Month: August 2009

Neptune in Pisces

It’s been a long time. Neptune was discovered on September 23, 1846 and as it takes 165 years to go around the Sun, it is only recently that it has returned to its discovery position, which was 26 degrees Aquarius. One year after its discovery Neptune entered the sign it was later to have rulership over… Pisces. We have just experienced a Neptune birthday, and on April 4, 2011 this enormous planet will enter Pisces once again. This is going to be quite an event.The discovery of Neptune coincided with worldwide social upheaval, which was mostly peaceful. In 1848 the Communist Manifesto was published, which was a response to the inhuman conditions in expanding cities where new factories were sprouting as a result of steam power and industrialization. This was the period when Charles Dickens wrote his novels of social realism, and social democratic demonstrations shook the capitals of Europe. This was also a time when painters like Renoir, Gauguin, Van Gogh, Cezanne and Monet made their impressionist paintings, expanding the world of fantasy and imagination. On the scientific front Darwin’s theory of evolution completely undermined Christian tradition. The first photographs were taken, ultimately leading to the coming world of the movies. Anesthetics were used for the first time in hospitals. Opium became a socially acceptable drug. The accepted reality of the day was undermined and new spiritual, emotional and political realities took form.

Here in 2010 we can now document the movement of Neptune through each of the twelve signs, and await a new spiral of Neptunian evolution. The function of Neptune is to expand our experience of so-called reality by introducing new dimensions of consciousness. It is a unifying force, making us aware that we are all in the same evolutionary boat. Neptune reveals the illusion of generally accepted truths. What we think of as truth is in the last analysis a relative concept. Whatever personal truth you hang on to as a buffer against reality, Neptune is happy to dissolve it. Awareness of the human condition, which for a large part is suffering, and an identification with fellow sufferers, gives the potential for the awakening of compassion, which is the spiritual enrichment that Neptune offers.

The collective influence of Neptune can especially be traced in the dominant media and myths of the time. Neptune in Libra showed the idealization of Hollywood romance, and the reality of the dissolution of the iconic relationships of celebrities. Neptune in Scorpio was free love (meaning free sex) and the drug scene of the 1960’s. Neptune in Sagittarius was the Star Wars period culminating in film star President Ronald Reagan’s dream of a space-based missile system. Neptune in Capricorn was Wall Street and the idealization of greed. And the recent transit of Neptune through Aquarius from January 1998 to April 2011 has coincided rather nicely with the ban on smoking in public buildings (who would have thought that possible?), the surge of the internet, all those Facebook friends, the democratization of the cinema through YouTube, Dot Com crashes and DreamWorks, aided and abetted of course by Uranus in Pisces, which for much of this period has been in reception with Neptune.

But the tone of the world is about to change, and it will change because of social unrest, which is the inevitable result of the draconic restrictions that must be imposed by governments trying to weather the meltdown of capitalism. For that is what the transit of Pluto through Capricorn represents, and when Pluto finally enters Aquarius in 2024, there will be little that remains of the autocratic structures that are currently being put in place to safeguard the banks and corporations whose survival is currently threatened.

There were 180 million unemployed people around the globe at the time the Great Recession started (which was when Pluto came into Capricorn in 2008); this figure has increased by 30 million in the last two years, the largest increase being in the United States. (Note 1) Youth unemployment in Spain has doubled to almost 40%. Workers in Europe are accepting pay freezes and pay cuts. With the replication of the Uranus/Pluto square from the 1930’s – but this time with Pluto in business-Capricorn, rather than nationalistic-Cancer – this recession is just about to bite. Any recovery will be excruciatingly slow, and it will be largely jobless. The loss of jobs in the US means that people are getting evicted from their homes, some to live in their cars, and when they cannot pay for the cars, then in tent cities springing up all over the country.

That is why Neptune is needed in Pisces. Forget the dreams of billionaire fortunes made by internet startups and social networking sites; what is needed now is universal concern for the millions of economically displaced people who have to resort to state handouts and charity. You could become one of them. The awareness of the suffering of the underprivileged has scarcely begun. What we will see over the next few years is the extreme polarization of right-wing solutions, which is part of the Uranus/Pluto effect in Aries/Capricorn, in contrast with left wing solutions, reflected by the Pluto/Neptune sextile from Capricorn to Pisces.

This process will take place in stages, with initial awareness and concern as Neptune dips its toe in the Piscean ocean on April 4, 2011, retreating to Aquarius again from August 5, 2011 to February 3, 2012, after which time there will be 13 straight years with Neptune in Pisces. Early in this period there will be good governance reflected by Saturn in Libra, which can be characterized as the time of President Obama.

It is when Saturn moves into Scorpio, in reception with Pluto in Capricorn and trining Neptune, that things get interesting. This combination is a strong counterpoint to the survivalist dictates of the Uranus/Pluto square, and shows a serious mobilization of state compassion. Generally this will coincide with left-leaning governments worldwide, though there could just as well be right-wing quasi-dictatorships. It is worth remembering that the year Neptune entered Pisces for the first time – 1847 – the Communist Manifesto was published with the memorable words “Workers of the world, unite!”

2013 is the year when the Saturn>Pluto>Neptune pattern really kicks in. Saturn enters Scorpio immediately trining Neptune, goes on to sextile Pluto then retrogrades to make a long trine to Neptune in June, July and August 2013.

The intersections in the above graph show the aspects between Pluto/Neptune/Saturn

The Saturn/Pluto sextile is tough love. The need for a transformation of existing state, business and banking structures will be strong, but nobody is going to use democratic methods to ask anybody for their point of view. This is emergency surgery, performed by powerful rulers through secretive and autocratic methods. Taxes will be ruthlessly imposed with a view to alleviate the social disasters of the time. There will be corruption and the rooting out of corruption. Industry barons will do all within their power to maintain their advantages at this time through strong links to government. But they will also be moved to reach out to the disadvantaged to alleviate their suffering, if only to burnish their image.

It is difficult for us to imagine at this stage the plight that society will find itself in. To give an example: On the exact day when Chiron, which is after all a very minor planetary body, moved into Pisces, the oil rig Deepwater Horizon exploded, leading to the biggest pollution disaster in American history. The oil poured out of an open wound in the ocean floor for many months and – in true Chiron fashion – could not be healed. There is a strong likelihood that the entry of Neptune into Pisces will have even more far-reaching consequences. No doubt this will bring a very strong focus on nature and the environment in the coming decade, but it will be the social conditions of the human family that will take precedence. Neptune’s arrival in Pisces can also bring fears of epidemics (note 2) but in the long run this influence is sure to bring wonderful advances in medicine, just as the last transit through Pisces brought chloroform and the wonders of anesthetics, as well as the first collective health schemes.

The transit of Neptune through Pisces will see the beginning of the ascendancy of Africa. In fact it was when Neptune entered Pisces in 1847 that the first African colony gained independence, when slaves freed in America returned to Africa and declared Liberia an independent country. Slaves liberated an enslaved land. It is likely that the growing worldwide food shortages can be alleviated by more effective farming in Africa, which currently is very inefficiently cultivated, and the riches found in agricultural, mineral and oil reserves will finally bring prosperity.

The sensitivity of nations to food shortages will probable be one of the major sources of unrest in the developing world in the coming period. Here in 2010 drought and fires in Russia have led to a ban on wheat exports and prices worldwide have risen over 60% leading in turn to the danger of food riots in countries that traditionally import a lot of wheat, like Egypt. Back in 1847 there was famine in Europe, and over the next 13 years two million immigrants arrived in New York… over a million being Irish. (Note 3)

In response to shortages, harvesting the sea will also be undertaken on a vast scale in this period, and with mass production of factory fish, a much greater awareness of the ecological downsides of the process will dawn, leading to more humane standards for fish. Extraction of oil from the ocean will play an even greater role, and as a shortage of oil begins to threaten the smooth functioning of industry, vast undersea reserves will be exploited in previously pristine environments around Greenland and in the Arctic.

Neptune in Pisces will bring a global focus on the suffering of humanity and a corresponding urge to alleviate this suffering through social change. The social upheaval that shook Europe from 1848 – 1850, as the Communist Manifesto was translated into every European language, resulted in a revolution in Czechoslovakia (successfully suppressed), in Austria (suppressed but serfdom abolished and emperor abdicates), Budapest, Berlin, Milan and Rome, Ireland and Britain (the Chartist movement). In France students and workers seized Paris, and a new French Republic was proclaimed. Thousands of workers died as the French military put down the revolt. France was the European country most marked by the entry of Neptune into Pisces, and the 1848 revolution led to the abandonment of the monarchy and the establishment of the Second Republic, founded with a Sun/Neptune conjunction in Pisces. (It did not last long).

Neptune’s influence in a sign is not necessarily as drastic as that of Uranus or Pluto, but it reaches deep and subtly alters everything. For example it was after Neptune entered Capricorn that the Iron Curtain was torn down and the Berlin Wall fell. This was the beginning of a new political order in Russia (and the world) which initially caused immense hardship for the people. But there was euphoria too for those who felt liberated from decades of repression. When Neptune entered Aquarius in January 1998 (which it did simultaneously with Bill Clinton saying those famous words: “I never had sexual relations with that woman” – the biggest and funniest media lie ever) it was the time when the world was bewitched by the virtual world, and dot com millionaires made their fortune. We all relocated to cyberspace and people dematerialized to reappear as ghostly presences on Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and the rest. A global unification was created, but digital revolution also created the web of financial structures that brought financial chaos and dissolution.

Neptune in Pisces will bring a need for spiritual content. Not the digital psychics and clairvoyants who have thrived with Uranus in Pisces, but for compassion-centered altruism. People will withdraw from the small comfort of a Facebook universe – sell your shares now (it’s a bubble) – and seek privacy and seclusion. Suffering will be too real for dabblers in spirituality, and true solidarity will be found in helping people who are in situations where – but for the grace of God – you could find yourself.

Adrian Ross Duncan September 17, 2010.

1. The Guardian Weekly September 10th, 2010. (Larry Elliot – “When austerity is not enough”)

2. When Neptune entered Pisces in 1847 15,000 people died in a flu epidemic in London. There was also a serious economic depression in England at the time.

3. “The People’s Chronology” pp 446. James Trager 1979.

Realizing the Self

When people discuss the question of fate and free will, they tend to forget just how deep in the past the root causes of our existence lie. As we deal with life day by day, and moment by moment, we are actually dealing with the consequences of actions that we took earlier, sometimes many years earlier, and sometimes, if you believe in reincarnation, many lifetimes earlier. Our actions in the current moment are completely conditioned by our view, and this view was in turn conditioned by individual perceptions and conditioning all the way back to birth. So-called free will is extremely limited under these circumstances. You are going to do what you have always done, because of the unstoppable dynamics of your personal psychology.
But there is a way.

No amount of rational analysis, decision-making or resolve is going to get you out of the prison bars created within your own mind. But the mind itself has a quality of self-awareness that – if all distracting thoughts and emotions are stilled – enables it to observe its own workings. The farther we go towards stabilizing this self-awareness through mindfulness or meditation practice, the closer we get to seeing the stream of causation in our personal history that robs us of the capacity to make meaningful change.

If, using mind training techniques, you tune in to the constant stream of thoughts, you will discover that in the beginning thoughts will arise all the time. There may be pauses for shorter or longer periods of time, but soon the mind latches on to a thought or idea, and off it goes. You can catch it, stop, continue to focus on your breathing or your body or some other kind of support, but off it will go again. Perhaps this constant electric flurry is what we understand as astrologers as Mercury. It is the trickster, and however you strive for mental peace, it will use your own meditation process to lure you off track.

Mental impulses seem to well up from the ocean of the unconscious without apparent logic or reason. But if you sit long enough you might discover, that as the world revolves on its axis, and the planetary angles activate your own planetary patterns in sequence, then there is a kind of logic to the thoughts and feelings that arise. If Mercury is at 20 degrees Sagittarius and square Mars at 21 degrees in aspect to Neptune at 22 degrees, perhaps when the moving Ascendant axis hits 20 Sagittarius, you start dwelling on an injustice – a situation that is in your opinion not right or fair – which you then get angry about, and then feel helpless and sad about. Every day. Every day you carve deeper valleys in your psychological landscape through the same series of thought processes. Where is free will here? And how much stronger and more intense will this be when a passing transit, Uranus conjoining Mars for example, shakes up the configuration?

Being aware of this process changes everything. From an astrological point of view the awareness itself has nothing to do with Mercury. Thought cannot monitor itself. It has to do with the Sun, which is the one constant in the busy spiral of activity of Mercury, Venus, Mars and all the other planets as they revolve around the sun.

The sun – or self – is in its basic nature untouched by the activity of the mind and Mercury, by attachment and Venus, by aggressions and Mars, and if you are centered there and observe the workings of the trickster and his associates, then a different kind of process starts to happen. Thoughts still unfold, feelings mild or violent still arise, but centered as you are, you observe them coming and going out of the corner of your eye, as it were. The difference now is that you are no longer giving them any energy. They will ultimately wither and die like a planet without water.

If though patterns stem from a powerful history of deceit connected with the Mercury/Mars/Neptune configuration for example, this astrological cactus will not wither overnight and will probably survive for years before receding from consciousness. But the actions you have previously taken based on the unconscious impulses from this planetary pattern will be modified, because you have become a witness to the energy in your consciousness stream. You do not want to water that particular plant. At this point it is possible to talk about free will.

The sun itself has universal qualities shared by all the stars in the universe. The paradox is that if through mindfulness training you can rest in the central core of your self, then there is a powerful awareness of the strength of personal identity. Yet ultimately this self-aware Self sees that the idea of separate identity simply does not reflect the true state of things. It is through a strong self that you can reach the idea of no-self, just as the sun and the stars share the quality of starlight.

Astrology teaches that the sun reflects identity, and with the position of the sun in any one of twelve signs, the personal identity is circumscribed by the sign it is in. What follows is a description of the sun in the 12 signs, with an emphasis on the sense of self and its strengths as reflected in each of the signs.

The sun in Aries gives access to a fiery energy which can be channeled without delay into dynamic action and brave initiatives. There is a core enthusiasm in your nature, and an unquestioning sense of personal identity. You are out there in front, inspiring people by example, with few doubts about where you are going and why. You are guided by the principles of chivalry and honor. When you turn within to meditate on your inner core, and shut out emotional and mental distractions, you find the living power of fire within, which transforms into a dynamo of energy… a fountain of creativity.

The sun in Taurus puts you in touch with the rock solid and fertile power of the earth, evoking in you a sense of being completely grounded and stable. Whilst deep in your inner being there is complete calm and equanimity, you have access to enormous strength that can be channeled into constructive deeds for very long periods of time and without exhaustion. You are a rock others can rely on, and while others bend with the wind, you stand firm. You are strongly associated with Nature and fertility and when you go within, you draw inexhaustible resources from your roots which go down to the very soul of Gaia.

The sun in Gemini gives access to a multiplicity of talents linked to all facets of the mind. The world of thoughts, contact and communication are a playground for you, as you dance from one thought to another without holding on. Restlessly exploring the myriad of connections in the world, you are like a spirit of the air, enchanted by the constantly changing scene. When you still the ceaseless activity of your mind, you discover the very nature of thought itself, and are fascinated by the dark twin of duality which mysteriously emerges from one source, one union, one being.

The sun in Cancer tunes you in to a world of feeling and connectedness, awakening in your soul a desire to give birth to and nurture the people and things you love and are deeply attached to. To live, for you, is like being a part of a rushing river – a process of constant change which you react to with a whole spectrum of constantly changing emotions. You feel a sense of belonging, to the world and to the human family, and you are instinctively motivated to fiercely protect what you love. Going within you discover a world of overwhelming emotions, and in these emotions you discover the energy and power of positively motivated feeling.

The sun in Leo puts you in touch with a burning furnace of power which is the throne of your identity as a human being. You know that being a powerful individual, securely centered in yourself, liberates creativity and enables you to be a shining light for others. Strong in yourself, you radiate the idea of life as celebration, and gather others into your benign orbit. When you turn within, free from disturbing thoughts and emotions, you can sense the inner central mandala of power that lies at the seat of your identity – a stable core that emanates inexhaustible spiritual power.

The sun in Virgo brings an ability to apply analytical thought to solve problems, and motivates you to offer your services to others with an unselfish spirit. You have an instinctive awareness of what works, and know how to arrange the parts to make an efficient whole. When you apply your discrimination to your inner life, you understand the interaction between the smallest components of the body in subtle play with thought processes. You know exactly how the movement of the wings of a butterfly can create a tempest, and you apply this knowledge in rituals, health awareness and ecological consciousness.

The sun in Libra awakens an understanding of balance and motivates you to create harmony in outer relationships and discover inner poise. Your ability to tune in to others and meet them exactly how they are makes you a true peacemaker. You know what is right and just. Beauty and taste reflect for you an expression of the natural harmony of the world. When you turn within you can quickly attune to an inner world of balance and visualize the pure energy of color and sound. Here opposites resolve… the masculine and the feminine, the left side and the right side, the outer world and the inner world, and as your scales settle in equilibrium, you find inner peace.

The sun in Scorpio means that you feel things intensely, but privately, like a pebble being dropped into a deep well. In relations with others you sense all the emotions under the surface and exercise strong control. Once you have mastered your own anxiety you are able to empathize deeply with others and somehow, almost magically, empower them. Turning within you feel the maelstrom of your desires and passions and instinctively realize the transformative and purifying power that lies in immersing yourself in your emotions. In the deepest roots of your being, where fear is transformed into power, you find access to an inexhaustible source of energy.

The sun in Sagittarius evokes a fiery awareness and burning desire to understand the meaning of your life. Restlessly inquiring, you travel to the farthest reaches of the earth – and of your mind – gathering ideas and investigating beliefs. You are motivated to share with others what you learn, and find a mission in spreading enlightenment to the collective. For you, it is the most natural thing in the world to turn within, because you instinctively know that the world outside is an extension of the world within. Applying the wisdom you have gathered from mentors or all shades, you embark on a long journey to discover the inner guru, the mind itself. Only here is your thirst quenched.

The sun in Capricorn brings the opportunity to be master of the world you live in, and to learn mastery of the world that lives within you. You are willing to bear whatever burden is necessary to reach your long term goals, and you do this uncomplainingly. You dutifully offer support to those who follow in your footsteps, and obedience to those in whose footsteps you follow. The discipline for spiritual practice comes as naturally to you as the discipline to make progress in the world. When you turn within, you systematically and patiently develop proficiency, slowly removing the obstacles in your path, overcoming self doubt and become an example to others.

The sun in Aquarius awakens in an appreciation of humanity – the wonderful uniqueness of the men and women who cross your path. You are there for them without judgment… open, tolerant and accepting. You feel united with your fellow human beings, understanding instinctively how they are connected – what happens to one of them happens to them all. The space you give to others, and expect for yourself, is also the space you find when you go within the expanses of your own mind. You discover how the power of consciousness and conscious thought is like a tool that can make changes in the inner world and the outer.

The Sun in Pisces immerses you in an ocean of thoughts and feelings that seem almost to encompass the whole of humanity. Empathy is a natural condition for you, as you sense what people feel even before they do. When you have learned to orientate yourself in this ocean of impressions, you give people unconditional love, acceptance and understanding, sensitively offered with humor and humility. Accessing the riches of the soul through meditation and mindfulness is your natural birthright, but you do not seek personal happiness; satisfaction for you can only come when other people also can experience the rewards. Only then can you enjoy the rewards yourself.

If you do dwell in contact with the power of the sun in your horoscope, resting in your self and observing thoughts arising like waves and sinking back into the ocean once again, then you will also notice that you bring with you a certain attitude, which is not only characterized by the sign position of the sun, but also by any planets that aspect your sun. If Saturn is there, you will be a hard taskmaster, rounding up and suppressing your thoughts, and treating your Self in an authoritarian manner. If Jupiter is there, you may be seduced by success and fall from the sky through hubris. If Uranus is there, the very clarity you achieve may disguise unconscious rejection of the emotional cradle in which you rest. Neptune could lead to an inability to rest in a strong sense of self, and a tendency to merge all too soon with the cosmic ocean. Pluto could bring total success in whipping thoughts and feelings under control, with a corresponding sense of inner deadness.

In other words the mirror of the self itself needs to be polished and purged. But this is achieved through the alchemical ability of the Self to reflect on itself without thought. There is more than enough energy in the sun to clean itself of impurity. If you ever make it there, you will have all the free will you will ever need.

Adrian Ross Duncan 16.08.2009

Stories as Therapy

You have probably heard the story about the rabbi and the poor farmer who came to him for advice. With a wife and four children to feed, and just a small overcrowded hut to live in, his main problem was the lack of space. On his first visit the rabbi advised him to move his goats into the house and come back after a week. Puzzled but obedient, the poor farmer faithfully followed the advice. A week later the rabbi asked him how things were going. “Terrible” said the farmer, “the house is even more crowded”. So the rabbi suggested he move his chickens into the house, and to come back if things did not get better after a week. The following week the farmer stated that it was almost impossible for the whole family to exist in the house together with the goats and the chickens. “Don’t worry”, said the rabbi, “Next week take your cow into the house, and let me know if things have improved after a week.” After the week had elapsed, the farmer was beside himself with desperation. “Hmm…” said the rabbi, “Let’s try something new. Put the cow, chickens and goats outside the hut and come back to me after a week. The next week the rabbi asked him how things were going. “Life is wonderful”, said the poor farmer, “you won’t believe how much space we have”.
And it’s true, isn’t it… everything is relative. The human mind has an amazing capacity to look at life, and instead of smiling with satisfaction at the 95% of life that is pretty good, it focuses on that 5% that is dreadful. That 5% is like a fly that buzzes around the food when you are enjoying a picnic on a beautiful summer’s day.

Recently I had a client who had built up a brilliant dot com business, which he subsequently sold for so much money, that he could live a life of luxury from the annual interest. He was visiting the country and stayed with a couple who had been married for 25 years and had two gifted children who were soon to attend university. This couple were in a state of constant worry about their finances. My client on the other hand, was spellbound by what he considered to be a well-functioning and happy family. In his new world he never knew the true motivation of the women who sought out his company, and he had not managed to settle with a partner.

When working with clients, a simple intervention technique is to change perspective on the situation. The horoscope tends to show an equal balance of good fortune and bad fortune. Difficult aspects involving Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto will reflect life situations which people strive to overcome and thereby develop wonderful character traits like determination, solidarity, empathy and psychological insight. Fortunate aspects and strong planet placements reflect resources that are constantly drawn upon bringing happiness and satisfaction. It is almost always possible to place client experience in a different frame, so that the client appreciates and enjoys the good fortune rather worrying about the problems.

The reality of the situation is that no matter how bad things are, they can actually get worse. There is always something to be grateful for. There is always someone in a far worse position. And if you focus on the 95% of life that is good for 100% of the time, you will be happy all the time. Astrologically the trick is to identify the good aspects, because they unfailingly show talent, success and pleasure. (Note 1) This technique works best with something like Sun trine Jupiter (euphoric vision) or Venus sextile Jupiter (pleasurable talents) rather than with aspects to Saturn, Neptune and Pluto which always bring some challenges, sorrow and upheaval even when the aspect is good. When people fully appreciate the amazing good fortune that good aspects represent they inevitably feel grateful.

There are times when you have a pretty clear idea about what a client needs to do, but for one reason or another, it is difficult to tell them. Recently I had a client who had been married for many years, with two children he loved, but dissatisfaction in the marriage, particularly sexually, led him into one secret love after another. A Gemini, with almost all his planets in mutable signs, he was a multitalented person who danced his way through life. But with Saturn in Pisces on his Descendant, his partner was mysteriously discontented. He wondered aloud: could he just glide through this period with periodic love affairs without disturbing the equilibrium of his marriage?

Consultation chart: July 2nd, 2009 14.30 Copenhagen

One glance at the consultation chart reveals that this client is in deep trouble and that trouble is going to get deeper. He is represented by a dignified Venus in Taurus in the 8th, ethically challenged, as it were, by its square to 5th house ruler Jupiter… those love affairs. The square to Neptune gives a deeper shade of deception, and the fact that Venus is on the fixed star Algol, suggests that his head is on the block. His wife is represented by Mars in detriment in Taurus, which is soon going to hit Algol and square Chiron, Neptune and Jupiter. To stir this sticky pot a little more, the Moon is in fall in Scorpio, soon to make an opposition to both Venus and Mars.

It was time for a metaphor. I had the feeling that no matter what I said, this person was unlikely to change and reluctant to face up to the reality of his position. Do you know that feeling of having left a cheese at the back of the fridge? Months have gone by. One day you see a dark object and you reach in to remove it, whatever it is. As your fingers sink into the soft and furry exterior, you begin to wonder. It is when the stink hits your nostrils that you remember the cheese. Now here is the question. Should you put the cheese back and hope it will go away? Or do you have to take it out – take everything out – and give the fridge a thorough clean to remove all the fungus spores?

This is an effective Moon in Scorpio metaphor, because this placement often suggests putting things on ice, bad tastes and smells, and trouble stored up for the future. Whether the client will work with his wife to resolve their mutual dissatisfaction, I am not sure. But he won’t forget that cheese.

Well-chosen metaphors should mobilize the sensory system that is involved in as vivid a way as possible. Positive Jupiter metaphors would conjure up visual panoramas, negative Jupiter metaphors the intellectual discomfort that arises from that wagging moral finger. Positive Saturn metaphors would conjure up the physical evidence of status, negative Saturn metaphors the crushing weight of setbacks. Positive Uranus metaphors the exhilarating excitement of social interaction and discovery, negative Uranus metaphors the anaesthetized numbness of remoteness and separation. And positive Neptune metaphors should access the sense of oneness with the world and nature, whilst negative metaphors could conjure up the poignancy of being alone.

Sharing your inner feeling

There are consultations that seem to get nowhere. A layer of fog descends. You may feel bored, irritated, insecure, stupid. It is at this point that an amazingly effective technique can be used that completely blows away the fog and electrifies the consultation. It is fair to assume that whatever you, as the astrologer, are feeling in the consultation, other people who are part of the client’s life are sure also to feel. You are the 7th house in the consultation chart, and your experience of the client is valid evidence. This knowledge is dynamite. I had one young client with a Moon/Mars conjunction in Aries in the 6th house, who could only keep her work for a short period at a time. At some point she lost her temper, downed tools, and walked. The odd thing was that I too felt more and more irritated as the consultation progressed. I summoned up the courage and told her how I felt. She lost her temper and got up to leave. I pointed out that she was free to go, but if she wanted to have a satisfying work life, she would be better off staying, which she did, and the consultation proceeded with a new authenticity and honesty.

Presenting your own feelings as evidence requires clarity – you don’t want to mix your own issues up with the client’s – and bravery, because you almost always have to reveal your own insecurity or vulnerability. I recently had a very rewarding experience with a client who had come about 12 times over the last decade. I never felt comfortable with this client; I knew she was good at astrology, a member of Mensa, and basically I did not think I could tell her anything that she did not know already. Finally I said it. The client had a strong Mercury/Pluto/North Node conjunction square Jupiter, which is a characteristic signature for someone who is extremely sensitive to both ignorance and intellectual arrogance. When I told her how I felt intellectually insecure, it opened up a whole area in her horoscope I had never previously grasped. For as a child genius she was exposed both to her teachers and fellow students as a child, and she had carefully concealed her intellectual brilliance to avoid the pain of isolation, which apparently was typical behavior for people with extremely high IQ’s. But this concealment had the unwanted effect of putting other people off balance, which is what had continually happened to me.

This kind of mirroring is extraordinarily effective in circumstances when you feel that something must be done to get the consultation moving. It has to be based honestly on what you feel, and not actually projected onto the client, which will only activate defense mechanisms. Mercury/Pluto clients, who can sometimes drone on, evoking exhaustion, can be disarmed by explaining how you find it difficult to get a word in. Moon/Uranus clients, who can sometimes evoke the sensation that you are a disembodied, can be reached when you share this feeling. Mars/Jupiter people, who can make you feel incompetent or stupid, can suddenly show understanding and empathy when you let them know this. It is a rewarding experience both for you and the client.

Relativity, metaphors and mirroring are three techniques that just require imagination, honesty and sensitivity – useful skills in the astrological consultation that do not require special training. Mirroring/sharing kick starts consultations that risk petering out into irrelevance. Metaphors sneakily slip through the defenses of people who don’t want to confront uncomfortable truths. Understanding the relative nature of reality makes people appreciate what they have got, instead of worrying about what they haven’t got. It is the understanding that it is best to have just enough of something – not too much, and not too little. That to live in a western country with prosperity, family, health and work is a tremendous privilege, no matter what challenges arise.

Adrian Ross Duncan. July 7th 2009

1. Please see section on Resources in my book: “Astrology: Transformation and Empowerment”.

Trends in 2009

The year ahead promises to be more exciting than most as outer planets line up to bring preliminary fireworks, where we can expect and even bigger show in 2010. The big players in 2009 are the Saturn/Uranus opposition, which as Barack Obama intimated, is to bring “change we can believe in”. The first opposition took place exactly on the US election, and two more follow: on February 5th at 20.37 Virgo/Pisces and September 15th, 2009, at 24.43 Virgo/Pisces. Seen from a sun sign viewpoint, this will be a very major influence for Aquarians in regard to their economy, emotional life and security. Capricorns are also likely to experience this opposition as a period of seismic change, especially in connection with their convictions and beliefs and in relation to travel and education. But of course Virgos and Pisces will profoundly feel the pull of this opposition in relationships, as they strive to bridge a gap that seems intercontinental in expanse.Secondly Jupiter conjoins Neptune three times, on May 27th, July 10th and 21st December at 26.28, 26.02 and 24.18 Aquarius respectively, and clearly this conjunction will evoke a wave of popular sentiment, whether euphoria or disappointment is difficult to say. Each time Chiron is also involved, so there might me an element of suffering, or a whole lot of healing. Again Aquarians will be profoundly affected – it is going to be quite a year for this sign – and there will be an enormous expansion of influence for them on a collective level and in relation to dreams and their spiritual life.
As Jupiter and Neptune are considered rulers of Pisces, this sign will also experience deep changes in relation to inner life, dreams and meditative experiences. It can be a time of inner chaos bit amazing spiritual growth. For Sagittarians, ruled by Jupiter, this conjunction falls in their solar third house, which is sure to bring enhanced curiosity and motivation to learn about artistic and spiritual subjects, as well as some pretty exotic travels. By airship or balloon probably.
By the beginning of 2009 Pluto has moved back into Capricorn, where it will remain for the next 14 years. In sun sign and horary astrology this means that every time a planet enters one of the cardinal signs – Aries, Cancer, Libra or Capricorn – they will undergo an intense process of crisis and transformation. This is particularly noticeable when Venus moves into Aries, because it repeats an 8 year cycle of retrograde movement, moving retrograde at 15.26 Aries on March 6th and squaring Pluto on February 6th, April 3rd and May 2nd at 2.26, 3.18 and 3.06 Aries respectively. Exciting times for Libra where this takes place in the 7th house of partnerships… not least because Venus is joined by Mars in May. A rather passionate time. Of course Aries will also be profoundly affected by this constellation too.

For the Mercury ruled – Geminis and Virgos – the triple conjunction of Mercury and Jupiter in January and February should bring amazing results intellectually and socially, and this will be a good time for relationships – of a liberated sort – too. The retrograde period in May and June in Taurus squares the Jupiter/Chiron/Neptune triple conjunction, which can lead to some dodgy judgments, not least economically. The Mars ruled can await the retrograde movement of this planets in Leo in December. Quite romantic, especially for Aries.

Finally the solar eclipse falls at 6 Aquarius in February and 29 Cancer in July, whilst the lunar eclipses fall at 20 Leo in February and 13 Aquarius in August, which will affect all twelve signs in different ways, though Cancer and Leo tend to be the most sensitive.

The following, then is an analysis of the general influence on the 12 signs in 2009. It is worth remembering that you may be sensitive to any or all of these influences in one way or another, because a particular planet may be strong or activated in the coming year, or because of your Ascending sign, so it could be beneficial to read all signs, and if something strikes a chord then read it closely.

The year starts with your ruler Mars in Capricorn and conjoining Pluto, suggesting both a crisis and a breakthrough in your career. With Pluto in the career area of your solar chart until 2023, you can expect a number of upheavals, but in this early stage these is liable to be an acute confrontation with autocratic leaders. A career transformation brings you much more power and control. April is a time when the old makes way for the new in relation to work and colleagues, but it is also a time when you have a strong desire to experiment with your life and find deeper spiritual meaning. A new intense relationship, or even a love affair, may take place at this time. Certainly, when Venus conjoins Mars in your sign as May begins, squaring Pluto, there will be a crisis and transformation in your personal life… the passion is red hot. Life gets very interesting towards the end of the year when Mars enters Leo, where it will be from October 16th 2009 to June 7th 2010. As this relates to children and love, as well as creative projects where you put your identity on the line, you can expect to have a happy and romantic period at this time, and if you are looking for children, they will surely come along.

With the Jupiter/Neptune conjunction (together with Chiron) taking place in your solar 10th house of the career throughout 2009, you can expect major developments in this area. You have lofty dreams and get involved with large social or artistic movements, the professional expression of spirituality and healing, or visionary international projects. For someone who is normally very grounded, this is in fact a time when you surround yourself with dreamers, which will not always be comfortable or safe economically. You are gripped with idealistic fever in April, but during the course of May you can feel under strong psychological pressure, especially if you happen to get involved with a secret passionate relationship at this time. This is also a time when ideological passions run high and can put you under threat. Socially 2009 is a time of change as you build a bridge from the old to the new. Children can be an extraordinary responsibility during the year, either traveling far, or making changes which are difficult for you to adjust to.
The Saturn/Uranus opposition is turning many things in connection with your family and your career upside down. This is a time when a need for change in your professional life affects the domestic status quo and somehow you have to juggle the needs of the family with professional realities. You may need to move or change job, and there highest stress factors are at the end of April when a whole lot of unpredictable changes happen in the leadership – though it is an exciting opportunity for change. August to October is also a period when there are a variety of demanding issues that need to be addressed and cannot be solved without hard work and organization. This is also a year when international travel in on the cards, preferably to an exotic destination, an island, a ship or somewhere by the sea. This is a magnificent period for expanding your awareness of alternative subjects like astrology, healing etc. and for making contact with international groups with a humanitarian or spiritual agenda.
With Pluto firmly in your 7th house of relationships until 2023 this is a time when you need to address the power balance between you and others. You need to give up control on the one hand, yet maintain your personal power on the other. There will be periods of the year when these issues are acute, particularly around the New Year when you may find yourself under attack from a particularly implacable person. Also the period at the beginning of May shows similar power battles, though this is more likely to be connected with career issues. These are basically times when you need to harden your resolve and overcome anxiety in taking new professional initiatives. There are major developments in connection with abroad through the whole of 2009, and you can build a bridge to strong professional organizations working hard to bring change. The end of April is remarkable in this respect and can bring some exotic journey. Financially you can be very fortunate getting finance, but don’t let your dreams get the better of you, especially at the end of January. All in all this will prove to be an exciting year, when your horizons expand considerably.Leo
This is a year in your life when you continue to build up a solid defense against insecure economic trends that threaten to destabilize your good efforts to consolidate your economy. In a way you are torn between dangerous gambles and the path of safety, and this is especially apparent in the Spring. With eclipses falling in your sign this year, there is also an emphasis on making deep-seated changes both in your personal life and lifestyle, and in relationships. And with the triple conjunction of Jupiter, Chiron and Neptune falling in your solar 7th house of partnerships, it is in this area that the most extraordinary changes take place. For many years now, relationships have tended to be fluid and a little chaotic, but in 2009 many dreams are activated. You tie your hopes to a hot-air balloon that can take you to magical places, but who knows where it will put you down? At work there is continued restructuring, and this becomes extremely intense in early May. Intense differences of opinion at this time can bring a general clear out in the work environment with new colleagues replacing old.

2009 is a year of extraordinary developments in your working life, perhaps because of a new influx of colleagues, or perhaps because the area you work with is much more creative or idealistic. This is a good year to work with large groups, with advertising and with idealistic projects. However it is also a time of chaos, or you are torn between letting go or keeping your feet firmly on the ground, particularly at the end of May when there is a risk of bad judgment. With Saturn in your first house and in opposition to Uranus in the house of partnership, there are enormous adjustments to be made in relationships. You may as well resign yourself to a year of change and unpredictability, which becomes particularly acute in March and April. If you fall for someone at this time, you can expect quite a roller-coaster ride. The months from August to October are also significant in this respect as you try to create order, instead of allowing things to continue in an unstructured way. This is a good time to organize supporters to get your own agenda through even if other people are dreamy or unreliable.

With the election of Barack Obama in November, Change has come to the world, and it is as if the euphoric effect of the coming triple conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in Aquarius close to the USA Moon can already be felt. In this second article on sun sign influence for 2009, we will be taking a closer look at the last six signs. In this respect the Jupiter/Neptune conjunction is going to be extremely important for Pisces and Sagittarius, whilst the Saturn/Uranus opposition will profoundly affect Capricorn and Aquarius.

Starting with Libra and Scorpio, it is the condition of Venus and Mars that needs to be studied. Libra is particularly marked by the fact that Pluto has moved into cardinal Capricorn and therefore affects Libra’s solar 4th house. And as Pluto is traditionally associated with Scorpio, its move into a new sign is likely to have a deep affect, especially in areas connected with education and communication:

This will prove to be an extraordinary springtime for you in just that area you are most attuned to – relationships. At the beginning of February, Venus leaves Pisces, entering Aries and a kind of time loop that will not be over before the end of May. In these months Venus goes retrograde and direct again squaring Pluto three times, and thereby knitting together the two domains of relationships and family. Acute issues need to be resolved at this time, and as Venus is in “exile” in Aries, you will find yourself in a compromised situation in relationships, and a situation that requires decisive action too. The home is subject to some upheaval that may be connected to a renovation, or because of new relationship developments. You will not be afraid of taking drastic action for the sake of partnership, though whether this is wise is another matter. Amazingly the retrograde movement of Venus allows the much slower moving Mars to catch her up, and this happens at 29 degrees Pisces just after Mars has passed over Uranus. A fizzy brew! Therefore the single Libra will be swept off his or her feet at this time by a person who has just been through some revolutionary change. Everything will be turned on its head as both planets square Pluto around the end of April. Venus spends the rest of May and June “catching up” with Mars, and they conjoin once more at 14 degrees Taurus on June 21st. This time you are in control, but as they both move together to square the momentous Jupiter/Neptune/Chiron conjunction, you are likely to be struggling with a raging torrent of feelings prompted by strong desires. Whew!

The year starts with a Mars/Pluto conjunction, so you are feeling empowered, ambitious and strongly motivated to learn and explore in January, not least around the 24th when Mars trines Saturn, which is an excellent time for commitment to a group. As mentioned in the Libra section, Mars goes on to conjoin both Uranus and Venus in April in Scorpio’s solar 5th house. This is an excellent time for love and romance, and a brilliant time for matters connected with children too. But whatever happens, it is likely to be quite a surprise. When Mars and Venus foxtrot together into Aries to square Pluto, there will be upheavals and power play at work. Scorpios will be implacable and fully in control at this time. Just as Mars and Venus enter Aries together, they also enter Taurus within a few days of each other. Relationships are like glue at this time, and lovers cannot leave each other. But the sojourn in Taurus in June and July is a situation when you are very much dependant on partners, and the simultaneous square to the precise Jupiter/Neptune/Chiron conjunction around July 6th is a chaotic time in relationships – and for the family environment too. It will be quite a year for Scorpios, and it gets more interesting in December as Mars goes retrograde at 19.41 Leo, which means that well into 2010 there will be major career breakthroughs in the field of creativity. A very powerful and successful time.

After a difficult but constructive year in 2008, the coming year promises to be a wild ride on the swings and roundabouts of hopes and dreams. On the very last days of 2008 Mercury conjoins Jupiter – which effectively brings partnership issues to the fore, and in a very positive way. With Jupiter entering Aquarius on January 5th, and Mercury making three conjunctions with Jupiter, the last one on February 24th at 11 degrees Aquarius also involving Mars, then partnership bonds will be cemented at this time… and it is good for children too. What an exciting month this will be! It is almost sure to bring travel, or electrifying developments in regard to personal development and education – a brilliant time for expanding networks. In May, June and July, Jupiter – the ruler of Sagittarius – makes its long-lasting conjunction with Neptune, and this brings a period of euphoria as you get swept up in a movement that is like a mass wave of emotion. It will feel like being on a balloon or a spaceship, and the important thing with this kind of travel is knowing how to come down to earth again. Jupiter goes retrograde and catches up with Neptune again just before Christmas, so the whole year will be flavored with lofty ideals connected with creativity, music, film, humanitarian and ecological ventures. This will later be known as the Obama effect.

You already tasted the entry of Pluto in Capricorn for a few months in 2008, but now it is here to stay, and the year starts with a powerful conjunction of Pluto and Mars in your sign, which means you are here to rule. It is a period when your will is supreme and you can realize your ambitions through sheer force of personality. You also experienced the opposition between your ruler Saturn and revolutionary Uranus in November 2008, so you know what it is like to straddle history, using the past as a springboard to launching a new future. These momentous trends continue in 2009, and probably nothing is settled before the last Saturn/Uranus opposition on September 15th. Mid-September is an extremely significant time for you … a time for cementing partnerships in a period of change and for making contracts too. It is the crowing point of a period of apprenticeship and learning connected with bridging two cultures. You have passed the test, and when Saturn enters Libra on October 29th you gain distinction and recognition. This brings a whole new phase in your life connected with status and career, and a whole new set of power games too. Put on your suit of armor!

Though 2008 was a year of respectable achievements, life has not been so kind over the last seven years, and it is about to make things up to you. Firstly Jupiter enters your sign in January bringing a period of optimism and expansion. Think back to the last time this happened in 1997-98. As Jupiter goes on to conjoin Neptune (and the mini-planet Chiron) in from May to July (and later in December) you will discover and use some extraordinary talents. Perhaps this will seem like a dream come true, and the indications are that you will be on Cloud 9 much of the time. Please take your parachute. Don’t let any dream get so big that it pops like bubble gum, leaving a sticky mess. Early July is especially a time when you can find yourself splashing helplessly about, especially in connection with family matters. What keeps you realistic in this period is Saturn in Virgo, which opposes Uranus, meaning that economy continues to be in major transition and needs constant adjustment and organization. But this is the time when you complete a revolutionary cycle of personal development, and when Saturn enters Libra at the end of October, a new period of hope and optimism begins. There is a snake in paradise, but you have the antidote to its poison. The world opens up at your feet, and you start feeling very international.

The two remaining oppositions of Saturn and Uranus focus your attention on relationships in 2009, and it can seem like having to control wild horses pulling in different directions. You have been extremely hard working and responsible in 2008, building up alliances, lifting burdens in friendships and groups and working conscientiously with others generally. Yet there is also a strong desire to be free to do your own thing. When your ruling planet Jupiter moves from Capricorn to Aquarius in January you will want to shed responsibility and work with your dreams and fantasies in a much more creative way. The year ahead is therefore a time when the greatest pleasure comes when you have the time to be on your own to really investigate inner issues – a kind of preparation for 2010 when you are ready to surf on a wave of personal fulfillment. This is a year when you tend to be in a dream world – far less realistic than in 2008 – and your escapist tendencies are stronger the ever. But if you are interested in spiritual development, this is a year when you can merge with something much greater than yourself and have a kind of cosmic baptism.

When reading these sun sign trends, you may find that there are certain events connected with another sign that seem to fit your situation. This is as it should be – your actual horoscope shows all 12 signs which all have some kind of area of influence. It could be said that you resonate with certain planets at certain times, and this could mean that you can learn something from all the signs. Have a happy 2009.

Adrian Duncan 20.11.2008