6 Apr 2021

Are you Nice or are you Kind?

Twin sisters, Brittany

I was inspired to explore the theme of "nice and kind" having read a blog post by Jane Fritz on this topic.

I left a comment on her blog, having pondered on the differences between being nice and being kind. Using my understanding of psychosynthesis, which underpins the astrological psychology which I use and am most familiar with, I said:

"...if you’re being “nice” you’re probaby coming from a sub-personality but if you’re being “kind” you’re coming from a far more authentic place – your very centre, the core of your being. Kindness is more of a transpersonal quality, aligned with love. If you’re coming from your centre, you’ll be heard (not neccesarily liked, but your truth will shine through), whereas being nice is more cosmetic and without depth and authenticity. But niceness and kindness can cooperate – it’s possible to be kind and nice at the same time, loving and firm."  

I went on ponder on how the expression of "niceness" and "kindness" might work out in the context astrological psychology, and specifically in an individual's natal chart. The Moon - the ego planet associated with contact needs, emotional dependency and the need to be loved - is most likely to be the root and base from which nice and kind behaviour stems.

Expression of the nice aspect of the Moon may come when this planet is operating at an asleep, unaware level, when childish needs, often ignored when the person was growing up, are still seeking fulfillment, and they do not want to be hurt, or for  things to be unpleasant, or to be seen as someone who is not "nice". So what may be presented to the world is not neccesarily "nice" as it may have other, often unconscious motivations driving it.

Being kind is another matter altogether, and draws on the awake, fully conscious aspects of the Moon. Coming from this place, the person is comfortable within their own feelings, and far more aware of their needs; they can ask for them to be met and they don't have to skate around things being nice; they can be direct. The qualities which come into play here are harmlessness, openess, receptivity, sensitivity and compassion.

Of course, most of us can be both nice and kind - if you're being kind you're going to be nice, pleasant, well-mannered, good humoured and all the other meanings in between - and you're very likely to be expressing kindness and consideration too.

The elderly twin sisters in the photo at the start of this post seem to me to be expressing not just being nice as they did their volunteer work in this church in Brittany, they were being kind too. Their faces show warmth, they were friendly, charming and had a sense of humour too. Their kindness shines through.

We need kindness, probably more then ever right now, in this stage of our human evolution, and as we work our way through this pandemic.

19 Mar 2021

Looking back to a year ago - and where we are now



A year ago, in March 20th/21st, I was flying overnight from Houston to the UK, ahead of the first lockdown which started on March 23rd. Covid-19 was taking hold, it was getting downright scary, and with great regret we cut short our stay with the family and had to find an alternative route back as our flight was cancelled. Saying goodbye to our grandchildren was the hardest thing to do.

We decided to splash out and travel Business Class - in the interests of our own safety and because we could afford to dip into the savings. The return flight was in three stages, it took 25 hours. It's a long story, but we were upgraded to First Class - that's me here trying to relax into this one-off experience just after we'd boarded. It's very unlikely we'll ever travel First Class again!

I'm taking a retrospective look at what was going on this time last year, and taking a look - with an astrological-psychological slant - at where we are now, what has changed and what is ongoing.

Pluto  -  the planet of transformation and clearing out of that which is outworn and outdated - is still making its way through Capricorn. Unsurprisingly a few shocks have rattled the bars of the so-called establishment this year so far. Harry and Meghan's interview with Oprah Winfrey is one; the Metroplitan police handling of the London vigil to highlight safety for women, following the abduction and murder of Sarah Everard, is another.

Astrologically ongoing is the challenging configuration between Uranus and Saturn. There's work to be done here, and if the energy isn't harnessed and utilised productively, a real spat and a standoff could develop as they square up to each other and edge closer together in the summer. I see them as already working well together.

Uranus seeks stability and finds innovative ways to provide this, often causing a fair bit of distruption along the way. It's not regarded as the planet of revolution for nothing, so there could easily be more distruption to what we used to consider, pre-Covid, as the norm. Uranus is sometimes quirky and  individualistic, but significantly it's a researcher, coming from the mind.

Like a scientist, it wants clear answers and bases hypotheses on trials and facts. I'm thinking here of the scientists advising the government on what's needed to move us away from the need to lockdown and ease the effects of the pandemic, such as the roll out of the vaccination programme, the vaccine itself created by the work and research of scientists.

Saturn prefers the stability of the status quo and resists change, fired by fears, doubt and caution. It wants to hold on to what it's got, maybe wanting to please everyone, and it's very efficient at ensuring all systems are working properly and safely. Saturn is associated with matter and the material world, and this apsect of it is symbolised by the weighing up, by governments, of how to maintain the economy in this ongoing pandemic.

Interestingly, Saturn in currently moving through the sign of Aquarius, whose qualities actually promote and encourage a creative approach to problem solving, with "off the wall" innovative tendencies, and technologies. It is the natural astrological "home" sign of Uranus and it may therefore be Saturn's role to shape and structure what has emerged in the past 12 months.

Looking back over the past year, with these intertwined signs and planetary energies and qualities, I am amazed and imressed at how far we've come technologically. Using this astrologial lens I can see an example of how Uranus and Saturn have worked together. A year ago most people wouldn't have imagined, in their wildest, oddest dreams, that they would not only be using Zoom for work and social interactions, but that they would have learned and mastered it too. Many of us hadn't heard of it; now it's in common usage as the needs of the lockdown/working from home/staying home have replaced previous behaviour.

Jupiter, associated with vision, looking to the future, opportunity and even risk-taking, is journeying through Aquarius throughout this year. It briefly rubbed shoulders with Saturn at the start of the year, but will hang around in the background, hopefully acting as a positive, encouraging presence, perhaps softening the edges and protective barriers which Saturn might be tempted to erect. There are probably still plenty of changes ahead, which are way beyond my desire to "predict", but I see Jupiter's role in this snapshot of time as a door opener, an inspirer, and yes, a visionary of what might be.

We all want to look to the future to; right now we can't make any plans and have no idea yet what the new "normal" might be. All we can do for now is sit tight and do our best to cooperate in helping get this pandemic under control, and  - in the words of Jean Luc Picard, captain of the Star Ship Enterprise -  "Make it so" to the best of our ability.

8 Mar 2021

Under the Stars

 

If you've ever gazed up at the night sky, dotted with stars, and have felt a sense of wonder at the immensity of it all, you'll probably enjoy this book by Matt Gaw.

You don't need to be an astrologer or an astronomer to appreciate the night sky, simply someone who likes to look up - and maybe get a cricked neck in the process - as you gaze through the darkness of the night.

Ah - and there's the rub. Our nights are nowhere near as dark as they could be in towns and cities, where artificial lights burn unneccesarily through the hours of darkness - street lights, shop lights, office lights, and the latest fad - outside lights on houses which are left on all night. Haven't people heard of sensors which only switch them on in response to movement?

Matt Gaw, in this short and very readable book, argues that too much artificial light is damaging for humans and wildlife alike as it distrupts natural rhythms and blocks out the starry skies which have guided human life on earth for millennia. Owls, bats, hedgehogs and insect species are all affected by too much artificial light. And so are we.

He sets out to walk into the darkness in various locations around the UK - on a beach in Suffolk, in the pitch blackness of the Galloway Forest in Scotland, where he is both spooked and moved by the experience of being alone with the intense darkness and the brilliance of the stars, and on Dartmoor, with all its ghostly legends and vividly clear views of the Milky Way.

Here, I could relate to what he was describing, having been on Dartmoor on a clear, starry night. I've seen the constellations and the sheer, vast immensity of the night sky laid out like a stellar canopy high above my head. Gaw questions whether we remember to look up enough so we can connect with something far greater than ourselves. 

Roberto Assagioli, founder of Psychosynthesis, when seeing clients in his consulting room near Florence, is said to have had a projection of the night sky on the ceiling. When someone troubled came for a session he would dim the lights, and in silence he and his client would sit and look at the stars overhead. After a while, he would return the room to normal lighting and say, "You were having some problems....?" and the session would begin. (Note, this is my recollection of something I heard about Assagioli, but it's probably documented somewhere in one of the many books about him).

If you love the night sky, you'll enjoy this well-written book. Gaw mentions the Dark Sky Discovery Reserves and Centres in the UK, and has whetted my appetite to  visit one. There are plenty of phone apps of the night sky available, so if you catch a clear dark sky, with little or no light pollution, you can easily ID the different constellations and individual stars which are visible through the seasons of the year.


16 Feb 2021

Piercing the Eggshell - now published as an ebook

I'm very pleased to announce that Piercing the Eggshell, the biography of Bruno and Louise Huber, is now available from Amazon UK and Amazon US as an ebook. 

It's there to be had right now, straight away. Click here for more details.

Readers who prefer the ebook format will not be losing out on anything as all the photos and charts are there in full colour.

Bruno and Louise Huber, founders of the Astrological Psychology Institute in Zurich, were the creators of the Huber Method, a psychological and spiritual approach to astrology which includes the use of Age Progression, their unique method of timing in the horoscope.

You can read about Bruno Huber here, and about Louise Huber here.

But you can read a lot more in Piercing the Eggshell about how they met, fell in love, married and worked tirelessly to bring the wonderful gift of astrological psychology to the world.

 

Bruno and Louise Huber


13 Feb 2021

A Tribute to Richard Lewellyn

 






                                               

The astrological world has lost a very special person.

Richard Llewellyn, founder of the English Huber School (which became the Astrological PsychologyAssociation) passed away on 9th February. He was 95.

Richard was instrumental in making the Huber Method of Astrological Psychology available to the English-speaking world.

Richard with Bruno & Louise
He had already studied astrology with the Mayo school, and served as Membership Secretary for the UK Astrological Association. But he was finding the traditional approach to the subject less satisfying. In 1981 he was introduced to the work of Bruno and Louise Huber by Pam Tyler, an American astrologer living in London.

 

Strongly drawn to the psychological approach of the Hubers, Richard travelled to Switzerland to attend several seminars run by Bruno and Louise. He found the Huber Method - details of which were only available in German - so significant and important that he decided to create a school offering home study courses which would teach it in English.

In 1983, he and Pam Tyler founded what was to become the English Huber School and Richard set about writing up what he’d learned from the Hubers. Based on the notes he’d made during his visits to Switzerland, together with insights he’d gained into his own chart when working with Bruno and Louise, he created a correspondence diploma course in astrological psychology for the English-speaking world. The course was launched and the first student enrolled in 1984.

Richard’s energy and determination made this all happen. I wouldn’t be writing this now had it not been for him; I was amongst the first five students to complete the course and gain my diploma from Bruno and Louise in Z├╝rich in 1987. A brief look at Richard’s chart will go some way towards explaining where his indomitable energy might have come from. 

Richard Llewellyn 14.8.1925, 06.19. Sidcup, UK

With his 12th house Leo Sun conjunct Neptune he was warm, friendly and fun to be with This was always coupled with sensitivity but my goodness, watch out for that unaspected Mars in1st! There was no holding him back when a new project was taking off.

His chart, with its high ratio of red aspects, reflects this general enthusiastic “let’s get things going” motivation. Many students who attended his workshops will remember this well; Richard was fun to work with and learn from. But if we look more specifically at the one complete aspect pattern in his chart, the Provocative Figure, Richard’s calling and mission become clearer.

Provocative Figure


His chart, with its high ratio of red aspects, reflects this general enthusiastic “let’s get things going” motivation. Many students who attended his workshops will remember this well; Richard was fun to work with and learn from. But if we look more specifically at the one complete aspect pattern in his chart, the Provocative Figure, Richard’s calling and mission become clearer.

One meaning of the word “provoke” is to irritate and annoy, yet it also means to call forth, awaken, encourage and speak in favour of. The Hubers, in their book Aspect Pattern Astrology, speak of how the Provocative Figure might be expressed, “…..the person authorises himself and has the courage to bring things into the open that would otherwise remain hidden”.

That is exactly what Richard did. Note that Uranus - one of the planets involved in this aspect pattern – is strongly placed in the 8th house, suggesting that sharing this unique approach to astrology would make it accessible for the good of all, to benefit society and the wider world. This is perfectly aligned with Assagioli’s psychosynthesis, which underlies the work of the Hubers together with the philosophy of the Ancient Wisdom, as channelled by Alice Bailey in the Arcane School. Bruno and Louise had been involved in establishing the Arcane School in Geneva, and they’d worked with Assagioli in Florence for three years.

In my book, Aspect Patterns in Colour, I use the Provocative Figure in Richard’s chart as an example of how this aspect pattern works, mainly because I was able to observe it in action and understand it better as he was my friend as well as my colleague. Richard and I cooperated in writing TheCosmic Egg Timer, an introduction to astrological psychology, which includes many of the practical exercises we used in the experiential workshops we co-facilitated.

I learned so much from working alongside Richard, and enjoyed our frequent astrological discussions. Not only was he was a good astrologer, he was a psychosynthesis counsellor too, bringing his skills to the workshops we ran and helping to guide students to a deeper understanding of themselves. He facilitated astrological psychology and psychosynthesis workshops in Brazil, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden and Italy, as well as here in Britain.

More recently, as his health began to fail, Richard shared reminiscences of his time spent with the Hubers when he visited Switzerland ahead of creating the diploma course. He contributed new and valuable information about Bruno and Louise Huber for Piercing the Eggshell, the biography of their lives which was published in November 2020. It’s satisfying that Richard was able to see this book, and he was delighted to receive a copy. Without a doubt it would not have been written had it not been for him.

After retiring as Principal Emeritus of APA, Richard returned to service with the Astrological Association and, with partner Elly Gibbs, helped establish and maintain the AA's huge library of audio recordings of astrological talks, including those by the Hubers, for the benefit of all astrologers. In 2013 he received the Charles Harvey award for exceptional service to astrology.

This is a tribute to Richard the astrologer, but I’m writing this as a close friend as well as a colleague and I have countless good memories of being with him when we were taking time off from facilitating residential workshops or attending conferences to give talks. I remember with pleasure standing with him on a Welsh hilltop in 1999, in a circle formed by our families, as we experienced the solar eclipse, sharing walks on Dartmoor and in North Wales, enjoying visits to concerts and the opera, swimming in the Mediterranean during time off from teaching in Barcelona and going with him to receive darshan from Mother Meera in Germany.

Richard had been living with cancer for some time, yet retained his sense of humour despite the numerous operations he underwent. We often exchanged emails and spoke on the phone, and on the few occasions we were able to meet in the past year during the easing of lockdowns, it was always a pleasure for us both to reconnect and talk, sometimes about astrology, but usually about a diverse variety of other things too.

He passed away at home, cared for by Elly and close members of his family. 

Thanks for everything, Richard. I’ll miss you.

 

With Richard on his retirement as Principal Emeritus