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?


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:


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:


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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New Moon thoughts as Uranus enters Taurus


New Moon in Pisces, conjunct Neptune

And so here we are, after a long wait, the New Moon will take place at 15° of Pisces. She conjuncts Neptune and sextiles Mars in Taurus and Saturn in Capricorn, whilst Uranus completes his ingress and enters Taurus for the next 7 years. Powerful aspects and transitions. Uranus also weakly squares the Nodal Axis. As if this was not enough, we also have Pluto on the South Node at 25° of Capricorn, opposing the North Node at 25° of Cancer. Finally, Mercury is conjunct Chiron on the Aries cusp, sextile to the South Node and trine to the North Node.


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Let us look at four stories in this chart:

Let us begin with the Moon. She is conjunct the Sun and conjunct Neptune at 16° of Pisces. This aspect offers us a very Cosmic New Moon with the potential to connect us to great vision. Following her transit of Capricorn, then Aquarius, finally she reaches the mutable waters of Pisces. Here the Moon’s connection with both creativity and sensitivity can flower, like a mysterious song flowing out over the waters. Ruled by Neptune, she can, of course, operate on the axis of illusion. But when we take care to ground ourselves in some kind of physical activity (of whatever sort), we can ground this mysterious psychic sensitivity and it will flow. My suggestion is to use our Moon Ceremony to connect with the most Cosmic dimension possible for each of us at this time. In terms of manifestation work, I would ask for clarity on the changes to come rather than specific outcomes. Make good the clarity and allow the universe to unfold what she has in store for us. Divine guidance in divine timing.

Second, we have Uranus entering Taurus. Whilst this may have the allure of a shake, rattle and roll moment, what actually unfolds in my view depends upon what we have been building.

If you have been building golf courses in the desert, you might expect to get either washed out in a freak storm or, perhaps more likely, a crushing drought. If your shipping company has no vessels in port, you may have to take the train. The only thing about Uranus that is predictable is his profound lack of predictability. But there are very definitely gifts to be received here.

It isn’t about up-ending financial stability or earthquakes, though these can happen, more about freeing us of our routines and our closed visions. Uranus is profoundly revolutionary and the question we might ask of the New Moon in our Moon ceremonies is where in my life right now can I put on my genius hat and see further than I could before? This is the Uranian question.

What are the opportunities for this transit? Obviously, with Taurus ruled by Venus and in the second house of personal resources, we might expect changes in finances, in business, in our living situations, as well as changes in our values and desires. This over-simplifies greatly, of course. Here, I simply want to focus on a few key aspects to guide us in our Moon Ceremonies. We have seven years to explore the Uranus in Taurus transit, and one thing we can be sure of, is that this is likely to be profound.

Third, lets look at Chiron and Mercury. This conjunction speaks of healing stories and certainly recalls the conjunction when Chiron entered Aries for the first time in 2018. In this aspect, the Mercurial side of working on our healing path through talking, writing, sharing, analyzing, (astrology!!!) will help us on our Nodal Axis journey (see below). I wrote at length about the astrology of Chiron’s two entries into Aries in a previous post, and I refer you to this to enter into more detail on this subject. My feeling is that the Nodal relationship here anchors Chiron into healing at a Karmic level. These aspects seem to me to hold a very positive dimension indeed for our healing paths.

Fourth, we have the Nodal axis empowered, freed up, opened to change, by the presence of Pluto on the South Node.  This is a slow transit, not yet in full alignment, but we all should be feeling the effects. Look where there are structures in your life (Capricorn) and ask not whether they are holding up, but what kind of gift might result through their dissolution? The Nodes on the Capricorn/Cancer axis are again taking us from past life resonance in which we have been a part of (or perhaps hidden behind) institutions or structures. These could be linked with employment, marriage, homes or other legally binding situations.

Our journey is now heading to a different place, one where our security comes not from those (old) structures but from our own emotional well-being. So to ask for clarity on the 6th March 2019, given that Uranus is squaring the Nodes and Pluto continues his dance on the South Node, is to say these are times for change, ladies and gentlemen! Let’s bring it on!


May you feel in alignment with these changes,
May they serve you, may they enable you
to serve others!


PS — Friends, one thing I haven’t commented on here is the fact that the day before the New Moon Mercury goes retrograde for about three weeks, having stationed in the 29th degree of Pisces. This is of considerable significance and will be treated in a separate post to follow. Namaste! 




Image, hand-drawn over photography,
thanks to Gerald Browne.

The Great Dust Bowl. An essay on Pluto on the Nodes square Uranus in Taurus.


Great Dust Storm 1935

Great Dust Storm 1935

The Dust Bowl (1931-1939)was a series of dust storms in the central U.S. caused by a massive drought and decades of bad farming techniques. During the Dust Bowl, swirling black stormclouds (some 800 ft. high)appeared for days triggering thunder and lightning, and making the sky appear black, at times all the way to Chicago. This disaster left about 500,000 people mainly from Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas homeless. Many took Route 66 to California to seek migrant farming work. One of the worst days of the Dust Bowl was April 14, 1935, a day called as, “Black Sunday.” On this day, “black blizzards” occurred throughout the dust bowl region, causing extensive damage, turning day to night, at times making it hard to see beyond five feet away.”

Taken from an American high school class hand-out, this description gives some idea of the terrible events that unfolded in 1935 in America’s mid-west. The story is both fascinating and timely because it involves a chapter on why people flooded west in the hope of enriching themselves. It involves another on the out and out exploitation of the land using high-levels of mechanization. It involves a chapter on the effect of tilling such soil and leaving it open to soil erosion at unprecedented levels. It contains a chapter on the poverty of those who lost everything and concludes with another on immigration, and how the State of California welcomed the “Okies” who fled the terrors of the Dust Bowl.

It is appropriate to turn immediately to what was happening in the skies at this time and if we look at the chart for Black Sunday, 14th April, 1935, we will not be surprised.

Astrological Chart 14 April 1935

Astrological Chart 14 April 1935 Black Sunday Storm, Oklahoma, Great Dust Bowl

Looking at a few key points to this chart gives us clues and pointers that by now should be becoming familiar. Let’s start with Pluto in Cancer. Jeff Green: “Pluto in […] Cancer demonstrates that an evolutionary cycle is closing and that a new cycle is underway. Individuals with Pluto in Cancer have been attempting and desiring to learn the evolutionary lesson of security rather than deriving emotional security from any external factor, such as parents, job, lover, etc., these individuals have been learning to create and supply their own emotional security from within themselves“. (Pluto, Volume 1, p85). All under the age of 20 in Oklahoma in 1935 would have Pluto in Cancer in their natal chart (Pluto entered the sign of Cancer in 1915).

He continues: These individuals can alternate by seeking out places and people whom they unconsciously expect to fulfill their displaced emotional needs in a childlike way, or they can seek out environments and others whom they can dominate and control in order to have their unresolved emotional issues fulfilled… (Pluto, Volume 1. p89).

The Polarity point is Capricorn. The evolutionary intent is one of self-determination, learning how to accept responsibility for one’s actions leading to emotional maturity, learning how to walk upon one’s own two feet, and learning how to integrate or establish one’s own personal authority or individuality in the context of society or culture. These lessons can, and must, occur through the individual’s work or career. (Pluto, Volume 1. p94).

When the storm struck, The Sun was square Pluto, who himself was conjunct the South Node in Cancer. In this, the dreams of all those families (emotions, past, a lost sense of home) who moved out West to better themselves, as Green puts it, by “seeking out places […] they unconsciously expect to fulfill their displaced emotional needs”. Neither is it surprising to find Saturn in Pisces (finding structure in the sea ruled by Neptune, dreams, illusions) in exact square to Chiron in Gemini (reality check, what is this place?).

The second keynote to this chart is that Uranus is in the first degree of Taurus. You may now understand why I choose to write about the American Dust Bowl at this present time.

For we forget.

Uranus, who rules Aquarius (Fixed Air), is here represented by those winds that took up the freshly plowed earth (Taurus, fixed Earth, now not so fixed) and scattered it over the States of Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Colorado, and Kansas, leaving half a million homeless in the process. Uranus also squares the Nodal Axis.

We can see the pattern very clearly here, and it is extraordinary to me that the present US administration would dare to take the US out of the Paris Climate Accords, having such a powerful example of man-made climate disaster in its own recent history.

Poverty through the Great Depression led many to migrate to seek better conditions. The scenes of horsedrawn wagons racing ahead to find the “best land” as shown in historian Simon Schama’s extraordinary documentary “The American Future: Episode 1 – American Plenty” dramatically underscores the pulling power of the Eldorado of the Oregon Way, that drew so many took to seek riches that would prove not only illusory but lead them to their ruin. The profligate and reckless damage done to the lands by so uprooting grasses whose roots bound the soils so preventing erosion was, in the end, to uproot so many dreams.

Many of those who did not lose their lives in the storms would migrate further West and set up in California. Whilst some would go on to make their fortunes in those fertile lands, the shadow of lack of water remains ever present. Lake Mead, which was created by the Hoover Dam project is currently 141 feet below the full pool hight of 1229 feet.  The dam was constructed between 1931 and 1936 during the Great Depression and was dedicated on September 30, 1935, by President Roosevelt. Its construction was the result of a massive effort involving thousands of workers and cost over one hundred lives. Yet even today, despite such sacrifice and ingenuity, much of the Eastern US is either abnormally dry or experiencing varying levels of drought.

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The astrology here reminds us how powerful Pluto is in the evolution of our combined destinies. The only thing fated in this chart is the series of events that would, in the end, push a society over the edge, to ignore all prudence.  John Wesley Powell, who wrote “The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons” about the Geographic Expedition of 1869 repeatedly stated that the Colorado River was not strong enough in its own right to support mass development (irrigation) of the Colorado basin.

When John Wesley Powell talked about this at an irrigation summit in Los Angeles in 1893, he was apparently booed off-stage. William Ellsworth Smythe, 1861-1922, and author of The Conquest of Arid America is recorded as saying the following “When Uncle Sam puts his hand to a task, we know it will be done… When he stretches his hand towards the desert and says ‘Let there be water’ we know that the stream will obey his command“. There is an arrogance to this which I find quite extraordinary.


The astrology simply asks us for greater awareness. We are all on an evolutionary path and Pluto outlines to each of us the great contours of that journey. Each generation has its lessons to learn. My own generation, Pluto in Virgo, is in a process of waking up to what we have created (Pluto in Leo) and it is our Virgoan principles that are asking us to step up and become more self-aware, more critical of ourselves and of the world we have built. This is, of course, the journey that will continue in Libra, as we reach out into our communities, understanding that we are on a joint adventure and that the well-being of our societies is a collective thing in which we must all take part, for and with each other, not me before you. This might be one interpretation of the Uranian shadow, the temptation of extreme individuality at the expense of the collective.

In no way do I seek to criticize those who sought wealth and betterment of fortune in the arid Mid-West. They had their evolutionary lessons to learn in confronting the wilderness they unwittingly helped to create. If criticism is due, it must be directed to those who now seek to ignore — or perhaps worse, actively refute — the lessons of history. We have more records of the past than we rightly know what to do with. And we have all the astrology we need to shine its penetrating light upon those events. This is part of our opening. It is my hope that this brief article contributes in its own small way, to our collective awakening.

As a post scriptum, I highly recommend viewing “The American Future: Episode 1: American Plenty” by Simon Schama. You can find it on Amazon prime for a few dollars. His work is of the highest quality, his insight breathtaking. The film is worth the price of the archive footage alone. I thank him for his witnessing.

Photo: This file was provided to Wikimedia Commons by the National Archives and Records Administration as part of a cooperation project. The National Archives and Records Administration provides images depicting American and global history which are public domain or licensed under a free license.



Moon Calendars 2019


I wanted to post a few words as we go into the New Moon on the 6th March which is a hugely important moment as Uranus also ingresses Taurus on this day. I’ll be commenting more on this momentous subject in time for this event.

I would also like to add a word to remind you that when you join the Shamanic Healing Circle’s Inner Circle, in addition to your regular Distance Reiki Healings which I send to each member on each of the Cosmic and Earth Festivals of the Sacred Year, all members receive complimentary copies of our entire e-book collection and our “Working with the Moon” Guide which contains our Full Moon and New Moon Calendars. These are offered each year as an almanac to accompany your own Moon-work and have been very well received by readers over the years.

I created the Shamanic Healing Circle because I knew that we have need of dynamic spaces of support which are articulate, and which bring meaning to our lives as we tune in each day more and more to the divine energy at the cosmic and at the terrestrial levels. If you haven’t already joined us you can jump in here. Newsletters are free and joining our Inner Circle costs only £12.50/month.





It’s not even March and the UK is burning.  The photos of Saddleworth Moor are extraordinary. So, here we are, the Moors are already burning, means that not only are temperatures high but rainfall too has been so low that the grassland can catch even in February. As the Guardian Newspaper put it “The fire, near Marsden, spread across an area of 1.5 sq miles and could be seen from miles away as crews from across the region battled through the night to contain it. Adam Greenwood, a station manager at West Yorkshire fire and rescue service, said the blaze was “one of the highest flame fronts we have seen” and had spread rapidly due to the unseasonably warm and dry weather“.

In the same period we also have school children striking in order to point out to the adults around the table that this laissez-faire, business-as-usual attitude, is simply not working. It is not working for the school children and it is not actually working for the adults either. It is just that the adults don’t seem to be able to stop themselves. On this occasion, the Prime Ministers office saidit was good that pupils are politically “engaged” but argued that they need to be in school to become the future professionals who can help solve climate change”.

As one Guardian journalist pointed out elsewhereFor 30 years scientists have been making clear the catastrophic and inevitable consequences of climate change. CO2 emissions are altering our planet, and it will lead to humanity’s destruction unless we do something about it”. Honestly, how many PhDs does it take to state the obvious? Clearly, the government doesn’t listen to the folks with PhDs either, so why bother going through all that education just to have the can kicked even further down the road?

Only today, eco-protesters — who created an eco-village on the proposed site of the disputed third runway at Britain’s Heathrow Airport — were forced out of their camp by bailiffs.

To the kids, and indeed to most sane people, it is obvious that more air-traffic over London is not the answer. In fact, it is exactly part of the problem. Even the ex-Mayor of London who had vehemently opposed the new runway managed to absent himself from the government vote which passed the plan last year. In the actual vote, a total of 415 MPs backed the proposal to expand Heathrow, while 119 voted against it. This gave the government a huge majority of 296 for the plan, with Conservative MPs on a three-line whip to support the third runway. (Note — defying a three-line whip is very serious, and can result in the whip being withdrawn from an MP or Lord. This means that the Member is effectively expelled from their party but keeps their seat and must sit as an independent until the whip is restored.) The project was thus voted by a 296 majority.

We don’t seem to learn. Time is running out and the systems of governance have to start taking the situation on board. We simply cannot go on like this.

For the moment change has at least been gradual. But for anyone who knows anything about complex systems, they also know that systems are buffered until they reach saturation. At this point, gradual change can become rapid. We all did this in our school chemistry class by looking at pH and the behavior of a buffer. You add a drop of acid and nothing happens. Then a drop more. Then a few drops more. The pH remains almost constant. And then, at one very specific point, the pH changes radically. We have reached the buffering capacity of the buffer. And then things change. Fast. No more capacity to absorb is left. We have pushed the system as far as it can cope. This is clearly where we are heading with the environment. The children are clearly awake. But when the adults?

In my next article, the first of a new series, we will be addressing The question of Weather Magic and Shamanic responses to climate change. 



Image credits:
This image is used to illustrate a wildfire but did not come from Saddleworth Moor as all photos of this tragic event are copyright to agencies or press. I thank Manfred Morgner for sharing his photo on Wikimedia and allowing others to use it under the creative commons.

A few thoughts on Brexit as Pluto conjuncts the South Node

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The power is rising. Pluto at 22° of Capricorn conjunct Venus at 25° Capricorn, on the South Node of the Moon. What are we to make of this?

Capricorn is ruled by Saturn (now at 17° of Cap), now slowly catching up with Pluto. Saturn, as we know, is to do with time, limitations, structure, government. It is what is unchanging, or slowly changing. Venus represents our values. This conjunction on the South Node is about a dissolution (Pluto) of our Values (Venus) that have been formed in the past (South Node). Capricorn is the sign of Cardinal Earth, so solid yes, but not so solid that it can’t, in the end, give way to new structures. There is an element of new beginnings here.

If we look at what is happening in the UK, we see a Government that is incapable of making any choices about the future relationship with Europe. They call it “kicking the can down the road” something the present Government has done very successfully for two years since the 2016 referendum. At the present time, the UK should leave Europe on the 29th March, and the “meaningful vote” is the 12th of March. If it is not once more canceled at the last minute.

Let us be clear. Chaos will reign if the UK slips out of Europe with no deal signed. Some think this will be simple and straight forward. Of course. Easy to say. With businesses relocating, Honda closing a factory, and indeed, now British Steel facing over a million euros of extra carbon credits. In the absence of a Brexit deal, British Steel must buy around 6 million tons of carbon on the open market, at a cost of around €110 million by March 15, according to Bloomberg.

The value system (what it means to be independent, what it means to “take back control”, what it means to be British) which comes from the past (South Node) is at this time deeply questioned.

We have the choice to move towards a more inclusive society, a more caring society, a society in which money (represented by Taurus which Venus rules) plays a less central role.

We can evolve. We can move towards this North Node destination in Cancer, or, we can follow the old ways. But our friend Pluto is saying that these old values have to change. We have to let go of them in order to evolve. We cannot keep the old system, which is clearly not working (look at the poverty and homelessness in the UK, the world’s 6th richest nation). So, what will happen?

I don’t see the astrology as a harbinger of catastrophe. The astrology shows us what can happen when we don’t change. When we don’t allow the old values to pass as we create newer ones based on our times and upon our evolving sense of self. We can hang on. But the lessons of Pluto are in that sense often fairly hard. You don’t mess with Pluto, who generally has the last word. A double warning is also coming in the form of Uranus in Taurus (Fixed Earth). Things are going to move, and this does mean possessions, materials, money, and resources. So with Pluto gradually reaching up to the South Node, there is a very good reason to take note.

The UK might pause, although its leader seems determined for a 29th March exit of the EU, come hell or high-water. And she may get just that. Or she might pause and listen to what a majority of experts and advisors are saying. She might listen to reason. Clearly, Britain is not ready for this step. We are going to climb down and do things differently. Pragmatism over impetuosity. In the end, we shall see soon enough.

For me, its clear from the skies that this is a time for caution, for prudence. To allow things to evolve gradually rather than precipitating an earthquake which Uranus will be only too happy to offer, should we be willing.

The astrology is here not to moralize or take sides. It is here to help us find the most prudent path for the many, not the few, as we negotiate this rendezvous with Pluto on the South Node.

Chiron’s two entries into Aries and their significance

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And so, finally, on the morning of 18th February the asteroid Chiron finally left Pisces for his new home in Aries.

If Pisces takes us into the unknown depths of mutable water, the wounds so inflicted and represented by Chiron in this sign must carry with them some mark of the infinite. On the one hand the pain of our separation from source, and on the other the seemingly limitless ills of humankind. The problem is that Pisces will inevitably be followed by Aries and we will, therefore, somehow, have to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and begin again, creating a new story of healing. This post looks in detail at the astrological context of Chiron’s two entries into Aries and attempts to offer some insight as to their significance.


Chiron first entered Aries on the 17 April 2018. The asteroid advanced, stationed, then went retrograde, returning to Pisces for some months before definitively returning to Aries this week. We might therefore justifiably wonder about the differences between Chiron’s two entries into Aries.

It is often said that a planet that has entered or ingressed into a sign and then returns albeit briefly to its former sign has forgotten something. The image of a person leaving home in the morning without something vital to the day’s business comes to mind.

If we concentrate on the holistic aspects of the chart, we might say that if Chiron was ready for Aries in April 2018 perhaps the other planetary archetypes were not. We thus need to compare the charts of Chiron’s first and second ingress into Aries to better understand what might previously have been lacking. This approach has the potential to shed fresh light on the nature of Chiron’s true entry into Aries in 2019.





When Chiron entered Aries in 2018 he was in conjunction with Mercury. This certainly prepared the terrain for a New Healing Story (Mercury) that each of us might begin to tell. At this time the Sun was conjunct Uranus also in Aries, suggesting the force of this encounter could be so powerful it literally knocks us over (Sun – life force, Uranus – expect the unexpected). Such a healing outcome can certainly be seen as powerful but of unpredictable result. Second, and here I note another powerful theme — Venus in Taurus opposing Jupiter in Scorpio. We have already seen that Jupiter’s passage through Scorpio was bringing to light a great deal of hidden or shadow material, the #metoo movement testified to this in no uncertain terms. However, the opposition with Venus (our values) in Taurus suggests to me that Fixed Earth and Fixed Water were not going to be the most suitable terrain for the deep and healthy healing of this new cycle. Almost as though what came up in 2018 would then get stuck high and dry on Fixed Earth (Taurus).

When Chiron entered Aries in 2019, the skies were very different. The planets had indeed moved on and the chaotic Sun/Uranus conjunction along with the Venus/Jupiter opposition have now given way to a very different celestial configuration.

First of all, Chiron now trines the North Lunar Node and sextiles the South Lunar Node. This immediately puts Chiron in connection with our past life karma (South Node) and in connection with our future soul development (North Node). As such, Chiron is now able to engage fully on the Karmic plane. Second, the Nodes have continued their journey and we have the South Node in Capricorn, the North Node in Cancer. This configuration, as discussed by Steven Forrest in one of his podcasts, (see our Shamanic Healing Circle page for the shared podcast), involved a movement towards the healing of our emotional selves. We are leaving the frigid and potentially damaging aspects of Capricorn past lives behind us. A further aspect of significance is that both Capricorn and Cancer are Cardinal signs which means that they represent nucleating points for change in the zodiac, being linked to the solstices.

Not only are the Nodes in Cardinal signs, but they are also squared by Uranus and Mars. Uranus in the last degree of Aries is giving us Cardinal Fire to power this revolution, and Mars is going to make these evolutions concrete in Fixed Earth. It is a powerful square and gives what is called a “skipped step” for those who are born at this time. The square, linked to the Nodes, offer us a clear dynamic to move from past trauma to future healing.

A further powerful aspect is that of Pluto, the transformer, conjunct the Moon’s South Node at 22° Capricorn. Pluto acts as a dissolving force to free things that are held in stasis. You can fight Pluto but Pluto will always win.  As such we see that Chiron, Pluto, Uranus and Mars are now all in powerful relation to the Nodal Axis. In my view, this offers us a hugely dynamic and fertile terrain for healing.


In a fascinating discussion of this question, the astrologer Gary P Caton points out that the thing that both Chiron in Pisces and Chiron in Aries have in common is that Chiron, in each case, is taking something from Saturn out toward Uranus. In each case, something Saturnian (boundaries, systems, etc.) is being sent out to become more Uranian, more open, electric and free. This, he explains, is because Aries is the sign of Chiron’s aphelion or furthest distance from the sun. It is thus closest to Uranus. (You can find a link to Gary’s podcast on Chiron, here)


Chiron’s second entry into Aries, therefore, offers us a profoundly different astrological context. With powerful aspects to the Nodal axis, the work presaged by Chiron’s initial foray, conjunct Mercury, can now be realized. The period of activation has finally come to fruition, Chiron can begin his powerful healing mission with the aid of Mars and Uranus square the Nodes, whilst Pluto sits on the Nodal axis offering powerful energies for change. As if to confirm this, we now see Jupiter, no longer in opposition to Venus, but traveling through the sign of Sagittarius of which Jupiter is Ruler. This powerful Jupiter transit now offers us the Firey arrows of the Archer, to trail-blaze in our own healing Journeys.

In the infinite aspect of Chiron in Pisces, we previously connected with the universal sufferings of humankind. In Aries, we move to a place where we can explore concrete acts of healing, releasing past wounds. Aries (or the first house) is always the beginning of a new cycle, a new story.

Chiron’s second ingress into Aries tells us in no uncertain terms that we are now fully empowered to take on the hero archetype — to work through remaining past life karmas and now ready to set out, once more, as the authors of our own healing story.

If you enjoyed this article and would like to know more about how Chiron affects your own chart, you are most welcome to get in touch. I will be delighted to help you with your own Chiron journey. 


Image: Apollo Chiron Asclepios
MAN Napoli /  Image c
reated: 1st century AD


On a shamanic astrology


It’s indeed been a while. And for reason. One of the things I am more and more aware of is the process of “wu-wei” or doing through not doing. No. Not an elegy for laziness, but a healthy respect for the limits of what is achievable at any given moment.

The more I reflect on the Zodiac and the movements of the planets, the more I realize the impatience we feel would be the astrological equivalent of saying, Oh! Why can’t Mars just fast forward to Leo? No, Mars happily won’t. Because there is in the universal wisdom a process which will take Mars from Aries as we begin something, through Taurus where we incarnate it in some material form, and then woah! We need some more information which Gemini is going to furnish with aplomb! And then Cancer, as we build a home for whatever we are doing, be it a physical building space or a virtual one. And then, only then, are we going to tap into that Leo energy, playfully creating and taking things on to the next level.

Of course, it won’t stop here, the point of looking at this process is to realize that everything is moving in this fashion and we are better off incarnating each sign in the cyclical process than trying to cut corners and play snakes and ladders with the Zodiac. For sure, when we do, we find the snakes, and we will slip back to where we were, for what is not done in order, is quite simply undone.

A second aspect is something I am also more keenly aware of, that is touched upon in the new header image for our Circle, posted above. On the left, a massive oak, on the right, the Cosmos. And in between, somewhere in between, there we are, living in this material 3-D existence.

As above so below, or as the Hermeticist put it: Quod est inferius est sicut quod est superius. Et quod est superius est sicut quod est inferius, ad perpetranda miracula rei unius. {What is below is similar to that which is above. That which is above is similar to that which is below, so accomplishing the miracle of unity}.

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Our miracle is to take part in this unity, and this means bridging the gap between Earth and Cosmos. One step at a time, one day at a time. And this means that our Astrology is not just rooted in the Heavens, but rooted on Earth as well. Some call it Shamanic Astrology, but in reality, all astrology is linked to the physical process of standing out of doors, at night, and being able to navigate in the celestial, as much as we know our way through the forest, over the river, and find our way to our cozy back door.

A simple practice in this navigation is to look at a chart, each day, and note the position of the Sun, and the position of the Moon. Then, when you go out, you can identify that degree — I look out of my window and I know that as I write this — the Sun indicates to me the precise degree of 28 of Aquarius. We need neither telescopes nor any complicated excuses. Check the chart. Check the sky. It turns out that today Black Moon Lilith is at 29° of Aquarius, so she is conjunct the Sun, and therefore in the same angle. I look at the Sun, I look at Lilith. The two are together for this part of the journey. If we now look in the celestial space between Sun and Moon, we have Uranus in the last degrees of Aries, and Mars in the first degrees of Taurus. Again, it is easy to look up and get the feeling for where they will be. As dusk falls I may see Mars. Certainly, I will know where to look.

As the dusk falls I will also see the Moon, and she has, as I write now moved into Leo. In a couple of days, she will be on my own Natal Sun. Another part of the divine journey thus marked out for me. I can feel the energy building, the Divine marriage of Sun and Moon between Heavens and my own Chart. I appropriate the experience, it is my own personal journey too! The Moon is conjunct her North Node, at 26° of Cancer, so when I look at the Moon I will also be looking directly at the North Node too. And again, no telescopes or fancy instruments.

Armed with the simplest of phone apps or a link to Planetwatcher, we can deepen the manner we navigate the skies, and in this way grow daily more in phase and harmony with the Divine Timing. Mars will not leap into Leo! In a few days, the Moon will be full. I will look back over the past two weeks and feel inside what has grown since the Dark Moon, 14 days ago. It is a process of being “in time”. Which is to say living minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day. This is the wisdom of the Zodiac and I believe it worth sitting with.


* Photo from the original edition of the Emerald Tablet, extracted from De Alchimia, Chrysogonus Polydorus, Nuremberg 1541 Français : Edition originale du texte latin de la Table d’émeraude, traducteur inconnu. Extrait de De Alchimia, Chrysogonus Polydorus, Nuremberg 1541

Nettles & Docs

Urtica dioica is the most common species of Nettle found in Europe, commonly referred to as the stinging nettle.

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Its green leaves with their deeply serrated edges are found in meadows, pastures and of course near composts. Nettles always indicate a rich source of nutrients so one may rejoice when finding them on your land. They propagate by an underground root network and are rapid in growth and voracious, easily swamping more fragile species.

Many plants contain toxins in order to save them from predators. In the case of the Nettle, the sting is delivered by tiny hairs on the stems and the undersides of their leaves which embed themselves into our skin. As they break off they release a mixture of formic acid, histamines and other chemicals which cause a stinging sensation.

Most of us know that where nettles grow, so too does the trusty Doc. Leaves of the broadleaved Doc of the genus Rumex, characterized by their large oval leaves with rounded tips, contain an antidote to the Nettle sting. Whilst theories abound to explain why dock leaves appear to help nettle stings, the sap in dock leaves apparently contains an anti-histamine this can soothe the stinging sensation. Look again at the photo — there amongst the Nettles, you can see the Docs flourishing.


Those of us who have come to know Chiron the Centaur, also know that the wound is the medicine.

Life offers us our wounds in order to heal. You could say, well, why not just be well? I believe that we each come here with karmic wounds and one part of our deeper purpose is to heal those wounds. It can indeed be difficult to understand. But when the why me? is gradually replaced with the feeling of having mastered our challenges one by one, not only can we begin to feel a sense of deep inner peace, we can like Chiron, begin to help others on their Healing path.

As I stood in the forest this morning, I could see that beside every clump of Nettles grew another clump of Docs.  I could feel how this forest floor was composed in such a delicate way. Beside every potentially wounding leaf was neatly placed its remedy. Many of us will remember our first Nettle sting, and many of us will remember a parent or a brother or a sister shouting out to look for the nearest Doc. Nettles & Docs offer us a symbol of this universe in which cures are at hand. We simply have to be observant, and this degree of observation is a form of mindfulness.


Choosing our world


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Photo of Lake Shuswap in BC, Canada, close to which
runs the proposed Kinder Morgan Pipeline.
Credits, Wikimedia Commons

“The controversial expansion of a pipeline that would carry tar sands crude from Alberta to British Columbia’s coast will be doomed by the rising power of Indigenous land rights. That’s the message that Kanahus Manuel, an Indigenous activist from the Secwepemc Nation in central BC, plans to deliver to banks financing the project as she travels through Europe […]”, reported the Guardian Newspaper in October of 2017.

This is wonderful news and a powerful message.

Many of us now fully understand that humans have to live with the earth and not “off” the earth. When human populations were nomadic, the taking of natural resources was possible without inflicting lasting damage to environments. At the same time, the wisdom of the Seven Generations practised by the First Nations, ensured that the land would remain in the condition that they found it. And for reason! The land is sacred to the First Nations and their spiritual home, not a ressource for exploitation and gain. As ever, the watch word is balance.

At this time, Pluto transits Capicorn, Uranus is about to enter Taurus. Capricorn is Cardinal Earth. Taurus is Fixed Earth. The combined effect of these two awesomely powerful planets in earth signs should give us a hint. Whilst I am not clairvoyant, it only takes a second to recall the school chemisty class where acid is added to a buffer. You can put in so much acid and the pH remains almost constant until you reach a tipping point… The atmosphere is a buffer. The oceans are a buffer. The icepack is a buffer. How far we have to push these enormous reserves before we reach a tipping point is anybody’s guess.

As the US Presidency is curently seeking to open the Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante public lands in Utah, allow drilling off the Alaskan coast, as well as opening public lands in Alaska.

The First Nations will be in the forefront of a battle to save these lands from exploitation. The First Nations will be in the forefront of a battle to slow this endless pillage of the Earth. Things will change. I think we have not fully realised that the corporations are like automata, that simply register profit or loss to shareholders. Whilst I do not believe that they are inherently wicked., I do believe that they are fullfilling a ravenous thirst and hunger for natural resources and that they have lost control.

We have to support the First Nations and specifically in the US, the Public Lands. One way of doing this is through mindfulness and through offering healing at distance. It means becoming more and more aware of our use of ressouces. Of reducing our own footprints. Of voting each week and each month with oganisations like SumOfUs and Change.org and Avaaz, who are in the vanguard to save rain forests, insects, whales, lands and coastlines… We have to reflect deeply on what is happening, and what we are allowing to happen in our names.

If you visit the Assembly of First Nations website, you will read the following:

A Declaration of First Nations

• We the Original Peoples of this land know the Creator put us here.

• The Creator gave us laws that govern all our relationships
to live in harmony with nature and mankind.

• The Laws of the Creator defined our rights and responsibilities.

• The Creator gave us our spiritual beliefs, our languages, our culture,
and a place on Mother Earth which provided us with all our needs.

• We have maintained our Freedom, our Languages, and our Traditions
from time immemorial.

• We continue to exercise the rights and fulfill the responsibilities and obligations given to us by the Creator for the land upon which we were placed.

• The Creator has given us the right to govern ourselves and the right
to self-determination.

• The rights and responsibilities given to us by the Creator cannot be altered
or taken away by any other Nation.

The beauty and simplicity of this text give me a feeling of hope. For me, these words incarnate the essence of the word “civilisation”.

Sat Nam.