Sunday, 30 November 2014

The 7 Year Itch


So my beloved and I have just enjoyed our seventh wedding anniversary. To celebrate, we went to see one of our favourite bands and the occasion was marked with a couple of intriguing coincidences.

My husband discovered that a couple of his friends - a couple - were attending the gig so we arranged to meet for a drink beforehand and as soon as they walked through the door I realised I hadn’t seen one of them since our wedding. Then, when we arrived at the venue, I spotted a guy at the back of the room on his own looking a bit out of place. I looked and then I looked again. It was who I thought it was; the ex of one of my husband’s relatives. And when was the last time we saw him? At our wedding of course! The gig wasn’t his thing; he was only there to help his friend who was doing the lights for the show. He was thrilled to see us and vice versa.
As I’m the type who looks for meaning in these things and in signs and symbols in general – I wouldn’t be into astrology if I didn’t – I got to thinking about what this strange synchronicity means.
As so often happens with me, my train of thought led me to the planet Saturn. Bear with me, this will make sense…
You see, the theory is that after around seven years a relationship can hit a point of crisis or dissatisfaction or even hit the rocks completely. It’s known as the seven year itch and it’s a testing time when we’re invited to take stock and decide whether another seven years is a viable prospect. We might consider what restraints and responsibilities our partnership demands and ask if these are balanced out by commitment and security and the promise of longer term rewards. More than anything, it’s a time to get real about our relationship.
The description above brims with Saturn imagery: testing time; getting real; restraints, commitment and responsibilities; hitting the rocks (Saturn rules rocks literally) and if you don’t know already, you’ve probably guessed that the Saturn cycle hits a hotspot once every seven years or thereabouts.
Using a marriage as an example, the date of the wedding is where the foundations are laid. Ground zero. After seven years, transiting Saturn has travelled three zodiac signs and makes its first Square aspect to Saturn’s placement in the marriage chart. The ‘rules’ of the relationship have been laid down over the preceding seven years and at the Square the urge may be to test the relationship’s boundaries, to challenge the status quo, to push  back against the duties and constraints the marriage demands. We might ask, does this relationship allow me to express my authentic self? Some may even stray (that seven year itch cliché) but the consequences of what we do, of the decisions we’ve made to date, will need to be faced and fresh decisions reached and a new path forged.
It can also be a positive time of course. Just because Saturn isn’t all jolly bells and whistles, that doesn’t mean it doesn’t bestow deserved rewards from time to time. That seven year point, the Saturn Square, is a good opportunity to take stock of the relationship, to plan, together, for the next seven years. What do you both want? Do your goals and aspirations synchronise? Where do compromises need to be made? It’s probably fair to say that avoiding issues at this time won’t make them go away, so you may as well face them.
I should say here that my own marriage is happy. We are using this time to think about how far we’ve come, to celebrate that and then pack for wherever it is we’re going next. Together.
But what of those chance meetings with the two people I hadn’t seen since our wedding? Well the seven year cycle fits for them too. You see, the couple we met in the pub had only just got together when my husband and I married and now they are in a committed relationship. As for the other guy, his relationship with my husband’s relative broke up shortly after our wedding. Now, seven years on, he’s a parent and his ex is very happily married to someone else and about to become a parent for the first time.
So, time marches on and we get older and wiser and we take on more commitment and responsibility, but for any heartache along the way, oh what joy and love life also brings.
With love,
Mandi

News update:
I’ve been concentrating on fiction writing these last few months and that’s the main reason why there have been fewer posts here as Astroair, and I’m very pleased to reveal that one of my short stories, The Box - a dark tale exploring psychic oversensitivity - will be published in the January edition of Massacre Magazine.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Jupiter in Leo - The Iraq Connection

Jupiter in Leo is an important trigger, a crucial point in the Jupiter cycle for the modern history of Iraq and a transit to watch closely. 



Iraq is awash with Lion symbolism. The Desert Lion (Shakir Wahiyib, the public face of Islamic State); The Lion of Babylon (Iraqi tank used during the 1991 War); the other Lion of Babylon (representing the King of Babylon and depicted at the Ishtar Gate to the ancient city, now part of Iraq) and of course, the live lions Saddam Hussein kept at his palace.

Also, it seems that Jupiter's transit of Leo is incredibly relevant to modern day Iraq. This is an expansion of my post of early July written just as Jupiter was moving into Leo, with further insights to offer, more dots to connect.

When in Leo, once every 12 years, Jupiter transits through Iraq's first house (representing the country as a whole and its leaders, its identity, its ego and how it wants to be perceived by the world), making conjunctions to its Mercury and Uranus conjunction as it goes, before moving into the 2nd house (its assets and values), eventually meeting Pluto at zero of Virgo. Pluto in this case perhaps signifying upheaval, destruction, oil as an asset and regeneration after war.

Iraq - click to enlarge

Iraq's leaders, national identity, assets, sense of national pride, ideologies and values - including spiritual ideologies and values - are therefore highlighted and challenged by this transit.  

Here's the potted history, all of it directly connected to what's happening today:

Jupiter was in Leo from mid-August 1990 until September 1991. 

This was the period of the 1st Iraq War.

It was waged by coalition forces from 34 UN-led nations in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait in early August 1990. The conflict began with an aerial bombardment on 17 January 1991, followed by a ground assault on 24 February. A United Nations Security Council Resolution in April 1991 established formal cease-fire terms. 
The controversies over enforcing this (the disarmament crisis and alleged weapons of mass destruction) and subsequent resolutions led directly to another war 12 years later - when Jupiter next returned to Leo.

Jupiter’s next transit through Leo was August 2002 through August 2003.

This was the period of the Iraq disarmament crisis and the 2nd Iraq War. 

During this transit, Jupiter made three hits to Iraq's natal Uranus at 10 degrees Leo in the 1st House, between Sept 02 and May 03. Additionally, Jupiter in Leo Squared Iraq's Neptune at 2 Scorpio in the 4th House in August 2002. The 4th represents the land a country occupies, its regular people (vs. its elite) and politically, the opposition to the ruling regime. Of course, these same planets would have been hit during the previous transit in the early 90's.


Here's a timeline of events for the 2nd Iraq War:
·         In August, a group of Iraqis opposed to the regime of Saddam Hussein took over the Iraqi Embassy in Berlin for five hours before releasing their hostages and surrendering.


·         In November, The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution, forcing Saddam Hussein to disarm or face "serious consequence." Iraq agreed to the terms and the UN sent in its weapons inspectors


·         In Feb 2003, an estimated eleven million people around the world took to the streets to protest against the looming war with Iraq, followed by the largest coordinated worldwide vigil in March as part of the global protests against an Iraq war (that internationalism theme again). British Cabinet Minister Robin Cook resigned from government over plans for the war with Iraq.





·         In March, Iraq was invaded by an American and British led coalition,  without United Nations support and in defiance of world opinion. Shortly afterwards, The Arab League voted 21-1 in favor of a resolution demanding the immediate and unconditional removal of U.S. and British soldiers from Iraq.


·         In April Baghdad, fell to U.S. forces.


·         In early May, President George W. Bush declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.


·         In July, the US military attacked a compound in Iraq, killing Saddam Hussein's sons.


·         It was in December of 2003, with Jupiter moved into Virgo and conjunct Iraq's Pluto, that Bush announced the capture of Saddam Hussein.

This is all important because Jupiter in Leo is hitting those same points in Iraq’s chart again 

The toppling of Saddam Hussein’s government in 2003 marked the start of years of violent conflict with different groups competing for power. This is now coming dramatically and violently to a head, with current events directly linked to those of the early 90's and 00's. 

When I wrote my first post on Iraq over a month ago, Iraq was at the top of the world news, with concerns over the ascent of Sunni rebels led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) now known as Islamic State, with reports that thousands had fled the ensuing atrocities, with Iran and the US offering their assistance, but with the UK still on the fence.

Now, of course, the US have launched air strikes in support of the Kurdish militia and as predicted the UK government have told us that military involvement is now inevitable, but so far have limited it to humanitarian aid and what is set to be a prolonged Royal Air Force reconnaissance mission. The Prime Minister has ruled out 'boots on the ground' but has not ruled out other intervention including arming the Kurds. The focus, he says, is on protecting the UK from a terrorist threat. Perhaps this reticence for sending in the army to fight is a lesson learned from the political suicide committed by former Prime Minister Tony Blair, when he declared war on Iraq in 2003 without the support of the UN or the majority of UK citizens. 


Whatever occurs next, the direct connections between now and events in Iraq spanning back over the last 24 years and earlier need to be considered. Already, nobody can argue that the so called War on Terror that led to the 2003 Iraq War didn't directly radicalize certain Islamic factions.

The 1801 UK chart has Jupiter in early Leo and Saturn later in Leo, so the country has just had a Jupiter return. While a UK presence will be in Iraq in some form, the full consequences or ramifications will only be felt once transiting Jupiter hits the UK's Saturn in around a year's time. At the same time, Jupiter hits Iraq's Pluto. We can expect to see a shift in power, a moving around of assets, rebuilding, rehabilitation, restoration, perhaps a new government. But at what human cost?

The US Sibley chart has the North Node (destiny/lessons/the mission/key relationships/significant meetings) at 6 Leo in the 8th House (financial relations with foreign countries). Jupiter has now hit that point. 

Jupiter will also Conjunct Barack Obama's Leo planets - it has already crossed Mercury (the time for talking is over) and is heading for his Sun in the 6th  (national services including the army and the navy) and the Uranus and North Node in the 7th (foreign affairs, relations with other countries, open enemies) and the DC in Leo. This is of course the first time Jupiter has crossed those planets and points since he has been in office, so these transits will be interesting to observe.

Note also that George Bush Snr. (President during the 1991 Iraq War) has Leo rising with a 12 house North Node and Neptune in Leo. 

George W. Bush  (President during the 2003 War) shares his father's Leo Ascendant, with Mercury, Venus and Pluto in Leo. His 'partner in crime' was British PM Tony Blair. Blair has the South Node in Leo and the generational Pluto in Leo.

The connections between Bush and Blair and the US and Iraq charts are remarkable - Blair's South Node is conjunct the USA's North Node and sits on Bush's Ascendant. Bush's Mercury and Pluto in Leo are conjunct Iraq's Uranus and Blair's Moon in Aquarius opposes all of them. Tangled destinies indeed and there are plenty more connections, but time and space is short. See quad-chart below (click to enlarge).  


Interesting also that Obama's Leo points and planets fall in the opposite part of the chart to those of the two Bush Presidents. What does this suggest? That Obama has less control over this new war than the Bush's did in previous wars? That it's a situation he's being forced to deal with rather than a situation he's created? For sure, it's part of his destiny as President to face a foreign enemy (North Node in the 7th).

For his part, the UK's Prime Minister, David Cameron, has Moon conjunct Jupiter in early Leo (a Jupiter return for him as it is for Iraq) and Mars in Leo in the 11th House.

This all suggests that the recent history of Iraq and its future is closely tied to Western powers and their leaders and of course the facts if you care to look into them bear this out.

Certainly, there are many other astrological factors and planetary cycles to be considered, but one thing is certain:

Jupiter in Leo is an important trigger, a key point in Jupiter's cycle for the modern history of Iraq and a transit to watch closely. 

The 2014 transit timings for Iraq are as follows:
Jupiter in Leo, travelling through Iraq's 1st House squared Iraq’s 4th House Neptune in late July. The 4th representing the land a country occupies, its regular people and the opposition to the ruling regime - with ISIS (now known as Islamic State) having already taken vast swathes of land, forcing many to flee or be brutally killed.

In September, Jupiter conjuncts the Uranus (rebellion, progressive tendencies, but often also the totalitarian and autocratic) in the 1st House (which describes, along with Iraq's Cancer rising and Mercury in the 1st, the country and its people as a whole, its ego and national identity). 

Iraq is also taking a battering from the Uranus-Pluto squares, with Uranus currently hovering around the MC (upset of the status quo, rebellion, overthrow of the government etc).

Of course, Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were never found and it’s now widely accepted that the dossier on Iraq’s weapons capability - used as justification for the 2003 invasion - was at best ‘sexed up’, at worst a lie. Google Iraq September Dossier to read more. It’s of note that the dossier was published just after transiting Jupiter in Leo squared Iraq’s Neptune. As Jupiter in Leo prepares to square its Neptune again, it would be wise to be wary of what we’re told about the situation in Iraq. Already, rumours are circulating around the internet, said to come from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, that the mysterious leader of Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a Mossad trained operative, real name Simon Elliot or Elliot Shimon. 

Are we destined to keep going around and around dealing with new incarnations of the same problem until the karmic lesson, whatever that is, is learned? A cycle of rinse and repeat, with human lives the cost? 
Astroair News
For regular Astroair Astrology updates (much more regular than what appears here) please like my Facebook page. Here’s the link.


Saturn is half way through its transit of Scorpio. To mark the occasion, my ebook Saturn in Scorpio: Your Guide Through the Dark is now half price on Amazon. Go straight to your local Amazon site to purchase, or click here to find out more about what’s in the book.
You can also purchase a Pdf version of the book direct from this blog via paypal.


May your cosmic journey continue to be interesting and full of joy.
With love,
Mandi

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Jupiter in Leo - Internationalism & Iraq

Jupiter's in Leo from July 16th through August 11th 2015.
What's highlighted when the planet of growth, expansion, luck, hope, optimism and expanded horizons enters the proud, stubborn, loyal, generous, kingly sign of the lion?

Hype; exaggeration; melodrama; idealism; confidence; fixed viewpoints; spotlight on authority (especially after Saturn in Scorpio comes out of Retrograde on July 20th). It’s also great for creative expression and acts of immense generosity, so long as there's an appreciative audience.
Want some clues to how Jupiter in Leo might affect you? Look to the House Jupiter in Leo travels through in your chart (get your free chart at alabe.com) and any planets or angles it hits along the way. And think back to the last time Jupiter was in Leo - August 2002 through August 2003. What happened?
Jupiter in Leo is also about fixed ideas around wisdom and knowledge; religious faith (including fanaticism); morals and ethics; law and justice.

It also puts a spotlight on internationalism and globalism. See these themes reflected in events from Jupiter’s last transit through Leo:
·       Switzerland, traditionally a neutral country and Timor-Leste (East Timor) join the United Nations.

·       NATO invites Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia to become members.

·       The enlargement of the European Union with the announcement that Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia will become members

·       The International Criminal Court held its inaugural session in The Hague.
Iraq will be a country to watch closely while Jupiter is in Leo.
Jupiter’s last transit through Leo (August 2002 through August 2003) marked the period of the Iraq disarmament crisis and the subsequent Iraq War. 


During this transit, Jupiter made three hits to Iraq's natal Uranus at 10 degrees Leo in the 1st House, between Sept 02 and May 03. In Mundane (the astrology of countries and leaders), the 1st House signifies the country and its people as a whole, its ego and national identity.
Additionally, Jupiter in Leo Squared Iraq's Neptune at 2 Scorpio in the 4th House in August 2002. The 4th represents the land a country occupies, its regular people (vs. its elite) and politically, the opposition to the ruling regime. 
 
Here's a timeline of events:
·         In August, a group of Iraqis opposed to the regime of Saddam Hussein took over the Iraqi Embassy in Berlin for five hours before releasing their hostages and surrendering.

·         In November, The United Nations Security Council unanimously approved a resolution, forcing Saddam Hussein to disarm or face "serious consequence." Iraq agreed to the terms and the UN sent in its weapons inspectors

·         In Feb 2003, an estimated eleven million people around the world took to the streets to protest against the looming war with Iraq, followed by the largest coordinated worldwide vigil in March as part of the global protests against an Iraq war (that internationalism theme again). British Cabinet Minister Robin Cook resigned from government over plans for the war with Iraq.



·         In March, Iraq was invaded by an American and British led coalition,  without United Nations support and in defiance of world opinion. Shortly afterwards, The Arab League voted 21-1 in favor of a resolution demanding the immediate and unconditional removal of U.S. and British soldiers from Iraq.

·         In April Baghdad, fell to U.S. forces.

·         In early May, President George W. Bush declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended.

·         In July, the US military attacked a compound in Iraq, killing Saddam Hussein's sons.

·         It was in December of 2003, with Jupiter moved into Virgo, that Bush announced the capture of Saddam Hussein.
This is all important because Jupiter in Leo is about to hit those same points in Iraq’s chart again and already Iraq is in the news.
 
The toppling of Saddam Hussain’s government in 2003 marked the start of years of violent conflict with different groups competing for power. This is now coming dramatically and violently to a head, with current events directly linked to those of the early 00's. This year has seen the ascendancy of Sunni rebels led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) with reports that thousands have fled amid reports of atrocities and Iran and the US have offered their assistance.

We can also expect new questions to be asked and new doubts raised over what happened back then, particularly around the UK's involvement. The 1801 UK chart has Jupiter in early Leo and Saturn later in Leo, so we are looking at a Jupiter return for the UK this month, but will possibly see the country's luck turn when Jupiter hits the UK's Saturn in around a year's time (it almost hits it at the end of this year before Jupiter turns backwards - so we will no doubt get a taster then). I wouldn't be surprised to see talk of British troops going back into Iraq before this year is out. Certainly there will be a new sense of purpose in the UK generally.

The US Sibley chart has the North Node (destiny/lessons/the mission/key relationships/significant meetings) at 6 Leo in the 8th House (financial relations with foreign countries). Jupiter will hit that point in August this year. Jupiter will also Conjunct Obama's Leo planets - Mercury and Sun in the 6th  (national services including the army and the navy) and the Uranus and North Node in the 7th (foreign affairs, relations with other countries, open enemies) and the DC in Leo. This is of course the first time Jupiter has crossed those planets and points since he has been in office, so these transits will be interesting to observe.
The 2014 transit timings for Iraq are as follows:
 
Jupiter in Leo, travelling through Iraq's 1st House squares Iraq’s 4th House Neptune in late July (as stated, the 4th represents the land a country occupies, its regular people and the opposition to the ruling regime) 
 
In September, Jupiter conjuncts the 1st House Uranus (which describes, along with Cancer rising and Mercury in the 1st, the country and its people as a whole, its ego and national identity).
 
Iraq is also taking a battering from the Uranus-Pluto squares, with Uranus currently hovering around the MC (upset of the status quo, rebellion, overthrow of the government etc).

The Iraq chart is below - click to enlarge

 
Of course, Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction were never found and it’s now widely accepted that the dossier on Iraq’s weapons capability - used as justification for the 2003 invasion - was at best ‘sexed up’, at worst a lie. Google Iraq September Dossier to read more. It’s of note that the dossier was published just after transiting Jupiter in Leo squared Iraq’s Neptune. As Jupiter in Leo prepares to square its Neptune again, it would be wise to be wary of what we’re told about the situation in Iraq.

Finally, a couple of other fascinating events from when Jupiter was last in Leo:
The Human Genome Project was completed with 99% of the human genome sequenced to an accuracy of 99.99%.

In August 2003, the highest temperature ever was recorded in the UK - 38.5°C (101.3°F) in Kent, the first time the UK has recorded a temperature over 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Astroair News
This is my first Astroair article in a while. Life has been busy. With two big book projects on the go (hopefully both will be published next year), it’s left me little time for blogging. However, I post regular updates on the Astroair Facebook page. Please like it. Here’s the link.

Saturn is now half way through its transit of Scorpio. To mark the occasion, my ebook Saturn in Scorpio: Your Guide Through the Dark is now half price on Amazon. Go straight to your local Amazon site to purchase, or click here to find out more about what’s in the book 
You can also purchase a Pdf version of the book direct from this blog via paypal.

May your cosmic journey continue to be interesting and full of joy.
With love,
Mandi

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Chiron in Pisces: Water Over Rocks (from the Archives)


With Chiron in Pisces just Retrograde (stationing half a degree from my natal Chiron - yes there were tears), here's one from the archives that's well worth revisiting...

With Chiron moving into Pisces, I have been planing to write a post about Chiron for some days now, but felt blocked, despite preparing pages and pages of notes.

The key word most of us associate with Chiron is healing and it’s very easy to predict that in Pisces, Chiron’s healing themes comes to the foremost, presenting us with a great opportunity for healing on a collective and personal level.

But Chiron, Pisces and life just isn’t as simple as that, so this morning I decided to meditate on some of the themes of Chiron in Pisces and a very interesting image came to me, an image of crystal clear water running over rocky ground, on the face of it a calm, restful image.

However, I have also been thinking about the meaning of discomfort these past few days and I had an ‘aha’ moment which brought these two ideas together. You see, for all its themes of healing, Chiron is also an uncomfortable energy. In the myth, Chiron was wounded. Only able to heal himself partially, he was fated to walk his path in perpetual discomfort. Similarly, that beautiful clear water I dreamed up in my meditation will certainly cleanse our feet, but at the same time, the rocks the water runs over will always remain uncomfortable to walk across, despite the fact that the water will cleanse the rocks and over time, smooth away their sharper edges.

In this life, it is through our experience of discomfort and through the (physical, emotional, psychological or spiritual) wounding that causes the discomfort in the first place, that we are compelled to learn. Along the way, we discover that healing, total healing, in the sense of ‘becoming whole’, is perhaps not totally possible in just a single earthly incarnation, but it is this whole-making that we are ultimately seeking, on a soul level. So, as we walk across life’s rocky path, like Chiron, we carry our wounds with us, seeking comfort from the healing waters where we can. Then, like Chiron we can eventually learn how to use the knowledge we learn from carrying our own pain, to help others to carry their own.

However, Chiron also reminds us that real healing must be sought and asked for, if the healing process is to really be felt on a deeper, soul level. Simply giving healing to another, without them asking for it, diverts them from their healing journey, robbing them of their opportunity to learn from the discomfort of walking over the rocks. Similarly, if we simply take from someone else a metaphorical ‘magical pill’ that takes away all our pain, this denies us our own lesson. We must learn to feel the discomfort of the pain, but at the same time we must learn to understand that even in pain, we do not have to suffer unnecessarily - WE CAN ASK FOR HELP. Asking for help is a truly humbling experience and is the first step on the journey through the healing waters and across the rocky ground that lies beneath. This I feel, is the key to the healing energy of Chiron as it travels through the sign of Pisces.

Data for Chiron in Pisces
[add one hour for daylight saving if applicable]
  • Chiron moved into Pisces in April 2010 and leaves in February 2019.
  • It's current retrograde began on June 20th 2014 at 17 degrees, 45 minutes of Pisces
  • It turns direct on November 23rd 2014 at 13 degrees, 5 minutes of Pisces
Further Reading 
Keywords to Unlock Chiron and Chiron and Wholeness: A Primer, both by Joyce Mason
Zane Stein’s Chiron And Friends Website
Melanie Reinhart’s book Chiron and the Healing Journey – a new and updated edition has just been published.
By Eric Francis: An Overview of Chiron and Chiron in Pisces and Born in the Sixties (discusses the Chiron in Pisces opposition to the Uranus-Pluto conjunction in the 1960’s - the generation having or now coming up to their Chiron return)


With love, Mandi

Monday, 3 February 2014

Astro-Detective Fiction Author Tells All!

I'm delighted to present this guest post from the wonderful Joyce Mason, talented author and astrologer and all round good soul. Enjoy her post and I hope it encourages you to read her inspiring and fun new mystery novel, The Crystal Ball.

In November 2013, Mandi Lockley was kind enough to mention my new novel, The Crystal Ball, in her info-rich post, Astrology, Fiction and The Doctor(s). Since then, I’ve discovered a couple of other fascinating articles on the topic of astrology and metaphysics in fiction. I’d like to share them with you and what I’ve learned from them.

Mandi offered me a chance to give the author’s perspective, as I find myself surprised and delighted to be part of an evolving new literary subgenre. Astrologer Armand Diaz calls it Astro-detective fiction. From behind the scenes, I thought you might enjoy learning how this dual genre is evolving for me, and how others are starting to see it. Not only does it have the potential to bring those of us who are “into” astrology a reading experience that fits our interests; Astro-detective books also sow the seeds for bringing astrology more into the mainstream, drawing in those who like the mystery half of ”Astro-detective.”

Composite Like Chiron

It’s no surprise for a Chironophile (Chiron has been my astrological specialty since I started my practice in 1988): The Crystal Ball is a composite genre like the centaur of mythology after which the planetary body is named. In the official BISAC categories all authors have to choose before publication to help make it easier for readers to find their books, I sorted The Crystal Ball into Mystery and Visionary/Metaphysical Fiction.

If you’re an avid reader and want to have some fun, take a look at some of the many genre possibilities and Google their definitions. Since I have written more astrology than fiction up to now, I’m still learning the nuances of subgenres. For instance, I used to think I wrote “cozy mystery” because of my more humorous and less gory take on crime, often writing pieces where no murder takes place at all. (A master of the no-murder mystery is Alexander McCall Smith.) However, after scrutinizing the pure definition, I find myself, Uranian as usual, not quite fitting the mold. The Crystal Ball doesn’t take place in a small town (San Francisco), there’s some realistic, though no gratuitous swearing (most cozies are pretty Puritanical about language), and we actually get an opening glimpse of a sex scene, though most of it is left to the reader’s imagination. (Not that the cozy genre is prudish, but as the Cozy Mystery List article linked above says, “Sex, if there is any, is always behind closed doors.” Flunked that one.)

Astrology is Uranian, and in my opinion, Chironic. In mythology, Chiron is often cited as the first astrologer. This speaks to astrology’s healing potential.

Chiron and The Crystal Ball

I hinted there would be backstory, and there is. Writers are always advised to write what they know. I originally wrote The Crystal Ball, trying to resolve a personal relationship that was a lot at core like Micki’s and Curt’s in the novel. Of course, Micki and Curt developed into their own unique characters.

Micki Michaels is an astrologer and head of a longevity organization celebrating its Silver Anniversary at a New Year’s Eve gala called the Crystal Ball. Curt Stern is an ex-FBI agent. He has been in and out of her life, and is clearly her one true love. Now retired, he has joined her in San Francisco to see if they can, finally, make it work. A threatening extortionist gives them an opportunity to combine their hot chemistry into a crime-busting Odd Couple, as they have to protect their loved ones and everyone at the Crystal Ball from a potential kidnapping—and possibly worse.

Micki and Curt have a strong magnetism that is the definition of Plutonian. Through them, I attempt to tackle the age-old dilemma: Opposites attract but can they live together? With creativity and Micki’s obvious facility with the Chiron archetype, we see the beginnings of a composite relationship that tests itself in an emergency. If they succeed, they’ll save the day.

Micki’s other Chironic characteristics are numerous. A few of examples of her ease with blending old and new, reflecting Chiron’s orbit between Saturn and Uranus—a Chironic trademark: she lives in a Victorian house, built in 1900, dotted with both antiques and futuristic gismos like a custom-designed, talking clock and a robo-maid. Chiron is also the “patron saint” of her longevity organization, the Immortalists on Planet Earth Association or IOPEA (pronounced eye-OH-pea-uh).

Mainstreaming Takes Aries and Libra--and Chiron in Pisces

I wasn’t focused on the idea that my book could help me be an ambassador for astrology until it was nearly in print. While confessing that I don’t have a single planet in Aries but several in Libra, publishing this book has taught me how sometimes, you have to just do it—get it out there and be an Aries pioneer. Knowing what you’re doing will follow, at least the part you couldn’t figure out because it was subconscious. Once it gets from your inside to the outside, it’s clearer to you, and others can respond for even more enlightenment (the Libra part).

One of the most important things Armand Diaz points out in his article, reacting to mine and several other Astro-detective novels, is that mystery readers are used to being walked through highly technical topics and learning through the author the essentials for understanding the story. The love of mystery makes the reader willing to learn. What an opportunity for astrologers to teach astrology!

Since many Astro-civilians are to astrology what Muggles are to magic in the Harry Potter books, I can’t help but want to urge members of the astrological community to both support this developing genre and other types of Astro-fiction. And if you write, consider weaving astrology into your works.

I struggled for years with feedback from the traditional literary community that fiction featuring an astrologer would appeal only to a narrow audience.  It took putting it out there, and Armand’s point about mystery being a traditional “teaching institution,” for me to see that the slogan from the movie Field of Dreams, slightly modified, applies here: If you write it, they will come.

In another article I read recently, PJ ­Swanwick says We Need to Promote Spiritual/Visionary Fiction, another evolving genre. Imagine: healing through the pleasure of reading. The Crystal Ball promotes more than astrology. It’s a mixed bag of practical metaphysics with themes of longevity, health, and the Chironic quest for wholeness—in addition to the relationship issues so central to it.

It’s time for all of us to start voting with our book purchases—add TV and films—to create the kind of healing through the arts that Chiron in Pisces is all about. Join the Literary Evolution!

© 2014 by Joyce Mason. All rights reserved.


Joyce Mason is a writer and astrologer. Her trademark is blending humor with deep insights. Her popular blog is called The Radical Virgo. She’s past president of NCGR-Sacramento Area Astrologers.

To learn more about her leap into fiction and all her books and purchase links, visit her website: www.joycemason.com.



 
 

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Astrology, Fiction and The Doctor(s)

A random black hole
Hello, it’s been a good long while so an update is long overdue.

So what have I been up to that’s been taking me away from this blog I love so much?
As well as currently holding down a very demanding ‘day job’, I have been writing a long piece of fiction. I’ve got more than 40,000 words down on paper, so I’m about half way through. I’ve committed to finish it so I’m trying to devote most of my limited free time to it. Yes, it does have an astrological angle, but not overtly so.

Why fiction? It came from a long ago germ of an idea born out of a conversation with a stranger in a pub. I did quite a bit of work developing the idea at the time and then the notes just sat in a drawer for a few years. It wouldn’t lay down and rest though, it just nagged and nagged at me until finally I gave in and started writing. I’m pleased with progress so far and really enjoying immersing myself in my story and its characters. I’m finding it a welcome release from the very long, otherwise quite difficult Neptune transit I’m currently wading through - five Squares from Neptune to my Gemini-Sag Nodes between 2012 finishing Jan 2014 and three Squares from Neptune to my Gemini ASC lasting until early 2015. Perhaps a concurrent Sextile transit from Neptune to my 8th house Capricorn Sun is helping me to be imaginative and receptive.
Needless to say, my novel in progress is a dark story, but a deeply spiritual one. I find it hard to drag myself away from that imaginary world to see to practical matters such as earning enough money to pay the mortgage and so on. Neptune, you don’t make it easy, do you? Oh and I’ve been getting health checks. All clear so far thank goodness, but a good thing to do for a strong transit to the ASC, especially as I also have Saturn transiting my 6th house.

There has been a run of astrological based fiction lately.
Many of you will know that a book based on astrology, The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, won the prestigious Man Booker Prize this year. I’ve read mixed reviews, but haven’t delved in myself yet. If any of you have read it I’d love to hear your opinion from an astrological perspective as well as from a literary one.

The wonderful Joyce Mason of The Radical Virgo blog has just launched her new novel, The Crystal Ball, a mystery featuring an intriguing crime busting duo, one of whom is an astrologer and the other a gun toting ex-FBI agent. I’ve just downloaded it as I’ve been writing this and can’t wait to get stuck in. I love Joyce’s writing style and unique tone of voice so I’m definitely in for a treat.
Also on my reading list is Ecliptic by Sara Lunardi, an intriguing urban fantasy which sees a brother and sister wake up one morning miles apart with strange tattoos of the astrological constellations on their arms. This awakens them to a dangerous mission to save the planet and all its inhabitants.

Back in the world of real astrology, I’m thrilled to see that Donna Cunningham is back with her new book The Stellium Handbook, another essential for my reading list.
Two Doctors for the price of one
Now, I swing back into fantasy again (Neptune transit, remember?) to show you a chart quickly. If you didn’t know it was the 50th Anniversary of Doctor Who last night, then what planet are you on?

The first ever episode was entitled An Adventure in Space and Time. The original time travelling Doctor was played by William Hartnell as an older authoritarian figure, a Time Lord. How fitting to see Saturn in Aquarius on the MC for the chart of the show’s first broadcast? It’s also a good symbol for the longevity of this much loved sci-fi show. A Sun-Mercury-Venus-Mars stellium in Sagittarius is also perfect for the galaxy trotting adventurer and his companion, perfect for broadening one’s horizons, for fostering a fascination with alien races and for seeing the (much) bigger picture. And in the 6th house, we are reminded that Doctor Who’s ultimate mission is to alleviate the suffering of mankind, to deliver hope. Venus on the DC is also great for popularity. See also the Moon in Aquarius close to the MC and Saturn? The original Doctor Who was a progressive production indeed. It was produced by Verity Lambert who at the time was the only female producer at the BBC and directed by Waris Hussein, its first Indian-born director.
Broadcast of the 1st Episode of Doctor Who (click on chart to enlarge)
 
The original TV listing
 
Now a brief admin update: I have taken down www.mandilockley.com for now. It pretty much became redundant once I started this blog and now I’m branching out into fiction I need to rethink my strategy. I’m sure there will be a shiny new website at some point, but it will be a while yet and you’ll be the first to hear. In the meantime if you want to get in touch: mandi_lockley@hotmail.com

Lots of love and hugs,

Mandi