at today’s chart I am reminded of a handful of tiny dwellings set into a coastal region of the Orkney Isles, in Scotland, none other than the site known as Skara Brae. I visited this site when I was 18 and working on an archaeological site some miles to the south, above the town of Stromness. Let’s look at the chart.

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As ever, I wish to focus upon a single aspect, in this brief note, and this is the conjunction of Venus and Neptune, at 17° of Pisces, trining the North Node and sextiling Saturn on the South Node. What planetary conversations am I over-hearing today?

We have oft talked about Pluto and Saturn on the South Node, and this conversation could usefully be never-ending. Why? Since the South Node indicates our past life karma, this placement invokes both structure (Saturn) and transmutation (Pluto). In past lives, we have all either created structures or been subject to them. By this, I mean families with their hierarchies, businesses with their systems of management, perhaps the military with its chains of command. South Node in Capricorn invokes responsibility and it is indeed these structures that have been the location for our responsibilities for many generations. The responsibility of running a business or farm, or of looking after a family member who is sick. Perhaps the responsibilities of war have been incumbent upon us.

These responsibilities have, over generations, fashioned a carapace or body armor which is at times not only hard to bare but ours to unknit in this soul incarnation. As Steven Forrest says, the Capricorn South Node has come here to seek healing, to find a home, after long hard past lives of endurance.

Our shining light is, of course, the North Node in Cancer, and our journey of becoming is how we make the transition. We never fully abandon the South Node but we should form a co-creative relation to it. As such, we have to look at the structures in our own lives, about the how of how we live, in order to see what we are doing in blind karmic repetition, and what we can change to step daily closer to our sweet spot.

It is here that the dialogue between Venus and Neptune can offer us a momentary vision. Here, perhaps not the Aphrodite rising from the waves as depicted by Botticelli, but a moment of homecoming by the sea. Imagine you are standing on the hilly mounds of coastal Orkney. A vigorous westerly is blowing in your hair, and you slip down into one of these tiny round homes carved into the earth. You have now found shelter. Here, you are in your North Node in Cancer, and you can hear Neptune whispering to you. And whilst you are now safe from the winds, the sea is never far and can provide you with abundant seafood and kelp to nourish you, your family and your animals. These stone walls will protect you from the elements. The structure you have found around yourself is indeed homely. Shelves, beds made of stone which would have been filled with straw and grasses and wool from sheep, snugs to keep you warm in the cool of the Northern climate.

Looking at the chart you will notice that Venus has already risen a few hours before the Sun so she graces the morning skies at this time. You wake, look out over the ocean to the East, and see her shining upon you. The values of love, of home, of caring, of being looked after fill your heart. There is nothing illusory about this because you have chosen it. Your soul has sought this, and on this beach, in this tiny dwelling, you are finally able to fulfill a part of your North Node destiny.

In the act of transposing your life to that of a Neolithic settler in the North of Scotland, some 3000 years before our era, you have magically allowed Pluto to deconstruct your present situation, take you on a journey where the difficulties and constraints of modern life no longer apply. You breathe in that fresh sea air and let go of all that has oppressed you. Venus and Neptune speak here softly and with one breath, in trine and sextile to the Nodes. They ask you to let go of your daily obsessions and focus on something grander. It is a Neptune worthy of Turner’s sea paintings that I am now in tune with, amidst the blaze of the rising sun which warms us and gently blinds us in the brilliance of pure light.

Each of us can become bogged down in our obsessions — whether in our need to repeat what our parents or grandparents did or equally in our need to rebel and do something different. In the end, it makes little difference for in either, we are in a place of “reaction” rather than “action”.

Those unconscious repetitions are the stuff of Saturn on the South Node, and Pluto is gently nudging us to let go, let go, let go, into a greater unknown, The North Node is always unknown. We have to be adventurous. We have to take risks. We have to step up. There is no other way of doing it, but to be true to ourselves. In doing so, we offer ourselves a little tender loving kindness for the soul, which is healing to a South Node in Capricorn. An act of self-love which Venus will smile upon, and, in the bright light of an Orcadian sea-dawn, Neptune can spiritualize.

May you all be well.




Skara Brae The neolithic village, first discovered in 1850, consists of a series of interconnected houses dating from around 3000BC. In the background is Skaill House.
Thanks to Stephen McKay / Skara Brae / CC BY-SA 2.0