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.

Taylor Swift – astrological birth chart

An unstoppable force to be reckoned with! Taylor Swift was born on 13th December 1989 in Pennsylvania, where she grew up on a Christmas tree farm. The ambitious and conservative Capricorn rising chart (below) is the one most commonly used. There is some doubt about the 8.36am time of birth but it makes astrological sense. Her Sun sign is fiery, optimistic and enthusiastic Sagittarius but Earth and Water are the strongest elements. The large number of Cancer-Capricorn oppositions indicates strong motivating conflicts – between home and career, romance and cynicism, and other challenges.

Unaspected Sun in Sagittarius

At its best, an unaspected Sagittarian Sun (possibly 12th house, serving the collective) is free to shine out in a truly unique and visionary way. The unconventional, humanitarian love nature of Venus in Aquarius is also largely unaspected (there is a wide-ish sextile aspect to sexy Mars in Scorpio) – again showing potential free self-expression but possible difficulties with inconsistency. A close novile minor aspect (40 degrees, 9th harmonic) between the Sun and Venus indicates joy, peace and a sense of completion. Neptune is at the Sun-Venus midpoint, a combination of self (Sun), love (Venus) and universal “Swiftie” ideals (Neptune), or a glamorous deception (Neptune), or maybe both?!

Taylor Swift’s chart from http://www.astrotheme.com

Everyone born in 1989 has the Capricorn Saturn-Uranus-Neptune conjunction in their chart, with varying degrees of strength and importance. Many astrologers have written about this and the so-called Millenial generation, with a focus on those born around the late eighties and early nineties. Although she can no doubt comfortably afford to do so, perhaps Taylor Swift is playing a small part in the birth of a new dimension (Uranus-Neptune) of material and economic responsibility (Saturn in Capricorn), having consistently donated many millions to a very wide range of charities and causes.

Moon and Jupiter in Cancer

Taylor has a Moon-Jupiter conjunction in the sign of Cancer, signifying her warm, kind and emotionally generous side. She is well known for her supportive and nurturing attitude towards many of her fans. Interestingly, a quick look at the Cancerian USA chart for 4th July 1776 shows a strong compatibility with America as a whole. A candidate for the President of the United States one day? Stranger things – much stranger – have happened.

Between 2003 and 2006, she laid the foundations of her career in Nashville, as Saturn moved over her Cancerian planets. The musical and lyrical style of country music fits the sign of Cancer perfectly – sentimental, traditional, romantic, with an emphasis on home and family values. In 2004 and 2005, transiting Pluto to her Sun unleashed a powerful and ambitious drive as she signed to Big Machine Records and became the youngest ever artist signed by Sony/ATV publishing. Her career took off, as swift as a Sagittarian arrow (sorry, couldn’t resist that one).

In August 2017 – at the time of a karmic Saturn transit to her natal Sun – Swift successfully countersued a former radio deejay she had accused of her groping her in 2013. Taylor Swift showed herself as unusually enlightened for someone in her position: “I acknowledge the privilege that I benefit from in life, in society and in my ability to shoulder the enormous cost of defending myself in a trial like this. My hope is to help those whose voices should also be heard. Therefore, I will be making donations in the near future to multiple organizations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves.”

2018 and her January 2019 Saturn return

The latest album Reputation has put her closer to the sales figures of Pink Floyd and Madonna, right up there in the big league. Saturn entering Capricorn for 2018 shows some serious challenges, a heavy time with hard work ahead. The schoolteacher of the zodiac will pass over Taylor’s four Capricorn planets (lessons in responsibility and career) and oppose her planets in Cancer (emotional struggles). This is a crucial time in her life. A single pass Saturn return over her close Saturn-Neptune (the reality of her ideals) conjunction in late December 2018 to January 2019 will be a major personal and career re-assessment. Good luck to her!

The above is an edited and revised version of a more detailed 2000-word article, originally published in the January-February 2018 issue of the Astrological Journal magazine https://www.facebook.com/AstrologicalJournal 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

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”.

TonyBlairChart

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.

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

The Gods of Change by Howard Sasportas

TheGodsOfChange

Great, accessible psychological guide to major transits

The 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.

HowardSas

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.

 

Donald Trump – astrological birth chart

TrumpCon

“Trump personifies everything the rest of the world despises about America: casual racism, crass materialism, relentless self-aggrandizement, vulgarity on an epic scale…” Paul Thomas, New Zealand Herald.

“Trump also personifies everything the rest of the world admires about America: wealth, power, confidence, and an ‘I can do anything I set my mind to’ attitude.” BJ Gallagher, Huffington Post. (Hmmm, really? Tim)

Born at 10.54 am on 14th June 1946 in Jamaica, New York, USA, several features stand out astrologically. Mars is close to the Leo Ascendant, dominating the personality. Mars in Leo asserts self dramatically, warmly, arrogantly, with the expression of desires strongly coloured by pride and an urge for recognition. Mars in Trump’s chart is not well integrated and has little in the way of close aspects to other parts of the personality. Consequently, the fiery leadership energy is likely to function as something of a “loose cannon”.

AstroTrumpTrump was born at the time of an almost exact Full Moon (a Lunar Eclipse in fact) with Sun in Gemini closely opposite Moon in Sagittarius. It is of course well known that human behaviour can be er… rather eccentric at the time of a Full Moon and the chart shows unorthodox Uranus active here too. Uranians tend to be on a different planet to the rest of us, full of contradictions and very much a law to themselves. (Many of them even take astrology seriously – can you imagine that?) A Gemini Sun is clever, witty, with a tendency to know a little about everything but depth is not always their strong point. Moon in Sagittarius is full of hope and confidence but sometimes a superior and insensitive arrogance with it. Also closely involved in the picture is the spiritually significant North Node. Putting these features together, Donald Trump’s soul purpose is clearly all about talking and preaching entertaining madness!

Mercury squares Neptune. A close aspect between these two is good for artists but not so good for politicians, another example being Tony Blair, who has the Mercury-Neptune opposition aspect. The potential for misleading communication, through either deliberate deception or lack of attention to detail, is high.

ConTrumpVenus is conjunct Saturn in Cancer. This is a side of Donald Trump that will resonate with many Americans – the birth chart for 4th July 1776 is strongly Cancerian. Trump is an absolutely committed and sincere patriot. Venus in Cancer cares about family, home, the past and traditions. Saturn brings a deep sense of responsibility and commitment to these protective and family-orientated values. However, astrologers consider Saturn in Cancer a difficult placing (“in detriment”) that can show deep emotional problems. Based on the fear of one’s own sensitivity and vulnerability, there can be a tendency to cling to the familiar and the past. Jupiter in Libra indicates Trump’s hopes for peace and justice. In the USA birth chart, the Sun in Cancer squares Saturn in Libra, showing a similar combination of Cancer-Libra-Saturn issues to be worked through.

Transiting Jupiter has recently crossed into Trump’s first house, showing his increase in popularity amongst Republican voters. There are, as usual with astrology, contradictory indications over what might be coming up for Trump over the next year or two. God bless and God help America!

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

Fish and Steve Hogarth of Marillion – astrological birth charts

Fish, the charismatic front man of eighties progressive rock band Marillion (the big hit was “Kayleigh”) has a fascinating birth chart. Famously, Fish left Marillion in 1988 to pursue a solo career. Astrologically, this was just past his “Saturn return”, an important time of re-assessment for everyone at around age 29 or so.

fish1Fish (born Derek Dick, 25th April 1958, 5.07 pm in Dalkeith, Scotland) has all the planets scattered fairly evenly around the birth chart, pulling him in many more directions than most of us. Even though he is a Taurus Sun sign, Earth is in fact the weakest element, bringing more problems with keeping one’s feet on the ground than a “typical” Taurus. Like many driven and famous individuals, Fish’s chart shows the likelihood of more than his fair share of problems to overcome.

There is a close T-square in fixed signs of the zodiac, involving his Taurus Sun with Uranus and Neptune, both planets of “higher consciousness”. Here is a challenge to combine the visionary spiritual gifts of Neptune with the electric revolutionary energy of Uranus, a combination that could equally lead to enlightenment or madness. From his lyrics, Fish seems to have embraced a good deal of both!

FishAstroThe independent and intelligent Mars in Aquarius is in close aspect to several planets. A close explosive opposition to Pluto indicates powerful, even ruthless, self-assertiveness. Fish is capable of eliminating anything that stands in his way. Mercury in Aries shows direct and forceful communication. On the other hand, Venus in Pisces and his Moon show the selfless romantic – kind, compassionate and vulnerable. Fish’s prominent 10th house Moon in Cancer is in an excellent position for popularity with the general public. It indicates strong mothering and nurturing instincts as well as a strong emotional attachment to one’s roots and the past.

A Libra Ascendant (rising sign) is concerned with balance, harmony and justice. As the ruling planet of the chart, the position of Venus plays a key role in expressing basic life energy. It is placed in Pisces, the Fish-es.

The birth chart for Fish is shown here, taken from astro.com, an excellent website for anyone interested in deeper astrology.

stevehogarth

There are an extraordinary number of similarities between the charts of Fish and Steve Hogarth, the singer who replaced Fish in Marillion and made the role his own. They share the same Sun and Moon signs, Mars in Aquarius, Saturn in Sagittarius and close aspects to Uranus, Neptune and Pluto – the powerful planets of transformation and higher consciousness. Steve was born with a similar potential for creative brilliance and accompanying emotional crises and struggles. Since originally writing this piece, I’ve noticed that the birth details Steve gave me some years ago include a different year of birth to 1959, which is on Marillion’s website. The details ‘h’ gave me himself make much more astrological sense.

Thanks to Steve, Fish and the magical Marillion for their often excellent music over the years – all power to all of them.

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

David Bowie – astrological birth chart

DavidBowieNo introduction is needed for this man, born David Jones at 9.00 am, 8th January 1947, in Brixton, London. In terms of the elements in his birth chart horoscope, Fire and Earth are strongest, followed by Air, with the weakest being Water. This combination shows an ambitious and action-orientated individual, at home in the world of ideas, but not always so comfortable in the world of emotions.

Any experienced astrologer will be immediately drawn to the two close conjunctions involving Bowie’s Sun and Moon. Sun conjunct exalted Mars in Capricorn shows the potential for tremendously focused, organized, sustained, conscious action. Moon conjunct Saturn (Serious Moonlight) in Leo shows a controlled approach to expressing dramatic and playful Leo emotions on the 7th house public stage. Being born with these two planetary conjunctions alone shows the potential for huge creative achievement. Success comes through hard work, even though the sense of responsibility could be almost overwhelming at times. Jupiter in Scorpio, close to the top of the chart, is another sign of personal charisma, power and business acumen.

Assuming the time of birth is accurate, the Sun-Mars conjunction is also in Bowie’s 12th house. This is not an easy astrological house to handle and Bowie has had problems with drug use, no doubt bound up with a confused sense of identity. In common with many highly creative individuals, mental illness has also featured in his family background. At best, any problems with planets in the 12th house can be transcended and shared with the universe – the collective consciousness, a world in which everyone and everything is interconnected.

BowieChartBowie has a close square between Mercury in the 12th and Neptune, bringing a very active imagination but some confusion when it comes to clear communication. The meaning of his intriguing lyrics is often open to interpretation.

According to Astro Databank, the time of birth has been fairly well established as 9.00 am. This gives Aquarius rising, which makes sense. The futuristic theme of alien intelligence has appeared in much of Bowie’s work (famously acting in The Man Who Fell To Earth), he has been heavily involved with the Aquarian internet since its early days and he has the typical look of an Aquarius Ascendant (rising sign). As the ruler of Aquarius and the chart, a 4th house Uranus in Gemini plays a key role, a sign of constant Changes at the roots of Bowie’s being.

Venus is close to a Sagittarius Midheaven at the top of the chart. This indicates an open-minded, freedom-loving approach to relationships as well as an artistic career. Venus forms easy aspects to Bowie’s Moon-Saturn conjunction and his Aquarius Ascendant axis. Very nice, in fact a great position for giving and receiving love across the whole wide world.

AladdinSaneDavid Jones the tough Capricorn has survived years of rock’n’roll excess (typical of the Pluto in Leo and Neptune in Libra generation of rock musicians), health scares and even The Laughing Gnome. At the time of writing this interpretation in August 2015, astrologers can look forward to seeing how powerful Uranus and then Pluto transits to Bowie’s Sun-Mars conjunction in Capricorn play out over the next eighteen months. Saturn will also be transiting through his 10th house. A personal re-birth and even greater claim to fame? Knowing David Bowie, it will probably be something unpredictable.

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

Planets In Transit by Robert Hand

PlanetsInTransit

Still the definitive work on planetary transits

I picked up a cheap second-hand copy of this classic 20th century text recently, my old heavily-used copy having fallen to pieces several years ago. Although most people relatively new to astrology now learn astrological basics from the internet, this book still remains one of the modern classics that perhaps no contemporary astrologer can afford to be without. Just about every serious astrologer I’ve ever met has got a copy of this on his or her shelf.

For most of the book, Robert Hand explores the meaning of every possible combination of planets in transit to each other, this being one of the most commonly used techniques of astrological prediction. In addition to the planets, the ascendant and midheaven are also included but astrologers using Chiron will have to look elsewhere. The introductory chapters about the interpretation and timing of transits are well worth a read, and these are followed by a case study of Nixon and the Watergate scandals in the early 1970s. Then its on to a chapter for each planet and the transits it makes to all the others. RobertHandcolour

Hand’s interpretations are full of psychological insights, but the nature of specific events that may occur are also covered. For the first few years I had this book I tended to focus on the more obvious long-term transits of the outer planets (Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) but eventually I became just as intrigued by the uncanny accuracy of the “insignificant” daily or even hourly transits of the Sun, the Moon and Mercury. The smallest and the largest life cycles have their part to play. Buy this book and prove or disprove predictive astrology for yourself. A massive contribution to modern astrology, thank you Robert.

An introduction to the astrological birth chart

Russell Brand's chart

Russell Brand’s chart

The birth chart (different to newspaper horoscopes) of a person or event can be described as a kind of road map or blueprint. For an individual, it shows the soul’s possible journey and the types of experiences and patterns that you are going to encounter along the way. In one sense, it shows your destiny and fate, your unique possible contribution to life. What it does not show, is how you deal with these patterns. In this way, we are each responsible for creating our own reality by our choices.

A person’s individuality is of course also influenced by their genetic make-up, the society/culture/religion they were born into, the social and economic circumstances, and so on. Two people may have very similar charts, both showing enormous possibility but only one may fulfil this for the reasons above.

Jimi Hendrix's cahrt

Jimi Hendrix’s chart

Looking at the chart, the familiar Sun sign of the zodiac is represented by a circle with a dot in the middle. This may or may not be very important in the whole of the chart, one of several reasons why people are often not typical examples of their Sun sign. Each of the other planets are shown on the chart by symbols with numbers next to them. Using the chart as a psychological map, each planet represents a different part of the personality.

Due to their position in the chart, we may be more or less comfortable with some parts of our personality than others – I know I am! In fact it is the challenging relationships between planets (such as 90 degree angles, known as square aspects) that give us the greatest opportunity for achievement. People with “easy” charts may struggle more to find purpose and meaning in life than those with more obvious problems.

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

Many people know that astrology is of course irrational pseudoscientific nonsense and not to be taken seriously. Having studied and worked with it extensively for over 25 years, I came to a very different conclusion a long long time ago!

One of the best astrology sites on the web is www.astro.com, another good one is www.cafeastrology.com. Thanks to www.astrotheme for the images here and elsewhere on this blog.

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

Kate Bush – astrological birth chart

KateBushThe wonderful Kate Bush returns to the stage tonight for her first live shows since 1979. Although the time of birth is unknown, the astrology horoscope for her date of birth (30th July 1958) reveals some suitably powerful features.

Kate is a Leo Sun, a Fire sign. Leos burn brightly as they take centre stage to radiate inspiring warmth and good humour to everyone around them. Creativity and individual self-expression are key themes and Leos need to be loved and appreciated more than most. The planet Uranus is also in Leo and close to the Sun in Kate’s chart, an indication of a potentially unique and multi-talented superstar. The Moon in Aquarius (Kate would have the Moon in Capricorn if born in the early hours but given her personality this seems unlikely) is a further sign of an original and even eccentric character. The egoless humanitarian instincts of an Aquarian Moon are a good antidote to the Leo ego!

The Sun, Uranus and the Moon combine with sensual Mars in Taurus and Neptune in Scorpio to form a Grand Cross in Fixed signs, although the position and strength of the Moon in this is unknown due to the lack of birth time. Used constructively (not an easy task), a Grand Cross is a major force to be reckoned with! The close square between Sun and Mars needs an outlet for its fiery energy and a Mars-Neptune aspect is very common in the charts of musicians, artists, sportsmen and other charismatic individuals who are capable of transcending everyday life through “magical talents”.

KateBushChart2

Chart for Kate Bush from https://www.astrotheme.com/

Kate’s mental intensity and darker side is shown by a Virgo Mercury-Pluto conjunction. Mercury delves deep here, analyzing and investigating taboo subjects with sharp intelligence. Kate’s sometimes disturbing and penetrating insights into life and human nature can be found in much of her work, particularly on The Dreaming. The search for deeper meaning and the need for disciplined wide-ranging philosophical exploration correspond to her Saturn in Sagittarius.

Venus in Cancer indicates a romantic, feminine nature which affects both her artistic self-expression and relationships in general. Emotional security is important for Venus in Cancer and the long-term support of Kate’s family (Cancer) has been essential to her success. She cares – relationships and partnerships have also been helped by Jupiter in Libra (conjunct her spiritually significant North Node) bringing charm, grace and beauty.

KateBushPicAlthough an accurate time and place of birth is required for a full look at anyone’s current astrological trends, it is interesting to see that Kate has chosen to make her live comeback as positive Jupiter moves through Leo and across her Sun-Uranus conjunction. No doubt the “Before The Dawn” London gigs will be a further triumph in her extraordinary career.

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

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