The Astrology Blog 24 June 2019
“ Our dreams recover what the world forgets.”
– James Hillman – American psychologist, born 12 April 1926, on a New Moon, Sun conjunct Moon in Aries
This is a much longer blog than usual, and I know we’re all busy and have shorter attention spans these days, but if your world is in any state of flux then read on. There’s not a lot going on in terms of stacks of aspects, but there’s a lot taking shape.
I finished last week’s blog by talking about Venus as she is the planet now connecting to the two major aspects forming the backdrop for the year. You can think of these aspects as a movie of life playing out on a large screen, in the background for the whole year but coming in and out of focus. So sometimes the images are fuzzy, other times they’re crystal clear. The moments of clarity are most likely to coincide with the dates when these major aspects are exact, which are –
Jupiter square Neptune
- 13 January – 14 Sagittarius/14 Pisces
- 15 June – 19 Sagittarius/Pisces
- 21 September – 17 Sagittarius/Pisces
Saturn sextile Neptune
- 31 January – 15 Capricorn/Pisces
- 18 June – 19 Capricorn/Pisces
- 9 November – 16 Capricorn/Pisces
Major aspects are rarely one-offs. More usually there’s a series of three as the slower moving planets continually loop backwards as well as forwards, appearing to travel in reverse (retrograde) and then appearing to start moving forwards again (turning direct). Their events therefore tend to reflect the bigger life changes. For example, you may make a decision or hear certain news in one moment, but the ramifications can take a long time to unfold. Or like pregnancy. The discovery is just the beginning.
Neptune has just turned retrograde (last Friday, just before the exact moment of the Summer Solstice) so now all three of the planets in this formation are in reverse. In some ways Neptune is the lynchpin here, as he aligns with both Jupiter and Saturn, and we’ve just had the second exact contacts, 15 and 18 June. And as I was saying last week it’s often the middle contacts that are the most revelatory, and the journey from now to the third and final contacts (in Sept and Nov) reflect how a matter evolves and how it is resolved.
For now, even though the second moments of sharp focus have just passed, the faster moving planets are still playing into the pattern, and here’s the current sequence involving Venus –
Sunday 23 June
- Venus 18 Gemini opposite Jupiter 18 Sagittarius 17.46 BST
Monday 24 June
- Venus 18 Gemini quinqunx Saturn 18 Capricorn 03.33 BST
- Venus 19 Gemini square Neptune 19 Pisces 11.00 BST
Thursday 27 June
- Venus 22 Gemini quinqunx Pluto 22 Capricorn 09.19 BST
I included the first three of these aspects last week and in fact I said that Venus’ three aspects here are not only the first ones since entering Gemini (9 June) but they are also the last before changing sign (moving into Cancer on 3 July, the day after the Solar Eclipse in Cancer). More correctly, this morning’s square to Neptune is the last major aspect, but there are also two minor aspects involved here – the quinqunx, awkward name, awkward aspect, formed when two planets align exactly 5 signs apart which means there is nothing in common. It’s a misalliance and a mismatch. It’s also blind spots and illnesses.
Starting with the smaller stuff, it’s fascinating how astrology shows itself in our day to day lives. More about that in connection to Mars too further on. Over here in Greece we’re into full boiling hot summer (sorry UK I know your weather is dismal) and Venus (everything that makes our life pleasurable) in Gemini the sign of mutable (circulating) air is definitely air conditioning and fans! Those who don’t have aircon find it very hard to sleep at nights and we all know how detrimental the knock on effect of prolonged poor sleep can be. This is also captured in Venus’ square to Neptune, who rules sleep. And dreams. If you want to try and remember your dreams more vividly don’t move when you wake up. Movement is the end to dreamworld. Lie perfectly still and recall the details and you’ll find that they’ll then stay with you, for your thought and reflection.
The bigger stuff relates to Venus’ domain of love, sustenance and money. Her entanglement with the Saturn – Neptune sextile and then with Pluto signals that some or all of these resources are at full stretch, or that mathematical or emotional sums are not adding up. Take a big step back from anyone or anything that is causing you stress. It’s a natural response in all of us to rush in and fix things but, and this is certainly a big lesson that I’ve learned in my own life, some things are either not fixable or they’re not worth the effort and the financial or personal cost. Also spot the difference between the things that really do need sorting out and the things that are of the “this too shall pass” variety. Venus in Gemini = breathe.
Counting blessings works. Remember the huge positive effect of starting your day with “gratitudes” – naming three things that you are grateful for. Anything. If this idea is new to you then you can make an even more powerful start by writing them down and keeping a gratitude journal. This morning my gratitude flowed to a friend who got canine medication to me late last night for one of my dogs who suddenly developed a horrible ear infection, finding a basketful of my favourite free range eggs in the local supermarket and rearranging the venue for a client appointment in London in August which is going to save us both a lot of time and energy.
This isn’t just something to make us feel better for a few minutes either. If you practice this daily the therapeutic effect gets stronger and stronger. In psychology research shows that gratitude is strongly and consistently associated with greater happiness, boosting self esteem, helping us to feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences, improve health, reduce envy, depression or anxiety, deal with adversity and build strong relationships. There are physiological reasons too. Gratitude stimulates feel-good dopamine.
On the “don’t” list is spending money unnecessarily, trying to pressgang someone into doing something they don’t want to do or into agreeing with your way of thinking, confiding feelings, private info or guilty secrets in the wrong person, sticking your head in the sand, crash diets, any kind of square pegs into round holes type action or anything in a tearing hurry under a misguided sense of urgency. The time is right for doing an inner check on our own situation, emotional health or reasons for doing something. Are we moving from a clear space, acting from authentic love or are we being manipulative? Can we say the same about someone else? Venus also rules beauty so I would definitely wait for this minor link to Pluto to pass if you’re thinking of having any kind of cosmetic work done. Things that happen under Pluto tend to be irreversible, no matter how much money you might have. Ask Meg Ryan.
What Else is Happening this Week?
Midweek is a flurry of activity as Venus finishes her tricky sequence, Mercury changes sign and the Sun aligns with Uranus –
Thursday 27 June
- Mercury ingress Leo 01.21 BST
- Sun 5 Cancer sextile Uranus 5 Taurus 18.46 BST
Mercury arriving in the Sun’s sign is usually cause for celebration, a fanfare announcing the arrival of something or someone important. When this is a natal placing these individuals know how to captivate you, they generally have big ideas and want others to feel their passion. Look at Richard Branson. But before we all get carried away on a rocket ship of enthusiasm it has to be said that this is something of a false start…. Mercury is already starting to slow down in readiness for turning retrograde less than a couple of weeks after the ingress –
- Mercury gets only as far as 4 degrees of Leo before switching to reverse 7 July
- Slides back into Cancer 19 July
- Will turn direct at 24 Cancer 1 August
- Will re-enter Leo for the second time on 11 August
The evidence is stacking up btw for highlighting 11 August as this is also the day that Jupiter turns direct (after 4 months of being retrograde) and in the early hours of 12 August Uranus turns retrograde (and won’t turn direct again until next January).
This rather suggests that if anything is a false start in your life then the matter is unlikely to disappear but that a waiting game is involved, or that there’s work to be done to bring a matter to fruition. In the process operate with some healthy skepticism. Big promises, no matter how generous the intention or how heartfelt, may not come off as quickly as expected. Similarly be careful about what you take on or offer to do. Preparation time will be important between now and 11 August so if you have events already lined up on or close to that date – my London workshops and Summer School! – sustained effort will bear fruit. Both Mercury’s second and real arrival in Leo and Jupiter turning direct are symbols of success and recognition.
In the meantime, back to this week, Uranus is still moving forwards through Taurus. The Sun entered Cancer, the Summer Solstice, last Friday 21 June and this sextile (harmonious) is the Sun’s first aspect on the annual journey through this sign. Great for family get-togethers, progress with property matters or taking a break from the usual routine. Nevertheless, even by good aspect, look out for Uranus hallmarks – anything from spontaneity, the unexpected or shocks.
For some this aspect will be paving the way to the Total Solar Eclipse next Monday (ie that is the Sun’s next appearance, as a Solar Eclipse occurs when the Sun is obscured by the shadow of the Moon at the time of a New Moon). I’ll be talking more about that next week but for now note that Uranus loves to pull the rug, and Eclipses are often considered as “power points” in a developing situation in terms of sensitizing a picture in the making. They also tend to sort out winners and losers as triangular situations – as the intricate pattern between the three bodies of Sun, Moon and the Earth suggests – mean that one person will be overshadowed. Affairs or work promotions are the obvious examples. If you’re in any highly charged or competitive situation my feeling is that this Uranus contact will be lighting a fuse …
Last Word to Mars – and Tortoises!
Mars is now on his last leg of the journey through Cancer, which is welcome news as this is Mars’ sign of “fall”, his most difficult placing, and he’ll be much happier when he’s back in a fire sign (ingress early hours of next Tuesday). Mars is god of war and thrives on swift, direct action and anything heated – from anger to passion to spicy foods! So there’s one more week of Mars meandering through the sign of the Crab – slow, cautious and sideways – and if you’re a “let’s get on with it” fire sign like me your patience will be wearing thin …
But back to my point earlier about how astrology shows in our day to day lives, the best showing for this Mars for me was the appearance of a giant turtle in my front garden. This actually happened a couple of weeks ago and if you’re part of my Facebook group The World of Astrology you’ll already know some of this story. You can join the group on this link – (https://www.facebook.com/groups/131108987086161/)
I’ve since figured out that someone must have put him there as my garden is totally ring-fenced in order to keep in the dogs. He couldn’t possibly have squeezed in. But when I came home late afternoon and saw him lumbering across the garden my first thought was just to rescue him, so I picked him up – no mean feat, he weighed a ton – and put him in the field next door.
The slow, ponderous turtle carrying his home on his back is just a brilliant image of Mars being slowed down in Cancer – sign of home and family. The story didn’t finish there however. A healer friend Lowri asked if I’d looked up the shamanic meaning (I had) and my colleague Elisabeth Brooke just “happened” to post a picture of a giant turtle on FB a couple of days later, the spitting image of the one who’d visited me. So I then told her the story and she immediately asked if I’d timed the moment of discovery (I hadn’t).
No self respecting astrologer experiences something odd without timing it – ie in order to draw up the horoscope for the moment – but being in a rush and in a bit of a panic I didn’t even take a photograph, and others had to take my word for it how large this turtle was!
However as I was in a rush because of a fixed time for going out that night with my students I was able to trace the timeline back pretty accurately. The chart was unquestionably about the ill health of my three siblings – two very recently departed and one just diagnosed. Apart from the obvious grief, especially as one of my losses was my other half Sue my adored twin sister, this has also triggered fear. I’ve done a lot of work in coming to terms with mortality, including my own, but, even so, it’s quite disturbing to see your own birth date on a gravestone in a little churchyard down the road.
But the symbolic meaning for the tortoise/turtle is longevity, protection and perseverance. Without going into too much technical detail Elisabeth’s take on the chart was to note the predominance of an “afflicted” 3rd House (siblings) but that Mars (chart ruler, ie me) was joining the Moon’s north node in the 9th House (the future, good fortune). The Moon in the chart was also exactly conjunct Sue’s Ascendant (in Libra, as she was born four hours before me, mine is Scorpio, same sign as the Ascendant of this chart). A message from her to keep moving onwards?
There was even more synchronicity to come. Elisabeth then told me that on the same day that she posted the turtle picture she had been talking to her daughter about the I Ching. Of the 64 hexagrams they had been talking about number 27, which includes reference to the magic tortoise (inner independence and sustenance) and how if we let our magic tortoise go we can fall victim to envy or self pity (which tallies with what I was saying earlier about gratitudes).
My interest in the I Ching newly stirred, admittedly had to blow the cobwebs off my book, I also looked to see what Wikipedia said and guess what … “Some fortune tellers use an empty tortoise shell to shake the coins in before throwing them on a dish or plate.” It’s not within the scope of this blog to go further into the I Ching but if you want to find out more here’s the Wikipedia link to get you started –
The real point to sharing this story with you is to illustrate magic. Those who have no connection with “other world” stuff would think all of this is nuts. But when you are an astrologer you are by default a symbolist. When you are a symbolist you become increasingly aware that the world doesn’t work just, or at all, in simple black and white terms, that there are messages everywhere and in everything. When we tune into those messages we can decipher them – just as we would analyse and interpret a dream. In such ways meaning is revealed to us. And through knowledge, we approach the synchronicity and the serenity of the spiritual.
Wishing you a magical week,
With love from Greece