Tuesday, March 30, 2021


The vaccine crisis may prove to be the beginning of the end for the EU in its current form. The UK's departure was a body-blow, though the EU put on a brave face and continued as before. But the vaccine fiasco has revealed the EU to be neither fish nor fowl: neither centralised enough to respond effectively to a crisis, nor loose enough in its federation that individual states could respond in a timely way. Ideals of unity stood in the way of practicality. Jean-Claude Juncker, the last President of the Commission, said some time ago that the EU had lost its libido. Remember the driving ambition of Jacques Delors? All that seems a long time ago.

The chart for the EU as an organisation - the EEC - has mutable Angles, which is not traditionally a time to start something that will last. The characteristic of mutability is adaptativeness, allowing something to dissolve so that the new can arise. In 3 years' time Neptune will hard aspect these Angles. This could point to either a dissolution, or to an increased level of union. Pluto crossing these Angles in the late noughties corresponded to the fiscal crsis and the Greek bailout, when the EU was forced by circumstances to act centrally in a way that it hadn't before. So Neptune's transit will be round two. It is the lack of driving ambition which suggests to me that this transit is more likely to involve an unravelling, as member states look out for themselves, rather than a greater degree of union.

And what is the EU for its member states? In the same way that the Moon in a mundane chart describes the people of a country, we can read the Moon in the EU chart as its member states, as well as the peoples: this Moon says shared (8th House) wealth (Taurus). From the point of view of its peoples, then, the EU is primarily about prosperity. As for the idealism, when someone talks like that about themselves, I am a bit skeptical, and no less so in a political context. The EU, via its free trade zone, has the prosperity it needs, why does it need to do more than that? Uranus has been conjoining the EU Moon, describing the separation (Uranus) of the UK from the union.

The EU was founded as a means of ending wars involving primarily France and Germany, the main continental aggressors of the past 200 years. Fair enough, but that prospect seems to have well and truly faded, particularly with Germany, the new kid on the block, and insecure as a country, having fully established itself. This is maybe why the 'libido' has evaporated, because it was fear-driven in the first place (albeit articulated in terms of lofty ideals,) 

This fear-based libido is perhaps expressed by the natal square from Mars in Sag to Pluto. When the Euro was introduced in the mid to late nineties, Pluto was conjoining this natal Mars. It gradually became clear that monetary union could not be fully achieved without further political union - specifically, centralised control over national budgets. And this has not happened. Political unification has ground to a halt. Maybe Neptune's square to natal Mars, around 2014, was when the loss of drive, even loss of faith (Sag) was occurring.

When the vaccine crisis broke in late January, the EU Progressed Moon was almost exactly conjunct its Progressed MC in Virgo. When the UK delivered its 1st vaccine last December, transiting Moon was in Virgo conjunct the MC in Virgo, which is a fascinating correspondence. It makes you realise that astrology works. Virgo is a sign of healing, which is the intention of the vaccine. It also raises issues of service (Virgo) to the people (Moon) in a very public way (MC). Does the EU serve its people? Maybe the shift in Prog MC from Leo to Virgo in the last few years is creating a change in emphasis as to the function of the EU. Away from ideals about itself (Leo) to practicalities of service (Virgo.) And it has been found wanting. But it is also, maybe, a coming down to earth after 30 years in Leo.

Thursday, January 28, 2021


The last time the US had a Neptune opposition (Sibly Chart) was in the late 1850s, in the run-up to the Civil War. The natal square from Neptune to Mars goes some way to explaining why the country gets so polarised under this transit. Under the last opposition, the issue involved the redemption (Neptune) of the slaves and, with it, the soul of the country. This time Donald Trump is, for many, the Redeemer (he currently has Neptune squaring both his Sun and Moon), while for others he is the Scapegoat (another Neptunian theme) - and I am not saying he is not a good hook for everything we disapprove of in America, but a hook nonetheless. The US is also coming up to a Chiron Return, a healing theme as well as a scapegoat theme. When the US Civil War began, the Prog US Asc was at 16 Pisces. Currently, the Prog US Sun is at 16 Pisces. Pisces is ruled by Neptune.

One way of describing a Neptune transit is loss and renewal of self, and the US has done this on both occasions of the opposition through polarising initially, though we have yet to see a current renewal. Don't underestimate the strength of feeling, the anger, in the US at present over the 'stealing' of the election, deluded as it may be (tr Neptune square natal Mars). But we are not talking reason, we are talking religious experience/belief (natal 9th House Neptune opp tr Neptune, Prog Jupiter opp Prog Pluto), which is not amenable to reason.

The Neptune opposition has a while to run and so, I am sure, will the consequences of the 'stolen' election run on. It provides part of the context for the US Pluto Return in 2022, which will complete a cycle of American economic power, turbocharged in the late 1930s under the Pluto opposition as the US emerged from the Great Depression and came to dominate the world via WWII. This time the US will be gradually ceding economic dominance to China, raising questions of its economic power-based identity (2nd House natal Pluto). The deeper anxieties expressed by the current Neptunian polarisation perhaps prefigure the power/identity issues that will be raised by the Pluto Return. Who are you when you only know how to be the winner: the theme for Trump right now, and for the US in the near future.


We are coming to the end of Pluto in Capricorn. What has it been about? Many things, I am sure. Its immediate effect was a reality check (Capricorn) in 2008 for the wild-west of the deregulated financial system. This resulted in western governments borrowing huge amounts to prop up the banks and avoid a second Great Depression, which occurred in the 1930s because the banks had been allowed to fail.

Now as Pluto inches towards Aquarius, and intensified by the conjunction with Capricorn's ruler Saturn, we find governments again borrowing huge amounts to keep the economy going, because of the Covid lockdowns. Now this is something none of us could have easily foreseen, although most astrologers probably knew something big was on its way at the start of 2020.

One way (amongst many) of looking at Pluto in Capricorn is that Capricorn is a sign of structures and responsible governance. Its weakness is that it thinks it can come to control everything. Pluto at both ends of the sign has given us crises of government, in which all the stops have been pulled out to bring things back under control. And left us with huge amounts of debt.

Maybe Pluto is showing us the limits of the power (Pluto) of government (Capricorn). The reason governments try to keep things under control is not just for the survival and thriving of the people; the people also feel psychologically insecure if there seems to be no-one sufficiently in control and there is not enough certainty.

This was part of the function of the Catholic Church in the Middle Ages: the enforcement of collective certainties. And interestingly, the Church began to be shaken at its foundations in 1517, at the last conjunction of Saturn and Pluto in Capricorn, when Martin Luther began the Protestant Reformation. The collective certainties began to crumble, and people were thrown back on their own relationship with God.

A rise in Conspiracy theory has marked the Covid lockdowns of the current Saturn-Pluto conjunction: the "wake up sheeple" people. (Such theories also marked the aftermath of 9/11.) These theories arise more intensely when government is no longer seen to be in control, and does not provide the certainties that we normally expect. (NB I see government as the expression of the collective psyche: it is ours, rather than something imposed.)

Conspiracy theory re-asserts a sense of certainty by attributing events to a dark agency that is 'really' controlling events. Mere facts do not play much part in these fantasies (nor did they in the religious fantasies of the medieval church).

Conspiracy theory helps us understand the psychological impact of the Covid lockdowns. And points us to one of the meanings of Pluto's passage through Capricorn, exemplified at the start and the end: that governments can only control events to a certain degree, and beyond that they are, in a big way, not in control. That we are responsible individually, that we are free, and do not need to orient ourselves through our subscription to collective values, whether ‘official’ or those of conspiracy.

Capricorn is a sign that is grounded in earthy, ‘mundane’ realities. The Native American who said “Don’t tell me about your visions unless they grow corn,” was probably a Capricorn. But the deeper meaning of Capricorn lies in the freedom to be found once we can hang loose to the structures, and not treat them as ultimate realities. This is how Capricorn grows into its adjacent sign of Aquarius. Capricorn sees through the dream of this earthly reality and into the spirit behind it. This is the power of Capricorn that Pluto is showing us: once you do not take material reality as ultimate, you are free to use it and even control it. Capricorn is a sign of the Magician.

Meanwhile western governments are left staggering under huge piles of debt. Who knows what the outcome of this will be. But it is hard to be fully in control of events in these circumstances. That seems to be where Pluto in Capricorn is leaving us: without the steady certainties that both re-assure and trap us. But hopefully with an insight into the inherent limitations of government and collectives generally, and our freedom to know who we are outside of that.

Monday, January 11, 2021


Jung observed about Nazi Germany that the country was in the grip of a psychosis. A psychosis occurs when you lose touch with ordinary reality, and believe things that are not true. Such as the idea that the Jews were responsible for Germany's ills. Or that the recent US Presidential election was fraudulent and stolen from the rightful winner, Donald Trump. 
It is not just outright crazies like the iconic Jake Angeli who choose to believe that the election was stolen. (He also believes. amongst other things, that banks have created secret bunkers in which they are building infinite-energy technology.) There are plenty of ordinary Americans who believe this too, out of the 74 million (the 2nd highest in history) who voted for Trump. 

It is not even a stance with some evidence for it. It has been shown repeatedly that there is none, and this is why I am calling it a collective psychosis, and it is dangerous. This is as Neptune squares Donald Trump's Sun and Moon: he is the Redeemer, spreading his own delusions among a willing collective. In the years immediately before his rise to power, Hitler had Neptune trining his Sun and Moon. 
There seem to be plenty of people in Europe too who choose to believe that the election was stolen. I say 'choose' because I think it is right to continue to attribute agency to people, even though they get taken over by these things. The pressure of Covid seems to have pushed a lot of people in the direction of psychosis. There have of course been the waves of conspiracy theories flooding social media over the last year, which have no grounding in reality if you take the trouble to investigate properly. But I think the tendency to psychosis is visible in low-level ways too, such as when people choose to believe that politicians are lying or faking when they are not. This is very common, and also constitutes a loss of connection with reality, that is very different to having differing opinions about verifiable facts. 

The major event in the US Sibly chart over the next couple of years is its Pluto Return, with Neptune opposite Neptune coming in a close second. Between them they are heralding a new era for the US. In the chart, Pluto rules the 12th House of collective delusion. And natal Neptune in the 9th House can signify deluded beliefs. QED. Pluto is natally in the 2nd House of resources, so watch out for plenty of adjustment (for some) and paranoia (for others) around China and its relentless rise to economic supremacy. (Neptune hard aspecting the US Mars-Neptune square will contribute to this scenario, bringing in a military dimension.) As well as ongoing trouble from Trump and his followers, who are unlikely to go quietly. Trump's Gemini Sun conjoins the US Mars, which is why he was able to goad his followers into storming the Capitol, and will continue to goad them in provocative ways. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2020


Jupiter and Saturn were implicated in the start of the Covid crisis, so it is no surprise that we have been having another surge as these 2 planets conjoin. Because they didn't exactly conjoin previously, this surge may be considerably higher than last time. The surge will pass as the 2 planets gradually separate over the next month or two. The sign of the conjunction, Aquarius, points to the new technological solution - the vaccine - that has been created.

Jupiter and Saturn will both be squaring Uranus, the ruler of Aquarius, in the coming months. So amongst other things, we can expect more progress through technology: the environmental issue, and government measures around that, seem a fairly obvious outcome.

Saturn will be squaring Uranus into late 2022 - in a sense this square began in September 2020 when Saturn changed direction - so we are likely to see developments in government (Saturn) that are both 'progressive' and/or separational. So in the US a Democrat has been elected President, and in the UK Brexit is finally occurring, and in a better way than we might have expected. Watch for developments around Scotland and Northern Ireland pulling away from the UK. Maybe even the Welsh too. And the Cornish! And Hay-on-Wye 😂

Wednesday, December 16, 2020


Among the signs of the zodiac, Aquarius often carries a positive projection, just as Scorpio often carries a negative projection. The 1967 hit song Aquarius/Let the Sun Shine In includes the lines: 

Then peace will guide the planets 
And love will steer the stars 
This is the dawning of the age of Aquarius...
Harmony and understanding 
Sympathy and trust abounding 
No more falsehoods or derisions 
Golden living dreams of visions
Maybe it is not such a bad thing to have these hopes, illusory as they no doubt are. In reality, our vast collectives keep buggering on in the same old unconscious way, with a different flavour from time to time.
The Age of Aquarius is a big deal. These ages only change every 2500 years or so, and no-one quite knows when we will back into this one from Pisces. Maybe the fact that we don't know, and that we are going backwards into it, is significant.

So I am saying all this because we are about to have a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction right at the start of Aquarius. This is also a big deal. Jupiter and Saturn used to be the outermost planets, before Uranus, Neptune and Pluto came along. In a sense, they still are, if we just mean planets visible to the naked eye. So with the advent of the outer planets, the meaning of Jupiter-Saturn acquires a tighter focus. The outer planets refer to factors beyond our control, to the deeper movements of the spirit. A human life that has depth involves an ongoing process of coming into relationship with these planets, and learning not to try to control them.
Jupiter and Saturn are, however, more under our control, inasmuch as these awesome gods ever can be. Maybe this cycle now shows where we humans are responsible for our destiny, the degree to which our problems and opportunities are man-made.
And this brings us slap-bang into the climate issue. Aquarius is a sign of the future (which is why we project our hopes onto the sign) and of humanity and technology and democracy. It is a 'progressive' sign (though that can be a politically loaded and subjective term itself.) 
Climate change does seem to have a large human-made component. To insist it is just human-made is a kind of inverted hubris, for which we should be punished 🤣 Whatever your views on it, it undeniably highlights our out-of-balance relationship to the natural world. 
So it seems very likely that this will be a theme of the coming Saturn-Jupiter cycle, as the US signs up again to the Paris Agreement, and the UK government announces a slew of environmental initiatives around housing, transport, farming and wind farms.
This will, however, be a collective at work. The movement towards a greener future is also likely to acquire rigidity and ideology. This is the shadow of the Air element. We saw it with the 1981 Saturn-Jupiter conjunction in Libra: the rise of free market ideology (with its increased propensity towards boom and bust, and rising inequality) and a heightened Cold War polarity and tension. With Saturn-Jupiter now in Air signs for the next 200 years, ideology may be a long-term theme.
So take off your rose-tinted Aquarian glasses! (If indeed you were wearing them in the first place.) The madness of collective humanity is not a place to put our hopes and our despairs. It is what it is. Whether it 'improves' over time is imponderable. It depends what you mean by improvement. 
As astrologers we can watch the collective and the way in which its themes and directions are reflected in the stars, and learn from that. But, to paraphrase Kipling: 
If you can meet with hope and despair 
And treat those two impostors just the same...
I think it is a kind of foolishness to place much hope in the collective or even in outcomes within our personal lives. Hope is something we can have for ourselves individually and within. Indeed we need to have it, a basic faith in ourselves and in our unfoldment. We humans are magnificent once we can step outside the collective illusions that give life a certain kind of security and certainty, and take ourselves seriously, look after that thing in ourselves that we are here to look after.
So this is Aquarius at its best: the sign of humanity in its magnificence, god-like. That is the injunction of the coming conjunction: have faith (Jupiter) in your god-like nature (Aquarius) and incarnate it (Saturn).

Tuesday, November 17, 2020


A while back both our PM and leader of the opposition were Geminis, as is Donald Trump. And it is interesting to look at them all from the point of view of their relationship to truth and lies.

Corbyn is rigorously truthful and reasonable, and he says what he thinks, even if it will cause problems. So he said he thought the anti-Semitic problem was exaggerated within the Labour Party, and that got him suspended from the Party. But I think he was probably just being truthful by his own lights.

Boris Johnson does both truth and lies, though the lies seem to have largely stopped since he became PM. But he has always also got in trouble for telling the truth. When he was Foreign Secretary, he said that the Saudis were funding proxy wars in the region. Which was true, but which no-one was saying, and it was diplomatically a blunder. And then yesterday he described Scottish devolution as a disaster. Again, this is truthful inasmuch as it is his real opinion. And it has been noticeable during the Covid crisis the lengths he has gone to communicate regularly to the nation what is going on and why, in a way that we don't usually see from PMs.

And then there is Trump, who is the sort of Gemini who will say anything that suits him, who has very little regard for the truth. Within that, he has as a businessman certain longstanding convictions about the US, which is why he was elected - conviction is appealing in a politician. Such as his concern about the trade imbalance with China and its unfair practices, which to his credit he took on, and which Obama never did.

The opposite sign to Gemini is Sagittarius. Gemini is facts and information, Sag is truth and belief. They can each be the shadow of the other. Which is why we need to find the opposite and balancing sign to our Sun in ourselves, or both will come out as shadow. And it is interesting the different forms it takes in each leader. A lot more could be said. But I'll just say one thing about Corbyn: I think Sagittarius is his shadow, inasmuch as he is guided by old-style socialist beliefs in quite a rigid way, beliefs that were tried out decades ago and left the country in a mess.

Wednesday, November 04, 2020


It looks like Joe Biden is going to win the Presidency. That was my personal preference, though I had predicted that Trump would win. Under normal circumstances, the strength of Trump's transits would decisively empower the re-election of a sitting President. Trump currently has Neptune squaring his Sun, Moon and Node, Nodal Return and Pluto starting to oppose Venus, ruler of his MC.

Biden, by contrast, just has the final stage of Neptune conjoining his IC and nothing major to come - it is like he is whispering in, and I think will be gone in a couple of years, as Uranus re-enters his House of Health and Saturn squares his Sun. His Vice-President Kamala Harris, who has some huge transits over the next few years, will take over.

So in that case, what do Trump's transits mean for him? I think there may be a clue in his announcement that major electoral fraud has taken place. My sense was that he really believes this, and I also do not think it is true. In other words, I think his Neptune transits are making him (even more) delusional. His grip on reality was never very strong. I think he may spend the rest of his life telling anyone who will listen that the election was stolen from him. It is the only way such a fragile guy can deal with what has happened. I think there has been something of a mental health issue all along, and it will now start to take over.

Wednesday, October 21, 2020


When people come to me for readings, there is usually some major transit going on, and that is why they have come, though they usually don't know that. And an important part of my job is talking about how to BE during that time of transit, and that is related to whether it is Uranus, Neptune or Pluto that is at work.

Whichever it is, the outer planets operate from outside of ordinary waking consciousness. They are not part of the conscious endowment that the inner planets represent and which we can get to know and use effectively. If you want to learn effectively, look at your Mercury to understand your particular way of learning. And so on.

However, our daily life with the inner planets can give us the illusion that we are in control of our lives. We are indeed in control, but only of the small daily picture. There are greater forces of the Spirit that sweep through us and sweep through humanity, and that is when people come to us for readings. These are times when the old no longer works, because it has had the life withdrawn from it by Pluto, or Neptune is showing us that what seemed so real is illusory, or trickster Uranus is upsetting those certainties to which we had anchored ourselves.

The only way forward is to tune into these greater forces for change and surrender to them, sense the alembic in which we are being slowly reduced to what is essential, the chrysalis in which we are being magically transformed, and to dwell in the not-knowingness of that. The not-knowing place, 'negative capability' as Keats put it, is difficult for us, for we like our certainties, but they are illusory. The outer planets show us this, they initiate us into what is real. And when we are tuned in to these deeper processes, sense and meaning can return to our lives, but not in a way that is obviously graspable. Being open is of itself meaningful.

And what is true of the individual can also be true of a collective, though whether the outcome has greater value than what came before is a moot point. And since the Saturn-Pluto conjunction of this January, the world has been plunged by the coronavirus into Pluto's Underworld. And there we remain. As is usual, Pluto leaves enough for the processes of daily life to continue in a limited way, but not much more than that. All else is in the alembic, the crucible, the chrysalis, being re-shaped. And as is also usual, this Underworld experience seems to drag on and on. It is not a time for most of us for moving forward and being outwardly creative. It is a time for sitting with what is, surrendering to what is, and feeling the possibilities of the new brewing slowly beneath the surface.

I can only speak for the UK, but we have been in this Underworld for a long time, ever since the Brexit referendum in 2016, whose outcome destroyed a major part of the identity of so many people – that of EU citizen – which is why the backlash was so strong. At that time Pluto was coming up to oppose the UK Moon, having hard -aspected our Sun, Angles and Node in the preceding years. Pluto doesn’t care about human values. He is not on the left or on the right. He is on the side of renewal, and that renewal and rebirth may not be something we find ourselves in agreement with!

So we have had the Underworlds of both Brexit and Covid. And our Charon the ferryman is Boris Johnson, who has Moon in Scorpio and was himself dunked into the river Styx by Covid, but who managed to clamber back on board. A guy who many of us cannot stand and do not trust. Maybe that is why Pluto chose Johnson. So maybe we need to look again.

I am writing this piece because ever since Saturn then Pluto started moving forward a few weeks ago, I have been feeling out of sorts. I was thinking maybe I need to see more actual people. Or maybe I need to do more. But I was OK a few weeks ago. And I am also thinking that Saturn and Pluto are now starting to move us out of this double Underworld, and I am feeling that. But we are also still in it. And when I remind myself of that, all seems OK again. I have learnt about being in the Underworld over the last 28 years.

So the Covid Underworld was catalysed by the Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn on Jan 12 this year. Saturn will move finally into Aquarius in mid-December, definitively away from Pluto, and I think we will look back and see that as the beginning of the end of the Covid crisis. Already the cracks in the lockdown are appearing, as not just Wales and Scotland, but the north of England start to go their own way. And this ties in nicely with a theme of Brexit, which is the fragmentation of the UK into its constituent parts. And the reunification of Ireland (which is strongly suggested in the 1922 UK chart relocated to Belfast.)

So for now, the astrological message seems to be that we will remain in the Covid Underworld for the next couple of months, so be patient, watch the horizon for those glimmers of the future, but do not strain towards them just yet. In December, not just Saturn but Jupiter too, which played its part at the start of Covid, will enter Aquarius and begin a new cycle for the world. It won’t be all at once, but we will be on our way out, at last. And for the UK, we will definitively be leaving the Brexit Underworld too.

Thursday, September 03, 2020

Saturn, Pluto and the Postponed Recession

At the end of September, Saturn will start to move forwards again, closely followed by Pluto. Jupiter will have gone direct a couple of weeks earlier. These 3 planets conjoined in January, and marked the beginning of the Covid crisis. So we will be entering a new phase in a month, and I think that will mark the transition to a recession proper. So far it has been held at bay by government furlough schemes and, probably, by the public spending much of the money it saved during lockdown.

By paying the wages of struggling businesses, governments are saving them from going bankrupt. But they can only do this for so long, and Covid shows no sign yet of going away. So I think the theme across the West this autumn will be the winding down of furloughs and subsidies, increasing numbers of businesses going under, and unemployment rising. The recession proper will have begun, as Saturn's forward motion in Capricorn brings a dose of realism to world economies.

The hardship for many that this will involve is the price we will be paying for the lives saved by lockdown. How much this has also been a postponement - of people dying from Covid later rather than sooner - remains to be seen, as does our view of the lockdown as it ends, and whether it was worth it. At present this discussion is hard to have because many people have been frightened into thinking of Covid as a deadly disease, rather than the nasty bug with a low mortality rate that it actually seems to be.

We have been trained to think of recessions as bad, and booms as good. But recessions reflect the natural need to go inward and reconsider and attend to our underlying values, after a period of outward expansion. In this way Saturn embodies natural law.  

The current recession began with lockdown, and has been given added transformative power by the presence of Pluto. This is no ordinary recession. Saturn-Pluto is a powerful transit that marks a transition from one era to another. It will be a different world that we will be waking up to at the end of this year, as Saturn finally moves into Aquarius and away from Pluto. The Saturn-Jupiter cycle, which begins anew in December, also marks the beginning of a new era.

So, come the new year, we will be thinking about life as before and after Covid. Already we see the huge boost that this has given to the big tech companies - Apple is now worth more than the top 100 UK  companies combined - while the High Street spirals downwards as people shop more online. Fear has stalked the land in a way not seen in Europe since WWII, and this will be burnt into the collective psyche for some time to come.

Political eras will come to an end, inevitably, as the world moves into its new phase. Merkel is on her way out anyway. It is hard to see Trump surviving with his consistent trailing in the polls, and the likelihood of the recession becoming more real between now and the US election. Is Boris Johnson part of the new order, or part of the old order? He has at least another 4 years in office - short of a resigning issue like Suez arising - and I think he is strategically too sure-footed for that, flawed as he is in the details of day-to-day management. Starmer is not a performer - a vital ingredient for political success - and Boris (like Blair before him) will have Neptune on his side in the coming years. So I think that Boris is part of the new order. 

The US will undergo its Pluto Return in 2022. This will be in its 2nd House (Sibly Chart). So expect a big psychic wobble about its place in the world, as China emerges from Covid hotter on America's heels than expected. What is it to be American if you are not No 1 in the world?