Today, I attended a fab networking event for the ladies and the question was raised about karma.
Whether you believe that karma is about actual past lives or something more along the lines of what your higher self (or soul) wants to work on during this lifetime, this is my take on a few astrological considerations.
General shape of the natal chart – here, we are looking for empty spaces (i.e. quadrants or hemispheres rather than single houses). Energy ‘flow’ in the chart is important to pinpoint blockages as well as overcompensations.
I have absolutely nothing in the 3rd quadrant, which governs my personal development through relationships, socialisation and intellect. I’ve been married twice and have far too many university degrees. Overcompensation? You can bet on it.
Chiron – is also a big karmic factor and guess what, he’s conjunct my 7th house cusp! Is he telling me that I’ve suffered prior ‘wounds’ in relationship that had to do with balancing my own needs and that of the ‘other’? If so, then not surprisingly does this often manifest as the typical Libra refrain (I have 4 planets in Libra) – ‘I’ll do anything for you to stay in the relationship’. The karmic lesson here involves learning to love myself so that I’m not so dependent on the love from my ‘significant other’.
Element balance and imbalance – here, we are looking for (1) no and/or (2) four or more planets in either fire, earth, air, or water. Again, we’re looking for overcompensation and fixations. I have lots of air but no water in my chart and I often dream of water, not of drowning but of being constantly flooded. Water represents emotions. I don’t deal well with emotions. Put air and water together and you have rain storms. Too many of those at once and there’s flooding.
Moon and the South node – here, we are looking for deeply instinctual patterns, something that I’ve done over and over before and so keep doing because it is so easy. My Moon is in the 12th house, the most karmic of the houses. This definitely has to do with ‘mother-stuff’ (I spent years on ‘mother’ in my therapy – and I do mean years) and of course emotions. Or rather, it has to doing with being ‘detached’ from my emotions because otherwise it causes too much personal pain with which I cannot deal. Don’t be surprised to learn that my South Node is in Cancer. This is something that I’ve done gazillions of times before.
Doesn’t this tie in a bit too nicely with my lack of ‘water’ and recurrent ‘mother issues’?
Imagine, having a clear picture delivered from your higher self of what you’re meant to accomplish during this lifetime, a picture that ordinary astrological techniques and ordinary astrologers cannot provide?
Just like the Tropical zodiac (developed in ancient Greece) used by western astrologers and the Sidereal zodiac (older than the hills) used by eastern astrologers, the Draconic zodiac is a method of assigning the planets (and other important points) to one of the twelve zodiac signs.
The Sidereal zodiac lines the planets up against the fixed stars or constellations.
The Tropical zodiac (now 28 degrees out of sync with the Sidereal) is a moving target. It lines 0 degrees Aries up with the vernal equinox which, because of the earth’s wobble on its axis, shifts ever so slightly each year.
The Dragon Speaks
The Draconic (Dragon) zodiac is a completely different kettle of fish. Although based on the tropical zodiac, it realigns all planetary placements in keeping with the north lunar node (the dragon’s head). It is the cosmic dance of the two lunar nodes which plots the predictable point at which the moon will cross and crisscross the ecliptic (or the apparent path of the sun through the sky). Traditionally, the lunar nodes are more spiritually inclined than the rest of the planets/points; the north lunar node heralds your future, your destiny, whilst the south lunar node symbolises your past, as well as what’s holding you back.
The upside of this is that whilst both the Tropical and Sidereal zodiacs rely completely on the Sun’s movements, the Draconic captures the cyclical waltz between the Moon and the Sun. It is for this reason that the Draconic zodiac is believed to capture the essence of a soul (or higher self) incarnating into the earth plan as well as documenting the karmic strengths and weaknesses carrying on through multiple incarnations (rather like the Akashic Records).
If the natal chart erected using the Tropical zodiac fleshes out the personality or temperament of the incarnated individual, the chart erected using the draconic zodiac provides the skeletal framework. It’s the equivalent of having a snapshot of your higher self and its intended evolutionary goals before coming into this incarnation, highlighting important lessons intended to be learned this time around.
Where the tropical natal chart and the draconic charts intersect, there’s much information to gain; in essence, this is destiny calling.
As you can see, the structure of the chart remains the same but the planets and angles will have changed sign. In my Draconic chart, my Tropical Sun has shifted from Libra to Sagittarius. Indeed, although using the traditional western Tropical zodiac, my chart is primarily air (6 planets), using the Draconic zodiac, it is primarily fire (6 planets).
To me this suggests that over many lifetimes, I’ve nurtured a fiery optimistic, spiritual, philosophical, and holistic approach. This has likely been accomplished through extensive travel as well as a good deal of higher education (Sagittarius).
My natal Tropical Moon in Gemini loves learning, reading everything upon which I can lay my hands. Certainly, this would fuel a continuing need to develop my wisdom but Sagittarius implies more understanding than does Gemini, which is generally more interested in gathering information than doing much with it.
My Draconic Moon in Leo may help here because it comes more from the heart (Leo) than the head (Gemini). Leo brings natural authority and fierce sense of pride to the table, a personal pride that quite honestly, I’ve never actually felt before. Having my Draconic Mercury in Sagittarius will also help in applying what I learn across a broader board. It might also be the source of my active interest in creative writing, which I’ve long believed is not really explained by my natal chart.
In my Tropical birth chart I have no fire and so I have never believed that my intuition (fire) was reliable. But then again, looking back over nearly six decades, my intuition never has let me down. I also have struggled keeping up faith in myself and in life in general, but all that fire in my Draconic chart suggests that perhaps I overdid this (i.e. held too high an opinion of myself) in prior lifetimes and so in this life, I needed to learn some humility.
This theme of humility is mirrored in the closest connection I’ve noted between the two charts – that of the Tropical Pluto sitting close to Draconic Jupiter. Together, these suggest a desire for power that might have got out of hand in past lives. There’s also plenty to suggest that Jupiter (king of the gods) is my spiritual guiding light (all that Sagittarius, which Jupiter rules) but in this life my Jupiter in Gemini is in detriment. Perhaps I need to find a new and less traditional way to express my urge for power?
Destiny is Answered
I’m still working with this new zodiac and am very excited about what it might add to my astrological coaching mix. Next, I’ll explore midpoints and synastry. There’s also a whole new way of thinking about transits and progressions. Watch this space.
I don’t know about you, but I often worry about whether by taking poor decisions, I might be making myself bad karma. Mind you, I’m not even certain what karma is, much less how it might work but I’ve always been told that ‘what goes around does come around’ and for the most part, that seems to be true.
Yet, is comeuppance guaranteed? I mean, considering all that’s happening in the world of politics at the moment, I really do have to wonder. Might it be that some folks are so blessed that they can do whatever they want without consequence?
Regardless, I opt for sensible guidelines and given that Saturn and Pluto are together dancing their jig in Capricorn, I’ll take my lead from them and so ‘shame’ will be the name of my ethical game.
Rather than thinking of shame as a punishment, as we are often wont to do, I figure shame keeps us from doing things that the person that we want to be ought not to do. In this context, shame is not a painful conclusion but a joyous opportunity.
For Buddhists, shame is the frontline defence against inappropriate actions. Such action not only produces negative karma (locking you into the painful cycle of rebirth) but also leads to difficult rebirths.
Even non-Buddhists find inappropriate actions to be trouble. Folks tend to get annoyed when one steals, murders, and cheats. Likewise, they shy away from those who frequently lose their temper and fail to honour their commitments. Indeed, during the course of a single day, you are confronted with a whole host of activities that someone considers inappropriate. If you wished to comply with all of them, you might as well just stay home.
In reality, we cannot always abide by an external set of rules when deciding what we should or should not do.
Yet assuming that you do want to be ethical, then what standard might you use? I suggest using your own ‘sense of shame’.
The moderate Protestantism of Elizabeth I was a compromise not only between the Protestant and Catholic faiths but also between the various competing factions in the Protestant movement (i.e. Calvin vs. Luther and Zwingli).
During her long reign, Elizabeth’s religious policy made life easier for some and harder for others but, overall, at least initially, it set the nation-state on a more even keel than it had enjoyed in years. If avoiding civil disorder was one of Elizabeth’s general political aims, then her religious policy was more of the same.
For certain individuals like John Shakespeare, this doubtless caused considerable consternation. As a Catholic, how should he fulfil his job to remove the trappings of Catholic pomp and circumstance from Stratford’s Guild Hall? Although we do not know how he personally felt about this responsibility, we can imagine that it was difficult to part with something so culturally endemic and visually rich as the wall paintings that on his orders, were white-washed.
Similar sentiments may lay at the heart of Roger Martyn’s lamentations regarding required changes in his parish church. Like John, Roger was forced to part with an entire way of life (i.e. celebrations and festive meals) to which he had developed an emotional bond. Interestingly, for whatever reason, Roger’s accounts highlighted the impact of these changes not on his personal religious feelings and beliefs, but on the outward trappings of such. Not everyone believed such destruction to be wrong. Iconoclasm, such as forced upon Roger and John had biblical roots. For religious men like John Jewel (Apologica Ecclesia Englicanae), such lush and vibrant Catholic imagery was proof positive that, at least according to the scriptures, the Roman Catholics were the heretics, not the Protestants.
For many Catholics, Elizabeth’s policy may well have been welcomed, at least at first. Not only did it allow men like John Donne and Ben Jonson to publicly switch their religious allegiance, but it also provided Catholics with a cover under which to carry on (quietly) as before. If they were willing to superficially comply with the requirements demanded by Elizabeth’s religious policy, the Catholics were, for the most part ignored. Elizabeth had no desire to meddle with her subject’s inner beliefs – i.e. the windows to their souls. However, later in her reign, when fears over the claims of Mary Queen of Scots to the English throne were rampant and religious fighting in Europe accelerated, Elizabeth cracked down on those Catholics who stuck their heads above the proverbial parapet. Doubtless, towards the end of Elizabeth’s reign, it again became uncomfortably obvious for Protestants and Catholics alike, that their religious futures were uncertain.
In conclusion, although Elizabeth’s moderate religious policy had initially stabilised England’s political situation (for better or for worse), but the end of her reign another big and unsettling change was in the cards. Who would know if perhaps if would not be of the same magnitude as that suffered under the auspices of her father, Henry VIII, with the Reformation?
Whilst discussing Jung’s Red Book (Liber Novus), Liz Greene reminds us that when interpreting the Moon in an astrological chart, we should keep in mind Jung’s vision of the Moon as a fluid, living principle, always in flux.
To assume the astrological Moon corresponds solely to Jung’s Anima is a mistake. Equally, it is a mistake to assume that she is solely the nurturing mother. Indeed, Jung saw the astrological Moon as both deeply complex and ambivalent – the archetypal core of which equates to the triple-bodied lunar goddess of antiquity, Hecate.
Consider four of the Red Book’s female personages:
Salome – the daughter of Elijah, the wise old prophet who presides of the ‘temple of the sun’. Salome, with long black hair and dressed in red, is never pictured without her father. She is associated both with (1) the darkened skies of the ‘blood Moon’ (reportedly visible at the time of Jesus’ crucifixion) and (2) the blood-thirsty seductive temptress, the daughter of Herodias, who demanded the severed head of John the Baptist from her besotted lover. In this regard, Salome is associated with the tarot card, The Hanged Man, who although still possesses his head, is unable to use it (i.e. it is no longer above, but below) symbolising loss of the rational intellect when confronted with realm of the unconscious. Salome is associated with the dark moon. She is bloodthirsty and dangerous.
Old Scholar’s Daughter – imprisoned by her father in an old stone castle in midst of a forest, this pale and ghostly girl is shown with the crescent moon. Like the Greek goddess, Persephone, she is prevented by her parent from developing into a fully-grown woman. Although Jung considers her to thus be unworldly, she informs him that she knows more about ‘real life’ than does he. At the end of their brief chat, Jung has fallen in love with her and she disappears into a shaft of moon light, leaving behind a bunch of red roses. The roses, Liz suggests, links her to Venus, the erotic goddess of the ancient Greeks, who interestingly does not otherwise figure in the Red Book. But unlike with the dangerous eroticism of Salome, Jung had little to fear from this pretty young girl; indeed, she offered him much to learn. Associated with the tarot card, The Moon, the Old Scholar’s Daughter offers a doorway to the unconscious, a scary place in which wisdom resides. It is tempting to equate her solely with the crescent moon, but she shares this ‘honour’ with the Anima.
The Cook – along with the Old Scholar’s Daughter, the Cook is associated with the tarot card, The Moon, but the Cook takes this proverbial walk on the dark side to a completely new and different level. Large and fat and always pushing food, The Cook seems simple enough, the traditional house-frau. But in reality, she is unashamedly two-faced. After eating the food (nourishment) she provides, Jung falls asleep and wakes up in the underworld (‘the realm of mothers’). In this regard, The Cook is more dangerous than even Salome because what you see with her is never what you get. The Cook is associated with the full moon, also a gateway to the unconscious, but under no circumstances is she to be trusted.
The Anima – although Jung never meets with the Anima, he does depict her dressed in blue and kneeling in prayer. She is at once the celestial mother, the chalice or Holy Grail (drink of her and attain immortality), the spiritual bride and mother, as well as the daughter of the stars. In his tarot deck, Waite shows her as The High Priestess, the guardian of hidden wisdom and spiritual mediator between the worlds, above and below. Notice that the High Priestess sits with the crescent moon at her feet.
In summary, astrologers ought not to consider the astrological Moon as either this or that, but instead as a fluidity that morphs over time. The imagery of the classical triple-bodied lunar goddess, Hecate, is in keeping with Jung’s complicated (and often contradictory) lunar journeys. In the Red Book, the astrological Moon represents the entire spectrum of the lunar myth and cycle, from the dark of the new moon and back again. Unlike classical astrology that divides the planets into either malefic or benefic, Jung’s astrological Moon at once both and neither. She can be dangerous – even treacherous. Equally, however, she offers the opportunity to plumb the depths for the wisdom that resides in the unconscious- the wisdom each of us must someday tap if we are to further ourselves on that all important path to individuation.
Greene, L. (2018). The Astrological World of Jung’s Liber Novus; Daimons, Gods, and the Planetary Journey. Abingdon: Routledge.
Greene, L. (2018). Jung’s Studies in Astrology: Prophecy, Magic and the Qualities of Time. Abingdon: Routledge.
Let’s assume that the generation known as the Millennials (also known as Generation Y) were born between 1982-2004, a period of about twenty-two years.
Let’s also assume that a recent article in The Atlantic (16 January 2018) is correct that not only are the Millennials the most ‘stressed’ generation in recent history, but they also are responsible for an astrological revival. If, as the article purports, stress makes astrology look ‘shinier’, then what might this generation’s stress be all about and how might astrology be helping them to deal with it?
Given that at the moment, the world is characterised by intolerance, lack of discipline, unprincipled behaviour, economic insecurity, and self-serving aggression, we can understand why this generation is feeling stressed. Much of what they hold to be of value (tolerance, freedom, idealism) is being trashed by an older, more experienced generation, a group that the Millennials would love more than anything to be able to respect. We can also understand their interest in astrology. If traditional ways of finding meaning (i.e. religion) are no longer working, being so idealistic, an established, ancient and slightly rebellious wisdom will be naturally appealing. The good news is that in 2025, things should look markedly better for the Millennials. The energy will be freer as well as progressive; much more to their liking.
1982 – 1983
1984 – 1988
1988 – 1995
1995 – 1996
1996 – 1998
1998 – 2003
2003 – 2004
A quick look at the above chart suggests that during the period 1982 -2004, the prominent zodiacal energies were in play:
Expansion, movement, and broad vision. It is also associated with a tolerant attitude, a passion for life as well as a Pollyanna outlook – ‘tomorrow’ will (somehow) be better. Faith.
Patience, determination, reliability, authority, mastery, discipline, tradition, and economic stability. As with fine wine, with Capricorn there’s a tendency to markedly improve with age (and experience).
According to Ebertin, the combination of the planets Pluto, Neptune, and Uranus can be summed up as a tendency to feel at the mercy of external conditions, against which one often remains unable to muster a firm stand. This combination also imparts a sympathetic understanding of human nature combined with a progressive spirit.
Astro-profile for Millennials
Respect for wisdom, tradition, age, and authority
In regards to the world in which we currently live, Pluto is in Capricorn, Neptune is in Pisces, Uranus is in Aries (about to move into Taurus). Broadly, this translates into the collapse of traditional authority figures and well as undermined financial security, spirituality is confused and chaotic, the world inspiration is focused on war and aggression. When Uranus enters Taurus in May 2018, expect even more disruption in economic and financial security, although this time it at least it will be both experimental and progressive in nature. New solutions for old problems? Let’s hope so!
Stress is about testing and strain. The focus is on the breaking point. The results are hardship, adversity, and affliction. For a generation who is both idealistic and visionary, the reality of present day hardship and adversity will be all the harder to take. Being both principled and tolerant, the Millennials will have a hard time digesting racism and similar ‘intolerance’. Whilst they keeping hoping that things will get better, by now, they are probably getting impatient yet don’t feel empowered to take action and make a difference. Because of the emphasis of Sagittarius in their makeup, they have a pressing need to discover why this is happening and with traditional religion (as source of meaning) in its continued demise, they may well turn to astrology (an ancient, if not slightly rebellious wisdom) for answers.
I’m also guessing that as a whole, the Millennials will feel like they’ve come into their own when, in 2025, Pluto finally moves into Aquarius; the energy will not only be more progressive, but also inspired. Uranus will also be shifting into Gemini and with that comes some freedom. Finally, Neptune will shift from Pisces (meltdown) into Aires (action); the waiting is over and time to move forward.
Kõ-an – a paradox anecdote or riddle, used in Zen Buddhism to demonstrate the inadequacy of logic and provoke a more direct perception of reality called enlightenment.
Kõ-ans have always exercised an intellectual fascination over those who have come in contact with them. Some have found Kõ-ans profound and intellectually challenging while others have dismissed them as meaningless and absurd. But especially for those living in societies built on Enlightenment principles, the anti-rationalism of Kõ-ans has been a large part of their appeal.
Although Reason is useful to conceptualize and categorize, it can also trap us in a limited and arbitrary view of the world. Once Reason gets tangled up with our socially conditioned biases, then rather like blinkers on a horse it can do no more than channel us down a predetermined path.
The practical purpose of Kõ-ans is not to rid us of our intellectual capacity but instead to allow it to function in a dispassionate way. This involves breaking down the everyday tyranny of our conditioned intellect by demonstrating the contradictions and absurdities to which it would otherwise necessarily lead.
Unlike puzzles and riddles, Kõ-ans do not have pat answers. Indeed, many Kõ-ans are not even in the form of a question. When used properly, Kõ-ans set trains of thought in motion and then derail them. With the continuity of our internal dialogue broken, we are no longer able to maintain our (false) sense of reality.
A properly constructed Kõ-an should contain many layers of personal meaning. It is most certainly not a case of ‘one size fits all’. According to Buddhist teaching, Truth can only be experienced by those who seek Truth for its own sake. It can never be denied to those who are worthy as equally it can never be imparted to those who are not.
A client asked for astrological insight on her spirituality. But what she meant by that, she wasn’t too sure. I told her she wasn’t alone in her confusion and suggested that we explore this together. She wasn’t too keen on that, however. For her, spiritualty was too personal.
OK – so I decided to come up with something by myself. It couldn’t be that hard, could it? After all, I do have an MA in the Study of Mystical and Religious Experience (University of Kent, at Canterbury). Revisiting my work from that course, I realised that it’s harder than I’d anticipated – at least hard in the sense of pinning down anything specific about the definition of spirituality.
For the record, here’s my shortlist:
Finding purpose or meaning,
Tuning in to soul or psyche,
Giving over to a ‘higher self’,
Connecting with deity or the divine.
Granted, I may not know exactly for what I’m looking, but at least, as an astrologer, ought I not know where to look? Astrologically, traces of spirituality (however defined) are bound to show up in one’s natal chart. But where exactly should I start?
Jupiter is the most likely culprit, you say? Sure, why not. As long as you realise that Jupiter looks for meaning in your life – not mine – he is, after all a personal planet.
How about Neptune then? There’s a distinct possibility. Astrological Neptune most certainly has been ascribed spiritual qualities. But if you’re looking for some ‘truth’, then Neptune will be problematic, as I’m sure you can imagine. If it’s one thing about viewing the world through rose-tinted glasses that you can definitely say, it’s that what you see is not what you’ll get.
How about Saturn, then? At least he doesn’t lie. Not only that, but he’s hugely practical and possibly good for my bank account. However, upon further reflection I’m forced to admit that Saturn’s brand of spirituality probably won’t be as uplifting as I’d like. Not only is he dark and dreary, but also associated with death and misfortune. Even if I were willing to overlook that, Saturn is much too keen to point out my weaknesses and vulnerabilities.
If I’m really serious about my spirituality, then maybe I should go for organised religion. After all, they have been established by minds greater than mine. But after consideration, I’ve decided that I’m not that much into the suffering and sacrifice of Christianity and even if I were, I don’t see the worth of a paternalistic god. If He is only going to help those who help themselves, then of what worth is He? Besides I know that ‘believing’ can be dangerous and suspect that it isn’t very spiritual either. I mean, look at the Crusades – they were all about belief – and how ‘enlightened’ were they?
How about Buddhism? That sounds like my cup of tea. Not only have I pretty much given up consumerism but I’m also into yoga and meditation. Yet all that stuff about non-attachment and ego-surrender doesn’t really work that well in the western world, at least not unless I no longer have a mortgage, which unfortunately, I still do.
It’s been awhile since I’ve done much with the ancient mystery religions. Definitely time to revisit those! Whilst I’m at it, modern mystery ‘religions’ like the Golden Dawn have always fascinated me and then – there’s alchemy and the kabbalah!
Once, I knew a Belgian ‘white’ witch who had been a powerful (hereditary) black magician. At the height of his powers, he could kill a man just by looking at him, or at least so he said. Sounds a bit much but I believed him – not the least because he had a Pluto Square Mercury and Pluto sextile Venus – both within seconds of arc.
For some, tapping into outer planetary energies like Pluto comes easy. Presto! Results! Yeah! Yet these energies are particularly dangerous because they will remain forever beyond the personal Ego’s grasp.
Not surprisingly, then, after partaking in a power battle with other black magicians, my friend awoke in the middle of the Belgian Ardennes with 70% burns over his body. He made promise to himself then and there that if he didn’t die, he’d mend his magical ways and he did.
My ‘white’ witch friend learned the hard way that there are two sides to the magical equation. Because of this, he was always critical of ‘New Age’ practitioners who focus only on ‘goodness’ and ‘light’.
Like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, the uninitiated usually fail to understand the true nature of the energies at hand and, in their inexperienced hands, things can quickly get out of control. Even in the hands of the very experienced, things can and do go terribly wrong.
I’m only too thankful that I do NOT have Pluto in the mix with with my personal planets. If did, I’d be joining ranks with some seriously powerful witches and ceremonial magicians. That’s much too much responsibility for me and I know it. But what if some ‘goodness and light’ article/post stimulates someone with tight Pluto contacts to play their hand at the game?
A good magician works with the forces of nature – not against them. He knows the difference of what he can and cannot change. A good magician full well knows that there are ‘dark forces’ in the universe and, whilst he may not actively seek them out, he is prepared to deal with if needs be.
With the Sun in Virgo (discerning) and the Moon in Aries (daring & defiant), today and tomorrow are Queen of Swords days.
The Queen of Swords is not only tenacious, but also prone to being argumentative. Nothing escapes her all-encompassing gaze.
She possesses more than ample intellectual capabilities to process what she’s learned. Because she is by nature an independent woman, she is oft seen as secretive and aloof.
If truth be told, she likes it that way because, as the result, she owes her allegiance to none but herself. Most of the time, this serves her well. After all, if she’s to accurately discern the motives of others, she can’t afford to be, herself, emotionally involved.
Yet her life isn’t always easy and it’s safe to say that sometimes she resents her reputation as being dangerous or even cruel. The truth of the matter is that she’s neither intolerant nor narrow minded as her detractors would have you believe.
The best way to use this energy, is to make keen observations about your environment. With help from this queen, it won’t be hard. Just ensure that you use any conclusions you might draw from such observations in an ethical way – else you may find yourself caught up in the nasty thorns of this queen’s beloved rose garden. Never forget that the suit of swords in the tarot deck stands both for justice as well as destruction.