Monday, April 08, 2024

DID HADES REALLY ABDUCT PERSEPHONE?

Easter is not long gone, when Christians celebrate the great myth of the Resurrection. I call it 'great' because it is central to what used to be the defining myth of our culture. Since then, as Yeats put it in The Second Coming, "Things fall apart/The Centre cannot hold/Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world." Maybe so, but we are free openly to practise astrology as a result. No more proscription for summoning up demons, merely the puny derision of science to tolerate.


The Christian myth speaks to us whether we like it or not. With our rational minds we may sincerely claim it has nothing to do with us. But that is not how your unconscious sees it. The old myths are very much alive. It is a powerful story: this guy is tortured to death, he descends to hell, where he opens its gates, so that salvation is now possible for all. Then he returns to his Father in Heaven. The Spirit of God is now present in the world, and it is enough to have faith in that to be saved.

Something like that. I think it is better as an astrologer to acknowledge the power of that story, and keep it over there in some compartment of your psyche, than pretend to yourself it has no power for you. Otherwise you will be screaming for a priest on your deathbed! As astrologers, we are very open to myths, because what is our calling, but the telling of sky stories? The Christian myth is a strange one, but are our beliefs any less strange?


What I want to do here is to relativise the Christian myth of the Resurrection by simply pointing out that it is a repeating story, and we astrologers have our own one in the abduction by Hades of Persephone, who goes to the Underworld a girl, and emerges a woman, but afterwards always with one foot in that world. That story is older than the Christian myth. Earlier than that, from Mesopotamian times, is the story of the descent of the goddess Inanna into the Underworld. She is killed by her sister, and left as a lump of meat on a hook. Eventually she emerges, renewed.

Persephone's abduction, descent and renewal is a story we regularly invoke as astrologers to describe the difficult process - the difficult initiation - of a Pluto transit. What we have over the Christians is that we do not see it as a unique event in history. The Christian faith, as far as I understand it, is dependent on their Resurrection being THE Resurrection, a unique and literal event in history. That of course leads to fundamentalism. With 10 different gods calling us, it is hard for astrologers to be fundamentalist, fundamentalism being when you consider there to be only one reality. Reality is neither single nor multiple: it is the Great Mystery. Fundamentalism is a human tendency, and you see it in astrologers when they lean too heavily on tradition.

You could argue that what the Christians have over the astrologers is their literalism, because at least they consider their Resurrection to have been real. We moderns slip too easily into it being 'just' a story, unlike the 'facts' that science comes up with, which is what 'really' happens.

Reality is a complex thing. What is most real for the psyche is not mere historical event, but myth. Did Hades really abduct Persephone? Yes, it is a truth to die for, for it is a truth about how life renews that we live by. Did Christ really have a resurrection? Yes, for the same reason. Was it a historical event? That seems doubtful to me, but that doesn't matter, for as an event it was more real than that, and as myth it is outside of time. It happens every Easter. And every time someone emerges from a Pluto transit.

Maybe my other main point here is that we need to re-learn to see myths as facts. And to treat our modern 'facts' as myths, as stories. We can never know where the universe came from. But the Big Bang is quite a good story for our times.

We live in an extraverted world, in which something either happened or it didn't. You need to experience the psyche, the inner world, as an objective reality - and not the mere 'subjective' to which it is nowadays relegated - to appreciate that the enduring stories are more real, more true, than 'fact'. Such a position is hard-won in a culture where the negative Saturn, which denies inward realities, holds so much sway.

Astrology itself works when we feel the power of the planets. That is when we will say things that resonate, that the other person feels to be true. This, you could say is proof of the truth of that inner, inspirited world. It is more true, more real, than the world of the senses. It is more true to say that Hades abducted Persephone, than it is to say that the universe began with the Big Bang. Or that we are the product of Evolution.
 
 
ISRAEL and the ECLIPSE
The 8th April Total Eclipse will be within 4 degrees of opposing the Israeli Ascendant. Expect significant developments at this time. The rising tensions with Iran are one pointer. Mars had just passed over Israel's Asc, and the Node was about to oppose it, at the time of the October attacks. So it is a sensitive point.
 
NORTHERN IRELAND and the TOTAL ECLIPSE
This is a formative time for Northern Ireland, as Pluto crosses its MC this year and last year. The leader of the DUP, a party key to the fragile stability of NI, has resigned on a rape charge, throwing the province's political future into doubt. This is in the run-up to the total solar eclipse of 8th April, opposite natal Saturn in Libra, the MC ruler. This timing suggests that the event will have significant consequences for the political future of NI.

 
Reminder: you can subscribe for free to me on youtube here doing my 10 minute videos. And if you'd like an astrology reading/update, please get in touch through this email address. I love doing them.
 
TRANSGENDER: A SHAMANIC PERSPECTIVE
Shamanism begins with a remembering that we belong to the natural world. We are part of her, and she takes care of us. We learn to trust her. And for the same reason, we trust the body we are born into, whether it is male or female. It is not the wrong body! This is very basic.

But what happens if you experience the other gender within yourself? Again, TRUST IT! You have an interesting journey to undergo. You are both genders, you are gifted, you bring a perspective to life that others do not have. If your people are civilised, they will look to you. If they are uncivilised, they will taunt you for being different.


You may look just the same as everyone else. Or you may be a man living as a woman, or vice-versa. Many people do not like difference. They want to know what is what, and they fear the unknown. You will need to let their arrows bounce off you, and not take it personally. This is a warrior training that forges character, for few people have the strength to live outside herd approval.

Your dual nature is a gift from Spirit. When you present as the other gender, there is a ceremonial element to it, an archetypal power that passes through you. You may want to do it all the time, or just when the call to do so is there.

Gender is real and distinct for the great majority of people, and it tells them who they are. It is a partial identity, but it is the identity they need to live. To say that gender is just a social construct is to deny a very basic and ancient fact of existence. It is harmful to push this at people. If you grew up on a farm like I did, you will know that a lot of our gender-associated behaviour is biologically, not socially, determined.

Basic as the distinction is between male and female, it is also fluid. In achieving a deeper balance during the course of our lifetimes, we may feel we have become both genders, or neither. This is what Jan Morris, one of the earliest men to have transgender surgery, said in his eighties.

We live in a literalising culture that does not understand Ceremony and Spirit. When people opt for surgery and start to insist they are the other gender and that others must recognise them as such, they are literalising a god or goddess that is working through them; they are trying to become it, and in doing so they turn a gift into a curse. It is a tragedy.

What is also a tragedy is young people joining a bandwagon, thinking that changing gender will solve their problems, and adults colluding in this and offering irreversible chemical and surgical mutilation. The stories of castrated or breastless young people who are now 'detransitioning' are heartbreaking. Their accounts are difficult to listen to. For most of them, the research shows that the real issue is that they are gay, and they need time to realise this.

Identity is not such a big deal. It is ultimately illusory, even though ordinary humanity needs it for psychological well-being. Humans are relational as much as they are autonomous, and who we are is a product of a negotiation with the outside world. This is something we learn in the school playground. You can't insist on how people see you. It is natural and part of their development for a 2 year-old to insist that really they are a princess or a superhero, and adults play along with it. But for an adult male to insist they are 'really' a woman is delusional and infantile. It is fuelled by a medical lie that we can physically change gender. We cannot. There is only ersatz and mutilation. There is money to be made from this lie, doctors know it is a lie, and hopefully there will eventually be an accounting and a reckoning for this malpractice.

If you are at ease with who you are, you do not need to insist on how others see you. Nor do you need to go on marches about it, displaying it in public. You quietly get on with who you are. The sacred is degraded when it is turned into a political campaign.

Many people such as artists will have both genders working through them. Both are needed, to some degree, in order to be creative. They may not feel the need to present as other than the gender they were born into.

There is a natural process whereby we encounter the other gender within during the second half of life: this is Jung's Anima and Animus. Men become better able to listen to themselves and to others, listen with their feelings; and women become better able to know what they want, and not feel so obliged to please others and to take care of them. It's a fruitful area in astrology readings. Women and Mars, men and Venus. It's a later life soul journey for both sexes.

So here's to masculine women and feminine men, and the riches they bring. My perspective is indebted to the Native American Two-Spirit tradition, which is worth looking up on Youtube.

Monday, March 25, 2024

THE AI APOCALYPSE, THE MEANING OF LIFE and WINGING IT

 I've been continuing to make 10 minute video blogs on astrology. I suggest you subscribe (for free) on youtube, and you will be notified when I publish a new one. For now, I'll just keep this blog for my written pieces.


THE AI APOCALYPSE: WHERE ARE WE NOW?
ChatGPT was launched on 30 Nov 22, as Pluto first entered Aquarius. Bard was launched on a New Moon in Aries, 21 March 23. Gemini, the re-naming of Google's Bard, was launched on 6 Dec 23. So there we have a bunch of astrological signatures for the LLM (Large Language Model) phenomenon.

There are 2 that I want to highlight:

(1) Pluto entering Aquarius. People were both stunned and spooked. These bots gave instant coherent essays in response to questions. But they were eerily human; they were a step in the direction of the Holy Grail of AI, AGI (Artificial General Intelligence). The robot-takeover archetype was instantly constellated after years of sci-fi films on this theme. Remember Hal? Calls to legislate were widespread, there were hearings in government, and the apocalypse - never far away in one form or another - was widely predicted.

(2) ChatGPT and Gemini were both launched under Sun in Sagittarius. And Google re-named its LLM after a Zodiac sign: we have to pay attention to that, just as we do when astronomers name a planet after a Greek - or Inuit - deity. What we have is the Gemini-Sagittarius axis: on the one hand, information, and on the other, truth and meaning.

Elon Musk, in promoting his own LLM Grok, said that if ChatGPT or Gemini had been around 450 years ago, when Galileo was presenting evidence that the Earth went around the Sun, these LLMs would have said that the Sun went around the Earth. This is because they do not give truth (Sagittarius). They give the conventional opinion (Gemini). Musk's aspiration for Grok is that it should present truth. He has said: "the danger of training AI to be woke – in other words, lie – is deadly".

GALILEO

Whatever you think of Musk, he has highlighted the Gemini-Sagittarius axis of LLMs. The challenge is to present truth, not conventional opinon, which is also often politicised - as it was in the time of Galileo, and as it is now around so many subjects, such as climate and gender.

As for the AI apocalypse, that has faded from the news. As has the climate apocalypse: COP28 barely made the front page. Maybe this reflects the shift from Pluto in Capricorn to Aquarius. Pluto is how we survive. Capricorn is cautious. Aquarius is more daring, and has faith in human inventiveness.
 
THE SEVENTH HOUSE
The function of the 7th House is to show us the parts of the psyche that need claiming, that we tend to unconsciously project onto others. The purpose of a transit to the Descendant is fundamentally that of integration. If a significant relationship begins or ends at this time, it is a mirror for the inner work.
 
NARCISSUS

 
CARPE VITAM NOVAM
Major transits from Pluto or Neptune can thoroughly discombobulate us. They can take away people, careers, homes, health, our very sense of who we are. But they also clear the ground for a new self to emerge, the next stage in that mysterious tapestry that is our life, the pattern of which was laid out at birth, and which a good astrologer can divine from the chart.


You may be floundering, but destiny is also calling. There will be certain points during this night-sea journey when it is time for you to make decisions about who it is you are going to be, and what it is you are going to do. You may not think it is possible, that you've always been a certain kind of person, and who you would like to be is too much of a leap, too much of an ideal. But no. The new life is somewhere in the destruction, in the shambles of the old: the way has been cleared for the new life whose time has come.

It is that new life in which you need to have faith. It gives you the power to make the decision about who you are going to be. Seize it, do it, become it, it is what you are here to do.
 
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Pluto abducts, dismembers and renews; Neptune maddens, drowns and re-ensouls.
 
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ASTROLOGY and THE MEANING OF LIFE
What are we here to do? To achieve something? Or to live in balance? A linear model sees life as a progress from higher to ever higher peaks. That, perhaps, is how Aries sees the world. It is new-born, it is naive, and it is fresh. By the time we get round to world-weary Pisces, we are holding our head in our hands, declaring, "All is vanity."

It is Pisces that has the wisdom. Aries energy is vital, or nothing new would ever come into being. But it is Pisces that provides the context. Pisces that knows that life is not a series of glorious achievements, but a circling round the mess that we always were. And being at peace with that. Pisces at its best is looking up at the stars, but from its home in the gutter.

We live among collective pressures to do this, to think that, to dress like this. And who are we amidst all that? For example, the pressures to think in particular ways around gender, climate and race are very strong at the moment, and who can resist that? The way to resist it is by looking at your Mercury, which shows how you think. And find the balance point, which is the opposite sign. Pairs of signs are complete in themselves, they are axes of wholeness.

If you have Mercury in Cancer, you will tend to think in ways that promote your sense of belonging. Which is constructive up to a point. But you can see where you can be compromised: think like this, or you will not belong. The balancing point is Capricorn, whose priority is not belonging but responsibility for the community. He does not let personal needs cloud his judgement. He sets practical boundaries. "Of course there is such a thing as a woman," he will say, "and of course we need to weigh all the climate evidence and not push it all into one narrative."

The chart teaches us that life is a process of continually finding balance, with all the planets. Life is not about going anywhere or achieving anything. On our deathbeds, it is who we are that matters, and this connects us to other people. At your funeral, the eulogy won't be about the car you had or the big house you owned. It will be personal.


Astrology has its roots thousands of years back when we were indigenous. When we knew we belonged to the earth and to the universe, and life was a matter of living in balance with that. Life is a series of cycles, and astrology understands this. By perceiving our individual destiny in the sky, it also understands that we are each intimately connected to the universe.

In this way, astrology brings us back to our indigenous souls. And it holds a defiant two fingers to modern rationality. There is nothing that is rational about astrology at its heart, and yet it speaks so deeply to us.

So you can put down your burden of achievement, and put down your burden of being a 'good' person. As the poet Mary Oliver says:

"You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees 100 miles across the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."

That is the indigenous soul for you. "Let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."

The Native Americans describe this need to find balance using the system of the Medicine Wheel, in which you balance the same 4 elements of Fire, Earth, Air and Water that you find in astrology. Balance is a universal.

There IS demand on us. But it comes from within. Life is not about bearing your cross, as Christianity would have it. Yes, we need to learn to bear life's difficulties, and that changes us. But that is within a bigger context of rising to the callings within. We are not here primarily to suffer. We are here to unfold the tapestry that was written in the sky at the moment of our birth. The push to unfold that can be very strong, and it can make us ill if we try to ignore it.

I can feel that the main purpose of an astrology reading is to help people own what it is they love, and run with it, despite their inevitable self-doubts.
 
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I wrote the piece below a couple of days before the Princess of Wales revealed her cancer diagnosis. The post was on Facebook (the Divinatory astrology group, which I admin) and I thought maybe I should take it down. Some people thought I should, others didn't. So I left it up. But we all wish her well. And I feel the point I make here needs making. NB There are different charts, an hour apart, for her. But the difference is not huge.

WILLIAM AND KATE'S MARRIAGE 
 

The rumours you see on the front of the Celeb mags about the marriage of the Prince and Princess of Wales have substance. Uranus is currently conjoining his Venus, while Neptune squares his Descendant. 
 

Meanwhile Pluto is entering the sign of her Venus/Descendant at 7/9 Aquarius. Expect this to take a few years to work its way out. Neptune is due to square William's New Moon in Cancer in the coming 4 years, as Pluto becomes exact in Kate's chart, and we may see both his accession to the throne and the end of his marriage in that period.


William's chart, unlike Kate's, seems quite soulful to me, with his Neptune Rising and Cancerian nature. Who is William already drawn to that addresses that need? Kate's chart is harder - Sun in Capricorn, and Saturn hard-aspecting her Sun, Moon and MC. It doesn't get more ambitious than that. (This is not a criticism, just a description.) She would never sacrifice her position to desire. William, on the other hand, does not have that to lose.

They were both very young when they got together. This may be a natural mid-life process as their different natures gradually reveal themselves. But it will be a field-day for the public.
 
 
HEALTH CHECKS and THE OUTER PLANETS
King Charles and Princess Kate both have Leo Rising, meaning (as in most cases) that Pluto is currently changing signs in their 6th House of Health. Cancer was caught at an early stage in each case, because Pluto was only just starting. So it might be worth getting a check-up if you have this happening in your 6th. Same in 2025 if you have Libra Rising: chances are that Neptune will be changing signs in your 6th. Or Sagittarius Rising: Uranus will be changing signs in your 6th. It could also mean a rejuvenation in your health! Or it might have nothing to do with your health๐Ÿ˜ผ
 
 
FROM CAPRICORN TO AQUARIUS
I've spoken to 3 musicians in recent weeks - 2 singers and one violinist - all of whom felt they needed to start going beyond the rules and 'improvising': that can feel superficial compared to the depth and solidity of tradition, but it's actually where the real depth lies, because it's coming from you. It's the transition from Capricorn to Aquarius. It applies to anything, astrology included. Learn the rules, live them, then wing it. That's what I've been doing for years. People feel it, it feels authentic to them, it has a special something, and that is because it's coming from you.

MILES DAVIS

It is a major and crucial transition, that we may only do gradually, and it can happen at any age. There is usually an intiatory fire of self-doubt to go through. You just have to do it anyway. Confidence and ease has to be earned. That is Saturn speaking, from his rulership of both Capricorn and Aquarius.

There is usually a major transit associated with it, because you are claiming something new in yourself, that is more uniquely your own than anything you have lived before. But it needs to be recognised and claimed. You may need to be brought to a point of desperation before you will do it, because nothing else works anymore. You are being initiated into a new level of your being. But when you throw caution to the winds and stop worrying how it will look to other people, there is joy to be found, there is your soul to own. This is the gift of Aquarius' co-ruler, Uranus the outsider.

Wednesday, March 13, 2024

MERE ANARCHY IS LOOSED UPON THE WORLD

Astrology provides a compelling myth for how the universe works, that is far older than the Christian story. We feel it in our bones, we cannot resist it. That is what a Creation Myth should feel like. None of this wondering whether the Bible is true or not. Of course, we doubt if astrology is literally true, as we should. But we live in an age where the only truth is literal truth, so that makes us doubt astrology itself. Never doubt that visceral feeling that your story is writ in the sky.


The culture at large has had, since the death of God, no unifying myth. The scientific story is not myth, it is mere fact without the power to take us outside ourselves. As the poets Yeats said in The Second Coming: "Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold. Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world."

Astrology has a hold upon the population at large that Christianity does not, that the best efforts of the scientific establishment cannot undo. The non-rational always holds the power. That is why "a man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still." It goes both ways!

And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, slouches towards Bethlehem to be born

Yeats continues, "the best lack all conviction, and the worst are full of passionate intensity." We see things falling apart in the rise of relativism and its injunction that there are no absolute truths - it has a point - but goes to extremes in eg the dismantling of gender, about which the worst are full of passionate intensity, denouncing those who do not agree. (The research shows such people to be low on verbal intelligence.)

I want to say that astrology does provide an absolute truth. Our stories ARE written in the sky. Maybe the only absolute truths are mythological? They are absolute because you feel them in your bones, you would die for them.

The lack of a unifying religious myth is, IMO, the central problem of our culture. It is worth recognising that, if you are an astrologer, you do have one, a very ancient and primal one: the idea that your destiny was written into the universe at the moment of your birth. Jung, a somewhat secret astrologer, said the same kind of thing.

Astrology is not an 'add-on' to other modalities, as I have seen it put: it is the thing itself. We have a faith that is deep and ancient, and which is harder than many to get dogmatic about; but people still do in their slavish adherence to 'tradition', as if it is not something that has to be continually re-invented to stay alive.
                                         
PLUTO and the ANIMAL
Pluto is the instinctual, the animal. Aquarius is the human. Humans like to think they are above the animal. Airy Aquarius could write whole books, and create whole theologies, in defence of human superiority.

When Pluto enters Aquarius, there is a reckoning. If the animal has been relegated, his response will be savage. Think the French Revolution, when Pluto was last in this sign, and what Christianity had previously done to the animal. Think about Evolution, with humans implicitly at the top of the chain of being, where God used to be. Think - perhaps - the horrors of transgender surgery on young people as the savage animal response.

Let us welcome the animal. In the words of Mary Oliver's poem Wild Geese: "You do not have to be good.... you only have to let the soft animal of your body love what it loves."
 
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The Sun tells us who we are, it speaks of the fire in us and its purpose. That is why sunshine is good for you ๐Ÿฆ
                                
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URANUS and JOE BIDEN'S MENTAL CAPACITY
Joe Biden's mental capacity was questioned in a recent report. This is not a good sign for him, in a year in which Uranus will be opposing both his Sun and Mercury. Expect this issue to develop. With Sun and Mercury hidden in both the 12th and in Scorpio, the issue is probably already a lot worse than we know.
 

AN OFFER YOU CANNOT REFUSE ๐Ÿ˜Ž Buy either of my books on Amazon - pictured below - leave a genuine rating, and I will give you a FREE astrology reading. The books are very readable, and I defy you not to be seriously tempted once you have read some of the reviews. I blogged for 15 years before I wrote them, and I think I know in my bones what I write about. There, I'm boasting now ๐Ÿคฃ If you're not a great reader, I have also created a video course for Watkins Books on The Medicine Wheel, which you can find here

Friday, March 01, 2024

KNOW THYSELF and THE LATEST VIDEOS

 KNOW THYSELF

Who we are is a mystery. Self-knowledge lies not in accruing explanations for who we are, but in knowing our callings: doing that which we have to do. The astrological chart shows us the gods, the daemons knocking at our door: that is what the planets really are. Childhood explanations for who we are tend to take us away from the mystery and its creative power.
 

"The soul... hath had elsewhere its setting, and cometh from afar." (
Wordsworth)
 
From The Journey by Mary Oliver
"One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice—
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do...
 
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My main output continues to be short videos, but I will be giving you the youtube rather than the tiktok links from now on, as they were problematic for some of you. I am having fun making them; there is something I can express through speech that I cannot through writing. Maybe it is the electricity of my Mercury in Aquarius opposite Uranus! Here goes:

 
 
 
 

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

VIDEOS

Mars conjoins Pluto on Wednesday, and the world holds it breath as Israel prepares its potentially terrible purge of Rafah.

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There is too much correlation between the movements of the planets and human affairs to say that the planets do not cause events; but not enough correlation to state definitively that they do. As astrologers we dance along the diaphanous pathway between this world and the other, avoiding the temptations of ungrounded mysticism on the one hand, and reductionist material explanations on the other.

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The series of Pluto transits I lived through in the 90s was my real qualification to be an astrologer. It wasn't any courses I had been on, or books I had read, but the hard-won Plutonian knowledge of the soul and it's transformations.

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I have started making videos for Tiktok, maximum 10 mins each. Here are the tiktok links to the show so far ๐Ÿ˜Š Blogger said they were too big to upload directly

MARS-VENUS-PLUTO IN AQUARIUS

Pluto in Aquarius 

WILD GEESE  (Me reciting a Mary Oliver Poem)

THE ASTROLOGY OF CREATION