IShakespeare's Richard IIIn the times of William Shakespeare, the ‘stars’ were always a force with which men must reckon. There’s no doubt that in those days, the world was viewed as ‘fated’ – and whether this was a reflection of the ancient cosmos where the gods pulled all the strings or an inherent recognition of what Carl Jung would later posit about the covert operations of the unconscious, we will never know.

But we do know that the idea of ‘fate’ as shown in the ‘stars was woven oft through his work:

Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,

Which we ascribe to heaven: the fated sky

Gives us free scope, only doth backward pull

Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.

(All’s Well that Ends Well, 1.1.209), Helena

Having just finished reading Shakespeare’s play Richard III, I wondered how Richard was ‘fated’ to stack up?180px-Richard_III_of_England

Ptolemy identified six levels of fame/success:

  1. Kings & Princes

Both luminaries in masculine signs and at least one of them to be found in an angle. This alone is pretty good. However – as well, they (both) be attended by a doryphory (including rays)  composed of all five planets – then this is REAL GOOD. In addition this rank is helped if the planets in the doryphories are also in the angles or configured with the MC.

  1. Chieftain

The Sun only masculine with the Moon feminine and only one of them in an angle. If both, however, have good doryphories as described above, then the person will reach chieftain level, with the power to judge life and death. NOTE – a good doryphory has  benefics in good shape or on angles (or ruling them).

  1. Governor or Commander

If the natal chart has the luminaries as for a Chieftain but the doryphories do not involve the angles, these people will not be invested with sovereignty, but will reach eminence.

  1. Civil Leader

If neither of the luminaries be in the angles, but both have good doryphories which are in the angles or ruling the angles, they will have a leadership role in their community. Councillor, President of a club, Mayor of a small town and so on.

  1. Undistinguished

If however, neither luminary is in an angle (Sun still masculine and Moon feminine), and the attending planets are not involved with the angles by placement or rulership, then the person will lead a humble life.

  1. Lowest Level

If neither luminary be found in a masculine sign, nor in an angle, nor attended by any benefics they will live lives of “quiet desperation” and obscurity.

Richard III

  1. Sun in Libra (in fall) in a masculine sign succedent in the 11th house – OK – but could be better – the 7th house Moon in Taurus is in a feminine sign but it is angular and exalted) so overall this is pretty OK.
  2. This might get him to Chieftain level if the doryphories of one or both of the luminaries is strong.
  3. The doryphory is an interesting technique focusing on the ‘retinue’ of helpers either of the two lights or luminaries (i.e. sun or moon) have in their ‘train’. The more planets in the retinue, the more helpers and if additionally those helpers were themselves strong the more help they could give. Imagine yourself a feudal lord trying to raise an army to fight a foe – the more rich/strong neighbours (i.e. able to raise their own armies) you have supporting your cause, the more likely you were to succeed.
  4. Note that when considering if a planet throws a ‘ray’ into the doryphory, benefics (Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, and the Sun) can only do so by sextile or trine and the malefics (Saturn and Mars) can only do so by opposition or square.
  5. Richard III’s solar doryphory (i.e. attendants to his sun at 17 Libra) is as follows: Because the sun’s retinue PROCEEDS him, we look to other planets in either Libra (18 -30 degrees) or Scorpio:
    1. Saturn in Libra (exalted) and succedent
    2. Mercury in Scorpio
    3. Venus in Scorpio (in detriment) yet angular
    4. Jupiter in Aquarius (retrograde) throws a ray into Libra by trine
  6. Richard III’s lunar doryphory (i.e. attendants to his moon at 28 Taurus is as follows: Because the moon’s retinue FOLLOWS her, we look to planets either in Taurus (29-30 degrees Taurus) or Aries:
    1. Mars in Aries – strong by rulership but not angular
    2. Jupiter casts a ray into Aries by sextile
  7. A solar doryphory of four planets isn’t bad – but none of these four are in rulership by sign or term – and although Saturn is exalted, Venus is in detriment (alternative) – but she rules the DSC angle (Taurus). Mercury is reasonable shape and also rules the MC angle. Likewise Jupiter is in reasonable shape in Aquarius and rules the IC angle – so overall pretty good
  8. A lunar doryphory of only 2 planets is not so good – But that Mars is so powerful (albeit also retrograde) that it alone could win the day – not to mention that it is the chart ruler because Scorpio is rising. This means Mars rules this angle. Mars is further empowered by being in reception with the Sun (the Sun is exalted in Aries so that Sun in Libra- charming and strategic – gives all it has to Mars. Being retrograde does not impede its power but will effect the outcome in the sense that this power is never really under control.
  9. Overall, this gets Richard III to chieftain level – but not to King – and that shouldn’t be surprising because although he was crowned king, it was only because he killed off or pushed aside all others entitled to wear the crown. He held the throne for only two years before being toppled himself by Henry Tudor (who’d been smart enough to remain in France whilst Richard was bumping folks off), whose claim to the throne was much stronger.

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.

Pisces-Sept07-DE7863sAR800Is the urge to spirituality innate?

Carl Jung certainly thought so.

He suggested the need to make connection with something greater than yourself is only make you feel truly alive.

One way to look for this connection is through your natal birth chart. You must be prepared, however, to look further afield than Jupiter and Neptune –  the ‘usual’ astrological significations of spirituality. Remember that every planet represented in your chart, was once a god or goddess in his or her own right.

Naturally this isn’t easy – getting in touch with the numinous. It could even be dangerous. As Liz Greene has always been quick to remind us, personally expressing the energies of outer planets like Uranus, Neptune and Pluto can not only be overwhelming but pathological.

So for now we’ll stick to the inner planets – are you up to the challenge?

To get an idea how this might work for you, look at your strongest and most influential planets (by sign and house placement)– and don’t forget the ruler of your ascendant – your chart ruler. For example, with Libra rising focus on your Venus. If your Sun is in Leo (the Sun rules Leo), then look there. If your Jupiter is in Cancer (where it is exalted) then focus on that.

While reading the rest of this post, lease keep in mind that for these purposes, ‘spirituality’ = finding a sense of meaning and purpose through connecting with that which lies beyond your ken.

 

Sun Solar energy is key to how you bring spiritual urges into personal expression  – this is accomplished not by sacrificing your ego, but by honouring it. You are every bit as much a part of creation as everyone – and everything – else. Because, as myths of ancient Egypt remind us, the Sun passes through the underworld (below the horizon) each and every day, your solar experience of spirituality could even manifest as a life and death struggle.

 

For example, with Sun in Scorpio you might undergo psychoanalysis –or act as a therapist (or shaman) for others in this way. That which you extract from working with your unconscious (for example, by dream work) may give you a sense of that which lies beyond.

Moon Lunar energy manifests through feelings of belonging and shared experience. Get tactile – get earthy – even organic – the lunar experience of spirituality is not about flying off to some lofty place – but about embodiment. The connection here is through the circle of life – in this earth plane.

 

For example, with Moon in Taurus you might  go to classes in yoga, undertake communal gardening, or even practice Zen Buddhism. The more you get in touch with your shared physical world, the more you’ll feel in touch with the lunar version of the divine.

Mercury With Mercury, spirituality is about discovery, solving problems, and making connections.  This doesn’t have much place in Piscean religions like Christianity because to question too much is considered to destroy faith. But as the great astronomical shift from the Age or Pisces into the Age of Aquarius progresses, Mercury can be expected to again take centre stage. For the power of ‘comprehension’ was worshipped as a god by the ancients– through the development of language and the discovery of how to harness ‘tools’ like the wheel.

 

For example, with Mercury in Gemini you might take up blogging – not just the kind where you shoot off the first thing that comes to mind, but that which takes research and serious consideration.

Venus The key to Venusian spirituality is not only that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, but also it can be found everywhere. In this regard, beauty is not just pretty or cute or nice – but that which literally brings tears to your eyes. Real beauty (once a key component of the ‘sublime’) by the very nature of the experience takes you ‘out of yourself’. Take your cue from the Renaissance whence art was considered not only the most natural expression of spiritual feeling but also the containment of the quintessence of reality.

 

For example, with Venus in Libra, you might take a course in art history or even learn to paint and draw. If it’s beautiful to you, then it carries some aspect of the divine for you and your job is to appreciate that for what it is.

Mars Most are familiar with the image of an angry god – just have a look at the Bible’s Old Testament. But Martian spirituality can also manifest in heroic undertakings like ‘fight’ for what is ‘right’. The trick here is to make sure you’ve really got a grip on whatever it is that for which you’re fighting = with Mars, it easy to get lost with  ‘might’ makes ‘right’.  Important civilizing qualities like tolerance and understanding are not Martian things.

 

For example, with Mars in Aries you might volunteer to work in a rape crisis call centre or train to work as part of an ambulance or other rescue team– anything what will get you into touch with the many manifestations of violence and aggression will help you to understand that the divine truly has many face.

Jupiter Astrological Jupiter can function as your personal connection to the ‘divine plan’ – however it is that you perceive it.The idea is to plug into the ‘global context’ – to become connected with that which is truly outside yourself. When you find meaning in the greater patterns of the world, you’ve found the path to your own spiritual growth.

 

For example, with Jupiter in Sagittarius, you might take up the study of comparative religion – with the expectation that learning about the many manifestations of ‘Divine’ across time and cultures might will help you to get a grip on what’s right for you.

Saturn Saturn is oft associated with the teachings of traditional religions because it is so keen on ‘following rules’. But don’t forget that Saturn can also focus its quest for spirituality through other types of laws like those of science or society.

 

For example, with Saturn in Capricorn, you might  become involved with your local church. Not just in a superficial way like as an usher, but perhaps as a layman or Sunday School teacher.  Similarly, if you don’t already have a career in law, you might want to become a magistrate or justice of the peace. You’re looking for anything that takes you out of your ordinary sphere of influence while still retaining structure.

Uranus Uranus imparts the need to get a glimpse of what lies beyond the veil (i.e. the tarot  High Priestess).  The mystery lies in how all the parts fit together – the here and the now and the above and beyond – there’s a connection for certain – and it’s the job of Uranus to find it. Unlike with Saturn, Uranus can never do this through organised religion. Structure and form are merely bonds for Uranus to break – it its urge to greater and more powerful revelations.

No example is given here because the energy of Uranus is considered too strong and dangerous to be channelled individually.  If you have Aquarius rising, look to Saturn as the traditional ruler.

 

Neptune

 

Neptune searches for unity through ‘meltdown’ and dissolution of the ego/self. Christianity is perfect for Neptunian seekers – especially the mystical side of the tradition.

 

No example is given here because the energy of Neptune is considered too strong and dangerous to be channelled individually.  If you have Pisces rising, look to Jupiter as the traditional ruler.

Pluto Pluto represents the face of spirituality bound up with evolutionary processes – this is the ultimate of the survival of the fittest.  Read the work of Teilhard de Chardon – who not only was a Jesuit priest, but also a first class philosopher and palaeontologist.

 

Again, no example is given because the energy of Pluto is too strong and dangerous to be channelled individually.  If you have Scorpio rising, look to Mars as the traditional ruler.

   

 

While Aries symbolizes the sprouting seeds of spirituality, Taurus symbolizes establishing the root system which will nourish them.

Astrologically, Taurus represents the “real world” where practical issues – like food and water – must be faced. This does not mean, however, that Taurus is slow witted or dull. Indeed Taurus’ ruler is Venus – the brilliant morning and evening star – which, according to the Ptolemy, “is the preeminent cause of abundance, good yields, and profit. ”

But success takes hard work and patience and it is only with the steadfast, loyal perseverance of Taurus that we can ever reach the stars for which we set out in Aries.

Yet all will not be well if–as so often is the case with Taurus–we become too enamored with the pleasures of the material world.

Buddhism,  which emphasizes the detachment and eventual elimination of desire offers one way of dealing with  the problem. Indeed Buddhism is strongly connected with Taurus as both the birth and enlightenment of the Buddha are celebrated at the time of the May full moon when the sun is in Taurus.

Likewise, for the Christian mystic, the material world is neither to be worshiped nor despised as a distraction.   Instead, it must be recognized as our only vehicle to enlightenment (Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu, Harper and Row, New York, 1968.)

To avoid choking in the weeds of the ‘real world’, Taurus should remember that spiritual growth doesn’t come by concentrating on its cultivation. The more she can forget herself  (i.e. forget self-conscious spiritual development or the accumulation of material goods), the more lively her spiritual growth.

Just as a seed grows while the farmer sleeps, so the spirituality of Taurus increases by simply going about the business of daily living.

Aries heralds the coming of the vernal equinox.  The bleakness of winter is past. As daffodils bloom and new buds of life appear, nature seems to have found renewed hope.

In the northern hemisphere, where Western astrology was developed, the light has triumphed over darkness and with it, life over death.  It is fitting then, that Easter usually occurs in Aries for Easter is a time of rebirth when, as Christians, we begin spiritual life anew.

Aries too speaks of beginnings and turning one’s back on the past. Perhaps if we’re struggling with how to implement our renewed spirituality, it is to Aries that we might turn for help.

Ptolemy, whose work reflects the traditions of Western astrology, listed the following as positive Arien qualities: spirited, powerful, venturesome, keen, headstrong, active, with the qualities of leadership.

Indeed these are the qualities we associate with Aries today.   Aries is the successful entrepreneur, the captain of industry, the true pioneer among men.  What then might Aries have to offer besides a place on the FTSE 100 or one’s name in Who’s Who?

All spiritual traditions emphasize the importance of making that initial decision to live the life of the spirit and warn us that we can’t wait for proof that God exists or that the teachings of our religion are true.  Yet today, many of us do just that.  For as children of the Enlightenment, we have learned to believe only in that which we can measure.

Yet if spirited, venturesome, powerful Aries is prepared to take uncalculated risks in order to reach for his stars, then perhaps we could as well.

And what better time to do so than in Aries when ‘the sun (is) mounting with those stars that with him were, what time the Love Divine, at first in motion set those beauteous things.’  *

___________

* From Dante’s Inferno reflecting the ancient belief (Albumaser, writing  in the 9th century) that Creation took place when the seven planets–Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn–were in conjunction in Aries.

Dear friends,

It’s time to explain why there’s so much anger in my recent posts.

Uranus is in Aries = anger is in the air.

But more specifically, transiting Uranus in Aries  (in my–very public– 10th house) is now making a direct opposition to my Libra sun (in my–very private–4th house).

  • Keywords for Libra are ingratiating and amiable.
  • Keywords for Aries are assertive and angry.
  • Now is the time for my anger to go live.

According to Howard Sasportas, in his excellent book, The Gods of Change, my Uranus – Sun transit suggests a time when I am in accord with my inner need to develop and expand in ways I’ve not done before.  Astrologically, I’m in the mood to open up and experiment with life.

Because Uranus is in opposition to my Sun,this comes at the price of upheaval and pain. I can  also expect to feel restless and bored–trapped by circumstances beyond my control. My inner Self is demanding change and if I deny it, my world may collapse on my head (or worse I will get ill). But if can go with the flow, then I can make way for a brand new me.

My Uranus–Sun transit is also about finding “the father inside me”– i.e. the ability to take charge and direct my life, rather than adjusting (as I always have done)  to others’ needs. The anger generated by Uranus in Aries allows me to do this.  For the first time, I’m standing up for myself big time.   If this seems abrasive, antisocial, and discourteous, then so be it – to apologise would be too Libra – and that’s not what I’m meant to be about right now.

So until December this year, when my Uranus-Sun transit comes to a close,  please support me as best you can.

If I can accept this new influx of energy, and make the necessary changes in my life, then I will have taken a major step forward in the process that Carl Jung has coined, individuation.  In other words, I will have done nothing less than to have discovered the Divine in me.

 

 

For more information on the process of individuation see http://www.thesap.org.uk/Individuation.

In yet another characterisation exercise for my new memoir, I’m digging into the astro-personality of my husband, JWM.  He plays the knight in shining armour who rescues me from the Wicked Witch of A ‘dam.  

Although he won’t admit it, JWM’s father is a huge influence in his life.  This makes the nature of the bond between them even more important because it operates unconsciously.

The key astrological configurations in  father/son relationships are (1) Saturn (discipline and control), (2) the Sun (validation of Self) and (3) Mars (survival instinct).  The concepts here are clash, struggle, opposition, fear, defeat, and betrayal.

In myth, Saturn and Mars are mortal enemies.  Yet they absolutely need each other.  It’s interesting that Saturn functions not only as the father figure in a young man’s life but also as the unavoidable aging process that eventually brings the young buck to his knees.

But back to the Wicked Witch of A ‘dam.  JWM was a young man then.   He had not yet undergone his Saturn return during which he would gain his sense of perspective.

JWM’s Saturn (structure/perfection) in Aries (sense of omnipotence) sits on his father’s Sun/Uranus  (break w/ tradition) in Aries; JWM never stops judging his father.  His father doesn’t know how to react.  Their interactions take on a decidedly defensive tone.   The young ram must butt against something if he’s to make any progress at all.

A young man’s sense of direction must come from his notion  of the ‘father figure’.  Because his Sun is in Aquarius, JWM needs his father to be a visionary who accomplishes nothing less than transforming the free world.  Whether his father achieved this isn’t the point.  The point is that with JWM’s Sun square Mars/Neptune conjunction (dissociation from action), he needs to see his father that way.

So not surprisingly, when I first met JWM in A ‘dam he was an unfocused drifter.    His father had failed to unleash JWM’s Mars energy  (there’s no synastry there).   But I did.*

According to Liz Greene, the energy of Neptune/Mars often manifests through romantic heroism.   That’s just what it did.  Enter my knight in shining armour whose Neptune/Mars in Scorpio formed a perfect trine with the Mars (Cancer) of Alieke, the Wicked Witch of A ‘dam.

_________

* My Uranus (liberation) in Cancer (nurturing) trines JWM’s Neptune/Mars in Scorpio (passion).