Astrology: Ten Steps to Self Awareness

If you want to get to know yourself, astrology can be your new best friend.

There are I guess, several reasons why people get into astrology. Most of you have read a horoscope and some of you will have taken the interest further and read astrology books and blog articles. However, almost all of you will have engaged with astrology with one fundamental objective – to discover more about what makes you, well, essentially YOU.

With this in mind, I started to think about how astrology works to reveal our inner self. Most of you will be familiar with your ‘Star Sign‘ – the sign occupied by your natal Sun – and some of you will also be familiar with your Moon Sign and Rising Sign too. However, for me, the best way of getting to know yourself is to become familiar with all of the planets. Why? Because each one represents part of your essential nature as a human being so when you look at them all together you get a very good blueprint of the person you were born to be.

It’s often very easy for us to focus on the parts of ourselves we like and ignore the bits we don’t like quite so much. However, unless we are prepared to acknowledge all of the qualities that make us who we are and accept the parts of ourselves we find the most troublesome, we will never fulfil our true potential. By looking closely at what each planet signifies, what sign it occupies and where it’s located in your natal chart, we can come to better understand how complex we are as human beings and how each part of us represented by the planetary energies contributes to the whole person.

So, without further delay, lets remind ourselves of what each of the ten astrological planets represents in astrology. Learning how each one works in your life – and using your knowledge to ensure their energies are expressed as well as possible – is your own 10 step program to better self awareness and understanding.

Sun

Regardless of sign, the Sun represents the basic essence of your character – your personality. It’s the energy you radiate out into the world, your own personal star at the core of your unique solar system. The Sun is your ego – it lights up your self esteem and if you’re that way inclined, your self importance. It governs your pride – and we all know the difference between being proud of our achievements and well, just being proud.

Understanding how your Sun‘s energy works according to it’s Sign and house position is the key to you becoming aware of how you express your Sun. Solar traits can be acted out in both positive and negative ways. The more conscious you are of your own character, the easier it is to combat the expression of negative traits by bringing them to light and accepting yourself as you are. After all, the Sun is your consciousness – it is the energy that makes you aware if yourself as a unique person. It gives you the strength to carry on in life and it prompts you to follow your instincts to move your life forward. It is your source of confidence, courage and creative expression. Use it well.

Moon

As the Sun gives out, the Moon takes in. According to it’s sign, the Moon governs your emotional responses, your sense of security, the things that make your comfortable – and otherwise. It’s pretty clear from this that getting to know your Moon is a great way of upping your levels of emotional intelligence. However, the Moon is unconscious and instinctive and it’s not always easy to bring your deepest emotions and needs to light – especially as the Moon has a dark side – those emotions and feelings we are happy to repress as they’re sometimes to hard to deal with.

So, a great way to learn to use your Moon wisely is to understand that it’s sign and house position gives you the clue how to best process your responses to the world around you. Being comfortable with life and emotionally balanced is always preferable to hiding your more difficult feelings away on the ‘dark side’.

Mercury

Mercury, ruler of Gemini and Virgo, is where and how you make contact with the world. How you communicate in all ways – speech, movement, transportation – even your choice of car and phone will owe a great deal to the sign that rules your natal Mercury and it’s house position in your natal chart. Mercury by sign governs how you use and enjoy language, the books you read – or not.

Mercury is the planet of curiosity and by sign and house position it tells you a great deal about how you take in and process information, organise your thoughts – and organise yourself. You need Mercury to make decisions, to evaluate between one course of action or another, to understand those handy instruction booklets that come with every appliance – and to process and understand everyday life itself. Without Mercury your life would be a lonely place – hey, we all need someone to talk to.

Venus

And we all need someone to love. There is a tendency in astrology to think of Venus purely in terms of relationships as Venus is the goddess of love. It is true, Venus according to sign does indeed tell you a great deal about your approach to relationships – and love relationships in particular. Venus shows who and what you find attractive but to focus on this to the exclusion of all else is selling Venus short.

Your Venus house placement is a pointer to your basic values in life – the things that are truly important to you at a fundamental level, as well as the things that give you pleasure. By sign, Venus governs your personal tastes, is an indicator of your artistic and aesthetic inclinations as Venus loves to create beauty and order – some of which may simply be in the eye of the beholder. And Venus is, of course, happy to splash cash to do so – your Venus by sign is a good indicator of your attitudes to material things – especially money – and her house position shows where you may be spending it.

Mars

Every Venus needs a Mars we are told – and yes, it’s true. Venus may rule romance but Mars represents your most basic go getting drive – the force that propels you after the things you want, whether it’s a person, an object, a personal goal – whatever is, Mars wants to ‘win’ – and I use that word in the broadest sense as in ‘to go after and get’. Mars is your most basic survival instinct and your Mars sign shows how your Martian side behaves. Your sex drive, your competitiveness, how well you control your temper (or not), the ways and force with which you assert yourself will be determined by the nature of your natal Mars sign. Natal Mars by house will show the part of your life where those Mars energies are most likely to act out.

At this point, I’m going to add a brief note about Mars and Venus. Traditionally they are associated with male and female archetypes, and it was thought men found it hard to express their Venus and vice versa. I don’t hold with that view – regardless of gender or sexual orientation for that matter, we are all capable of expressing Venus and Mars energies is a positive manner and should strive to do so. Remember, as I said earlier, those energies are part of you and should be honoured.

Jupiter

Jupiter is a social animal – and your Jupiter sign shows how you seek to take more of the world into your life. At an everyday level, your Jupiter sign tells you how you may go about acquiring knowledge or any activity that expands your boundaries. So, your attitudes to long distance travel, higher education, anything foreign or alien to you – by which I mean anything that takes you out of your habitual or fallback position – are governed by your Jupiter sign. Jupiter is the force that moves you onward and upward in life. If you feel stuck in a rut? Check out your natal Jupiter and discover how, by sign, you express your Jupiter energies and by house, where they may be best deployed.

If you’ve been frustrated with your life to date, or lacked optimism, you may have been overlooking your Jupiter potentials. You may need to trust not only your own abilities, but also how other people will respond to your efforts. You may need to approach life in a more optimistic frame of mind and make an effort to improve your life. Getting to know Jupiter can be great way of opening your mind to the possibilities that are out there and developing the wisdom you need to be truly happy in life – and have a sense of humour too.

Saturn

Saturn is the complement to Jupiter. Often viewed as the depressing polar opposite to the bringer of joy, Saturn is actually like green vegetables – essential for your wellbeing though you’d rather be eating something else. By sign, Saturn shows you how you approach responsibility, dedication and hard work and tells you a great deal about your attitudes to authority. Saturn in some signs may find it more difficult to deal with rules and regulations than others and if that applies to you look closely at how Saturn can help you develop self control and self discipline. Regardless of sign, that potential is always there with Saturn.

Saturn by sign governs your attitude to commitment, the ways in which you are reminded of your limits and how you approach being part of society. Saturn by house is also however, an indicator of the things you like to avoid doing, where you procrastinate in life, what you fear and try to ignore. Facing up to those things and simply getting on with them is perhaps the greatest lesson you learn – often our limitations are self imposed and using Saturn’s energies well helps you to simply get over yourself. It hurts to hear that but sometimes it needs to be said.

Uranus

Uranus is the first of the ‘generational’ planets – so called as the outer planets move slowly in the heavens. That, however, doesn’t prevent Uranus from having some personal input in your chart as it’s influence will be felt, according to it’s sign but more specifically in the house it occupies in your natal chart – and often it will be felt in a very disconcerting way. Uranian energy is disruptive and where Uranus falls in your birth chart indicates the area of your life where you experience change – often unexpectedly – and potentially significant stress. However for some people they welcome the excitement that Uranus can bring – and in this approach perhaps lies the solution to dealing with the disruption Uranus brings to our lives.

Learning to embrace Uranian energy is perhaps the best way to deal with it however, that’s not always easy as it involves having to accept changes that are often uncomfortable. Uranus can eject you out of your comfort zone with astonishing speed but the purpose of this – as it is with all of our difficulties – is to get us to discard the outworn in our lives, accept new situations and discover they’re not so bad after all.

Neptune

It’s difficult to describe Neptune‘s energy as well, energy. In fact it’s difficult to describe Neptune at all. Another generational planet, Neptune will, of course, express it’s energies according to it’s sign but by it’s house placement it shows the area of your life where you find it hard to stay in the present. The planet of escapism and dreams, Neptune can be inspirational, creative or plain addictive and delusional and it can be the most difficult planetary energy to deal with as it feels so elusive. The house where Neptune is situated can feel like a soap opera – but even that tells you one glaringly obvious thing: unless you let go of the people and emotions that keep turning your drama into a crisis you will never find the inner peace you need and that’s really the place Neptunian energy wants you to flow towards. And sometimes you really do need to get real and enforce a few boundaries. It’s not always as dull as you imagine.

Pluto

Finally, the darkest energy of all. The outermost planet (in astrological terms), is associated with raw primeval energy – the dark side of our existence – and as such, Plutonian energy is very difficult for many people to own up to. Again, Pluto‘s energy is influenced by it’s sign but at an individual level it’s most noticeable in the house it occupied at the time of your birth. Depending on it’s house placement, Pluto‘s energy can erupt as almost any form of obsession. Pluto in your natal chart shows where you need to be in control – largely because underneath it all you feel powerless or out of control. From this you can see it can be incredibly self destructive – both to yourself and others – erupting as jealousy, manipulation, bullying, coercion and a host of things, all of which you would not want to experience being on the receiving end.

A great way – in fact the only way – of dealing with your Pluto energy is to meet it head on. Pluto wants you to look deep inside yourself and root out the fears, phobias and obsessions that have taken over your life – and which you so often project onto others – and transform your life by accepting yourself as you are – warts and all. This is the legacy of Pluto – the ability to heal using unrelenting honesty as your medicine.

So, in this article , I hope I’ve given you some insight into how astrology works at a very personal level to enlighten you to your own character. Of course the subject of astrology as a whole is rich complex and diverse – in a blog post I can only scratch the surface. However, If you feel like exploring further, keep following this blog – I’ll be adding further posts and pages for you to read and, hopefully, enjoy.

© Sara Shipman

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Uranus: Brexit? Trump? Chaos Has Come Again

Uranus is the planet of freedom, liberation and overturning the established order. As Uranus enters Taurus don’t expect a revolution – it’s already here.

Transiting Uranus. You only have to look at the news to see transiting Uranus doing what Uranus does best. Right now, it seems, it doesn’t matter where you live in this world, you would have to be crazy not to have noticed that things are… well… a little out of kilter one way or another. All of life’s certainties, the things we seem to have taken for granted over the years, are being undermined, overturned – call it what you will – change is underway and chaos is all around.

In the UK, we’re currently going through Brexit, and wherever your opinion sits on this one, I think we can all agree that chaos about sums up where the country is now. How we laughed on this side of the pond, when our American cousins elected Donald Trump. We marvelled at at the craziness of their democratic decision (the wall, federal government shut down, the hirings and firings and above all, those tweets…) and thought, ‘Well, that will never happen here’. Fast forward about two and a half years and here we are. UK in what seems like a revolutionary crisis, USA the same and a whole host of other nations too. It’s like the world has literally gone mad.

So, What’s that got to do with Uranus? Can the planets really affect world events? Am I really crazy just even thinking that? The answers my friends are 1. Everything. 2. Yes. 3. No. My apologies as that’s a tad superficial – however in my defence, Uranus is always one for a rapid response – so, lets try and put all Uranian impulses aside for a moment and drill deeper to try and work out why things are as they are.

To try and make some sense of this, I consulted an ephemeris to find out where Uranus is currently having an effect. Uranus orbits the Sun once every 84 years. If we are fortunate, that’s once in a lifetime (though increasingly, many of us are still around to witness a Uranus return). So, over that period, Uranus spends around seven years transiting through each sign of the Zodiac, disrupting world events, often in the manner appropriate to the meanings carried within each Astrological sign – or not. Uranus is like that – nothing if not unpredictable.

So, right now, Uranus is finishing up in Aries and about to enter Taurus. However, where Taurus is concerned, Uranus has been there before. For the past couple of years, Uranus has been hovering over the cusp of Aries/Taurus, mostly in the late degrees of Aries, but also passing into Taurus for the first time in 84 years during the summer and autumn of 2018. I’m going to take a moment now to remind you of some of the essential characteristics of Aries and Taurus. Aries is urgent, direct, warlike, assertive, brave yet often reckless. Taurus is materially inclined, stable, concerned with resources and values. It’s not too hard to see how this is working out in the Brexit arguments – ‘Remainers’ accuse ‘Leavers’ of being reckless (Aries) with the UK’s economic future while ‘Leavers’ (paradoxically sore winners!) demand ‘liberation’ (Uranus) from what they perceive as a restrictive EU – a body which is arguably Taurus personified.

When Uranus acts as the connector between the qualities of the two signs, Aries and Taurus, strange things happen. Uranus is essentially about change, and Uranus really doesn’t care about how that change occurs (or what happens as a consequence) the only sure thing is that whatever the change is that it’s revolutionary in some way – it’s rapid, unexpected, chaotic and often social in nature. Uranus encapsulates ‘group-think’ through it’s rulership of Aquarius, so one way or another Uranian change – which can seem so impersonal as it so often operates at a societal level – affects us all and reminds us we are part of the collective too.

So, getting back to today’s chaotic events, (particularly Brexit and Trump) where can we see the hand of Uranus in our current affairs? In 2016, a momentous year that saw the Brexit Vote and Trump elected, Uranus spent much of the year making stations in the last ten degrees of Aries. Still some way from the cusp with Taurus but moving ever closer and close enough for one of the most characteristic things about a Uranus transit to become noticeable – Uranus is noted for jumping the gun. When Uranus is approaching a planet or point by transit, there is often an event that is shocking in some way. It bucks the trend, seems to come out of the blue – but really it doesn’t. What Uranus is really doing is bringing something to light that challenges our expectations in some way – and this event is often the signifier of change to come rather than the change itself.

The shocking event becomes identified as the starting point for the changes to come – and right now, we can see how the fall out from those two fairly unexpected events in recent history is getting more chaotic as each day passes and Uranus comes closer to changing signs. Neither of those votes was supposed to go the way that they did, and in true Uranian style, the winning side in each case has become identified as a social, collective, populist movement protesting against that most Taurus of things, ‘the elite’. Yet, we can see clearly the Uranian paradox that both campaigns appear to have been orchestrated by the rich and powerful – so symbolically Taurus with their vested interests to the fore. Uranus has harnessed Arian energy – and sometimes violence – and pointed it at all things Taurus, yet in a typically Uranian fashionis happy to heap all the paradoxes and hypocrisies before us in a morally ambiguous pile for someone else to sort out.

So, right now we have ‘people’s movements’ headed by the ‘uber-rich’; governments that cannot or will not govern, isolationism masquerading as globalism, greed presenting itself as opportunity and opinion presenting itself as fact. There seems, no longer, to be any such thing as truth – blind faith has primacy over facts. It’s a mess, that we can all agree, but where’s it headed? The only thing I can say with certainty is it’s most likely headed to a new way of looking at the world. What that will be or how it will manifest I cannot tell you, however we can cast our eyes at history for clues as to what has happened in the past – and hopefully how we can try and avoid making the same mistakes again.

If we look back 84 years, we find ourselves in the 1930’s. Europe was in the grip of right wing populist movements and the US was pursuing a policy of isolationism. As today, ordinary people were suffering from economic hardship together with employment and financial insecurity. Many people lived hand to mouth while at the top end of the social scale the rich enjoyed wealth unimaginable to the working man and woman. As Uranus transited through Aries towards the cusp of Taurus, Hitler and Mussolini swept to power in Europe, with all the military trappings and power they could muster – and the rest is history. It is, I hope, an extreme example of the kind of ‘zeitgeist’ Uranus can inflame.

So, as Uranus finally moves into Taurus in March 2019, that period of change will be upon us. Unlike Aries, Taurus is slow and stubborn and it seems likely for a while we will remain entrenched in our respective positions unwilling to see the concerns of others from any perspective other than our own point of view. We are already divided and a compromise position seems very far away. Uranus affects the collective unconscious like no other planet and right now it seems we are in a war of social, political and moral values with no clear end in sight. We may even have to wait until Uranus approaches Gemini (another 7 years) before we can face each other again and get talking and listening.

In the meantime, I think we need to focus on what Uranus is really trying to tell us and it is simply this. We cannot go on as we have been doing in the years (if not decades) leading up to this point – and that includes wasting our natural resources and threatening life on earth – including our own. Good stewardship of the natural world is also a Taurean concern. If Uranus does one thing, it is this: it is to remind you that you, the individual are part of something more important than you so get over yourself – it’s not about you. Idealistic Uranus wants you/us to wake up to the issues that are really important for society to deal with and, to use a current and very future oriented phrase, ‘stay woke’. How we do this and how it pans out, none of us can tell. However, one way or another, Uranus will surprise us all, in ways we may find shocking or liberating and maybe not altogether pleasant in the short term – the choice is ours.

© Sara Shipman

This is the Age of Aquarius?

Aquarius sees the world as a place of endless possibility. During the month of astrological Aquarius, the days grow longer and the promise of a new beginning is in the air…

In answer to the question, technically no, but for the next few weeks, Aquarius is where it’s at as our Capricorn month is over.. Personally, I feel a great boost around this time of year. With an Aquarian Moon (on the Midheaven and conjunct Saturn, but that particular combination is for another post…), when the Sun passes over that point in late January it’s a very noticeable moment. Like a personal awakening, for me it’s when the year really begins.

When the Sun transits over the Natal position of the Moon in anyones chart, it’s enough to make many of us appreciate, astrologically speaking, that it’s a really sensitive and receptive place in our lives. For me, one of the most notable things about having an Aquarian Moon in my own chart is how many Sun Aquarians, whose birthdays mean their Natal Suns fall close to or on my Moon/Midheaven/Saturn conjunction, appear in my life on a regular basis. The Sun/Moon dynamic does, as many of you will have read elsewhere, often lead to relationships of all kinds, however, I have a confession. Though they are all lovely people, I have found relationships (whether it’s friendships, romances, business – or anything else) with these wonderful Aquarians to be more difficult than you would imagine. They seem to get under my skin – and not always in a good way.

The issue? Quite unwittingly, they activate my Moon/Saturn/Midheaven conjunction in a way that’s well, Aquarian. I’ll be honest – I find them captivating. Yet, however much I want to be with them I find them uncomfortable in some way. They have my devotion – yet give me little in return. It’s one way traffic, leaving them free to do as they wish without having to give of themselves in any way. They also seem to have a knack of making me question myself – sometimes painfully – yet can also be some of the most interesting people I know. All of them however, in some way, seem to be able to push me out of my comfort zone which, with my Natal Moon and her companion, has not always been the most comfortable of zones! (At this point while writing I was interrupted as an order of LED lightbulbs arrived at my door. Hello Uranus/Aquarius…)

To continue, I appreciate my Natal Moon operates very powerfully in my chart – more than usual for many people, so don’t imagine for a second that it’s usual for Aquarians to rub people up the wrong way! What my sensitivity to Aquarius gives me in fact, is a great awareness to the qualities of that particular sign. My Aquarian acquaintances are simply being Aquarian – and it’s the nature of Aquarius, ruled by Uranus, to be provocative. And challenging, magnetic, electrifying, stubborn, singular and so, so very idiosyncratic. But also kind, to the whole of humankind – just not necessarily me. Or you – at an individual level.

This brings me back to where I originally planned to be. For me personally and for the world, Aquarius is where we (literally) have our light bulb moments and over the next few weeks we will see one of the wonderful paradoxes of the natural world. In the depths of winter it starts to get lighter. Things start moving underground and poking through the frozen earth, seeking light and air. Aquarius brings things forth, not necessarily in a big, showy, ‘look at me’ way but the germs of ideas, the beginnings of things that will grow and change. The things that often change our lives at at collective level, are found in the Uranian qualities of Aquarius.

I think it’s also fair to point out that during the next few weeks of Aquarius we are likely to see, at the collective level, some light bulb moments and periods of great change and unrest, particularly here in the UK and, indeed, across the western world. Aquarius is a political sign aligned with revolutionary Uranus and as that planet is now transiting close to the cusp of Taurus, the sign of established order, I think many of us can perhaps see with increasing clarity, where 2019 could be heading. That particular Transit is, of course, worthy of it’s own post – and one will be arriving soon.

However, let me close with a final thought. Sometimes we need to take a risk and do something a little left of field in order to push ourselves forward. The beginning of the year is a great time to do this – when we’re fresh with ideas, energy and the will to get things moving. Those of you with major planets in Aquarius or a strong Uranus may, like me, feel little cosmic burst of energy that gets you thinking about the future and if it involves a sudden or unexpected change of direction so much the better. Use your Aquarian time well; moments when we can seize the initiative can be rare.

© Sara Shipman

When Saturn Comes Home To Roost

Saturn in the Fourth House brings family responsibilities and reminds us of the passage of time.

So, today I was mooching around, my partner had gone away on a business trip and I was generally feeling at a loose end. Prompted by a need to create a little order in the house I decided to tidy the sitting room. As I was dusting the cabinet, I suddenly felt sad. Last year I lost my father and the order of service from his funeral was still there, next to the lamp and one of my favourite pottery bowls.

Today was cold, but not as bad as last year when I travelled many miles north to take my father to various hospital appointments, mostly having to venture out in bitterly cold winds and heavy snow. And despite the January weather, in comparison to last year, this winter seems mild – not just meteorologically but emotionally too.

Last year I had Saturn in the Fourth House of my Solar Return Chart. For those of you who may be unfamiliar with Solar Returns, I’m not going to go into depth here – suffice to say it’s a great tool for Predictive Astrology and yes, being aware I had it coming I was apprehensive to say the least. However, what did that Solar Return actually mean and how did it work out?

Well, to give you an insight into my feelings, I want to share with you an extract from the book I’m currently writing on this subject. I have a way to go and it’s very much a labour of love, but with most things astrological, it’s often useful to look back and learn from what we have experienced, so here is what I had to say about the Solar Return Fourth House:

“The Solar Return Fourth House is where you feel at home and in any solar return year, a tenanted fourth house brings all issues to do with home, family, belonging and your sense of stability to the fore.

In my experience over the years, The Solar Return Fourth House is very directly to do with all matters relating to the home and family as they are in the ‘here and now’. This contrasts with Natal Chart interpretations which place your origins and familial heritage in the fourth house. In other words, your Natal Fourth House is descriptive of the things that have informed the person you are today.

The Solar Return Fourth House is, however, descriptive of the issues you are dealing with in, what is for many people, one of the most important areas of their lives. So, it’s here you will find your parents (some astrologers place your parents in the 4th and 10th houses, I find the 4th is more representative of them both).

You will both leave home and find new homes in the Solar Return Fourth House as this covers all things relating to your living and domestic situation. So, matters such as relocation, house repairs, remodelling and redecoration are found in the Solar Return Fourth House.

Family matters are found in the SR Fourth house and there is nothing like family to stir up the emotions – which they will do in this house. One very important aspect of the Solar Return is to do with nurturing – you may need to look after others or may discover you need to nurture yourself rather more than you have been doing in the past.

The Solar Return Fourth House is where we look after things so it’s where we cook, clean and grow things (flowers, families, ourselves) and those matters may demand significant amounts of your time and energy if your Solar Return Chart points that way.”

Sara Shipman 2018

 

Put Saturn in this house and you can see how things could pan out for you during the course of the year. Saturn is about responsibility and last year I certainly felt responsible for looking after both of my elderly parents and spent a considerable amount of time doing so.

We forget sometimes how literal astrology can be, however, the cool (if not cold) planet of responsibility, time, old age, duty and restriction in the house of home, family and parents points to exactly the issues I have been dealing with for the past twelve months. It is not however a given that you will have a death in the family when Saturn takes up residence in the Fourth House. The issues here are ones of responsibility and reliability, maybe becoming a parent to your own parents and of course, dealing with perhaps difficult family matters in a practical and timely way.

Looking back on the year I was struck by how this Solar Return placement played out in so many ways. During the year I really wanted to move house. My house is great and in a desirable neighbourhood, but no. Nothing doing. Saturn the planet of frustration in the Fourth House of the home? That’s how it goes sometimes. You have to make do and come to terms with the fact that on this occasion, you’re really not going to get what you want.

But it’s not all bad, being forced to stay where I was meant I had few distractions from the emotionally difficult time I was going through. When I took my house off the market I felt as if a burden had been taken away from me. I was grateful for the familiarity of my own home; Saturn may feel restrictive but we are often grateful for the security he confers.

So as a New Year begins – and my own personal new Solar Return year began a couple of months ago – I feel Saturn has moved on from my Fourth House (though he has been replaced by Neptune – water issues anyone? Oh, yes…) Saturn reminds us that life does move on. We cannot stop the passage of time any more than we can hold water in our hands.

For a little more on Saturn and Capricorn, take a look at my recent post ‘We Look to the Stars’.

NB: My Book ‘Solar Returns’ – Your Essential Guide to Predictive Astrology‘, will (I hope!) be available on Amazon late in 2019. Or Early 2020. Watch this space…

© Sara Shipman

 

Astrology: We Look to the Stars

Christmas, Saturnalia and Fish pie…

We’re now a couple of weeks into the New Year, the weather is turning cold and in a few days the Sun will leave Capricorn and enter the sign of Aquarius. Like most of you, I guess I’ve spent the past month either preparing for or recovering from Xmas, so it’s only now I’m getting around to some of my New Year’s resolutions, the first of which is to welcome you to Starcrazy Pie!

This may seem strange, deriving the name of an Astrology Blog from a Cornish Fish Pie but let me run with this and tell you the tale of a Christmas delicacy that looks to the stars…

Many years ago, the story goes, during a wild and stormy winter, the villagers in the Cornish village of Mousehole were starving. Their fishing boats were unable to go to sea and, as the villagers relied on fish for their livelihood and staple diet, their Christmastide looked bleak. However, a hardy soul, one Tom Bawcock, decided to brave the elements and returned safely to port with a huge catch, enough for all the village to enjoy. To celebrate their good fortune (and to honour Tom Bawcock), the villagers cooked up a great feast, the centrepiece of which was a ‘Stargazey Pie’, with the fish poking their heads through the great crust to look at the stars. Every 23rd December, the locals still celebrate ‘Tom Bawcocks Eve’ with this feast.

It’s a great story, whether true or not, and given the date on which the tale is set, it’s not hard to find a link between the Cornish celebration and the myriad of winter feasts and celebrations which take place during the time of Capricorn, Christmas included. At this, the darkest time of the year, we – very appropriately – indulge ourselves in Saturnalia. I say ‘appropriately’ as our entire Capricorn month is dominated by the traditional festivals of Saturn, the ruler of Capricorn. Saturnalia, in all it’s forms, is a reminder of the essential nature of Saturn.

After a long year of hard work, Saturn rewards us with time off. Relaxation. R&R. However you want to describe it the point is, quite simply, the daily grind is suspended – however temporarily. As a reward for hard work, Saturn allows you to let your hair down, to enjoy yourself in whatever way your local custom dictates. And that’s also the point – ‘Saturnalia’ is a always a public festival, ordered by well worn traditions. For example, if Christmas is your thing you know how it goes – whether you are religious or otherwise, your festivities follow a well worn path. This is no spontaneous party, it’s a well planned event, usually demanding a great deal of hard work to produce the appropriate amount of pleasure. And every year, I suspect your family party will follow a familiar and comforting routine. No surprises. During the month of Capricorn we know what to expect and what is expected of us.

That’s not to say, however, that we feel no need to rebel. During our midwinter ‘festivals of light’, we often drink too much, eat too much, have family arguments and of course we often spend too much, to the extent we often spend January counting the cost of our Christmas excess. And this is so Saturn. We spend the year working hard, we get time off to enjoy ourselves (within limits) but do not imagine Saturn gives you anything free of charge. Pleasure is always tempered by some form of sacrifice. When the decorations have been put away suddenly everything looks drab and you can be very aware, with alarming immediacy, of how much hard work lies ahead of you in the coming year. The New Year may not always feel happy during the period of Capricorn.

However, Saturn‘s challenge to us is to make us face up to our responsibilities – and that’s not always a bad thing. As the time of Capricorn progresses, Saturn prompts you to realise what’s important in your life – and that can always be a good thing. After the party, when the hangover has subsided and you feel ready to face the world, Saturn gives you focus. Suddenly you know what is important to you. Your New Year’s resolutions owe a great deal to Saturn – after all, resolve is nothing if not Capricornian in nature.

So, this year, I resolved to start this blog, continue writing the book I began last year and have planned new writing projects for this year. I’ve planned to restructure my day job and, of course, give up chocolate, wine and, of course, exercise more, etc… And here we are in mid January. And how are my resolutions going? Some better than others, but, it has to be said, for me, Capricorn time seems to be a time of decision making not implementation. For that, I need the urgency of Aquarius. With Saturn, you need to tie up your loose ends before moving on and as we approach our Aquarian month, I feel excited at the prospect of making some changes. Well planned changes of course. Saturn is still in charge – for a couple of days yet.

© Sara Shipman