Monday, October 30, 2023


Scorpio is the sign presiding over the current Middle East conflict, suggesting a side to it that is hidden. An obvious place to look is Iran. I am thinking of an unspoken nuclear threat from Israel.

Some technicalities. Natally: Iran's Moon in Gemini is on the 'nuclear axis', as it is known, of the chart for the 1st nuclear chain reaction. Its Uranus at 20 Scorpio is 1/2 a degree off the nuclear Mars. 

By transit: The lunar eclipse of 28th Oct was on Iran's Chiron/MC. The New Moon of 13th November has Sun, Moon and Mars all on Iran's Uranus/the nuclear Mars, and on the MC too in Tel Aviv, while the MC in Tehran will be on the nuclear axis. All opposite transiting Uranus, giving Iran a Uranus opposition, a mid-life crisis, in which this New Moon will be a key point.

We know that Iran is implicated in this conflict. Trump warned Biden some time ago not to unfreeze $6bn of Iranian funds, because they would use it for terrorism. I know a lot of people cannot accept that Trump can be right about anything, but that is their own wilful blindness. We are seeing the results of Biden ignoring Trump's advice right now.

This Scorpionic war is about survival for Israel, Mars in Scorpio being defensive rather than offensive. The bogeyman behind the war, Iran, denies Israel's right to exist. I don't think Israel would hesitate to use nuclear weapons to take out Iran's deep underground nuclear facilities if it felt there was an imminent likelihood of them having nuclear weapons.

I am not concerned that there will be major escalation of this conflict. What can anyone in the region do against Israel backed by the US? Iran would be obliterated, and knows it, and the astrology suggests a nuclear dimension to that awareness.

There is another chart for Iran, the symbolic founding of the Islamic republic, based on when Khomeini returned from exile on Feb 1 1979. It similarly has a Uranus opposition, but here Uranus rules the Aquarian Sun, enlarging its scope. And in the next few years, Neptune will hard-aspect all its Angles.

So even though there are gruelling Scorpionic times to go through in the short-term, I am hopeful that it will lead to long-term change in Iran, as its Aquarian religious fundamentalism is shaken by Uranus, and its incarnation through the Angles is dissolved by Neptune.

After that, maybe, the Abraham accords, which began under Trump as a way of normalising Israel's relations with the Arab world, can be revived. They were low-hanging fruit waiting to be picked, and Biden ignored them, because they were Trump's achievement. By enabling this war, which was always going to be hopeless for Hamas, Iran has achieved the wider objective of halting, for now, any possible return to these accords.

Saturn will go Direct on Sat 4th Nov, after 5 months in retreat. You can probably feel it already. It is time to begin incarnating those nebulous Saturn in Pisces dreams, step by steady step, for that is Saturn's way. You don't have to know the goal, just the next step. Things are starting to become concrete, you know where you stand, what you want. Trust (Pisces) in whatever is or is not (Saturn).
The chart below is for the day that Darwin's On the Origin of Species was published. It tells us something important about the theory of Evolution, for the Sun was in Sagittarius: namely that this theory is a belief (Sag) rather than a fact (Gemini). The Sun is opposite Uranus in Gemini, showing the ground-breaking nature of the theory, but also the presence of a trickster in the form of reason. 

The word 'fact' is nowadays used to give authority to scientific beliefs, in the same way that 'God' or 'the Bible' was used as authority for religious beliefs in the middle ages. But what is the world apart from our collection of beliefs and interpretations about it, as created by the brain, itself an artefact of our perception? As astrologers, we use sky stories, and they work. That is good enough for us. And it should be enough for science that science works. 
The bigger astrological theme around this state of affairs is the 490 year Neptune-Pluto cycle, the presiding influence, the context for all other astrological considerations. The last conjunction, in 1891, was in Gemini, as was the one before it. So we live in a Gemini Age: an age of facts. It is hard, by definition, for us to see collectively the shadow of that, which is the opposite sign of Sagittarius. 
Have you noticed how upset and angry people can get if you question eg the climate crisis narrative? It shows that they feel their belief system to be under attack. This does not make them right or wrong about climate. It is that it has become a belief that tells them who they are, that I am pointing out. It is the Sagittarius shadow of their Gemini scientific facts. 
Returning to the theme of Evolution, it has to be said that it is a good story and a useful story. But its mechanism is a mathematical impossibility. It is like the monkey at the typewriter producing Shakespeare. Life has such a complexity at the cellular level that it could not have happened in the time available. (Watch mathematician David Berlinski on this) So around the story of Evolution remains the bigger mystery of life and its origins. 

There is nothing wrong with beliefs. We need them. The point is to be conscious of them, to choose them. Don't treat them as ultimate statements about the universe. Then you will have Sag and Gemini in balance: you will have accomplished the astrological task of our age. 
The collective can't help but have beliefs that are to an extent rigid. Our job is not to buy into that, but dance around them. As astrologers, our task is Uranian: to be the skilful trickster who can open up other, softer and more whole ways of seeing, without provoking a reaction.
The Uranus-Pluto conjunction in Virgo of the 1960s is as good a place as any, astrologically, to trace the beginnings of modern environmentalism. There is the deep feminine, as found in the cycles of the natural world, Virgo as nature goddess: she gives us the power to live, and that is Pluto. It is Virgoan nature, which is seen as pristine, fragile and in need of our protection, rather than nature red in tooth and claw, which is more like Scorpio.

Then there is the counter-cultural rebellion aspect, which is Uranus, that often brings its own anti-authority, anti-technology, anti-capitalist and even anti-humanity undercurrents, that has little to do with environmentalism, but uses it.

And there is the hair-shirt aspect of Virgo, which understands sufficiency and the inner joy to be found in moderation, but can go too far in her renunciation of the world: we see this at its most extreme in the reckless 'Just Stop Oil' attitude. The shadow of Virgo is compassionate Pisces, which would not be denying western levels of prosperity to Africa, by restricting their use of oil, as has been the case for many years now.

The apocalyptic thinking around the environment is very Uranus-Pluto also: a disaster (Uranus) that threatens our survival (Pluto).

The environmental movement is a complex thing; it is like a religion in many ways, and I think a lot of it can be unpacked using this 1960s conjunction.

Thursday, October 26, 2023


I've recently created a video course for Watkins Books, as a companion to my book The Medicine Wheel. There are 11 sessions, and I had a fun time doing it: it brings something out in me that writing alone cannot. I think you'll find my style engaging - it's more enthusiastic fireside chat than polished talking head 🤣 
The intro is free and the link to that is here
The course itself can be found here 

Here is the New Moon chart for 13th November, set for Tel Aviv. You don't need to know much astrology to see that it's pretty powerful. Sun-Moon-Mars in Scorpio, on the Midheaven. It is, however, easy to get down on Scorpio, and think this chart has to be pretty horrible, and what a nasty country Israel is. It probably will be horrible in many ways, but for a Scorpionic reason: Israel is attempting to ensure her long-term survival, which is a Scorpio issue. If this line-up were in Aries, I would say it is a war of conquest. But in Scorpio, it is defensive.

The line-up is opposite the Israeli Sun at 23.39 Taurus, so there is a national renewal, a re-setting of goals. Uranus is opposite the Sun-Moon-Mars, so it is impossible to predict how Israel will go about reaching its goals. But reach them she will, by whatever means necessary. It is a one-way fight, so as painful as it is likely to be, it could be a lot worse. This chart does not concern gratuitous violence: just whatever is necessary so that Israel cannot be attacked in the same way again. She is looking with an unwavering Medusa eye to this end. And she probably has the international backing to do so.

This is not about fairness or justice or morality. This is about survival, quite a different thing. It is Pluto's realm, that is not human. By the same token, the New Moon will be in pretty much the same place above Gaza: in their case, it signifies the pulverising and dismemberment that is also Scorpio territory. What will be left to rise from the ashes is, at this stage, imponderable.

The Full Moon this weekend is an eclipse. So pay attention to the Taurus-Scorpio axis: do you need to lighten up from your dark broodings, and enjoy the pleasures of the senses and the natural world? Or are you consumed by everyday life as a way of avoiding your demons, and your deeper, more demanding gifts?
We are in Scorpio season, and Halloween aproaches. This is when, we are told, the veil between the worlds is thin. If the veil wasn't originally thin on Oct 31st, it is now, through the power of repeated ceremony.

Scorpio is comfortable with death and blood and guts and transgressive behaviour, because she understands they are just part of life. She understands that there is in reality no veil between the worlds. Life and death are one. Death is completely normal, no-one even notices it, from the point of view of death. Or so I was shown in a dream a while back, where death was happening by the thousands every moment. "It is as natural to die as to be born", said the philosopher Francis Bacon.

So keep doing those things that give meaning to your life, while you have the time. If you do that, you will have nothing to regret. Just remember to have that coin in your mouth to pay the ferryman.

Mercury will be in an applying conjunction with Mars in Scorpio until 29th October. Time to speak truthfully and directly all those things that need saying, but which get put to one side because they are inconvenient, or because you want people to like you. This is about the truth you see directly, that you know in your viscera. The force of that will prevail against those who can usually dance around you with words and logic.
Behind Venus, through which a man is attracted to a woman, lies the Moon, the mother figure that he seeks, who he imagines will take care of his emotional needs. And behind Mars, through which a woman is attracted to a man, lies the Sun, the father figure that she seeks, who she hopes will provide protection and financial security. Of course, this is schematic, and it's never that simple. It is generally unacknowledged, or it would kill the romance. And it may be necessary, it is not 'bad'. It is normal, it is where the idea of the 'other half' comes from.

A relationship begins in the 7th House, and then moves to the 8th House, the House of Sex and Intimacy, which catalyses our unconscious longings. You may find yourself there for many years, before you move into the clear light, the wisdom of the 9th. If indeed you make that shift. And you will probably find yourself on your own if you do.


Wednesday, October 18, 2023


Here is a link to me talking with the Aquarius Severn Astrology group earlier this month. I had a good time, I always do when I talk Astrology. 



Mars in Libra is responsive rather than offensive, and it was in Libra in Israel's 1st House when Hamas attacked last week. With natal Libra Rising, this militarily responsive position generally characterises Israel. Though when it does respond, it has a mighty Mars in Leo trine Jupiter in Sag with which to do so. 

Mars has since moved into Scorpio, the other sign, along with Aries, that this planet rules. In Aries, Mars is offensive, in Scorpio defensive. Israel is now involved in an operation to secure its borders. Scorpio isn't always pretty. An animal or a human defending itself is at its most savage, for its survival is being threatened. I am not justifying what Israel might or might not do in Gaza: I am just trying to give an astrological picture of her motivations. 'RealAstrology'.
Who am I to criticise anyone's crazy beliefs, when I'm an astrologer, for heaven's sake? But I think astrology does for that reason teach us to hang loose to all beliefs, especially those rigid ones that ironically stop our vast collectives from going completely insane. It used to be religious beliefs, nowadays scientific and political beliefs are used in the same rigid way.

We don't really know anything about the important stuff, like where the universe came from, who we are and why we're here, how life started..... we console ourselves with the idea that science will one day tell us, or maybe God is the one who has the answers.
Embracing the uncertainty is the way to go. But that isn't an intellectual position. It's about spending years doing the spade work so that you can tolerate yourself. Then there becomes no need to cling convulsively to those collective beliefs and the massive sense of authority behind them. It becomes natural to be open and fluid. And here's a thing: it means you can afford to think honestly and logically, because you no longer have anything to lose by doing so.
Pluto is now moving forward. If you are having a transit from him, anything you have begun recently that has not died is likely to have a long life, for it has deep roots that go all the way down to the underworld source of new life.

Why have astrologers designated Scorpio to be the bad guy of the zodiac? I think it is because we are afraid of visceral engagement, of those demons that the medieval Church said astrologers summoned. We keep our craft safely cerebral, to which it readily lends itself. Scorpios are the scapegoats. If it wasn't Scorpio, we would find some other sign to carry the shadow for us, because we are fallible human beings. Virgo gets a bit of a bad press too, we project our coldness onto them. Below is Holman Hunt's painting The Scapegoat.

There is no place for moral judgements in astrology based on the chart alone. It does not contain that sort of information. It is our job as astrologers to cultivate sufficient self-awareness that we can withdraw these projections, because the collective at large isn't about to. That is why people come to us: because we offer them something outside their usual prejudices. Of course, some come just to have them confirmed, and you can probably make more money as that sort of astrologer.
Maybe traditional astrologers need to be held to account on this score, for perpetuating the myth of good and bad placements. It is psychologically primitive.

How much of the Venus journey involves finding that your soul partner isn't that after all?

'Grim' Greta Thunberg, the pony girl of the apocalypse, has been arrested again at a protest. We don't hear so much of her nowadays, but she is still protesting about climate and fossil fuels. We do not know her time of birth, but Pluto is currently conjoining her Mercury - her mind - at 27-28 Capricorn. And how does her mind work? She has Aspergers, which lends itself to literal-mindedness. You can see how Capricorn, which is practical and serious, could describe Aspergers. The adults told her the world was in danger from a human-made climate apocalypse, she believed them and chose to try to stop it. Religious leaders fawned over her, and world leaders talked respectfully of her, but ignored what she told them they must do. Bad adults. Her thinking, like that of a child, is black and white. And has got stuck there.

She first began campaigning as a way out of the depression caused by what the adults had told her. (My son told me very early on not to talk to him about global warming. It was scary, and too much. I still feel sorry I did that.) So Pluto on her Mercury is changing how Greta thinks. Will she become obsessional? Probably. Will she have some kind of breakdown and stop campaigning? With any luck yes, if only for her own long-term mental health. When Greta began her campaigning by skipping school on 20 August 2018, Pluto was somewhere in the vicinity of her Moon, and the Moon was conjoining her Pluto that day. A double Moon-Pluto message. The signs were Sagittarius (religious belief, righteousness) and Capricorn (a heavy weight on young shoulders). And a betrayal (Pluto) of her childhood (Moon.)
I think an honest position on climate has to include a degree of agnosticism. It is such a complex field with, inevitably, so many different arguments. The one thing I will confidently assert, is that if I am told there is a 97% consensus about anything, anywhere, I will not believe it: it is not how humans work. It only happens when dictators run 'democratic' elections: the 3% is for a show of credibility.
I have a sneaking suspicion that global warming might turn out to be overall a good thing. But I won't insist on it: even saying it sometimes provokes a big negative reaction. 
What Greta shows us, I think, is that we need to be careful not to give messages of despair to the younger generation. It is the opposite of our adult responsibility to children, our duty of care.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023



 In 2024 Neptune will begin a series of 5 hard aspects to the Angles of the EU (1958) chart. At the same time, Pluto will begin a series of 5 squares to the EU (1993) chart. Big change is on the way, though it is likely to be slow, as is the way with large institutions.

The 1958 chart is the for EEC, whose emphasis was economic: this is expressed in 8th House Moon in Taurus: the shared (8th) wealth (Taurus) of its member countries (Moon).

The 1993 chart arose out of the ratification of the Maastricht Treaty, which began the process of political union.

An ex-EU President expressed the view some years ago that the EU had lost its mojo. Many of us can probably remember the heady years of Jacques Delors, driving through change, a time of soaring ambition.

The EEC Angles have shown themselves to be sensitive to transits: Pluto’s hard-aspecting of them in 2008 triggered the Greek debt crisis the following year, the EU’s first major crisis. So the coming transit from Neptune could involve crises along the way. They are likely to start from without (Neptune on the Desc). The 2008 Pluto transit was on the IC, and it was very much an internal financial stability crisis.

Germany, the driver of the EU, has been drifting. Its Green energy policy has backfired, due to its naïve reliance on Russian gas, and it has been forced to use coal again. It may be the end of its liberal “let’s be nice to Russia” and “let’s allow in as many refugees as want to come era.” Most significantly, its business base is being undercut by China. Neptune on the Desc of the EEC chart next year could therefore signify the imposition of trade barriers with China, to a level comparable to the US. Germany has Pluto coming up to conjoin its Desc/NNode in the next few years, which has a similar message.

So economic renewal, with a protectionist flavour, is a likely outcome of the Neptune transit to the EEC chart. The transit will conclude in Jan 2026 with a Saturn-Neptune conjunction at 1 Aries, a new vision. There may be drift until then, but this conjunction unmistakeably speaks of action, perhaps driven by events. Much as the Saturn-Pluto conjunction of 2020 caused huge event-driven change, as Covid spread. The outer planets on their own can be an inner alchemy, change-in-waiting, but Saturn forces outcomes.

What of the political union? What stands out for me in this chart in the unaspected Sun in Scorpio in the 4th. The leadership is hidden, it does not communicate itself. This is observable. Which of us has ever known much about the leaders? The goals too are hidden: we all know about ‘ever-closer union’, but what that means has never been made explicit. Perhaps the most visible result of this inability to connect has been Brexit. The EU really needs to learn from that if it wants to thrive as a political union. Why should people want their respective countries to cede more and more power to a body they have little personal connection with, and does not say what its ultimate goals are? It is not how democracy works. And rightly so.

The sign of Scorpio, along with the unaspectedness of the Sun, suggests an arrogant hanging onto power for its own sake.

Pluto first squares the EU MC (the governing bodies), and then moves on to square the EU Sun (the leadership itself and its goals) in about 4 years time. I think the current power base will come apart, driven by the democratic urge of Pluto in Aquarius. Who knows how the EU will reshape itself? Political union has always seemed somewhat improbable to me, given how culturally different the member countries are. Look at the US and its very similar states, which only united by a whisker in 1776. Certainly the free trade area will be maintained, because that is a win for everybody. The forward drive to political union has been gone for some years now. It seems unlikely to be revived. A slow death is in that case perfectly possible, even likely. If you're not going forwards, you are going backwards. Maybe even the Euro, which benefits Germany at the expense of the less prosperous members, will also go. 

All of which could well lead to an application from the UK to rejoin 😊 Neptune will start hard-aspecting the UK Sun and Angles in just a few years: I reckon there could be political rumblings around this from 2026 onwards, driven by a Labour government.



Venus has recently entered Virgo. In traditional astrology it's not so good, she is in her fall. But if you know how to work these things - and it can take a bit of self-knowledge to do so - there is bounty to be had. In this case, it is the inner joy to be found when we stop reaching after sense pleasures. It is not a negative, anything but. The joy has the form of a nature goddess. Or, if you like, a renaissance virgin mary. Venus' love here is for both nature and the divine.
Pluto is stationing, at the end of a period in which it has hard-aspected all of Israel's Angles. Mars has been in an applying square to Pluto as the country has come under attack. In recent years, the country has become a regional superpower, both militarily and economically, due to the free-market reforms of its leader Netanyahu. The Pluto transits to all 4 Angles tell us that the country is being slowly re-born in fundamental ways. We can therefore expect a far-reaching military response against the Palestinians, that does not allow for a return to the previous status quo. 

Mars is currently transiting Israel's first house: not a judicious time to attack her. Watch Israel go from strength to strength in the coming years as Pluto goes on to oppose natal Moon, Pluto and Saturn. This is not to support or condemn Israel: it is simply an attempt at Realastrology.
Mars will shortly enter Scorpio. With this placement natally, you may be like Clark Kent: you bimble around, seemingly unmotivated in your day-to-day life. And then a life or death situation arises, a dog falls in the river, and you are the one who dives in to save it. 

Mars will be in Scorpio until late November. It is a time to put yourself in harm's way, or rescue others from harm's way.
Outer planet transits are initiations. It is time for something new to be born, which belongs not to us, but to the universe. We are not alone, we are not autonomous, and nothing is personal. We live our lives in solidarity with the greater reality, with all-that-is. Neptune will drown and madden you, Pluto will abduct and dismember you. And it can go on for years.

Afterwards you will feel thankful through gritted teeth, for you would never have wished all that on yourself. But it's not about what we want. It's about what we
have to do. That gives meaning, though not necessarily happiness. It is meaning we get out of bed for.
Astrology has ancient egregore, the power that builds over time from collective use. It is the power of tradition. That is why astrology works even formalistically, when you just follow the rules of interpretation. You are benefitting from the egregore. You contribute to the egregore when you use the rules imaginatively, when you work them so that meaning appears to you from within.
Aquarius is the archetype of the noble human. They may chunter on in a detached, rational way, but don't be misled: there is a deep soulfulness behind it. It is the water they bear.
Astrology began with the primordial instinct that we are part of heaven and earth, which can show us who we are and how to live. Don't take astrology literally. Dance lightly around its extensive formal knowledge. Learn as much of it as you need, but don't think that makes you an astrologer. The work comes in digging for concrete meaning within the symbols. That is the creative part, that changes you and enchants the universe for your client. 

Don't take anything literally, even the world itself. Dance around that too. It is real, and yet mind-created. Your precious self also, that you will fight tooth and claw to preserve. That isn't literal either, and in hanging loose to that, you open yourself to the universe. And that is what astrology is there to teach us.
We betray ourselves. Somewhere we know we are ignoring a voice, and eventually it destroys us: and then slowly we learn to listen, and we will never not listen again. It is the voice that matters most, the inner guide that will never let us down. We become like the Ancient Mariner.

The Air signs are the only ones that do not have animal symbols. Two of them have humans - Gemini and Aquarius - while Libra has a thing: a pair of scales. What this most strongly suggests is that in the Air signs we move away from animal instinct and gain the ability to reflect. And that is both a strength and a weakness. The perfect example of the latter is the disenchanted universe that modern science has created, in which matter is dead. Early humans knew this was not the case, because the animal in them, which has direct knowledge, told them so.
Air gives us the ability to be at our most diabolical, and our most deeply human, in a way that animals cannot be. Air gives the ability to stand back and weigh up moral as well practical choices. People find it incredibly difficult to step back from their beliefs and examine them, as any argument shows. But that ability is also what makes us most distinctively human. 

Honesty and humility are the moral qualities we need when using Air to gain wisdom. Typically, we misuse that Element in order to to rationalise, to justify what it is we want to believe and to do. And we don't even know we're doing it most of the time.
The Elements go in a cycle: Fire, Earth, Air and Water, which repeats 3 times as we circle the zodiac. Fire is the first spark of life, the new vision, that is then embodied, incarnated in Earth. Then in Air we cast our eye at the world around us and consider it. That perspective then needs integrating with the animal, so everything dissolves back into Water, out of which a new being, carrying the wisdom of the previous cycle, can be born.