3 Dec 2021

Friendship, Fun and Folly in the Fifth House

The astrological houses sometimes cause a bit of confusion for non-astrologers, because people don't know what the houses are, but if you substitute the words "area of life experience" for "house" that will give you a better understanding of what they mean in a real life context.

To find out which areas of life experience each house represents take a look at my my co-authored book The Cosmic Egg Timer and my YouTube channel where I describe what each house  - including the fifth house  - represents.

The fifth house is one which most people can readily understand as it's concerned with relationships, the friendships we make and the experiences and real life lessons - both good and bad -  that we gain from them.

 Quoting from The Cosmic Egg Timer, I say that

The 5th house is, in a sense, a place of self-discovery. This is an area where we venture forth from the collective to explore ourselves in contact with the world and participate in the Games People Play. It is an extrovert place where we are likely to be full of self-belief, flamboyance and even bravado as we go out on our journey of conquest. We like to be involved with people, have a good time, and our conquests may well involve the opposite sex; these may produce the other aspect of this house – creativity, whether this be babies or works of art.

The downside in this area of life is that when our conquests don’t produce the results we need to make us feel special, we feel rejected and insecure. We may attempt to possess somebody and hold him/ her as a personal prize in order to prove how good we are. 

Musing on this, alongside my own life experiences in this house/area of life, I consider myself lucky to have true friends, people I trust. I've known some of them for years. But there have been others along the way who initially presented themselves as friends, but turned out not to be so, and were not to be trusted. In this way, the fifth house can be a learning ground, filled with real life experiences which are not always pleasant, but which offer important lessons for self understanding and personal growth.

Friendship and fun with a true friend is something to treasure and cultivate. Friends can laugh together, do things together, trust each other and share confidences. A friend will support you, stay in touch, be there if you're going through a difficult time, remember your birthday, be kind to you, be honest with you, and not talk behind your back. And you can reciprocate by doing the same for them. It's a two-way traffic and you're equal partners.

Folly creeps in when someone purporting to be a friend proves to be anything but. You might blame yourself for being taken in by this person, for being taken for a fool, especially when you realise that this is a toxic relationship and you're being used, manipulated and controlled. You've been drawn into playing one of the many games people play in the arena of relationships. This is especially so where powerful emotions are involved, and your so-called friend -  or maybe it's your ex - proves unworthy of your trust and reveals their true colours.

Of course, the boot could also be on the other foot and you may realise that you could be the one attempting to possess or control somebody and hold him or her as a personal prize in order to gain power over them or prove something to yourself.

By waking up and being consciously aware of our own motivation and behaviour with the friends we relate to in this area of life we can, thankfully, begin to bypass the downside of these games - such as control and manipulation - and create lasting and worthwhile connections which are true, open, honest and beneficial to all concerned.

In fifth house friendships, as in all areas of life, there's always a choice between  the darker alleyways and the path of light.


16 Nov 2021

Decisions and choices

My book The Living Birth Chart is a practical workbook which includes theory, chart examples and practical exercises for the reader/seeker to dabble in and enjoy the revelations they provide. It's a book to dive into and use if you want to bring your natal chart to life and apply what you discover to your everyday life. It's also about becoming more self aware and being responsible for yourself and the actions and decisions you make.

Now, I happen to think that achieving and maintaining autonomy and taking responsibility for ourselves is not easy. It’s something which we can always improve upon, wherever we are along this particular path, and sometimes we need to have a refresher and brush up on our skills in this department of everyday life.

Some time ago I heard a radio interview with one of the authors of a book called “Mistakes were made (but not by me)” * about why we justify foolish beliefs, bad decisions and hurtful acts - declining, wherever possible, to take responsibility for something which we’ve chosen to  do. 

Whether or not our choice was wise, foolish or misguided is not the point; the issue is our reluctance to take responsibility for the choice we made and the part we played.

As far as The Living Birth Chart is concerned, it’s always been my experience that the very best way to learn and understand astrology from a deep level is to make it come alive in ways that we can relate to on an everyday basis. It’s possible to learn astrology in an intellectual way, using our Mercury function of gathering and accumulating facts and information. But when we engage with Jupiter and use our eyes and our senses, and relate what we’re seeing, hearing, touching, perceiving to real life experiences, that’s when astrology truly comes alive and is for real.

When astrology becomes an integral part of your life on a day to day basis it begins to live - and you do too -  with a sharpened focus as you become more consciously aware, which means in turn that you begin to live in a more responsible way.

The point I’m moving towards here relates to the importance and significance of being autonomous and taking responsibility for ourselves and our actions, together with the capacity to recognise and honestly acknowledge when we’ve got something wrong. The converse is equally true, because if we’re really autonomous and self-aware we can quietly acknowledge when we’ve got something right without needing to crow or gloat about it.

One of the key features of astrological psychology as a tool for personal growth is that it places taking responsibility for ourselves, our lives and what goes on within them into our hands, and our hands alone, so it becomes more difficult to blame anyone else if things go wrong.

Using the birth chart as a tool in this way, we find it offers us choices. Once we’re aware that we can exercise choice in our everyday lives, things are unlikely to be the same again because we’ll be responsible for the direction our life takes, and no-one else!

An important way of working towards this greater wholeness can be achieved by developing and using the Sun, which can be likened to the conductor of our orchestra of planets and psychologival drives -  or as I sometimes like to think of it -  the leader of our jazz band!

However you wish to see the role of the Sun, it’s a very significant planet which is involved in the development of our sense of self, our autonomy, our ability to take responsibility - and as well to accept that yes, we do sometimes make mistakes!

The Sun is a Cardinal planet expressing Cardinal energy. It embodies the drive to assert and create, and it is important that this part of us is developed and strengthened so that it can be expressed clearly and without fear. It shouldn’t be hidden away like a bright torch under a damp blanket, but allowed to shine and be seen.

Sun and the Mind

We gain a sense of self of the mind through the Sun, which, in the chart, represents our autonomous self - awareness. With its Cardinal quality, the Sun is our drive to be assertive, go-ahead and initiatory.

The Sun is the sense of self we gain through our ability to make decisions and use the mind. It’s our capacity to choose, our capacity to make conscious choices and ultimately take responsibility for ourselves.

Whichever role you cast it in, it represents how we direct and use our will based on the decisions we make. It leads the way, and the rest of the planets, our psychological drives, follow. The Sun signifies our strength and power and this is involved when we discriminate and judge, when we think, form ideas and tap into our innate creativity. 

 

 

The Sun, the sense of self and the will   

Closely linked with the Sun is the use of the will. We can draw on

 · our strong will which gives us determination and the capacity to keep going

 · our skilful will which endows us with sound common sense and the ability to be flexible and adaptive as we work towards our goals, and

 · and our good will which enables us to include others and to work selflessly for their benefit as well as our own.

The use of the will helps us to be goal-oriented and better able to go after what we want to achieve.

When we’re seeking to achieve the goals we set ourselves, it’s useful to remember that energy follows thought. Using the Sun/mind, we form our ideas and go on to make these real, to make them manifest. Doing so, we can be truly creative.

Our capacity to use our will, to be aware that energy follows thought and to find practical grounding in our everyday lives for our ideas and creativity can be developed and should be encouraged. It can help us strengthen the Sun and gain a greater, more centred self-confidence. We can aim to be devoid of ego needs or the urge to prove that we are “the greatest”. 

And let’s face it - if we’re on a spiritual path, this attitude is pretty much redundant!

 

The Living Birth Chart is published in full colour. Click on the link for more info, and read a review of the book here.

 

* "Mistakes were Made (but not by me)" by Carol Tarvis and Elliot Aronson. pub. Harcourt Books

 

30 Oct 2021

Fred Astaire: "Can't act. Slightly Bald. Also dances"

A long read, a chart interpretation and an edited extract from my book

 "Using Age Progression"


Fred Astaire was born Frederick Austerlitz on 10.5.1899 at 21.16 local time in Omaha, Nebraska USA, the son of an American born mother and an Austrian father. His chart reminds me of a see-saw or swing boat seeking to achieve balance; it’s not quite there but it’s not far off either. I also see what could be a Kite configuration spanning the horizontal axis of the chart, but it’s not complete and gives the impression that everything is still docking into the right position to complete this figure, and once again, it’s not quite there yet. One significant thing that Astaire was renowned for was his never-ending quest for perfectionism in his choreography and dance routines.

Aspect structure and Motivation

The aspect structure, on initial inspection, appears to be composed of quadrangular figures, but a closer and more detailed look reveals that this is an illusion as there are interlocked triangular figures along with several linear aspects. The shaping of the overall aspect structure gives information about the person’s inner motivation and what drives them; Astaire’s looks quadrangular, which would make him Fixed/security-oriented, but in fact there is a mixture of Mutable (triangular) figures and Cardinal (linear) aspects. This indicates a flexible and fluid approach to life, being able to move on with changes and go with the flow, but at the same time there is an underlying push of restlessness and determination which comes from the Cardinality of the linear aspects.

The direction of the aspect structure is horizontal, with the rickety and incomplete Kite tipped over from an upright position, as in the diagram, and seen sideways in the chart, flying towards the “You” side. 

This is emphasised by the Moon/Pluto conjunction straddling the descendant and the presence of Neptune in the 7th house. In spite of his Sagittarian ascendant, with planets in this Sign adding emphasis, it is often planets on or around the DC which are picked up first and foremost by the environment as these are what others first encounter. 

Moon in Gemini is easy to see in Astaire’s slim and lightweight frame and his smoothly shaven face. His looks were quirky and unconventional, but his charm and pulling power are undeniable; a combination of Moon conjunct Pluto and opposite Uranus, with the 7th house Neptune standing nearby like an overseer. After a Hollywood screen test, producer David Selznick wrote of Astaire: 

“I am uncertain about the man, but I feel, in spite of his enormous ears and bad chin line, that his charm is so tremendous that it comes through even on this wretched test”!

 

Aspect Patterns: The rickety Kite and the need for perfection

Astaire’s Kite is incomplete and in most instances I would decline to “see” a nearly- complete aspect pattern where one does not exist, sticking with what is already there and working with that. However, the near-Kite kept drawing my attention. Incomplete aspect patterns can indicate a lot of energy being expended by the individual to complete the pattern themselves. There is a striving towards bridging the gaps that are there and in bringing the pattern into a cohesive whole. The person may sense that there is something as yet incomplete within themselves and seek to resolve this by trying always to excel as completion of the pattern – and perfection - is sought.

The Hubers say of people with a Kite that they “strive for perfection, not necessarily because they want to reach a fixed state though, but to be true to themselves, i.e. in all situations to act in line with their innermost convictions and their heart of hearts”

 

 


 Astaire the Perfectionist 
 
I would normally have not focussed too much on the rickety and incomplete Kite in Astaire’s chart, but having started researching details of his life and career, I discovered that he was, indeed, constantly striving for perfection, and, perhaps, to complete this incomplete figure, spurred on by stickler Saturn on the Balance Point in the 1st house.

Ginger Rogers, his most famous on-screen dance partner, described Astaire’s uncompromising high standards:

“Sometimes he’ll think of a new line of dialogue or a new angle for the story…they never know what time of night he’ll call up and start ranting enthusiastically about a fresh idea…No loafing on the job on an Astaire picture, and no cutting corners.”

He is reputed to have insisted on numerous rehearsals and retakes in order to conserve costs for the actual shooting of a dance number. With so much preparation, the shooting inevitably went well, but Astaire agonised during the whole process, frequently asking colleagues for acceptance of his work. 

Director Vincente Minelli said of him:

“He always thinks he is no good”

and Astaire said of himself:

 “I’ve never yet got anything 100% right. Still, it’s never as bad as I think it is.” 

No, it wasn’t. A friend who is a trained practitioner and teacher of the Alexander Technique tells me that Astaire’s dancing is held up as an example of the kind of ease of motion that can be achieved by using just what strength and effort are required, but no more.

 

Age Progression

Astaire’s Age Progression highlights some significant life events too. Using the chart as a life clock, which starts ticking at birth with the moving hand of the clock at the AC and travelling in an anti-clockwise direction, we can pinpoint meaningful events. The conjunction and opposition of the Age Point  with a planet are the most powerful aspects and it is interesting to see how the conjunctions to Sun, Moon, Pluto and Neptune coincide with key events in Astaire’s career. 

At age 31, with his Age Point just into the 6th house and conjunct his Taurean Sun his tap dancing was recognised as among the best. Robert Benchley, the American humourist and columnist wrote:

 “I don’t think I will plunge the nation into war by stating that Fred is the greatest tap dancer in the world.” 

At age 36-37, when his Age Point was conjunct Pluto, he was involved in making the films he is best known by, with Ginger Rogers as his partner. He not only performed, but choreographed the dance routines, once again applying his unrelenting perfectionist touch to all he worked with. His partnership with Rogers raised them both up to star status, bringing some light relief and offering a distraction, via the silver screen, from the hard times of the 30’s and the darkening days of impending war. 

Actress Katherine Hepburn is reported to have said of the Astaire/Rogers partnership:

 “He gives her class and she gives him sex.” 

I’m assuming she meant sex appeal here but this quote brings a smile to my face as it was made during the period his Age Point was conjunct Pluto.

When the Age Point reached its conjunction with Neptune, Astaire appropriately became more involved with camera and filming techniques. He introduced innovative ideas for filming dance, and insisted that the camera should be stationary and the dance should be filmed in a single shot, holding the dancers in full view the whole time. He also insisted that all the song and dance routines be integrated into the plotlines of the film; the dance was used to move the plot along. Whilst the Age Point was conjunct Neptune, it was also opposite Saturn, his everlasting task-master on the journey to perfection. At this time he applied it to the actual filming techniques.

Astaire supposedly retired from dancing in 1946 and founded the Fred Astaire Dance Studios in 1947 when he was 48, with his Age Point conjunct Mars on the 9th cusp. However, he did the famous “comeback” that many movie stars of that era seemed to, and went on to make several musicals throughout the 1950’s. He eventually went on to develop his acting career, receiving rave reviews in the 1959 nuclear war drama On the Beach. This coincided with his Age Point opposite Mercury and on the 11th cusp at age 60.

Saturn at its highest level, where it acts as a wise guide and mentor, promoting deep learning, has the last laugh as far as the quest for perfection is concerned. At the age of 75, Astaire won a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor, and a BAFTA award, for his performance in The Towering Inferno as his Age Point made its second conjunction with this planet.

Not bad for someone whose screen test report read:

 “Can’t act. Slightly bald. Also dances."

 

Understanding Age Progression is available in paperback, with full colour ilustrations, and as an ebook at the  APA Bookshop, Amazon, and other booksellers.

 

5 Oct 2021

Piercing the Eggshell translated

Image

 Image

It's less than a year since Piercing the Eggshell, the biography and life story of Bruno and Louise Huber and their Astrological Psychology, was published in paperback. It has also been published as an ebook.

I'm delighted to report that the book has now been translated into German and Spanish. The work of the Hubers, based in Zurich, was initially only available in German. The founding of first the English Huber School, followed by the Spanish Huber School - both teaching the Huber Method of Astrological Psychology to an increasingly interested audience in north and south America - ensured the dissemination of their work to what is now a worldwide audience.

Piercing the Eggshell isn't a stuffy biography; it's full of real life anecdotes as well as factual events, and it makes for an interesting read as it covers how astrological psychology was researched and developed. It also covers why astrological psychology, as a method of personal and spiritual growth, is not only significant, but is downright helpful and useful as well.

Piercing the Eggshell in English is available from all good booksellers, from Amazon and from the APA Book Shop. 

 
Fascinating Biography 
"Piercing the Eggshell" reviewed by Will Parfitt, Psychosynthesis therapist and author.

If you are an astrologer I would think this book is a must, even if you don't follow the Huber style of astrology; the story of how the Hubers created this new, very workable approach is interesting even to a non-astrologer like myself. 

Better still, for astrologers and non-astrologers, this is a tale of two people's indomitable will to create a new psychological science using astrological connections to include and raise consciousness to a deeper spiritual connection. A fascinating and most unusual biography, very interestingly illustrated with relevant photos.

I was particularly interested in the influence of Roberto Assagioli and Psychosynthesis on their work and the development of Huber astrology, and how whilst he fully supported them in their explorations, even giving Bruno Huber access to all his client notes, they worked hard to collate, edit and where necessary translate his writings into what became the key work in the Psychosynthesis world. 
 

You can read how the book came about here and another review of the book is here.


"Uranus is an instrument we use to pierce through the eggshell towards spirituality"

Bruno Huber

9 Aug 2021

Billionaire Man and the Climate Emergency


Dead trees, parched earth, Lake Amistad, Texas

I'm reblogging this thought-provoking blog post from I Can't Believe it!, written by my other half. There's a question for you at the end - please feel free to comment and say what'd you'd do with a billion pounds.

 What would you do if you had a billion pounds?

Would you follow the technological dream of science and the colonial dream of new physical horizons, and fund a space program to take humanity another step down this road that has supposedly served us so well for hundreds of years – exploitation of supposedly virgin lands, ignorant of the life that is there? Become so convinced of the magnificence of your own ego and exceptionality, that you insist on being one of the first to go into space? Even model your spacecraft to resemble a large penis as you exhibit your contempt for lesser humans?

Or would you do something to help repair the earth and nature that has been ravaged by that technological/colonial dream, to the degree that our ecosystem is now under extreme threat, both in its loss of biodiversity, in its drowning in its own pollution, in the breakdown of its long-stable climate – all effects which have been made worse by you and your like, the rich and powerful extracting money from ‘the system’ to a degree that is surely obscene and has deprived the public purse everywhere of the means to ensure a decent life and environment for all, even undermining the democratic systems that of course put limits on your individual power.

Psychologically, the first path is chosen in humanity’s adolescence, the creation of ego that we all go through. Some appear to remain arrested at this increasingly narcissistic stage – ageing egos going in a circle of their multiple houses, yachts, private jets, exclusive parties, security obsession, separation from the masses. 

But modern psychological knowledge means we now know that this ego process is just the first stage of our development, as we grow to maturity, transcend our individual ego concerns and becoming co-operating adults and gradually becoming wiser and more spiritual. Our concern is wider than the individual; it is the good of the whole and all its parts.

Of course, this is also the perspective that will enable us to address all those problems that we have created in the world around us. Restoration of our living ecosystem becomes of paramount importance, the space ego trip seems somehow irrelevant. Not that we should not have more space programs, but that they are hardly today’s top priority.

So what would you do with your billion? And if you had more than one billion, why? What a weight of responsibility to have so much money, the weight of so much of the earth on your own shoulders? What on earth would you do, and why?

The ideas came to me after reading Prof Tim Jackson’s excellent post on The Billionaire space race; the ultimate symbol of capitalism’s flawed obsession with growth. Do read it.