Sunday, December 31, 2023



Sun in Aquarius in the 10th House.

Going forward, this is a time for putting what you uniquely have to offer out into the world. It doesn't have to be noticed by a lot of people, it just needs to be out there. It is something different, that breaks up the rigid moulds that humanity usually creates around anything over time. If you are bothered by what other people might think, then consider that a warrior training: Aquarius is not a wallflower 😆



The Berlin Wall fell on 9 Nov 1989, 3 days before Saturn made his 3rd conjunction with Neptune in Capricorn: the dissolution (Neptune) of a wall (Saturn/Capricorn). Saturn makes stuff happen - transits involving him and Neptune or Pluto often bring world-changing events. It is not so much the event itself - a wall coming down, twin towers coming down - as the significance, the political implications. 4 years ago Saturn conjoined Pluto and Covid happened: not in fact the most major of diseases, but much of the world shut down in over-reaction, with huge economic and social consequences.

Saturn and Neptune will conjoin in just over 2 years. Who knows what this will bring? Most astrologers saw something big coming up at the start of 2020, with the Saturn-Pluto conjunction, but none of us could have guessed what it would be. Who foresaw Communism collapsing in 1989? (Actually Liz Greene got it pretty much right in her 1985 The Outer Planets and Their Transits.)

We have 3 years of paradigm shift in the world, as Pluto beds into Aquarius in 24-25, and then Saturn-Neptune takes over. And Uranus enters Gemini. All 3 collective planets changing sign.

Pluto in Aquarius is already bringing AI to the forefront. The first wave of AI was in the late 1700s, the Industrial Revolution, when complex machines first began to do our work for us. That was when Pluto was last in Aquarius. It was also the time of the American and French Revolutions. The power (Pluto) of the people (Aquarius). This time, we have the culture wars. Now it is not enough for the power of the people to be centre stage: it is the oppressed minorities who are being thrust centre stage. Those who think this has gone too far call it 'woke'. It is a battle that has been won by the 'woke' at many universities (we saw the black woman head of Harvard defending calls for Jewish genocide recently, in defence of Palestinians, and keeping her job), and it may rage in the wider culture in the years to come, as graduates become influential in the world.

Neptune, as ever, is harder to see. What has Neptune in Pisces brought with it? The dissolution of gender? The feeling that the end of the world is near through climate change?

OK, here is a stab at one meaning of Neptune in Aries: the end of apocalyptic thinking around climate-change. I will intrude my own opinion to say such thinking is silly: humanity has always been able to adapt to change, and we are now better at it than ever. So it is the apocalyptic mindset that will dissolve, as the power (Pluto) of our inventiveness (Aquarius) in relation to climate moves forward.

Saturn and Neptune in Aries very much suggests a new vision for humanity. The transit of Neptune through Pisces has produced collective madnesses that I think many of us have felt, from the over-reaction to Covid through to the extremes of wokeness and fears of climate armageddon. The teenage transgender epidemic - and tragedy - and Just Stop Oil are emblematic of the madnesses we have been living through.

As Pluto and Neptune change signs, I think we will begin to see these madnesses for what they are. Last time Neptune entered Aries was the time of the American Civil War, which brought a new vision for the country. There is a new vision brewing, it may have to be fought for (Aries), and its early stages will present themselves at the end of 2025/start of 2026 as Neptune and Saturn line up.
I'm not a great advertiser of myself. But I reckon I'm good at running workshops of many varieties. It's something I love to do. I've been at it for nearly 40 years in one way or another. In my youth it was Buddhism. After a major revamp that turned into Astrology, Tarot, Medicine Wheel, Journeying, Pipe Ceremonies, Sweatlodges, Trance Dances and just general chewing stuff over: maybe my favourite :) I prefer not to plan too much, and let things unfold in their own way.

The point of a teacher is to edge you in the direction of your own inner guidance. That is why I say cherish the things you don't agree with me about. If you've been in this group a while, I will almost certainly have said some things you don't agree with 🤣

I have 2 books as a sort of CV (pictures below), published by Moon Books in 2022. I'm not that inclined to set up workshops myself, but if you would like me to come and do something foran evening or a day or even a week, I will probably say yes, enthusiastically. Anywhere in the world! As long as I don't lose money on it. Happy to sleep in a tent. Or my van :)

Free Will is causality moving forward in time: what you do now bringing about an effect in the future. Fate is causality moving backwards in time: the future reaching out and bringing about an effect in the present. You can never be entirely sure how much is due to one, and how much is due to the other. Astrology takes place at the interface between these 2 causalities.

The chart above is for when I began writing my first book in 2021. It was not planned, one morning I just thought dammit, start. It is weighty, with all the Capricorn 10th. Before Christmas I signed a contract with an American publisher for my 3rd book, The Shapeshifters Trilogy, a shamanic fantasy in which those who can adopt animal form are abominated, but end up helping to save the world from a tyrannical cult of reason. I didn't plan the chart, I never do, I think that is counter-productive to trusting one's own inner guidance. 

The Shapeshifters Sun-MC aligns nicely with the 1st chart's Venus and MC, and is also sextile Jupiter and Saturn. I am Capricornian in my ambitions: I want something that will sell slowly and steadily over a long period. A cult classic, that is what I'd like it to be 😎

Book Cover painting by Ali Broughton

I particularly like the Mars-Mercury conjunction is Sag in the 9th. Perfect for signing a contract with a foreign publisher. I chose my moment well! Mercury is retrograde, but to me that just means there will be a few things to iron out along the way.

Friday, December 22, 2023


I just watched the final series of The Crown on Netflix. The Princess of Wales, Kate Middleton, and her mother Carole were both portrayed as scheming and ambitious when it came to the matter of landing Prince William. It makes good drama, and typical license that Americans can take where the English couldn't, but isn't that really all it is? Not if you look at Kate's chart. Sun in Capricorn square to Saturn-Pluto in Libra. You don't need to know much astrology to see the power (Pluto) of the ambition (Capricorn) around marriage (Libra). It's actually a t-square with the Moon in Cancer, emphasising the centrality of her aspiration/ambition. Her mother also has Moon (mother) opposite Saturn (ambition).

old William has a New Moon in Cancer in the 7th opposite Neptune. They saw him coming. The facts as portrayed in The Crown seem outrageous, yet they seem to be true: after William announced his uni plans - taking a gap year then attending St Andrews - Kate promptly dropped her plan to attend Edinburgh that year and copied William. She had never even met him at this point. And she did go to places, like Chile, where William was also known to be going during his gap year. She set out to land William, with her mother behind her, and she succeeded. She isn't stupid, and once at uni she would have turned it into a case of 'He chased her until she caught him.'

Now women aren't supposed to do this. It's OK for men to plot to land a woman, but not the other way round, particularly if the man is of higher rank: that makes the woman some kind of scheming gold-digging slut. So it has to be covert. No-one talks about Kate's early moves, now she is mother to 3 heirs to the throne. But The Crown talked about it, and well done them, for it is what happened.

But is it really not OK for a woman to aim high for a prospective husband? Is it not what happens all the time? Are not certain men 'good catches'? Let us be real about this. A competent or high-ranking man is good father material, and probably an interesting guy, and well done if you land one. There is also a big biological component to the way we choose mates. So let us not be too quick to judge her.

Let's look at the charts again. William's chart seems very soulful (Neptune Rising in Sag) and oriented around relationship (New Moon in the 7th, opposite Neptune). With its very strong Saturnian/Plutonian influence, Kate's chart is much harder. There are no Sun-Moon interactions between William and Kate, so it is not very soulful, though the Mars-Venus interactions give a sexual connection.

But Kate's Moon is in Cancer in William's 7th House. He feels nurtured by her. It would be easy to say he needed a mother figure because his mother Diana died when he was 15, but I'm not going to go there. That is too easy to say, and it is mere pop psychology. It is normal for men and women to be wanting to be cared for in a motherly or fatherly way by the spouse, but it is not spoken about, because it is the opposite of romantic. When it starts to become conscious - if it does- it often leads to a crisis in the relationship. We no longer want or need an 'other half'. But that is a whole other subject.

So the bedroom is good, and William feels cared for, but his deepest self is not addressed. Does he even know who he is deep down, with his life planned for him from birth? Maybe he is happy to go along with that, as many would be. His father wasn't, to his credit, but most would. With Sun-Moon in the 7th, and Neptune Rising, William can - up to a point - be content to let others tell him who he is.

Let us drag in Fate, the bigger picture. Kate's Sun-Moon/Node opposition lands bang on the UK Moon at 19 Cancer. She is meant to be the Queen, the people (the Moon) will feel comfortable with her. She will be very responsible too. I find this placement remarkable. This is a bigger consideration than whether or not her and William are compatible at all levels. What couple is, for heaven's sake, particularly if they are regular folks living out the norms of their community?

That said, I suspect there will be points at which William is drawn to women who do engage his Sun-Moon, and he may not understand why he is drawn. With her unusually ambitious chart - Sun-Moon-Saturn-Pluto t-square - Kate will do her best to stay slim and sexy and a good mother and everything she is meant to be, especially in the face of any infidelities on William's part. She has a super-hard shell. But there is something in William that I think will always elude her, his brooding Cancerian self, that may well reach for a mistress, as royals are entitled to do.

Watch out for Neptune squaring his Desc now, and his Sun-Moon in the coming years. Whatever does happen, we will probably not hear about it. Putting on a good show is something the royals do well.
James Hillman was a Jungian, a fan of astrology and a very influential archetypal psychologist. I think what he says here has a lot of bearing on anyone who considers themselves to be a psychological astrologer:

"If any fantasy holds our contemporary civilisation in an unyielding grip, it is that we are our parents' children and that the primary instrument of our fate is the behaviour of your mother and father. As their chromosomes are ours, so are their mess-ups and attitudes. Their joint unconscious psyche - the rages they suppress, the longings they cannot fulfill, the images they dream at night - basically form our souls, and we can never, ever work through and be free of this determinism....Psychotherapy compounds this fault."
From The Soul's Code by James Hillman

As astrologers, we know that the chart, not our parents, reveals our Fate, don't we?
Relationship astrology can be a bit like electional astrology, in that one is using astrology to see if an event/relationship is a good idea in advance, so to speak. And in that way bypassing the inner guidance that it is the job of astrology to support.

I always say to people who are asking for a propitious time to do something, to do it when it feels right, or maybe just to get on and do it. The chart for when they did it will then tell them what they have done, it can help them understand that thing in themselves that took action. I tend to say no to electional astrology.

And I think it's the same with relationships. Avoid looking at the charts till it's well underway. The astrology won't tell you if it's 'right' or not. All the Sun-Moon and Mars-Venus connections you could hope for won't make it right. And all the traditional incompatibilities or lack of aspects won't make it wrong. But then astrology can do an excellent job of unpicking the dynamics of the relationship.

Two people getting together is a soul thing that may take years to understand, and you know deep in yourself if it is the right thing to be doing or not. And it doesn't have to last forever. The fact that your charts 'miss' each other, for example, may provide a compelling desire to be around that person who sees life so impossibly differently. It may mean you can see each other clearly 'from the outside', so to speak, which can be a great gift. Square pegs and round holes can be just the thing. The one thing you don't want is boring!

The battleground in ourselves is often between wanting it to be 'right' and our knowing that it isn't, and overlooking that. And maybe using astrology to persuade ourselves it is right. And it's hard for an astrologer not to think so too if he sees all sorts of flowing aspects. Putting that knowing first, in the face of our wants and fantasies and compulsions, is where we grow.

At the end of the day, as I say, it is a soul thing. It is about a synergy beyond words and reason. Everything we do is a soul thing - coming, as it were, from the centre of the chart, outside of space and time. It is the soul thing we need to learn to trust. You've gotta let life do its thing. And then trust what the astrology says about it. But don't put the cart before the horse: that way lies religion, the looking outside of oneself for guidance.
The daimonic destiny of the Aquarian is to never be recognised by establishments of any sort. In this way one has to find that recognition for oneself, and that is a deep thing. It is a higher level of its ruler, Saturn. 

This struggle to find and live from that unique source within, comes naturally to the opposite sign of Leo. That is why the Sun is in its fall in Aquarius. But what a gift it is, if you can stay the course.
The astrologer doesn't need to tell you anything more about yourself than you know already for you to feel that the universe knows you, loves you, has your best interests at heart. And that the universe itself is alive, enchanted. We bring magic to people's lives.

Moving forward, the gods, in the form of the planets, speak through the astrologer: her job is to help you align with their callings, which find voice through what it is you love to do, or would love to do if you dared. That which you cannot resist, and which never goes away. That may take a major transit for you to take seriously.
I watched a recent long-form interview with Jeff Bezos (founder of Amazon.) I was reluctant, because he's got such a reputation as a nasty piece of work. But it was Lex Fridman doing the interview, and I like him. Besides, the people who hate Bezos tend to hate anyone who is wealthy and powerful. So I watched, pushing myself through my prejudice, and I found I quite liked him. 

Like many very successful people, he has some exceptional qualities, which are worth imbibing. We don't have a birth time for him, but there is still a lot we can tell. He has Sun conjunct Mars in Capricorn - would you expect less from a man who can build a huge business over decades? I reckon it is what attracts the 'bad guy' projection - which of course makes the rest of us feel comfortably virtuous. We can congratulate ourselves we are not ruthless and heartless like Mr Bezos 🤣 

I was struck by the way he worked: he calls meetings in which someone will have spent 2 weeks preparing a paper. They all begin by spending 30 mins in silence, reading it. And then there is a free-form, wandering discussion. That made me think that this man has got Saturn and Neptune working creatively together: they are often opposites in people, creativity vs diligence, order vs chaos. I looked at his chart, and found Venus conjunct Saturn square to Neptune. Amazon as a whole expresses this spirit: on the one hand it has become very big and substantial (Saturn) while being very innovative (Venus-Neptune.) 
He gave up being CEO of Amazon a few years ago, to concentrate on his space enterprise. Like Elon Musk, he is dedicated to making humanity an interplanetary species. It is fascinating that there are people actually trying to do this. Much of the interview was Bezos talking about the ins and outs of spacecraft and rocket engineering. He has a wide square from his Sun to Jupiter in Aries: there is the adventurer. And he probably has Moon in Sagittarius. 
Amazon occupies the shadow place in the psyche of many, that MacDonalds did 20 years ago. The Great Satan, just as the US is to the mullahs in Iran. I will say just one thing: it is a simplistic position, as these things usually are. Beyond that, in the interests of your psychological stability, I will leave undisturbed your need to see Jeff Bezos and his offspring Amazon as the Devil Incarnate 😈 Here is the interview.

Thursday, December 14, 2023



Neptune is now moving forward. When he is retrograde, he is pulling inwards, giving dreams that pre-figure our life. 

These dreams are from outside time, from the pattern of Fate set down at birth. Their time is now. There is nothing to be done. Neptune is always 'Not my will but thine.'
The first crossing of a hard Pluto transit, schematically, is a demolition job. The old paradigm has to go. The suffering we experience at these times is in large part due to attachment to old ways, old habits of being. They have served their time, even though this may not be recognised as such.

If it is our life itself that is going, the transit tells us that it is time, it is our Fate. It may appear brutal from a human point of view, but from the point of view of death it is necessary and even commonplace. Trust it.

The next stage, the retrograde crossing, is when we are mulched. The pieces are taken to the breakers yard deep underground, where the dwarves can busy themselves with reconstruction. The energy of the old is used to make fertile soil for the new.

It is in the second direct crossing that the new can reveal itself, can be claimed from the depths of the ordeal, its raison d'etre. Another piece of the code, the pattern that we were born with - which the sky story at birth has been generous enough to reveal - is ready to come into place. But it is not an add-on.

It may be that discomfort, the thing that never worked over the years, the inconvenience we thought we could ignore or maybe change, which has reared its head, now glaring Medusa-like in its full power, perhaps raging at having been excluded for so long. It demands that we arrange our whole lives, our whole sense of who we thought we were. The whole process can be dark and unrelenting, and there may have been a build-up for years beforehand. But that can be what it takes to break through old habits of being.

You will never regret what is born. You will be deeply thankful, perhaps through gritted teeth. You could never have seen what it was that was waiting to be born. Those are the limits of knowing that astrology teaches us, that you can take forward from the transit into life's continuation.

Astrology, or the astrologer, can at least accompany you to the gates of the Underworld and explain its necessity, and give you faith in the outcome. And then leave you to cross those barren plains, alone, as it has to be.

This is from someone who is about to have Pluto cross his Venus for the first time. Whatever I think it is about, it's probably not that. If it is, it won't feel like anything I've felt before. There is joy at the end of the road. We come to own our life as never before. You will flourish. But there is no escaping the desolation that comes first. From the Latin 'to abandon'. They key is to let go gracefully, with the faith in the designs of Fate that Jupiter gives. In my case Jupiter in Scorpio, who probably has a gift for keeping faith in the dark places. The sharing of which is the intention of this piece.
There will be a Jupiter-Uranus conjunction in Taurus next April. It will be most operative between the New Year - when Jupiter turns direct - and May, when he enters a new sign. This conjunction is associated on a mundane level with, amongst other things, scientific breakthroughs (which we may not know about until later.) AI is an obvious candidate. Other areas are currently burgeoning, such as space travel, space telescopes and the origin of the universe, quantum computing, genetic medicine and nuclear fusion.

But what might it mean on a personal level? It is easy to overlook Jupiter in a reading, because it is not clear which 'bit' of the psyche he refers to. Mercury is the mind, Venus is relatedness and so on. 'Luck' or its equivalent is what we usually think of with Jupiter, and that is by definition something that is outside our control. 'Growth' is maybe something we have more of a handle on. Jupiter is the king of the gods, and is associated with faith and trust - which we might associate with the 2 signs he rules: Sagittarius and Pisces respectively.

In this sense, Jupiter is that confident sense of life moving forwards and unfolding. There is Goethe's couplet: "Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now."

Jupiterian luck in this sense is the stream of helpful events that appears around us when we are following that inner genius, that thing in us that wants to be lived. As Margaret Thatcher said, you create your own luck. It requires the courage of Mars, the hard work of Saturn, the discernment of Mercury....

How is Jupiter different to the Sun? The Sun is that unique thing in us that wants to be lived. Jupiter is the faith we have in life, the optimism, the sense of wanting to live life, that enables us to seize hold of the Sun and live it. Jupiter is our ability to remain optimistic in the midst of life's vicissitudes. Which we may need precisely because Jupiter's desire for growth leads us into difficult places, into those inward pressure cookers out of which the diamonds of the soul are forged. He is good medicine for the apocalyptic thinking that currently has so many in its grip.

Jupiter's sign describes the type of faith we have in life. And that then spills over into the beliefs we have, which are emotionally based, however rational we might think we are.

If the Jupiter-Uranus conjunction impacts your chart, then it will be a very good time for confidently seizing hold of (Jupiter) the new opportunities or ideas (Uranus) that present themselves. They need to be concretised, as Jupiter-Uranus will be in an earth sign. It could take you to places beyond what you imagined was possible or realistic.
It seems like everyone I do a reading for at the moment has been diagnosed with ADHD, or diagnosed themselves with it. I think it's bollocks. It just means that you are open and creative, and you cannot take an interest unless you ARE interested. And then you can keep it up all day and night. It is a strength, a gift, the call of the diamon. As Jung said, "The gods have become diseases."

When I reached 18, I could no longer study. I got a 3rd class degree. If I tried to put in the hours to learn, I would feel terrible. But I had no problem doing the things I wanted to do: reading literature and the occult, initiating myself through magic mushrooms, and dressing outlandishly. 45 years later I write books, and read about one a week. I still can't pay attention to subjects I'm not interested in. If a book isn't holding me, I'm ruthless with it after about 40 pages. My dress sense, though, has moved on from a dressing gown to a tiger onesie.
At a Fork in the Road

I think astrology is usually best seen as the overall context for the other things you do. I think it does astrology an injustice to make it a mere add-on, or to try to see it in the context of something which is probably smaller.

Astrology is a series of ancient sky stories about the gods and goddesses, who call us in different ways, and who between them amount to a very full picture of the human psyche. And yet it is a psyche that is embedded in, inseparable, from the cosmos. At the same time, through the 4 Elements of Sun, Soil, Wind and Rain, it grounds us on this planet.

Humans will get dogmatic about anything. You see astrologers aligning themselves with the formalities of the past - which belong, effectively, to a foreign culture - just as you see Europeans attempting to align themselves with Native American traditions. Don't get me wrong, we need tradition, but we need to be able to dance around it. You cannot reduce Mars to a set of formal meanings. You need a sense of his presence to do astrology.

If you are overly attached to tradition, then astrology becomes a religion like any other. But if it can dance through you, then its completeness and unboundedness can make it the context for everything else, whether you are a therapist or a christian. Or a scientist. Science is a specialised tradition that emphasises Air (theory) and Earth (data). Astrology is the senior tradition, being both older and more complete. As such, astrology cannot be explained under the terms of science. But the reverse is true. Everything has its place in the cosmic vision of astrology.

Thursday, December 07, 2023


Looking for Xmas presents? You need to look no further than my books Surfing the Galactic Highways

and The Medicine Wheel.


They are very readable, and I defy you to read the reviews on Amazon and not purchase them 💥 And a treat for yourself during Christmas week: my recently released video course on the Medicine Wheel (6 hours), available here at Watkins Wisdom Academy.


Venus has entered Scorpio. It is all very well putting others first, seeing from their perspective, as Venus in Libra does. But that can also be a cover for people-pleasing. Scorpio demands that you be true to yourself - that you do not lie on any level - in all your relationships. Do not sacrifice truth on the altar of a superficial harmony. 

This transit also pushes us to be realistic about our friends: which ones have the no-go areas that limit how close we can be? Maybe even that person we've been getting involved with, are they really a match, or do we just want them to be? Be honest at all times with yourself and with others, and you will live well.
As a young man you'll marry a pretty face. Then you get older and Venus calls you to pay attention to your feelings. Your head still gets turned in that disconnected Mars way, but you walk away regretfully because your personalities don't match: you know the nightmare that can eventually ensue. The place we merge, the 8th House, is both intimacy and anguish.

The idea that we are blank slates at birth is not only contradicted by everyday observation of the personalities of young children, it is also the product of a materialist view of the universe. It lies behind the wrong-headed idea that parents are fundamental in shaping who we are, that underlies the psychotherapeutic paradigm. It is a harmful mythology. The astrology chart shows the rich, mysterious inheritance that we bring in with us.
Each of us has a unique blueprint to live out, a Fate that calls from the future, as described by the astrological chart. Our traumas and tribulations are best seen as opportunities "for which the child has been patiently waiting... in order to find a necessity and a direction for its existence, in order that life may become a serious matter." (WH Auden)


What a contrast to the scientific paradigm, which sees the human as a result, not a cause: the result of genes and environment and upbringing. A statistic. And how it turns the psychotherapeutic paradigm on its head, seeing childhood traumas as the necessary engines of Fate, rather than as mistakes to be resolved. In this sense I think astrology is a challenge to psychotherapy, rather than a complement.
The astrological chart consists of cycles of time surrounding a centre that is outside of time. Time, like space, is not an attribute of the universe, but something we add on to order our experience. Then we take some LSD, and time and space dissolve and we are left, awestruck and maybe terrified, at the centre.

The chart is not taking us anywhere except to an alignment with its mysterious, apparently hollow, centre. It is empty because whatever you think it is, it's not that. The planets are 10 gods and goddesses continually calling us, and if we answer their calls, we shall feel that alignment. Maybe the IC is the closest point in the chart to that, for it is there that we feel on solid ground, with roots that plunge down forever: it is here that we can move outside of space. So how does the sign on your IC connect with infinity? For myself, with Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius on the IC, Mount Olympus is the obvious place to go.

Time is not linear, though we easily think of it like that. Everything is cycles, for everything eventually dies and starts over. The biggest cycle is the universe itself. The cycle closest to us, perhaps, is our own life and its mysterious dissolution in death. We have the shorter cycles of the day and the seasons to continually remind us of the cycle that is our life.

The human tendency is to take the ability to order experience too far, to mistake it for reality, to think that time and space belong to the universe and not to ourselves. That is why we need to keep coming back to simple astrology. Complexity provides further explanation and nuance and synthesis, but the gods easily walk away from that, bored. They don’t like being reduced to marks on bits of paper. 
That is also why it is a mistake to interpret the Nodes as providing some kind of evolutionary direction. There is no direction. There is just the attempt to embody the North Node, difficult as it might be, in the moment. And all the other planets. That is what makes life feel meaningful, that we are living the life that we are meant to be living. It doesn't have to be exciting. It is about carrying that inner sense of alignment with us, that deepens over time, in everything we do. And the planets show us how to do that.