Uranus – Pluto Square: What Does It Mean And How Can I Transform Its Energy To My Advantage?

Much has been already written about the Uranus Pluto square. Maybe it has gone over your head or you are bored sick of hearing about it. Certainly when I read astrological predictions about things like this I feel inspired by the often poetical descriptions and at the same time often struggle to understand what is really meant and left wondering what difference reading that prediction has really made to my life. Here I explain and also attempt to give some practical tools for how to make use of what you learn to apply in your own life.

Uranus is the planet associated with individuality, rebelliousness, surprises, awakenings, high thinking. It is liked with humanitarian values and also the sciences. In your chart the house (area of life) where it is placed denotes where you are a bit of a maverick, perhaps a little stubborn and do not like to be tied down. People with a prominent Uranus or eleventh house (its natural home) will tend to be pioneers, trail blazers, or rebels who do not accept the laws of society and government/police authority. People with a strong Uranus are Madonna and Indira Ghandhi.

Pluto is the planet associated with the subconscious, the psyche, death and rebirth, obsession, compulsiveness. In your chart it can denote where you have a capacity for depth whether that be for research, thinking, sex, religion. An area where you have intense feelings or interest.

These two planets are called generational planets as they move so slowly. Pluto takes 15 years and Uranus takes 7 years.  Entire generations are born with Uranus and Pluto in the same signs. At the moment Uranus is in the sign of Aries and Pluto is in the sign of Capricorn. All babies since last year and until 2015 will have a Uranus – Pluto square in their chart. However different houses will be affected and the other planets in their chart will interact individually with them. Therefore the way the square plays out will be unique to them.

Nevertheless, it is possible to make generational comments based on the planet signs. The 60s generation had Pluto in Virgo. This era was associated with advances in medicine and the growth of alternative healing such as therapy.  The 80s generation were born with Pluto in Scorpio (it’s own sign therefore ‘at home’ there). The 80s is when globalisation and the power of the big people over the small people really took off as the acceptable norm. An example is the Thatcher era in the UK.

At the moment Uranus is in Aries which is a double whammy of energy wanting to express its individuality and to break free from the restraints of other people and society. It is the type of energy that could become destructive, think some of the people at the riots in London in the summer of 2011. It is also energy which could be used to break free of the restrictive chains which are stopping a person from getting on their true path.

Pluto is in Capricorn. Capricorn is associated with career, professional standing, public reputation, society, authority, your relationship with your father, the norms of society. In current society phenomena such as globalisation, the power of the banks and big corporations, political dictators, fundamentalism (in the East and West), strict religious regimes, are a manifestation of Pluto in Capricorn.

The two planets are squaring off which means they are making 90 degree angles to each other as they circle the sun. Even when the 90 degree angle is not exact, the influence can be felt. So there is an intense urge for individual expression clashing with the restrictive societal status quo in terms of governance, business, professional life.

The influence first started having an effect in spring and summer of 2011. On a world level this correlated with the Egyptian uprising and the first murmurings from the Occupy Wall street movement.

Further back in history, in 1201, Ghengis Khan set the Mongols on a rampage when Uranus and Pluto were in contact. In 1901-02,  the Chinese and Russian revolutions started under a Pluto/Uranus challenging aspect.

In the next part I talk more about what this means for us as a society and for us as individuals. Stay tuned!


Good Chart Bad Chart – Astrological Alchemy

Why A Bad Astrology Chart Can Make A Great Person

When astrologers look at a birth charts they look at many different factors and then make an interpretation based on these. One of the ‘facts’ of the birth chart is the angles or aspects that the planets make to each other. Another fact is the patterns that these aspects make.

Funnel Chart

Let’s take the example of someone born with five planets in the sign of Aquarius and one planet in the sign of Leo which is the opposite sign (180 degrees away). Their natal chart would look like a bunch of planets on one side of the chart and one planet directly opposite them, on the other side of the chart. This is called a funnel chart, the single planet being the tip of the funnel. It indicates someone who has much intense energy expressed through a particular life theme indicated by the single planet and the house of the chart it occupies. A birth chart is divided up into 12 houses which symbolise different domains of a person’s life for example work, family, relationships.

However it will not be an easy flow of energy as the 180 degree angle between the planets is called an opposition. Say the five planets in Aquarius were focused on communicating (third house) in a humanitarian way (Aquarius), this would manifest through the planet in Leo which is in the ninth house (opposite the third house). The ninth house is linked to foreign countries, far away from home. The person may be passionate about teaching and helping others and this takes place in developing countries. They need to leave the comfort of their home life to be able to express this planetary set up. This is the challenge of the funnel chart.

Splay Chart

Another type of chart is a splay chart where there are three groups of planets in different signs distributed equally around the chart. This would indicate a person who is good at many different things and does not like to be tied down to a routine. The planets would make 60 degree angles to each other which are called trines and are easy, flowing aspects. If the groups of planets made aspects with not just one other group but two groups then there would be a pattern called a  grand trine which indicates a very talented individual with a wide range of abilities that they are able to integrate well.

Splash Chart

A further chart is a splash chart where the planets are dotted all over the chart. This can indicate a “Jack of All Trades, Master of None” personality. The planets may make right angles with each other which are called square aspects in astrology. This is considered a very challenging aspect to have as the energies of the planets are working against each other.

Even more challenging is when the splayed planets are making right angle squares with more than one other planet. If four planets are involved we get a Grand Cross. Astrologers interpret this type of pattern as incredibly challenging for an individual. There will be lots of character building episodes in their life but if they surmount them then it also makes for a very strong person with a lot of depth.

So, why is a bad chart good?

Superficially, were an astrologer to look at the chart of a new-born they would hum with approval if they saw lots of easy angles between planets. That child may be born with the gift of the gab,  charm, good looks, intelligence, a sense of humour. Things will come easy to this person, they won’t have to try too hard to get what they want. On paper they have a glowing life set out ahead of them.

The fact is however that these people don’t always amount to that much. If you have always got what you wanted and never had to try, never had to struggle to pass an exam or find a way to make money, then you take life for granted. These people can be superficial and manipulative.

Interestingly, when I scanned some celebrity charts to find an example I had difficulty. It reinforced the idea that it is difficulty, restriction in a chart that causes a person to strive and search. This may be a striving for attention and recognition but it can also be a striving for understanding which leads to depth and breadth of personality.

We Grow Through Our Constraints

Those with difficult charts strive to find solutions. If you accept or are at least open to the idea that a soul chooses to incarnate into a person/chart with a certain set of parents and life events, in order to learn specific lessons and evolve, then these bad aspects are what the soul has chosen in order to hone and polish itself. This leads to  depth and durability, inner strength, spiritual awareness (whatever form that might take) and compassion. This acquaintance with suffering can lead the person to heal others once they have healed themselves and learned the way.

An example of a ‘difficult’ chart is that of the Dalai Lama. With sun sign in Cancer he has Saturn, the planet of restrictions and hardships opposing his moon which represents his emotions. This would signify much sacrifice, lack of emotional support and heavy emotional weather in his life. Another person with  this type of aspect could be insensitive or uncompassionate, not the Dalai Lama.

Or Do We?

Of course not everyone is able to meet those challenges and some choose to opt out. An example is the chart of Marilyn Monroe. The planet Saturn features significantly again however in her chart it squares her moon. This is considered to be an even worse aspect than the opposition of the Dalai Lama. Her biography speaks for the rest.

So know that when you are struggling with a difficult transit or chart, if you keep going, you are slowing undergoing astrological alchemy. What seems on the outside like suffering and bad luck is actually soul refinement. I will end with one of my favourite quotes from  Elisabeth Kubler – Ross:

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”


Why Astrology Is More Than A Belief – A Conversation With An Imaginary Friend


“Astrology’”my imaginary friend says to me, “do you really believe in that?” “ ‘Believe”, this is the word that irks me as I start to formulate my response. ‘Believe’ implies that astrology is an act of faith, some kind of religion. It is not a religion and it is not a matter of faith.

“But do you really think that someone’s star sign can predict what will happen to them or determine their personality? The whole of the human race cannot consist of only 12 different personality types to match the 12 different star signs?”

I feel weary as I hear these words. There is so much more to astrology than the 12 zodiac signs that it feels like a huge effort to explain everything to her. Here is my attempt.

Birth Chart

Astrology has been around since the Mesopotamian civilisation (3500-1800 B.C). It was used by the Babylonians to predict mundane events for agriculture such as rain. It was then developed by the Egyptians who came up with  the horoscope to predict what happens to individuals. However astrology has been used by many ancient civilisations for example the Mayans and one could get curious about the fact that it seems to have sprung up independently in different parts of the world around the same time.

The first thing I always talk about is the birth chart which is a map of where all the planets were in the sky at the time and place of birth. This will give the rising sign which is linked to the persona or the personality of the person. In contrast, the sun sign indicates what makes a person tick. It has even been described as the soul of the person. Usually one does not start to fully inhabit one’s sun sign till at least the age of 30.

There are nine other planets as well as asteroids which are placed in the 12 houses of the birth chart. The houses relate to different sectors of a person’s existence for example family life, relationships, career. These planets also interact with each other in challenging or easy angles. Therefore to assume that astrology is only about the sun sign is simplistic.

That is not to say that predictive astrology based on the solar chart is inaccurate. In my experience my solar chart is also very relevant. Therefore one should read predictions for the sun sign and the rising sign. If you don’t know your rising sign you can go to the free website www.astro.com  , add your details and find out.

“But how does it work? Can planets literally make you do things? For example if I have an aspect in my upcoming future chart that looks challenging, is that planet going to ‘cause’ the challenging thing to happen?” 

We Are All Connected – Field Theory

Faraday developed field theory in 1832. It states that the universe is like a fabric, interwoven with time and space. There is no such thing as empty space. The universe including humans, objects, liquids and gases are atoms which are vibrating at different speeds. We affect each other and are affected by each other. We are ‘in and of the field’. This explains why the moon affects the tides and women’s menstrual cycles.

Neuroscience – Mirror Neurons

Our interrelatedness is proven by neuroscience and the discovery of mirror neurons. These explain why when one person yawns it is contagious. It is also why we often unknowingly mimic the body posture of someone who we are close to. It is why we are able to empathise and feel another person’s pain and why babies can pick up on their mother’s feelings and vice versa.

To relate this to astrology, it is not a case of the planets causing you to get divorced but they reflect what is going on inside you. They reflect what is unfolding within you, your growing assertiveness and desire not to be in a disrespectful relationship.

But how can they reflect this?

Because to put it quite simply, we are the planets and the planets are us. We are 70% water and since water goes around in a cycle, we are the ocean and the ocean is us. We share the sadness of the latest earthquake victims as we sit and watch it on our TV sets. We cannot help but be affected. It is not our happiness and your sadness. It is ‘the happiness’ and ‘the sadness’.  The energy permeating through us which causes our molecules to vibrate at a certain speed is the same energy which is present in the solar system. Just as if you look in a dew drop on a sunny day you can see the world around it reflected.

“So what causes my marriage to break up then? If it is not the planets, if it is not I who had any intention of this before the transit came along?”

Well, that is up to you to think about. A higher intelligence? God? Your soul forging through the events it has chosen for itself in this life time as part of its karmic lessons?

Free Will

“Does that mean that we can predict exactly what is going to happen during a difficult transit and that we have no free will?”

No, we can predict themes for example growing self-awareness and confidence. This might lead to a person outgrowing their marriage but it will not force that to happen. The person may make readjustments, for example studying or developing more hobbies so that they get their need for stimulation met from someone else rather than their partner.

“Can astrology ever tell us anything definitive like “you really should not be with this person but should be with that one?”

Certainly a synastry or composite chart can give clues about the longevity or potential of a relationship. However we make our own choices about partners. Some, like Elisabeth Kubler -Ross, who believes when our soul incarnates into a chosen body it contracts to certain lessons and a certain path, would say that if we choose to ignore our fate in this life time, we will just have to go an additional round or two of incarnations till we stop avoiding our path. Therefore if we choose to stay with Mr “Not Right” in this lifetime then we can.

This is a belief which you may or may not accept and we have no way of proving it right or wrong. Just as we have ultimately no way of finding out why we are here, if there is a reason, and if God or some other higher power exists.

Increased Self Awareness

If we do believe that an important task for us on this earth is to grow and fulfill our potential then certainly astrology can help to shed light on what our path is, what the challenges are we need to overcome and how we can do this. Particularly in relationships it is useful to illustrate how we are projecting our shadow material into a significant other.


We also need to bear in mind that how a transit is interpreted by an astrologer will be coloured by their own life experience. Just as two people might interpret an action of a third person differently based on their own experiences, so can astrologers. Returning to the theme of relationships,  an astrologer will have their own shadow material and this may bias (depending on how self aware they are) their interpretation of relationship aspects in a couple’s chart.

Since no two souls are the same, even if two people were born at exactly the same time in the same place, they would be different, depending on how they reflect the qualities of the birth chart. The more awareness one has, the more one can reflect the helpful, constructive qualities of the chart rather than the more negative ones. The more awareness we have, the greater possibility we have to create something beautiful from hardship and struggle.

Precession of the equinoxes

“And what about the fact that the signs have actually moved along in the zodiac so that the month when I was born now has a different star sign?”

The earth wobbles on its axis as it rotates, a bit like the motion of a spinning top, explains Beth Napier from the University of California.This causes the precession of the equinoxes which is why, according to sidereal astrology, the position of the zodiac signs have changed.

However most astrologers in the west use the temporal zodiac in which the signs have not changed. Furthermore as astrologer Bob Marks states, ‘constellations do not really exist at all.  Constellations are used as place markers, nothing more’. You might reply that this is too wishy-washy an explanation however think of the different schools of psychotherapy or Western medicine versus Traditional Chinese Medicine. Does the fact that there are different schools mean that one has to be null and void?

My Personal Experience

I am almost at the end of a two and half-year period of the planet Saturn conjuncting (sitting next to ) my moon – my emotions, and squaring (a challenging aspect) my Sun – self-expression, and Mars – self-assertiveness. Nothing could have prepared me for this transit and perhaps I would have preferred not to have known.

At the beginning of the phase (the effects are hardest at the beginning) I suffered as a result of the emotional and practical constraints that I felt. I would often think to myself “life is not fair, why is this happening to me? Poor me!”.

Now, at the end of the transit I see the benefits of what I learned: a more grounded, greater sense of self. I would have not agreed that I needed to be taught this lesson. I would have claimed that I was already grounded and had a solid sense of self. However how was I to know if I had never experienced real groundedness? Life is a better teacher and has more wisdom than we do

Mining for Crystals

The great thing about astrology is that it can help you get the most out of the lesson so that you get the full benefits from it. And there always are benefits, even if it may not feel like it at the time.If a person does not make the most of a transit they have to learn the lessons over and over again in later Saturn transits.

Take the example of my imaginary friend whose marriage breaks down. She didn’t take the time to examine how she contributed to the break up and why she attracts a certain type of romantic partner. She remarries and this marriage breaks down too.

With the help of astrology she may have made better use of the post break- up period to discover the part of her that is fearful of intimacy and so attracts unsuitable partners. She would have taken time to reorganise her way of being on a deeper level to ensure better foundations for her next relationship. And during that psychological digging process she may have mined a few additional crystals like greater creativity or sexuality.

A Compass To Navigate Life

It takes more than astrology to learn life lessons but astrology provides support. It gives indications of how long a difficult  period lasts for, what aspects or life we may need to look at, what tools may help us with journey of self discovery. It is like a compass which navigates us and shows where land is when we need to stock up on new supplies.

So do I really believe in astrology? To me that question is a distraction since there are very few things we can prove exist definitively. It is a distraction from the real point which is that astrology works. As Roosevelt says:

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are”

And in my opinion astrology is a pretty good tool to do that with!



Neptune in Pisces Part II – Dan Siegel’s Wheel of Awareness Meditation

Photo: Leo Reynolds

Do We Choose To Step Up or Slide Down?

As I said in Part One, Neptune is associated with spirituality, dissolving of egos and connection to something greater whether we call it divine love or the collective energy of humanity. A practice linked to this idea of connection is meditation.

The way Neptune in Pisces manifests in your life can be either helpful or unhelpful. Either you  become more aware and bigger hearted as a result of the challenges we as individuals and society at large are facing at the moment, or we can succumb to unhealthy means of escapism and denial. According to the Mayans, where the world is at the moment we are at a choice point, a water shed (whether we choose to believe in this is another matter). Do we step up or slide down?

A lot has been said and claimed about meditation. I am not describing it as a means to access divine love or a sense of ‘oneness’ although if you do that is a fantastic (although perhaps a one-off) bonus. I view it as a tool to gain more awareness of the self. After all, it is easy to talk about choosing to step up and not slide down but how do we do it? By becoming more aware.

Stuck Patterns, Unawareness

 The form of meditation I am going to discuss is a practical tool to gain greater self-awareness and meditation. Coming from a gestalt psychotherapeutic background I interpret blocks in people’s functioning as past relational patterns that have become stuck. The individual keeps on reacting without awareness, to present situations in a way that may have suited them when they were five years old but is not helpful now.

For example a daughter with an overbearing father may have learned to creep around quietly with a hushed voice and a timid demeanour to avoid her father’s attention. This would have been helpful behaviour that she developed to protect herself at that time.

However this type of behaviour is less helpful if continued into adulthood and every time she confronts an authority figure she freezes with fear and cowers shyly. She might wonder why she is not taken seriously, why she seems to attract domineering men into her life. In gestalt therapy we call this a stuck gestalt, unfinished business.

 If You Fire You Wire – Awareness

Dan Siegel is a neuroscientist with an interest in how our brains develop and how that development is affected by our relationships. There is much synergy between his research and thinking and that of gestalt therapy. In his words, which I am very much simplifying, if we keep doing things a certain way as a child then certain neural pathways in our brain become reinforced. For those areas that we do not focus on, the neural connections weaken and die off. We have millions of neural connections between different parts of the brain connecting outside stimuli with certain feelings and certain ways of reacting to them.

To go back to the example of the little girl, she is more likely to feel anxious around authority figures and behave meekly because the neural connections are stronger. She is less likely to associate warm feelings of love and acceptance around authority figures (even though there may have been a few instances of this with her father as a child) as the neural connection will be weakened.

This is a very simplified version of Dan Siegel and if you want to read in more depth I would suggest ‘The Mindful Brain’. What is exciting is that through meditation we can grow our neural connections.  Siegel has a catch phrase, “if you fire, you wire”. Meditation is a way to fire neurons so that they connect again.

Back to our example, it means the woman can start to access different feelings and different ways of responding to authority figures that are more helpful for her, than the ways that helped her as a child.

 Intention on Attention

Siegel takes the mystery out of meditation. He describes it as “the act of focussing intention on attention”. In short, it is awareness. No more, no less. It is not about escaping into some divinely realm but becoming very alert to the present moment.

What I love about his Wheel of Awareness Meditation is that he incorporates nine different aspects of awareness. By focussing, step by step, on these  different aspects we are working neural connections that may be weaker. The overall benefit is that we gradually become more integrated as we get in contact with aspects of ourselves that are underused. The domains of integration are the five senses, the inner sense of the body, the mind and the relational self.

For example, we might be a very cerebral person (nothing wrong with that) who is not that in touch with the outer world. This meditation would help them to get more balance. Or we might be a person who is very much wrapped up in their own emotions and not so much aware of others. Paying attention to the relational in the meditation would help to rebalance this.

Again, this is oversimplified. I do not want the meditation to sound like some kind of recipe whereby if you follow all the ingredients then you end up with a gorgeous cake. Furthermore it is no quick fix. I have been practicing the Wheel of Awareness pretty much regularly for around six months. In that time I have had feedback from others in my training group that I am more ‘available’, that I show more of myself: feelings, aspects of my personality. I have also been told that I am more flexible, more able to access parts of myself when I might have got stuck in ‘stuckness’ or negativity before.


For myself, I find myself more mentally flexible. More able to see out of the box in situations where there seems to be an impasse. I have also experienced more intuition, something that I knew only by name in the past. It is that impulse that arises in me that seems to come up from the ground and into me and moves me to do or think something. An impulse as opposed to something that I have been thinking about or struggling with.

I cannot say all this has been because of the Wheel of Awareness practice. That is the thing about life in general and all of these self-development practices in particular. Can we ever really pin point what caused what? Nevertheless I have practiced this meditation, taken a break from it and then come back to it. I have made a commitment to it and that speaks for itself. For me it feels grounded and helpful. At the very least, any type of meditation that helps you to come into the present and enjoy its magic, is a good thing.

I will now give a short summary of the practice however you can get a free recording of the meditation by Dan Siegel, here.

 Summary of Wheel of Awareness Meditation Practice

We are asked to imagine a wheel with a hub and an outer rim. The hub is like the bottom of the ocean. It is calm whilst there may be a tempest (thoughts, feelings) going on at the surface. As we sit in the hub we observe our breathing. We don’t tamper with it, we just observe it.

We then send out a spoke to the outer rim. Here in turn we focus our attention on our five senses: hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touch.

We then come back to the hub, take some deeper breaths and return to watching the breath for a short while.

We then send out a second spoke to the outer rim. We focus our attention on how our body feels from the inside. Our skin, our bones, our internal organs. This is our sixth sense of introception.

We then come back to the hub, take some deeper breaths and return to watching the breath for a short while.

We then send out a third spoke to the outer rim. We focus on and invite in our thoughts and emotions. This is our seventh sense. We observe how they come into existence, how they stay, and how they leave. We also pay attention to the moments when there is no mental activity, what does that feel like?

We then come back to the hub, take some deeper breaths and return to watching the breath for a short while.

Finally we send out a fourth spoke to the outer rim. We focus on our sense of connectedness to people we know, people we see but don’t know, people in our city, our country, the world, the animal and plant world. This is the eighth relational sense. We send out good will and care. We then send care and good will to ourselves.

The last part of the meditation is to come back to the hub and become aware of awareness itself. This is where I focus my attention on the space between the words and feelings. It is a feeling of spaciousness and stillness.

Of course throughout this meditation the monkey brain will wander off many, many times. It may be impossible for you to get a sense of awareness. The most important thing is not beat yourself up. Probably the essence of meditation and the crux of any lasting positive change is learning self compassion. So go easy and enjoy!


Photo: Tracy O

Part One

On February 3rd 2012 Neptune entered the sign of Pisces which is its natural home as Neptune rules the sign of Pisces. This is big news as Neptune travels very slowly, staying 13 years in each sign.  Therefore Neptune will be in Pisces for more than half a generation.

Neptune is associated with spirituality, creativity, the subconscious, dreams, idealism, spiritual love, self-sacrifice, compassion, the sea. More negative associations are: escapism of every kind either through drugs, alcohol, gambling or religious evangelism; institutions set apart from society such as churches, prisons, hospitals; deception, dissolution. It rules the twelfth house of the birth chart which relates to the associations described above. Last time it transited Pisces was in 1847 until 1861.

For society at large indeed the planet, it should be a time when there is a greater move towards open-heartedness and compassion. Neptune has left the sign of Aquarius where it’s energy coloured the way we thought and innovated (Aquarius) particularly in New Age philosophies.

Pisces being a water sign there will be less emphasis on talking about and more on the actual feelings of love and compassion. Therefore this should bode as good news for the world as a whole.

Neptune in Pisces is linked to the Mayan prophecies. 2012 is predicted as a  turn-around year.Some have talked dramatically about the end of the world. Others, including myself see it as the end of an era and the start of a new one.

Nothing will happen dramatically. Neptune is very slow-moving and works by disintegrating and dissolving slowly until you realise there is nothing left and you are forced to change or there will be nothing left to grab hold of, much like a slowly disintegrating raft in the ocean.

Interestingly Neptune will make its first aspect, to the asteroid Juno, on December 21st 2012 which is the last day of the Mayan calendar. It could be interpreted that this will be a time when people have to step up their game. It will not be possible to carry on as we are.

Those who are already on the path will do so but those souls who are not may find themselves more susceptible to the lower more negative manifestations of Neptune which we all have the potential to succumb to. These are addictions, deception and what can ensue from this such as crime, even death.

This full moon of the 31st August will have an effect for the next four days and taps into this Neptunian energy. We might feel ourselves being shunted a little further along this path of transformation, both personally and f the world at large, whether that be through a positive experience like the meeting of kindred spirits or a disappointment/excess which also redirects our path.

If you know where Pisces is in your own chart ( you can find out for free on astro.com)  you will see in which aspect of your life  this transformation is likely to come. The good news is that since Neptune is in its home sign, it is more possible that the higher vibrations of Neptune will manifest, rather than the lower vibrations.

Neptune does not move fast therefore the effects of the planet in your life will manifest very slowly, perhaps more slowly than you can discern. It may be a case of looking back on the last couple of months and realising that you have become more Neptunian in certain sectors of your life.

For example, if your ascendant/first house is Pisces then you would experience your whole personality as becoming more Neptunian. More compassionate, more spiritual, more empathic but also perhaps drinking more or feeling more wishy-washy about practical commitments.

In your second house you will become less boundaried about your possessions and might develop more compassionate values.

In your third house you might start to write creatively or play a greater role in the local community, perhaps joining Neighbourhood watch. Caring for more siblings may also become a more prominent part of your life.

In your fourth house, you might experience a more self-sacrificing attitude towards family members or that some members might have issues with addictions.

In your fifth house you are likely to feel very creative, probably hit the peak of your creativity whether this be artistic, making babies or other creative forms.

In your sixth house you may find yourself sliding into a line of work which is more altruistic for example counseling or working with animals.

In the seventh house you could experience some amazing soul connections with important partners. The negative side is that you could attract ‘unavailable’ or deceitful types.

In the eighth house you could get interested in the esoteric and spiritual and religious ideas around life and death.

In the ninth house you might want to study world religions or write or broadcast about spiritual matters.

In the tenth house you could become well-known for your creativity or compassion for example a career in film or as a doctor/nurse. You will gain status for this.

In the eleventh house you could have more creative or spiritual  friends, go on travels to places of spiritual interest like India, or just have a phase of wild partying and escapism through your social network.

In the twelfth house a full-blown spiritual awakening could occur, perhaps even the development of psychic abilities.

Neptune does not move fast therefore the effects of the planet in your life will manifest very slowly, perhaps more slowly than you can discern. It may be a case of you looking back on the last couple of months and realising that you have become more Neptunian in certain sectors of your life.

Whether the effect is positive or negative (it could go either way) depends on a lot on your level of awareness. In part two I will talk about a form of meditation which has been devised to increase awareness and integration. Meditation being a Neptunian concern, it  fits in perfectly with this subject. So, until next time.

From Self – Delusion to Magical Thinking: Neptune and Jupiter Aspects To Mercury

Putting  My  Great  Capacity  To  Lie  To  Myself  To  Good  Use!

I write this at a time when Jupiter – the planet linked to good luck, broadening of horizons and the positive, is currently making a harmonious aspect to the position of Mercury – the planet of communication and short trips. What does this mean for us all ? That it’s a time for positive thinking or writing about things that will broaden one’s outlook.

I also write this at a time when in my personal chart, Jupiter is doing pretty much the same thing to Mercury although this influence will last a couple of months and not a couple of days like the first example. So isn’t it fitting that I have decided to dedicate this post to positive thinking.

Positive thinking, as it was pointed out by my mother as we sat in a restaurant celebrating my recent birthday, is something that I had been doing less and less of. The trials and tribulations of the last two years which are reflected by Saturn conjunct my moon in Libra have led to a “nothing ever good happens ” type of thinking or, “I never seem to make any progress”. Have I always been this way? I think not. Looking back, I realise how easy it is to head down the slippery path of negative thinking when one enters a challenging life cycle. Something challenging happens and I get wary and  start to expect more challenging things to happen and then I get more negative and more wary ad nauseam. Thus I found myself, whom I had always considered to be a positive person, stuck in a negative thinking rut.

Of course I’d my moaning had been challenged by  my shrink: “nothing ever happens, really, never?” I would correct myself realising that was not true and I would focus on all the good things that had happened in the day and all the things to be thankful for and that I usually took for granted. But  I still wasn’t really taking the lesson on board.

And then as I sat in the restaurant bemoaning the lack of progress between two birthdays the message went in a little more than usual. Perhaps my mother was right. Perhaps I was being overly negative.

In the past I had read the blurb about positive thinking from the followers of the law of attraction. I would think positive for a bit but then nothing would really change so I would give up. Or something not quite as I wished for would happen and I would say: ‘see, it doesn’t work’. Furthermore, part of me wanted to bypass positive thinking as that way I could also bypass the disappointment from getting my hopes dashed.

Some words which did make an impact on me in the way no self-help guru did were from the book “Bounce” by Mathew Syed *. It had been on my wish list for a while and I  purchased it at the airport recently when I had three hours to kill and refused to spend money on a trashy novel that would only last the length of the journey. Perhaps it made an impact on me because it was not from a self-help guru but from man who had competed in the Sydney Olympics in table tennis and it was billed as a sports psychology book. Somehow this felt more grounded in reality and therefore more credible to me.

The main message of the book is that it is hard work rather than talent than separates the winners from the rest, in every domain of life. Added to this is the fact they think positively. Syed says:

“That which separates the best from the rest is a capacity to believe things that are not true but which are incredibly effective” ( p144)

The more we believe, the more likely we are to get positive results. He quotes Norman Peale , who wrote the famous “The Power of Positive Thinking”. He says:

“if you expect the best you are given some strange kind of power to create the conditions that produce the desired results” (p154)

All well and good I think as I read, my heart rising with excitement. At the same time I feel my heart holding back a little due to the dreaded fear of disappointment. The question I need answered is how do you deal with not getting what you want despite your positivity.

Syed explains the answer to this through ‘doublethink’. You choose the version of the story which works for you and if the cold hard facts change then you rewrite your story. For example if I don’t get the job I went for then I focus on all the positives of what I did really well in the interview and how I have come even closer to getting an even better job.

He also talks of a visualisation exercise to help with positivity. You visualise a time when you did something well for example doing a great interview, then feel in your body how it felt, then visualise yourself doing that great interview just before you go into a real-life one.

Hmm…..now this is exciting I start to think. You see perhaps one of the reasons why I had been feeling negative was due to what I call my tendency towards delusion. This is seen in the natal chart by a strong link between Mercury and Neptune or Mercury in the 12th house which is the sector of the chart linked to the subconscious and secrets (amongst other things). Wishful thinking about a romantic relationship or unrealistic thinking about a financial situation had certainly contributed to my doom and gloom birthday.

So perhaps this was a way to put my self-delusion to good use? If I use my well-developed ability to lie to myself to create positive things in my life then perhaps that is a win-win. So I have been. I go to town with my talent for fantasy to create myth after positive myth about how great my life is and how everything that happens to me is positive. After all that’s what Syed suggests. It is the strength of the belief that makes all the difference. If we wobble we need to pick ourselves up and get back on the beam.

And has there been a difference in the last six weeks or so since my resolution? Too early to say. Certainly I have gone out on a limb in terms of making some practical changes to my life. Have I kept to my resolution? I have fallen off the beam of positivity a few times however it is at these key moments that I tell myself, ‘this is when I can make the difference between positive and negative thinking”. So when something not so great happens I use my imagination to plant lots of positive affirmations in my head and to pretty much lie to myself about my reality.

And I’m still here, out on the beam, mainly embracing positivity and risking doing things differently in my life. So far, I haven’t fallen off…….

Mathew Syed, ‘Bounce” Harper Collins, 4th edition, 2011, London.

Saturn Transits – GROWING DOWN

Recently I have been hosting the dreaded planet Saturn next to my natal moon. This has been going on for the last two and a half years which is how long the average Saturn transit lasts. Saturn is associated with the Greek god Kronos which means time. It is known as the task master of the planets, the one where you come head to head with your karmic lessons, and it goes without saying that these will be difficult, if not your soul would not have chosen to learn them. We often experience Saturn as a sense of heaviness, frustration, slowness, stuck-ness, depression in the area of our natal chart where it is currently transiting. If you go on astro.com and create a free account and add in your birth details, then click on extended chart selection and choose natal with transits (not been paid to advertise, honest!) then you can find out where Saturn is currently sitting in your chart. Bear in mind also that he is about to move on, going from libra to Scorpio on the 7th of October. Hurrah for me!

It’s going to be too much for me to go through each manifestation of Saturn according to where he is in your chart so I will just share my experience and give you a sniff of what Saturn is all about. For me he has been affecting my moon and also my solar fourth house. Both of these relate to one’s foundations, one’s roots. On an obvious level this can mean your physical home. It can also mean your family, your country of origin, whatever you consider to be your roots. On another level, how I experienced it, is that it can relate to your sense of being rooted in your own being, your sense of grounded-ness and fully occupying your self. According to some, for example Elisabeth Kubler – Ross, we have incarnated into this life time to learn certain lessons and also to do specific tasks whether they are to be a mother or to express oneself as an artist. It would make sense that until you fully occupy yourself, you cannot get on with the business of your own living. This idea resonates with me as I could be described as a bit of a butterfly in terms of life choices and career, flitting about but not really settling into and engaging fully in one direction for any great length of time. Nothing necessarily wrong with that. On another level, inter-personally, this hovering or not fully occupying my being has meant I have found it hard to stay in touch with my needs and wants when relating, getting lost in what the other wants and what the other needs. I think the two examples would explain my at times lack of trust in my own instincts and lack of confidence in myself.

No Wo/Man Is An Island

And so what does Saturn have to do with this? Well, he has brought me endless and ongoing opportunities over the last 2 1/2 years to really grow down into myself. In an obvious way this has been through financial constraints, as I buckle down and for the first time truly engage in a Masters degree in gestalt psychotherapy. This has meant that I could not distract myself as I might have done in the past through shopping and partying. I have been forced to confront my self. Saturn, especially since it has been sitting on my moon which is connected to the mother and emotional support, has been challenging me to look at how I support myself, physically and also how I get support from others. According to the principles of gestalt therapy support consists of ways we support ourselves for example how we hold ourselves, how we breathe, how we calm ourselves if we get stressed, and also how we get support from the environment. This is since, according to gestalt therapy, we, the individual are part of the field. We are interdependent with the field and cannot exist without this support. One of my past themes was to not want to depend too much on others or to accept their support. With Saturn conjunct my moon one of my lessons was to learn to accept support, financial aid from my mother. It was painful for me to do and I had a lot of resistance and shame around the idea of being ‘dependent’ however I needed to learn that no man is an island.


The second lesson was about physically occupying more of myself. I experimented with different types of grounding exercises that I have described elsewhere in my blog for example belly breathing, Bartenieff fundamentals, soft belly meditation. This has led to me hearing my inner impulses more and walking more to the beat of my own drum.  There is a part of me that would have loved to rush through and master all these lessons immediately, such being the impatient me. However probably the most important lesson which can only be learned over time is faith. I liken this period of financial constraint and having to rely on others as learning to leap off a cliff and trust that I will land ok. I actually did this in a cenote (see above image) called during a recent visit to Chichen Itza in  Mexico and it took me at least ten minutes to trust and leap off. Trust in myself, trust in my path, and trust in my ability to get the support I need from the field, that’s what I have gained from Saturn.

Present  Centred-ness

Saturn can be linked to a cycle of overly negative thinking and even depression. Especially in the beginning of the transit when things seem to be going wrong and one has not integrated enough of the lessons to be more philosophical it is easy to get negative and then stay stuck in that cycle. I certainly realised that I was getting into a mindset of ‘everything is rubbish’. It took others to point out to me just how negatively I was thinking and I have recently made more effort to monitor my thoughts, reducing the negative and replacing with the positive. I have also been challenged by Saturn to stay in the present, knowing that if I remain in the present moment then I cannot stay feeling blue. Listening to the birds, being aware of the wind on my face, having curiosity in other passers-by in the street means I remain with the natural fluidity and magic of life. I cannot feel negative for too long if I am truly in the present.

And are the lessons over yet? Who knows, I still have another two months to go and yes, I do plan to celebrate when he is gone! In the meantime I will take heart from this quote from Elisabeth Kubler – Ross.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”