Month: August 2011

Counseling Couples

In life there is what we think happens, and what actually happens. What actually happens is difficult, if not impossible, to establish objectively. There is a Russian proverb that says, “Never trust an eye witness”, and this theme has often been explored by artists and film directors. The most recent may be Vantage Point (2008), which is a film directed by Peter Travis in which a presidential assassination is recalled by six different witnesses. Their combined stories finally reveal the true story. In Kurosawa’s film Rashomon (1950), four different people recount different versions of the murder of a man and the rape of his wife, but in this case no objectively truthful version is established. In the last analysis “truth” is not absolute, but something arrived at by consensus, and this makes the cultural environment we are brought up in a crucial factor in how we all agree about reality. It is the very nature of the mind that makes it difficult to establish so-called objective truth. Even perception itself via the five senses is altered by various universal human factors. The mind has an inbuilt tendency to generalize experience, jumping to conclusions from a very limited sensory input, in the same way that on a film set, there is no need to present more than the facade of a building to trick the mind into thinking the building exists. When we learn from a very early age to put names to an object, this too removes us one more step from actually experiencing that object. And when we access our memory to relate to a repeated experience, then memory again removes us from direct experience. Read More

Afghanistan – Past & Future

When I arrived in Herat, the most easterly city in Afghanistan, in June 1970, it was, or seemed to be, an idyllic kingdom, ruled by a king called Zahir Shah. Coming from the oppressive desert of Iran, with an equally oppressive regime, it was like entering heaven from hell. Suddenly there was music in the air, colorful horses and carriages ringing with bells, and people selling their wares to young people on the hippy trail… and many people enjoying those wares. Cool, friendly, laid-back, with little trace of extremist religion. Behind the scenes the religious fundamentalists chafed under the reforms the king had instituted under the years, and, as always, in the mountainous areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan, most men bore weapons, which could be bought in the local markets. Afghanistan has a reputation for being able to look after itself, as the British discovered in 1842. At this time they sent out an expeditionary force of 16,000 men from India to pacify Kabul. These men were slaughtered in less than a week, and one man lived to tell the tale.The Soviet Union were also ultimately defeated in the 1980’s by Afghanistan resistance, which had considerable support from the USA in the form of advanced anti-aircraft missiles, conventional arms and dollars. Osama bin Laden was a prominent recipient of this support. A complete withdrawal of Soviet forces took place under Gorbatchev on February 15th 1989, with Mujahideen attacks wreaking havoc on Soviet troops until the last moment. The transition of Afghanistan from a kingdom to a divided state started with the overthrow of the king on July 17th 1973 by his brother in law, Daoud Khan, who established a republic. Read More

The Wild Transition from 2008 to 2010

Planets seem to like to mark their territory, and when that territory covers the cusp of a sign, then border issues are always a major theme. With a flurry of outer planets changing sign over the next couple of years, establishing borders is going to be very difficult indeed. Generally borders are fiercely defended, but just as often they are very fluid, defined at different points of history by the geopolitical forces of the time. An example of the porous nature of a border was at the end of January 2008, when a border barrier established by Israel between Gaza and Egypt was blown up and over ½ million Gaza residents flowed into Egypt to buy goods. Venus and Pluto simultaneously moved from Sagittarius to Capricorn at this time – Venus being the reason why people came back loaded with goods.At the time of the imminent Pluto ingress into Capricorn the main foreign policy issue on the international agenda was the independence of Kosovo, a redrawing of borders. This took place with reluctant support from Europe and more whole-hearted support from the USA, and against intense protest from Serbia and Russia. Independence was established on February 17th 2008. Russia claimed that this set a dangerous precedent for other enclaves, like the breakaway republics of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in Georgia, and events in August 2008 – when a newly assertive Russia occupied Georgia – proved that it was prepared to back its words with action. The retrograde movement of Pluto back into Sagittarius during the latter part of 2008 reminded the world of the dangers inherent in border disputes. Read More


Burma is rather a strange country. The country has strange astrologers too. They had a hand in the founding chart of Burma, choosing a birth time of 4.20 a.m. at which time independence celebrations took place in the bright light of a half-moon. Perhaps these astrologers liked the fact that Jupiter was rising and in good aspect to both the Moon and Venus. They were certainly blissfully unaware of one of the outer planets – Neptune – that constellates strongly with the Sun/Mercury conjunction of the chart. (Traditional Vedic astrology does not use Uranus, Neptune and Pluto). Thus it would seem that they did not foresee the state of virtual imprisonment that the government would inflict on a peace-loving population. Read More

Astrology – Research & Practice

In 1977 – the same year as the discovery of Chiron – the book Recent Advances in Natal Astrology was released, authored by Geoffrey Dean and Arthur Mather. Dean was a practicing astrologer who began to use statistical methods to examine traditional claims in astrology, and to discover correlations between astrology and behavior. Recent Advances is filled with one study after another, examining a variety of claims made by astrologers and astrology. These studies basically showed that there was no correlation between astrology and reality. (Note 1) Read More