The Book of Music Horoscopes

First class collection of short essays, birth data and birth charts

Masterfully compiled in 2018 by well known UK astrologer Frank Clifford, The Book Of Music Horoscopes features over 500 birth charts of famous pop, rock, soul, country and jazz performers. There are over 30 essays on the astrology of music, contributed by a wide range of experienced astrologers. With one or two brief exceptions, classical music and musicians are not covered.

Amongst the more well-known astrologers featured, Steven Forrest writes on Neptune’s journey through the signs, looking at the corresponding myths and moods for each 15-year time period since the 1940s. Psychological astrologer Lynn Bell contributes a piece on The Moon, the Musician and the Listening Public, which includes a brief analysis of Joni Mitchell’s chart.

Other short essays include a detailed look at the birth charts of Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page by Mandi Lockley, Dave Grohl’s chart by Michelle Young and Madonna by Deborah Perera. I am proud to have contributed The Aquarian, Uranian Nature of Progressive Rock to the book, a slightly different version of which can be found here. Depending on taste, one or two of the essays are perhaps not up to the high standard on show, but overall this is a great book – tons of info and plenty to keep the reader entertained in general !

Stephen Arroyo – a modern master of astrology

Stephen Arroyo - Astrodienst Astrowiki

It is fairly safe to say that Stephen Arroyo would be included in any list of the most influential and popular western astrologers over the last fifty years. Arroyo’s books have been translated into over 25 languages and continue to make their mark on the world. Several of them are still astrological bestsellers. 

Beginning with the groundbreaking 1975 debut of Astrology, Psychology and the Four Elements, Arroyo’s work has masterfully integrated astrology, psychology and related fields such as counselling and spirituality. Various astrological organizations, including the Astrological Association, have awarded him prizes through the years. Arroyo’s books are characterized by an intelligent and accessible approach using clear, precise language. 

A quick look at Stephen Arroyo’s chart (born at 5.35 pm in Kansas City, Missouri on 6th October, 1946) shows an Air emphasis, with Sun in Libra and Moon in Aquarius. The best of both show up in his writings – an often beautiful presentation of original ideas, with a charming and quirky sense of humour never far away. Close aspects between the inner and outer planets, including Sun sextile Pluto and Moon trine Uranus, show a cosmic kind of guy! A more challenging close square between ruling planet Mars in Scorpio and Saturn in Leo has no doubt been a motivating creative force.  

The new book

Experiments and Experience with Astrology: Reflections on Methods and Meaning (2019)

The new collection of Stephen Arroyo writings was released at the end of 2019, a small volume and an ideal companion to his previous books. Those familiar with Arroyo’s work will recognize familiar themes but there are various snippets of new information and fresh perspectives too. 

The first chapter is a detailed interview with Arroyo, previously published in both a Serbian astrological magazine and The Mountain Astrologer. Arroyo answers a range of questions and describes how he initially came across astrology through studying psychologist Carl Jung, then going on on to study and build on the work of astrologers such as Dane Rudhyar and Charles Carter. Elsewhere in the book, Arroyo explores familiar themes of clarity, simplicity and viewing the chart from a holistic perspective. “Polish that lens… because astrology is a way of seeing… that’s why it depends so much on the individual practitioner and his or her personality and level of consciousness.” (p. 46) 

Going against current trends for cramming the birth chart full of “extras”, the author cautions against using too many factors in chart interpretation. Do astrologers want to help people understand their lives and themselves more clearly, or do they want to confuse the client by adding more and more detail, so that eventually just about anything can be rationalized. Arroyo keeps a focus on the fundamentals of the birth chart, including an interpretive technique using Subtones.

Whilst fully embracing astrology’s healing power and the huge potential for contributing to and interacting with both psychology and science, Stephen Arroyo also stresses the need for humility on the part of astrologers and astrology. As usual, he is pointing the way forward.

Previous books

Astrology, Karma and Transformation: Inner Dimensions of the Birth Chart (1978)

Still a modern classic and great for beginners or advancedastrologers. This has been something of an “astrological bible” to many. The depth of Arroyo’s writing here is extraordinary and the author has said that Saturn and Pluto transits were involved when he wrote it. Perhaps the only criticism is that so much is packed into one single book, sometimes in the form of very long sentences. But this is hardly a complaint.

The outer planets are covered extensively with many examples of aspects and transits to the birth charts of people with relatively ordinary lives. This makes a refreshing change from astrological literature that deals only with famous people, or people with severe problems of one kind or another. The chapter on Saturn is excellent, particularly the journey of Saturn through the twelve houses. 

This book is not only full of essential contemporary astrology. Arroyo also draws on his considerable experience of other tools for spiritual and psychological growth. He has a background in marriage and family counselling (see chapter on Karma and relationships), and his many references to various spiritual teachers, Eastern religions, Western psychology and the Edgar Cayce psychic readings add to the spiritual power of Arroyo’s writing.

Chart Interpretation Handbook: Guidelines for Understanding the Essentials of the Birth Chart (1989)

Some astrologers consider this the best basic astrological chart interpretation book on planet Earth! For anyone interested in understanding the essentials of astrological birth chart interpretation, this is an excellent starting point.

Arroyo builds on his other internationally best-selling astrology books here. In fact some of the content is directly lifted from previous work (e.g. Astrology, Karma and Transformation) but the book is no less value for money as a result. Step by step, Arroyo uses clear, modern language to reveal the essential meanings of any birth chart. Wisdom and clear intelligent insights spring from every page and even an experienced astrologer can benefit from Arroyo’s imaginative and precise use of language.

Unlike some of Arroyo’s early work, the Chart Interpretation Handbook is nicely laid out, due no doubt to the editing skills of Jerilynn Marshall who Arroyo enthusiastically acknowledges. It’s all here: the four elements and the twelve signs, key concepts for the planets, the planets in the signs, the ascendant and midheaven, the houses and planetary aspects. And, true to Arroyo’s sense of humour (always bubbling away beneath the profound depth of his writing), there’s even a couple of cartoons.

Astrology, Psychology and the Four Elements: An Energy Approach to Astrology and its Use in the Counselling Arts (1975)

Astrology, Psychology & the Four Elements by Stephen Arroyo · OverDrive:  ebooks, audiobooks, and videos for libraries and schools

Another classic and a genuinely pioneering book that still reads well today. Arroyo presents a language of energy that helped establish a new field of astrological psychology, ushering in at least some degree of acceptance of depth astrology, both in the helping professions and by the general public.

Arroyo transcends the boundaries of astrology and psychology, developing key words and concepts for the astrological elements and houses. Depending on where you are with your astrological studies, this book could be read as more of an intermediate level text. It is not an introductory cookbook describing planets and signs of the zodiac.

Arroyo aims at a deep and sophisticated understanding of the fundamental energies involved in astrology and does a great job.

Person-to-Person Astrology: Energy Factors in Love, Sex and Compatibility (2007)

Perhaps lacking the punch of his earlier work, this is still very high quality writing. The author commented that it was written more for the general reader and independent thinker.

The first few chapters explore a wide range of issues related to both astrology’s lack of widespread acceptance and the problems of forming healthy relationships in the modern world. Arroyo refers to the “mass psychosis” of the modern Western lifestyle that bombards us with commercial images and unrealistic expectations. Our ability to form relationships with each other is one area that suffers as a result. The author suggests that if more people opened their minds to what serious astrology has to offer, they would find a much-needed, precise, insightful tool for self-understanding.

Arroyo gradually moves on to explore astrological basics such as the four elements, the twelve signs and the rising sign. The personal planets and relationships are covered in great depth, with countless everyday quotes and examples from many years of observation. 

Relationships And Life Cycles: Astrological Patterns of Personal Experience (1979)

Book Review: Relationships & Life Cycles by Stephen Arroyo | RealAstrologers

A masterful and entertaining volume on the astrology of relationships. Early in the prologue, Arroyo explains his approach here: “Sometimes one must concentrate on tuning in on the LIVING nature of ideas by having fun with them, and this can often be more significant for students of astrology than systematic and dry attempts to be deep and meaningful”.

The majority of “Relationships And Life Cycles” is comprised of workshop transcriptions, much of these being naturally presented in a question and answer format. There are five sections: The Individual’s Capacity For Relationship, Techniques Of Chart Comparison, The Use Of The Houses In Chart Comparison, Understanding Transits, Some Thoughts On Astrological Counselling.

Numerous astrological perspectives on common everyday relationship experiences are scattered throughout the text. At the same time, all the theoretical basics are covered e.g. the Sun and the Moon, Venus and Mars in the different signs of the zodiac, aspects between the charts of two people (particularly involving the planet of commitment, Saturn). The section Understanding Transits could almost be a separate book in itself, there is an excellent few pages here on the journey of Jupiter and Saturn through the different houses of the birth chart.

Exploring Jupiter: Astrological Key to Progress, Prosperity and Potential (1996)

This book is the very essence of Jupiter. From its apt title, to its generous use of many famous chart examples, to Arroyo’s trademark insight and wisdom on every page, Exploring Jupiter is positively a winner.

While outlining a framework for understanding Jupiter in the first chapter, the author comments: “…I cannot help but feel that Jupiter’s bigness and broad vision is inextricably linked to the perennial human search for a larger truth and for an experience of oneness with the universe”. The range of natal charts throughout the book reflects this, each one accompanied by a brief biographical account and astrological notes. Albert Einstein, Woody Allen, Eleanor Roosevelt, Michael Jordan, Robert Redford, William Blake are just a few of the charts covered.

Arroyo refers to Jupiter’s ancient rulership of Pisces as being significant, and the book is written with this in mind. Otherwise much of the book is built on the standard cookbook approach: Jupiter through the signs, Jupiter through the houses (arranged by element), Jupiter aspects in the birth chart and so on. The chapter on transits involving Jupiter is particularly good.

Practicing the Cosmic Science: Key Insights in Modern Astrology (1999) 

El extranjero » Blog Archive » Practicing the Cosmic Science. Key insights  in modern astrology, by Stephen Arroyo

A very broad range of often neglected issues are covered here. Many of them will be familiar to anyone who has been practising astrology for a number of years. For those starting out, the observations, insights and suggestions will be tremendously supportive.

Arroyo uses many excellent quotes from a vast range of sources to discuss astrology and its position in the modern world. Is it a science, a language, or a healing tool? What can it show you? Can it inspire you? Can it help you understand what other human beings and you yourself are going through in this life? What are the skills and qualifications necessary to be a good astrologer? How much should you charge? What kind of one to one connection can we make with other people? Do we have the necessary listening and communicating skills?

Since 1999 when this book was written, things have perhaps got better for anyone attempting to practice intelligent and genuinely consciousness-raising astrology. Most obviously, an increasing percentage of western society are now aware that astrology is not just about newspaper horoscopes. On the other hand, some changes in society are mixed blessings. As discussed in chapter 7, widespread use of computers by astrologers has cut out lots of tedious calculations, but the valuable period spent pondering the birth chart may be lost, thus potentially lowering the quality of interpretation. Similarly, although not anti-technology, Arroyo observes “there is a general degradation of standards in virtually every field that is widely promoted on the internet”. Twenty years later, these comments are more relevant than when they were first written.

The above article was originally published in Journal, the magazine of the Astrological Association https://www.facebook.com/AstrologicalJournal Thank you to editor Victor Olliver. This is the bimonthly publication of the Astrological Association http://www.astrologicalassociation.com dedicated to educating the public on astrology since 1958.

Consultations and readings available at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk

Astrological Association of Great Britain 2020 Conference

It is an honour to be speaking at the 52nd Astrological Association conference, originally to be held in Bedfordshire but now taking place online at the end of this month, 26th-28th June.

The theme of the conference is Serving The Future.

A rich and diverse programme, with 45 great international speakers! Access to all conference webinars for 21 days.

Speakers include: Bill Meridian, Christian König, Wendy Stacey, Lynn Bell, Wade Caves, Benjamin Dykes, Amanda Bradbury, Maria Blaquier, Tim Burness, Rod Chang, Frances Clynes, Jadranka Coic, Jodey Collorick, Mark Cullen, Kieron Devlin, Gill Dorren, Anna Estaroth, Crystal Eves, Kim Farnell, David Hamblin, Stephanie Johnson, Ryuji Kagami, Jupiter Lai, Jane Lewis, Susan Lionti, Ray Liu, Omari Martin, João Medeiros, Martin Sebastian Moritz, Fernanda Paiva, Giulio Rocco Pellegrini, Izabela Podlaska-Konkel, Robyn Ray, Christina Rodenbeck, Gali Sat Puran Livneh, Anne Schneider, Henry Seltzer, Jan Seward, Richard Smoot, Tom Stedall, Cathy Stronach, Aswin Balaji Subramanyan, Richard Swatton, Mark Urban-Lurain, Lara van Zuydam, Leigh Westin.

I will be talking at 5.30pm to 6.30pm on the Saturday evening, 27th June. Having attended the AA conference in 2018, I know it can be an exhilarating but exhausting experience taking in so much high quality astrology in such a short space of time – I hope enough people have enough space left in their brains for me by Saturday night! From the programme:

Total Transformation – Tim Burness. As we continue to experience the seismic shifts of the 2020 triple conjunctions, where are we headed? Total transformation is required. Using a wide range of charts to explore the interconnected crises of capitalism, ecology and democracy, this talk will explore possible ways forward.

More details at www.astrologicalassociation.com

Astrology: Using The Wisdom Of The Stars In Your Everyday Life by Carole Taylor

Beautiful and thorough introduction to modern astrology

As both the Director of Studies at the Faculty of Astrological Studies and a previous editor of the UK Astrological Association Journal magazine, the author Carole Taylor is well-established in the astrological community.

Astrology (2018) starts as a basic cookbook and then goes much further. After beginning with the signs, planets and houses, there is an overview of the whole chart, including the axes, aspects and chart themes. Later on, transits are introduced as astrology’s key forecasting tool.

The last two sections, Understanding Yourself and Life Events, apply the basics covered in the first half to an individual’s life. Here, the huge astrological experience of the author shines through. And there are lots of pictures!

With accompanying case studies, there are guidelines with astrological perspectives on relationships, handling disagreements, finances, changing career, health issues and more. Occasional quotes from past astrological masters such as Howard Sasportas and Dennis Elwell are a nice touch, along with further resources and a glossary of terms at the back.

Astrology uses contemporary language in applying astrology to people’s everyday lives in the modern world. It deserves to play a part in raising the profile of serious astrology for all. Here there is considerably more substance than the majority of mobile phone apps, Youtube videos and Instagram posts that sometimes pass for current astrological wisdom.

Experiments and Experience with Astrology by Stephen Arroyo

An ideal companion to Arroyo’s previous books

This new collection of Stephen Arroyo writings (Experiments and Experience with Astrology: Reflections on Method and Meaning) was released in paperback form at the end of 2019, a small-but-perfectly-formed volume and an ideal companion to his previous books. Those familiar with Arroyo’s work will recognize familiar themes but there are various snippets of new information and fresh perspectives too.

The first chapter is a detailed interview with Arroyo, previously published in a Serbian astrological magazine and The Mountain Astrologer. Arroyo answers a range of questions and describes how he initially came across astrology through studying psychologist Carl Jung, then going on to study and build on the work of astrologers such as Dane Rudhyar and Charles Carter. Elsewhere in this book, Arroyo explores familiar themes of clarity, simplicity and viewing the chart from a holistic perspective. “Polish that lens… because astrology is a way of seeing… that’s why it depends so much on the individual practitioner and his or her personality and level of consciousness.” (p. 46)

Going against current trends for cramming the birth chart full of “extras”, the author cautions against using too many factors in chart interpretation. He suggests that rather than running the risk of confusing clients by adding more and more detail, astrologers can help people understand their lives and themselves more clearly by fully exploring the fundamentals of the birth chart. Arroyo keeps a focus on the basics, including an interpretive technique using subtones.

Whilst fully embracing astrology’s healing power and the huge potential for contributing to and interacting with both psychology and science, Stephen Arroyo also stresses the need for humility on the part of astrologers and astrology as a whole. As usual, he is pointing the way forward.

The Signs by Carolyne Faulkner

Deservedly bestselling introduction to astrology

From the punchy introduction onwards, The Signs by Carolyne Faulkner (2017) is a deservedly bestselling introductory text on western natal astrology. As the author breezes through the signs, the planets and the houses, her style is accessible, upbeat and comprehensively thorough. The Signs is an energizing and empowering book that does full justice to the basics of the chart.

As with all the best writers of more serious astrology, it’s clear that the author has had a great deal of first-hand experience of working with clients. Throughout the book, there are brief examples and observations from people’s lives, keeping everything fresh and relevant. There are also good practical suggestions for anyone starting out e.g. “Write stuff down, I am a firm believer that when we write stuff down we remember it more readily.”

Carolyne Faulkner makes enthusiastic claims for her “Dynamic Astrology”. Although her style is inspiring, positive and transformational, the “pioneering new self-improvement method” seems to be much the same as the approach taken by the majority of modern practising astrologers. “Nobody’s future is written in the stars, it’s ours to create.” “Forget how you were in the past, the future is in your hands.”

There are many original, sometimes quirky touches in the interpretations. Unusually and disappointingly though, there are no references or recommended further reading at the end. The spirit of the author and The Signs is summed up in the final words: “Thank you to the universe! May all beings be happy and free from suffering!”

Inspired by Saturn – rock and pop musicians

Pondering my own second Saturn return next year (aaargh!), I thought it would be interesting to have a quick look at some of the wide range of musicians who have been inspired by Saturn in general. There is no shortage of musical artists who know a fair bit about astrology, some of them being accomplished astrologers themselves.

Sun Ra

When it comes to musical space cadets, the legendary Sun Ra (born Herman Poole Blount, 22nd May 1914 – 30th May 1993)  takes some beating. The extraordinary jazz man actually claimed to be from Saturn, sent to the Earth to uplift humanity by sharing universal truths from other worlds.This view of himself as a visionary from outer space became a huge part of the Sun Ra mythology. “If you are not a myth whose reality are you? If you are not a reality whose myth are you?” “The trouble with the people on this planet is they refuse to think, they refuse to believe anything except what they know.” A good introduction to Sun Ra and his Arkestra is Greatest Hits: Easy Listening For Intergalactic Travel.

Francis Dunnery

Moving forward in time, musician-astrologer Francis Dunnery originally established himself with the eighties band It Bites and as a guitarist with singer Robert Plant. An early solo success was Too Much Saturn And Not Enough Moon, a blues tune full of appropriately dry humour for his Capricorn Sun sign.

Most people reading this article will no doubt be very familiar with the astrological meaning of “the Saturn return”, so I won’t elaborate too much on that. It is of course an easily identifiable astrological cycle that most people can relate to, regardless of whether they know much about astrology or not. Saturn returns to its original position in the birth chart around the ages of 29 and 58, corresponding to a confrontation with reality and a sometimes painful growing up process.

In 1976, at the time of his Saturn return, David Bowie (natal Moon conjunct Saturn in Leo – an interpretation of his chart here) recorded Low. Bowie later guested on the track Truth for drum’n’bass star Goldie’s 1998 album Saturnz Return. A Capricorn himself, the name of Bowie’s last album Blackstar sounds suspiciously Saturnian.

Katy Perry

In the modern pop mainstream, American singer and songwriter Katy Perry is one of the best-selling music artists of all time, two of her biggest hits having been I Kissed a Girl and Roar. She talked about her Saturn return in 2014. “I’m 28… when you’re at the end of your 20s, it’s a very important growing time. It’s called the Saturn return, if you like astrology – I know it’s important for me.” Then there was Gwen Stefani and American band No Doubt with their fourth album Return Of Saturn in 2000.

Michael Stipe, the lead singer of R.E.M. was born with Sun conjunct Saturn in Capricorn, so it’s perhaps no surprise to see a track called Saturn Return on the 2001 album Reveal. Some of the intriguing lyrics:-

Birth chart for Michael Stipe from https://astrotheme.com

“Saturn is orbiting nothing

He’s off on its own

He’s breaking from home

Saturn returns when you chased down, it slows

Throw them into a new gravity

Harder to look yourself square in the eye

Easy to poke yourself, easy as pie

Easy to take off, harder to fly

Harder to wake Galileo.”

On the face of it, Paul Weller is perhaps not someone you would expect to have anything to do with astrology but the title of his 2015 album Saturns Pattern looks like a bit of a giveaway! Even more so when you find out that he has Capricorn rising and a close Mars square Saturn aspect in his natal chart.

Nao’s second album

In a collaborative project for 4AD records, Sufjan Stevens released Planetarium in 2017, which included an electro dance track Saturn. British R&B artist Nao released her album Saturn in November 2018. Touring in 2019 with Tears For Fears is another musician-astrologer Roland Orzabal. He has made no secret of his interest in astrology, with astrological references scattered throughout his lyrics and a 1996 album titled Saturnine Martial & Lunatic (a collection of B-sides and rare tracks).

The beautiful ringed planet can be heavy stuff in astrology but will no doubt continue to inspire musicians for many Saturn returns to come.

This is an edited version of an article originally published in IAM Infinity astrology magazine https://infinityastrologicalmagazine.com/

Consultations and readings available at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk

 

The murder of Stephen Lawrence – an astrological perspective

On the evening of 22nd April 1993, as he was waiting for a bus with his friend Duwayne Brooks in Eltham, South East London, 18-year-old Stephen Lawrence was murdered by a gang of white youths in an unprovoked racist attack. After an initial police investigation, five suspects were arrested but not convicted. Over the following 25 years, due to the determination of Stephen’s mother and family, layer after layer of police negligence, incompetence and corruption were uncovered.

A public inquiry into the handling of Stephen’s case was held in 1998, leading to the publication of the highly influential Macpherson report, an important moment in the modern history of British criminal justice.It made seventy recommendations to policing and wider public policy in law and education.

Following a change in the “double jeopardy” law that had prevented suspects being tried twice for the same crime, and with the help of new forensic evidence, Gary Dobson and David Norris were found guilty of the murder of Stephen Lawrence in January 2012. Further evidence of police corruption in dealing with the case has continued to emerge since.

The birth chart of Stephen Lawrence

According to Doreen Lawrence in her book “And Still I Rise” (2006), Stephen Lawrence was born at 9.30 pm on 13th September 1974 at Greenwich District Hospital. His natal chart shows Sun in Virgo, Moon in Leo, four planets in Libra and a fairly even distribution of planets in the four elements.A Venus-Neptune-Jupiter T-square in mutable signs stands out. As part of the T-square, the square between Venus and Neptune (the closest major aspect in the chart) is a potentially visionary combination, often found in the charts of artists and musicians. It indicates a challenge to express love, harmony and beauty (Venus) in a transcendent or universal (Neptune) way. The 11th house Jupiter in Pisces shows the potential for high ideals and compassionate service to society.

According to all accounts, Stephen Lawrence was a well-rounded and popular young man with everything going for him. Before his murder, he was an A level student with a wide number of interests and dreams of becoming an architect.

The chart for the murder

The original police appeal for information and witnesses states 10.39 pm as the time of the attack. A troublesome square between Pluto in late Scorpio and Saturn in Aquarius, closely aspects the Ascendant-Descendant axis. Astrologers have long associated the combination of Saturn and Pluto with dark power, intense suffering and tumultuous struggle. The connection between the Saturn-Pluto square and “institutional corruption”, together with behind the scenes police collusion with criminals (Pluto in a murky Scorpio 12th house), is not hard to make. In addition, astrologers have long associated Pluto with the power of black men and women.

Mars in Cancer and 8th house forms a trine to Pluto and the Ascendant. A criminal (8th house) gang (Cancer) of young men (Mars) murdered Stephen, using a knife (Mars). Stephen Lawrence’s natal chart also shows a natal Mars-Pluto aspect, the conjunction, a powerful and potentially explosive energy. Mars-Pluto individuals have been known to attract violence or loss of power in circumstances beyond their control, although there is usually some degree of choice as to how this is experienced.

In 1998, Doreen Lawrence founded the Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust to give young people practical help in fulfilling their dreams to work in architecture and building (Mars in Cancer and 8th house). The Trust has received lottery funding and substantial donations from many sources (the murder chart’s Moon in Taurus indicates potential financial abundance as part of the unfolding story), enabling it to help many young people through bursaries, work placements and career advice.

The long-term outcome of Stephen’s murder has been an awakening of a new awareness (Uranus and Neptune both close to being stationary) for the police and establishment authorities (Capricorn), with corresponding action and legislation to remove “institutional racism” having been successful. Or maybe not. Some have argued that much progress has been illusory (Neptune), with more fundamental change still required.

Midlife transits for Doreen Lawrence

Doreen Lawrence

At the time of the murder of her son, Doreen Lawrence (born 24th October 1952, Scorpio Sun and Capricorn Moon) had just moved into experiencing an intensified version of the astrological midlife transits that everyone has at around the age of 41 or so. The conjunction of consciousness-raising Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn, exact three times during 1993, played a key role. Shocks and awakening from Uranus, together with disillusionment and an expanded vision from Neptune, meant that her life would never be the same again.

Nelson Mandela and a Jupiter-Pluto transit

Nelson Mandela with the Lawrences

Initially the murder gained little attention. However, after a press conference the Lawrence family met Nelson Mandela in London and Mandela’s supportive words were widely reported in the media. Co-incidentally, Nelson Mandela (born 18th July, 1918) was experiencing a Jupiter square transit to his own natal Pluto in Cancer at the time – nicely symbolic of a positive intervention in the name of black familial power. The very next day, three of the prime suspects were arrested. However, the Crown Prosecution Service later dropped the charges, saying the identification evidence from Duwayne Brooks was unreliable.

 

The Daily Mail and Jupiter conjunct Uranus in Aquarius

At the Coroner’s Inquest in February 1997, the five accused young men took the witness stand. Sneering and arrogant, they refused to answer any questions. Amongst many others, Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre was not impressed. By an extraordinary co-incidence, Dacre also knew Neville Lawrence (Stephen’s father) who had done some plastering work on his house.

As Jupiter and Uranus moved to an almost exact conjunction in Aquarius on the day, Dacre and the Daily Mail published the now famous headline across its Valentine’s Day front page: “MURDERERS. The Mail accuses these men of killing. If we are wrong, let them sue us.” Below the headline were photographs of Gary Dobson, Neil Acourt, Jamie Acourt, Luke Knight and David Norris. (Above the headline was an advert for astrologer Jonathan Cainer.)

For days, the story made international headlines. It was an astonishing breakthrough moment (Jupiter conjunct Uranus), bringing new hope and optimism for those seeking justice for Stephen Lawrence and for anyone with humanitarian ideals (Aquarius). The conjunction formed a trine aspect to both the 6 degrees Libran Jupiter in the murder chart and the 6 degrees Libran Pluto in Stephen Lawrence’s natal chart, with several other planets simultaneously lining up for a striking combination.

Hope from tragedy

Microscopic evidence found on the clothing belonging to the accused led to life sentences for Gary Dobson and David Norris in January 2012 – this coincided with a Saturn trine transit to the murder chart’s Saturn. Video evidence from the 1990s showed Norris talking about “skinning” black people and setting them alight.

Baroness Lawrence

Doreen Lawrence was awarded the OBE for services to community relations in 2013, and since then she has been made a life peer in the House of Lords. As transiting Saturn formed a conjunction to her Mars in Capricorn in April 2018, Baroness Lawrence commented that after 25 years, “It is time to draw a line”.

In the murder chart, the ruling planet Jupiter (faith and optimism) is in Libra (justice) and the 10th house (making a mark on the world). This forms a very close conjunction to natal Pluto (power and darkness) in the birth chart of Stephen Lawrence, a fated (Pluto) young man.

Sometimes, hope is born from tragedy.

The above is an edited version of an article originally published in the November/December 2018 issue of the Astrological Journal magazine https://www.facebook.com/AstrologicalJournal Thank you to editor Victor Olliver. This is the bimonthly publication of the Astrological Association http://www.astrologicalassociation.com dedicated to educating the public on astrology since 1958.

Consultations and readings available at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk

Sir Harry Kroto and C60 – my friend, some science, some astrology

Sir Harry Kroto and C60

In May 2016, I opened a newspaper to be confronted with the sad news that my visionary friend Sir Harry Kroto had passed away at the age of 76. It turned out that he had been suffering from motor neuron disease. My mind went back to how I had got to know this lovely man, who contributed to the lives of many thousands of people across the world.

Around 1994, a friendly character used to come into the bar where I worked at the University of Sussex, ordering a half-pint of Fosters to go with his lunch. We gradually hit it off, leading to a fair amount of Pythonesque clowning around on a regular basis. One day, another customer approached me, looking rather worried. “You do know who he is, don’t you?” he asked. “I think he’s a chemistry professor, isn’t he? Great bloke, a really good laugh!” Much to my surprise soon after, I was watching a BBC2 science documentary and there on the screen came Mr. Half-of-Fosters, his usual eloquent, charming and cheeky self. I got to know who he was a bit better after that.

An extraordinary man

Harry was an extraordinary man, by any standards. As a scientist he helped discover C60, a new form of carbon which became known as Buckminsterfullerene. The discovery of the football-shaped molecule kick-started the nanotechnology revolution and led to his Nobel Prize (along with two other scientists) for chemistry in 1996. He predicted that C60 and a range of other new carbon molecules should exist in interstellar space from exploding and forming stars. It took thirty years before the scientific community finally proved his idea correct. Harry became a global ambassador for science and inspired countless school children around the world through his lectures and workshops. However, he was also an accomplished and award-winning graphic designer, an artist, musician, performer and speaker.

Long before I became an astrologer, I originally had plans to study chemistry at university. Like many, it was the scientific approach of repeated observation that drew me to astrology, rather than any kind of belief. As I gradually got to know Harry and one or two of his colleagues, inevitably the subject of astrology came up. Harry was an arch-sceptic but by then I knew him well enough to tease him that he was scared of having his chart done. Eventually he gave in and, although he didn’t know his time of birth, I wrote out a basic interpretation of his solar chart by hand. I remember immediately noticing a very close trine aspect between his Mercury in Libra and my Mercury in Gemini, confirming that we were on the same wavelength.

Harry’s astrological birth chart

Born on 7th October 1939, Harry Kroto had Sun, Mercury and Venus in Libra and was very much a typical Libran. He was charming, sociable and well known for speaking out on matters of justice and ethics. Initiating and communicating new ideas was Harry’s thing and his long and happy marriage to Margaret was a source of tremendous strength. The experimental and humanitarian energy of Mars in Aquarius was appropriate for a slightly eccentric scientist who was a keen supporter of both Amnesty International and the British Humanist Association. In common with many academics, Harry had a challenging close Mercury-Saturn aspect. As a balance to all the intellectual idealism, a warm and playful Moon in Leo (“To be a scientist is to be fascinated by the Universe, to have the same attitude as that of a child… Children learn from scratch. Children develop and learn quickly from their surrounding environment and the events that take place around them.”) was often on show, with further confidence and leadership ability coming from Jupiter in Aries trine to Pluto in Leo. Harry made full use of the consciousness-raising outer planet trine between Uranus in Taurus and Neptune in Virgo.

The next time I saw Harry after having done his chart for him, there was a big grin on his face as he handed me £40, which I hadn’t asked for. “So what did you think of it?” I asked him. Pause. Bigger grin on his face. “You just take that!” I think that was the closest I got to an endorsement of astrology by a Nobel Prize-winning scientist. That was good enough for me.

The astrology of the discovery of C60

Jonathan Hare, who was a close colleague of Harry’s, has kindly provided me with the birth data for the moment of the discovery of the C60 molecule. 6.56pm, 4th September 1985 in Houston, Texas – taken from the mass spectra reading from a cluster beam apparatus. Jonathan’s brief summary of the discovery:-

“The apparatus was a stainless steel piece of equipment that would fit into a small room: computers, vacuum pumps, electronics and the like.

At one side there was a powerful laser that can vaporise a sample, in this case carbon, graphite. The laser heated the carbon to 5,000 maybe 10,000 degrees C – as hot as a surface of a star – and the resulting plasma was quickly blasted into the main chamber of the apparatus by a pulse of helium gas. This large chamber had very little air in it, a very high vacuum. So in some ways the experiment represented the conditions of carbon coming off the surface of a star into the vacuum of space. Unlike space which is too far out to go and get a sample from, this experiment was on Earth. It could therefore be hooked up to a mass spectrometer that could ‘weigh’ out the things that were produced in the experiment.

They were looking for carbon chains that had been seen in great abundance out in space from carbon stars and they did see them on the mass spectrometer plots or data. But unexpected was also a strong peak for C60 – corresponding to 60 carbon atoms (and its companion C70 – “The Lone Ranger and Tonto, a-coming down the line, fixing every ones troubles, everyone’s except mine, someone must have told him I was doing fine!” Bob Dylan) which turned out to be a football of carbon! Named after Richard Buckminster Fuller (the engineer/architect who developed the geodesic dome seen in the Epcot Centre and Eden Project etc.), so called C60 or Buckminsterfullerene or a Bucky Ball.

C60 was discovered by accident, trying to understand something else, a classic case of serendipity!”

A quick look at the astrological birth chart confirms the story of C60. The ruling planet Uranus is up in the Sagittarius 10th house, corresponding nicely with an unexpected and famous discovery that spread around the world. Square to Uranus, the Sun is in Virgo and the 7th house, combining analysis and public service. Completing a T-square at the bottom of the chart is a 4th house Chiron in Gemini. Two groups of scientists had been involved in the discovery and there was some dispute about who had actually come up with the name C60. Such problems were later resolved. With the Moon exalted in Taurus, there was no problem attracting funding when it came to further research work on fullerene molecules. Close to the Descendant is a Mercury-Mars conjunction in Leo, as one might expect for a discovery that has been enthusiastically taught to thousands of schoolchildren.

In August of 2016, I had the great honour of contributing to a celebration of Harry’s life. It took place at the university building where I had met him all those years ago, now re-named the Attenborough Centre for the Creative Arts. Going on stage after Sir Ian McKellen (who had been at Bolton School with Harry), I shared a few of my memories with 200 people or so, many of them scientists who had flown in from around the world. One of the previous speakers had already mentioned Harry’s dislike of “pseudoscience” so I was very, very careful as I sneaked a brief summary of Harry’s birth chart into my speech! Having got away with it, I finished with a song on the guitar. Harry had also been extremely supportive of my music.

Harry frequently spoke about the importance of communicating complex science to public audiences: “Scientific discoveries matter much more when they’re communicated simply and well – if you can’t explain your work to the man in the pub, what’s the point?” That sounds like a lesson for astrologers too.

The above article was originally published in the May/June 2017 issue of the Astrological Journal magazine https://www.facebook.com/AstrologicalJournal Thank you to editor Victor Olliver. This is the bimonthly publication of the Astrological Association http://www.astrologicalassociation.com dedicated to educating the public on astrology since 1958.

Consultations and readings available at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk

2020 astrology – the end of an era and new beginnings

Astrology for 2020 – three major conjunctions

“For many reasons, 2019-20 and the years that follow will confront the world economy with reality”, astrologer Roy Gillett in ‘Economy, Ecology and Kindness’ (2009).

Thoughts from other astrologers here and here. Conjunctions occur when planets reach the same point in the sky, as seen from the Earth. Astrologically, according to the planets involved, they signify the end of one cycle and the beginning of another. It is unusual to have three conjunctions involving three of the five outer planets in the same year.

Saturn-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, building during 2019, exact on 12th January 2020 and continuing during 2020 and beyond

At the time of writing this piece (January 2019), Saturn in Capricorn has recently moved significantly closer to Pluto for the first time, within about 8 degrees. Correspondingly, warnings of recession are being made by many experienced commentators in the world of global finance and the interconnected crises of capitalism, democracy and ecology appear to be accelerating. During April and May 2019, the conjunction will be within 3 degrees of exact, before easing off then building to January 2020.

Using the western tropical zodiac, the conjunction falls in Capricorn, hence the worlds of economics and politics and other Capricornian themes (hard reality, organization, limitation, integrity) are the focus of a profound transformation. Along with countless other astrologers, I have previously blogged about Pluto in Capricorn (2008-2024) and Saturn teaming up with Pluto in 2020 is a crucial focus of that process. As extensively researched and documented by Richard Tarnas:

“The successive alignments of the Saturn-Pluto cycle coincided with especially challenging historical periods marked by a pervasive quality of intense contraction; eras of international crisis and conflict, empowerment of reactionary forces and totalitarian impulses, organized violence and oppression, all sometimes marked by lasting traumatic effects. An atmosphere of gravity and tension tended to accompany these three to four year periods, as did a widespread sense of epochal closure; “the end of an era,” “the end of innocence,” the destruction of an earlier mode of life that in retrospect may seem to have been marked by widespread indulgence, decadence, naivite, denial, and inflation. Profound transformation was a dominant theme…” Richard Tarnas, Cosmos And Psyche

The astrological charts of Donald Trump, the USA and China are all clearly impacted by Saturn-Pluto in 2020. The Cancerian Moon of the UK chart is already being hit with Brexit and other crises.

Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn throughout 2020, exact on 4th April, 30th June and 12th November

Unlike Saturn-Pluto, the second conjunction of 2020 is potentially much more optimistic and creative, although not without a dark side. At its best, Jupiter-Pluto is all about positive healing and re-generation. It signifies upbeat new beginnings, here likely in relation to the broken Capricornian worlds of economics and politics. Many huge drives for success, improvement and achievement in the pursuit of excellence are likely to be launched at this time. Taking genuine responsibility is a key theme but a reforming zeal and obsession with power could be problematic. The old may have to be eliminated as organizations and bureaucracies dig deep into their roots, bringing hidden or secret aspects of reality to light. At its best (think Gandhi or maybe even Bill Gates, who were born with Jupiter-Pluto) this conjunction can sow the seeds for healing the world. The currently scheduled date for the next USA election is 3rd November, immediately followed by the final pass of Jupiter-Pluto.

Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius, exact on 21st December 2020

Many western astrologers have had their eye on this one for a long time. The general historic importance of Jupiter-Saturn cycles has long been observed. Since the 1840s, all the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions (except a few in the early 1980s) have been occurring in the Earth signs Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn. Falling in the first degree of Aquarius, an Air sign. the late 2020 conjunction marks a significant long-term shift towards fairer social attitudes. The change of conjunctions from Earth to Air indicates moves away from, for example, fossil fuels and materialism. In their place come an emphasis on new ideas, information, technology, equality for all and respecting our environment. The decentralized political structures indicated here are very different to the regeneration of corporate power indicated by Jupiter-Pluto above. Perhaps they will combine, or just simply co-exist.

Many thanks to Roy Gillett of the UK Astrological Association for fully drawing my attention to the significance of the 2020 triple conjunctions, both through his talks and his book ‘Economy, Ecology and Kindness’. Also to Julian Venables for banging on (and on!) to me about the importance of the new Jupiter-Saturn cycle a few years ago. I recommend an extraordinary book by Professor Richard Tarnas – Cosmos And Psyche. which (amongst other things) masterfully documents Saturn-Pluto correlations with countless traumatic periods throughout modern global history, ranging from the beginning of World War One to the events of 911 and many more.

I haven’t mentioned the 2020 eclipses, retrograde Mars in Aries or even Uranus in Taurus (further emphasis on radical changes in relation to global finance and ecology) – the above is a deliberately brief and general summary. We may have to wait until Pluto enters Aquarius in 2023-24 for the real revolutions.  Good luck to all – I think we need it!

Consultations and readings available at https://www.timburnessastrologer.co.uk