Thursday, December 06, 2018

Astrology is ruled by Uranus, and one reason for that is because astrology belongs on the unacceptable edge of modern culture. But not on the popular level, where astrology seems quite acceptable! : and that maybe illustrates Uranus' rulership of Aquarius, the common man/woman.
Within astrology, I'd say Uranus describes those with sympathies for conservative politics, as most astrologers seem to belong to the liberal consensus, to the extent that some even hold their noses around those of a different persuasion. 

This is in the UK, at any rate. In the US, I've been surprised at how many astrologers get annoyed with me for criticising Donald Trump. That said, what I would go so far as to call the liberal prejudice dominates there too: hence the now infamous panel of reputable astrologers, 11 out of 12 of whom predicted Hilary Clinton would win the last election. 

These astrologers were probably all pretty good on a technical level: this shows how much we need to purify our intentions, stand apart from worldly one-sidedness, before we attempt our sacred art. And, maybe, the degree to which this is not understood in modern astrology, even at a 'high' level. This 'hollow-bone' quality takes many years to forge, it is very different to technical competence, which is the easy bit.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

On Gurus and Finding the Gold Within

I've just watched a great documentary series on netflix: Wild, Wild Country. It is the story of Rajneesh and his followers in Oregon in the 80s. A cult that went wrong, bigtime. They created a city in the wilderness, took over the local town, and ended up with a huge arsenal of weaponry; there were also incidents of poisoning and attempted murder against their enemies. Of which there were plenty. They attracted huge national opposition.

Fundamental to this story is the propensity that I think we all have, or have had, to idealise teachers. There is plenty of it in the shamanic world. And I think it is normal to do so. We come staggering along, maybe confident and competent in a worldly sense, but with little idea of who we are on a deeper level. That is not something we are taught :) And so we project all that good stuff onto a teacher. I think it is a natural process. A good teacher does not need those projections, and does not create a 2-way street, a kind of love-in if you like, with the pupil. All teachers will claim they don't want followers, but it can be hard to resist the flattery of people thinking you have the answers. I think it's very difficult for a teacher not to slide into this one, at least some of the time.

THE 'LOVE-IN'
And I think a crucial point is finding that guide within ourselves. As I say, it is natural and necessary to seek it outside ourselves to start with. But then we have "If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!" A friend was telling me how at a certain point in his life his spirit guides, who had always been there for him, refused to help, that there was an important decision he had to make on his own.

In my 20s and 30s I was around a Buddhist set-up, and all it was about fundamentally was me finding what I call my 'metaphysical autonomy'. Once that happened - and it was like a deep eruption after many years preparation - it was all over, and I was on my shamanic way :)

One of the main people they interviewed for the Rajneesh series was the guy who had been their lawyer. He must be about 70, and 'the Bhagwan' is long dead. But this guy is still under the spell. He still describes 'the Bhagwan' as 'the master of masters' - like, how can you know that? Another person they interviewed, who went to jail for attempted murder, has broken the spell, but it took many years. This process can take a long time, and it may never happen in someone's lifetime. And it may be incremental. Few people can admit to giving power away to a teacher; we think we are autonomous when we are not. It is seen as 'faith' to put the teacher's judgement before one's own, and arrogance to do otherwise.

And it is about knowing that we have all the guidance we need within. It is not something we can will into being, and it is easy to kid ourselves. It is a profound psycho-spiritual event that is like finding gold. And even then we can dip in and out of it. The path then becomes about allowing the gold to take root, to permeate our being.

It also then becomes possible to know the shadow. With the Rajneeshis, all goodness was projected onto 'the Bhagwan', and all evil was projected onto those who opposed them. This is no different to Nazi Germany, where Hitler carried the ideals, and the Jews carried the shadow. And the Bhagwan was also divided in this way: when his senior disciple left, he publicly rounded on her and denounced her. She was now the enemy. It was immediate.
From The English Magic Tarot Deck
And I think it works something like this: when you live from your inner sense of guidance, you have all you need. You're not needing to prove anything to the world or to other people. Or at least, not to the same degree. So we become able to admit to our own weaknesses and vulnerabilities, because doing so does not take anything away from who we are. In fact, there is a sense of it adding to who we are, but not in an ego sense. 

The worldly path involves building a sense of ego, and this is seen as normal. It is why we admire people who are rich or famous or royal. Admit it: if a celebrity walked into the room, you'd feel differently to if a regular guy walked in. I know I would. And this way of seeing the world is often carried over into the 'spiritual' world, where people want to become a 'name'. It is certainly true of the shamanic world, where it has in places become normalised.

But it's all just vanity, and misses the point. When a Chippewa Cree teacher used to come and stay with me and run events, he refused this sort of self-promotion. He would limit himself to a factual description of his background and training, and didn't want himself put out on the internet. I can go with that. And the people still came.
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Friday, May 25, 2018

The Depth Psychology of Shamanism

I have a strong interest in both astrology and shamanism. And at the moment it's the latter that I'm writing more about. And I have a shamanic blog that's been on a bit of a backburner, but now I've started putting a lot more on it and building a (free) subscriber list. So if you are interested, go to www.shamanicfreestate.blogspot.com and you can sign up at the top right of the page. Meanwhile, here is one of the articles from that blog:



In 1997, I was organising some shamanic journeying at a small festival in the UK, and the space was packed for each session, like 70-80 people. The word shamanism had a buzz to it, and I think it still does, even though it can also be a cliché.

But the buzz was genuine, and I think it was about people wanting a taste of the Otherworld, something which has almost become a race memory, because it has been so squeezed out by religion and then science. But it is still there in us, this desire for an untrammelled experience of Spirit, that feels ancient, and that is not hedged around by dogmas of what is and is not possible.

It is Spirit that ultimately teaches us about Reality, not humans and their books. Shamanism – a recent, western phenomenon – is about that return to a direct experience of Spirit, that connects us to a universe that is so much more than the literal, material universe of modern science.

That taste of the Otherworld is, for some, enough as an accompaniment to their regular existence. For others, it is not enough. Or we may think it is enough, but the spirits have other ideas!

And this is where the idea of the 'shaman' comes in. A slightly problematic word, as it carries connotations of spiritual stature, which ain't a good thing to claim. And a shaman is technically also a healer and diviner, a spirit consultant.

But the spirits can drag us kicking through that initiatory journey without the end result being a healer. You may end up as a counsellor, or an artist, or a stand-up comic - or as Mozart: what was it that spoke through him if it wasn't the Otherworld? Or you may be nothing in particular that you can put a name to! You just have that look in your eye that says I've been somewhere else.

As Leonardo da Vinci said: “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”

Or as the Ancient Mariner said:
 
"I pass, like night, from land to land;

I have strange power of speech;

That moment that his face I see,

I know the man that must hear me:

To him my tale I teach."

The Ancient Mariner
The archetypal event has become, for us, the shaman's illness, which will often bring him or her to the gates of death or madness, and once she has accepted the wishes of the spirits to be a vehicle for them, he recovers.

And I think this illness, this trial, this ordeal, needs to be interpreted broadly within our shamanism, even though the original definition was quite specific. And I think we need to be quite broad too about 'the spirits'. Yes, some of us will have guys upstairs that tell us stuff, or who work through us. For others, it may just be this other place in us, and when we speak or act from it, there is some kind of deeper wisdom or insight there, that may not even make sense to us at the time, but we learn to trust it. The so-called 'mid-life crisis' (which can go on and on - see The Middle Passage by James Hollis) has a resonance of this type of ordeal.
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As an astrologer, I encounter these trials in the form of Neptune and Pluto acting on people's charts. I had my own experience of Pluto for much of the 90s: after 10 years running Buddhist institutions, I was unable to do anything for several years. Anything I tried to do wouldn't work. And it was like the plug on my life-force had been pulled. I realised that it is not 'I' who lives, it is something from deeper within that calls the shots, and it was saying we're not going to let you carry on in that wilful way, we're going to fuck with you until you listen to us. And there was this deep, magical pull towards that other voice. 

Abdominal Surgery



At the same time, I felt like I’d had major abdominal surgery, and that I’d been brought about as low as I could be, to this faraway place. And after a few years I had a dream telling me to pursue shamanism - as well as something else, which was a trick dream that catapulted me out of my old life.

And since then there has always been this place within me that is a kind of dark wisdom, that I can forget about sometimes, but when I'm coming from there I am aligned with my life. It is the glittering eye of the ancient mariner. And in the last few years it's been happening all over again, but under Neptune's rule, and I'm still in the thick of it, so I can't say too much. But it's been like this overwhelming call that I haven't quite known what to do with.

Pluto with his hellhound
The classic story behind Pluto, who is Lord of the Underworld, is that one day he abducted Persephone, daughter of the nature goddess Ceres, who went into mourning and the earth went into permanent winter. Eventually it got sorted, but Persephone was by now Pluto's wife, and spent half her time in the underworld.

So this is a good way of understanding the shaman's illness. There is another side to life, beyond what is presented to us by society, and you can be taken there forcibly by the demands of the spirit, which has no regard for conventional niceties and sanities. And in a deeper kind of way, you grow up, move on to the next stage - as did Persephone, in becoming Pluto's wife.

A traditional society understands this ruthless dimension to Spirit. As Holger Kalweit writes in Shamans, Healers and Medicine Men: 

“The suffering and exhaustion that accompany a vision quest do not correspond to the mild and gentle style of modern psychotherapy. Westerners do not want to have to exert themselves to solve their problems.” (p102)



And Goethe understood what happens if you resist the call:

“And so long as you haven't experienced this: to die and so to grow, you are only a troubled guest on the dark earth.”

So this initiatory journey that the shaman undergoes isn't just about acquiring magical powers under duress. I don't think it is like that. The main emphasis is on the development of psychological depth, in the sense of moving beyond the narrow, conventional self that tells us how to live, and whose rules are shared by the other members of society. That kind of living is 'normal', it gives a kind of psychological security to many people, and it is necessary for the stability of society.

But that ain't what the shaman lives by. No, he/she has another loyalty, a deeper loyalty, that is not to the rules and 'shoulds' of the tribe, but to the spirits, to the daimon, to the Otherworld, to the Jungian Self. And that other place to which we have our loyalty is more real, for it recognises that the world isn't what it seems, it is not to be taken at face value, for it is only one pole of existence, the other being the spirit world, and these 2 poles are profoundly interconnected. The world is not an absolute, it is fluid.

So it is this loyalty to the Otherworld that is the real qualification to be a healer - or whatever. It is the shaman's wholehearted response to the imperatives of the Otherworld and its values that make him/her a shaman. Once you have that new basis to your life - that look in your eye - then the spirits will allow you to be a healer, or require you to be.

Of course, this is a kind of ideal scenario, because we are human, and we fuck up, and sometimes people have real healing abilities who seem in other respects to be such messes.

But the principle remains, and it is the 'depth psychology' of shamanism referred to in the title. It involves a radical turning about, so that the guiding principle of our lives becomes not what society expects, nor is it based on our personal desires, but on a commitment to something beyond us, that also is us, and that is more real than a purely conventional notion of existence ever can be.

It is a completely different basis for living, and that is why the shaman's illness can take him/her to death's door: the conventional, which is so deep-rooted, has to die. It can almost be like I cannot continue to live like I have been, so how can I live? And the answer is there within, and always has been.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Saturn-Pluto and the UK's Ornery Mood

So the big astrological event for the UK in the next couple of years will be Saturn-Pluto in Capricorn opposite the UK Moon. This transit will also be part of the Brexit chart next year.

Economically, I think one meaning of this conjunction is the power (Pluto) of the big corporations (Saturn/Capricorn), and the struggle by national governments (Saturn/Capricorn) to contain these transnational beasts. Trump's taking aim at Amazon is a good example. The UK, now on its own, will be more vulnerable to these corporations: do what we say, or we'll take our business elsewhere. That may also mean we become a haven for them. But it may not be quite as simple as that.

Because politically, the UK is ornery right now. We were told to vote remain, and did the opposite. We were told to increase Theresa May's majority, and we did the opposite. And in both cases there was a desire for change. By the older generation and by the unemployed in the EU referendum. And by the young people who voted Corbyn in the recent general election. 
 
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Either way, we are pissed and we want something different. Add to that the Remainers who are pissed like nothing you have ever seen..... 
 
I think that politically, leaving the EU is going to be comparable to the end of WWII, when a radical government was voted in. People will feel grateful to Theresa May for steering us through troubled water, her enactment of a decision she did not vote for. But she will be out on her ear at the next election.

Right now, we are in the stormy unclear waters that you get in the middle of a Pluto transit. But underneath that is a deep desire for change, coming from all sides, as yet inarticulate, but ready to burst forth as we leave the EU harbour. Under the last Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, Martin Luther nailed his theses to the church door and began the Protestant Revolution. Saturn-Pluto is the destruction (Pluto) of the establishment (Saturn), as well as its empowerment.

So watch this space. I think soon after we formally leave the EU next year, Theresa May will find her position as leader untenable. It's going to be a hell of a general election, there is so much waiting to be unleashed from all sides. And least of all will we want to be bossed around by the likes of Amazon and Google and Facebook. We are so not in the mood. And it may set a precedent for other countries.

Friday, March 30, 2018

The Chart for Brexit

This is the chart for actual Brexit next year, alongside the UK 1801 chart. Can we be astrologers about this, and not let our love or hate for Brexit interfere? For this reason it may be the most testing piece of astrology we ever do. There is unlikely to be anything so divisive again in our lifetimes. Will you be able to look your grandchildren in the eye and say, "I didn't let Brexit stop me reading the stars, because the stars are even more important than Brexit?"

CLICK TO ENLARGE
There will be a lot of Mars around: Mars conjunct the Desc in the Brexit chart; and Brexit Sun in Aries conjunct the UK Desc. And we will have recently emerged from a Mars Return, Mars being the ruler of the UK Desc. This gives a threefold message of a strong new start in foreign relationships, which if we are doing this thing, is what is needed. 

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Then look at the natal UK Moon, the people, at 19 Cancer: conjoining it will be the North Node, opposite will be the Moon, Saturn and Pluto. This a historic turning point. The UK will be starting to emerge from the dark tunnel she is currently in, as Pluto opposes her Moon, in which we no longer know who we are. Hence the minority government.

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But with Neptune opposite the MC of the Brexit chart, the theme of an uncertain direction may continue for some time, even though a new sense of national identity will be beginning to emerge. Moon-Saturn-Pluto are in the 2nd House of the Brexit chart, suggesting our sense of who we are becoming will have an economic base to it.

Scorpio Rising, along with Brexit Moon conjunct Brexit Pluto, and UK Moon opp Brexit Pluto give a threefold message of power. A claiming of a new power to live, which will be necessary.

The UK Progressed chart will be a few months shy of a Progressed Lunar Return, which stacks up the message of a new start for the people. And about a year shy of Prog Sun in Leo conjunct Prog Jupiter in Leo. Now there is a feelgood factor, a sense of self-expansion. Or maybe it's grandiosity? Take your pick.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Uranus-Pluto, Authoritarian Governments and Brexit

Xi Jinping
There is a worldwide shift towards authoritarian government: Putin has been at it for some time, and now Xi Jinping in China is making himself leader for life, his opponents having been silenced on corruption charges. Trump, of course, is an authoritarian personality, offering simple solutions to complex problems. There is Erdogan in Turkey, and the rise of the far-right in Germany. This is the outcome of the Uranus-Pluto square. There was the same political shift in the 30s, after the last Uranus-Pluto square. These 2 planets shake everything up, they bring in a new paradigm, and it leaves people deeply uncertain. And that leaves room for leaders who offer to supply the missing certainty.

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And what about the anomalous, Uranian UK? We seem to have moved in the opposite direction, from a majority party ruling the country up to 2010 when the square began, to an era of coalitions or wafer-thin majorities. We don't know who we are any more, we are living in a sea of uncertainty as opposing sides in both politics and in the population battle it out over Brexit. We still don't know what's coming next. I think the seeds of the new will become clearer in the autumn, as Pluto moves forward to make his final opposition to the UK Moon, having hard aspected the Angles, Sun and Nodal axis also in recent years. Those seeds will find expression over the following few years as Saturn conjoins Pluto. What a work-out. For now, we just have to accept Pluto's Underworld. More than that, embrace it. Pluto won't let you resign yourself to him.
 
I run into trouble over Brexit. And I think part of the problem is that I approach it psychologically rather than politically. It fascinates me that the UK chart has Sun/IC in Capricorn, and Moon/MC in Cancer. That is a huge emphasis along an axis, and to me it describes 2 personality types within the country, one of whom voted leave and the other who voted remain. It's simplistic, probably, but still very interesting to me. I voted leave, in a moderate kind of way, but I can see good reasons for voting either way, and the astrology seems to confirm that.

A friend who voted Remain pointed out that the prospect of leaving has brought up a lot of fear for people, because we don't know where we are headed. Of course, he is right, and one moment's consideration of Pluto opposing the UK Cancer Moon would have told me that. Cancer loves the European tribe to which we increasingly belonged, and I think it is grief as well as fear that they are experiencing. And being a water sign, that is why leaving is such an emotive issue.

I think the Capricorn Leavers need to recognise the depth of emotion that has been stirred up in the Remainers, and not expect them to just 'get over it'. It sets the lie to the stereotype of the cold Englishman, and is something Capricorns can learn from. At the same time, I think Remainers need to stay close to what they are feeling, instead of projecting it onto Leavers and caricaturing them as Little Englanders, racists, ignorant etc. It is very unpleasant to be on the receiving end of that kind of name-calling.
 
The Caricature
It's fascinating what Pluto brings up. The national psyche is on display. We are all engaged on an individual level, as never before, with what is happening in the collective, and will probably never see again in our lifetimes. And, here is a crucial point, Brexit is not about right and wrong. Pluto does not think like that: his concern is the necessity of change. As long as we think one side is right and the other wrong, we cannot understand the astrology, and we cannot understand what is happening.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Is Astrology Scientific? Causal vs Mythological Thinking


I don't know where to begin with this one. Astrology News Service, which claims to be sponsored by august bodies such as the American Federation of Astrologers and the National Council for Geocosmic Research, is rejoicing that more Americans think astrology is scientific than did a few years ago. It reminds me of the time the Sun newspaper took a poll of its readers as to whether Princess Diana had been murdered, as if those readers were qualified to make a judgement.

It's not just that. Anyone whose studies astrology quickly comes to see, in my opinion at least, that astrology is NOT a science, not in the modern, narrow meaning of the word. Nor are poetry and music and psychotherapy and a lot of other things.

That's why I said I don't know where to begin unpicking this one. Astrology sometimes needs saving from its friends rather than its enemies! Though personally I think those enemies can be a good thing, they keep us on our toes.

It would be interesting to find out what people mean when they say they think astrology is ‘scientific’. What they really mean, I suspect, is that they think astrology works, but science has such epistemological authority for them that saying astrology is ‘scientific’ amounts to the same thing. 1000 years ago they might have said they thought there was room for astrology in the teachings of the Church, and I can’t see there’s much difference in the two statements.


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I think what overlap there is between astrology and science is incidental, because their ways of thinking are inconjunct. Science is based on cause and effect and repeatability, along with an explanatory mechanism (except for the privileged disciplines of Evolution and Psychiatry). Astrology is based on sychronicity, "the experience of two or more events as meaningfully related" (Wiki). In this case, earthly events and heavenly events.

Astrology is not based on cause and effect, you could call it 'mythological thinking', it is how early people thought. They would, for example, see some unusual behaviour in nature and reflect that it must therefore have a meaning for them. (Source: Chippewa Cree friend). I think that the reclaiming of this way of thinking is potentially astrology's most important contribution to the world. Astrology in itself is a rather specialised and improbable subject that I don't think will ever be mainstream. But I love it :)

Like Bremainers and Brexiteers in the UK, and Democrats and Republicans in the US, astrology and science need to learn to live with each other. I don’t think, however, that it is an equal relationship: astrologers can understand how science sees the world, but science finds it much harder to understand astrologers. We need to be patient, even indulgent. After all, we see reality through all 4 elements, whereas science concentrates on Air and Earth as means of knowledge, it is limited. Its basic method tends to disregard Fire and Water as means of knowing and valuing. The proper place for science is that of a speciality within a more all-encompassing culture that includes astrology. Causal thinking needs to take its place within the broader context of mythological thinking. 
(First published 2014)

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Bilbo and Frodo: Virgos on their Chiron Return

Bilbo and Frodo Baggins share a birthday: 22nd September. This much is clear from ‘A Long Expected Party’, the 1st Chapter of ‘The Lord of the Rings’. That is all the birth data we have.

The Lord of the Rings is not set within our historical time period. It is in a sense outside of time. Middle Earth itself, while described in great detail, is imaginary, even though we kind of feel we know it. (This is because Tolkien’s creation is rooted in a lifetime of study of European myth.)


Google Middle Earth

At the same time, Middle Earth is described through reference to our world. I therefore feel free to take the position of the Sun on 22nd Sept as an astrological pointer to the characters of both Bilbo and Frodo.

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Between 1931 and 1972, which more than covers the time of the writing of The Lord of the Rings, the Sun on 22nd Sept was always at 29 point something Virgo. Since then, due to precession, it has started to appear in Libra. And before 1931 you could find it at 28 point something Virgo. So Bilbo and Frodo have their Suns at 29 Virgo.

Now Virgo isn’t a general description of the character of hobbits, but rather these 2 particular hobbits. For the general nature of hobbits, I’d probably say Capricorn (respectable and cautious), Taurus (they like their food – remember second breakfast!) and Virgo (clever with their fingers and unobtrusive). Very earthy creatures!

Bilbo and Frodo, due to their Took ancestry, had something else going on. It was rumoured that there was fairy-blood in the Took line, and occasionally a Took would take off and have an adventure, though this was always hushed up by the family.

But adventures are not what you think of when you think ‘Virgo’. Being Virgo does help, however, if you are a burglar like Bilbo: unobtrusive and observant. And if you are on an adventure, Virgos are likely to do so in the service of something, rather than just self-gratification, which was certainly the case with Bilbo and Frodo, who both found themselves heading off into the unknown rather reluctantly. As for the invisibility which the ring bestowed, here we see the 2 hobbits encountering the opposite sign of Pisces.

Using the Sabian Symbols for Virgo 30 we read: Having an Urgent Task to Complete, a Man doesn’t Look to any Distractions. Well that just about sums up the quests that these 2 hobbits were on.

There is, however, another astrological pointer we can look to: Bilbo was about 50 when he set off, and Frodo was 51. In both cases we have the Chiron Return. Dennis Elwell has this to say about Chiron: “On the subject of Chiron, it is as significant as any planet, but I do not go along with the 'woundedness' interpretation… when you are dealing with Chiron in practical work it is better to remember that his mythological namesake conducted a school for heroes…. As old Chiron trains us up towards accomplishments we never thought we could achieve, we need to be able to take the dare, to have an irreverent disrespect for the wise ones who say this or that can't be done. Chiron's style borders on cocky impudence, but perhaps its basic function is to persuade us that nothing is impossible.”

So there it is. The Chiron Return is a time for achieving what we thought impossible, which is exactly what Bilbo and Frodo did at that age.

In the 2 of Wands of the Mythic Tarot deck, we see Jason stepping out on his quest, with his teacher Chiron behind him in a cave. Jason’s quest is to recover the Golden Fleece, which is being guarded by a Dragon. Bilbo’s quest is to recover gold from a Dragon, and he did this on his Chiron Return. I said that Tolkien knew his mythology!

Chiron takes us to the point where we are on our own, where, if you like, we need to discover our own inner teacher. We tend to associate heroic quests with youth; but the real quest is to find the deeper independence of spirit, the gold in our souls, that usually requires age and years of testing. It is in the nature of human consciousness to be collective, to gain its security (unconsciously) from thinking the same as others. Chiron takes us out of that, and this is why there is often an ‘outsider’ quality to those with a marked Chiron. This ‘outsider’ quality, which is also their ‘wound’, forces the issue, as psychological security cannot be found in acceptance from the collective.

Frodo and Bilbo were never the same again after their adventures. Bilbo returned to Hobbiton, but he never fully belonged. He was viewed with suspicion by the more conventional hobbits, even though they appreciated his money. Frodo was so stricken, so marked by his ordeal that he never returned, but went on to the next stage across the ocean with the elves.

(First published on this blog in 2009)


Friday, February 02, 2018

WHAT DOES 'TRADITIONAL' MEAN?

I think the idea of 'traditional shamanism' can be like the bogeyman in the corner. How can what we do ever be 'traditional'? It can certainly never be traditional in terms of the forms, and God help us if it is. Imagine doing a sweatlodge, for example, exactly like the Lakotas might do one. What would it mean to anyone attending? It would be like something out of Gormenghast. 

I think what we CAN do is to imbibe the spirit of the indigenous way of feeling and understanding the world. And that takes time, and we need to be adequate to it. We need self-knowledge, we need a flexibility of mind that our culture often doesn't teach us. We need to drop any fantasies that Hollywood or the New Age may have sent our way. We need to read their stories and teachings directly. Books like 'Black Elk Speaks'. Most of us won't encounter teachers very much. I was fortunate enough to, a Canadian guy used to come and stay with me on and off. That didn't happen by accident, and I know I need to run with what I learnt. And even that was limited. But no doubt exactly what I needed. I'm still pondering it; the real path is a slow one.

Nowadays I find the books so good, they are my teachers. They take time and study and sipping. Read them like poetry. Not the interpreters like Storm and Swiftdeer. Of course they had some good things to say. What I do trust are the writings of those who are recognised by the indigenous peoples themselves. My personal interest is North American. I don't know why, it is just is. 

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And to return to the start, I can feel the fact that I don't know the forms very well - and never will, I'm not like that - to be the Spectre at the Feast. But I think it may also be my strength. I know damn well from my early years with Buddhism that the forms are secondary, that they can be a disempowerment. Particularly, maybe, when they come from a different culture to our own. I had that burnt into me over 18 years. 

What matters is that I know how to change myself - to some degree how to do the Red Road, which is my bit; and how to be receptive to the Blue Road, which is Spirit. I've got some idea how to move towards a deeper balance within myself - which is the point of this whole thing. That is all that matters. That is the point of 'tradition', and if you can do that, then you are traditional. 


The forms I use, well who cares as long as they work. 'If it's real, it works; if it works, it's real' (Jim Tree: The Way of the Sacred Pipe.) But of course, they won't work without respect and understanding. And let's not forget The Circle of Life by James David Audlin. That is the book, more than any I have known, that I learn from, and that also reminds me that I do have some affinity for, and understanding of, this stuff.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Boris Johnson and Donald Trump: Gemini Tricksters



Gemini more than any other sign is the trickster archetype. In public life they do and say things that upset the status quo. They keep us entertained. They appal us, we wouldn’t trust them as far as we could throw them. And sometimes it can seem like Fate is intervening, as though Geminis are a vehicle for bizarre, rule-breaking events.

With Sun conjunct Uranus (another trickster, as is Eris) and North Node in Gemini, it is Donald Trump’s destiny to upset the status quo. American politics will never be the same again. 

DONALD TRUMP
As a human being, I hold him in low regard. Politicians are usually in it for a reason, they are trying to do something that they see is useful, and I think it is important to try to discern this, rather than just seeing everything as acting in bad faith, which I think is a cop-out that a lot of otherwise intelligent people engage in. But Trump…. I do find it hard to see, because everything he does is so entwined with his delusory self-regard. It is as though the Fates said this system needs shaking up, and we’ll use this guy, this is what he’s good for.

In the UK we have Boris Johnson, another Gemini. His behaviour over the EU referendum was classic Gemini. He couldn’t make up his mind until the last minute whether to back the Leave or Remain campaign. In the end he led the Leave campaign, in opposition to the Prime Minister. He told a whopper about using the money we’d save to fund the NHS. Like a good Gemini, he is now well-known for this piece of exaggeration. How much of all this is just manoeuvring for power on Johnson’s part, and how much what he genuinely thinks, is hard to say. Maybe we shall never know, maybe he doesn’t know himself.

But manoeuvring for power is what he does. He has Moon in Scorpio. The Moon is often hidden, and Scorpio of course can love to manoeuvre for power.

BORIS JOHNSON
BUT Boris Johnson has Sun in Gemini conjunct North Node and MC in Cancer. So maybe he really does want to improve the NHS. The other day he spoke out of turn, asking for more money for the Health Service. He is starting to have a history with the NHS.
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At any rate, the EU referendum has shaken up the UK, there is no doubt about that, and Gemini Boris played a part in that. As did Sun-Mercury-Venus in Gemini Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader, who was a lukewarm Remainer, which isn’t how leaders are supposed to act: they are supposed to take one side and back it.

Something else Boris does is put his foot in it by speaking the truth. Which, as the country’s head diplomat, is an interesting quality. About a year ago, he said that Saudi Arabia was involved in proxy wars in the region. Everyone knows this, but no-one will say it. Furthermore, the UK was in the process of concluding a major arms deal with Saudi Arabia. So it really was NOT the thing to say. Maybe because it was Boris and he is, in a way, not taken seriously, it was smoothed over and the deal proceeded. But credit to Boris, IMO.

And then there is the British woman who has been imprisoned in Iran on charges of political subversion. She is a mother with young children back in the UK, and claims she was just in holiday. Step in Boris to help: he says that she was merely in Iran to ‘train journalists’. Of course, this set her case back, for it was used by the authorities as a means of confirming their suspicions. And Boris was widely condemned. What no-one is saying is that she probably WAS in the country for that reason, and Boris said it. Stupidly, and I won’t give him credit for that.

Uranus is starting to oppose Boris’ Moon at 0.35 Scorpio. And his Moon rules both his MC and his North Node. So I think we can expect to see continuing twists and turns in the Boris story this year, and I think they will include that manoeuvring for power that seems so obvious in him. And which he can get away with because Theresa May’s position is so weak.


I was prompted to write this piece because of a news item this morning: “Boris Johnson 'is descendant' of mummified Basel woman” http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-42805485  

A mummified woman was found 10 years ago in Basel, and she turns out to be Boris’ great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandmother. It doesn’t get more bizarre than this. It could only happen to Boris. And it is something to do with being Gemini that attracts this sort of event to him.

His ancestor died of mercury poisoning, given as a treatment for syphilis. She got syphilis because she looked after people with syphilis. Yeah, right. If Boris is anything to go by, her husband was a philanderer, and that's why she got syphilis.