Shamanic Thoughts: #1 Beltane Hawthorn

Over the past month, I have walked nearly 200 miles through hedgerow and thicket, as the Sun began his journey through Taurus. Beltane is for me above all, the season for gathering hawthorn flowers for the year’s tea.

Hawthorn is a common thorny shrub belonging to the rose family that can even grow into small trees on hillsides and in sunny wooded areas. It is found all over the world. Its flowers, which grow in small white, red, or pink clusters, bloom in May. Small berries, called haws, sprout after the flowers. They are usually red when ripe.

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Dry a few handfuls of these beautiful flowers. Once the drying has reached its term, each floret will offer you a delicious brew, subtle in taste and wonderful for health.

In traditional law, there are many European customs and rituals linked to the Hawthorn tree. For instance, throughout Europe, it is believed that tying ribbons amongst the branches of the Hawthorn would enable wishes to come true. In France, twigs of Hawthorn were often put in cradles for protection. In ancient Greece, boughs of Hawthorn were often carried at weddings and they were used to decorate the altar to Hymenaeus, a god of marriage ceremonies, inspiring feasts, and song. From this god’s name comes the word hymenaios — a genre of lyric poetry sung during the procession of the bride to the groom’s house in which the god is addressed. This is in contrast to the Epithalamium, which is sung at the nuptial threshold. He is one of the winged love gods, the Erotes.

According to the Penn State Hershey Medical center, “Hawthorn (Crataegus species) has been used to treat heart disease as far back as the 1st century. By the early 1800s, American doctors were using it to treat circulatory disorders and respiratory illnesses. Traditionally, the berries were used to treat heart problems ranging from irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, chest pain, hardening of the arteries, and heart failure. Today, the leaves and flowers are used medicinally […] Scientific studies report that Hawthorn contains antioxidants, including oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs, also found in grapes) and quercetin. Antioxidants destroy free radicals, which are compounds in the body that damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA and can even cause cell death. […] Looking specifically at the heart, a number of studies conclude that hawthorn significantly improved heart function”.

More interesting science comes from the Natural Medicine Journal: “Research has been conducted on various hawthorn preparations, with the majority using a proprietary preparation from the leaf and flowers (L1 132; WS 1442). Other preparations include leaf and flower combinations with and without the berries, aqueous extracts, methanolic extracts (L1 132; Faros), ethanolic extracts (Esbericard, Crataegutt), dried blossoms, and a flavonoid extract (Crataemon). The exact mechanisms of action for hawthorn and cardiovascular disease is uncertain, but it is thought that the primary activity is its ability to increase coronary arterial blood flow, perhaps due to dilation of the coronary arteries. The inotropic effects may be due to inhibition of myocardial sodium/potassium ATPase. Hawthorn also appears to slightly increase the strength of the cardiac muscle contractions and decrease blood pressure, resulting in increased exercise tolerance and protection against congestive heart failure. Hawthorn has also been shown to exhibit antioxidant activity in a number of studies, which is likely due to its flavonoid and procyanidin constituents”.

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There are so many plants that can be used to make herbal teas — in a way, there is absolutely no reason why one should ever have to purchase tea since nature offers us so many wonderful gifts when we look around us. Here are a few that I will be exploring in future posts.

• Angelica: the root has digestive properties
• Catnip: the leaves are calming
• Mint: the leaves are digestive and calming
• Chamomile: The buds are relaxing and can be easily dried.
• Dandelion: the root provides a tonic
• Milk Thistle: the buds are good for detoxification.
The extract of milk thistle is a wonderful supplement to support the liver.
• Lavender: the buds are calming
• Lemongrass: the stalk is both a digestive and calming
• Lemon Balm: the leaves are calming
• Linden: the flowers are digestive and calming
• Nettles: the leaf is good for detoxification, and makes a fine tea
• Raspberry: the leaf supports the female reproductive system
• Red Clover: the buds are used for detoxification and purification
• Rose Hips: use the buds once the bloom has expired, these are rich in Vitamin C.
Horses love these.

Whilst it is necessary to learn how to prepare each plant,  preparations are usually quite simple. Take time to do your research, and enjoy. Many of these plants like hawthorn, mint, and nettle grow abundantly. Plant what you can in your garden. Enjoy what you can forage in the wild. You will soon find yourself with a source for many wonderful home-made teas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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.

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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

SKARA BRAE

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chiron sextile Mars

Charts are complex and yet, great rewards are to be had by focussing on a single aspect. I have just released a video on the Chiron Mars Sextile. Here is the chart:

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Chiron at 2° of Aries, and Mars in the 1° of Gemini. Here is a link to my video.
May this serve you and may you be well!

Trauma and healing in Brexit

Many of us have reached saturation with the psycho-drama that has unfolded in UK politics these past two years. You are more than entitled to ask, why yet more writing? My reason for writing this today, prior to the 29th March 2019, is to look at the situation in Britain from a different angle, that of the astrologer concerned with healing.

One thing that specifically encouraged me to write this, is to have come across in the past weeks a number of videos shared on social media which contain such violence, such hatred, such intolerance, I began to ask myself where lies the Democracy in any of this?

If Britain has at times prided itself for its “reasonableness”, today, there is little sign. Neither within the House of Commons nor without. For there are two traumas involved in this process, and I use the word trauma advisedly.

On the one hand, there are those who have felt betrayed by the fall in their living conditions since the politics of austerity were imposed upon the British people after 2010. Let us call this the “failing state of the nation”. It is worth recalling that already in 2016, over 20% of the UK population was living below the poverty line. The UK is the sixth richest country in the world.

On the other, are those who, after the Referendum of 23rd June 2016, felt the impending loss of something profound touching their European Citizenship and identity, something which had become a fully integrated part of their lives over the past 40 years.

Whilst this article deliberately takes no sides on the outcome of the democratic vote, it does point to two very real traumas. The first, outlined above, enabled many to see the EU as a cause for Britain’s current social problems. Promises were made. Resolution would be brought about by leaving the EU, the people were told. As we have seen promises were however broken. Those broken promises, currently debated almost daily, have now lead to a third trauma, that of betrayal of the “will of the people“.

The Brexit issue has thus piled trauma upon trauma and one place to see this, is in the astrological charts of the Acts of Union 1800, and that of “Brexit-Day”, 29th March 2019.

The Acts of Union 1800 (sometimes and erroneously referred to as a single Act of Union 1801) were parallel acts of the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland, to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, coming into force on the 1st January 1801. Here, below, is the chart.

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In this article, I wish to consider this composite chart from several points of view: the Uranus positions of each; the South Node, which represents the past life karma of Great Britain; the North Node, future soul destiny of the Union. Finally, I wish to consider the implications of a Grand Water Trine, taking place between the Acts of Union Moon (19° Cancer), the Acts of Union Neptune (18° Scorpio) and the transiting Neptune on “Brexit Day”, at 17° Pisces.

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Uranus represents a trauma signature in the birth chart (Mark Jones, 2012, 2015), and if we begin with the Acts of Union chart (inner wheel), Uranus is placed at 1° of Libra close to the Ascendant.

This placement is indicative of a generation which seeks to find new ways of achieving “right relations”. The shadow of this placement is that this Union exists to heal relations that were previously far from right. Interestingly Uranus on the Ascendant is indicative of great originality, independence bordering on quirkiness. The British national character is well defined by this, and of course, this has often come to the fore in the feeling of British originality which cannot be stifled under any circumstance. A sense of being stifled (by European laws, by agriculture policies, fishing quotas) is something that this side of the British character has found difficult to swallow by many.

We can already see in the astrology of the Uranus placement the difficulties felt by some Britons about any restraint being imposed on their “sovereignty”. In Libra, this trauma can be linked to relationships with other nations, and this typically is represented by configurations of dependency on the one hand, and the need to dominate on the other. Those who have studied British relations with the EU over the past decades will recognize certain features of both. Discussion of Empire is also relevant here.

In the Acts of Union chart, the South Node is in Libra with its North Node in Aries. In the past, this karmic position can indicate a pleasant and civilized mood. This invokes both legal systems and the arts… All these we can see in the British character. What however lies hidden in this, are realities which have hidden behind a veneer of appropriateness. The resulting masks of justice, reason, and dignity, have robbed the bearers of this placement of compassion!

The North Node of this chart is in Aries, and it is here that the evolutionary identity can be seen in fire and passion — and the very reasonableness which the British are often known before, can turn to acts of war. Unless we fully understand the inner drives inherent in the chart, we can with difficulty understand the present climate.

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If we now turn to the composite chart, we see several things. The first that I note is a Great Water Trine between the Acts of Union Moon (19° Cancer), the Acts of Union Neptune (18° Scorpio) and the transiting Neptune on Brexit Day, at 17° Pisces. Whilst certainly appropriate for Isles surrounded by water, there is an underlying risk of illusion inherent in this aspect.

I thank Phillip Lindsay for a point he recently remarked upon in his fascinating esoteric astrology blog. In one sense, healing has to take place between the Cancer Moon and the Neptune placement in Scorpio. The Moon in Cancer is strong in the Acts of Union chart and whilst this speaks of emotions it also speaks of the past. The trine with Neptune takes us deep into the fixed waters of Scorpio and it is here that monsters swim deep, to trap the unwary. Add to this a trine with transiting Neptune on Brexit day and we can feel the signature of the illusions and false hopes that have been bandied  about by all political factions since well before the famous referendum on membership of the European Union in 2016. Neptune can open us, beyond boundaries into greater fellowship, or can lead us to drown in the deepest waters of illusion. As ever, the choice is ours.

Looking at the Chart of Brexit day we find Pluto conjunct Saturn on the South Node. The chaos in the UK House of Commons over the past weeks speaks in the words of many commentators as an abject failure of governance. The House can decide upon nothing whatsoever.

The succession of Meaningful Votes, of amendments, speak quite the opposite of “take back control” and leave the spectator with the feeling that all control has been quite lost. Neptune’s waters run deep.

Whilst I have my own feelings concerning Britain in Europe, I wish to repeat that my comments here are in no way partisan. It was made quite clear from the outset by the Leave Campaign that under no circumstances should Article 50 be triggered until a leaving strategy had been agreed upon. This was more recently published in a letter to Tory MPs posted by Dominic Cummings here, which is extremely edifying. The decision to trigger Article 50 without any plan in place was itself an act of grave political blindness and potential self-harm. We have seen the result.

Returning to the South Node in Capricorn, this signature reflects past lives of difficulty in which morality, ethics, and pragmatism have ruled the day. This placement reflects upon prior lifetimes of hardship and struggle, whether they manifested as grueling poverty or the relentless demands of responsibility. This is opposed by the North Node in Cancer, in which the person has clearly come into the world for healing. As Steven Forrest points out, this person may end up reaching out into the community. In this placement, there is a soul contract to comfort the weaker and reach out to the more sensitive parts of the psyche. Clearly, this finds echoes in the Cancer Moon of the Acts of Union chart.

The desire to cut one’s self off from the community, to “brave it alone”, is, in the end, to fall back into the shadow of the South Nodal placement, and to return to the hardships which many of the so-called Brexiteers have labeled as “project fear“. Yet, beyond the detailed reports and impact studies which showed a negative impact of leaving the EU (and which were, with classic Neptunian illusion, actually not commissioned until enforced by the opposition) — it remains obvious to all that a country which leaves its most local trading partners to imagine (fantasize) trading with new partners many thousands of miles away, returns to its politics of suffering, of hardship, and of course, a final and very jingoistic “we can do it because we are British“.

Finally, if we look at the transiting Uranus placement at 1° Taurus, we note first of all that this is an ingress and Uranus tends (historically speaking) to pull no punches at this kind of juncture.

In 1935, American mid-western states were engulfed in the Dust-Bowl, a subject I have addressed elsewhere. The trauma experienced in that era was to do with personal possessions (Taurus, 2nd House), sustenance, and economic catastrophe. I am not suggesting for an instant that this Uranus signature predicts such an outcome here. Merely that prudence and learning from history might actually be of use at this crucial time.

What is also worth pointing out, is that in the composite charts, the Brexit Day Uranus is quincunx (150°) to the Acts of Union Uranus. This puts friction at the center of the relationship, and this placement suggests the difficulty of finding resolution in continual arguments that seem to erupt from nowhere, or, more accurately speaking, erupt from all sides. This position suggests that neither party can find the appropriate balance between independence and collaboration — something that characterizes the entire situation in a phrase. In this case, there is a tendency to assert individual rights without according similar rights to the other party. Such a planetary configuration could lead to a breakdown of the Union itself.

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I spoke of three traumas in the introduction to this article and my aim for writing this is to explore the opportunities for healing.

Clearly to crash out of the EU would be, as my grandmother would have said, to cut off your nose to spite your face. If Britain is to find a place outside the European Union, it must take into account that if this referendum was voted for by 17.4 million people (51.9%) it was also voted against by 16.1 million (48.1%) in a country of some 66 million people. A country so split is a country ungovernable. How this decision is implemented need be reflected upon and deeply, in a way that makes sense to all people. People have to be lead to a place of understanding and tolerance, not hatred, loathing and self-division.

What is also clear is that many who voted to leave voted with the EU as a convenient scapegoat for their ills. The fantasy of a new and powerful Britain is, in the end, a chimera. Britain cannot be the powerful nation it once was, isolated from its European neighbors. The past two years have shown us the need for integration in terms of trade, in terms of justice, and indeed in terms of labor. Only a nation in crisis closes its borders to its friends. The EU has various orbits or perimeters of relation to enable various degrees of collaboration. When tempers have cooled, it will be important to assess these, in terms of the interest to both Britain and Europe.

Finally, one thing that has consistently been eclipsed from the discussion, is that a fundamental role of the European project was to prevent European nations from sliding back into war. Europe has known a period of unqualified peace since WW2, and whilst the European Union is maligned by many, objective reflection must place credit for this peace where credit is due.

In the end, how this healing comes about is difficult to say.

A first and very important step must be a recognition that healing must take place. A second and very active step is in cleaning up social media which allow the publication in all impunity of so much hatred and violence towards others. The Uranian web has itself, in the expression of so much individual anger, contributed to an empoisoned social environment. A third step is looking hard and long at the political process which is simply unable to decide on any clear outcome. Using the threat of “crashing out” as a means to pass a Deal is itself a kind of political violence, exercised by a weak Prime Minister upon an angry nation.

In my own view, this process needs time. Time to cool down. Time to work in a cross-party manner as suggested repeatedly by Guy Verhofstadt who has served as the European Parliament’s representative in the negotiations.

The astrology of this situation suggests that time could be the key. In the volatility of the moment, reflection, consideration, and respect are values which must be at the center of any solution of lasting value. Acts of fire and willful temperament will only serve to burn down the house.

 


 

I would like to mention here Mark Jones, astrologer, teacher, psychosynthesis therapist whose work and recordings on Uranus and Trauma, have inspired me to write this article. His books Healing the Soul: Pluto, Uranus, and the Lunar Nodes, (2012), and The Soul Speaks: the Therapeutic Potential of Astrology, (2015) inspire us to seek the transformative potential in the astrological chart. This analysis can be applied to historical situations as much as persons.

Whilst I have been inspired by Mark’s work, the chart analyses published above, remain entirely my own.

 

Have we been here before? Thoughts on the astrology of the Boston Tea Party

Trade wars and trade deals are not new. Nations and colonies have been negotiating over the exchange of goods since nations and colonies ever existed. Since colonies were, by nature, created by one group of people invading another for commercial gain (land, goods, natural resources), it is not without irony that certain colonies should have themselves been so vociferous in defending the rights of fair trading.

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The Boston Tea Party was both a political and mercantile protest by that took place in Boston, Massachusetts on December 16, 1773. The target of this action was the Tea Act of May 1773 which enabled the British East India Company to sell tea from China in the American Colonies without paying taxes beyond those imposed by the Townshend Act. This act, opposed by the American Patriots, placed indirect taxes on glass, lead, paints, paper, and tea — all goods which had to be imported from Britain since they were not produced in the colonies. This form of revenue generation was Britain’s response to the failure of a previous Act, the Stamp Act of 1765, which was a form of direct taxation imposed upon the colonies. In the Tea Party, patriots disguised as Native Americans destroyed a shipment of tea by dumping it into the harbor, as depicted in the above period engraving.

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I wish, here, to draw attention to the fact that the Tea-Part is currently experiencing its Pluto return, at 21° Capricorn. It is interesting to note that in this particular chart, there is a Grand Earth Trine, with Uranus in Taurus (fixed Earth), Saturn in Virgo (Mutable Earth) and Pluto in Capricorn, (Cardinal Earth).

It is also worth noting that America is in the process of reaching its own Pluto Return (Pluto at 27° Capricorn) in 2022/2023. More on this in another post!

Returning to the above chart, two other aspects are of note. First, the Sun squares the Nodes (Sun at 24° Sag, squares SN at 26° Pisces, and NN at 26° Virgo). South Node in Pisces refers to past lifetimes in which the individual has experienced, in the words of Steven Forrest, a hallucinatory loss of self. He says that for many individuals this will be linked to monastic or devotional practice. It is interesting with respect to the Pilgrim Fathers, who set out for Plymouth, Massachusetts and were the first permanent colony in New England (1620). Of the 102 colonists, 35 were members of the English Separatist Church (a radical faction of Puritanism) who had earlier fled to Leiden, the Netherlands, to escape persecution at home. The North Node in Virgo, an Earth sign, is literally about grounding. These people were learning to think, to function, in more orderly and efficient ways. The skill-sets here are not associated with servitude, but on the contrary that more sixth-house sense of skills which are of use to each other. We can see this in acts of nation-building as the colonies will soon seek independence.

It is also worth noting that in this chart, the Nodal axis is squared by the Sun. In Evolutionary Astrology, the Sun squaring the Nodes is associated with the individual being pulled into the orbit of another powerful individual. In this case, that other individual would surely be the British State? This loss of self can lead to feelings of being lost ones-self, or the feeling of a compensatory compulsion to aggrandize the ego. In the historical sense, one can already feel the building up of the identity of a nation, before the War of Independence, which began in April 1775.

Second, a Mars/Mercury conjunction in Capricorn, squaring Chiron and Jupiter in Aries. This square is powerful and if we are talking communication, it is clear that the Tea-Party was not a negotiation but a bellicose act, linked to Aries, through the rulership of Mars. Mars and Mercury are in Capricorn underlying the legal nature of a dispute over material goods and duties. Chiron invokes the sufferance of paying what was considered to be unjust taxation — taxation which would later be thrown off. Clearly the jettisoning of the Tea was an act of great political consequence. Clearly, the colonies were on their way to writing their own new story, fully embodying their Chiron in Aries. We all know what follows.

The rest is surely history…

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I believe that the astrology of the Boston Tea Party offers profound insight into the karmic patterns underlying this key event in America’s history, and indeed, certain karmic wounds underlying the American identity. The astrology also reminds us that unresolved karma returns. I do not believe it to be pure chance that trade-wars and tariffs have come back on the international political agenda, as the Tea-Party reaches its Pluto return.

 


 

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Thanking wiki commons for the image of the Tea-Party
under the creative commons license.

A further vision

So let’s share this evening’s chart:

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This evening we have a powerful conjunction on the South Node (Pluto/Saturn), whilst on the Nodal Axis, we have sextile South Node, Trine North Node to Neptune, Black Moon Lilith, Vesta, Mercury, and the Sun. What could this mean? In essence, a Piscean energy is sextiling the South Node in Capricorn and trining the North Node in Cancer.

As with all charts, we can read this in two ways because of the polarity of each sign, house position, and aspect.

Pisces takes us into the abandonment of ego before the infinite. This can be either the cosmic expansion and our oneness with all, OR equally, the depths of personal illusion, deception and addiction. In my own view, the chart shows us the polarities or choices.

The question with this chart is in which direction will it take you? 

Will Pisces allow us to travel beyond our past structures and limitations (Saturn conjunct Pluto on the South Node), or will it simply mask the old traits by dissimilation, enabling us to feed the illusion that all was well, is well, and therefore will continue to be well?

The sextile to the South Node is the easier aspect — the “oh sure, all is fine, all is good”. The trine to the North Node is the more challenging — but will be more rewarding if we look at the expansive and the enlarging vision of what we seek rather than at what we are familiar with.

This is a great time to connect with the greater part of our vision and then root it (Saturn in Capricorn) in ACTS, in CONCRETE ENDEAVOURS, in BUILDING OUR FUTURE.

Today the School climate change movement, started by Greta Thunberg, believe that during 24 hours of climate action, more than 1 million students will have skipped school this Friday to protest governmental inaction on climate change. To me, this is the Neptunian Vision of Pisces touching our North Node destiny. It is a concrete action.

Whilst all destinies are possible, we also have choices.

The chart simply shows us what is possible, the moment that we engage with our true destiny.

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If you are curious about how these planetary configurations affect your chart specifically, contact me here to see how I can help you.

Incarnate our astrology, embody the celestial: Selene meets Uranus in Taurus

 

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A crescent Moon conjunct Uranus in Taurus. The first Moon/Uranus conjunction since the ingress of Uranus in Taurus invites us into grounding, for feeling our way back into our bodies.

If you planted your Moon Wishes at the New Moon, you should now be able to feel them growing.

The creativity that can arise from channeling Uranus can be difficult to embody, precisely because of the rapidity with which Uranus operates. Uranus is of the Sky and moves fast. Taurus is of the Earth and moves slow.

Between the two transits this waxing crescent moon, Selene, our Moon Mother. There is no time like the present for a Moon ritual and to really feel the growing. So, what is growing? What is taking shape? In the screen shot below you can draw a line from the Earth to Uranus (top center) and you will see the Moon lying in between them.

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Just the other day, the story for a new kid’s book came to me as I was driving to the horses. I was motoring along and suddenly found myself reciting out loud the opening pages of the story. It arrived in a flash! How Uranian! Although I had much work to do that day, I was able to find a moment to dictate an outline of the story into my dictaphone. It took but a few minutes to record what had been delivered.

As the Moon now grows, so I listen to the recordings and begin the slower process of typing the story-line. This takes time, it is a meditative process, altogether longer. The dictaphone was a stroke of insight enabling me to capture the gift I had been offered. I was even able to add a few lines later in the morning, in the yard with the horses around me, nuzzling me and asking for part of the action. This is how I live the Moon transiting Uranus in Taurus.

Life is so amazing when we can incarnate our astrology, embody the celestial. This, for me, is what this journey is about.

Time to pause: Mercury retrograding in Pisces takes us to the Cosmic Centre

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As many of you will know we now enter a period of Mercury retrograde when Mercury appears to travel in the opposite direction in the heavens. Mercury reached the 29th degree of Pisces, before beginning a return journey to 16 of Pisces, so a retrogradation of some 15 degrees. Why is this of significance?

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Commonly, Mercury retrograde periods are associated with mechanical failures, errors, mistakes and so on. This, to me, seems a rather superstitious way of thinking. Anything that goes “wrong” during a Mercury retrograde is often neatly blamed on the planet. Personally, I feel that this kind of astrological fatalism is not something that does us, or astrology, any favors. Things don’t just randomly go wrong. We have to look closer.

I thank my friend, astrologer Gina Brazeal, for directing me to a webcast by Eric Francis Coppolino, who draws our attention to two very significant points. First, the fact that Mercury goes retrograde on the very last degree of the Zodiac, 29° Pisces, which is the 360th degree, before we enter 1° of Aries, so beginning a new cycle. Second, Mercury then stations conjunct Neptune at 16° of Pisces and will be conjunct Neptune for about 10 days.

The Sabian Symbol for 30° Pisces is as follows:

PHASE 360 (PISCES 30°): A MAJESTIC ROCK FORMATION RESEMBLING A FACE IS IDEALIZED BY A BOY WHO TAKES IT AS HIS IDEAL OF GREATNESS, AND AS HE GROWS UP, BEGINS TO LOOK LIKE IT.

KEYNOTE: The power of clearly visualized ideals to mold the life of the visualizer.

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s story “The Great Stone Face” is used here, in an allegorical sense to show the capacity for self-transformation latent in man. This power can be developed through visualization when the emotions and the will are poured into the visualized mental image. At the highest spiritual-cosmic level this is the power used by the God-like Beings at the close of a cosmic cycle in projecting the basic Formula (the Word) which will start a new universe. In a biological sense, it is the power latent in all seeds — the power to produce and guide the growth of the future plant. A most fitting symbol for the last phase of the cyclic process. Within the end of the cycle, the seed of a new beginning exists in potency — unless the entire cycle has proven to be a failure.

This is the last stage of the last scene of the great ritual play of cyclic transformations. It brings to us a realization of the power of archetypes as factors conditioning life processes. Thus we could use as a final Keyword: ARCHETYPALIZATION.

If we now return to 16° Pisces, the Sabian symbol is as follows:

PHASE 346 (PISCES 16°): IN THE QUIET OF HIS STUDY A CREATIVE INDIVIDUAL EXPERIENCES A FLOW OF INSPIRATION.

KEYNOTE: Reliance upon one’s inner source of inspiration or guidance.

In this last scene of the great ritual of cyclic existence, we are dealing with various aspects of the process that enables man to “confirm,” formulate and perpetuate the original creative impulse which has become self-actualized in a myriad of ways throughout the cycle, short or long as the cycle may be. This first symbol strikes the keynote of truly significant creative processes: their source is above, beyond, but also around the individual creator. The inspiration, original and individual though it may be, is given a form which is conditioned by the cultural, social and religious background of the creative person. In a sense, every genius merely records an answer to the needs of his time. The hands that write, play an instrument, or mold a plastic material are his own; the urge or drive back of the flow of inspiration has arisen in the vast collective mind of Man.

This is the first of the seventieth series of five symbols. The individual aspect of the creative process is emphasized as is the individual’s need for concentration and at least inner quiet. He must have faith in his own SUBJECTIVE STRENGTH.

It is as though Mercury is giving us an intuition of the process of our individuation. In seeing the Great Stone Face, the child so gains an inkling of his or her inherent greatness and this vision becomes a guide for future life and growth.  The Sabian Symbol invokes the power of clearly visualized ideals to mold the life of the visualizer. The Channel Abraham always reminds us to hold in our vision a “Better feeling place“. This could also be the Great Stone Face of our capacity for latent transformation. 

In creative work, it is often helpful to prime our subconscious before we carry out a creative task. By familiarizing ourselves with the terrain, a text, an idea, we prepare ourselves for the creative act. By taking us to this point of visualization, it is as though Mercury is priming us for integration of a cosmic download to come as the sun passes into Aries at the Equinox. Mercury, remember, is the divine messenger.

Where does Mercury take us in his retrogradation? Back to degree 16°. Here we are asked to have reliance upon one’s inner source of inspiration or guidance. I don’t think the message could be clearer. And this, is, of course, taking place conjunct Neptune, ruler of Pisces.

We are being asked to open ourselves to the great Cosmic Spirit, to feel connected with the greater picture, the boundless, infinite domain of Neptune himself. Neptune can, of course, be associated with illusion and indeed addiction in his negative pole, but if we follow his positive pole, we are being guided to the creation of a point of self-observation (self-awareness) outside of the ego. This weakens the barrier that separates the conscious from the unconscious and develops what may be called our awareness of the Divine.

I would like to propose that rather than focus our Mercury retrograde on why the toaster might seem to be malfunctioning (!!!), we step back into a more Cosmic realm, and understand the deep beauty and depth of the message and the greatness of the gift which Mercury now brings. See our potential for greatness at the cusp of Aries, and then step back with Mercury to rejoice in our awareness of the Divine. Is this not the most beautiful lesson, as Uranus steps into Taurus?

Blessings on your Mercury Retrograde. If you enjoyed this article and would like to know more about how this affects your own chart, you are most welcome to get in touch to see how I can help you.

May the energies of the season be with you, strengthen you and deepen your connection to the Divine.

 


 

My thanks to Pixie for the visual inspiration from Orkney, Scotland,
as the inspiration for the digital art.

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