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:


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 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:

Lots of love and hugs,


Saturday, 5 October 2013

Underwater Lakes in Neptune's Kingdom

At the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, on the sea bed, over half a mile down, there lies an underwater lake, with a lapping tide, a curving shoreline and a surface easily discernible from the surrounding sea water.

How can that be? It's underwater?

It turns out that the water in the 'lake' is a thick briny soup, much heavier than regular sea water and that its 'beach' is made up of a vast colony of mussels. This habitat has evolved a completely new ecosystem, full of previously undiscovered species of flora and fauna and so deep under the water that it functions without the life giving energies of the Sun. Instead it is fuelled by bacteria and methane.
So far we have explored just 1% of the ocean floor, so who knows what else is out there to be discovered. It feels like a metaphor for the unknowable parts of our subconscious. And mysterious impossible lakes beneath the sea? It feels like we are swimming in Neptune's kingdom.
When we're experiencing a Neptune transit, or dealing with challenging natal Neptune aspects activated by a transit from another planet, we can feel the drag and the weight of our own metaphorical underwater lake, the depths of our subconscious. It pulls us down towards own heavy, dark, alien, undiscovered places. Environments that we'd probably rather not explore.
Picture from
Do we dive right into the murky depths to find what's underneath?  Not that easy and maybe not even advisable for some of us, but we might decide after some hesitation that resistance is futile and let ourselves be dragged wherever our psyches lead us.  Or do we float on the surface of our lake, rest there a while and see where the tide takes us, trying not to go under. Maybe we hover around the shoreline, looking in but not touching? Perhaps we don't go there at all and stay near the surface of our regular ocean, our conscious emotions, where we can still see the Sun and breathe the air. Whatever choice we make, and maybe its not a conscious choice, we are driven by our instincts. Logic and reason can't help us.
That thick, heavy, swampy water in the underwater lake can be read as a metaphor for the deep ancient emotions that we have denied or forgotten, but ones we have carried with us nevertheless. If we stir that water, those emotions will become disturbed, eventually bubbling up to the surface, ultimately releasing and dissolving the toxins, but making us deal with the emotional pollution that is the by-product of the process.
Neptune demands that we put our faith in the unknown, but it is as likely to punish us for doing so (disappointment, disillusionment, delusion) as it is to reward us (spiritual awakening, cleansing of the spirit, belief, creative inspiration, the awakening of compassion).
But we still must take our chances, because we soon learn that to resist is to invite unnecessary suffering. Our Neptune transit (or transit to Neptune) reminds us that, like the underwater lake under the Gulf of Mexico, life is a mystery and that often we are even a mystery to ourselves.
And now for some Saturn news
It's a year to the day since Saturn moved into Scorpio and I would like extend to a BIG THANK YOU to everyone who has bought my e-book Saturn in Scorpio: Your Guide Through The Dark and for the positive feedback. I hope it's been an interesting and helpful read.
Saturn's still got more than a year and a half to go in Scorpio, so if you want to find out more about the book, follow this link:
With love and thanks,

Monday, 1 July 2013

Book Review: The Secret Language of Astrology

This is a stunning book to look at and fortunately its content more than lives up to its beauty.

The title gives away a secret most people don’t know - that astrology is a language, one rich in symbolism and myth with a history spanning some 5000 years or more.

Starting right at the beginning, Roy Gillett’s book offers a concise, but comprehensive exploration of the ancient origins and development of astrology, taking us right up to the present day. He explores astrology’s current reputation, how and why it’s been dismissed by both religion and science and why we should reconsider astrology as a vital tool for understanding not just ourselves, but our world and our collective place within it.

“The cycle of the heavens, and of each individual consciousness within it, may be seen as a reflection of one unified world soul.”

However, what most people new to astrology picking up this book will be asking is what does astrology say about me? In this respect, The Secret Language of Astrology will not let you down.

Just like learning a new language, Gillett breaks it down into its basic components, starting with the planets and exploring the astrological themes, mythology and astronomy of each planet in turn.

In the language of astrology, the planets are like nouns and the zodiac signs describe how the planet will behave according to the sign it falls in. For example, Mars is the planet of action. In impulsive Aries it will act “bravely and aggressively”, but in peace-loving Libra, it will act “urgently and defensively.” The Houses are also explored, the next building block in the astro-lingo, describing the arena each planet has to operate within.

Then comes the fun of putting it all together. Fortunately, now we are in the internet age, this book is supported by a website where you can draw up your birth chart instantly, so within minutes you can take your first steps into delineating your Sun in Cancer in the 10th House or your Mercury in Taurus in the 8th and so on.

Once you’ve got your birth chart online though, I would also recommend, if you are new to astrology, that you draw your own chart out by hand. This process really helps you connect with your chart and it’s a fabulous document to look back on years down the line. I still have mine, painstakingly calculated and drawn out.

Taking it further, this book will also help you explore the relationships the planets make to each other in your chart - the aspects. This is the space where your personal story, your challenges and opportunities really start to come alive through the astrology.

The final chapter deals with how to put it all together. This is where the art of astrology comes in. It's the part that takes the longest to master but the one that promises the most rewards, as the chart slowly unfolds and offers up its secrets. Lucky for us, this section of Gillett's fine book is chock full of tips and hints, along with a masterful and detailed exploration of the chart of the Dalai Lama. Gillett also tackles what he calls The Challenge to Transcend, how difficult aspects and planetary placements do not necessarily spell doom, gloom and failure, but present an opportunity to overcome challenges and obstacles and find success and fulfilment:

“We are destined to face our future, but we are not doomed to suffer it… Astrology lays out the territory of our lives, but we have the freedom to choose how we walk through it. Knowing about astrology can make it easier for us to map and monitor progress, and to be clear about the decisions we face. It is the motives behind our actions that largely determine the outcome.”

For the beginner or novice, this is a must have book. If it’s your first astrology book, I can guarantee it won’t be your last. It will start you on your path to discovery so you’d better start clearing a space on your shelf now. Once you’ve looked at your own chart and enthusiastically shared your insights with your nearest and dearest, you’ll soon be bombarded with requests to look at their charts and your journey into this most wondrous of self-development tools will be well on its way.

For the more experienced astrologer, this book might seem basic at first glance, but don’t dismiss it. I guarantee you will discover something new or something you’d forgotten. And at a time when ‘serious’ astrology is becoming more and more academic (and there is a place for that, of course) this beautiful book provides an excuse to go right back to the beginning and re-discover the sense of awe, wonder and magic we all felt when we first started out on our astrological adventure.

The Secret Language of Astrology: The Illustrated Key to Unlocking the Secrets of the Stars by Roy Gillett.
Roy Gillett is the president of the Astrological Association of Great Britain and the author of Economy Ecology and Kindness and Astrology and Compassion: The Convenient Truth.
With love,

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Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Feeling good about Jupiter in Cancer

Ready for some good news at last?

Well, Jupiter moves signs this week, a yearly event which is always a cause for optimism.

After just over a year in Gemini, the planet of growth, hope and expansion, moves into watery, sensitive, moony Cancer.

The major themes of Jupiter in Cancer are explored below and where Jupiter touches something in our chart we are presented with an opportunity:

 ~ A chance for integration and self expression where Jupiter touches planets in Cancer by Conjunction

~ Easy creativity and emotional flow, if we're prepared to tap into it, when it Trines planets in Scorpio and Pisces

~ Opportunity knocks when it aspects planets in Taurus and Virgo by Sextile, but it's up to us to seize it when it comes

~ A chance to overcome challenges and breeze through obstacles a bit more easily when it Squares planets in Aries and Libra

~ An opportunity to reach out to others and improve relationships when it Opposes planets in Capricorn

Tips for your Jupiter transit:

~ You need to put a little effort into it, so if opportunity comes a-knocking, don't forget to answer the door. You've got to be in it to win it!

~ Don't court disappointment by expecting too much. Jupiter transits don't tend to be transformative, but they can make life a little easier and help set you on your way

~ Your Jupiter in Cancer transit may coincide with a transit from another planet, such as Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto or Chiron, particularly if your transited planet or point falls early in its sign...

~ ...If this is the case, Jupiter may expand and inflate the influence of that transit. It may add a sense of purpose and responsibility to a Saturn transit for example, intensify a Pluto transit, exaggerate/stimulate a Uranus transit or glamorise/discombobulate a Neptune transit

~ Cancer is cardinal sign. It calls for action. It's up to you to answer the call, but your patience could be tested if you don't see immediate or far reaching results.

Why Jupiter into Cancer is an important ingress:

First up, it's not in Gemini any more. In the tradition, Gemini is the sign of Jupiter's detriment so it wasn't very comfortable there. In Cancer it is much, much happier. It is exalted.

To exalt, according to the dictionary, is to extol - glorify - elevate - praise - raise - extol - honour. Jupiter just loves that! In essence, in this sign its influence is more positive.

Secondly, Jupiter in Cancer makes significant connections with other current planetary alignments. Here's an edited extract from my Saturn in Scorpio book, which places these alignments in the bigger picture:

Between October 2012 and July 2013, Saturn in Scorpio forms a Trine aspect with Neptune in compassionate Pisces. During the course of this Trine, the human effect of all the change and disruption we’ve been experiencing in the world will become more and more obvious and its victims harder to ignore. We will be made to understand the emotional effects that the long running financial crisis has reaped. For those sitting safe, it will be easy to sweep this under the carpet, but hopefully this Trine will inspire individuals and the collective to feel compassion for those who are suffering and take some responsibility for supporting them.

In June 2013, ethical Jupiter moves into Cancer and forms a Water Grand Trine with Saturn and Neptune. If we are being optimistic, throughout Saturn Trine Neptune, but especially while Jupiter is in the picture, we can predict peaceful resolutions, treaties, new understandings and a more compassionate idea of morality. This is an opportunity to show that we care and to do something practical about it. If we want to be cautious, we should be wary of those who merely pay lip service to compassionate actions and humanitarian causes, while surreptitiously pursuing their own agenda.
At the same time that Jupiter in Cancer forms a Grand Trine with Saturn and Neptune, it also opposes Pluto and Squares Uranus, forming a cardinal T-Square. This links the Grand Trine with the Uranus-Pluto Squares, giving the closed-circuit energy of the Grand Trine a channel for release. The hope here should be that the reactionary, rebellious nature of the Square will be injected with a loathing for violence and a longing for peace and harmony. This could turn into a new mass movement, perhaps marking out the summer of 2013 as the new summer of love.

Looking at it from a less positive perspective, this Grand Trine could also open the way for floods, landslides, tsunamis and other water based calamities.
The Grand Trine could also dilute the forceful message of Uranus Square Pluto, causing disillusionment, misplaced idealism and deception. While Uranus and Pluto are busy re-writing the rule book, Saturn in Scorpio provides the opportunity for society’s powerful to furtively re-write their own, secret, rule book, thus rooting their control over the rest of us ever deeper. 

Jupiter in Cancer will exaggerate the effects of Uranus Square Pluto and Saturn Trine Neptune.

The major themes of Jupiter in Cancer explored. These can be applied personally to your own chart or to world events:
  • the wise mother / mom knows best / super mom
  • moral and ethical issues around motherhood and childbirth 
  • family values
  • the extended family
  • protecting one's family and oneself, which is essential but can be detrimental if taken too far
  • exaggeration /over idealisation of the caring, nurturing female archetype
  • getting your 'feet under the table' at home
  • home affairs vs. foreign affairs
  • foreign homes / foreigners abroad / expats
  • an increased need for emotional and physical security
  • learning about our roots, particularly the maternal, matriarchal line
  • emotional over-reactions / exaggerated emotions
  • letting moodiness / crabbiness get out of proportion 
  • increased awareness of old, ingrained habits, bad and good
  • a chance to use and develop our intuition
  • increased instinctual reactions
  • finding or becoming a coach or mentor
  • the role of the carer in society
  • the feeling that we are all one big family here on planet earth
  • the goddess archetype, mother earth, Gaia
  • the environment, our habitat
  • rising waters / release of water
  • spiritual growth
  • a focus on international aid and charity and the ethical issues that arise from it
  • stretching the emotional boundaries
  • letting your feelings guide you
  • emotions spilling over
  • overwhelmed by emotion
  • absorbing too much of other people's 'stuff'
  • developing empathy and compassion
  • life flowing better
  • increased awareness of the cycles that guide and inform our life - both personal cycles and cycles of nature
  • feeling bloated - physically, emotionally, spiritually
  • acting on gut instincts
  • questioning what we are prepared to 'stomach'
  • stomach complaints
  • water retention
  • having a full belly
  • real, big, wet, healing tears, vs. crocodile tears
  • striving for self improvement
  • showing kindness and generosity
  • giving and receiving big hugs
  • being a comfort for others / receiving comfort
  • becoming comfortable
Jupiter enters Cancer June 26, 2013 and leaves July 16, 2014.

I hope you enjoy Jupiter's transit through Cancer.

Jupiter photo credit: Water map: ESA/Herschel/T. CavaliƩ et al.; Jupiter image: NASA/ESA/Reta Beebe (New Mexico State University)

A Jupiter Extension

To celebrate my Jupiter Return I discounted my e-book Saturn in Scorpio: Your Guide Through the Dark until the end of June, but because I'm excited about Jupiter moving into Cancer and because it will be making a nice opposition to my Sun in early Capricorn, I'm extending the sale to 14th July.

It is now available on Kindle from Amazon at $3.99 and equivalent in other currencies (normal price $5.99) or you can buy a PDF via PayPal direct from this blog for £4 or equivalent (normal price £7), just click the Buy Now button at the top right of this page. Please note all PDF orders are sent out manually so there may be a delay of up to 24 hours between placing your order and receiving your book.

For more info click here

With love,

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Nelson Mandela, Freedom and Sacrifice

I can’t think of Nelson Mandela without the Free Nelson Mandela tune popping into my head. Released in 1984, it was a protest song against his imprisonment for opposing the apartheid South African government. 

Mandela has a Moon-Uranus Square in his birth chart, an aspect of freedom, independence and rebellion. In Mandela’s case, his early years were nothing less than a rebellion against his mother country. Moon-Uranus is not an aspect you would expect to suit someone who spent 27 years incarcerated. And it’s not. But Mandela was a political prisoner and with his Moon in tenacious, unyielding Scorpio, he never gave up on his ideals. Eventually, his time inside became an act of protest in itself and this no doubt helped to sustain him.
Click to enlarge
The Moon falls in the 12th, the house associated with imprisonment. With this placement comes the need to feel and understand sacrifice, to serve, to surrender oneself to something greater, but with the Moon in Scorpio in its Fall, this happens the hard way, the long- winded way. He needed to hold fast to the courage and strength of his convictions. Notice that the Moon also Squares Mercury and Saturn in Leo in the 9th House. This is an aspect pattern which suggests a stubborn adherence to one’s highest ideals and the patience required to do so. It also suggests internationalism (9th House) and it was in part due to mounting anti-apartheid pressure from abroad that Mandela eventually regained his freedom.

Mandela’s Sun in Cancer falls in his 8th House. An 8th House Sun draws its energy from deep inner resources. 8th House Sun people can feel socially isolated, literally in Mandela’s case for 27 years of his life. It is, however, through the experience of isolation and also through the experience of crisis that Sun in the 8th people can eventually find the strength to emerge from the shadows transformed and able to live life in full light. And Mandela did this to the max. It wasn’t enough for him or for the world for him just to be free. He was the leader of a banned political party, the ANC, before he went to jail and within a few years of his release, as the leader of a now legal ANC, he was elected as the first black president of South Africa. This also fulfilled the higher promise of Mercury-Saturn in Leo in the 9th square Moon in the 12th and widely opposing Uranus in Aquarius in the 3rd.

The astrology is neatly summed up in the titles of his two of his books, The Struggle is My Life and Long Walk to Freedom as do the following quotes:

For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.

There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.
 A Sun-Moon Trine suggests a personality that needs to feel at peace with itself. It can be a remarkably strong willed aspect when it comes to getting what it wants, but has a veneer of amiability that tends to make people with this aspect popular and easy to get along with.

Mandela also carries a generational Jupiter Conjunct Pluto in Cancer aspect in his chart. It falls in his 7th House and therefore speaks of his public persona, how he is received by others. The conjunction is the start of a whole new cycle for these two planets. The graphic above includes the major themes of the alignment and all of them are easy to relate to Mandela’s life. It’s associated with a deep questioning of received values, morals and ethics; power struggles, shifts in power and the desire for power; wealth and influence; faith and belief; zealotry; the emergence of new philosophies; the powerful urge for change and being a law unto oneself. Certainly, Mandela has become a totem for these
qualities, acting them out, bringing them into the world.   This is helped along by the fact that Jupiter sits on the private becomes public Aries point, with its placement in the 7th House making a double whammy of thrust towards the public arena. Where the personal comes in is from is a very tight Sesquiquadrate between the Moon and Pluto and a tight Mercury-Jupiter Semisquare. His public facing side is further underlined by the presence of Venus on his 7th House cusp. In double sided Gemini, it represents on the one hand the immense public popularity and positive acknowledgement he has come to enjoy and on the other hand, given that Venus Trines Uranus, it is an indication of how the attention he received riled and threatened the establishment in his early career.

The 27 years he was in jail represents pretty much an entire Saturn cycle. It is fitting that transiting Saturn was opposing his natal Neptune at the start of his incarceration in August 1962. Additionally, transiting Pluto and Secondary Progressed Sun were just past his MC. This transit marks out this time as a major milestone period in his life, suggesting a significant shift in status.

On his release in February 1990, transiting Pluto had just entered his 12th house, Squaring his 9th House Mercury-Saturn conjunction and widely applying to conjunct his Moon. These transits are a symbol of needs and ideals powerfully transformed and given power.

In 1993, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, jointly with Frederik Willem de Klerk (South
Africa’s last apartheid-era President), for their work towards the peaceful termination of the apartheid regime. Mandela's transits for the December ceremony include healing Chiron on the MC and Saturn conjunct natal Uranus, marking a zenith moment for the rebel being embraced by an old order (represented by de Klerk) who were finally embracing the powerful forces of change. There was also a rather fitting buildup of transiting planets – Sun, Venus, Mercury, North Node and Pluto – in Mandela’s 12th House.

Upon his election as President of South Africa, in early May 1994, Neptune and Uranus were opposing his Sun and Saturn had recently made the first pass of its transit to his IC. Transiting Chiron was still in the midst of its series of conjunctions with his MC, a transit that symbolised the healing that needed to be done in South Africa after many years of apartheid and was also an apt symbol for the final acceptance of Mandela, the former maverick, into his full power and influence.

There’s no doubt Mandela has had a long and singularly remarkable life, one which is reflected powerfully in his birth chart and transits. Once dubbed a dangerous and violent threat, he rose to become one of modern history’s most transformative leaders, described by Desmond Tutu as “the beloved father of our nation” His current illness, as transiting Neptune approaches his IC, is a reminder that while this popular and influential figure cannot live forever, his legend will never be forgotten.

Chart data from Astrodatabank. Birth time rectified by Noel Tyl,_Nelson
Quotations from

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30% off Saturn in Scorpio: Your Guide Through The Dark until the end of June.

Sunday, 9 June 2013

The Jupiter Return - A Cause for Celebration?

It's my Jupiter Return. Three cheers, hip hip hooray and let's all drink a toast to that!

Jupiter is like a balloon
Call me an old curmudgeon if you like, but the Jupiter Return feels like one of those celebratory occasions that force us to be jolly, whether we want to be or not. These days promise so much, but deliver so little. For me, they include New Year's Eve (it's just a date) and Christmas. The pre-crimbo stress and expense rarely seems worth it and the magic feels sadly absent, but perhaps that's because it only really exists in the Hollywood version. Birthdays also come under this category for me, but no doubt that's because my birthday falls on Christmas day, when everyone is too busy to make the effort or give a s**t, myself included.

I sound very Saturnian, at its grumpiest best, don't I?  Certainly I don't sound like someone who has a sort-of maybe Sun-Jupiter aspect in my birth chart. Perhaps I should explain a little bit more about my Jupiter and Jupiter in Gemini generally, so you know where I'm coming from.

Jupiter in Gemini is in its detriment, meaning that it can't easily function to its optimum level in this sign. Jupiter in our chart speaks about how we express and pursue faith; hope; optimism; growth; opportunity; prosperity; morality; higher understanding and the higher self. In Gemini, Jupiter needs help, support and focus to express these qualities.

Gemini's energies can be too scattered and superficial for Jupiter. At worst, Gemini can lack the moral compass required to get the most out of Jupiter. However, there will be times when the Jupiter in Gemini native will seem to 'get it' and we see a glimpse of the best that Jupiter can offer, but it's very often at that moment that Jupiter in Gemini seems to get bored, or restless, or will tap into its self-sabotaging twin, or whatever, and will revert to some of the less attractive expressions of Jupiter.

Those with Jupiter in Gemini are also at risk of suffering from anxiety, or at the least will worry too much and overanalyse everything. Because of this, it's difficult to trust in oneself and in the world in general. It can be hard to make decisions based on the instinctual higher mind. Instead, it's easy to make what seem like rational decisions, but which are in fact not, because the lower, worry-full monkey mind has made the decision maker lose perspective on the issue at hand.

But life is nothing if not a journey of discovery, growth and learning, so a mistake made is a lesson for future success and those scattered Gemini energies can sometimes come together quite magically for Jupiter in Gemini people or those experiencing a transit from Jupiter in Gemini. Communication is key for this placement, connections need to be made, shared and verbalised. Through doing this, we can connect to something bigger than ourselves. In this space life becomes infinitely more meaningful.

My own Jupiter at 25 degrees of Gemini falls in my 1st House. That almost-maybe aspect to my Sun is an Opposition. It's just over 8 degrees in orb, out of sign and separating. That's why I don't count it. Sun-Jupiter natives are supposed to be over-confident, jolly, bubbly, bouncy, super-optimistic, indulgent. While I like to think I have many fine qualities, I wouldn't say they include any of the above. Consider that my Sun is in Capricorn in the 8th House! Jupiter in Gemini in detriment needs help and it's not going to get much from my Sun!

My Jupiter has a much more intimate relationship with my Mercury in Sagittarius. This planetary pair in these signs are in mutual reception (each falls in the other planet's detriment).  Mercury, therefore is where Jupiter in Gemini in detriment must look to for its support. The trouble is, Mercury in Sagittarius is also in detriment, so its a bit like the blind leading the blind. What this mutual reception and alignment (the two planets are in a 165 degree Quindecile aspect) begs me to do though is communicate effectively. This is both an obsession and a challenge. I have had times, particularly when I was younger, when I was so quiet I was almost mute, but as I get older there are more and more times when my mouth runs away with me and it takes a great deal of perceptiveness to know when to shut up. Often I'll say the wrong thing or be too honest and hurt the other person. Then there's the feeling that nobody's listening anyway. I wrote about this in The Curse of Mercury in Sagittarius.

The lesson is to find the perfect balance between quietness and noise. To speak up when needed and to recognise when it's time to let the silence speak. I strive to communicate with an open mind, intelligently, diplomatically and elegantly. I try not to worry too much and I try to have hope. I don't always get it right, but I do mean well. Perhaps this is the message for my Jupiter Return.

A Shameless Plug and a Special Offer:

To help me 'celebrate' my Jupiter Return I'm discounting my e-book Saturn in Scorpio: Your Guide Through the Dark until the end of June.

It is now available on Kindle from Amazon at $3.99 and equivalent in other currencies (normal price $5.99) or you can buy a PDF via PayPal direct from this blog for £4 or equivalent (normal price £7), just click the Buy Now button at the top right. Please note all PDF orders are sent out manually so there may be a delay of up to 24 hours between placing your order and receiving your book.

Here's a bit of blurb to whet your appetite:

Find out how you and your loved ones may be affected by Saturn in Scorpio.

Saturn in the intense, inscrutable and controlled sign of Scorpio may feel worrying, especially given the disruptive and unsettling changes the world and many individuals are facing.

This new book from Mandi Lockley - Saturn in Scorpio: Your Guide Through The Dark - is designed to help you successfully navigate the cold and deep waters of this transit and tap into its healing and transformative potential.

The major themes of Saturn in Scorpio are explored in-depth including issues of safety, fear and control; sex and intimacy; the power of love; rejection, anger, vengeance and forgiveness; the power of the unconscious and money, debt and taxes.

Discover how these themes and more may be relevant to you personally and how best to cope with them, but also discover how they will be reflected in the wider world.

Anxious about your Saturn transit? Saturn in Scorpio’s transit to your own birth chart is covered in detail, including its transit through your natal houses and to your planets. Many books and websites deal with astrological Saturn in general and Saturn transits in particular, but this book is specifically tailored to the unique experience of Saturn in Scorpio. It also includes an extended section on Saturn to Saturn transiting contacts and the Saturn Return.

This comprehensive astrological guide also examines how Saturn in Scorpio fits into other current and upcoming major planetary alignments including the ongoing revolutionary and disruptive Uranus-Pluto Squares and the Jupiter-Saturn-Neptune Grand Trine of 2013. Find out how we might see these energies manifest in the world around us.

Saturn in Scorpio: Your Guide Through The Dark also includes a bonus chapter on the Secondary Progressed Moon cycle - an important and very personal cycle of emotional maturity - and explains how it links with your personal Saturn cycle.

This book is suitable for all levels of astrological knowledge. Whether you are a beginner to astrology, a serious student, or a consulting astrologer working with clients, Saturn in Scorpio: Your Guide Through The Dark will be a valuable resource to help you through this challenging transit.

For the beginner, the book has instructions on how to calculate your Saturn transit and includes a Saturn in Scorpio ephemeris, for quick and easy calculation.

What readers have said:

Get this book! It will be a go to reference that you’ll return to again and again.
Auntie Moon

“Just to tell you how much I am enjoying your e-book ‘Saturn in Scorpio: Your Guide Through The Dark’. Congratulations for the excellent, informative, enlightening, deep book. It is worth every cent.” ME via Facebook

“I’ve purchased this e-book and can recommend it very highly. She’s an accessible writer. I’ve gone though it forwards and back, and re-read many passages over again, and each time I gather a bit more. It’s great to find a writer you can feel like quoting.”
EJR, online

“I finished reading it, loved it, and will be re-reading it to my other half who has his Saturn return looming.” LL via Facebook

“I find it to be a wonderful guide...the descriptions of the Scorpio and Saturn themes are covered in an orderly fashion and Mandi Lockley offers not just some examples on how they may or may not manifest, but she also offers ways in which to work with these themes in a positive, more conscious manner. This e-book is just in time!” NR via email

“I’m in a heavy Saturn period and everything she said rang true, even things I don’t want to admit or face. But that’s what Saturn in Scorpio is for, right? Book Rec at ElsaElsa Boards
“Bought it, downloaded and read it (well most of it) and it rang true indeed. I liked it. Very good read.” ES, online