Sunday, March 12, 2023

PLUTO MATTERS

 COVID and SATURN-PLUTO

On 23rd March, Pluto will move into Aquarius. A major event for the collective. A new age slowly dawning, especially with Neptune also changing sign in two years. About time too. Covid was a rubbish time for so many people, occurring under the Saturn-Pluto conjunction of 2020, and therefore an event of great significance, whose implications will be with us for years. When Saturn and Pluto team up, Pluto’s darkness, often ultimately restorative, is given a channel into the world. The loss of education for many children, that will impact on their futures. The economic hardship. The enforced isolation.


 

But why should this type of school education matter so much? And many people in the so-called 3rd world would die for what we call hardship. Maybe, in an extraverted culture, we have learnt to be with ourselves and question ourselves more. There is depth to Pluto’s darkness. But it is also usually painful.

The Saturn-Pluto conjunction occurred in Capricorn, the sign of government. The governmental response to Covid was almost universally totalitarian. Very Saturn-Pluto. I have heard the US government’s response to Covid traced back to the totalitarian response to 9/11. Very interesting, because 9/11 occurred during the preceding Saturn-Pluto opposition. In both cases, it was governments acting scared, over-reacting like a spooked herd of horses. I don’t think we need read darker motives than that into the governmental responses, even though they make for a conspiracist’s dream. Nonetheless, totalitarian responses are a bad habit for governments to get into.


 

In the case of 9/11, there was not a single terrorist attack on the US mainland after that event. And Covid turned out to be much less of a threat than was initially feared. Like I said, over-reactions by government. But that is what herds of prey animals do. And that is what we are, as human collectives. Pluto is a collective planet, and he can show us our collective nature.

PLUTO IN AQUARIUS, COVID and GENETIC ENGINEERING

Pluto, however, is moving into Aquarius, and that is what I want to talk about, having already written two blogs on the subject (Jan 24th and Feb 5th). But I had a reason for talking about Covid first. This is because Aquarius is a sign of human inventiveness, of new technology, for better or for worse. So I have been on the lookout for hints of those technological advances in the run-up to the Pluto Ingress. That was the idea behind this piece.

THE WUHAN LABORATORY

 

It has recently come out that Covid in all likelihood did indeed escape from a Chinese lab. It was the product of genetic engineering, and caused a worldwide pandemic. What better example of Pluto in Aquarius could you get? Of course, it happened some years before Pluto in Aquarius, but the conclusion that it was human-made is only now starting to be drawn more conclusively. Great advances can come from genetic engineering, it is a very powerful technology. As well as disasters. These are the 2 sides of Pluto, its destructive as well as its creative power, in the realm of technological inventions (Aquarius). Technology itself I prefer to think of as Virgo, but the initial genius behind it is Aquarian.

There was always suspicion Covid had come from a lab, some people because they wanted it to be true, others because there was a plausible scientific possibility. Trump continued to call it the Chinese virus: he wasn’t just being childish, he had a point. As ever with Geminis, sometimes what look like lies turn out to be truths. Trickster Mercury.

The Chinese were engaged in ‘gain of function’ research with a virus, speeding up, through genetic engineering, the process of it becoming highly infectious and transmissible in humans. This was one of the giveaways, because this new virus became so infectious so quickly. Proper safeguards were not in place. Scientist Matt Ridley lays all this out in proper detail in his interview with Jordan Peterson, which you can find on youtube.


 

It was cock-up that caused the pandemic, and herd panic was the response. So much can be explained in these kinds of ways. I think it is psychologically more sound to do so, firstly because there is a lot of truth in that way of explaining things; and secondly, because once you start attributing dark motives to unnamed individuals, you are usually giving them powers they do not have, and projecting your own malignity and agency (Mars) onto them. Saturn-Pluto and the pandemic was a notable time for this kind of shadow projection, as might be expected. Same with 9/11, another Saturn-Pluto era, and the idea that it was a US government set-up.

So we might expect genetic engineering to make considerable advances in the coming years, for better and perhaps for worse, because it has been flagged up as Pluto advances towards Aquarius.

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I offer astrology readings on a donation basis. Contact BWGoddard1@aol.co.uk. My offer also remains open indefinitely, that if you buy and rate at Amazon my astrology book Surfing the Galactic Highways, I will give you a free reading. The same deal goes for my book The Medicine Wheel.

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NUCLEAR FUSION

Nuclear fusion is the Holy Grail of energy research. It had been 30 years away for decades. Until now. In a recent youtube interview with Lex Fridman, research physicist Dennis Whyte claimed that, due to recent advances, the first working fusion reactor is only about 4 years away.


 

Energy produced from nuclear fission – the splitting of heavy atoms – is currently the only realistic alternative to fossil fuels, for the intensity and reliability of energy needed for our major cities: major cities is where humanity is mostly headed. Those ongoing giant cultural melting pots. But many people have been unnecessarily spooked by nuclear energy since the end of the Cold War, when the fear of nuclear war faded, and the fear passed over to the peaceful use of nuclear energy. This was as Pluto moved towards the nuclear axis at 2-10 Gemini-Sagittarius.

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This axis, which has proved sensitive to transits, is based on the first controlled use of nuclear energy, in Chicago in 1942. The Uranus (splitting) -Saturn (matter) conjunction is very descriptive. The axis will next be activated in 3 years time, when Uranus in Gemini begins to cross the nuclear axis, and Pluto in Aquarius begins to trine/sextile it. It will also be the first Uranus Return of the nuclear chart, and this is highly significant, maybe suggesting a completion of the cycle of nuclear energy as fission (Uranus), as it moves on to fusion. But also, perhaps, a re-acceptance of fission energy for the meantime, on a needs-must basis, if we are to gradually wean ourselves off oil. The chart for the 1st Oil Strike in 1869 is having its 1st Neptune (oil) Return in the next 2 years, suggestive of this gradual shift – from oil, to fission, to fusion.

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Controlled Fusion needs its own chart, but we have yet to achieve it, so a chart will have to wait. But we do have a chart for the first uncontrolled reaction – ie the first H-Bomb – in 1952. That will have to do the job for now. And it does it very well, in that it has a Saturn-Neptune conjunction: the fusion (Neptune) of matter (Saturn). This is quite remarkable, given that the fission chart has an equally descriptive, parallel signature of Saturn-Uranus. Neptune will begin to oppose this fusion signature in 11 years time, as Saturn squares it.  It too, has its own axis, for the Moon opposes Saturn-Neptune, so we have a tighter axis of 20-23 Aries-Libra.

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Just as remarkable is Pluto on the Midheaven in Leo: the power (Pluto) of Leo’s ruler (the Sun). It is fusion that powers the Sun and all other stars. Astrology can be eerily descriptive sometimes. The Sun itself is hidden by Sign and House, in 12th House Scorpio, showing perhaps the difficulty we have had in creating a technology to harness this energy, as well as its hidden power (Scorpio). But Pluto is coming up to square the Fusion Sun, and then he will hard aspect the Angles in 15 years time – as Neptune finishes with the Fusion Axis.

Putting all this together, something will be happening in just a few years as Uranus and Pluto activate the Nuclear Axis of the basic nuclear chart, and this is in line with the claim of some kind of working fusion reactor in 4 years time. But it will take another 10 years or so after that for the technology to reach some kind of initial maturity.

What has happened is that the Americans, spinning off from ITER, the giant international experimental fusion reactor, have used a new superconducting material that enables the prolonged sustaining of the magnetic field that contains the plasma of hydrogen nuclei, without using vast amounts of energy. This plasma, heated to tens of millions of degrees, hotter than the sun, causes a fusion reaction. And vast amounts of energy are released, with no radioactive waste, and no possibility of an explosion. Expect the news to get exciting in 2 years time, when Uranus first enters Gemini, and Pluto settles into Aquarius.

In another method of catalysing fusion, in which lasers are fired at pellets containing fusion fuel, more energy was released than was put in. This is a first, and was reported in December 2022.

This technology promises to transform humanity in the long-term.

QUANTUM COMPUTING/ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

A step forward in quantum computing was also recently announced. Data was reliably transferred from one quantum chip to another. This is another first, and holds the eventual promise of computational power of an entirely different order to what we have currently.


 

This raises the wider question of machine intelligence, a very Aquarian theme. Already, computers are producing useful answers to problems where, due to the complexity of the calculations undertaken, the operators/programmers do not understand how the computer has reached its conclusions. There is now a branch of computing dedicated to trying to understand what the computers are doing. This problem can only get harder as ever more sophisticated and demanding programmes are used. Already the machines are irreversibly more intelligent than us in certain ways: Pluto in Aquarius can only empower this trend.

A fortiori quantum computing. I don’t pretend to understand how it works. But there is already, to my mind, something a bit spooky about the ability of conventional computers to be beyond our understanding. Throw in not just the exponentially increased power of quantum computers, but the fact that they operate on the quantum level, a universe that is hard to understand rationally, if at all: the spookiness to come may be of a different order.

Another advance has been ChatGPT, which I covered in my February blog. It was released in the autumn, and had an electrifying effect due to the human-like way it was able to create essay responses to questions.

So these are 4 technological Pluto in Aquarius themes that I have noted activity around in the run-up to the Ingress: Genetic Engineering; Nuclear Fusion, and Quantum Computing/AI.

The dark side that we have seen already is a pandemic created in all probability by genetic engineering in a lab. This is an event of huge significance, but uncertainty over the scientific conclusions, lack of co-operation by the Chinese, and political considerations have kept the issue muted.

Thursday, March 09, 2023

Q&A in Oxford

This is a video of a Q&A I did last Sunday with the Oxford Astrology group. Thanks to Christina Rodenbeck for hosting. 


It was by way of launching my book Surfing the Galactic Highways: the offer remains open, that if you purchase it from Amazon and leave a rating, I will give you a free astrology or tarot reading.



Sunday, February 05, 2023

The New Dream of Pluto in Aquarius

In March 2023, Pluto will enter Aquarius. When a slow-moving outer planet enters a new sign, it signals a shift in the collective. Pluto will spend 18 months going in and out of the sign before he enters for the duration. In the following year, 2025, Neptune will enter Aries and Uranus will enter Gemini. So there is a big shift in the collective coming up in the next few years. These currents can take a while to be observable, since they are underlying. But maybe not so this time, because Saturn, the planet that makes things happen, will be conjoining Neptune as he enters Aries (while aspecting both Pluto and Uranus.)

So that is the wider planetary context for Pluto’s Ingress into Aquarius. It can’t really be treated in isolation, though I will be picking out some trends that belong particularly to Pluto.

Pluto is Lord of the Underworld. He is also a god of riches: psychologically, the riches we find under a Pluto transit when we allow ourselves to be taken apart in his realm. The outer world is not so subtle. The element of choice does not seem to be there so much with collectives. It is more like astrology as fate. Though what will actually happen, the events themselves, are nearly impossible to predict. But we can get a sense of the shapes coming our way.

Pluto as god of riches describes the state of the economy. When he entered Capricorn in early 2008, there was a big stock-market fall, prefiguring the upcoming financial crisis, within a few days of his Ingress into the sign. Who says astrology doesn’t work? It doesn’t, however, work scientifically: each event is individual. The gods grant us a bit of their magic, and then slip away if we try to turn it into a repeatable test.

The chart for Pluto’s Ingress into Capricorn, set for what could be described as the capital of the world economy, New York, is powerful: Pluto and Venus conjunct the IC. Angular planets manifest strongly, they are the ones to look for in events charts. And this stellium shows well the crisis and upheaval in the economy that ensued, and the need for a paradigm shift.


Pluto's Ingress into Capricorn 25th Jan 2008

 

Up till 2008, the world had been in a period of free trade, globalisation and excess, described by expansive Pluto in Sagittarius. Under structured and grounded Capricorn, it was time to redress the imbalances: bring in some of the rules that had been cast aside and which led to the crisis; and in the case of America particularly, put up some necessary trade barriers between itself and the world’s other big economy, China. Pluto in Capricorn has also been a time when the new big driver of the world economy, the tech industry based around the internet, has become big business, which is very Capricornian. But also a period in which legislation began to be passed, turning the internet from its initial Sagittarian wild-west culture, into something operating in a regulated way, within the rules of society. But even now, for example, getting these international companies to pay their taxes is still only in its early stages, initiated towards the end of President Trump’s term in office. For all his glaring faults, Trump governed as a fearless businessman, and was the first to dare to take on both China and big tech, moves which the succeeding administration has not reversed. This was described for Trump personally by the transit of Pluto in Cap opposite his natal Venus, which rules his Taurean MC.

So now we have Pluto entering Aquarius. What might this mean economically? Each sign grows out of the preceding one. These signs are different in element and cardinality, and can seem like chalk and cheese. So maybe we tend to overlook their relationship in favour of signs that have more in common. In the present case, Capricorn is the sign that sets the rules of society, that asks us to master its traditions and become a functioning member within it. Aquarius, at its best, has earned the right to re-invent those rules, through spending the years necessary to master them first. Aquarius, in a sense at its worst, is just iconoclastic, without understanding the value of tradition. Even then, however, it usually has a point. The young rebel is this type of Aquarian.

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I offer astrology readings on a donation basis. Contact BWGoddard1@aol.co.uk. My offer also remains open indefinitely, that if you buy and rate at Amazon my astrology book Surfing the Galactic Highways, I will give you a free reading. The same deal goes for my book The Medicine Wheel.

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 America declared Independence from Britain in July 1776, 9 months before Pluto last entered Aquarius. It was ahead of the game. And it was making a transition from monarchy (Capricorn) to democracy based on equality (Aquarius). America’s best kept secret, however, is that it has never put the longing for monarchy to bed: this can be seen in the way that her Presidents and their families are treated as royalty; and the high degree of celebrity status given to members of the British royal family. So in this sense, America made the shift from Capricorn to Aquarius in maybe the only way a collective can: by swinging from one extreme to the other. 250 years later, she is still living with those poles within herself. Maybe this issue will be addressed again in some form or other as Pluto enters Aquarius? Maybe super-celebrity Prince Harry living within her shores gives the US that chance? It is a tension that Harry also carries within himself. Through Megan, his African-American wife, raised through her marriage to the peak of the social hierarchy, Harry also carries America’s uneasy relationship with part of its own shadow. This is as the US completes her first Pluto Return. Pluto is the shadow.

Pluto's Ingress into Aquarius 23rd March 2023

 

The chart for Pluto’s Ingress into Aquarius in March, set for New York and hence for the world economy, does not have planets on Angles, and therefore we probably won’t see immediate dramatic events, as we did when Pluto entered Capricorn.

The North Node, however, is on the Ascendant and conjunct Venus in Taurus, a Venus-ruled sign that is related to the economy. And square to a prominent 10th House Pluto. An obvious interpretation of Pluto in Aquarius is the tech (Aquarius) economy (Pluto.) The tech economy does seem to be the future, particularly as, through Artificial Intelligence, it will come to swallow up many of the traditional industries and professions. The retreat we have seen in tech stocks in recent months may begin to reverse as the end of the current post-covid recession comes into sight, and we again allow ourselves to get optimistic about the future of tech. There may be significant events (North Node) emerging out of the tech world (Pluto in Aquarius) that are of importance for the economy (Venus rising in Taurus). Perhaps ChatGPT has given us advance notice? Pluto is square to Venus, which suggests economic challenge: but it is wide and separating, so it may not be too big a deal.

What is perhaps most noticeable about this chart is the 12th House emphasis containing a New Moon in Aries. This speaks strongly of a new (Aries) collective dream (12th House). This is resonant of the 2025 Ingress of Neptune into Aries, which also speaks of a new collective dream. Neptune last entered Aries in 1861, the day after the American Civil War began: a military (Aries) dream to re-unite the country.

So the New Moon in Aries could also have a military or combative element, trade war with China being the most obvious candidate. As I write, the US has just shot down a Chinese balloon, which flew over its territory.

Pluto itself is the planet we need to look at most in this chart, for obvious reasons. In the 10th House in Aquarius, it speaks strongly of the advancement of AI and big tech. That sets the context, and so the new dream of the chart will be, to a large extent, about that. But it is more like a current that will gradually rise to the surface, than it is about immediate dramatic events. If there is an immediate effect of Pluto’s Ingress, however, it is likely to be the recovery of tech stocks. But that is not financial advice!

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

PLUTO in AQUARIUS and the 2nd AI REVOLUTION

In November 2022, ChatGPT hit the internet, soon after Pluto had gone Direct, on his way to make his first Ingress into Aquarius in March 2023.

ChatGPT became very popular very quickly. I don’t exactly know how to describe it, but if you put in a question about virtually any topic, it will give you a detailed, informative and seemingly thoughtful answer, with good grammar. It could have been written by a human, and indeed pieces authored by GPT have already been cited in research papers: publishers are in the process of banning such citations.


 

It was so popular that at the time of writing it is no longer available, while it is scaled up. It can only get better at what it does.

It is a new level of AI: the empowerment (Pluto) of scientific invention (Aquarius). Aquarius is associated with the future, science, originality and detachment from ordinary humanness, which can cut both ways. So it has a close association with Artificial Intelligence.

The advent of ChatGPT at this time is indicative of one of the themes of the transit of Pluto through Aquarius, which will finally end in 2043. A step advance in AI is something many astrologers had seen coming anyway, it was kind of obvious. And it seems to be being confirmed.

The last time Pluto was in Aquarius was from 1777 to 1798. This was the time of the Industrial Revolution: the first wave of AI, if you like, when we began on a major scale to get machines to do our work for us. Because of computers, machine intelligence is being brought to a whole new level.


 

You could argue that there is nothing special about ChatGPT, that we have been seeing advances in AI for years now, and that I am cherry-picking it to suit the astrology.

My answer is that there is something different about ChatGPT that has caught the public imagination. Its humanness is almost spooky compared to other forms of AI we have encountered. What, to be more specific, is its particular quality? I think what has grabbed us is that ChatGPT has shown signs of Artificial General Intelligence, it seems to be like ourselves, which is the long-term Holy Grail of AI research. This is the particular empowerment that Pluto in Aquarius is bringing. Pluto’s empowerment is not about ‘more’, it is always about new life in some form pushing through.

AI to date has been tailored to particular problems or tasks. This is ‘weak’ or ‘narrow’ AI. The AI that can drive your car cannot do Alexa’s job on Amazon. ChatGPT cannot perform physical tasks: the ability to do what a human can in any practical situation is the true general AI. But ChatGPT can do what a human can do when asked to answer a question, far more fully than probably any human could, and certainly far more quickly.

This, I think, is what is grabbing us. ChatGPT is not just another of the search-engines, which have been surpassing us for a long time now. It is indeed partly search-engine, but it is able to gather information and express it in essay form as well as a human could. It feels like there is a mind at work that is in some ways better than our own.


 

Looked at rationally, there is not a mind at work. It is just electrical signals going through chips and wires. But it is starting to walk like a duck and talk like a duck…… so it is hard not to start feeling that it IS a duck.

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I offer astrology readings on a donation basis. Contact BWGoddard1@aol.co.uk. My offer also remains open indefinitely, that if you buy and rate at Amazon my astrology book Surfing the Galactic Highways, I will give you a free reading.

 Does a computer have consciousness? I would answer, why wouldn’t it? What is consciousness other than the subjective pole of which matter is the objective pole? They cannot be separated. I have an objective pole (my body) and a subjective pole (my awareness), a distinction that is ultimately illusory. A rock too has an inner and outer dimension. If you disagree with that, then I think the onus is on you to show that a rock does not have a subjective pole, consciousness, rather than for me to show it does. It is a natural thing to extend the assumption – more than that, experience - of some kind of awareness out from ourselves to animals and plants and material objects. We are probably the first society in history not to think of and experience the universe as alive, inspirited.

So I would argue that the ChatGPT-computer hardware nexus has consciousness. Its nature will take time to understand. And that consciousness will not be human. So there will be limits to our understanding. Already, with the creation of so-called neural networks, computers are generating solutions to problems in ways that are beyong our ability to understand: there is a branch of research dedicated to this. A fortiori, when quantum computers start to arrive. Not only will they be doing far more computations with far more complexity, but they will be operating according to quantum laws, which are strange and counter-intuitive. It is hard not to imagine some of that strangeness seeping into their computational solutions. Even if we don't attribute consciousness to them, they may still come to seem Other, or trans-human, to us.


 

Intelligence is from the same root as intellect and intellectual. It used to have a spiritual, metaphysical connotation. Even now the word ‘intellectual’ carries the connotation of being cultured in some way. Nowadays, intelligence is often defined more narrowly as the ability to think logically and to find rational solutions.

Certainly AI will advance in intelligence in the narrow, rational sense, and become more generalised. But can it have that wider meaning?

This is the Gemini-Sagittarius axis. Gemini pays attention to facts and information, Sagittarius to their wider meaning. AI can do Gemini, but can it do Sagittarius?

The defining planetary cycle for earthly life used to be Jupiter-Saturn, as the 2 outermost planets. Since the discovery of the outer planets, the Neptune-Pluto cycle has defined the age we live in, which lasts about 400 years. The last conjunction around 1890 was in Gemini, as was the conjunction 400 years before that. It corresponds to the long rise of science, which can be seen as Gemini: at its narrowest, science is facts without meaning, facts as ends in themselves. That is the ongoing metaphysical imbalance which astrology reveals us to be living through in our age.


 

So can AI genuinely move from Gemini to Sagittarius, or just give the appearance of doing so? This is the theme of much sc-fi, from the computer Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey, to the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica. I think ChatGPT is giving us the feeling, despite our rational awareness, that that shift is happening. ChatGPT will improve in leaps and bounds in the coming years.

Aquarius is the sign of humanity at its finest, as well as at its scientific coldest. Pluto in Aquarius, this time round, seems likely to lead to an intense consideration of what it means to be human, in the light of the machine parallels that we are creating.

Sunday, January 08, 2023

SHAMANISM and MY NORTH NODE

The North Node I interpret as the place of greatest potential growth in the chart. It is where life will tend to lead you. I guess it shows us what we are here to learn. It is not generally an easy place, because otherwise we probably wouldn't learn anything.

Mine is in Scorpio. Jupiter is my only personal water planet, and even he, with his generosity and connection to meaning, is edging towards the transpersonal.


So my Node pushes me towards learning about personal emotion (water) through the death and rebirth processes that are basic to the Scorpio paradigm. Pluto is the ruler of Scorpio, and I have natal Sun opposite Pluto. The death and rebirth processes have been activated for me when my Sun-Pluto is transited by outer planets. 

Scorpio, being ruled by a transpersonal planet (Pluto) is a transpersonal sign: you need something bigger and wider going on in your life if you are a Scorpio, that maybe involves helping others go to their dark places, or you will end up frozen, like the Medusa, mired in self-hatred. A similar principle applies to Aquarius and Pisces, ruled by Uranus and Neptune respectively. Aquarians can end up seriously cranky if they are not transmitting their progressive ideas, while Pisceans will tend to self-medicate if they do not create an outlet for their compassion and imagination.

My Scorpio North Node is conjunct Jupiter and Neptune in the 3rd House. So there is a load going on around it that is transpersonal.

Neptune particularly askes me to surrender to the spirit in doing the transformational work with others, and Jupiter adds growth and meaning. Being 3rd House, it can be through my writing, as I am doing right now. When I write, I follow my spirit, I don't plan it out in advance.

But it is also through the Shamanic work that I do.


 

Photo © Jesse Wild

 

When I journey, I am taken over physically (that's me in the photo). I call it Shapeshifting, and it seems to be allied to the way Shamans work in the Far East. It is a lovely place to be. The spirits, or whatever you want to call them, move through me. I surrender to them. I move as they want, I use my voice as they want. It is a deep and nourishing experience, and it may take some hours to arrive fully back in this world.

 I came to this way of working through trance dance: the deep, rhythmic beat that gets into your body and takes you places. In medieval times, they had dancing in churches. It was banned, because it gave people their own connection to the Spirit. The connection between Body and Spirit has been returning in recent times. Nowadays I don’t need music or drumming: the connection is always there, over my shoulder. And it seems to be effective in helping move energies along for other people.

I have been bringing the writing and shapeshifting together over the last 18 months in the fantasy trilogy that I am writing. I am currently on the 3rd volume. It is partly an exploration of Shapeshifting, and partly an attempt to bridge the old cultural divide between Spirit and Reason, God and Lucifer.

As an astrologer, my spirits are in the sky. But they still move through me, just as when I am doing my shamanic work. Which makes them the same kind of thing, a Neptunian thing. Also, Astrology divides the chart into the 4 elements of Fire, Earth, Air and Water, which are more fundamental than the signs. They are used in a very similar way in the Medicine Wheel, which I wrote a book about 2 years ago. So there is the more rational, 3rd House connection between those 2 callings of mine.


The astrology reading offer remains open indefinitely on my Medicine Wheel book and my Astrology book, Surfing the Galactic Highways: buy either of them and leave a genuine rating on Amazon, and I will give you a free (and thorough) astrological consultation.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

 ANOTHER OFFER YOU CANNOT REFUSE

My second book, Surfing the Galactic Highways: Adventures in Divinatory Astrology has just come out. The ongoing deal will be that if you buy it from Amazon, and leave a genuine rating, I will give you a free Astrology or Tarot Reading. And help you unpack whatever it is in your life that’s needs unpacking: what the universe, in her infinite wisdom, wishes to convey to you. What’s not to like? 😊


So why would you read my book? First of all, it is very readable. I had previously spent 15 years writing astrology blogs. That was my apprenticeship. I learnt to write in a way that is concrete, to the point and original. I know from experience what I am talking about. I do not write systematically, there is no attempt to put astrology into neat boxes. I keep it interesting, and I look at the subject in ways that I have not seen elsewhere. I have lots of opinions!

This book is aimed at anyone who has a little bit of knowledge of astrology upwards. Astrology is one of those subjects that enters your bones, and if it is there, then it is there, however much or however little you know. It is a primordial connection to the sky that many of us feel.

If I had to draw out some central themes of the book, they would be these: the power of astrology to take our breath away, to enchant us, through the eerie synchronicities it reveals between sky events and earthly events; its ability, particularly using the outer planets, to guide us through the deep initiatory and transformative experiences that life, if we are willing, offers us; and an affirmation of the intuitive, non-rational means of knowing, that is so central to who we are as humans, but which is undervalued and even denied in our modern age.

“The astrologer's first job is to demystify. The second is to fascinate. Through his insistence on pure craft winning, at every turn, over personal feelings or bias, Barry Goddard achieves just that. An astrological page turner.” Joanna Watters, author of Astrology for Today and Be Your Own Astrologer

PS The book doesn’t launch on Amazon US till 1st Jan, but you can still pre-order

PPS My first book, The Medicine Wheel, has the same ongoing deal: leave a genuine rating on Amazon, and I will give you a free reading.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

THE SAVAGE, TRUTHFUL LOVE OF PLUTO

Here we go. I'm talking personal, and it's about Pluto's abduction - indeed his rape - of Persephone, and then making her his wife. Love is not civilised, try as we might. Once it is 'civilised', what is left? Where are those claws that can hold you so fiercely in their passion, that will kill for you, and kill for their young? Those primordial eyes that stare so unreservedly and wantingly into yours?



Pluto is about to approach to within less than a degree of my retrograde Venus at 1.16 Aquarius.
Venus isn't Persephone, but she may as well be. All my life I have felt I have lost something of myself when in relationship, which doesn't mean there hasn't been good stuff as well. But there is the abduction. I feel like I am hobbling around on a walking stick, aged 64, in the love department, at any rate.

In other respects, my life is flourishing.... I have my first 2 books coming out this year, more being written, about to buy a house..... and yet the love area is still in the wasteland after 5 joyous and maddening years on my own, which is maybe the proper place to be when Pluto is about to conjoin your Venus.
 
Retrograde tells you to look at the past. What was it that I was giving away in relationship, on and off - with one 18-year on - all that time? With natal Venus opposite Uranus too, what was I splitting off from, in what way was I not being true to the whole of myself? There is such an enveloping conventional expectation around relationship, because it is such a big part of life, that it can take a long time to find what is true for us. And maybe the biological imperative has to have its say first. How can we know who is suitable for us, in a deeper kind of way, at that more tender reproductive age?
 
Now this post could go on for a while. I expect we have all been here one way or another, so I hope this speaks to you. WHAT IS THE PRICE WE PAY FOR BEING IN RELATIONSHIP? What are those niggles we put aside in the hope they will go away, in the interest of all those other, maybe CONVENIENT, things that seem to work? For they will come back and bite you 20 years later. And it will be messy, but I'm not sure the universe is as bothered as we are about those messes, when it comes to the wider pattern in which it sees our lives.

This is the kind of question that Pluto-Venus aspects, natally or by transit, and Venus in Scorpio, raise. Pluto or Scorpio demands that we be instinctively true to ourselves, even when we don't have the reasons to support it.

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Is being with this person a compromise in any way? Are you allowing yourself quietly to go to sleep, rather than encountering the more abundant life that naturally comes with age? It is not a betrayal to admit these things to yourself. But that self-betrayal has to be acted upon, or it will eventually destroy you. You will die earlier than you might have, because the life will slowly leach out of you.

So I could go on about relationships. The need to learn to negotiate with your partner/spouse, and to be committed to that, existentially. Your whole life can be bound up with this person, and through that synergy and that commitment to being always honest, something very deep can be built. What more could one want? Love is something that needs to be built over decades, assuming the initial chemistry is there.


That is what marriage is about. The partnership is consecrated in the context of the Great Spirit, or whatever is your metaphysical context, and always the community. Such ceremony is a powerful thing. 
 
Even at my advanced age, that is what could be coming my way with my Pluto-Venus transit. Who knows? You can't second-guess transits. Personally, I have the capacity and the longing for that. Maybe, after a lifetime, this thing can work. Maybe I have been on my own for long enough to have earned the capacity to do this. I reckon :)
 
But what about relationships ending? I can often see it coming in the chart, and I always say don't take it personally, it needed to happen, even though it could hardly be more personal. And I won't shy away from it as a possibility in a reading, just as I won't shy away from death. If people call on us, it is not our job to be mealy-mouthed. It is to tell the truth. Requiring astrologers not to predict death is a betrayal of our calling.

Sometimes relationships are a lifelong commitment, and when they are that, it is a beatiful and maybe a rare thing, when it is about each becoming a more whole/balanced person, when negotiation about everything - and I mean everything - is possible. When - in astrological terms - each person is living according to the will of the gods/planets. But how often is it like that? That is what I feel Pluto-Venus is leading me into, but maybe not just yet.

More often, and here maybe I am on my soapbox, the relationship is more about each person carrying part of the other person's psyche. You be Mum and I'll be Dad. I think it is usually as simple as that, though in unique ways. Venus' House, the 7th, is the House of projection. And it can't be easily spoken about, because how sexy is it for the guy to say you are his Mum? You gotta have a good time in bed - and if that isn't Pluto-Venus, or Venus in Scorpio, I don't know what is. Raw, immediate, consuming on all levels. And maybe you can have that good time if you don't admit to the parental stuff.
 

But of course it's not usually either/or. A productive relationship will tend to be both the impulse towards honesty, and the carrying of bits of each other's psyche, which reveals itself over time, and needs to be navigated. (Falling in love, IMO, is the result of the initial and unconscious editing of ourselves to be what the other unconsciously needs us to be: suddenly we feel 'complete', we have found our 'soul partner'. Until they aren't.)

People grow apart. A relationship can have a beginning, a middle and an end. Our dogmatic religious background tells us that it must last for ever, and moreover be consecrated by God, or something has gone wrong, and who is the guilty party?
 
I watch a fair bit of Jordan Peterson, and I appreciate his free-thinking, pragmatic analysis of many areas of life. I also appreciate his standing-up for marriage. But he doesn't appreciate the benefits of a relationship ending. It is usually messy, it can be distraughting, but it can be deeply necessary. You can feel like you were meant to come together precisely because you would come apart in a messy way, and learn so much about yourself in the process. That can almost be the purpose of romantic love: to glamour us into exactly the place we need to be from which, 20 years later, we shall emerge bloody and bowed, vomitting up seawater on the beach, but with all that weird unconscious shit - which we like to attribute to early life, but really who knows - becoming conscious. It may make us a bunny-boiler for a while, but that isn't a permanent condition. It is maybe no more crazy than the initial condition of being 'in love', which feels divine, and maybe it is, but it it may also be a necessary trick to get us where we need to be. This is all Venus-Pluto stuff.


There is so much we can learn from our attractions and our visceral involvements. If we are prepared to be honest, at least with ourselves. And don't underestimate the unique joys of solitude. Venus in Virgo perhaps. But that is another post. Finding in yourself what you previously experienced, as a mere pale reflection, through the other.
 
I have 2 years of Pluto conjunct Venus to run. I get the Tower Card and the Death Card quite regularly. My Venus is Aquarian and Uranian. There is something outside the norm to be encountered and lived. There is a death of the old paradigm. But the outcome will be authentic, and the opposite of compromise, if I grasp the new life that is always Pluto's gift.

Tuesday, November 08, 2022

RELIGION, RENEWAL and JORDAN PETERSON

I'm going to talk about Jordan Peterson, and topics that spin out from that. I won't give you a blow by blow account of his chart. I don't often read chart interpretations of public figures, because I get bored. What is it that I want to do when I pull up a chart? I want to seize one or two features that grab me, and shake them like a dog tearing meat from a carcass. And digress as I will. So long as I stay interested, my reader probably will too. 


If you haven't seen Jordan Peterson, look up him on youtube. I watch him interviewing people for several hours every week. He is the great scourge of wokeness. His position as a psychology professor in Canada became untenable some years ago when he opposed a directive about what pronouns he should use when addressing people. He was not going to have his speech legislated for, though on an individual level he is always respectful and compassionate. But still a fierce arguer, exceptionally sharp, with decades of psychological research at his fingertips. He is deeply interested in people, which makes him a good interviewer. He isn't trying to trip them up, in contrast to what we have become used to.



You can see the Sun-Mercury-Moon-Saturn Grand Trine in Air in his chart. The realm of ideas comes very naturally to him, it is his gift. With Mercury also square to Pluto, there is a dynamic depth to his thinking. Moon in Libra gives him empathy, the ability to see from the other person's point of view, which stands out in his interviews. But it is an airy empathy, he stays objective.

Earthy Taurus Rising makes him practical. He is not interested in ideologies, but rather with what works. His main personal Water is Venus in Cancer, hidden away on the IC and unaspected. I think this is why he gets emotional so easily. The emphasis in his personality is intellect, so emotion creeps up on him and takes him over. It is people and their suffering and the ability to help them that moves him to tears.

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What prompted this post was Peterson and Religion, specifically his attempts to rehabilitate Christianity. I can go with that, but what I can't go with is his attempts to make it all OK, his apologetics. He doesn't critique it, and I think that is revealing. For example, putting the figure of a man being tortured to death as the central image of a spiritual tradition is really not OK. Sure, Jordan draws down lessons around suffering and the shadow, which are valid. But still. What, for example, are children supposed to make of that image, what is it telling them about the nature of the world? What has it done to our culture as a whole to have that gruesome image at its centre for so long? It is not surprising, perhaps, that we now have so prominently a nihilist materialism, a universe that has no point to it. That image has the knocked the life, the joie de vivre, the reason for living out of us.


So, Religion. The 9th House. He has Capricorn on the Cusp. That is why he wants a tradition. Someone with Pisces there just wants the direct experience of God, who they experience to be everywhere. The ruler of Peterson's 9th, Saturn, is in the 10th in Aquarius, retrograde and part of his Airy Grand Trine.

Saturn on its own has required Peterson to make his mark (Saturn) on the world (10th) in a way that renews the status quo (Aquarius). We can learn a lot about signs from the one that comes before, which they grow out of when they are functioning well. Aquarius grows out of Capricorn, suggesting to me that Aquarius needs to earn the right to break the rules, by learning them and living them (Capricorn) first. Otherwise it can be a mindless rebellion, albeit maybe necessary for a while.

We live in a culture where the traditions have largely died out. I have spent a lot of time on that edge of appreciating and wanting tradition, yet enjoying the freedom to reinvent that that lack gives me. I wrote a piece to coincide with the publication of my book The Medicine Wheel that has that sort of contemplation in it. You can find it here

We astrologers, of course, each have our own relationship with the astrological tradition. It is a tradition that has had to be resurrected, but it seems to have brought with it plenty of egregore, the energy that comes from centuries of collective practice. That is why it works so well. Not for any scientific reason: astrology soon becomes a nonsense when approached like that. It works because of the divinatory capacities of the individual astrologer allied to the stage 4 rocket booster of the egregore around the tradition. We can be grateful to the astrologers of the past for building the energy field that we both draw on, and renew in the act of drawing on it.

Maybe psychotherapy has an egregore too, coming from all those therapists since Freud? Maybe it is gaining in power? It is a ceremony, after all.

So tradition can be a good thing, a powerful thing. Intricate layers of symbolic meaning build up over the centuries. If you've been in a traditional sweatlodge, you'll know that everything, down to the smallest detail, carries meaning in that ceremony. And those meanings have a power that comes from all the people in the past who have done sweatlodges from whatever tradition.

But we can't be part of those traditions, not really. We have to reinvent our sweatlodges. And our astrology. There is an edge in this that I think is very important. An edge that I think can only really come from having lived through major outer planet transits, and the deeper alignment with who we really are that they bring about, if we allow it. I think that gives us the right to break the rules and reinvent. How can you, for example, bring forward our understanding of Pluto transits unless you have lived through some, and know their nature on your pulses, deep within yourself? 

Traditions have the bad habit of setting themselves in stone, because people want that kind of certainty. Astrology is as guilty of this as any tradition, but I am not railing against it, for I think it is inevitable and even necessary for maybe most of us at certain points in our lives.But it is those who want it set in stone who will resist those who want to keep renewing the tradition (which is an ongoing thing).

So, back to Jordan Peterson. He wants a spiritual tradition (Capricorn on the 9th House Cusp). But he also wants to renew it (the ruler Saturn in Aquarius). And he wants also to impact the world with this renewal (Saturn in the 10th). Saturn is retrograde. I'm never quite sure what to say about retrograde planets. They are going backwards, and Peterson is reaching back into the past as far as he can go, which is to the Old Testament, on which he has given a series of lectures, available on Youtube.

So he is starting from first principles in his attempts to renew Christianity, which I think is the right place to start. But, as I said earlier, he wants to make it all OK. Maybe he will find a way of making the OT injunction to stone gays to death OK, I don't know. Traditions make mistakes, they get things wrong. Maybe the worst kinds of mistakes are the oldest ones, because they become such articles of faith. If you're going to renew a tradition, you need to be able to say where you think it has gone astray. After all, Christianity for most people in the UK, at any rate, has pretty much died out. That doesn't happen if it continues to nourish people. So you have to look at where it went wrong. 

I am not personally Christian, my inclinations are more pagan/shamanic/old gods.  But I can appreciate that there is a powerful spirit in Christianity, in Christ in particular, that has built up over two millennia. You can't ignore that. It is something that speaks to all of us, is part of all of us, just by the fact of our living in this culture. I think maybe the best approach is to allow Jesus to be there as a spirit, but don't allow the special, totalitarian claims that have historically come with that. As astrologers, we have lots of gods living side by side. That pluralism is a guard against fundamentalism, the idea that there is only one reality.

Peterson is drawn to tradition for reasons given, and Christianity is our tradition. But it's not just that. He also has a Jupiter-Chiron conjunction in Pisces, square to his Mercury. This speaks strongly of suffering, sacrifice and redemption. In other words, Christ. Maybe you could say it is his Cap 9th that is drawn to the Old Testament, and his Jupiter-Chiron that is drawn to Christ/the New Testament.

Peterson's Jupiter-Chiron is opposite Pluto in Virgo. There is the death and renewal/resurrection. There is nothing wrong with all these attributes of Christ, for they are part of any spiritual tradition. I think the problem is that they have been made the whole instead of the part, and therein lies the imbalance. Making a part the whole is  one way that fundamentalism arises, and when you have a state religion, as Christianity became, that is always a possibility. We want simple rules and certainties, and that was what Christianity provided.

Peterson has North Node in Leo in the 4th. He sees the valuing of the worth of the individual as a remarkable achievement of western culture, with its roots in Christianity. He uses the western abolition of slavery, which has been a human universal, as an example of this valuing.

So back to my reason for writing this piece: Peterson's social and religious conservatism (Cap 9th and 10th, prominent Saturn), which I can go with, for tradition is a necessary thing, but his reluctance to criticise Christianity, which I cannot go with. 

The Houses are where we incarnate the planets. The 9th is the type of religious practices and institutions we seek. But Jupiter is the planet of spirituality/religion. It is how we are inwardly. There is an inner/outer distinction between planets and houses that is not absolute. Peterson has Jupiter in Pisces. For all his lengthy exegeses on the Bible, Peterson longs inwardly just to surrender to God. This also describes his openness to psilocybin and other psychoactive susbstances.

But Saturn is much stronger in the chart. So at the end of the day, the tradition about God wins out over the direct experience of Him. Peterson has a tight Mercury-Jupiter square, and a wide Sun-Jupiter square. He is challenged to open himself to God. The same may be said of his 12th House Mars, which is square Saturn and opposite Neptune. I would argue that this issue describes the principle challenge in his chart and therefore in his life.

It is an incremental thing, as I know from my own life. Peterson doesn't exactly lack in self-confidence, in trusting his inner guidance and knowing. But it begins with observation, he is a scientist. Earthy Taurus Rising and strong Saturn. His starting point is not the inner, which is that of the mystic. He is doing the opposite journey. When it comes to that complete surrender, he cannot fully let go. He takes refuge in tradition, in the Word, and trying to resuscitate it. That is why he does not critique Christianity as he should: he cannot afford to.

I was prompted to these considerations by Peterson's description of his home, in which every area has been deliberated on. I could not do that, even though I appreciate the aesthetic sensibility behind Peterson's efforts. There has to be room for chaos, room for areas of the house that are for the spirits. That seems like basic respect to me. Peterson is big on what he would call trait orderliness. My observation of him over the last few years has been of him becoming increasingly open to the spirit dimension. He is emerging from a Neptune-Sun square, which has that kind of effect. But his intellect may in the long run be too powerful for his own good, he may be too brilliant and prolific in his biblical apologetics to be able to stand back from that in the way that is needed to give Jupiter in Pisces full rein. Who knows?