Happy Birthday JJ

The Solar Return (SR) chart gives a brief snapshot of the 12-month period birthday to birthday. Such predictive techniques are necessarily short and snappy and give you plenty of opportunity to fill in the details.


The year ahead will be warmly social. As long as you make adequate space for quality ‘me time’, then building and maintaining relationships of all sorts will prove highly useful.

The trick here is not to let others intrude too much, as with this energy they probably will do. Thoughtfully but aggressively you need to push back. Otherwise, stress and strain in your love life could lead to painful separations.


  • Solar Return (SR) Venus is prominent in this chart, being close to the SR Ascendant and in the 1st house. Put this together with SR Venus in opposition with SR Jupiter in the 7th house, and you can expect to be extraordinarily social, with your relationships of all sorts being helpful, cheerful, and warm. 
  • As good as this sounds, however, if you’re not careful it could all get a bit much and so you’ll need to periodically take time out to be alone and ‘do your own thing’. You may not wish to hurt anyone’s feelings even when they intrude on your ‘me time’ but you need to consider all aspects of every situation and this year, put yourself first.
JJ Solar Return 2019/20
  • If you fail to do this, you open yourself up for potentially painful separations. The midpoint of your SR Saturn/Uranus is in Square (difficult) aspect to your Venus; this is a warning that stresses and tensions especially in your love life can and will take its toll.
  • Your SR Moon and Saturn are closely conjunct and in the same degree as the nodal axis. When it comes to your emotions, this brings a fated quality to the mix and with this influence there will be tendency to keep them under wraps. Whether this is good or bad is not the point. The key here is temperance – a little of anything goes a long way.
  • Not only is this true in keeping your emotions under control, but also in your desire to accomplish too much too quickly. The midpoint of your SR Mars/Pluto is Square (difficult) aspect to your SR Mercury. You’ll have lots going on and much of it very exciting, indeed (SR Mercury is in the SR 3rd house), but you still need to balance work with play. Again, a warning that overdoing it could lead to anxiety and nervous issues.  
  • Mental attitude is key to making this year work for you (SR Ascendant in Gemini and the ruler of Gemini, is Mercury). Your beliefs about life and your place in it are probably out-dated (SR Moon in the SR 9th house along with SR Saturn/Pluto/South Node). Although the next twelve months may prove demanding, you have a unique opportunity to re-evaluate your philosophy such that in the future, it works much better for you on all levels: spiritually, emotionally, and physically. 
  • Your beliefs about relationships regulate your demands and expectations of them and so you’re back full circle to a warm and cheerful social life one that will work well for you as long as you take enough time out to recharge your batteries. 
  • There’s an old saying that ‘all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and Jill a rich widow’  – exchange Jack for Jill and take appropriate action accordingly.


Happy Birthday Ms AS

The Solar Return (SR) chart gives a brief snapshot of the 12-month period birthday to birthday. Such predictive techniques are necessarily short and snappy and give you plenty of opportunity to fill in the details for yourself.


Now is the time to put yourself to the test – rally your talents and strengths and make yourself shine! Once you set out on this path, helpers will come along but remember not everyone who comes along is a helper.

Rely on yourself and your intuition. Beware of shared finances and think twice before taking on debt. In this respect, attention to detail pays off but beware of making yourself a nervous wreck.


  • Solar Return (SR) Sun is very close to the SR Ascendant, bursting over the horizon and into the first house. The most important question that you will ask yourself this year is – ‘what will you accomplish for yourself?’
  • The first house is the place of self-discovery and with the SR Sun here, you need to explore and deploy your talents in such as way as to make yourself ‘shine’. It’s all about what it is that makes you uniquely you and that’s a fantastic opportunity.
  • The key to this is small steps at a time – pace yourself – you simply can’t accomplish this all overnight – and you don’t want to do either. This is a test of your own strength and self-sufficiency so no one is going to push you down this path of self-discovery. You’re going to have to do this on your own.
  • However, the good news is that once you start moving, helpers will appear by your side. This is just how the universe works. But there’s a trick to this. Because your SR Moon and SR Saturn are in the same degree as the nodal axis (18 Capricorn), you’ll be tested as to how good you are at discerning friends from foes.
  • Moon/Saturn contacts this close can be scary. Emotional isolation and strain are a potential reality. Always feeling as if you can depend only on yourself takes its toll. Yet there is work to be done and upon whom but yourself can you honestly depend upon? 
  • Tricky stuff but here, you do have an ace in your pocket. Your Moon/Saturn (and South Node) are in the SR 8th house, where you enjoy acute emotional awareness and significant psychological powers. With such a placement, intense realisation can and will give with to insights of subtle manipulations and power plays. Now the question becomes which side of this chess game are you on? 
  • In this respect, it is always incumbent on you to behave in adherence to the highest ethical standard. If you don’t, it won’t go well for you. On the other hand, this does not mean that you should let others push you around to your disadvantage. Be especially wary when it comes to debts and shared finances. Attention to detail pays off especially now and, oh yes, do keep an eye out for genuine mistakes. 
  • The midpoint of your SR Mars/Pluto is in square aspect to SR Mercury; avoid the temptation to get so wrapped up in this that you end up a nervous wreck. If you fall into that temptation, you won’t be thinking straight and that definitely gives others the upper hand. You’ll need to trust someone so choose wisely and carefully. And oh, yes, one more thing – this does not mean that those who have been on faithfully on your side in the past are, necessarily, still faithful now.

Solar Return Chart for Ms AS 2019/2020


The name of the game is shame?

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’.


Sentimental Journey

Each and every month, the moon returns to the exact position it held at the moment of your birth. Factor in where you’re currently residing and you’ve got a Lunar Return (LR), or map of your emotional journey for the month.

Usually, the Lunar Return also points to actual events.

This month’s LR is two hours after the new moon suggesting that for me, a whole new emotional cycle is starting. My LR Moon aligns with my LR Sun, suggesting that at long last, my heart and head are working together. My LR Moon/Sun are high in the sky up in my 10th LR house (and close to the midheaven) suggesting this all manifests concretely – in full view – in my career. 

  • Virgo is on my LR Ascendant and in sync with my natal Venus/Mars conjunction in Virgo.
  • This suggests that this month’s emotional energy will compliment my personal values (i.e. that which I love) as well as how I go about achieving them.
  • Good news! I love Virgo’s discriminating abilities. Just what I need for effective implementation of my plans.
  • Even better, the ruler of my LR Ascendant in Virgo is Mercury and he’s strongly placed in Gemini (another sign he rules) high in the sky in my LR 10th house (career).
  • Lots of extravagant and exciting communication (LR Mercury opposes LR Jupiter) that makes me feel good and further my career goals.
  • LR Mercury also sits within one degree of my natal Jupiter: good luck with speaking engagements, blog posts, and my new e-book. Fantastic!

Theme for this month: in the limelight and feeling good about it in regards to communication about the things that I love!

To date, I can affirm that’s exactly what’s happening – I’ve joined my first networking group to promote my new astrological coaching endeavour and it was great! I’m also making huge head way with Linked-In connections, some of which look very promising. The first one-half of my new e-book is just now out for beta-testing.

Watch this space. This is experimental for a potential new offering in my astrological coaching practice. I’ll be looking for beta-testers soon for this so if you’re interested, give me a shout!


The art of the mini-holiday

Monday is governed by the Moon and astrologically, the Moon is about emotions. It only makes sense that if we want Monday morning to go well as we’re returning back to work from the weekend, that we’ll need to pay closer attention to getting our emotions in balance.

Recent research suggests that we can do just that by treating our weekends like a mini-holiday or vacation. Even better, research suggests this can be accomplished by a change in mindset rather than by rushing off spending precious time and money on travel.

The idea is simply that you go into the weekend instructing yourself to treat it as a holiday rather than a ‘regular weekend’. This does not mean you completely neglect household chores but that you spend a little less time on them than usual. It also means that you’ll need to resist spending time catching up upon ‘work’ stuff that didn’t get finished earlier.

Stay in bed a little bit longer with your partner and eat a bit more, treating yourself to, say, a favourite breakfast. 

Mindset shifts such as these have a powerful effect.

Research shows that by slowing down and paying more attention to the particular activity at hand and the people sharing it with you, allows everyone to take more pleasure. Get creative; listen to your favourite music whilst running errands or sip a margarita whilst folding the laundry. Even if you can’t afford to take the entire weekend ‘off’ , you can still carve out a piece of the weekend to be fully in the moment, savouring a fun activity. 

Mind you, this approach is not for every weekend because if it were, then by becoming the new ‘regular weekend’, it would lose much of its therapeutic value. But when used judiciously, this simple reframing technique allows you to make more of your time off without a huge investment.


Abuse of Power/ Pluto & Mars/ Virginia Woolf

Every astrological aspect tells a story about the relationship between the two (or more) planets involved. Each planet strives to fulfil its specific need and does this through its interaction with that other planet(s).


  • By far the tightest aspect in the natal chart of Virginia Woolf is Mars (27 Gemini 23’58’’) semi-sextile Pluto (27 Taurus 23’ 28’’).
  • It is 30 seconds of arc.
  • Although the semi-sextile is often considered a ‘minor’ aspect, when it is as tight as this, I would consider it important, very important indeed.

Mars signifies aggression and the survival instinct. We need to set boundaries and protect ourselves from predators. Pluto is about pure power; it is the active agent for cleansing and purification and because it is transpersonal in nature, it is extremely hard for any individual person to control this power. 


Put Mars and Pluto together, and the result is the compulsion to use force to achieve objectives through whatever means; ruthlessness, brutality, and cruelty. Put Mars and Pluto together in a semi-sextile and the two energies work in harmony and so we might expect to find themes of the use of power in Woolf’s writing.

Even more, as I suspect, because of social constraints against power being actively used by women during Woolf’s lifetime (i.e. her ability to set boundaries and protect herself against predators was thwarted), we might expect her writing to contain hints of abuse of power, especially abuse of power by men against women.


Whilst answering a letter received from a (unidentified) gentleman asking for her opinion on how war might be prevented, in her essay, Three Guineas, Woolf launches into a historically rich vindictive questioning not only the sense of asking her such a question, for unlike the gentleman she had been denied access the education that would have allowed her to answer him, but also how such inequality had come about.

Whilst in full flow in answering the latter point, she quotes from Gray’s Ode : ‘what is grandeur, what is power? – what the bright reward we gain?’

Gain indeed; power is what people want and the writing of Woolf not only demonstrates this but she also deals with some of the ways and reasons it occurs.

For example, in her memoirs, Moments of Being, Woolf recalls how when just eighteen years of age and after a long evening of being dragged about London to a series of gala parties and strategically important social events, her step-brother had crept into her bedroom and ‘flung’ himself on her bed, taking her ‘in his arms’ as a ‘lover’. If by power we mean that one person possesses a sense of dominion over another, then certainly with such behaviour her step-brother (older and presumably wiser) had abused his power although what he had wished to gain through it, Woolf does not conjecture. That she thought it an abuse of power is clear enough however for the next few sentences note that his behaviour would not have been acceptable to the ‘old ladies’ of ‘Kensington and Belgravia’.

In her novel, To The Lighthouse, Woolf investigates the power struggle between a married couple, Mr and Mrs Ramsay – which through those memoirs Moments of Being, we learn are created in the likeness of her own parents. Whilst Mr Ramsay wanders about pondering great things like the philosopher David Hume ‘enormously fat’ and ‘stuck in a bog’, his wife sat charitably knitting stockings for needy children. In conjunction with reading Woolf’s memoirs, we can conclude that she believed that in essence Mrs Ramsay had died young feeding her husband’s constantly flagging vanity. Is this an abuse of power in the sense of exercising dominion over another? Perhaps not – but we do know that at least Mrs Ramsay took pleasure in her ‘bright reward’ when exercising her power by refusing to tell Mr Ramsay that he had been right that it would rain tomorrow, she knew she had ‘triumphed again’.

In that same novel, Woolf also touches on wider social issues of use/abuse of power when Mr Ramsay ponders on whether the progress of civilisation depends on ‘great men’. He concludes it does not because the ‘greater good’ does depend on the existence of a ‘slave class’ (like the liftman in the Tube). Whilst he himself finds this idea distasteful, he decides the best way to avoid dealing with it an upcoming lecture he is to present, is to ‘snub’ the ‘predominance’ of the arts – which only decorates human life and does not represent it. The reader cannot help but think such contemplation rather rich given the privilege Mr Ramsay himself enjoys with his summer house in the isles of Scotland complete with a bevy of servants and maids.

Unlike with her essays, in her fiction Woolf oddly refrains from abuse/abuse of narratorial/authorial power by pushing one view at the expense of another (as do many writers). Instead she maintains a gentle neutrality – presenting a story and letting it speak for itself – and at least in To The Lighthouse, Mrs Dalloway the narratorial/authorial voice never intrudes has it does in, for example, EM Forster’s Howards End.

Even where we do hear the narratorial/authorial voice as for example in her novel, Orlando, both sides of the power struggles are evenly presented – not only does Orlando’s lover ‘Sasha the lost, Sasha the memory’ jilt him when he is a man (instead of the other way around), but as a woman Orlando sees both plusses and minuses of her new gender-based situation – although her new skirts are ‘plaguey’ around her heels, the stuff of which they are made is the ‘loveliest in the world’ as it shows off her skin to such ‘advantage’.


In both her essays and fiction Woolf demonstrates that she is more than aware that power is what people want – Three Guineas deals extensively with this point in regards to how for so many generations men and the church have used the power of their money to deny women equal access to education. She deals with the sexual abuse perpetrated by step-brother in her memoirs and also the inevitable power battles inherent in a marriage. Interestingly unlike in her essays, in her fiction Woolf does not use her authorial voice to push an agenda, instead simply letting the story speak for itself.


Have some fun…

Astrologically, responsibility equates with Saturn.  With Saturn, we undertake our duties and obligations seriously and achieve.

When things go wrong however, we’re more reluctant to take responsibility. The downside of Saturn is fault and blame.

Nietzsche has suggested that fault and blame are the bitter fruits of ‘responsibility’. In our society, responsibility is not understood in terms of our ‘ability to respond’ but instead in terms of the spirit of revenge.

On the Genealogy of Morals (3:15)

In existentialist terms, the spirit of revenge is a powerful narcotic that numbs the inevitable pain and misery of existence. When we respect misfortune as an inevitable part of living, we can utilise our innate ability to respond to life  (Nietzsche).

 ‘Shit happens’.  It happens despite the ‘best laid plans of mice and men’.

But whilst embraced by the spirit of revenge, no man can respect true misfortune.  He can have no understanding of the context in which misfortune manifests.  Focused on channelling his passions into vengefulness and spite, such a man can never respect, let alone love,  anybody or anything including himself.

Only a foolish man believes that each misfortune which befalls him, was intentionally directed at him. Yet many of us do just that.

Hands up! Just this morning when I was hurrying to get ready, something fell on my foot and left a huge bruise and I blamed my husband who wasn’t even home. 

A more productive approach might be to take ourselves less seriously.   This could be achieved through the more positive aspects of irresponsibility – i.e. having some old-fashioned, light-hearted fun.  Not only does  light-heartedness promote health, but it also helps us to accept the basic realities about life.

The natural antidote of Saturn is Jupiter.  

When your Jupiter  functions properly,  you’re optimistic, take chances and experience good luck.  Too much Jupiter however leads to extravagance and frivolity,  hence the bad associations with irresponsibility.

In my book, balance is the key to health and happiness.  It would seem Nietzsche might agree.  According to him (in a theme developed by Kundera in his novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being,) the heaviest burden (responsibility) is also boundless freedom (irresponsibility).

In this regard, taking responsibility for our own lives allows us to accept it for what it is: a game of chance in which sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

Blaming yourself or another achieves nothing but more pain.


Keep on Trucking (or not) – Part 2

If you enjoyed yesterday’s post about things suggested by Connie Podesta that you ought to quit doing in order to increase your well-being and material worldly success, here’s five more:

Keep on Trucking…
  1. Quit depending on others to make you happy– as noted in the previous post, there is no such thing as the perfect partner or for that instance, the perfect anything. According to the positive psychology folks, ‘happiness’ is an elusive concept, a mix of the following, none of which depends on securing the affections of another:
    • Autonomy – ‘I am authentic and enjoy being myself’.
    • Meaningful contribution – ‘I connect with others.’
    • Acceptance – ‘I know the difference of what can and can’t be changed’.
    • Positive emotions – ‘I find something to enjoy each day.’
    • Personal and professional growth – ‘I learn something new every day.’
    • Skills, competence, and environmental mastery  – ‘I have what it takes to thrive in my world.’ 
    • Achievement & the reward and acknowledgement that comes with it – ‘I’m recognised for my efforts’.
  2. Quit playing games – Consider this: after graduating from university, a young woman moves away from home to a distant city and although it’s an uphill struggle, she is makes progress and is proud. Each week she speaks with her mother who uses this precious time to tell the young woman that unless she does this or that, she’ll never get married and by the way, has she lost any weight? The young woman would love more than anything to tell her mother about the promotion she just gained at work, but she’s too exhausted by her mother’s continual onslaught of emotional manipulation. Who wins this game, do you suppose?
  3. Quit sabotaging success – Consciously, we want to feel good and achieve our goals, but if at the same time our unconscious message to ourselves is that we don’t deserve it, then we’ll find a million ways to sabotage our success and never understand what happened, much less why. We can combat this unfortunate state of affairs through learning to examine the choices we make in a detached way. Techniques include cognitive reframing, meditation and mindfulness practice.
  4. Quit fighting for your limitations – on the surface, this sounds silly –  doesn’t it – but in reality, we do it all the time. Consider how many times we rationalise our bad behaviour (‘I was tired, or ill, or whatever and so it only makes sense that I’d snap’) and justify our failures (‘that’s just the way that I am’ or ‘I was confused as to what I was meant to do’). We also fight for our right to be sad or angry (‘It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to’). Think about this rationally for a moment – where does such behaviour actually get you?
  5. Quit thinking that you deserve to be successful – we all have a right to make our lives as wonderful as possible but none of us has an entitlement to be happy, rich, or even successful. The positive psychology folks are very clear that being ‘happy’ requires effort – lots of it, every day – and unless you’ve just won the lottery or have a trust fund, ditto for being rich. Even success requires daily effort but perhaps not quite in the ways you might think. For example, studies have shown that those who keep a daily diary of the things about which they were grateful were more likely to achieve their goals, then those who kept a diary about that which had gone wrong each day. 

Keep on trucking (or not)…

We’ve all been told to hang in there – don’t give up – practice makes perfect – it’s the tortoise, not the hare that wins the race. 

But having just listened to an interview with the highly celebrated and inspirational speaker, Connie Podesta, I have to admit that ‘keep on trucking’ is not always the best advice. As Connie points out, it’s easier to stop doing something than to start doing something completely different, or at least we often believe that’s the case. 

The reality, however, is quite different and often the only difference between these two seemingly polarities is a matter of point of view.

Keep on trucking…

The following are some of Connie’s suggestions for what you should ‘quit’ in order to increase not only your well-being but also your worldly success:

  1. Quit waiting to be happy– the reality here is that there is no perfect partner, perfect job, perfect weight. Here’s the scoop. We attract what we put out – so if you’re perpetually ‘unhappy’ because you’re not yet happy, then all you’ll attract to you is more unhappiness. Try this. Walk down one side of a crowded street, looking down at your feet with a frown on your face. Watch (and feel) what happens. Walk back on the other side with a huge smile looking up and making easy eye contact with others. Which result do you like best?
  2. Quit living in the past– easier said than done, you say? You might be right. But if you keep milling over and over in your head all the bad stuff that’s happened to you, you’re bound to be sad. We attract what we put out. You learned that above and so if you’re sick of being sad, then STOP IT. It’s a rational choice where and how you focus your energy and if you fail to believe that, then you’ve not yet done the exercise as suggested above.
  3. Quit blaming others– this one is really tricky – not only because other people often really do ‘stupid’ or ‘horrible’ things that negatively impact us but also because it’s so easy to do. Whatever went wrong may not have been your fault (at least in your eyes), but when you’re focusing on others and what they’re doing, you’re actually handing over to those ‘stupid’ and ‘horrible’ people, control over your life.
  4. Quit expecting life to be fair– this one is really tricky for me because with four planets in Libra, my first reaction to any injustice is ‘that is not fair’, and, it isn’t. But that won’t change anything. I’d do myself a huge favour by focusing my energy not on complaining about the injustice of it all, but instead on finding solutions to work around it.
  5. Quit being afraid – fear is a natural reaction, meant to keep us whole and safe. It works very well when someone or something is really threatening us. In such situations, it’s never a mistake to retreat. But 9 times of 10, what we’re really afraid of is moving out of our comfort zone in a situation where there is no real possibility of lasting harm. If in doubt, ask yourself ‘what is the worst that can happen’ in this situation. If your honest answer flags up physical danger, then do not do it. But if it’s only a little temporary discomfort – or potential embarrassment (that by next week will be long forgotten), well, that’s a different kettle of fish, is it not?

The Art of Working to a Common Goal

‘Strike while the iron is hot.’

Traditional Proverb

Case study: Staples, the office supplies retailer, had fallen from being a market leader to only 1/3 of the new market leader’s size. In comes the new guy, John Wilson, who had a fantastic reputation for fixing organisational ills. In no time, Wilson ramrodded through much needed change – he was, as one colleague described him, an ‘in-your-face kind of guy’. Initially what Wilson delivered hit the spot and revenues nearly quadrupled over the next four years. Yet, even as Staples continued to grow, profitability dropped. In comes another new guy, Basil Anderson, who focused his expertise on reducing costs and targeting opportunities based on profitability rather than on contribution to revenue stream. Finally, during the next five years net profit also increased significantly and so last, Staples was ‘fixed’.

Common Goal

Take Away: Imagine how much faster the situation might have improved if Wilson and Anderson had been brought in at the same time and encouraged to work together to achieve a common goal?

Application: In any partnership, be it business or personal, everyone is working towards some common goal. The overall situation can be expected to improve faster and more economically through compromise, mutual consideration, and comradeship rather than through any single member of the partnership taking action alone.

  • What’s the goal?
  • What’s the action plan?
  • What resources do you need to make it happen?
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