Category: Adrian’s Articles 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.

Trends of 2010 – Part 2

Last month we looked at how the major planetary cycles will affect the first six signs of the zodiac using solar house astrology. These signs will be affected indirectly by the movement of the outer planets, but for the signs from Libra to Pisces, there will be greater personal change. Saturn moving in to Libra and constellating in a square aspect to Pluto will profoundly affect Saturn-ruled Capricorn and Aquarius, whilst Jupiter moving into Pisces, and further into Aries in conjunction with Uranus, is bound to make 2010 an exciting and unpredictable year for Pisces and Sagittarius.With the Saturn/Pluto square already having taken place on 15th November 2009, the signs are already there. The release of the disaster movie 2012 was for example one interesting sign. The control that Saturn always tries to exert becomes more obsessive when Pluto is involved, and this can lead to institutional oppression and its consequences. Fortunately an exalted Saturn in Libra stands up for justice and rights and actually disposes of Pluto in Saturn-ruled Capricorn. Drastic measures need to be taken, but they are less likely to be extreme. At the exact square world leaders announced in Singapore that the climate conference in Copenhagen would not take any binding decisions… they would have to come at a later stage. Greenpeace reacted with a banner saying “Your survival, your choice” – quite a polite protest, really. Legislation on climate change is very much related to the Saturn/Pluto square, and the anxiety it evokes, and will almost certainly be enacted whilst the aspect lasts.

For the individual affected by Saturn and Pluto, survival issues will be paramount and there will be a lot of anxiety to deal with. But the challenge of Saturn is to overcome anxiety through determination and perseverance, and through powerful alliances. Survival must not bring out dishonorable behavior, but neither must it evoke weakness. Long-term faith in ones abilities in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles is the way forward. After all, the Saturn/Pluto square is over in September 2010, and then it has a good run without problematic aspects. With retrograde Mars sextiling Saturn in February and March 2010, the indications are the Saturn is fully equipped to achieve its agenda.

If 2010 is going to be a year of transformation and empowerment for Capricorns and Aquarians, it is going to be quite a wild ride of Sagittarians and Pisceans. The year starts with Jupiter moving into Pisces, where it is dignified, but it races in into Aries, where it will be – together with Uranus – until September, and the last conjunctions of Jupiter with Uranus take place in Pisces, showing the combination of burning idealism and compassionate change. Early extremism will probably be dampened in the latter part of the year.

Looking at the last six signs of the zodiac, it is possible to get quite a good idea of general trends, just by studying the slow moving planets, and the retrograde cycles of both Venus and Mars:

Libra

The sign of Libra is sure to have an amazing year, and with Saturn in this sign until October 2012, there is a long period for you to build new life structures which will affect the important relationships in your life. You will already be feeling the influence of the Saturn/Pluto square on your family life, and this involves digging deep into sensitive areas that need transformation. It is important to grasp the nettle and eradicate bad family habits, or work on some sort of home rebuilding project, or to set limits in relation to authoritarian family figures. When Jupiter and Uranus move into your 7th house of relationships in June, an incredibly outgoing period begins. For the unattached Libra this will bring travel to exotic destinations, sudden meetings with exciting fringe groups or involvement with international organizations. For those in relationships it will be necessary to give partners more space, or to do some exciting – or even wild – things together. Partners may be gripped by a kind of craziness which goes against all the rules… and your better judgment. With your sign ruler Venus conjoining Mars in your sign in August, this is a time when there are positive relationship developments, but as Venus goes retrograde in Scorpio and Mars then catches up with Venus in October, it will be you who is compromised and partners who make the decisions. You will need to tread carefully – not least financially – in the last four months of the year.

Scorpio

The main issue for Scorpio from October 2009 to June 2010 is the retrograde and direct movement of Mars through Leo, which suggests that you will be able to express your creativity in your career, and gain recognition and prominence. Up until March 10th however, it may seem as if you are making very little progress and you may also have taken a few wrong turns or decisions that you have to change once more. Fortunately the influence of Saturn at this time means that you are helped considerably by people of integrity. There are a lot of developments in your working life this year, and the summer period is a time of radical change… a good time to seek some freedom from the power battles that are going on amongst colleagues, or even to change job. The most positive time of the year is when Mars is in your sign from September to the end of October. With Venus also in your sign this is an excellent time for love and sex, and you will be very much the one who decides how things shall be. The Mars/Jupiter trine in late October is a truly wonderful time for children, love and creative projects generally. December 2010 is the decisive period for you, and at the Mars/Pluto and Mars/Saturn square in the latter half of the month, you will be involved in a tough fight to get your views across.

Sagittarius

Your sign ruler Jupiter moves into Pisces on January 18th when it immediately connects with Pluto in Capricorn, suggesting that this is an empowering time for you, when you eliminate unrealistic dreams on the one hand, and implement practical changes – especially in home and family matters – on the other. Economic reform is much on your mind, and there are ways of cutting back on expenses and making sensible investments in January. When Jupiter joins Uranus in Aries in June, the fun really starts. This is an incredibly exhilarating period for you, when you are willing to take some amazing risks and gamble on getting things right. It is all about spontaneous action, but there are serious questions about your judgment and you really need to avoid getting into financial troubles. Travel will probably on the cards, and the urge to express freedom and do exactly what you want is irresistible. However, with Jupiter returning to Pisces, together with Uranus, from September onwards, the focus is back on the home, where deep and satisfying changes take place in the autumn period. For some the year is about developments with children, and for others visionary ideals will be implemented in connection with the home and environment.

Capricorn

With Pluto in Capricorn until 2024, you have some interesting years ahead, but 2010 is all about the Saturn square to Pluto, which you already have had a taste of in November 2009. Clearly this is about dealing with power and the professional challenges that occur at an executive level. You will encounter people who are willing to use power without much concern for how it affects others, and you in turn will develop the will and character to overcome whatever is thrown in your way in the process. You may choose to stay in a particular professional position despite the pressure, or you may drop a particular career direction completely. Everything hots up when Jupiter and Uranus conjoin in Aries and shake up your domestic and family life from June to the end of August, and this is surely a good time to get away from it all. Far away. But if you remain in the firing line, this can also be a time when you make a break for it and pursue a new and original direction which promises space and freedom. It does seem that you are torn in several directions at once at this time. As you get familiar with the power games of the time, you gain strength and resilience. You manifest this incredibly strongly in December 2010, when Mars conjoins Pluto to give you superhuman powers. You’ll need to be tough, but be gentle with loved ones.

Aquarius

With Mars in your solar 7th house of partnerships until June 2010, and favorably aspecting Saturn, this is a great period for getting into the harness together with your partner to achieve a specific professional goal. There is much to achieve, especially in connection with getting your message out to others. The Saturn/Pluto square which repeats itself in February and August evokes a lot of anxiety about survival and existence itself, and you learn that everything starts with thought, and that through thought you can gain sovereignty over your fate. You fight a battle for what is right, and you fight from a position of strength. Uranus, which is also associated with Aquarius, changes sign on May 28th 2010, ushering a period of dramatic change for you when you are energized, brave and unstoppable. The choices you make in the summer period will give a strong indication of where the next seven years will lead you. Communication is the field in which you will excel and you will reach a lot of people with your message. Some international commuting seems to be in the picture too. Saturn retrogrades back into Virgo from early April 2010 to mid-July, and this period will give you the chance to deal with the economic issues that worried you in 2009 and enable you to find practical solutions, especially in matters connected with tax, banking and other people’s money generally. From July 22nd and onwards, you forge ahead with your lofty vision for the future, which brings breathlessly exciting changes.

Pisces

With sign ruler Jupiter coming into Pisces on January 18th, you get off to the best imaginable start to a year that will prove to be extremely exciting, not least in the way you choose to define your talents and generate your income. January and February is the time when you clear out the cobwebs in your life, throw out those unrealistic dreams that never got you anywhere, and concentrate single-mindedly on what is really important to believe in and go for. There is no doubt that there is a certain amount of survival anxiety, and other people may hold the money strings, but it is all for the best and you work very hard to build up your credit. The conjunction of Jupiter and Uranus in Aries on June 8th 2010 – which repeats, but this time in Pisces, on September 19th – is a rare occurrence that last took place in 1997, but this is the first and only time in your lifetime that it will happen in your sign. This is therefore the time to grab the opportunity of a lifetime and go for what really inspires you in life. For what you really dream of. This is where your future income can come from, and this is where your unique talents lie. July and August will be a very intense process for you and you tend to embrace an extreme ideology at this time, which risks alienating some important people. It is the soft values that you are so good at expressing, and the last part of 2010 will be a time when you express these values through a universal, humanitarian vision.

It should be said that astrologers have been looking at the year 2010 in awe for many years. It is so rare to see the outer planets changing sign simultaneously and forming a powerful T-square on the cardinal points – Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn. This heralds dynamic change. The time for action is upon us, and there will be little debate and discussion. Those people, who grab the torch and run with it, making a leap into the unknown, will be those people that end up with success. Hesitation is not an option. Anxiety may be a driving force, but it will bring out the best human qualities – chivalry, honor, courage, perseverance… and dramatic progress.

Adrian Ross Duncan 17th November 2009

Trends for 2010 – Part 1

As we head in to 2010, a series of extremely dynamic planetary constellations start shaping up, setting the scene for five or six years of dramatic change for the world. These patterns are reminiscent of the 1930’s when the world was struggling with economic depression on the one hand and political extremism on the others. The years of ideological battle, religious extremism and uncertainty connected with Uranus, Saturn and Pluto in mutable signs will soon be definitively over, and a new philosophy of decision-making and action will become dominant.
Major world capitals will undoubtedly go through important power battles and transformation processes in the coming years, as on every New Year’s Day the sun will be conjoining Pluto and square Uranus, especially between 2012 and 2016. In 2010 the Sun will constellate with Uranus, Saturn, Jupiter and Pluto at every major ingress – the spring and autumn equinox, and the summer and winter solstices, which form the Cardinal Cross of the horoscope.

The first major long-term planetary cycle to consider is the Saturn/Pluto square, which is part of a 36 year cycle that started with the conjunction in 1982 – 1983. Saturn enters Libra, where it is exalted, on October 28th 2009, and already makes its first square with Pluto on November 15th at 1.41 Libra/Capricorn. Subsequent squares take place on 31st January 2010 at 4.19 degrees and August 21st at 2.56 degrees. This square signifies colossal battles in trying to impose principles of justice and fairness. We can certainly expect the pressure to pile up on Iran and North Korea at this time, and this will probably result in a successful limitation of both countries nuclear ambitions.

It is worth remembering that the 1991 horoscope for Russia has the sun at 3.26 Capricorn. If there is anyone who thinks that the balance of power between Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev will remain in harmonious, they will be proved wrong. (Note 1) With Putin thinking about becoming re-elected as president in 2012, there will almost certainly be an enormous power struggle taking place beneath the surface… and only one of them will survive it. Medvedev is said to be mild-mannered, but with a Sun conjoining the Uranus/Pluto conjunction in Virgo, and Mars in Scorpio, he is definitely a force to be reckoned with. And with his progressed Mars in a protracted square to Uranus and Pluto in these years, he is probably involved in a long battle for survival.

The other fascinating planetary cycle culminating in 2010 is the Jupiter/Uranus conjunction, which first takes place in Aries, when Jupiter and Uranus simultaneously enter that sign in May/June 2010. Jupiter just reaches Pluto where it dwells in a tight square aspect in July and August, bringing a high degree of brinkmanship and ideological extremism. We can expect some dangerous threats at this time, and an enormous indignation about the abuse of government power. This presages a period of world revolution that takes place between 2012 and 2016.

Jupiter returns to peaceable Pisces to make its last two conjunctions with Uranus in Pisces in September 2010 and January 2011, which I am sure will be excellent for idealistic climate initiatives, and innovative technologies that help the planet.

The Jupiter/Uranus conjunction in Aries however makes the period from the end of May to the middle of August extremely explosive. Considering that the (Sibley) horoscope for USA has its IC at 1.04 Aries, this can be uncertain times, perhaps dangerous times, for the White House. There is very likely to be domestic unrest in the USA at this time, and the rise of right-wing extremism in the form of militias will become a growing threat to the system.

But how will these dramatic planetary cycles affect the individual horoscope? To get a general picture, it works to make a solar horoscope for each sign, and then see which solar houses the outer planets find themselves in. Clearly this will be a major time of change for Saturn-ruled Capricorn and Aquarius… more so for Aquarius as co-ruler Uranus also changes sign. With Saturn exalted in Libra the trends will be positive, but power battles are inevitable because of the square to Pluto.

Jupiter-ruled Sagittarius and Pisces can also expect major changes, and with Jupiter most of the year dignified in its own sign, this will also be a positive year, but with unpredictable events in the summer as Jupiter enters Aries and conjoins Uranus.

This will also be an interesting year for Mars-ruled Aries and Scorpio, for Mars will be in Leo until June, completely untouched by aspects to the outer planets, which sounds like a lot of fun. For Venus-ruled Taurus and Libra, the most challenging period will be the retrograde cycle when Venus is in detriment in Scorpio from September to December.

This month’s article will deal with developments for the first six signs of the zodiac in 2010, and the following article next month will deal with the last six signs:

Aries

The main issue for Aries in 2010 is the placement of Saturn on the solar Descendant up until April and then again from July onwards. This shows a series of challenges in relationships that require hard work and commitment, but the likelihood is that the demands of other people are reasonable, and because Mars in Leo repeatedly sextiles Saturn in early 2010, the wise Aries knows how to live up to responsibilities. In fact this position of Mars is excellent both for love and children… also in the long term. With Pluto positioned on the Aries Midheaven, where is has been for a year or more, the effect of the Saturn square will be to evoke major professional power struggles. Autocratic leaders can try and impose their will on you, and this can lead to important restructuring at work. And with Jupiter and Uranus affecting the Ascendant from June to August, there are also likely to be radical changes in life generally. This could show a long and exotic summer holiday, but the summer break can very well result in radical career change or a move, which may take effect immediately, or may manifest at the end of the year when Mars conjoins Pluto just before Christmas.

Taurus

For Taurus, 2010 promises to be somewhat more stable than for the rest of the zodiac. With Jupiter and Neptune in Pisces for most of the year, the emphasis will be on friendships and group allegiances, which can be very idealistic and very favorable too. With sign ruler Venus conjoining these two planets in February, this should be an excellent month for your social life, especially if you consider joining environmental groups or creative organizations. The long transit of Mars through your 4th house until June shows dynamic developments at home, with the emphasis on live-in partners who know how to live life, and on children. The Saturn/Pluto square may only affect you indirectly, mostly from restructuring in the work environment, perhaps due to draconian job cuts. With Venus conjoining Mars in Libra in August, love will happily be on your terms, but the last four months of the year are more challenging, and at this time the focus in on power structures in relationships. You will have to tread very carefully. As Venus is in Scorpio at this time, you will probably not feel secure enough emotionally, and you may obsess about not having enough control in your love life. As Venus slows and makes a long conjunction with Mars in Scorpio in September and October, relationships will be passionate and you will be dependant on the will of your partner. If you don’t mind a bit of domination, this can be quite rewarding.

Gemini

For Geminis, 2010 starts with intense mental pressure that culminated over the preceding Christmas period. With Pluto in your solar 8th house in this period of your life, you are moved to uncover your inner demons and work on psychological complexes that are normally buried. The Saturn/Pluto square brings power battles on an inner level, perhaps evoking anxiety about relationship security and your erotic life. This square aspect may also affect children, with whom there can be intense battles of will. When Jupiter and Uranus come into Aries in the summer period, there can be dramatic developments in your relationships, but because so many exciting events happen socially at this time, you can probably seek refuge with friends and exciting groups. This is an excellent time for personal development. This is also good year for career expansion, particularly if you can work on something idealistic, either socially on an ecological front, or creatively via art, film or music. There is a growing sense that you are not getting job satisfaction with what you are currently doing. The end of 2010 is eerily similar to the beginning, with deep self analysis which hopefully will make your relationships more meaningful and deep.

Cancer

As a Cardinal sign you will be profoundly affected by the placement of Pluto, Saturn, Jupiter and Uranus in cardinal signs in 2010. Furthermore, the lunar eclipse falls on 4 degrees Cancer/Capricorn – exactly on Pluto – on June 28th, which suggests that there will be significant developments for partners and in relationships generally, probably in the form of a transformation of power balance. With Saturn affecting your 4th house of home and family, you can expect a favorable consolidation of your domestic situation, but because of the aforementioned relationship developments, there can be considerable upheaval or a specific family crisis, which recedes towards the end of the year. The Pluto/Saturn square can also indicate implacable enemies, and you will need to mobilize total family solidarity to handle them. The Uranus/Jupiter conjunction in Aries brings a foretaste of amazing career changes from May to August, and this is the time to go for independence and innovation, especially in terms of technological advance and radical international initiatives. The end of July and beginning of August is likely to bring you and your family to an exotic location. This is also a time when there can be a sudden move because of career developments, which will become even more exciting in 2011.

Leo

With saucy Mars in Leo until June, 2010 will prove to be a very stimulating year for you, and there is a good chance you will be spared the upheavals that affect many of the other signs. The first part of the year is excellent for creativity and for love, and you do your best to live life to the full. The solar eclipse in February in Capricorn emphasizes the many upheavals that take place in your working environment this year, and it is likely that some colleagues will disappear as major restructuring takes place. It is unlikely you will be in agreement with the general autocratic line at work, which may incline you to change your work environment after the summer. This is an excellent year for studies and travels, and the summer will almost certainly bring a journey to a distant and exotic destination especially in late July and early August. If your education is important to you, there can be a radical change of direction at this time, perhaps because you cannot bear to be limited by the system. This is also an interesting time for partnership, and exotic possibilities may arise – especially when you are on your travels.

Virgo

The Saturn transit through Virgo ended in late October 2009, and this, along with the opposition to Uranus probably brought a lot of challenges and changes in personal relationships. With Saturn now in Libra, the focus is more on averting financial crisis through taking new initiatives. Love involvements at this time tend to be very erotic and intense, bringing considerable psychological insight, especially in the summer, when you can be involved with someone who is untraditional but also rather unreliable. Saturn actually returns to Virgo from April to July, and this may be a time when you have to put the final touches to lifestyle and relationship changes that began a few years back. As Virgo is an Earth sign and Mercury ruled, and the three retrograde cycles of Mercury take place in Earth signs, this will be a very constructive year for you, when you consolidate your footing and are ready to make the most out of the future. As Mercury conjoins Pluto at the very beginning and the very end of the year, it will nevertheless be a very intense period, especially in connection with children, or, if you like to live on the edge, love affairs. Having said that, with Jupiter in your opposing sign Pisces most of the year, this is an excellent time for a harmonious relationship with a kind, creative and generous person.

Adrian Ross Duncan 20.10.2009

Note 1: Putin is born on 7th October 1952 at 9.30 in St. Petersburg and Medvedev is born 14th September 1965 in St. Petersburg.

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

Belief Systems & their Consequences

Back in the 1980’s I had a formative experience as an astrologer, which arose from the visit of a rather difficult client. She had Pisces rising and her grasp of reality and especially relationships was very tenuous – or so it seemed to me. She was convinced that she was being constantly followed by men. I was convinced that this was a product of her imagination and tried to explain the projection mechanisms of her chart ruler Neptune, which was exactly in conjunction with her Descendant.
After a rather unsuccessful consultation she left, and I too prepared to leave the office at the end of the working day. Acutely conscious that I must not appear to be following her, I left ample time for her to depart to the bus stop. After five to ten minutes I left the office, only to find her still on the stairs consulting a bus timetable. I smiled weakly and closed the door again, but this time watched from the window – yes my behavior was already being modified – until I saw her set off. After a suitable period elapsed I walked into town by a circuitous route to avoid running into her. On arriving at the town square and passing the central bus stop, a bus pulled in, the door swung opened, and out she stepped. She took one look at me and marched off in the opposite direction.

She had been right all along. Men were obviously following her all the time.

What was interesting about this episode was that her version of reality had been confirmed, and my behavior had changed to conform to it. And it occurred to me that this is in fact what happens with all belief systems. The simple truth is that we create our own reality and the world aligns itself to our beliefs.

The reader has perhaps noticed that whenever you discuss with someone who has strong beliefs, it is amazing how one’s own arguments are brushed aside or even high jacked to prove the other person’s case. Lawyers – professionals who know in the core of their being that truth is just a matter of presentation – have perfected this art. Truth is a matter of what you can get others to subscribe to.

Beliefs are an essential element of personal identity, and are only likely to be changed or abandoned as a result of a life crisis. Astrologers are particularly attached to their belief, which is that the smallest thing in the universe is subject to the same process as the largest, and that an observation of planetary movement correlates with human behavior and historical development. Curiously however, even though there is ample evidence that astrology works for the actual practitioner, it has been impossible to convincingly prove this correlation through scientific or statistical methods. (Note 1) Nurses do not have a predominance of planetary placements in Virgo. Warriors to not have a predominance of planetary placements in Aries – to mention one area of misconception.

One difficulty in proving astrology is that a person already needs to be proficient in the subject to understand its workings. And skeptics can rarely be bothered. It is a bit like Einstein claiming that energy and matter are interrelated and interconnected. The average person just would not understand the mathematics involved. And so it is with all subjects – you have to be totally absorbed by them to enjoy their workings.

The most effective belief systems are the ones which have the greatest number of believers. What is crucial for a belief system is that its consequences are beneficial. Romans believed in the planetary gods and Mars in particular, and entertained their people in huge arenas which featured the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people and animals. When the Christian values of love and compassion suppressed Martian bloodlust, then humanity was better off – though the Roman Empire was not. Christian beliefs were very polarizing however, and the watertight division between good and evil did not leave much room for maneuver. However, astrology was both tolerated and embraced by the church, the establishment and a number of popes up to the time of the Reformation, and formed the backbone of most studies.

It was with the Reformation and the Newtonian revolution, which brought a new age of rationalism and scientific materialism, that astrology failed to measure up to standards of proof and fell into disrepute. This new scientific era brought objectivity and a powerful separation between mind and matter, spirit and body, and subject and object. This in turn brought a language of cause and effect, action and reaction. With the subjection of matter to the mind, the material world was tamed and exploited. This belief system brought material plenty but impoverished the world’s resources.

With the discovery of the theory of relativity and quantum physics, the scientific materialism of the past has been replaced with a new awareness of interrelationship. It has been conclusively proved that the scientific observer actually influences the results of an experiment at a subatomic level. It is impossible to objectively establish whether the scientist is dealing with particles (matter) or waves (energy) at this level. The consequences of this quantum belief system is to bring an awareness of unity in duality. The observer and the observed are interconnected. Matter and energy are one. Body and mind are unified. This is a fertile field for astrology too, because transformation and change take place when the astrologer and client are joined in a unified field of consciousness – something which is impossible to establish objectively.

Astrologically belief systems are very clearly shown by Mercury and by Jupiter. Mercury and its aspects shows what the mind is attracted to, how information is absorbed and processed, what is filtered in, and what is filtered out. It is instructive to look at the horoscope for Galileo, whose own genius and beliefs resulted in his imprisonment and near death.

Galileo 25.02.1564 NS 15.31 LMT Pisa. AS 11.51 LE. Source: AstroDataBank

Galileo has his Mercury in close conjunction with Pluto in Pisces in the 8th house – which certainly shows a person who nearly suffered martyrdom for his beliefs. He was forced to recant his beliefs under charges of heresy. The Jupiter/Saturn conjunction in the 12th almost certainly represents the Catholic Church whose main job throughout history has been to enforce orthodoxy. By maintaining a body of belief which has been unchanged through the centuries, the church sought to control schism and it has to be said that it has largely succeeded. By ensuring continuity of belief, the church has kept its flock unified, and therefore it has been, and still is, a major world power. Someone like Galileo, who was mad enough to claim that the Earth revolved around the Sun, had to be stopped. In fact his writings were banned until 1822. Of course the church was not exactly wrong. The Earth only revolves around the Sun relatively speaking… they have later both been discovered to revolve around the Galactic Center.

Not to speak badly of Galileo, but he was probably a bit cranky. His Mercury conjoins the Sun, which, apart from the conjunction with Pluto is closely square Uranus in Sagittarius on the one side and Neptune in Gemini on the other. My guess is that he made quite an issue of his discoveries and was not exactly diplomatic in relation to the church. This T-square shows that it was his mission to usher in a new world order.

Quite another set of thoughts and beliefs was embraced by the serial killer Ted Bundy, who had Mercury conjoining Venus in Scorpio – both of them retrograde.

Ted Bundy: 24.11.1946 22.35 EST Burlington, VT AS 25.03 LE. Source: AstroDataBank

Obviously his thoughts centered on women and sexuality. He graduated in psychology, but was possessed by his own demons. Here Jupiter plays a decisive role. Also in Scorpio it is exactly square Pluto, the signature for fanatical beliefs. Bundy was good at disguises and often used the ploy of having his arm in a plaster cast and asking for help from unsuspecting young women, who were then knocked down inside his vehicle. He was born a day after a solar eclipse that conjoined Mars, which may explain the violent nature of his life and fate.

Whilst Mercury shows the activity of the mind, Jupiter indicates what a person chooses to believe in, and how these beliefs are expressed. If you were a crime profiler, there would have been little difficulty in identifying the murderous nature of Ted Bundy’s beliefs. When Mercury and Jupiter are in aspect to each other, then it shows considerable hunger for knowledge and often a high degree of intelligence. If these planets are in fixed signs, then it shows unshakeable beliefs. The negative side of Jupiter is the conviction that other people are wrong, or that injustices are being done, so often these individuals are involved in a crusade for justice.

In Ted Bundy’s case, the Mercury/Venus conjunction with Jupiter in square to Pluto brought obsessive beliefs about women and necrophilia. His mother had been rather religious, and when she got pregnant with an unknown sailor she was sent away to a home for unwed mothers and the shame of the illegitimate birth was never spoken of in the family. He was left at the nursing home while is family considered whether or not to keep him, and after a few months his violent grandfather decided to take him in. There was little material for a loving relation to women there.

In the last analysis beliefs are either beneficial and empowering, or undermining and damaging. A recent client, who had Sun opposing Jupiter and square Pluto was convinced that Muslim immigrants were plotting against the country, and that they should all be expelled. Extreme and paranoid beliefs are typical of Jupiter/Pluto combinations. His family members no longer wished to see him, because he would go on and on about the dangers Muslims posed. This was a dis-empowering belief, not least because a twentieth of the population is Muslim. (Even more proof that they should be sent back to where they come form before it is too late, argued my client).

The important thing to know about beliefs is that they say little about reality, but they say an awful lot about the person who embraces them. Generally we associate with people who share our beliefs, and this reinforces a sense that we have a grasp on the truth. But the truth is relative to our cultural inheritance and personal psychology. Reality can only be grasped through the unity of subject and object, and if that can be achieved, there is nothing to grasp and no one to do the grasping. New universal belief systems are taking over – your carbon footprint, global warming, the ozone layer – and the consequences of these belief systems will be a healthier world. And in the realm of ideas, holistic belief systems like astrology will have friendly consequences for the collective psyche by bringing in a new non-judgmental and inclusive life philosophy.

Adrian Ross Duncan 10th August 2009

1. There are some proven statistical effects, though rather weak, most notably the “Mars Effect” and certain house placements for high achievements. (Established by Francois Gauquelin)

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.

Metaphors
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”.