Monday, November 25, 2013

Existentialism and Archetypal Astrology...a Path to the Numinous

This is an excerpt from my new but yet unpublished book called "Lifting the Veil; Becoming Your Own Best Astrologer." Although some of the book deals with the grammar of learning how to do this, there's also a section on mid-life passages and the journeys we take from our childhood religious views to new ways of seeing....and in my case it was from Catholicism, to Existentialism, to archetypal astrology. If you are interested in this kind of writing you might also enjoy the book: "North Node Astrology; Rediscovering Your Life Direction and Soul Purpose"

 If we see existentialism as an unsettling inquiry into the nature of life imbued with deep religious skepticism, then we might also see it as a beneficial stage in acquiring sound astrological thinking. In the past, it has sometimes been equated with a “dark night of the soul” time, or a “morning sickness” or as Jean Paul Sartre said, a “nausea” in response to the inauthentic life of mainstream culture. I would venture to add that existentialism feels like the place in our philosophic journey where we question our life and don’t try to insert easy solutions. It’s a time when we try to live authentically, when we work at becoming a person of integrity and when we wait for rebirth. As the existentialist writer, Albert Camus said: “If there is a soul, it is a mistake to believe that it is given to us fully created---rather it is created here, throughout a whole life, and living is nothing else than that long and painful bringing forth."
Existentialism was born in part out of the despair of World War II. It was a reaction to the fantasy of ungrounded beliefs, hyped-up nationalism and pre-packaged religions.  It might be seen as a stage in spiritual evolution, like the stage of pregnancy, as a stance that is “pregnant” with what is to come. Astrological thinking changed too, and emerged and birthed itself anew in those years after World War II.  It was then that Dane Rudhyar and the early Theosophists birthed astrology out of its fortune telling womb and put it into an authentic philosophic-spiritual context.
 I see existentialism as standing between the naïve acceptance of unquestioned religion and the acceptance of the mystery of spiritual gnosis, or knowledge based on experience. This “existential” way of seeing and being often comes before any openness to a “greater mystery” which could be described as the perennial philosophy that lies at the heart of every religion. It seems like a good foundational attitude to take into any astrological practice.
The willingness to be open to an experience of the “numinous” ---which could be described as a sense of the holy or the presence of Spirit--- requires an attitude of openness and critical discernment that both existentialism and astrological thinking aspire to hold. (Although not all existentialists would agree---they’re an unruly bunch!) For those of us who do astrology, we struggle to discern what is real and useful and true, while also holding to the place of acceptance of the cycles, life rhythms, and the numinous idea of synchronicity. And we offer our clients an open “weltanschauung” or world view that allows them to place our ideas within their philosophy. We can offer them astrology not as being a religion, but an intuitive art of the Spirit where we can track the movements of Spirit in time.
I see astrology as being balanced between an attitude which is both Saturnian in its efforts at discernment and Neptunian as a synthesizing art. Existentialism is Saturnian in its no-nonsense approach to the harsh realities of life, and although the art of astrology is more Neptunian, it doesn’t make a case for a God of a certain creed or fantasy. Astrological thinking instead implies that in this Saturnian world we are poised and resonating in a balance between the heavens above and the earth below, and that here there are cycles, seasons, and predictable movements that allows space for Neptunian mystery.
 Some people would say this is a ‘stretch’ but I like to think of the idea of existential astrology as the initial philosophic place we stand in, and from there one goes forward into one’s own Neptunian or astrological cosmology. I’ve chosen to embrace “evolutionary astrology” which posits the belief in reincarnation and the evolution and growth of the Soul through time---but this is not for everyone.
On my spiritual journey, existentialism played a crucial part in my transition from Catholicism to a belief in the Soul’s evolutionary journey. After leaving Catholicism I lived and waited in an existential space until life and astrology began to show me more. And what opened up for me was an awareness that the numinous spirit could never be bounded or understood completely by any one system or religion or even astrology. However, how delightful it was to find that there are astrological prints left in the sand from the path of Spirit! And that there are clues in the heavens, the seasons, and the archetypes as to how to navigate a life. The markers are all around us, and astrology is one such pathfinder.
 The existentialists have a favorite mantra: “existence precedes essence” implying that we are always in the process of becoming who we truly are. I would add that living an astrologically aware life helps us to discern the essence of who we truly are, thereby making the process of existential “becoming” a conscious one--and that is indeed a profound gift.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Making Transits Work for You! Understanding Transiting Planets in Your Astrology Chart

"When an inner situation is not make conscious, it happens outside as fate."  Carl Jung

    "What's happening to me now?" This is what we ask the astrologer---or ourselves in times of change.  By looking at the transits of the outer planets you get a glimpse into the 'climate' of the time, and unique insights into what's happening to you now. There are always several things happening at the same time, and like a good 'weather forecast' the art of astrological analysis is to be able to analyze the parts into the whole. But if you know what transit is up for you now—well, here's a quick and easy guide to help you figure it all out!

Jupiter Transits:

Played out optimally:

            Developing a sense of faith and trust in the process of your life, and intuiting a benevolent order and reasoning behind the appearances of things. You feel a sense of grace or luck and new opportunities opening up. Life feels more expansive and threads of meaning are seen. You have more self-confidence because you feel you have more resources to work with (money or talents) and so you're acting from a place of abundance rather than scarcity.

Problems with:

            Because there are fewer obstacles or tension you could get lazy and miss the opportunities of this 'climate'. This is a green light time for you to take advantage of opportunities around you. You can afford to take some risks now. But although you may find yourself lucky or your world expansive, make sure to stay humble, not arrogant, and don't over-extend yourself---with food or money! Avoid all forms of over-doing.


            The power of your intentions are very strong now, so watch what seeds you sow—what you wish for may come true!  There are opportunities and hidden meanings in events now, so look for the 'syncronicities' (events united in time; meaningful co-incidences) and act on them. Curb your ego and pride, and feel confident that you are in a harmonious flow with the Universe.

Saturn Transits:

Played out optimally:

            Development of self-discipline and self-respect. Learning patience and good timing. Turning loneliness into creative solitude. Doing the "work" that must be done in a responsible manner. Creating new structures and definitions of who you are and what your life is about. Saturn rules the bones and skin, houses, institutions, and the forms that relationships take. Issues with time and boundaries often arise.

Problems with:

            Lowered energy states, illness, depression, delays and frustrations, suppressing emotions, lack of imagination and a refusal to 'sober up' to the demands of reality.

Rx: Learn to do things alone; learn to cultivate creative solitude! And at work, be willing to show up and not cut corners and take the easy way out. Find the quiet joy in being "responsive" and doing a good job at whatever is called for—whether it be changing diapers or working late hours or learning to organize one's time better. Understand that Saturnian times often feel like times of hard work or delay—in the short run---but they yield great rewards in the long run both materially and karmically. Wherever there is unfinished business karmically you will be tested for your maturity and wisdom. Persevere in your dreams and learn to prune your life of excesses and say 'no' when appropriate.

Uranus Transits:

Played out optimally:

            Developing your individuality, uniqueness, and acting on forgotten dreams. Daring to question 'authority' (parents, bosses, partner, institutions) and your own social conditioning with all it's assumptions and expectations. Dare to swim upstream against the social pressures of your friends or groups you've identified with in the past. Be willing to change your routines and have the courage to act differently and at times, impulsively. Take the calculated risk. Go for the adventure and rebel against whatever in your life feels inappropriately oppressive.

Problems with:

            Nervousness, anxiety, irritability and restlessness. Impatience with others. Recklessness and rash actions. Being insensitive to other's feelings. Acting eccentric and 'picky' instead of uniquely yourself. Being afraid of breaking the rules and speaking your truth even when you know you're right. Feeling as if the ground is shifting under you and you don't know how to be flexible to the changing times and feelings.


            Let go of fear and ego-based pride, and allow your higher self and intuition to guide you to right action.  Allow yourself to daydream and "putter about" and to think outside the box of conventional thought. Question your own patterns, habits, and assumptions. Let the phrase "Let's do something different" be your mantra. Get creative and be willing to let go of your current level of stability and security to gain a larger life. Get moving, get out, and play!

Neptune Transits:

Played out optimally:

            Personality empowerment and worldly ambition relax into giving way to a larger less self-centered perspective. Less ego and more inspiration. Finding what God or a higher power means for you. Letting it be OK not to know all the answers; learning to take life one step at a time. Paying attention to your intuitive, spiritual, creative and compassionate impulses. Finding ways to shift realities so that you experience life from different perspectives and see the inter-relatedness of all things. Letting boundaries relax; seeing life more like an impressionistic painting and less like a map that's leading you somewhere.

Problems with:

            Confusion, disillusionment, laziness, escaping into addictions, glamorous delusions, fanatic ideas, and feeling helpless. Generally feeling lost in a fog. Feeling the pain and injustice of life and getting caught being the victim-martyr, or playing the rescuer or the 'persecutor' without deep understanding and empathy for the other person or the larger picture.  Feeling uncomfortable in this transitional space and not nurturing yourself with enough inspiring activities.


            Listen to music, walk on the beach, take long showers, buy yourself flowers and read an inspiring book. Take yourself on a retreat or vacation. Don't make important decisions now, but let the rational mind relax into as much beauty and serenity as possible. Dare to explore different perspectives and look deeply into matters of the spirit. Take a night class, pick up the paint brush or guitar, or volunteer to help wherever you feel compassionately drawn.

 Pluto Transits:

Played out optimally:

            Developing the capacity to discern truth and discerning a sense of one's destiny. Realizing the absurdity of narrow pursuits and thinking small.  Having the courage to delve into one's darker side and the taboo areas of life to bring healing and light. Having the courage to go through hard times and major life changes without becoming cynical. Releasing and letting go of everything and everyone that moves out of your life (or that isn't right for you) and allowing life's changes to flow through you without 'clenching'. Allowing yourself to come into your own power and to act and speak from a place of empowerment.

Problems with:

            Taking the attitude that life is 'just one damn thing after another'. Moving into violent and dogmatic spheres of life where there's an attitude that the end justifies the means. Becoming rigid or arrogant, and getting involved in power struggles. Feeling that life's problems feel overwhelming, and that you must hold on tight to what you have; resisting the phoenix-like experience that life is wanting you to experience right now.


            In some way, find a way to let aspects of your life die and be re-born. De-construct and re-construct.  Don't be afraid to look at the darker/messier sides of yourself and others and see where there is still "gold in the shadows." Recycle, repair, redo, and renew. Delve deep and work below the surface to find the deeper 'bottom line.'  Be savvy, but above all, be honest and above board in all your affairs, and don't take short cuts. Avoid dangerous people and mad dogs. Tackle big issues with humility, and allow yourself to grow into your wisdom and power. 'Step up to the plate', doing what needs to be done, while allowing yourself to regain your sense of astonishment; you are being re-born. (c) Elizabeth Spring Please ask permission before reprinting.

Need a little more help putting it all together? Check out my website:

Monday, November 11, 2013

Astrological houses, signs, and planets. Cancer, Leo, Virgo, Libra, Scorpio and Sagittarius

Continuing with the basics! All you need to know to be your own best Astrologer
Fourth House  Describes your home, family, ancestors, mother, and how you see the mythology/story of your life. It begins at the nadir of the chart at 6:00 o’clock. It reflects something about how you nurture others, and how you’ve been nurtured, or not.                                                  

 Ruled by Planet: Moon. The Moon and Sun are luminaries, and not truly planets, but they each rule a house and sign. Just as the Moon is constantly changing shape, so are the people who are ruled by the Moon and moodiness can be observed. Perhaps this is why they treasure their homes and sense of belonging, and like the crab, they can be vulnerable on the inside and tough on the outside. The high expression of Moon energy is nurturance, and the ability to tune into feelings rather than just thoughts alone. They have keen intuition which can be psychic sensitivity as well. The low expression of Cancer is the puer and puella: the words used to describe a boy or girl who choses never to grow up. By self-protecting themselves through lack of the commitment (that would mature them) they can suffer and feel victimized.

Sign: Cancer. Cancer desires to nurture and usually has a strong connection to the mother and the maternal karmic lineage. Money and security is important to them. Cancers have a flair with homes and make good real estate brokers and antique dealers (they have an interest in the past.) One can often see what the Cancer is experiencing by looking at their face—they make good actors, and they are also the people to turn to when you need help or nurturance.

Fifth House:  Describes your self-expression and creativity, as well as love affairs and children. It relates to how you ‘play’ and how you ‘follow your bliss’ as Joseph Campbell wrote about. It begins at five o’clock on your chart, and keyword is “I create”. Keyword: “I create”

Ruled by Planet:  The Sun. When looking at the role of the Sun in your birth chart, or transiting chart, think of it as You: your essential identity. And this solar ego container is based in part, on the personality you’ve created, so know where you stand, what values you stand for, and know what gives you energy so you can be strong. When the Sun is involved you are the hero/heroine of your story, but don’t let it blind you--resist the seduction to blind insensitivity or arrogance. The High expression is what Jungians call “Individuation” that is, becoming all that you are called to be…and the low expression would be to not achieve this, but instead to to live a life based on other’s expectations of you.

Sign: Leo. This “luminary” is related to the archetypes the King/Queen/Aristocrat, the child/clown, and the Performer. Leos come into this life to be seen and accepted, and to feel the joy of giving and receiving love. Leo needs to risk being real, unique, and self-expressive and avoid superficial people pleasing. Leo’s need for expression is powerful; Leo is called to leave its stamp on the world in a tangible way. Creativity, pleasure, and heart-fullness are all intertwined in this sign.

 Sixth House : Describes your skillfulness, your health, the way you work with co-workers, and how you feel about service. It also relates to mentoring and being mentoring as well as uncles and aunts. It begins at 4:00 o’clock on your chart, and its keyword is ‘I serve.’

Ruled by Planet: Mercury. This is the earthy practical side of Mercury. The high expression of Mercury is clear vision followed by action—also the ability to keep learning as well as teaching or mentoring. The low expression is not keeping the mind open; thinking that one is right all the time, and an unconscious deceitfulness.  

Sign: Virgo. This earth sign relates to the archetypes of the servant/helper, the perfectionist, and the analyst. Becoming skillful and achieving a degree of excellence in what interests Virgo is important, because Virgo, like the “Virgin who is one unto herself” can see the ideal and is willing to work for it. For the first time in the evolution of the signs, we see a capacity for self-sacrifice, but the Virgin’s perfectionism must be tempered by self-acceptance and self-love.

Seventh House:  Describes the area of partnership and one-on-one relationships. It also relates to agreements between people and the changing of agreements…which is why it can relate to enemies as well. Its keyword: “I relate.”

Ruled by Planet:  Venus. This is Venus in her relational aspect, trusting and forming alliances. The high expression of Venus is peace, love, beauty, and trust. What could be better: But the low expression of Venus can be manipulation, indecision, conning of one’s self and others, laziness, and self-indulgence. Venus rules both Taurus and Libra, and in the Seventh house context we can see the image of Libra as the goddess Athena with her balancing scales, and in Taurus she leans more towards the goddess Aphrodite—however, there is a bit of each in both signs.

Sign: Libra. Serenity is the goal of Libra, and holding the balance and tension of the opposites. Learning about “right relationships” is one of the main tasks of Libra. Libra can be like an iron hand in a velvet glove; hiding their incredible strength behind a poised and gentle appearance. Gifted with keen intellect and a tolerance for paradox and ambiguity, Libra is called to act out the archetypes of lover, peacemaker, and artist.

Eighth House: Describes the experience of death/rebirth, sexuality and intimacy, other people’s values and money, and all that is hidden. It’s keyword is “I transform.”

Ruled by Planet: Pluto. This is the realm of personal transformation and transitions through the toughest of life’s passages. When we encounter this “Lord of the Underworld” we are often required to surrender our personal power to a higher power and trust that life is unfolding as it should. The highest expression of Pluto is a regeneration and rebuilding of what we have outgrown and a renewal of ourselves. The lower expression of Pluto is a cynical attitude that say’s: is this all there is to life? A low expression of Pluto is cheating, hiding, not playing by the rules, and letting our basest instincts overpower us. 

Sign: Scorpio. Scorpio’s want to know the bottom line Truth, and they’re willing to “go for it.” Yet Scorpio can dwell in the drama and trauma of life too easily, and needs to find its power in a more objective and spiritual attitude. The Scorpio nature feels its way through life, fearing emotional dependence, and secretly trying to protect its own vulnerability and sensitivity. Psychologist, shaman, and detective, Scorpio’s look “under the covers” for the source of all motivations, and   can be drawn towards too much brooding and introspection, and needs to remember that like the archetypal Phoenix, it will always rise again to a new life.

Ninth House: Describes the area of philosophy, teaching, travel, and the law. It governs the realm of the “higher mind” and all the study, travel, and contact with other cultures that broaden our mind. Its keyword: “I believe.”

Ruled by Planet: Jupiter. This is the planet of grace, opportunity, expansion, luck, pomposity and self-importance. This large planet in our charts also speaks to the tendency to over-do, but when acting in its highest expression it can be a benevolent agent for goodness, as well as a fine teacher and storyteller. In its lower expression Jupiter “over-estimates and over-does” and in its arrogance loses the grace, opportunity and luck that could come naturally to it.

Sign:  There’s a bit of the scholar, gypsy, and philosopher in Sagittarius, and your beliefs are the cornerstone and rudder of your life. Sagittarius is a sign that also needs to learn to be discerning, tactful, and avoid the “foot in mouth” disease that is common with this sign. Fiery Sagittarius is generally good humored, optimistic, and adventurous, and needs the freedom to travel, to read, and to explore the diversity and meaning of life. “Getting fenced in” or over-committed too early in life doesn’t work well for this sign.
To be continued, for last 3 houses, signs, and planets...then putting it all together and in perspective....

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Part One: “The Technique of Linking Houses, Signs and Planets”

This technique is a powerful and easy to remember method of learning the core structure of astrology. By using the correlations of the “natural zodiac” by starting with Aries Rising, you’ll not only see the core meanings of the houses, signs, and planets, but we’ll go beyond that to see their intentional, positive expression. Because houses, signs and planets are all related, this is a great way to learn their meanings, and then to resolve to get the best out of each, and to avoid the pull of their negative seductions. This is what is called the natural zodiac, and once you understand this you can put the pieces together in your own chart. (Only people with Aries Rising on the ascendant have the natural zodiac, the rest of us do not. We each have different rising signs based on our birth time, however the meanings of each house, sign and ruler are still correct.)

The clue here is to see how putting the highest expression of each planet and sign can be activated, while being aware of the pitfalls of the lower expression, the shadow.

Here’s where the magic begins; when you know what the range of possibilities are, you can make the intention to ‘give to the gods’ what they want, thereby setting yourself up to be in the best alignment with your chart. You’ll be in the Tao of your life.
So here are the relationships between the houses, planets, and signs:

First House: Describes you and how others see you. It starts at the ascendant (at 9:00 o’clock on your chart) and planets placed here influence your style and way of being in the world. Keyword: I am.

Ruled by: Planet Mars. Mars is the active, Yang, assertive quality we all have…it wants expression in the world! It wants to be your inner warrior and to rightfully defend or claim what is yours. It’s highest expression is having the Courage to act despite fears, and the lowest is whining or raging about what is wrong in your life, and ultimately being like the Lion in the Wizard of Oz; a coward.

Sign: Aries. This firey sign always has similar qualities to its ruler, and the key word for Aries is courage; it’s about feeling the fear and doing it anyway. In the Tarot deck, Aries would be the very first card, where we see the young man starting off on his journey. Aries is an enthusiastic starter of projects and needs to learn to keep up its strength and persistence. Brilliant and naïve at times, Aries doesn’t like to back down from a challenge of wits or strength. When the noble knight of Aries doesn’t tackle the project or challenge, it can become bitter, sad, or occasionally vengeful. Aries needs to push up against all obstacles and define themselves in the world, and most of all, in their own eyes.


Second House: Describes how you feel about your resources, your values, and your money. It starts at 8:00 o’clock on your chart. This house reflects our feelings about our self-worth. Keyword: “I have”.

 Ruled by Planet: Venus. Venus is our relationship style, the inner feminine, and relates to our ability to receive and connect. Venus desires security, serenity and beauty, and therefore is also related to money and our style of gaining money and serenity. Venus is earthy and is nurtured by nature and music, and loves the loyalty of friends. Its highest expression is to make real and tangible all that it loves. Its lowest expression is to lose serenity through drama and complexity, and to retreat into mind-numbing activities.

Sign: Taurus. This earth sign can bore itself to death unless it chooses to imaginatively change its persistent stubbornness and allow in the new. Taurus wants ‘to have’ in that it wants to know what it likes, what it stands for, and who it is. It wants a stable environment where it feels at home; and who doesn’t? But Taurus deeply needs to be grounded, and from that position it can come out of its self-made cocoon and emerge into it’s pure nature and nurture others with its many resources. 


Third House: Describes your communication style, your mind, and siblings. It starts at 7:00 o’clock on your chart. This house reflects your feelings about going into the world and connecting with others, and sharing that information. Here’s where you are a bridge maker and connector.

Ruled by Planet: Mercury. This is the planet of communication, and can be the part of us that is the teacher, the story-teller, or the journalist. Mercury can be a trickster as well, and in mythology it’s sometimes seen as flighty, curious and unpredictable. Its high expression is to connect and help the rest of us share who our knowledge and wisdom with others. Its lower expression is a superficial knowledge of many things, and a narrow viewpoint on life.

Sign: Gemini. This air sign likes to penetrate mystery and hates to be bored. Gemini is curious, and is born to perceive all that is happening and to hold the paradoxes of life without a judgmental attitude. Gemini is born to master the art of speaking…and listening. The minds of Gemini’s are so active that they need physical release so that the psychic tension doesn’t overflow into its nervous system. Commitment to one person or activity can be hard for Gemini unless there is enough action and variety to keep the curious Gemini vibrant.
(To be continued....)

Saturday, November 9, 2013

A beginning....Understanding Your Astrology Chart

Let’s begin at the beginning:

Take a look at your birth chart, and you’ll see it looks like a circle divided into 12 sections. This circular mandala, with all the planets, signs, numbers and aspect lines, is based on your particular birth time, day, place, and year. The theory that underlies a chart is that it’s based on the model of reincarnation which implies that you chose the time and place to be born to in order to grow from your experiences. There are no good or bad charts—it’s all in how you play out the energy patterns there, and like a spiritual mandala, you can use it to ponder and learn many things.

 I like to think of this circle as being  a conference table with all the planets around the table. The planets are parts of who you are—your sub-personalities or archetypal energies,  sitting in their respective sections (“houses”) around the table, with your Sun sign (your ego identity) being the chairperson of the board. Each planet has a glyph (sign) which describes it. The lines in the center of the chart (aspects) are like an invisible conversation that is going on between these planets that make up your inner Self; your family constellation of inner people. They do many things: they make alliances (conjunctions), they square off to each other and irritate, they trine in each in support and agreement, they oppose each other outwardly (oppositions) and stimulate each other (sextiles). We’ll get back to these and a few other aspects of communication later.

Think of it this way: you have planets, signs, houses, aspects, and Nodes. In each house is a planet or Node, and you are neither blessed nor cursed by the arrangements they make. It reflects a pattern that was in the sky at the moment of your birth, and this synchronicity is significant. It doesn’t matter if all your planets are bunched together in one or two houses, or if you have many empty sections or houses. A section of the circle that is empty simply means that in that area/house/section of your life. You have more freedom there and are less influenced by planetary energies. (A client of mine thought she would never be married because she had no planets in the 7th house of partnerships—not so!)

You’ll also see that outside the circle, at the edge or cusp of each section/house is a planet. That planet will inform and influence the goings on in that house. We have all the planets and all the signs somewhere in each of our charts—it’s only the arrangements that are different.

What’s a house again? Think of it this way—it’s where the action is. It’s the area of your life that is in consideration. There are 12 of them and they’re dividing lines on the chart, like pieces of a pie. The 1st house starts at the ascendant, which is where 9:00 o’clock would be on a clock, and they proceed counterclockwise till we get to the last house, which is the 12th, between 10:00 and 9:00 on your chart. We’ll get to the meanings of them in a minute.

What’s a planet? It’s what we are talking about. If it’s Venus, we’re talking about your relationship style, and relates to the feminine side of yourself, male or female. If it’s Mars it’s your assertive side and style.

What’s a sign? It’s an adjective to describe the planet we’re talking about. If we’re talking about your Sun sign and want to know more about it, we’d give it a sign—it describes more of its nature and tendencies. This is what Sun sign astrology horoscopes focus on—the sign that your Sun is in. It only tells a bit of the story. It’s the story of the hero/heroine/your solar journey—but it doesn’t tell you that much about what else is happening, and there’s lots more!

What’s an aspect? These are the lines in the middle of your chart. This is the conversation that’s happening at the conference table. All the numbers you see on your chart create the aspects or dynamics between the planets. If two planets are conjunct or connect to each other, they combine and merge their energies, making them strong in alliance, whereas if two planets are square, they are 90 degrees apart and there’s an unspoken tension between them. If two planets are opposite each other the tension tends to come from outsde situation or people. These oppositions are 180 degrees apart. These are the main aspects, although astrologers also use minor ones, such as the sextile of 60 degree separation which acts as stimulation, and inconjuncts which act almost like an opposition, but is easier as they only need adjustments to get along.

There are configurations that the aspects make too—and the most important one is the YOD when two inconjuncts are pointing to a planet and are linked by a sextile at its base. In essence, it’s saying look more carefully at this planet in your life. It is somewhat like the North Node in meaning.

 What’s a transit or progression—that is how can one predict? Essentially, we cannot predict, but the conversation/aspects of the current transiting planets in the sky is important when looked at with your chart. When a moving transiting planets joins up and aspects one of your planets then this is a hot spot, and speaks to the astrologer---- it is what an astrologer looks at when looking to your present or upcoming “astrological weather forecast.”

So if you’re in a transit of Pluto squaring your Sun, and you know the meaning of Pluto and what a square is, and the Sun…then you can string them into a sentence, such as: I’m having the planet of death, rebirth, regeneration in tense aspect to my Self (Sun) and the transit lasts till next September. You can see how long a transit lasts by looking at an Ephemeris or on an astrology computer program.

A progression can be seen as being your “evolving Self.” This speaks to the inner feeling of your life’s journey at the moment. It’s not used as much as the transits to get a feel for what’s happening now but it’s worth a look. Computer programs all have progressions, and they often put the birth chart in the center with the transits and progressions in a bi-wheel or tri-wheel around them.

That’s the quick version. In the next sections we’ll go deeper into the meaning of the planets and I’ll show you a special technique you can use to understand how to really know the full range of possibilities of how the SIGNS and PLANETS can understood in their highest and lowest expressions.

©Elizabeth Spring

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Part Two: What's beneath the veil in the astrologer's art?

The psychologist, Carl Jung  once said that we can often endure what we feel to be almost "the unendurable". He believed that our center can hold, particularly if we chose to wait and hold the tension of the opposites in our psyche, till an answer rises up by itself…what he called the “third way.” Synchronistic moments often point to this third way if we can hear their message.

And....Jungian astrologers often sense that our unconscious sets up situations and scenarios that fit into what we’re currently telling our Self about our life story.  So if you don’t know your inner patterns and shadow tendencies, then you’re more likely to sabotage yourself or to allow someone else to do that to you. Pondering your astrological chart can help you with that inner self knowledge or you can go to an astrologer or an analyst for help. This blog is to help you gain some insights into the inner workings of your Self, simply by pondering the symbolism in your chart. Not easy, but perhaps easier than you may think. And perhaps that's part of what astrologer's don't tell you--you can do it yourself.

For some, this might sound too intense to do alone, and perhaps it is. Astrology readings have many advantages besides the "insights" and most "readings" leave clients feeling good and validated for their choices. And they’ll leave with questions to think about…such as, what part of me has contributed to what is happening now or may have wanted or feared it? But the astrological forecast shows times of clearing and new openings and possibilities --what’s Jupiter doing? What’s Uranus doing? And so the session usually ends with a satisfying sense that there’s a synchronicity between the client’s life and their chart, and most of all—they have choices of what to do, even if it's just waiting for the "third" way to appear while holding the tension of the opposites.

 So….what happens in an astrology reading is that a sense of possibilities emerges, for example, you might have transiting planets to your Venus in the 7th house of relationships that could show a cooling down of affection (Saturn) or a need for more space/freedom (Uranus) or a confusion or betrayal (Neptune).  And the astrologer will mention these as possibilities, but what matters most is the choices based on this Self-knowing: by honest delving into the story/questions, and asking such such things as: Do you really want this relationship or job? Or are you just doing it because…? Are you stuck between a rock and a hard place and need to endure it?

And....we look at the backstory and the larger story through the most important part of the chart: the North and South Nodes, while still looking at the whole chart as being karmic. We look closely at what’s happening now and in the near future so that they can be clear and more empowered in their choices.

But you can do this too! Astrology teaches that life has patterns and is not a random sequence of events, but that all is interrelated and meaningful. We may not be able to see it at first, and we’re not denying that Great Mysteries do exist and we don’t know what the Soul’s intention is for this life. But evolutionary astrologers believe in reincarnation and that we have more than one chance to get it right.  Astrologers believe life has meaning, and hints of it are in the map of the psyche: the chart.

So, what does that mean for us in this book? I want to help you know how to find the indications to make the most out of the auspicious times and how to ride through the tough times. Is it a challenge or a brick wall? Can I go over it, around it, or must I stop? “This too will pass” we say as we see the astrological climate changing. We know that no transit happens before its time.

Astrology is a means for empowerment and it can be used as a spiritual and healing practice. I want to share with you what makes astrology work and how you can do it yourself.  Let’s begin.

Part One: The Astrology Reading

Here’s the dilemma: you’ve paid a good amount of money for a reading, and you want the truth, you want to know what to expect, and to leave feeling better about yourself and your choices. You don’t want to feel scared or told that this time next year the “sky might fall in” on your relationship or job. But what does the astrologer do if she sees that possibility in your chart?
If she or he is like me, I look first at the birth chart to get a sense of who this person is, and then I look at the upcoming transits for the next year or two, and then move back a year in time to look at repeating patterns. This layering of the birth chart with the current patterns in the heavens now (transits) is like a weather report giving me a glimpse into my client’s world. It also speaks of timing: whether a current “weather  pattern” is like a fast moving cold front coming in and out, or whether it is something that resonates with the birth chart and is more embedded—a place of deep stuckness, or a possible “complex” as a psychologist would say.
So I see the patterns between the charts and transits in context with each other. This enables me to find ways to “layer the information.” I need to find out what they want to know—does their question relate to old parental or past life issues? (For that I’d look to the Nodes, the 4th, 10th and 12th house, or Pluto.) Or does it have to do more with their current relationship (5th, 7th and 8th house) or job /career(the 6th and the 10th house)? Is this person feeling confused or stuck (possible Neptune aspects) or in drastic need of a change (Uranus)? This is an oversimplification, but it illustrates how to look to certain areas of the charts and layer information. In other chapters we’ll delve deeper into the planetary signatures for questions that are often asked.
It’s important to remember that most clients want to be validated for their decisions, and that their Soul chose this particular chart and life by choosing the time and place to be born. And never underestimate the power of their free will; the most important part of the equation: “fate plus free will equals destiny.”

Monday, November 4, 2013

Are you reading or listening to your Sun Sign forecast? First Mistake!

Here’s a clue—want it to be more accurate? Find your birth time! The difference between a person who reads or listens to their horoscope and the astrologer’s art is that the astrologer is layering on information, bit by bit, and synthesizing it all. You can do it too—it’s not that hard.

If you don’t know your Rising Sign, you can find it by getting your astrology chart for free on-line (like at and you’ll have your unique birth chart based on the time, date and place of your birth; that first synchronistic moment in your life; a snapshot of the sky at the moment your Soul chose to be born.

 What sign is rising? Here’s how to find it. The birth chart looks like a mandala, a clock, or a “pie” that’s divided into 12 sections. Now I want you to find your Rising sign, which is the sign placed at 9:00 o’clock on your chart. That sign is the clue to a more accurate forecast for you because it’s from your own astrology chart—not a generic one for everyone who has the same birth sign, and you’ll read that Rising sign horoscope even before you read your Sun sign. That's a clearer snapshot of your chart and life.  Astrology is not a hard science, so there will be differences, but if you ponder both Rising and Sun sign, you can get really good clues for the month or day ahead.

You see, everyone may know you’re a Libra Sun sign but your Libra friend will have the same forecast unless you read your rising sign, and then read your Sun sign. You’re adding and layering the information--synthesizing what is there; and that is the first clue as to what a professional astrologer does. Layering information.

Now there’s a third clue to going deeper into understanding your chart. What “house” is your Sun sign in? Again, starting at the Rising Sign (at 9:00 o’clock on your chart) count “counter clock wise” from the first house (the section between 9:00 and 8:00 o’clock) till you find the house or section of the chart where your Sun sign is… then read about that house and what it represents—for example, if it’s in the section of the “astrological pie” that is 4 sections from the ascendent it’s in the 4th house. That means there’s something about you (your Sun) that is deeply embedded with the meaning of that house: "home, heart, hearth" is imporatant, as well as how you frame the personal mythology of your life story.

OK. I can imagine some of you are re-reading this and shaking your head—you’re the visual learners. So take a look at my you-tube channel where I explain this. It’s at:

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