Astrology

Writerly Promise


In considering whether or not to return to my long-abandoned writerly aspirations, I’ve done some research regarding the astrological indicators that statistically have proven best for successful novelists.


  • Key are Mercury and Venus, with Venus winning hands down for novelists. Her preferred zodiac sign is Taurus and her preferred location is on or close to the Ascendant. 
  • Mercury, a good indicator for journalists, does well in Capricorn and Aries and wants close contact with Jupiter and/or the Ascendant. 
  • Virgo and Gemini also seem to be important for successful writers like Agatha Christie and Stephen King. But there’s no statistical evidence (apparently) to support this.
  • A strong emphasis of 3rd house (communication) planets also helps with the ability to express oneself well; novelists in this category are Charles Dickens, Jane Austen, and Margaret Michell. 

Where do I fit in?

Although there’s no apparent statistical evidence, Mercury in Libra (which I have) is great for artistic, poetic flair such as with Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. My stellium in Libra (Mercury/Saturn/Neptune) also has promise. Even though my Mercury and Venus are not forming an aspect with each other, they are in mutual reception (Venus in Virgo is in the sign ruled by Mercury and Venus rules Libra). That’s a huge help. Likewise, my Moon in the 12th house and Cancer rising denote a vivid and sensitive imagination

For luck in having my work published, I would want connections between Mercury and the 3rd house. Although I could use more, at least I do have with that mutual reception with Venus in Virgo ( 3rd house) and Mercury in Libra.

Pity, I don’t have any planets in my 9th house. But my Mercury is in reception with my Jupiter in Gemini, although such reception is not mutual. Finally, although I’ve no planets on my MC in Pisces, there is a connection (by rulership) with both Jupiter and Neptune (part of my Libran stellium).


Overall, there is promise for writing lovely and entertaining copy but certainly nothing suggesting that I’ll make a fortune as a novelist – but then again making money isn’t everything, is it?


Astrology

Financial Astrology – might we be headed for a significant recession in 2025-2026?

Yesterday, I was lucky enough to attend an entire day of lectures by Christeen Skinner about financial astrology.

UnknownAlthough I learned many things (including that my harmonious natal connection between Jupiter and Pluto  keeps me financially afloat during tough times), my priority was to gain information to support my work-in-process novel, The Curve of Capricorn, and  its primary premise that during the period leading up to 2025, the stage becomes set for the United States to split apart at the seams (i.e. civil war).

Christeen reminds us that, at the moment, just about everything is overvalued, and that includes real estate as well as the financial markets. Unlike in 2008, however, when Pluto entered Capricorn and brought with it the Global Financial Crisis, the period from 2020 to 2025 will not so much be a period of  upheaval, but of profound re-valuation – a financial ‘reset’.

Nonetheless, it won’t be pleasant and we might expect a taste of what’s to come as early as May 2018, when Uranus enters Taurus where it has not been since 1934 (and where it will remain until 2025).

If in doubt why this might happen, consider the still outrageously high levels of national and personal debt across the globe. Although those well-advised not only will not take on any additional debt but will clear what do they carry prior to 2020, many will frivolously continue to borrow and borrow – at least until the bubble of the present fantasy-land bursts. Expect events on or about 21 December 2020 to usher in a huge dose of reality.

Then, not only does the Jupiter/Saturn cycle start in a new element (i.e. this shift occurs about every 250 years) but also Pluto and Mars (in Aries) are in an exact square. This is an explosive energy heralding in a new beginning.  Two other planetary cycles will commence at this time (1) Jupiter/Pluto (excessive optimism) and (2) Saturn/Pluto (push for contraction). Obviously, these conflict; expect confusion. Also, keep in mind that whenever Pluto is involved, we can expect violence, victimization, crisis, fear, and uncertainty. Think racial tension, taxation melt-down, social class power struggle and global health concerns (possibly a pandemic) not to mention serious changes in weather patterns (based on solar flare activity, or rather, lack thereof) that could make certain parts of the world, including some areas of the United States, no longer habitable.

The plot thickens.

The next significant recession is astrologically expected in 2025-2026 with mid-February 2026 seeing the bottoming-out of the global financial markets. This will be an especially difficult period for the United States for many reasons, not the least of which is that in 2022, America will suffer its first Pluto return (i.e. a cosmic wake-up call and time of massive transition). The current political system is not working. This cannot and will not continue.

rough roadWhatever happens in the lead up to 2025, the proverbial shit will hit the fan when in late March of that year, Neptune moves into Aries where it has not been since 1861, the start of the American Civil War.

What does all of this mean for the rest of us?

Hang on to your hats and prepare for a rough ride but always remember that whatever goes up must come down and vice versa. So if the markets are high, then sell and if they’re at rock-bottom, it’s the perfect time to buy. Again, those well-advised might weather this upcoming turbulent period very well, indeed.

Astrology

Will my novel, Curve of Capricorn, be published if I do JB’s Bestseller Fiction Masterclass?

 

Overall – this is looking very positive – with some problems to be overcome (to be expected) but a favourable final outcome.

I would expect a publisher to come after my novel in about 9 months and that makes sense given that JB’s course finishes end in May 2018.

Interestingly, if it is true that publication is usually about 12 months after signing a publishing contract, this bit of good luck for me has already been predicted. Several years ago, Bernadette Brady used some great techniques suggesting that 2019 would be my year for publishing a novel. How neat is that?

Detailed Analysis

  • I am the querent and so with Libra rising, Venus (ruler of Libra) symbolises me. Venus in this chart is at 27 Virgo where technically, she ought not to be happy (she’s in fall). But my natal Venus is in Virgo and so I consider this a good omen – not only that, but with all the work ahead to get this novel up and running again – the highly detailed and sceptical nature of Virgo ought to serve me well.Will COC be published if I do JB course?.jpg
  • My novel is best ruled by the 3rd house and because Sagittarius is on the cusp, it is symbolised by Jupiter at 0 Scorpio. This suggests that my novel is neither in very good nor very bad shape. Because Jupiter is in sect (in same hemisphere as the Sun), the Liber Hermetis  predicts that my novel will be ‘honoured by magnates and kings’ and be ‘worthy of believing’. Unfortunately, however, because Jupiter (my novel) is in the terms of Mars, there will be trouble with the ‘make a million’ concept. Bestseller? Probably not.
  • Because the 9th house is traditionally associated with publishing, then with Gemini on the 9th house cusp, potential publishers will be symbolised by Mercury, the ruler of Gemini.
  • In order for my novel (Jupiter) to be published, both it (Jupiter) and the publisher (Mercury) must come together in a harmonious aspect. In this case, they are doing just that because Mercury (the faster planet) is applying to Jupiter for a conjunction. Mercury is 9 degrees away and this is in range (moiety) for these two planets. That Mercury must change sign prior to making the conjunction with Jupiter does not change the result although I like to think of this as symbolising that my novel will be very different after working with JB on the course for 6 months. That 9 degrees should translate roughly into 9 months which makes sense under the circumstances.
  • Of interest, is that Mercury at 21 Libra is in the same ‘degree’ as the lunar nodes (21 Aquarius/Leo). According to tradition, this signifies that the publisher in this instance is about to be involved in a ‘fateful’ event in regards to this horary question. This may or may not be unfortunate. But because Mercury is ‘combust’ (too close to the Sun), there is some suggestion that publisher may be ‘burned’  in some way.
  • Mercury is in the terms of Venus suggesting that a female publisher/agent might be best for my novel.
  • Finally, because the Moon is the overall symbol of how events as a whole will play out (past, present, future), we watch her movements with great interest:
    • Last aspect made by the Moon in this chart prior to asking the question was a trine with Jupiter which is good for new ventures and dealing with influential people. Looks like I was lucky to have been ‘chosen’ for this course?
    • Next aspect to be made will be a square with the Sun and it is NOT good for new undertakings and dealing with influential people. Hope I’ve made the right decision?
    • Next aspect made is a square with Mercury which is GOOD for study and sending messages as well as buying/selling with influential people. Sounding better.
    • Next aspect will be a sextile with Mars which is good for winning contests and arguments. All contracts require some haggling.
    • Final aspect is a sextile to Venus which is good for ‘marriage’ (i.e. partnership with a publisher) and financial matters in general.
literary criticism

The Concept of Canon & The Secret Book of John

Excerpt from my (as yet unpublished) novel, Adieu the Rose:

Marseilles

December 1920

“Your anger is that of all the wronged women since the beginning of time, Sophie.” Mother Superior fingered multi-coloured spines. “Yet the answer lies within not without.”

Although deeply pious, the mother superior was surprisingly progressive and she encouraged her nuns to be the same. After a challenging childhood in Corsica, this amazing woman had taught herself to read and write in several languages including English. Not only was she politically astute, but she’d developed strong allies in high places. Much to the chagrin of the Vatican, The Mother regularly published radical ideas about religious reform in the secular press. Her official library contained the accepted canon of Plato, Aristotle, and Saint Augustine. Her personal library – kept under lock and key – was deeply heretical ranging from Darwin’s Theory of Evolution to alchemy and a good bit in between.

Most of the nuns found this library alternating between fascinating and confusing. But the most confusing to Sophie was a collection of sacred alternative texts that had been handed down from ancient Mesopotamia. It was from this collection that the Mother Superior selected a slim volume.

The Secret Book of John?” squeaked Sophie.

“Like me, child, you search for the truth,” replied the Mother. “Yet when you fail to easily find it you’re all too willing to accept the lies. This Gnostic text explains a good deal about what it means to be a woman and how it came to pass that all women share the same anger.”

“Isn’t anger a personal thing?”

“Is original sin personal?”

Sophie edged closer to the ancient stone fireplace and rubbed her hands before the well-tended fire. It was the week before Christmas and Marseilles was not only miserably damp, but deadly cold.

“According to that text you hold in your hands, original sin resulted not from Eve’s encounter with the snake but from the arrogance of God.” Pouring more tea, the Mother beckoned for Sophie to sit next to her on a comfortable-looking settee. “In order to give life to his human creations, Adam and Eve, God stole light from the Mother Sophia. Eve thought this terribly unfair and it was whilst trying to return the light to the Mother, that she first tasted the fruit of knowledge in the Garden of Eden.”

“If that’s true,” replied Sophie, “then where does that leave Christian redemption?”

This was the most pressing question. Despite the exculpating eulogy that the Bishop of Beraux had delivered at her uncle’s funeral, Sophie prayed each and every day that her relative would never find redemption. It was inconceivable that such a life of wickedness on the part of such a privileged man should receive the same divine pardon as the theft of a piece of bread by a starving child. Nonetheless, it was a sad realisation that like the hungry flames of Hell, her own anger had engulfed her. Likewise it was a sad realisation that anger such as hers had assumed a life of its own. But worst, was the realisation that was that her anger was all that she had and that she wasn’t about to give it up without a fight.

“According to The Secret Book of John, it was with this act of disobedience that Eve kick-started the process of redemption.” The Mother chuckled. “You can imagine that God wasn’t best pleased that his own sin had been found out. Let’s suppose for a moment that this story is true. Then can you imagine how Eve must have felt to be eternally damned for doing something so noble?”

“She’d be angry.”

“Might it then be possible that if, as the Church teaches, all women are burdened with Eve’s sin they might also be burdened with her anger?”

“I think… maybe…yes.” Patting the soft swell beneath her plain, brown robe, Sophie considered whether her anger was driving her crazy or whether it had already done so. “Mother, I’m confused.

______________________

Unknown-1Albeit confusing and anger-provoking, the concept of canon is undoubtedly useful. Else how could it have endured for more than two thousand years? [1] Arguably, however, a more basic question is for whom and for what purpose is it useful and in this regard, I agree with the Mother Superior’s suggestion – the answer lies within not without.

This, however, is not the current view. According to Krupat (157-158), the concept of canon is generally understood in either of two (diametrically opposed) ways: (1) as formed exclusively by power relations or (2) as ‘the very best that has been thought’. I suggest that both keep the focus solely on someone – or something- other than the reader and as such can only further the ‘canon brawl’. As Krupat (158) acknowledges, if we ‘force people to read our books now, not theirs, they will fight back, conflict unending’. As Sophie acknowledges, anger is a very engaging emotion especially when it takes on a life of its own.

Krupat’s proposed solution to the ‘canon brawl’ is to either (1) dispense altogether with the concept of canon or (2) compile a canon to suit everyone’s tastes. I purpose that neither is realistic – let’s face it – some books really are better than others and as for suiting everyone’s tastes – at least in America this has proved impossible. Even after including an impressively extensive list of ethic/racial/gender groups in his sample canon, Krupat admits that he had still left out writers representing Chicanos, Italian Americans, and Scandinavians – not to mention the Jewish immigrants.

If we accept that (1) the concept of canon has existed for at least two thousand years and likely to exist for a few more and (2) in our increasingly globally mobile society, canon formation will not become easier then we need to look for a new solution and I propose that to be a radical change in our point of view.

In this regard, it is instructive to study the formation of biblical canon which, like a literary canon, is a compilation of writings believed to possess some ‘inspired’ special quality which conveys special status. Studies have shown that this special quality is dependent not so much in what it offers the community but instead how it furthers the community’s common values and ‘faith’. While it is true that initially some person or group of persons exercises their higher authority to form the canon, when the community at large no longer supports this canon, de-canonisation takes place (Zaman, 538-542).

In other words, biblical canon is formed by and for the benefit of the community in order to establish the norms underlying ‘life and behaviour’ (Zaman, 538). Further the biblical canon is altered and embellished by the literary canon which is arguably itself built on the idea that the collective self can be known and represented through a collective autobiography called canon (Krupat, 160). In other words, rather like a democratically elected government, the canon is ‘by the people and for the people’. Your candidate might have lost this election but he or she may win the next.

For example, it is true enough that if The Secret Book of John had been incorporated into the Bible, Sophie would not have such cause to be so angry; she would never have learned (as have many Western women) to define her place in the collective vis a vis the biblical Eve. Although she might not have realised it, Sophie’s problem grew exponentially when that biblically depicted Eve was further magnified and maligned by the literary canon with, for example, the creation of Milton’s Satanically inspired Eve in Paradise Lost (Gilbert and Gubar, 189).

It is likewise true that although The Secret Book of John was well known during the first centuries A.D. and still read in the eight century (Barnstone, 51) – it was not incorporated into the final biblical canon. This was not because it did not possess that ‘inspired’ special quality or that the Gnostics were not sufficiently Christian (actually they considered themselves the true and uncorrupted Christians). It was because the Gnostics lost out politically to the orthodox Christians (Barnstone, xviii). If Valentinus, a major Gnostic thinker, had won his bid to be elected as pope of Rome, we can imagine how the New Testament, fixed at Carthage in 397, might have been different. Likewise even though Milton was originally part of the literary canon, he has since been down-graded by a ‘political act masquerading as a poetic revaluation’ when TS Eliot and critic FR Leavis determined to ‘drag’ English Studies into a ‘bright new hard-edged future’ (Jacobs, 51).Secret Book of John

It is likewise true, however, that both Paradise Lost and The Secret Book of John still remain readily available for any and all who wish to read them. As the Mother Superior points out to Sophie, even for those who search for the truth it’s all too easy to accept lies. Whilst a canon is a compilation of writings believed to possess some ‘inspired’ special quality conveying special status, canon is not ‘truth’ set in stone by those with higher authority. Nor is it ‘lie’ similarly perpetrated by that higher authority to perpetuate that truth. When the community at large gets fed up with the existing canon, de-canonisation does and will take place. Who knows but that The Secret Book of John may yet (re)join the biblical canon much in the same way that Milton might be reinstated to his.

Viewed in this way, canon takes on a different significance than simply a method by which to ‘force people to read our books now, not theirs’. Viewed in this way, readers can acknowledge that canon represents community views regarding the norms underlying ‘life and behaviour’. It is neither an edict from on high any more than it is set in stone. Whilst such change in point of view might have been difficult to sell to previous generations, I suggest there is little or no excuse for present company not to at least entertain the idea.

In summary, let’s face it – some books really are better than others and as for suiting everyone’s tastes – although the Mother Superior’s official library contained the accepted canon of Plato, Aristotle, and Saint Augustine, her personal library – kept under lock and key – was deeply heretical ranging from Darwin’s Theory of Evolution to alchemy and a good bit in between – but (most importantly) this amazing woman was surprisingly progressive and politically astute enough to acknowledge and bridge the difference.

__________________

Excerpt from my (as yet unpublished) novel, Adieu the Rose:

Marseilles

December 1920

“Confusion comes when you’re unable to see things for what they are,” said the Mother. “Anger, however, comes when you refuse to accept things as you know they are. Eve couldn’t change her situation, Sophie, but imagine how miserable she’d have been if she’d refused to accept it?”

“How do I find the courage to accept my situation, Mother?”

“Prayer, child, and plenty of it.” Mother Superior softly kissed her cheek. “It’s your anger that’s keeping you from God and you’ll feel better when you and He are reunited.”

Passing through the dimly lit hall on her way back to her cell, Sophie came to the bewildering conclusion that not only was her anger keeping her from God but it was also keeping her from herself.

_____________________________

Bibliography

Barnstone, Willis, ed. The Other Bible. San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishers, 1984.

Gilbert, Sandra M. and Susan Gubar. The Madwoman in the Attic, 2nd ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000.

Jacobs, Richard. A Beginner’s Guide to Critical Reading, An Anthology of Literary Texts. London: Routledge, 2001.

Krupat, Arnold. ‘The Concept of the Canon, The Voice in the Margin’ (157-162). Debating the Canon: A Reader from Addison to Nafisi. ed. Lee Morrissey. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

Zaman, Luc. Bible and canon; a modern historical inquiry Studia Semitica Neerlandica; 50. Leiden, Koninklijke Brill NV, 2008.

[1] Like the concept a literary canon, a Great Tradition also prescribes a ‘must read’ list albeit perhaps based on different terms. Hence for purposes of this essay I will treat them as substantially the same.

Alchemy

Love’s Alchemy & the Alchemical Marriage

MercuryIn alchemy, the female mercurial principle symbolises the mutable aspect of natural processes, their fluidity and changeability.

Hence ‘he/she’ (Mercury is oft pictured as hermaphrodite) is known to alchemists as the White Queen.

According to Johannis de Monte Raphim (Deutsches Theatrum Chemicum, Nuremberg, 1728):

“The process laboratory-workers wanted to rule him (Mercurius) and force him into (the) process. But he constantly escapes, and if one thinks about him, he turns into thoughts, and if one passes judgment upon him, he is judgment itself.”

Mercury is prized by alchemists because, as the result of ‘his/her’ own divided nature, ‘he/she’ unites opposites. Keeping in mind that the alchemical process is all about separation, purification, and reunification, we begin to grasp the benefits of Mercury. Keeping in mind that Mercury is poisonous however, we can also begin to understand how (as Johannis de Monte Raphim warns us) it might all go terribly wrong.

Mercury = psychopomp = guide between the unconscious and the conscious.

The aim of the alchemical game is to bring up all the dross and impurities (as shown by your natal chart) to the surface (consciousness) so that you can deal with them. How else will you be able to assemble them, purified, back together again?

For example, the heroine of Love’s Alchemy, Judith Shakespeare, has a Mars/Saturn conjunction in the 12th house in Scorpio.

Mars/Saturn contacts are dangerously flammable:

Mars = passionalchemical symbols

Saturn = fear & inadequacy

Whilst her Mars/ Saturn contact operates unconsciously, Judith’s long-term personal relationships will be disastrous. Initially she is highly passionate (Mars). But as her Saturn kicks in (as it must with any form of commitment), she becomes increasingly cold toward her lover and potentially even violent.

Enter Mercury to facilitate the active dialogue and transference which is at the base of all therapeutic work.

With Mercury, Judith’s Saturn can help Mars become more considered and less impatient whilst her Mars can help her Saturn achieve his carefully conceived plans. It’s fairly obvious then that if Judith is to be successful in her alchemical transformation, she must find someone in whom she can confidently confide.

She and I are both hopeful that someone will be Master Francis, the character who is meant to play the King to her Queen.

Because Mercury, or the White Queen, is so fluid, she needs an active force to define and shapes her – this force is the male principle of sulphur known to alchemists as the Red King.White Queen

The union of Red King and White Queen is often called the alchemical marriage. In illustrations, it is depicted as courtship and sex. Sometimes they are garbed, as if just starting to be brought together, offering each other flowers. Sometimes they are naked, preparing for consummation of their marriage that will eventually lead to an allegorical offspring, that all important elixir, the Philosopher’s Stone.

Does Judith want to find the Philosopher’s Stone?

You bet!!

Will she be successful?

That remains to be seen.

Alchemy

Love’s Alchemy & the Golden Age of Saturn

imagesThe Babylonians believed Saturn, or Kronos, to be the ghost of a dead sun and hence the oldest spirit in the heavens. Saturn is thus considered the place where ‘created matter’ first manifests; it symbolises the laws defining and delimiting material manifestation.

The alchemist’s journey is focused on breaching these laws – or passing through the so-called ‘serpent’s circle’ of Saturn – in order to break through transient time and return to the Golden Age of eternal youth and divine benevolence.

In ancient lore, references to this Golden Age are numerous.

Hesiod tells of:

A golden race of mortal men who lived in the time of Kronos when he was reigning in heaven. And they lived like gods without sorrow of heart, remote and free from toil: miserable age rested not on them . . . The fruitful earth unforced bare them fruit abundantly and without stint. They dwelt in ease and peace upon their lands with many good things. . . .

Similarly writes Ovid in the sixth book of his Metamorphoses:

In the beginning was the Golden Age, when men of their own accord, without threat of punishment, without laws, maintained good faith and did what was right. . . . The earth itself, without compulsion, untouched by the hoe, unfurrowed by any share, produced all things spontaneously. . . . It was a season of everlasting spring.

The messenger of Saturn is the black crow. It symbolises the beginning of the ‘Black Phase’ of alchemical transformation, or Nigredo, the period when light gives way to darkness.black crow

It is in this darkness that we find the fertile soil of new birth. Indeed, the word Saturn comes from the Latin – serere – meaning to sow or plant. Because Saturn marks the boundary between personal and transpersonal (cosmic) powers, it is the alchemists most important planet being equated with both the beginning and end of the Great Work.

Psychologically, Saturn forces acceptance of the limitations of human mortality. Paradoxically, we are unable commit to life until we can face ‘who’ and ‘what’ we really are rather than that which we’d like to imagine. This in turn bring us to the threshold of whole new phase of life, or octave (Saturn being the 7th ring and hence transgressing it ushers in the next octave); each phase or octave leaving further behind the gross material of bodily incarnation in favour of the more subtle matter of our spirituality.

pitagorat1Astrologically, it is with Saturn transits/progressions (especially Saturn returns) that we often commence the ‘Black Phase’. Inevitably this is easier for those with Saturn in the air and fire signs (Gemini, Leo, Aries, Sagittarius, Libra, and Aquarius) for these individuals are more able to keep the ‘faith’ that in the end, everything will be OK.

However for those like my heroine, Judith Shakespeare, who have Saturn in earth signs (Virgo, Taurus, and Capricorn) or water signs (Pisces, Cancer, and Scorpio) the Black Phase is much harder because these individuals are too close – too emotionally wedded – to their EGO needs and desires that are being swept away.

Alchemy

Love’s Alchemy – Stage I – The Purification process or Calcinatio

Alchmey‘So as above then as below’ is a basic tenet of all occult work.

That inherently there is both good and bad in all things created is a tenet underlying the work of alchemists and Jungian psychologists alike.

Put these two tenets together, and you get an incredibly elegant step-by-step formula on how to create ‘gold’ from your unperfected self.

The heroine, Judith Shakespeare, of my new novel, Love’s Alchemy, has long been interested in both psychology and alchemy. Whilst still a teenager, she’d concluded that it was possible to change, perfect, and redeem  Picture 1herself by marrying psychology with alchemy through astrology.

Jung (himself a competent astrologer) believed that the ‘great work’ or magnum opus of alchemists was akin to the process he coined as individuation – whereby one deliberately works against the natural order of things to create the ‘Self’, an internal structure that will provide a ‘feeling of standing on solid ground, on a patch of inner eternity which even physical death cannot touch.’

The alchemists start with the elusive ‘first matter’, or Prima Materia in Latin. This is the most confusing concept in alchemy and even alchemists find it difficult to define it. Luckily, however, in regards to astrology determining the Prima Materia is easy; it’s your birth chart ! Like alchemists with their Prima Materia, your goal is to take each piece of your natal chart apart such that it can be purified, transformed, and reunited again into a perfect whole.

The first part of the process commences with the ‘Black Phase’ or Nigredo and the first stage of Nigredo is known as calcinatio.

Calcinatio is a fiery, burning process governed by Aries/Mars during which the dross is burned off to purify rather like the process during which diamonds are formed.

Psychologically, this is accomplished by frustrating your natural desires and passions (i.e. deliberating frustrating your EGO) so that you no longer are able to get your own way). It was never going to be easy to recognise (much less eliminate) your childish beliefs that everything wrong in your life is the fault of someone else.

As you become increasingly unable to blame others (i.e. project your own frustrations outside yourself) and are forced to look inside for the answers, you are literally stewed in your own ‘juices’ – frustrated and trapped – until the fire that lit your anger burns itself out.

alchemy lab 7Hence this stage in the alchemical process is often depicted as wolves with their paws cut off (instincts frustrated), serpents devouring themselves, lions eating suns, or the King being boiled alive

Needless to say this is a dark time of life and is often characterized by feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and depression – as you finally give up your egoistic struggle and slow down long enough to take that all important look inside.

Judith addresses The Black Phase or Nigredo in the first few chapters of Love’s Alchemy when because her Mars is so strong (with Scorpio rising, Mars is her chart ruler which is then also found in the zodiac sign of Scorpio which it rules by sign and triplicity), she finds herself more trouble than she’s ever known.

Like I said, this never was going to be easy.

Astrology

Love’s Alchemy – Astrological Character Analysis – Heroine – Judith Shakespeare

Judith rests on the 2nd day_001Time-travelling back from 21st century Oxford to Elizabethan England to work with the Queen’s conjurer, Dr John Dee, Judith Shakespeare’s classical/medieval astrology (and alchemy – but that’s another post) must be up to snuff.

Hence the following is my new heroine’s astrological character profile of herself:

  • I’m curious, forthright, flighty, flirty, and very engaging (Sun/Venus in Gemini – angular in the 7th house).

According to Bonatti, a Sun in Gemini:

‘…shows person who is exceedingly practiced and expert, teaching many things and giving orders, learned men and women who are able to debate academics and many who will be aware of celestial matters. They are good with numbers, magic, astronomy, divination and chemistry.’

  • I’m also hard working and highly effective – (Sun/Venus in square with the MC – i.e. plugged into the angles).
  • Having said that, I do get bored easily (Saturn in Scorpio). I realise that as the result of this many (especially my wretched sister) think that I’m lazy. And indeed whilst this is one of much chief frustrations, nothing could be further from the truth.
  • I am a veritable dynamo – up for every challenge –  I’m determined, feisty, formidable (Scorpio rising = Mars is chart ruler – Mars in rulership by sign and triplicity – conjunct Saturn ). Folks (except for Master Williams whom I unfortunately meet within the first few pages of my story – ARHGGG!) realise they can’t push me around.
  • I’m secretive (Scorpio rising) but what’s wrong with some privacy? The good news is that with this configuration, readers can be assured that because I’ve chosen to write my story for them, it’s a story worth their reading.
  • I do have a tendency to get a little hot under the collar.
  • According to Bonatti, Mars in the terms of Mercury (& out of Sect): ‘This person is hot-headed and their reason is clouded.’ 
  • The good news however is that with such a strong Mars, not only am I sexually powerful and alluring, I enjoy breaking social taboos – steamy sex scenes here we come!
  • With Moon in Leo, I’m strong, proud, and courageous. Because of this (and despite all that Scorpio), I do try to be honest and sincere and one of my proudest achievements is that because of this, I’m often put in positions of great trust.
  • However with my Jupiter in fall in Capricorn, I also often let people down. Sorry.

According to Bonatti, a Jupiter in Capricorn (out of sect) :

‘This placement of Jupiter leads to the person suffering injustice and many failings in business dealings. They may be corrupt and ruined of life.

  • The big unknown however is the effect of that seriously malefic North Node conjunct my Sun/Venus in Gemini.

According to the Liber Hermetis (attributed to Hermes Trismegistus):

“The Nodes bring errors and turbulence of life.”

Judith Shakespeare

__________________________________

Original Fiction

Hens & Chicks

The following is a flash fiction written during a meeting of my writer’s group in September 2013:

Hens & Chicks

hens and chicks

“Think he’ll make anything himself?” asked Mother Hen.

“Undoubtedly, my son will be President of United States of America,” replied Papa Hen. “If we can elect a black man and a scarlet woman to the highest post in the land, there’s no reason our Ralphie can’t make it.”

While nosing her chicks toward Farmer Brown’s corn and barley grain, Mother Hen considered her husband’s statement. Indeed, after the recent election of Ms. Sarah Green-Peas (no relation to the Jolly Green Giant of frozen peas fame), there seemed no limits to what the American people might do. If Ms. Green-Peas, a belly dancer from New Hampshire, could capture the heart of the nation, then there was no reason her chick might not do the same.

“Mama?” Suzie Q stopped pecking and cocked her furry yellow head. “Penny for your thoughts?”

“A penny won’t get you far these days, sister,” chuckled Ralphie. “When I’m president , I’ll see to it that a penny buys each and every chicken in America a full bale of hay.”

While nosing her chicks to the pond behind Farmer Brown’s stately grey slate mansion, Mother Hen considered her son’s statement and wondered where he could have learned so much about political economics. Last she knew, neither Harvard nor Stanford accepted chickens for full matriculation although, interestingly, Notre Dame had just taken in a lamb.

“When’s dinner ready?” demanded Papa Hen. “I got an overpowering urge for scrambled eggs. I stopped by the duck pond next door on my way home from the office and wouldn’t you know it, I found four just laying there.”

Although she really didn’t approve, Mother Hen cooked the eggs to perfection. She was a good wife and mother.  But she had always wondered if there might be something wrong with a man who was prepared to eat another’s children? She hoped Ralphie wouldn’t grow up to be like his father but she supposed that he probably would.

After all, to be President of the United States of America, a chicken would have to do whatever it was that a chicken had to do.”

Original Fiction

The Secret of Silene Tomentosa

The following 500 word short story was written as an exercise in my writer’s group:

The Secret of Silene Tomentosa

UnknownOn Tuesday, Gerald rose as usual.  After meditating, he ate a small bowl of muesli and packed a sketch pad, watercolours, and thermos of coffee (laced generously with Jack Daniels). Then he locked his cabin, joined the coastal trail, and walking stick in hand,  hiked the four and one-half miles from Herne Bay to the highest cliff at Reculver. If anyone had asked why he’d done this every morning for the past six months, he’d gladly have told them. But since no one – not even his wife – had shown the least interest in his labours, he’d kept the secret of Silene tomentosa to himself.

Spreading his blanket in front of the soft, pink clump, he enjoyed a long, hard pull of coffee. Despite being delayed along the way by a group of unruly adolescents – four boys and two girls about the same age as his grandchildren – he’d still managed to arrive at Silene tomentosa while the dew lay thick. This was the only time to properly observe his darling.

With a wash of Festival Fuchsia, he outlined the ten-fingered blossom in the sketchpad and recalled how the last sighting of Silene tomentosa had been made in 1994 by a hiker in Gibraltar. Since then, scientists had proclaimed it extinct. This was a vicious, pernicious lie, calculated to delay the modernisation of European horticulture by decades.

“Hey,” shouted the unruly adolescents from the trail. “Fancy meeting you again.”

Using a thick paste of Chinese White, Gerald framed the flower’s frothy beard. The correct development of modern horticulture depended not on scientists, but on artists like him. True that in pursuit of his art, Tennyson had plucked flowers from the ‘crannied wall – “roots and all’ – and vivisected the flower as would a scientist. But Gerald wasn’t Tennyson. Gerald was Basho, the seventeenth century Japanese poet who’d simply observed.

“Painting posies?” The unruly adolescents approached. “That how you’re saving the world grandpa?”

Unlike Basho, content to read the deepest mysteries of life in every petal, Tennyson and those meddlesome scientists were incapable of leaving anything alone.

“That’s a pretty flower,” cooed one of the girls.

It was through its sheer innocence that nature evokes mans’ fondest thoughts and admiration, creating vibrations akin to what Christians called divine love.

“What’s it called?” asked the girl.

Unlike Tennyson and those scientists who cared only for curiosity, Basho cared deeply for the destiny of all things.

“She asked what it’s called,” said one of the boys.

Gerald stood up, took another pull of coffee, and packed his things.

“Hard of hearing old man?” The boy yanked Silene tomentosa from the ground and stood dangling it by its sooty roots. “What’s this fucking thing called?”

Gerald walked to the coastal trail.

Following, the boy heaved Silene tomentosa  at Gerald – roots and all.

Gerald turned, struck the unruly adolescent with his walking stick, and after watching him tumble over the highest cliff at Reculver, carried on the coastal trail.

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