Hi, I'm Louise. I'm an astrologer and therapist in Exeter in the UK.

Most of my ramblings will probably be about astrology, but I'm also interested in psychology, alternative therapies, hypnotherapy, Focusing, consciousness, meditation, Integral (Ken Wilber), and the work of the Institute of Noetic Sciences.

If you want to see the astro-clock - where all the planets are right now - go to the very bottom of the page. *Note: I'm studying a lot at the moment, so I apologise for any delays in updating the blog. I will be back when I have more time. More regular updates, if shorter, appear on my Facebook page, which you can reach from the tab above. Greetings to everyone who stops by :)

Friday, 20 September 2013

Facing fears. Pluto stations direct, and connects with Saturn.

Pluto stations direct, 20th September 2013.

Pluto (in Capricorn) stations direct today at 4.28pm BST, within 4' of orb of its exact sextile (the third of three) with Saturn in Scorpio. The sextile perfects at about 5am tomorrow morning here in the UK.

This strongly emphasises the 'mutual reception' between the two planets - they are in each others' signs, and so are 'at home' with each other, they cooperate. This could be a tremendously powerful, resourceful and creative combination for getting things done on a material level and for facing and transforming (Pluto) our fears (Saturn).

The Nodal axis and Venus are also in the mix, as Saturn approaches a conjunction with the North Node on the 25th. Melanie Reinhart has given some great practical guidelines for working with the Saturn-Node conjunction on her website.

Today I was asked to face one of my biggest fears - to stand up in front of a huge group of people and speak. In addition to the station, mutual reception and sextile mentioned above, transiting Pluto is currently within a degree of a square to my natal Saturn on my MC as it stations, emphasising this Pluto-Saturn energy for me. Time to face my fears.

Friday, 12 July 2013

More blog posts!!!

So I've been really rubbish for AGES about posting anything on my blog. Having a Facebook page makes me very lazy, and means I can just post snippets every few days. Click the tab at the top of the page to get to my Facebook page if you're interested. 

BUT, I'm deliberately posting this ramble here to make a commitment to start posting longer pieces again more regularly. Having said that, I don't have one right now, but I hope everyone in the UK is enjoying the sunshine and I'm going back to my cup of tea and my copy of The Mountain Astrologer. 

Back soon!!

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Full Moon in Pisces, conjunct Chiron

Full Moon in Pisces, Friday 31st August 2012, 2.58pm BST.

Friday’s full moon, which is at 8⁰33’ Pisces, is closely conjunct Chiron. I have been thinking about Chiron in Pisces as a result, partly because I was born with the placement. It’s a while until I hit Chiron Return since mine is at 28 degrees, conjunct my Midheaven, but in many ways I feel much more conscious of it.

Chiron was last in Pisces in the 1960s, which was also the last time Pluto and Uranus were in a major alignment, as they are now. The placement was emphasised in the 60s because for a time it opposed the Uranus-Pluto conjunction. At the Full Moon on Friday, Chiron is at 7 degrees of Pisces, and Uranus and Pluto are both at 7 degrees – so Chiron has, for some time, been quietly connecting with this latest Uranus-Pluto square. Full Moon emphasises this: the Pisces Moon conjuncts Chiron and both are in a sextile aspect to Pluto in Capricorn and a minor semi-sextile aspect to Uranus in Aries. This may not be by obvious hard aspect but each time a transit touches Uranus and Pluto, it has also been hitting Chiron recently.

Both the current Uranus-Pluto square, which is with us for several more years yet (last exact aspect in 2015), and Chiron in Pisces correlate with increased awareness of the rights of those among us who are downtrodden or disenfranchised: women’s rights, the rights of black people and other oppressed groups. (See Melanie Reinhart’s book “Chiron and the Healing Journey” for examples).  Women’s issues have been in the news - like the discussions of rape, most recently, which also relates to Uranus-Pluto, and stories about women being empowered and winning out against the odds (some of these connected to the Olympics). (I’ve posted some to my Astrological Journaling Facebook page.)

Incidentally, earlier today I watched a new series called Parade’s End (it started last Friday on BBC) which is based in WW1 (when Chiron was in Pisces) and with themes which includes suffrage and what seems likely to be a case of (potentially) unrequited love, which Melanie Reinhart also mentions as connected with Chiron in Pisces. It has Rufus Sewell and Miranda Richardson in it – I recommend it!

Most in my face at the moment, though, is the government’s treatment of the poor, the sick and disabled, and the irony of Atos (check out the articles linked in the comments) sponsoring the Paralympic Games here in the UK: just as ironic as MacDonald’s and Coca-Cola sponsoring the Olympics. (The starting ceremony for the Games are within 2 days of this Full Moon, on the evening of the 29th.)

The placement of Chiron is where we are wounded and vulnerable. Pisces is a sign of great sensitivity and compassion, it is emotionally giving, with a desire for unity, to merge, to be One, and escape separateness, to return to the womb, to transcend. A yearning for spiritual connection perhaps. There can be a desire to rescue, to save, or a desire to BE rescued or saved. The dark face of this can be in succumbing to victimhood, martyrdom, in becoming a scapegoat, becoming lost in alcoholism or drugs, or a great desire for escapism in some form. The fishes of Pisces swim in two directions and this can be complex, slippery territory. Neptune and Pisces have no boundaries. The expanse and depths of the ocean can be overwhelming, and overwhelm can also manifest, requiring periodic withdrawal perhaps. Chiron is Pisces may reflect those who feel the pain of others, even of the collective. With Neptune, the ruler of Pisces, in its own sign currently too, the focus on those who are being downtrodden, victimised or abused and in need of our help and compassion, will be even stronger.

One of my mum’s favourite phrases is ‘make yourself useful’  - she has Venus and Saturn in Virgo, Pisces’ polar opposite. This Full Moon emphasises that polarity: The Sun, of course, moved into Virgo on the 22nd of this month. There is a great deal of emphasis right now on making people ‘useful’ to society and on those who are increasingly, it seems, seen to be a burden, or worse still ‘malingerers’ (scapegoating there) – those who are ‘weak’ or in need in some way (Pisces). Though, of course, themes of fraud, illusion and deception are also connected to Pisces.

It is interesting, in this context, from the Guardian article
Official figures showing fraud at less than 1% don't stick in the mind, but one good cheating anecdote lingers for years. Focus groups now often estimate disability fraud at a preposterous 70%. No surprise that more than half of disabled people say they are experiencing new hostility, aggression and violence from strangers.
Both signs are associated with service but in different ways, with a different focus – Virgo is earth, so practical service, and Pisces is water, so emotional, devotional service. Virgo has a great deal to do with ‘fixing’ things, with earthy practicality, analysis and efficiency, and also with both work and health. It is discerning and discriminating, perfectionist and often critical.

Chiron and Neptune in watery Pisces suggests potentially that compassion can come through in these difficult austere times, to counter the harsh treatment of those who may find it difficult to stand up (often literally) for themselves. Chiron remains in Pisces until 2018 (and Neptune right through until 2025). Perhaps this Pisces Full Moon will focus our attention on how we express these issues in our own lives (because we all do, of course) and how we feel about them.

See also:

Independent: "Mark Steel: They can't be disabled – they can swim"

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Mark Zuckerberg marries just after Facebook flotation

I've just been watching BBC News report about Mark Zuckerberg's unexpected marriage just a day after his company, Facebook, was floated on the New York Stock Exchange. Interesting that the two events have come so close together. He married his long-term girlfriend Priscilla Chan, who is 27. They've been together since University. (See the BBC report  for more...)

Mark Zuckerberg's chart - caution - NO TIME - ignore house cusps - this is a noon chart.

The first thing I noticed (as a fellow Taurus Sun) was that transiting Jupiter has been busy in his chart. Jupiter conjuncted the Sun in the sky at 23° Taurus last weekend. This was slap-bang on Mark's natal Sun, a great birthday present :) Jupiter-Sun suggests an enhancement and expansion (Jupiter) of personal recognition (Sun). Also interesting is the financial aspect, with those planets in Taurus (the sign that rules money and resources) - so expansion here too! 
We don't know the exact degree of his Moon but it's definitely in Scorpio- give or take 7 degrees either side of that 17° Scorpio figure. He was born at a Full Moon - making him more sensitive to his environment. There is a lot of emphasis in the fixed signs for that Jupiter transit to trigger - Venus is also in Taurus - strong in its own sign, and Saturn and Mars in Scorpio. It's also interesting that the strong Venus is also trine to Jupiter in Capricorn - the trine in earth suggesting an innate talent with material things, practically and with money and resources. And of course, Jupiter can indicate good fortune and it expands whatever it touches! Scorpio is also a very canny, and business-minded sign, especially with harmonious and creative aspects to that Jupiter. 
In Mark's chart this fixity itself and the fact that Venus is opposite Saturn suggests commitment and taking relationships seriously. (He'd been with his girlfriend since university - for nine years I think the report says).

He's not quite hit his Saturn return yet but around this time, though we don't know the exact Moon position when he was born, it is likely to be his Secondary Progressed Lunar Return. This itself, with his natal Moon opposite Venus, highlights the relationship and the female energy in his chart. At the time of the marriage the Moon was also in Taurus, further emphasising that fixed axis.

Transits for when he got married, the day after the Stock Exchange floatation.

Interesting that this all happened within 'Eclipse Season', so emotions, positive or negative, are amped up quite a bit as it is at the moment, and that tonight's annular Solar Eclipse at 0° Gemini will be conjunct (thought slightly wide) Chiron in his chart (2° Gemini). Wish we had a time of birth! :)

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Full Moon (SuperMoon) in Scorpio tonight

Today's Full Moon in Scorpio, exact at 4.36am (BST) tonight, is a 'supermoon' - the moon is full at the point when it's at (or very near) it's closest point to the earth in its orbit. It will appear bigger in the sky. This particular supermoon is the one closest to the earth in 2012.
We've had very few clear skies here in the UK recently so not sure if we'll be able to see it.
The term 'supermoon' was coined by Richard Nolle in 1979. 

1.    Richard Nolle's explanation of supermoons on his website
2.    Richard's article on supermoon, on the Mountain Astrologer website.

The Full Moon in Scorpio correlates with a tension between the identification with the peace, tranquillity, material comfort and stability of nature-loving Taurus, (where the Sun is at the moment) and the turbulent passions of the emotional watery Moon opposite, in Scorpio. The Moon is in 'fall' in Scorpio. It's not very happy there, it feels unsafe often. The Moon is much happier in the opposite sign of Taurus! There are issues of trust. It seems often on its guard in Scorpio. Emotions are intense and deeply, passionately felt here. Obviously this does not lend itself to Taurean harmony and tranquillity, but Taurus can provide a container for those passions with the practicality of Earth. Both signs are loyal, but stubborn. They are called Fixed signs for a reason. It's status quo and security (Taurus) versus transformation and intensity (Scorpio). The full moon brings the tension of opposites, the polarities of the signs to attention, into greater awareness.  

It might be a good time (if it feels safe to do so) to find a way to allow whatever is lurking in the depths of the psyche into awareness now. Hidden motives, primal urges, those unconscious patterns and drives that actually have great power over us because we push them away as 'unacceptable' or 'inappropriate', and then they churn away under the surface. Scorpio and Pluto rule the taboo. 
Meditating tonight on making space for these parts of ourselves could be beneficial. I use a technique called Focusing which allows for holding the very different 'parts' of ourselves in acceptance and locating them as a 'felt sense' in the body. Simply acknowledging their presence can create a shift in itself. (Check out the link for more details) This can be very helpful at the heightened tension and awareness of the full moon in whatever signs. 

Do you have any planets at or near 16 of fixed signs? If so, this full moon could be significant for you. Also look at the houses it falls in in your natal chart. 

R.I.P. Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys.

Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys died today

I guess it's a morbid practice of astrologers, to look at the charts of famous people when they die.  For me, there's something about 'I wish I'd paid more attention when he was alive' I guess. I got Adam Yauch's data from Wikipedia, so I'm not sure how reliable that is. There's no time available, so ignore Ascendant and house placements. (He's not on Astrodatabank.) 

Adam Yauch - note, no time.

It does feel a little to me as though a piece of my 'rebellious' youth has suddenly gone. Not that I was hugely rebellious :) It certainly feels wrong that cancer should claim one of these guys though, and at such a young age (47).  According to the news he'd been fighting the disease for the last three years, and it was announced publicly in July 2009. 

Astrologically, the performer stands out in his Leo Sun (square to Neptune - through music) and the Mars/Venus conjunction. His natal Mercury is sandwiched between the generational Pluto-Uranus conjunction of his time. He thought (Mercury) unconventionally, rebelliously, brilliantly, unpredictably, and 'outside the box' (Uranus) and communicated in the same manner. Not to mention the offbeat comedy genius :) This was empowered and intensified by Pluto being in the mix too. Saturn, opposing this conjunction, correlates to the conventional that was being fought against, the status quo, society, authority. This seems appropriate not only as expressed through his punk and rap music, but also as the voice of protest in his work in support of Tibet. He was also a practising Buddhist, which perhaps reflects the Sun-Neptune square too.

Transit-wise, it was his Jupiter return when he died, and those natal planets in Cancer - Venus, Mars and the Moon caught my eye - they've been under pressure from Pluto for a few years now - since the year before he announced his illness publicly. and then from Uranus, as the current Pluto-Uranus square becomes more exact. It's hard to know exactly where his Moon would be, it could be up to 7 degrees either side of that 13 degree Cancer position. Neptune and Chiron have also been crossing his natal Saturn.
I'm also noting that he was born under the Uranus-Pluto conjunction of the 1960s and died under the first major aspect of these two heavy-weight outer planets since then. A 'recurrence transit'. 

So, respect to Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys. They made me smile and jump around. Lots. Thanks for the music... and the comedy. Here's 'Sabotage'....

More photos from BBC News here
BBC Obituary with part of "Fight For Your Right To Party" video :)

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Musings on (my) Progressed Sun... and Focusing.

My Progressed Full Moon, 2 years ago.

My progressed Sun moved into Cancer 2 years ago, and at the same time I had a progressed Full Moon - my progressed Sun at 0° Cancer was opposite my progressed Moon at 0° Capricorn. (12th to 6th houses respectively).

I have my natal Venus at 0° Cancer and was sort of expecting some kind of relationship connection. Often progressed Sun conjunct natal Venus in itself - well, you could expect to get married perhaps, but I'd done that 3 years before! I often do this with Venus transits, expect relationship stuff, but what actually comes is issues of self-value, changes in socialising patterns or something connected to my home (Venus in Cancer rules my 4th house, the home).

Anyway, with this progressed Full Moon connecting to natal Venus in the 12th, what actually happened was that I took up a type of self-help process called Focusing, which is kind of hard to describe (easier to show). I only realised this connection yesterday during our Bernadette Brady seminar on Predictive Astrology. Interesting that this happened at the Full Moon progressed lunar phase as well - when the 'bearing fruit' is occurring. The 6th house progressed Moon does seem to indicate that I have been challenged with health issues (6th) in the process.

I was drawn to Focusing because in my counselling and hypnotherapy training, I could relate best to methods that tuned in to the body (Taurus Sun/ Moon/Mercury) and encouraged right-brain symbols and imagery (all the above opposite Neptune). Perhaps the 'fruit' of the years of therapy training I had previously have distilled into this approach which is the most appropriate for me.

In Focusing the tuning-in is described as a 'felt sense' - you'll close your eyes, connect in to your body. This can be hard for some people at first, who aren't used to 'going inside'. But just ask yourself if you are hungry. Whatever the answer, ask yourself then how you know that - you were using your 'felt sense' to check it out. How is your stomach feeling, does if feel 'hollow' or whatever word you might use... this is all Focusing. It might seem basic, but you can check out different words, stay with those sensations/feelings for a while and allow emotion, thought, memory, story and further sensation to emerge from that. It's a process, it unfolds, it develops. ...Not just your stomach, though, and not from being hungry, that was just an example :) It's about trusting your own process and your body to tell you what you need to know, and also being able to form a relationship with whatever comes up for you rather than being totally identified with that. For example, notice how different "I am sad" is from "I'm sensing something in my stomach that feels sad"... you feel emotion somewhere in your body, don't you? Your gut, your chest perhaps. I feel fear, often, as a prickling around my neck and face, for example. Anyway, I'm rambling on now, and I'm not sure how well I've described it.

What I value about it (Venus) is that it's a process which emphasises self-acceptance, non-judgment, empathy, listening, reflecting and nurturing. All these elements very much relate to water - to the water sign house (12th) and sign (Cancer), as well as my Neptune oppositions to Sun/Moon/Mercury. It's almost a directed meditation in a way. I'm still Focusing. In fact, I've just started the Practitioner Course this year, aiming to incorporate it into therapy work and to teach it to other people, but just as much as a personal development process. Once taught, it can be done by yourself, though it seems to work better with a partner to reflect back. The beauty of Focusing is that it isn't about a therapist/client relationship - it's very much an equal partnership. (I have Mars in Libra, which is disposited by that Venus in Cancer in the 12th) One person Focuses, the other reflects back, for a set time frame, then you'll swap and the other person gets to be the Focuser, with the partner reflecting back. It can't be described in words very well, it's much better experienced, which seems very Neptunian/12th house too :)

My Focusing page on Facebook is here if you want to know more about it. There doesn't seem to be any other page specifically related to Focusing on Facebook that I've found. Focusing has deepened my understanding of astrological symbols as well, since they have often arisen spontaneously in Focusing sessions and I've come to 'experience' them rather than just intellectualise them, which has been incredibly helpful.

What sparked this most for me today was Bernadette Brady yesterday talking about the Progressed Sun and the fact that it will spend an awfully long time where it is now. Mine is only at 2 Cancer now, close to the beginning of the 12th. So what developed when those shifts into sign and house occurred are not just a phase, they are a long term change of emphasis. My progressed Sun will be in Cancer and in the 12th house now for another 28 years. Focusing, for me, seems to be an important expression of that long-term shift.