astro_32gw_03_debra_20131110.44231.21411Yesterday, I was fortunate enough to attend a seminar about solar returns with Lynn Bell right here in Oxford (compliments of the Oxford Astrology Group). As usual, Lynn was brilliant.

I was also fortunate enough to have my current solar return (SR) chart used as a example in class – I say fortunate – tongue in cheek – for what it bodes for the coming year may prove difficult.

Keeping in mind the SR chart is a set of instructions showing what I need to accomplish during the year and how best to do it, I start by looking at the SR Ascendant at 15 Sagittarius.

This falls into my natal 6th house – so for me, it will be a 6th house kind of year – suggesting lots of hard work to be integrated into my daily routine. For more information, I look to the placement of Jupiter – the chart ruler of this SR.[1]

Jupiter (JU) is exalted (highly elevated) in Cancer and conjunct the Moon (MO) which not only rules Cancer but is also in Cancer. This little (mutually receptive) conjunction is extremely powerful and bodes well for emotional happiness and security.  JU/MO is also an aspect of the fertility goddess and because at my age it’s not likely that I will become pregnant, this probably has to do with my ‘creative child’ – my recently finished novel – The Curve of Capricorn.   Not only that, but according to Lynn, MO/JU is about wish fulfilment = this year I can make my dreams come true (agents and publishers take note!).

This wish-fulfilment theme is echoed by Chiron (the wounded healer) making an almost exact trine (TR) to my SR MO.  Chiron is in the 3rd house suggesting writing as a healing aspect and of course JU/MO in Cancer suggests healing as well.

HOWEVER – that MO in Cancer is also caught up in a cardinal grand cross (four planets in square aspect with each other) which signifies frustration and tension big time. Because it is a cardinal grand cross, I will have to actively take control else I suffer at the hands of those who would control me. [2]

The planets forming this cardinal grand cross are heavy hitters – the Sun (SO),  Moon (MO), Pluto (PL), and Uranus (UR) and in this configuration they spell a frustrating attempt to free myself from my prior identity (as a lawyer) in order to honor my new writerly ‘self’ (as symbolized by the SR SO in opposition to UR  suggesting the need to adopt a new self-image).[3]

This theme of the new ‘writerly’ self image is echoed with SR SO in the 9th house (publishing) about to conjunct the MC (profession and public image) in three months. [4] Once that SR SO crashes through into the 10th house of career, there is a reasonable chance I’ll have some claim to ‘fame’ – exactly what that will entail  is suggested by the MC in Libra (LI) and the placement of its ruler, Venus (VE), which is conjunct the fixed star Zubenelscemali (which associated with the Northern Scale in the constellation Libra, is translated into ‘The Price to be Received”).

While the Southern Scale in Libra is a true malefic (sounds bad and doubtless worse than it sounds), the Northern Scale (and with it Zubenelscemali) is considered a very fruitful and prosperous star – associated with riches, honor and good fortune.

All this sounds fantastic – but that cardinal grand cross suggests it comes at a price and because my SR has a predominance of water planets (Cancer, Pisces, Scorpio),this will be highly emotional.

That 11th  house VE is in conjunction with Saturn (SA) in Scorpio – suggesting the only way to deal with it is through serious emotional transformation at the deepest levels.  Because I have little water in my natal chart, emotions have never been my forte.

But because of all the water in my SR chart, I have a unique opportunity in 2013-14 to accomplish emotional integration and because the SR chart ruler is JU, I’m thrown back to that JU/MO in Cancer in the 7th house of relationship.

Because JU/MO are in conjunction, there’s a real chance for success – and because of its placement in the 7th house – doubtless this has something to do with my marriage.  I can’t forget that JU/MO is very healing – especially in Cancer which itself suggests care and support.

Also because the SR MO is almost exact with SR UR, Lynn has suggested that my SR goals would be best accomplished by renegotiating the parameters of my husband’s and my existing relationship and building it anew on firmer emotional grounds.

Stay tuned as my 2013/14 SR unfolds over the course of the next ten months.


[1] Some astrologers use relocated solar charts especially if the indiviudal is living far away from where they were born.  Lynn suggests looking at both – but gives precedence to the SR chart calculated for place of birth. Also in my experience, place of birth has much to tell regardless of where you are living.

[2] PL square UR is a current transit for everyone – and it’s the opening or waxing square (reactive and expanding – heading for culmination with the opposition in 2046-2048) for the PL/UR conjunction in VI (1963-1966). – As Liz Greene puts it (The Outer Planets and Their Cycles) – these two planets together suggest an urgent need to destroy old forms and attitudes – a striking out for freedom (UR) that will be obsessive and quite possibly violent (PL).  In other words, whatever isn’t working can no longer last and to facilitate change in this regard, ‘control’ is the by-word.

[3] SR Mercury in Libra (LI) is in the SR 10th house – reinforcing my self-styled image that I be known or identified as a writer – and because Lynn suggests that SR charts be read much like horary charts – the fact that my SR Mercury is conjunct the Arabic part of ‘sudden advancement’ would suggest that as a ‘writer’, I’m about to become known.

[4] Lynn advises progressing the faster moving planets toward perfecting their applying aspects as one would do with a horary chart.

pisces-tiny-blueAccording to mundane astrologers, the conjunction of Neptune/Pluto heralds transformation on a mass scale – old empires dissolve and ancient institutions crumble.

Almost overnight art, science, and religion change direction and people change their whole outlook on life. Although the effect will be felt immediately, it will take well over 100 years until the seeds sown at the conjunction will have fully sprouted with the incoming square (the average synodic cycle of Neptune/Pluto is 492 years).

The current Neptune/Pluto cycle commenced in the 1880’s-1890’s when perceptions of ‘reality’ underwent an extreme makeover: for example – Sigmund Freud published Studies in Hysteria (a significant breakthrough in the study of the human mind) and William James published The Principles of Psychology, another boundary-pushing landmark in humanistic psychology.

In The Astrological Neptune and the Quest for Redemption, Liz Greene suggests that the Neptune/Pluto expresses itself primarily through religion.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that in 1882 (The Gay Science), Nietzsche proclaimed that ‘God is dead’?

Imagine that it’s now 2063 and that incoming square is upon us.

Not only has post humanism made redundant our most fundamental assumption that God is superior to man but also that man is in turn superior to nature. This leaves nothing left but nature and the funny thing is that the distinctions were all manmade in the first place.

If you want to learn how this all turns out, the follow this blog as, building on the work of William James, I commence my next novel  – The Pinch of Pisces.

As one character will so aptly put it:

“Today, the idea that there’s a separate God, or whatever you like to call the numen driving the universe, is clearly bunk.  It’s all a matter of perception.”

attitude is everythingWhile belief colours a character’s world, attitude is the manner in which a character expresses his beliefs.

Attitude is determined by an intellectual decision – a personal judgment – this is right and that is wrong.

Attitude encompasses a person’s behaviour. Do you know someone who is “always right,” about everything? That’s an attitude. Being socially or morally superior is also an attitude: so is being “macho.” A political opinion expresses an attitude, as does complaining about what is wrong with the world.   In professional sports, trash-talking has become a way of life. That’s an attitude, as are most of the lyrics in rap music. –Syd Field–The Screenwriters Workbook

By understanding your characters attitude, you can show who he is by his actions and dialogue.   Astrologically, attitude can best seen by the placements of Mercury and Mars.

 Mercury underlines our mode of expression: thinking, linking the conscious with the unconscious, bringing people together, connecting facts and events.–Karen Hamaker – Zondag

Mercury’s sign also describes about how we communicate and exchange ideas and information. – Liz Greene

Mars tells us how the individual uses his energy and makes his presence felt. Karen Hamaker – Zondag

Mars’ sign shows the way in which you assert yourself: how you go about getting what you want.  Liz Greene

For most, Mercury and Mars will not be in the same zodiac sign. For some, they may be an easy aspect (trine or sextile) making the characters attitude more harmonious, easy to depict.  For others, they may be in hard aspect (square or opposition)  or in no aspect at all.   This provides you with the opportunity to demonstrate depth of character –  the more tension within, the more tension without.

Some typical attitudes:what-is-right-attitude

  • Aries:  Blurts things out without thinking – acts impulsively – is argumentative – “I can’t be bothered I don’t care– I’m pissed off.”
  • Taurus: Responds slowly and only after due consideration – acts calmly, with caution, is predictable – reserved – “I take things slowly – I play things safe – if you upset my apple cart, you’ll be sorry – never underestimate an angry bull.”
  • Gemini: Blabbers on about anything and everything – has trouble focusing, is nervous, restless – “I’m curious, cute, and clever – but don’t bother getting too close ‘cause I won’t be staying that long.”
  • Cancer:   Like a chameleon, changes with the environment– if peaceful and happy, then positive – if dark and negative, then not – “I’m shy, delicate, a wall flower – I prefer to live in the past – mess with my family, I’ll break your f…ing neck.”
  • Leo: Exaggerates about everything– craves attention – presumptuous – defensive – “I’m cool, I’m hip – I’m worthy of your approval – if you don’t give it, I’ll sulk big-time.”
  • Virgo: Critical about everything – dissects and discriminates, practical and efficient – doesn’t miss a trick – “I doubt it – You didn’t pay attention – Give it here…can’t you do anything right?”
  • Libra: Takes a balanced view– plays devil’s advocate – is superficial – easily disappointed – “That’s nice, but… – that’s not fair… – if you don’t follow the rules, I’ll pack up my stuff and go home.”
  • Scorpio:  Always sees strings attached – knows just where to stick the stinger – obsessive – secretive – suspicious – “I don’t trust you – you’ll be so, so sorry – I see exactly what you’re trying to do.”
  • Sagittarius: Focuses on the future – sees the bigger picture – restless – open minded – frank – “Move west, young man – I said that, really? – OK, let’s go.”
  • Capricorn: Speaks shrewdly – gives good advice – systematic – organised – realistic – “Do be serious –God helps those who help themselves – a penny saved is a penny earned.”
  • Aquarius: Approaches everything objectively and with detachment – tends to black and white thinking – opinionated – contrary – controversial –  “I’ve got a dream – we can do better – off with their heads.”
  • Pisces:  Vivid imagination – chaotic thinking – intuitive – telepathic – passive aggressive – escapist – “Don’t cry – I’ll take care of it – oh my … surely not tonight?”

Leo is lucky – Leo is fire.

But if like me, you have no fire (Leo, Aries, or Sagittarius) in your astrological chart that won’t mean that you won’t have to deal with it. [1]  Indeed – astrologically – what you’re missing is more important than what you have.

Did you know that statistically you’re highly likely to be missing one of the four elements (water, earth, fire, or air)?  Further, until you devise a conscious, constructive outlet for this missing energy, it will operate unconsciously through the collective in what is often referred to as ‘fate’.

Consider the story of Simba – a rambunctious lion club full of himself and his future.  He will be King of the Pride Lands one day!  However his unchecked enthusiasm for adventure makes him easy prey for his jealous, cunningly evil uncle.  This results in the death of Simba’s father and Simba’s guilt-ridden self-imposed exile from home.

Simba now discovers a new philosophy – Hakuna Matata – ‘no one cares at all’ and lives happily with new friends repudiating all that a lion should be.  But, after a visit from the ‘Wiseman’ and the spirit of his dead father, Simba reconnects with the ‘Circle of Life’ and returns home to overthrow his usurper uncle and claim his rightful throne.  Simba has come full circle with regards to his fiery energy.

Simba may have too much fire in his chart or – more likely – none at all.  We can only tell the difference by the way he behaves.

Accordingly to Liz Greene, a missing element is like a wild animal that can never be domesticated.  It can be either a powerful friend or enemy.  But the point is you’re never going to be in control. Yet your ‘missing element’ holds both your greatest creative potential – as well as the seeds for your downfall.

I’ve had to work hard to develop my intuition (a manifestation of fire) but its erratic expression has head to such unpredictably that I’ve been inclined not to trust it.  Yet without it, I can’t make any progress in life.

Simba seems to have the same problem.  His easy passion for life turns to tears and his sense of destiny deserts him in his hour of need.  He looses faith in life and himself.

Fire is naturally extremely dangerous even at the best of times.  But as Liz suggests, those of us who lack it must still deal with it – albeit not directly.  With help from others, Simba was able to reconnect with fire in a more healthy way through his emotions (water) and reason (air).  No doubt it was also helped by the responsibility (earth) thrust upon him by his position as once and future Lion King.


[1] I do have Pluto in Leo, which being a generational planet (as opposed to a personal planet) I figure doesn’t count.

Many believe that where Jupiter is, you’ll be lucky.

In large part this is true.  However with Jupiter, luck isn’t left to chance.  Instead, it’s all about timing and vision. Whether through religion or philosophy, when you see how you fit into the bigger picture, then all else falls into place.

Jupiter is the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Zeus, whose name derives from the Indo-European ‘djeus’ – which is composed of ‘deus’ or deity and ‘theos’ or the moment of light.

The combination of the gods and enlightenment is admittedly, intriguing.  Indeed, according to Liz Greene, Jupiter provides you with a personal path to spirituality – your own ‘divine plan’.

To learn more about what this might be, examine the zodiac sign in which Jupiter resides in your chart (house placement is equally important, but let’s leave that to another day).

Jupiter in Aries – you’re always on a crusade – a constant supply of fresh ideas is required to feed your fervent need for adventure and an exciting lifestyle.  Beware of a certain amount of egotism, however – but when its channelled towards helping the community at large, its forgivable if not outright charming.

Jupiter in Taurus – you need your feet planted firmly on the ground for you are constrained to work within the framework of the material world.   Your spiritual and religious values must, therefore, be grafted onto your need for material comfort and security.  Thus you will likely take a practical approach to religion.  Beware of fanaticism, however, for you may be prone to tenaciously held beliefs.

Jupiter in Gemini –  you’re always on the move – learning more and more enlarges your breadth of spiritual vision.  Beware of holding superficial beliefs.   By nature Gemini has a penchant for novelty and change.  This doesn’t give much incentive to getting to the root of things.  You’ll find your spiritual path by testing your hypotheses about the divine in your head rather than in your heart.

Jupiter in Cancer – you connect with the divine through your emotions – by holding together a community or family.  Your path is to find unity and group solidarity in all you say and do.  Beware of meddlesomeness under the guise of trying to be helpful.  Also beware of simply espousing (without examination) your group’s religious causes and beliefs.

Jupiter in Leo –  you need to find your deeper values through everyday living.  This is best achieved through helping others – for the hearth-flame (of which Leo is a symbol) burns ever brighter the more it is stoked.   Keep in mind, however, that Jupiter in Leo isn’t one for details.  Broader outlines and ambitious plans are more your cup of tea.

Jupiter in Virgo – religious feelings may be reduced to a sense of duty and you may feel you shoulder too much responsibility in the wake.   However uncomfortable this is, know it is here that your spiritual path lies.  For it is through relief work and service to others that you find your true calling.  There’s little doubt you’ll carry out your duties to perfection.

Jupiter in Libra – broaden your spiritual horizons through making ever more contacts and friends.  Your sense of justice is strong.  But this may prove to be a disadvantage for Jupiter isn’t about being fair.  Fairness implies the weighing of scales.  But you can’t help everyone – especially when they’re on opposite sides.  So best to join in a common cause and avoid making choices, which you’ll never do well.

Jupiter in Scorpio –broaden your spiritual horizons through anything that helps you understand your own (and others’) motivations.  This provides you with precious insight into the meaning of life.   Beware of moralising, however.  One of the downsides of coming to grips with your faults, is the tendency to force the same process on others.

Jupiter in Sagittarius – your search for a more comprehensive picture of the cosmos inclines you to do what’s necessary to live in keeping with your inner faith.   Beware, however, of boasting and self-conceit.  While the patterns of the universe may for you be clear and obvious, for others it will not be the same.

Jupiter in Capricorn – your need for spiritual and religious values is directed to things of practical and ‘real worth’.  This might mean that your faith rests on dogma and ritual and that’s OK.  However you have a real opportunity to find what you need from a different material and social point of view.   Use your keen organizing abilities in the service of others and you’ll soon understand what this can mean.

Jupiter in Aquarius – for you, spiritual and religious values must comply with the rules of logic – and this isn’t always for the best.   Try not to spend time persuading others to your point of view.  Instead take your facts and figures out into a wider social setting and help others to express what is most important for them.

Jupiter in Pisces – your sense of religious and spiritual values comes from your feelings about what surrounds you – atmospheres and general moods will effect you greatly – so take special care to understand which values belong to you or somebody else.  Your greatest gift is your ability to feel at one with your fellows.  You have the ability to show them their own paths.

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