Astrology, Karma & Transformation by Stephen Arroyo

40 years later, still a modern classic, great for beginners or advanced

More than any other astrological text over the last thirty years, this book has continued to provide me with astrological wisdom and insights that no other book can match. The depth of Stephen Arroyo’s writing here is extraordinary, with perhaps the only criticism being 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 much 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. Show any 29-year old (with a bit of self-awareness) the section featuring the Saturn return, and watch their reaction as they read!

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 (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. Like nearly all of his books, still a modern classic.

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 (for the current generation), Pluto squares natal Pluto – difficult but potentially deep evolutionary change that confronts some of us with internal and external power struggles and buried resentments. A profound “letting go” is common. We may even feel we are dealing with forces beyond our control, as Pluto takes us on a difficult 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. As old attachments dissolve, disappointment and disillusionment is common. Afterwards, 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”.

Finally, there is the Saturn opposition Saturn transit at around age 43-44, a time of re-structuring responsibilities and commitments, related to life decisions made 15 years earlier. This can also be experienced as a difficult phase but perhaps not as disorientating as Pluto, Uranus and Neptune described above.

Mid-lifeQuestions

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!

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

Saturn in Transit by Erin Sullivan

One of the very best books on Saturn, great insights

Every so often one comes across a quality astrological book that really stands out from the crowd and stands the test of repeated reading over time. “Saturn in Transit: Boundaries of Mind, Body, and Soul” is one such book. I have continued to re-read this since I bought it several years ago. In the best possible sense, it is a Saturnian treatment of the transits of Saturn. There is also a great deal of other high quality non-Saturn astrology here.

In addition to her obvious extensive experience as a practising astrologer, Erin Sullivan draws extensively on depth psychology and classical mythology to portray Saturn’s developmental influence on our lives. The fourth section of the book, “The Personal Heroic Journey” stands out for me. Here the journey of Saturn around the birth chart is illuminated profoundly and accessibly. Sullivan begins the cycle at the midheaven and tenth house stage, “The Call To Adventure” as she terms it, in contrast to the more conventional viewpoint that places the ascendant and first house at the beginning of the cycle. From there on she comments on Saturn’s movement round the chart and the various inner and outer lessons it has to teach us.

Countless practical examples are referred to throughout, with two contrasting case histories at the end showing how different but essentially similar each individual’s “heroic quest for meaning” can be. As befits a book on Saturn it does all get a bit heavy going at times but is well worth the effort!


Chart Interpretation Handbook by Stephen Arroyo

ChartInterpretationBook

The best astrological chart interpretation book on the planet!

For anyone interested in understanding the essentials of astrological birth chart interpretation, this is a great book.

Those familiar with Stephen Arroyo will not be surprised by the exceptional quality of the writing, which builds on his other internationally best-selling astrology books. In fact some of the content is directly lifted from previous work such as “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. Its 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.

I had been a practising astrologer for several years when this came out, and after one read through, the Chart Interpretation Handbook became my primary reference for birth chart work. Highly recommended, thank you Stephen Arroyo.

 

Inner planet transits

A careful and balanced interpretation of the transits of the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, possibly Chiron, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) can give a remarkably accurate and sophisticated picture of a person’s life and life cycles at a given point. At the same time, although the attention to detail might be a bit tedious for some (maybe most of us have better things to do with our time!), the inner planet transits can give great insight in the shorter term. They show what we are dealing with on a day to day basis, in a far far more sophisticated and accurate way than Sun sign horoscopes in the newspapers.

As always with astrology, how you deal with them is up to you, obviously you have a choice.

With a bit of honest self-observation and awareness, the transits of the Sun, Venus, Mercury and Mars to points in the natal chart are often very obvious, particularly the conjunctions, squares and oppositions. I can remember one exceptionally pleasant afternoon when, while working as a nursing assistant on a hospital ward, the Sun was approaching an exact aspect to my natal Venus and Venus was likewise aspecting my natal Sun. With no other corresponding astrological indicators around at the time – love was everywhere around me! Similarly, the days when Mars approaches an exact square to my natal Saturn in my 12th are often a time of frustration or even temporary depression and isolation. A Mercury conjunction to natal Pluto brings a few hours or a day of Plutonian (transformative, deep, beneath the surface) thinking and communication. And so on.

Monthly transits of the Moon’s cycle, can also be fascinating to observe in yourself and in your environment. Everything gets a little bit dark and intense when the Moon moves through your 8th house, then all the paranoia disappears and everything lightens up when it moves into your 9th house for two or three days. Every month I always look forward to the Moon moving through my 5th house, a fun few days in some way, even when the rest of my life might be falling apart. And of course many people notice the effects of a Full Moon, even if they have no interest in astrology.

Looking backwards

At its best, a balanced interpretation of the astrological birth chart can give one a sense of belonging to life, a sense that it is actually okay to be who one is – a sense that however often it may appear otherwise, life is unfolding exactly as it is supposed to.

Contrary to many people’s idea of astrology (often based on Sun signs and horoscopes in the media), it can actually be most useful as a tool for self-awareness when looking backwards at the past. Although astrologers “predict” the meaning of planetary cycles and patterns for the future, much of this is inevitably unknown and open to change. The events of a person’s past on the other hand, can be clearly interpreted using astrological correspondences, often with startling accuracy. Serious astrology can offer a greater understanding of the meaning of previous life experiences.

The Saturn return at around age 29 is a good example of this. Anyone over 30 can look back at that time (the exact period depends on the individual birth chart) as a major turning point of some kind. Issues of commitment, responsibility and “growing up” are themes at this time. People get married, get divorced, change career, start a family… the individual chart reveals more specific information, the changes may be relatively smooth or difficult. Or we can look back at where Jupiter was 12 years ago, the last time round, giving us an idea of where we might be ready to expand and grow in our lives now. And so on.

In fact astrology can help us see how the past, the present and the future are all connected. By understanding our past better, we can hopefully use this self-knowledge to consciously create a better future.