Astrology: Ten Steps to Self Awareness

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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…

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Aries: On Your Marks, Get Set and Go!

And don’t forget to take your running shoes.

First up. I’m going to cheat with this post. I need to get it done fast as we’re running out of Aries time – there are only a few days left to go. I know I should have been off the blocks with this one weeks ago but hey, better late than never. And in my defence, I don’t have a single planet in Aries, so forgive me if my speed isn’t entirely at record breaking levels!

Fortunately, I’ve got a little bit of Aries stashed away for moments just like this. A short while ago I decided to write a series of ebooks (one of my many Gemini Ascendent projects) each one focusing on a Zodiac Sign. I decided to start with Aries – why not? After all, Aries is first on the list, symbolises beginnings and Arians are known for blazing a trail faster than anyone else. So, in a trial run, I’m going to run the first part of my draft ebook past you. I hope it resonates with those of you who have a Cardinal, Masculine and Fiery disposition. Here we go…

Aries is traditionally considered the first sign of the Zodiac and that’s a very appropriate place for a sign that hollers, ‘Me first’, at every opportunity. Brash, fiery, brave, bold and reckless – we’ve all heard of the stereotypical Arian charging into battle, often without even stopping to ask what the fight is about – but is that all there is to Aries? Even for Aries I think there’s a little more than that in the mix. So, let’s have a closer look at the qualities associated with the sign of Aries and dig deeper into the Zodiac’s most exciting – and excitable – sign.

Those three words up there on this page? Masculine, Cardinal and Fire? They describe the Zodiac groupings (dualities, triplicities and quadruplicities) which give each of the Zodiac Signs their particular characteristics. Aries is a masculine sign and though we certainly associate this sign with a high level of testosterone, ‘masculine’ in this context is way more than just a synonym for butch. For Aries (as with all masculine Zodiac Signs), ‘masculine’ describes how Aries expresses energy and this is in a positive, outward manner.

Positive outward energy? This means Aries loves a bit of action and can act up like no other Zodiac sign. This should be no surprise if you look at the other two words up there on the page, cardinal and masculine. I’ll  add now add fire to the mix as this element is, of course, hugely important in forming the basic Aries personality. Aries is a fire sign and probably the most sparky and combustible of all the fire signs. So, this means Aries energy is hot and quick to ignite being fuelled with high-octane enthusiasm and a fundamental need to take action. Aries being Aries, this shoots out into the world in accordance with the ‘cardinal’ qualities that make Aries one of the most ‘in your face’ of all the Zodiac signs. 

As a cardinal sign, Aries is outgoing  – it’s how they interact with the world. Aries is not, as the saying goes, backwards at coming forwards and Aries mode of expression is almost literally forwards at all times. Impulsive, forceful, pioneering, energetic and assertive, Aries is noted for initiating activities and pushing them on – not necessarily with any plan in mind – just usually to see how far they can go. As Aries is both tempestuous and highly sexual that can mean seeing ‘how far they can go’  – Aries lives for the thrill of the chase.

If this sounds familiar to you, you may have an Aries Sun, Moon or Rising Sign – you could even have a powerfully placed Mars in your Natal Chart. However, having an Aries Sun does not have the same effect on your character as having Aries as your Rising Sign and it doesn’t produce quite the same result if you have an Aries Moon. The reason for this is the Sun, Moon and Rising Sign represent different aspects of your character. Though all of you with Aries dominant in your birth chart (because you have one of the above placements) will share Arian traits, the ways in which your Aries traits manifest are going to be very different.

The Sun, Moon and Rising Sign signify the most deeply important parts of you – they represent who you are, how you feel and how you see the world. You can see from this that those three things tell you a great deal about what makes you tick. Now most of you who know something about astrology will know that to get the whole picture you need to look at your whole chart, with all the other planets in their signs and houses. That’s absolutely true, but all the information you need at a very fundamental level to really get to know yourself is contained in your Sun, Moon and Rising Sign. 

Your natal Sun defines your basic character and personality, your identity – all of the things that make you feel like the unique human being you are. The house position of your natal Sun is where you shine and your Sun sign is how you shine best as expressing your solar traits comes so easily to you. That  may seem quite straightforward but unless you get to know yourself well it can be difficult to use your solar energy to your best advantage. For Aries, as with all Zodiac signs, this means learning to express the positive characteristics of the sign and deal with the negative traits. You need self awareness to do this and the grace to accept that sometimes you need to do a bit of work on yourself – Aries can often have ‘might means right’ issues.

With Aries as your Rising sign, the emphasis is slightly different. You view the world through an Arian lens which means you approach life in an Arian manner – which is direct to say the least. In many ways, Aries is more visible when it’s your rising sign as its the side of you that’s on display to the world and it’s often how others see you as their impression of you is often based on your immediate responses. However, with Aries as your Rising sign, Aries is your surface overlay. Your true nature will be determined by your Sun sign – and if this is also Aries, what you see is what you get!

The Moon is all about your emotional responses, your needs and what makes you feel comfortable. With the Moon in Aries your deepest needs are Arian in nature. Even if your Sun or Rising signs are somewhat more placid, you may surprise both yourself and other people close to you with an underlying Arian emotional nature which can seem at odds with who you – and they – think you are. Of course, you need to be comfortable with yourself at an emotional level as you cannot be truly happy unless unless you can really accept yourself for who you are. Again, this means becoming aware of your emotional needs and satisfying them positively in accordance with the positive characteristics of your Moon sign.

When I was writing the above, I became aware of the complex interaction of the planets, points and signs that often dominate out chart, namely the Sun, Moon and Ascendent. We so often think of ourselves an simply our Sun sign and often reduce our understanding of that to just a few chosen characteristics – usually the ones we prefer and want to identify with. However, that’s selling ourselves short. So, in writing (or drafting my series of ebooks) I wanted to get up to speed on how we can become more self aware if we learn to recognise the qualities our important signs bestow on us and key to that is using – as many astrologers can testify to – ‘keywords‘ for each sign as a starting point for self discovery. So Aries, in that vein, I’ve written a check list for you to speed read and discard – in true Arian fashion…

Aries ‘keywords’. This is basically a list of Aries traits you need to be familiar with each time you work on your Aries Sun, Moon or Rising Sign. All Zodiac signs have key, identifying characteristics and we express them easily and without really noticing that we do so.  It’s important therefore that we are remind ourselves of what they are – and here I’m going to use an analogy – it’s like speaking your native language, you don’t have to think about it too much because it’s simply something you do. However, even native speakers need to improve their vocabulary and be aware of grammatical rules and this is what consciously learning your Aries keywords will do for you – they will give you the vocabulary to take ownership of your inner self and enable you to express yourself in the best possible way.

As I mentioned earlier, all Zodiac signs – and that includes you Aries – have what have been traditionally considered ‘positive’ and ‘negative’ characteristics. In days gone by, astrologers often seemed to put a binary meaning on this – you were able to express your sign’s energy well – or not – there was no middle way. However, life is more complex than that. You are all capable of expressing your Aries energy productively and unproductively and no doubt do so every day. However, if you find you’re expressing the negative (or less acceptable) face of Aries more often than not, please be aware that the potential for transforming this to a more positive expression is within you. To transform our habitual ways of being takes two things – self awareness and a desire to change, however, you have to employ both of these together – one will simply not do the job.

Aries|Keywords|Positive

Active, Adventurous, Affectionate, Ardent, Assertive, Bold, Brave, Candid, Child-likonfident, Courageous, Daring, Direct, Dynamic, Eager, Energetic, Enterprising, Enthusiastic, Explorer, Extroverted, Fast, Fiery, Forceful, Friendly, Incisive, Independent, Initiative, Intrepid, Leader, Passionate, Pioneering, Romantic, Risk-taker, Self-Starter, Selfless, Spontaneous, Tough, Urgent

Aries|Keywords|Negative

Aggressive, Antagonistic, Argumentative, Bad-tempered, Blunt, Brash, Bullying, Childish, Combative, Combustible, Crude, Daredevil, Demanding, Directionless, Dominant, Egotistical, Foolhardy, Headstrong, Impatient, Impulsive, Insensitive, Loud, Outspoken, Pugnacious, Pushy, Quick Tempered, Restless, Rude, Selfish

This is an indicative though by no means an exhaustive list – you may recognise some of these traits in yourself, not necessarily all of them – though that’s not to say they aren’t there! The important thing is you become familiar with them and learn to identify them in yourself. Remember, each ‘negative’ trait carries the potential to become positively used – they’re like two sides of a coin, all you have to do is learn to flip.

Yes Aries, all you have to do is learn to flip. Not at all easy for the most direct sign of the Zodiac but well worth doing. Why? It’s about being your best self and, Aries, if you’re going to enter the race you may as well ensure you’re in prime condition – otherwise how do expect to get anywhere near the finishing line? Use your knowledge to maximise your potential – in other words Aries, give yourself a head start. You know it makes sense.

Though I’m ‘Aries-lite’ in my chart, I have an angular Mars (Aries ruler) and regularly encounter Arians in my life. I’m always struck by their spontaneity and enthusiasm. Their speed and energy leaves me breathless and they almost never have to think to hard about anything – they simply get on and ‘do stuff’ – though it must be said only if the ‘stuff’ in question lights their fire.

And this I feel is the lesson we can take from Aries – whatever or sign – don’t get bogged down in the stuff that gets you down. Don’t let your fire burn out. Try and retain a child-like enthusiasm for life. In an Arian’s (and a child’s) eyes almost anything is possible. Why wouldn’t it be? There is nothing out there for you to be afraid of and life is just one big adventure. We can learn a lot from Aries – the child of the zodiac. Be a good parent to your fiery inner child and train him/her well. You will need your Aries courage your whole life long.

© Sara Shipman 2019

Transits and Solar Returns: An Astrologer’s Guide to Future-proofing Your Life

There are some things you need to know…

Well, It’s been a while, but first, I want to apologise for my lack of posts over the past few weeks. About a month ago I had major surgery having been diagnosed earlier this year with a pre-cancerous gynaecological condition. Following my surgery, the histology report showed my condition had progressed to very early stage cancer – and fortunately it was curable by a total hysterectomy.

So, it turned out I had cancer after all – without knowing it – and when the cancer was confirmed, I had already had the surgery to remove it. I no longer have cancer – what a great thing to be able to say. I feel as though I have had an amazing stroke of luck, however, the surgery has left me physically exhausted and I have had to take a time out to recuperate.

The obvious question to someone with a keen interest in predictive astrology and who shares that interest with the wider world is, ‘did I see it coming’? Well, I was on ‘red alert’ for something as the signs were out there that this was going to be an eventful year – though I didn’t know exactly what would happen as astrology always gives you options! So, what I’m going to do in this post is show you how predictive astrology can give you the heads up on the kinds of situations that may be coming your way.

When I want to know what issues I may have to contend with in the coming months I turn to two astrological tools in particular. Firstly I examine the transits to my natal chart and then I look at my solar return chart for the year in question. I know there are many astrologers out there who will have their own preferences regarding the techniques they use for predictive work, however, my own preference is to use transits and solar returns. Why? I believe they are much more straightforward to interpret than some other techniques and are often more obvious to the person who is experiencing them.

However, as an Astrologer, I use these techniques because they work well together. Predictive astrology is an art but it needs the practitioner to follow a rigorous process – for me, transits (particularly the outer planets) are largely indicative of trends in your life which occur over a fairly long period of time. They function as a kind of background noise almost like traffic noise outside your home. The noise becomes becomes louder when you open the window or, in astrological terms, when the transiting planets make contact, by aspect, with your natal planets or with important points in the natal chart such as angles or house cusps.

Solar returns complement this often long term process by giving you a pretty good idea of the kinds of issues you may face in any particular part of your life during any one solar return year. For me, I find they work in tune with transits, adding a layer of detail to the big themes your transits are telling you about. With me so far? Good.

So, what did my transits tell me about 2019? The big story for me transit-wise is Uranus, currently transiting through my natal 12th house. Uranus has been there for some time and honestly, I’ve not really noticed until recently and the reason for this is that Uranus is now approaching the point at which it will activate the huge ‘T-square’ in my natal chart.

Now, my natal ‘T-square‘ is pretty heavy; Sun conjunct Neptune in the 6th House square Mars in the 4th House and a Moon /Saturn conjunction exactly on the Midheaven. Safe to say, I’ve been ‘expecting the unexpected’ in all of those areas and sure enough, health, work and daily routine (6th house), home, family and all things female (4th House) and my career and direction in life (10th House) have all shown increasing signs of stress in the past few months.

However, I also have Mercury in my natal 6th House. Mercury is my chart ruler and, though not close enough to my Sun/Neptune conjunction to be officially part of the ‘T-Square‘, it is connected to my Moon/Saturn/Midheaven conjunction with a square aspect. And Mercury was where transiting Uranus made it’s first landfall…

So, it’s fair to say in late 2018/early 2019 I became aware (Uranus) something was wrong at a subconscious level (12th House) because I noticed (Mercury) some unusual (Uranus) physical changes to my health (6th House). Uranus switched on the light and Mercury saw there was a problem. Mercury‘s aspect to my ‘T-Square‘ configuration is a square and squares demand action. I needed to take responsibility (Saturn) for my reproductive health (Moon) and this was a matter off some importance that could not be ignored (Midheaven). So, off I went to consult my doctor and be referred to a gynaecologist…

I feel I have to say that, of course, there were (and are) other transits happening, but this was (and is) a big one. It was also possible that the matters being lit up weren’t about my health at all. However, I had been feeling a sense of unease about my health, exercise (lack of) and daily routine, (6th house) my career and business – I work in construction and real estate (4th house) – particularly given the current economic and political uncertainty in the world (10th house) – and all of these matters were in Uranus’s line of fire. The health check? It was a good thing to do but this transit could just as easily have meant I needed to start taking my wellbeing seriously and change my habits and my job. It didn’t necessarily show there was a serious health problem to deal with.

So what did my Solar Return Chart have to say about this? Well, I feel it’s interesting. My Solar Return Chart’s ascending sign is Scorpio, the sign of power and regeneration. My Sun is found in the 12th House. The Sun’s only aspect is a trine to Neptune in the 4th house. Now, the 12th house is the sign we associate with, among other things, hospitals, healing, drugs, seclusion, escape etc. and the 4th house we know relates to home, food, family, women, parents and parenting, the womb etc. as well as land, homes, houses and all things domestic. The Sun is always the focus of the Solar Return Chart so the 12th house was going to be big for me this year and would always be connected to that 4th house Neptune

When I first looked at my Solar Return Chart for the year it made a great deal sense to me. I had recently lost my father (Sun 12th House) and was processing that emotionally. I felt the coming year would be a time of healing and acceptance (Neptune) for me and the family, especially my Mother (4th house). I also found I had to contend with some of the more traditional issues associated with Neptune‘s 4th house placement. ‘Water issues in the home’ came to the fore with leaks, hidden areas of damp and rot, broken cisterns, delayed repairs – you name it, it’s been happening. Maybe just maybe, that 4th House Neptune was reminding me that I hadn’t been paying attention…

And maybe that included paying attention to my own body. I found myself tracking the aspects to that 4th house Neptune to see if I could identify what else could be in store. Well, there was a sextile to Pluto in the 2nd House. Sure, the repairs were about to into my cash in a big way but I felt there could be more than that after all, the second house is the house of the body. It’s physical as well as material. So I followed the next aspect, a square from Pluto to Venus in the 12th house.

This stressful aspect between Pluto and Venus once more highlighted material circumstances. Venus signifies money and right now I felt the house repairs were something I both couldn’t afford to do and couldn’t afford not to do. It was cash (Venus) I didn’t have (12th house) as my income from my day job (6th house) was erratic (Uranus). I had to resign myself to stress and repairs and being broke or maybe initiate change by finding a new job (fast!). After all, I was clearly stressed with things the way they were (Uranus in 6th house)and perhaps needed to adjust to the fact that my business wasn’t going as planned (Uranus quincunx Moon in 10th house) and I’d been seriously over optimistic about it’s chances of success (Uranus quincunx 1st house Jupiter).

My interpretation made perfect sense to me – after all, the first rule of predictive astrology is that everything that happens to you happens in the context of your own life. Period. But there it was nagging at me. That Uranus in the Solar Return 6th house. Uranus was in the house of health and it made me uneasy – what surprises were in store?

Once again I followed the aspects. Potentially an unexpected health issue lay in store but related to what? Uranus opposed Venus in the 12th house. Venus is feminine. The 12th house is associated with loss as well as hospitalisation. An unexpected health issue connected with feminity and loss? Or something hidden? I moved on to Venus‘s square to Pluto in the 2nd house. Whatever the Venus placement meant it was connected to Pluto, and Pluto symbolises revelation and irrevocable change – Pluto removes the things you no longer need. Potentially, physically (2nd house) something was no longer needed and needed to be removed – a square aspect remember, needs to be acted on. What was the issue? Something hidden (Neptune)in the 4th house…

So, that brought me back to the beginning. I wondered if there was potentially an unknown health problem involving the 4th house. Not unreasonably I paid more attention to my mother who was due to have some minor surgery (and sure enough, that ended up with a sudden and unexpected complication…) Maybe that was it. But no. My own condition announced it’s presence and here I am recovering and with my outlook on life transformed. Many women who’ve had the same operation as me feel they have lost their femininity, and younger women lose their ability to have children.

How does my experience relate to yours? At a personal level maybe some of you will find yourselves nodding in agreement – after all cancer is common – and many of us will experience it in some form or know someone who has or is suffering with it now. However, what I want you to take from this is the following; astrology gives us a resource to increase our self awareness to know when we may need to look at our lives a little more carefully and move in the direction that’s right for us.

Many of us would love to know what’s in store for us – equally there are as many who do not. However, I think it’s fair to say most of us would like some help in making informed decisions that can help us plan our lives more effectively. As I mentioned earlier, predictive astrology can point out your options – and if you take some time to understand he direction your life is moving in and work with the direction of travel (rather than fighting against it), you will find your life becomes much easier.

That’s not so say a little advanced knowledge will make your life easy – far from it. we all have difficult moments in our lives or find ourselves at forks in the road and don’t know which way to go. Checking out your transits and solar returns can help you make an informed decision. The Universe is there to help you and when it speaks? Listen very carefully indeed.

© Sara Shipman 2019

PS I’m currently writing a book on predictive astrology – hoping extracts will be available on this website soon with full publication to follow!

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

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