Tony Blair – astrological birth chart

With the recent publication of the Chilcot report, here is an updated look at Tony Blair’s astrology chart (born 6.10 a.m., 6th May 1953, Edinburgh in Scotland). Blair of course had the same natal chart at the time of his landslide victory in 1997, at the time of his decision to invade Iraq, and now. As a life changes, so does the interpretation of the birth chart.

Although Tony is an Earth Sun sign Taurus, Air is the strongest element, with a clear emphasis on idealism, social development and communication. In common with many ambitious and driven individuals, Tony has a fairly close square between his Sun and Moon, Taurus and Aquarius respectively. Taurus is solid, down-to-earth, often conventional and materialistic. Aquarius is idealistic, a social reformer, often unconventional, even eccentric.

Another obvious strong feature of the chart is a powerful conjunction of Mars (supported by expansive Jupiter) close to his Gemini Ascendant (rising sign). Any planet this close to the Ascendant degree in anyone’s chart represents a dominant energy of the personality. The Mars in Gemini individual asserts themselves flexibly, verbally and cleverly but dualistic Gemini can often be a bit too clever. Blair’s Gemini ability to communicate enthusiastically and openly is exaggerated by nearby Jupiter in Taurus. These characteristics dominate Blair’s whole personality, bringing an air of confidence, good luck and natural leadership ability. However, it’s perhaps worth noting that Donald Trump also has a close conjunction of the red planet Mars to the Ascendant degree and as the classical music composer Gustav Holst observed, Mars is also “the Bringer of War”.

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As shown by the Aquarian Moon close to his North Node in the 10th house, Blair has always been genuinely driven to make his mark on the world by expressing his humanitarian instincts. The Saturn-Neptune conjunction in Libra and his 6th house is also a sign of being committed to putting ideals of harmony and fairness into practice through hard work. At its best expression, this is an excellent combination for a diplomat. Some people now understandably dismissive of Blair as a money-grabbing warmonger might easily forget his work on Human Rights, the Northern Ireland peace process, and even apparently successful military intervention in Sierra Leone where he is widely regarded as a hero.

With chart ruler Mercury opposite Neptune and Saturn, ideas and words may not be what they seem – a struggle with straightforward communication is clearly shown. Tony has his Sun in the 12th house too, an astrological indicator that frequently corresponds with a complicated or confused sense of identity. At best, any ego problems here can be transcended and shared with the collective consciousness and there is often a spiritual theme to the life of a 12th house individual. Blair’s 12th house relationship with God and, as he sees it, the fight against global evil are fundamental to understanding the man.

BlairChilcotAs the Chilcot report approached, the bad publicity for Blair suddenly appeared under the first pass of a Uranus transit, opposing his Saturn-Neptune conjunction with a square to his Chiron in Capricorn, around April-May 2016. A simple interpretation of that could be “a shocking awakening to the balance between Blair’s idealism and realism, together with his wounded ability to take responsibility”, Chilcot confirming what we already knew.

Will Tony Blair be held accountable? Current reports say that he won’t have to face trial for war crimes. The financial integrity of Blair’s business and charity empire has also been questioned. The next two passes of that Uranus transit to Blair’s Saturn-Neptune are in late October-early November 2016 and late February-early March 2017. Pluto also continues to transit his Sun, Venus and Uranus, from mid-August through to early November this year. Over the next few years, both Uranus and Pluto continue to transit all Blair’s significators in the second half of the Cardinal signs and by 2018, Saturn will be well into his 8th house of transformation and “death and re-birth”. Pluto squares Saturn-Neptune in 2019, on its way up to Blair’s Midheaven.

pluto-glyphHowever they play out, there’s clearly some seriously confronting, tumultuous times ahead for Tony Blair.

Farmageddon – The True Cost of Cheap Meat

farmageddonjpegFor anyone who has not cottoned on to how much harm is being done (to animals, people and the planet) by current methods of food production, I highly recommend this book. The authors demand that we reconsider how we are raising animals for meat and ask many other serious questions about our methods of agriculture and eating patterns across the world. For anyone who has already studied the issues here, there may not be much that is new.

A wide range of different types of damage caused by modern farming techniques are examined in great detail. The scarcity of bees, the massive overuse of antibiotics in farm animals (“Roughly half of all antibiotics produced in the world go to food animals”), the use of cereals and grains as animal feed instead of for direct human consumption (“A third of the world’s cereal harvest is used for animals. If it went directly to human’s instead, it would feed about 3 billion people”) the problems in modern fish-farming such as sea lice and waste (“A fifth of the world’s fish is effectively being wasted feeding other fish”) and so on.

Author Philip Lymbery

Author Philip Lymbery

Industrial agriculture is yet another example of how placing corporate profits before people and the environment is, in the long-term, self-destructive madness. The authors finish with the importance of consumer power and a call for more compassionate and realistic solutions as the way forward. Reduce and recycle food waste, take animals out of the factory sheds and restore them to the land, eat less meat, buy organic and free-range. Farming – a return to the old ways of mixed farming with plants and animals on the same farm. Use natural manure to fertilize crops, doing away with the giant pits of excrement found on mega-farms.

Many people still want to believe that pigs and cows and sheep and chickens all live on Old MacDonald’s farm, happily chomping away at grass in the fields or pecking in the farmyard, despite all the evidence that’s now available to the contrary. This book is a powerful, comprehensive and balanced wake-up call that doesn’t preach and it doesn’t say that we should all be vegan or even vegetarian. Time for us all to open our eyes a bit.

Elephant in the room

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Astrological mid-life crisis, age 37-42

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The astrological mid-life crisis (crisis = danger + opportunity, according to the Chinese) occurs for everyone at around age 37-42. It would be more accurate to describe the process as a series of crises. The exact timing varies and depends on the individual birth chart, but this is one of those astrological cycles that everyone experiences at roughly the same age. The peak of it usually lasts two to three years. Important long-term changes (some astrologers now consider an astrological mid-life up to age 50) are common as a result of how the person deals with the challenges that come up. As always, and at the risk of stating the obvious, you have a choice as to how you deal with it all.

At around age 37 or so, Pluto squares natal Pluto – difficult but potentially deep evolutionary change that confronts some of us with internal and external power struggles and buried resentments. We may go a bit crazy as Pluto takes us on a healing journey, particularly if Pluto or Scorpio are strong in the birth chart.

NeptuneGlyph1Neptune squares its natal position in the chart at around age 41 and this can be very confusing and disorientating. Deeply held dreams and ideals can suddenly seem empty or no longer relevant. Disappointment and disillusionment is common, and a letting go of old attachments is necessary before the individual can begin to develop a restored sense of faith and philosophy of life.

Uranusglyph1The Uranus opposition Uranus transit at age 40-41 is often even more disrupting and in a different way. It has often been described as one of the most important astrological phases of one’s life. Uranus is the great awakener, that stirs up our reality so that we are never the same again afterwards. Sudden shocks, realizations, and complete changes of life direction are common at this time. Re-discovering one’s freedom and unique sense of individuality is important. Some people leave a marriage, relationship, or job. Others may go through a crisis in these areas that eventually strengthens their original commitment. The challenge is to be able to make the necessary changes without “throwing the baby out with the bath water”.

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If we manage to cope with these potential crises during our late thirties and early forties, a significant amount of unnecessary baggage can be left behind. The individual birth chart will give other indicators as to how easy or difficult this process is likely to be.

Please note, this is a deliberately brief and general summary. Good luck to all!

Review of “Whose Dream Are You Living?”

Thanks to Joe Bridge of the Real Music Club for this nice album review:-

“Tim Burness is back at the RMC on February 27th and with his seventh album, Whose Dream Are You Living? a work he has been patiently and lovingly crafting for the best part of five years. His previous album Vision On (2007) received strong notices, recognition and international reviews, so Tim had a lot to live up to with its follow up, released in November last year and available via https://timburness.bandcamp.com/

LiveBurnessOpening track Onwards and Upwards starts off with Gregg McKella’s swirling synths and electro beats before the real drums (Fudge Smith: ex Pendragon and Steve Hackett) kick in and drive the song forward, carrying the positive message of the song’s lyrics along with it.

Slowing down with Grass is Greener, this song seems to catch a man at some sort of crossroads contemplating a change in life, with Tim’s wit particularly enjoyable on lines such as “I know that some British folk like to hang out in Turkey, if I get myself out there I might feel slightly more perky. I heard things are quieter in Belgium, unfortunately there is not much that rhymes with Belgium” and “the grass is greener over there, at least I’ve still got most of my hair”!

The album continues to alternate between tempos as Monty Oxymoron (Damned, Sumerian Kyngs) starts up Set Your Spirit Free, another positive-thinking song “release the energy and set your spirit free” before the ambient sounds of Round and Round bring things down into a mellow hypnotic trance with its repetitive acoustic riff and minimal vocal lines punctuating the soundscape.

Moving on with something a bit different, Smith’s thumping percussive beats and Tim’s fiery bursts of guitar create an aggressive atmosphere to colour the assertive lyric of The Messenger, an atmosphere that builds before being punctured by a cough and a completely unexpected (should I have put a spoiler alert in?!) middle section, all Oompah band and megaphone! Another track that takes the album into different territory is the aptly titled Unlike Any Other, which is largely instrumental bar some sparse spoken lines, and carries with it a kind of modern noirish nightmare feel with its theramin-like sounds eerily playing over the stop-start rhythm.

After that midway detour, A Space for Our Love to Grow brings us back to the vibe set by the opening four tracks – a typically spacious, synthesised sound with a yearning chorus. There are again some little musical twists to keep things interesting, such as the nice acoustic / keys outro that just acts as a nice release to the emotion of the main body of the song.

Politics infiltrates the album on Stop Them. Tim’s anti-corporate, anti-capitalist protest is powerful in its passion but done with a light enough touch to not beat you over the head with its message. The music is subtle with vocals to the fore, bringing full attention to the lyrics.

After the relatively heavy Stop Them comes a song with a sprinkling of humour, playing on its name check of Doctor Who in its first line, with repeated use of Dalek-sounding voices. Otherwise What’s Going On In Your Head is one of those Ronseal songs, doing exactly what it says on the tin!

Closing out the album is Cynical World, a track that gives the album a sense of closure and of wrapping things up with the repeated vocal refrain “Our love goes on” sung over Monty Oxymoron’s distinctive backing vocals and some clean, emotive lead guitar work. Tim Burness has produced a mature and engaging work, full of hope, positivity and deep soul searching, always giving something for the mind to think over whether they be the personal, spiritual or political lyrics within, the trippy soundscapes, or the intricate musical twists and turns along the way. Five years of hard graft and personal investment well spent!”

Great gig

A few pics of our recent gig with The Lanes and Spacedogs, promoted by The Real Music Club at The Prince Albert, Brighton. Promoter Roy Weard:- “Wonderfully good gig tonight. All three bands absolutely excelled themselves and the audience wear pumping it up by the end of The Lanes gig. Great stuff.” Photos courtesy of Andy Voakes Music Photography. A great night, the first TB full band gig for a few years, here’s to a few more…

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The Gods of Change by Howard Sasportas

TheGodsOfChangeThe late Howard Sasportas packed a huge amount of high quality astrological and psychological information into this intelligent, clear and accessible book  It was a constant companion for many years, both for my work as a professional astrologer and in following my own transits of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. It is a classic cookbook on the outer planets, covering their transits to each planet and through each house.

The first section, “The Collaboration with the Inevitable”, is an excellent summary of how astrology can be used as a tool for understanding ongoing personal transformation, helping to turn perceived crises into opportunities. Sasportas then moves on to look in great detail and depth at the transits of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto to each planet in the natal chart. A very large number of case histories are dotted throughout the transit interpretations, with a wide range of examples of how each planetary combination can show up in daily life. These possible events are considered in the context of the psychological development of the individual, Sasportas drawing on his extensive knowledge of many fields of psychology, mythology and spirituality.

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Much of the astrological material here is similar to other classic late twentieth century transit books such as those by Robert Hand, Betty Lundsted or Stephen Arroyo (who Sasportas acknowledges), but Sasportas masterfully integrated a huge number of additional psychological and spiritual insights from many sources. Over 25 years later, The Gods Of Change is still a wise, compassionate and substantial contribution to modern astrology.