From Homer’s time–even earlier–sailors have used the sky as a map to orient themselves to their position on the earth. And it’s intriguing to note that in ancient astrology the rising sign–or  ascendant–of an astrological horoscope was described as the “helm” as if the horoscope was a vessel on which a person navigated through life.

It’s natural and instinctive to look up at the stars for guidance and in the days when astrology and astronomy were entirely interlinked– particularly during the Hellenistic era–the logic of seeking answers from the stars was not questioned nor was it at war with people’s  belief systems.

What astrology can provide–among other things–is perspective: a view that helps us to figure out where we are–and perhaps even who we are–at a certain time and in a certain place in this world. Navigating the changes skillfully, steering by the stars can be astrology’s gift. And at this moment in time, I find myself intrigued by what seems to be the impact of Saturn’s recent advent in to the sign of Sagittarius (see my January blog) in the way that religious fanaticism has leapt in to the headlines during the last 2 months.

It also seems significant that clashes between certain power structures and vested interests versus maverick voices calling for freedom  and autonomy are intensifying as Pluto and Uranus move toward their last historic square on March 17th, 2am GMT.

Saturn takes about 29.7 years to cycle through the zodiac and right now people born between December 2nd, 1926 and March 15th, 1929; January 12th, 1956 and January 5th, 1959; and November 17th, 1985 and February 13th, 1988 are experiencing a Saturn Return–a powerful period of reassessment while also dealing–even more than everyone else–with the issues Saturn in Sagittarius brings to the fore: lack of or over-involvement with religious convictions, fear of belief or an exaggerated  adherence to rigid belief systems and an intensified search for meaning.





I’m doing a lot of thinking about the predictive aspect of astrology as February rolls in. Astrologers’ traditional role is divination: to attempt to see in to the future and shed light on what is occurring at every turn. We have many techniques we rely upon for this: solar returns, progressions, transits and now with the recently translated work of ancient astrologers–profections, primary directions and zodiacal releasing to name a few.

Which is the best? How accurate can you be? I have my own techniques which I’ve tested (and continue to test) which I’ve found to be very enlightening–sometimes so accurate they astound me–sometimes not. I am also continually experimenting with new methods and searching and reading what other astrologers write about their results.

The truth of any situation–or matter–can only be found in a spirit of humility because imagining that we “know” drops a veil over our vision. As the late Derek Appleby said of the special branch of astrology that he pursued –Horary astrology (which is about asking a question and setting up a chart to answer it) “sometimes the answer is a clear yes or no, but often the matter requires much consideration before the astrologer feels able to pronounce, if at all: for the heavens hide their secrets with extreme cunning.”

It’s completely audacious to try to predict what will be.  And what astrologers are able to make out as they gaze into the future are shapes and movements that are continually re-forming  “through a glass darkly” and they then must be able to clearly describe what they see.

This February, the planets continue their seemingly endless dance through time: Saturn inching forward in Sagittarius, Jupiter retreating in Leo–Uranus and Pluto advancing towards their last calamitous square next month. At least Mercury–the messenger–will change direction this month (Feb. 11) so that we will begin to get details sorted while Mars and Venus entering fiery Aries on the same day (Feb. 20) promise to whip our passions to new heights. ‘






It’s a brand-new year–so what is it going to bring? Though mundane astrology (the study of world trends) isn’t my specialty, I do think that Saturn which just entered the fiery sign of Sagittarius is bound to give issues involving religious convictions and long-held beliefs more prominence in the public mind. And Jupiter, currently in the royal sign of Leo, will accent matters involving, monarchs, the ruling class as well as entitlement and privilege.

Saturn in Sagittarius also issues a challenge involving learning and mind expansion (this sign is also associated with history and higher education) and coincidentally, I’ve recently been drawn to the study of the history of astrology and to learning about astrological texts from the Hellenistic age that have only recently been revived and translated (mostly from the Greek) by a handful of astrological scholars.

What these texts have brought to light is that previously unknown and fascinating predictive techniques were used by Hellenistic astrologers and that they also had very different ways of setting up and interpreting charts than are currently being used. Unfortunately, what this has led to, though,–at least in some instances–has been quite a fierce division between the astrologers who’ve taken up these ancient techniques and “modern” astrologers who ignore or reject them. And, further, both camps believe that their own system is both superior and “right”.  

What strikes me about all of this is that the clash between “modern” astrologers and the Hellenistic or “traditional” group as they’re called is that it’s a brilliant metaphor for what the challenge of Saturn in Sagittarius is all about. By nature, Saturn is contractive and it’s also the planet that pinpoints (in all of the zodiacal signs) what is lacking or restrictive. And what Saturn in the expansive and conceptual sign of Sagittarius brings to light is the negative impact of rigid thinking and belief-systems that lock our minds up in tight little boxes.

The truth is that astrology is so rich and varied that it really is capable of encompassing any number of systems and techniques even if they appear to conflict on the surface.  There’s no need to lay claim to one system and square off with those who see matters differently. What Saturn in Sagittarius really challenges us to do it to stop trying to continually defend our beliefs and prove that we’re right and instead to tear off the blinders and keep learning.





Two planetary heavies, Jupiter and Saturn, are shifting the energy this month. Jupiter –jolly Jupiter, as this expansive planet is sometimes known–which has been surging forward in the confident sign of Leo–turns retrograde on the 8th. This means that whatever we’ve been caught up in, it’s time to take a reading of our progress and focus on follow-through.

Saturn, on the other hand, the tester of our strengths and revealer of our flaws–is moving from Scorpio into Sagittarius on the 23rd, which at the same time is going to alter our perspectives in a major way. Whatever’s been pressuring us during the last two years–the main focus of our concerns and issues–will begin to take a new form. Rather than being stirred around by intensely emotional matters, we’ll begin to grapple with matters more connected to our beliefs, our desire for fresh horizons or–on a more concrete level–legal situations. 

Venus and Mercury will be moving from the idealistic sign of Sagittarius to the far more practical sign of Capricorn, tending to put us more in touch with our personal duties, obligations and commitments and Mars in Aquarius puts an accent on the importance of fitting into a group while remaining true to ourselves.

Some signal days to look out for: Venus trines Jupiter on the 4th, followed by the full Moon in Gemini on the 6th so spirits will tend to rise and good feeling will be in the air. With Venus conjoining confrontational Pluto on the 20th, though, power struggles will conspire to set people apart, so best to step back and lighten up.

NOVEMBER: A month to take seriously

November looks to be a somewhat sobering month since the Sun and certain other planets are going to conjoin with reality -oriented Saturn. First they will square Jupiter, though, so indulgence on our parts will tend to lead to regrets or to frame it in a more positive way, we all need to strike a better balance between being blindly impulsive and maintaining a firm grip on ourselves.

Of course, being a Libra, I tend to think in terms of staying balanced so maybe the Jupiter/Saturn clash could better be described as a need to test the limits versus stopping while we’re ahead.Other important planetary influences are Mars in Capricorn all November which is energizing and vigorous in general as well as quite outstandingly bold. Mars is so well placed in Capricorn–exalted it’s described astrologically–because the planet of action goes all out (as Mars does) in a structured way and thus gets results.

It should be quite possible to get lots done this month–and done well–because the overall energy is down to earth, disciplined and driven, at least until the Sun enters Sagittarius on the 22nd which introduces a more playful–even flippant–tone. There’s a new Moon on the 22nd, too, which is inspiring and emphasizes following our visions.

 A few noteworthy dates this November: the 9th–Venus and Jupiter in aspect encourage us to frolic but Mars conjunct Pluto on the 10th is dictatorial and scarily aggressive. The 13th is the Venus conjunct Saturn day so avoid getting your feelings hurt (or being hurtful) by being objective and forgiving. The Sun conjunct Saturn on the 18th is telling us all to face facts and the Sun squaring Neptune on the 27th is dreamily spacey so be careful not to lose the plot.



OCTOBER: That Old Devil Saturn

Saturn is the planet that pinpoints where the pressure’s on in our lives. And since early 2013, Saturn has been in the sign of Scorpio. It’s going to move on soon and now is the time to clue in to what the changes you’ve been going through are all about. Whatever your Sun sign–or what your birth chart is like–finding out what Saturn in SCORPIO means is bound to be an eye-opener.

Scorpio is the most emotionally intense—yet outwardly cool–sign of the zodiac. And what Saturn is stirring up in its passage through this passionate, secretive sign are the difficult feelings we all want to hide: fear, envy, anger, revengeful thoughts, undesirable attractions, paranoia and even hatred. It can also tune us in to these kinds of emotions in others so we become more aware of their dark side and what they’re trying to hide–feelings they may not even realize they have.

What’s tricky about this is that any bad vibrations we’re picking up from others–especially now–are almost inevitably inter-playing with our own hidden and darkest emotions. And Saturn’s real challenge in the sign of Scorpio is for us to see and accept that no matter how well-intentioned we are, or how basically good we may be, we still have a not nice side that casts a shadow. 

Try to start examining what’s going on in any troubling relationships or situations in your life right now and while pinpointing what you think others are secretly feeling, force yourself to take a painfully honest look at your own emotions as well–at any hidden envy, insecurity, resentment, etc, you’re experiencing deep down.

This isn’t easy to do. Everything in you will resist it. It’s much more satisfying to attribute all the negative and bad feelings and behaviors to others, but what happens when you can clue in to your own dark side and what’s hooking on to these situations, is that you start to free yourself from their nasty spell.

It’s not that others aren’t hiding their motives or unpleasant feelings behind a mask and a sweet smile. Everyone hides their dark side. But once you see how you’re playing into it, you reclaim your power and stop obsessing about what’s going on. There’s a kind of magic in this and you’ll discover it if you make an effort. It’s the hidden gift within Saturn’s passage through Scorpio, but don’t forget that it requires unflinching self-observation.

Here are the areas in which Saturn in Scorpio plays out in the different signs:

Aries: In joint financial matters and inheritance issues.. Also sexual liaisons.

Taurus: Marriages, close relationships.

Gemini: Work situations, health issues.

Cancer:  In relationships with children, creative projects.

Leo: The home scene, family relationships.

Virgo: Connections with siblings, communications.

Libra: Financial matters, security issues

Scorpio: Self-image

Sagittarius: Others needs and problems, charitable organization.s

Capricorn: Friendships. associations

Aquarius: Career, public image

Pisces: Travel, publishing legal affairs