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Tuesday, 4 February 2014

An Astrological Tribute to Philip Seymour Hoffman

Philip Seymour Hoffman
born 23 July 1967
Fairport, New York
Birth time unknown (chart set around sunrise)


When the spirit moves you... it's important to respond (or so I believe). Like many people, I felt shock at reading about the death at age 46 of talented actor and film director, Philip Seymour Hoffman.  This post is one little tribute among hopefully many that will appear over the coming days and weeks and focuses on a birth chart drawn for around sun rise.

He "lit up the screen" - is the way that British film critic, Jason Solomons, described Philip Seymour Hoffman (BBC website).  That sounds rather like Jupiter in Leo, symbolic of the larger than life star and his Leonine mane of blonde hair.  There is also a close square (90 degree connection) in the birth chart, between the Moon, symbolising shadowy light and reflections, and Neptune, planet of illusion; he had a talent for playing offbeat, somewhat conflicted characters, so well described by the Moon in Aquarius.

That same Moon signifies another quality of his, also mentioned by Solomons: "He'd take the weirdest parts and give them a human element."  Aquarius may capture the quirky, off the wall side of life. It also connects powerfully with humanity in general.  With this 'Moon square' in play, the boundaryless planet Neptunian, with its out-of-focus picture lets us see the fuzzy, ragged side beneath any glittery illusion.

Hoffman may have been a Hollywood star, and some of his characters may have been attracted to glitz and glamour; a lifestyle of 'living it up' (like Freddy Miles in The Talented Mr Ripley) but we know that Freddy Miles could see through Tom Ripley's phony front - and Philip Seymour Hoffman was well aware in his roles that he was portraying an illusion yet he may have appeared very convincing.  Of his experiencing of acting he has said: 

"I'm probably more personal when I'm acting than at any other time. More open, more direct. Because it allows me to be something that I can't always feel comfortable with when I'm living my own life, you know? Because it's make- believe." (IMBD website).

Philip Seymour Hoffman is thought to have died from a heroin overdose and was known to have had a history of substance abuse.  As anyone with more than a passing interest in addiction recovery may know, it's not necessarily the death of on/off addicts that is surprising; it is the fact that they have managed to live as many days as they did, given that every single day can be a battle.  Are Hoffman's demons and his struggle with alcohol and other drugs shown clearly in his chart?  The Moon/Neptune square suggests a struggle with dealing with feelings, with a strong pull towards just wanting to escape from them, to transcend the feeling state.  Neptune is linked with chemicals and the Moon/Neptune pairing represents a desire for a pink, fluffy float along life's emotional path, not wanting one's feet to touch the ground too easily.

We should not forget that Neptune is a planet linked with creative inspiration and imagination, as well as the ability to shift, chameleon-like, into the 'feel' and spirit of another person.  Neptunian types are often psychic and can imagine what it is like to be in another person's world.  Every little helps with a job such as acting! Sometimes, creative, Neptunian types need some special access or protection to stand in that bridge-like place between two worlds; to lose themselves and temporarily take up the space that others would usually inhabit, whether fictional or real - dead or alive.  We can only guess at how that may have worked for this particular talent, since whatever links to the Moon is private and personal whilst paradoxically the Moon can also be a symbol of how we connect to others in public life - and of popularity with the public.

Something probably needs to be said about the Venus/Pluto/Uranus conjunction in this chart, in the sign of Virgo.  Philip Seymour Hoffman famously said, of his appearance: "A lot of people describe me as chubby, which seems so easy, so first-choice. Or stocky. Fair-skinned. Tow-headed. There are so many other choices. How about dense? I mean, I'm a thick kind of guy. But I'm never described in attractive ways. I'm waiting for somebody to say I'm at least cute. But nobody has." (IMBD).  Traditionally, in astrology, Venus in Virgo is considered to be a 'fallen' or 'debilitated' planet - not a very nice word, maybe, but, as the planet most associated with physical attraction, it does rather well describe the struggle of a lack of nice compliments about appearance.

This orb of the triple-conjunction of planets is on the 'wide' side.  That is, when we look at the distance between planets (the orb of aspect), here, the 'orb' between the first two planets (Venus and Pluto) happens to be a little wider than the accepted norm for a conjunction (8 degrees)  Some astrologers will allow 10 degrees, though and this conjunction is at 9.  I personally think it's a fairly accurate astrological signature for an on-off struggle with substances.  Venus is linked to appetites - with the Moon possibly implicated, too, because that relates to our need for food, nutrition, water, etc - the stuff of daily, physical survival through taking care of the body and brain.  But, as many a person who has become informed about addiction will know, with drug taking of various kinds (in which we could include misusing alcohol, food, prescription drugs, illegal drugs etc) none of it is usually about a real need for physical survival.  It relates only to the addict's distortion about what feels or seems like something necessary for survival - because drugs interact with the pleasure and reward centres in the brain and that person's brain is not functioning in the same way as a normal person's brain (a detail that is often overlooked in stories about addiction problems). New medical research has revealed that the usually peaceful, mellow, confident mode that a perfectly healthy person may experience much of the time is somewhat missing for the addict. This means that, like it or not, he/she has an inbuilt drive to look for something to compensate for this - because it is a normal reaction for the body and mind to look for ways to find balance.

Unfortunately, an addict may develop an appetite for something that soon becomes destructive; at first the substance (or in some cases process) may seem to bring the desired balance and all is well.  But fairly soon the constant usage means that the balance is not achieved and a higher 'dose' is needed.  It isn't too long, then, before the addiction has hold of the person rather than the other way around. The tastes of the demon - the starved pleasure/reward centre - have now taken over.  Typically, in media portrayals, the addict is seen as seeking pleasure, euphoria, peace, calm, fun, excitement, or thrills - some sort of sensory experience over and above the usual, everyday, up and down feelings and moods that go with life (pain, shame, fear, boredom, guilt, etc).  What is often overlooked is that, due to an inborn problem involving chemical imbalance, the addict experiences those usual, everyday responses and moods at a far more intense level than a person who doesn't have that default setting in the brain nor related, different hormone reactions.  Ironically, the down phase of drug withdrawal and the misery of being caught up within an addiction cycle will make all of that even worse - but by the time an addict discovers that, it's often too late!  The destructive cycle has begun.

What has all of this to do with astrology and the chart of Philip Seymour Hoffman?  Well, Venus in Virgo represents a taste for certain 'medicines' (the planet is located in a sign related to health). Venus keeps company here with the decidedly un-jolly planets Pluto and Uranus; this little band of fun looks horribly like "Trouble with the Sweet Stuff" (nodding to Billy Idol).  Pluto is the equivalent of Hades, the god of the underworld in Greek mythology.  Nobody saw Pluto/Hades coming; he was an abductor.  I don't know if he used ether or its equivalent at the time, but he could easily have done so.  He could take someone hostage, threaten them, abuse them and generally remove their power, eventually taking them over.

A Uranus quality can make a person feel like an outsider - which the Moon in Aquarius can sometimes also represent.  The person with a powerful planetary aspect to Uranus (like this) may temporarily imagine that they don't have any friends, that nobody would want to hear from them even if they did - and that nobody will understand their experience or their pain.  With these two outer-planet rogues, Pluto and Uranus, chasing down a person's thought process, it wouldn't be a great surprise to see them retreat into a world of pain and try to find some way to sweeten any bitter pill that had to be swallowed, or to try to find a way to obliterate the usual messages of the senses - to reach a stage of blackout for a while.  Rather like the film reel, once the image stops projecting, the story is over for that showing.  The characters can rest.  The villains stop chasing the good guy.  The fact that he's slumped over, unconscious and not looking terribly attractive in that position is - well, just another Venus in Virgo type thing.

Philip Seymour Hoffman knew that he was in serious trouble with substances as early as the age of 22, when he stopped drinking alcohol.  Bearing in mind that, for some people, this might not be far off the age when they begin imbibing, he had had a head start with his particular addiction struggle (his parents had divorced when he was 9 years old and he and his siblings were brought up by his mother; the sense of abandonment experienced by the lack of a father in his life from there on in might have had something to do with where things went for him, since modern research has linked addiction with the lack of a stable father figure in a child's life.  To an extent we can only surmise, of course).

A characteristic of addicts is that they often feed their addiction in solitude.  People may have come across stories about Hofmann's last days being spent drinking at the counter of a bar, whilst taking frequent 'breaks' in the bathroom.  Clearly he wasn't interacting a lot with other people.  Interestingly, he is quoted, in happier days, as saying:

"My favorite thing about acting is being alone and going through the scripts and working on it and getting ideas and asking myself questions, looking outside myself for them and researching and getting to the bottom of something and being creative with it as an actor and how to express it in a creative fashion. That's my favorite part. And,the actual acting of it." (IMBD)

That all sounds rather a lot like Venus in Virgo with Pluto and Uranus!  Virgo can be shy and introverted; Pluto is linked with the underworld (the bottom).  Uranus represents being/looking outside oneself. Venus can of course be creative.

I also found the following quote to be appropriately descriptive of these outer planet connections in the chart - of Neptune with the Moon and of Pluto/Uranus with Venus:

"On my down time I do a lot of nothing. I just kinda read, run and hang out with friends because I haven't had a lot of it lately. I just try to do a lot of nothing. ...when you stay home you really don't want to do too much because you've been going out and getting up early and staying out late all the time. So you just do very little." (IMBD)

The Moon, Neptune and Uranus are all at 21 degrees in Hoffman's chart.  The day that he died the planet Saturn, in the sky, was at 22 degrees of Scorpio, conjunct Neptune, square the Moon in Aquarius and sextile (60 degrees away from) Uranus in Virgo (the planet that rules over Aquarius).  Saturn represents boundaries.  You could say that Hoffman struggled with the boundary with heroin (Neptune) that day.  Some people say that death is the ultimate boundary.  Saturn in Scorpio can mark the point of no return for some people.  For an addict it might well represent a 'bottom' - a place of rock bottom, where things can't feel much worse and, quite likely, where the addiction feels completely out of control.  The Venusian appetite and the abductive quality of Pluto may have been drawn in that day, due to those planets' proximity to Uranus. Not that happy heights of creative inspiration reached then, sadly - just the struggle of someone caught in a vicious circle, who knew that this Saturn in Scorpio end was in sight.  Scorpio is said to have a destructive or healing quality, depending on how the person uses its energies.  Perhaps the line was just very hard to find for this relapse period of Hoffman's life. Only a few weeks before, when his partner had drawn a boundary about him no longer living at home with the children, and he had checked into rehab, he had confided in a friend that if he didn't beat his addiction that time, it would kill him.  It's a big loss when Saturn and Pluto take charge - to the film going audience as well.  With the Sun in Cancer, he would have had a deep desire to do right by his family, which would perhaps have informed his decision to accept the request to leave the family home and get clean.  But the Sun in his birth chart was square Mars (at a 90 degree angle) which suggests the family 'stuff' was also a source of conflict for him.  Perhaps that simply made him human.  RIP Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Decans Articles - Sagittarius

What do Edith Piaf, Teri Hatcher and Jane Austen have in common?  They were all born under the sign of Sagittarius!  But do you know which Decan of the sign? Perhaps more vitally, do you know which Decan of your Sun sign (zodiac sign) you were born under? You can find out by looking at the Decans information at Totally4Women:

http://www.totally4women.com/wit-wisdom-wardrobe/wisdom/your-horoscope/.

For Sagittarius, the current sign of the month, look here:

http://www.totally4women.com/2013/12/05/what-the-stars-say-sagittarius/.

As some of you know, I have been writing the horoscope column at the T4W website for some time now and the Decans focus will soon be complete, with Capricorn the next sign covered.  T4W have kindly decided to keep the Decans personality readings available for the ongoing future, so do visit back to view the set whenever you want that kind of information. You can find the overview here:

http://www.totally4women.com/wit-wisdom-wardrobe/wisdom/your-horoscope/.

Thanks also to those who post comments to this site.  All comments are moderated and we do only publish those that are truly relevant and genuine to what is being discussed here.

Celestially yours!

Friday, 18 October 2013

The Light of Venus - author: Adam Gainsburg; review by Diana McMahon Collis

Celestial Spot has had a little gap whilst I have been kept ultra busy with external writing, editing, author support and consultation services.  Apologies to fans of the blog, but I shall now be posting some book reviews by way of a little catching up... Here is the first one and I hope you enjoy it.  It may have special interest for fans of the Sun and Venus, but also for anyone interested in understanding more about their life purpose... Celestially yours, as ever!
Book Review of:  The Light of Venus
Author:  Adam Gainsburg
Published by:  Soulsign Publishing, Virginia USA 2012 (paperback edition)

Review Text Copyright Diana McMahon Collis 2013 + beyond
Review First Published in The Astrological Journal Vol. 55 No. 1 January/February 2013



Adam Gainsburg’s book will appeal to anyone interested in understanding about their unique purpose on this planet, particularly through their “dharma” – or spiritual responsibility – describing the unique gift that each person can bring into the world.
Whilst the book’s title focuses on one particular planet, it is not just a study of Venus, or yet another planetary ‘cookbook’.  The Light of Venus is primarily about the relationship of Venus to the Sun in the sky.  In that way it instantly reminded me of Dane Rudhyar’s work on Moon cycles (The Lunation Cycle), but Gainsburg explains, that systems such as Rudhyar’s rely on an equal-phase formula (phases of equal duration), whereas his own study and theory has been based upon direct sky experience – ie “astrophysical” rather than astrological.

This book is about the cycle of Venus in relation to the Sun and the particular stages (phases)  of that cycle.  The author observes the movement of Venus from Morning Star to Evening Star and back again, indicating that each person has a personal Venus phase (although, paradoxically, this links them to a higher, collective purpose).   Understanding this phase can demonstrate “how your inner feminine nature can contribute to our improved collective femininity”.  Gainsburg suggests that Venus-Sun ‘alchemy’ shows the heart’s intelligence, providing a route away from perceived separateness, towards a more connected, personal communion with life in general – quite a profound idea.  This work is rooted in solid experience, though; not only has the author spent much time literally observing the sky, but also many hours with clients, noting how the Venus-Sun phase has played out in their experiences.  I wish that he had been able to include some actual case studies, as this would have made his arguments more persuasive.
On with the theory, however: as any astrologer knows, it is not unusual for there to be a range of contradictions within an individual horoscope; Gainsburg goes on to describe how Venus’s natal phase can seem at odds with the horoscopic placement of Venus by sign, house, aspect and dignity.  The main thrust of the book may, however, detract somewhat from the established idea that, inner planets usually point to more personal aspects of a person’s character and life experience, whilst outer planets are often seen to better represent the collective – or a sense of shared, ‘generational’ consciousness.  Gainsburg’s take on the Sun-Venus cycle together suggests that they are “dynamic stages of a collective developmental process”, although he does emphasise a “personal communion” according to specific phase.  It may be that he is describing a difference between the ‘mundane’ self and ‘higher’ self, towards which – the theory appears to go - the feminine life force (or side of the brain) has a stronger access link.

 It is worth mentioning that Gainsburg observes a synodic cycle, not a sidereal cycle for plotting the phases, with this definition: “ (from Greek synodos for “with the path”) ... synodic cycles are measured from the conjunction of two or more bodies to their next conjunction.  Synodic cycles are formed by two planets which share a path together or travel with one another.  (Wikipedia defines a synodic day as sunrise to sunrise and a sidereal day as star-rise to star-rise; apparently, if we are talking about a synodic month, this represents the Moon’s phases, focussing on the Moon’s position in relation to the Sun as viewed from earth).  Details such as this and the emphasis on sky-watching, as opposed to astro-logging (presumably working only from ephemerides, logarithms and maths), emphasise a subtlety of astrological approach that is often missing in a lot of astrological literature. 
As teachers of astrology often find, if we pull the old literature apart too much we can start to see flaws in the astrological system.  To an extent, Adam Gainsburg’s approach shows up these flaws, which is oddly quite refreshing - perhaps because it reminds us just what a complex subject astrology can be, as well as how simple it could be!  I felt reminded of the split in astrology between an externally observational, physical practice (more akin to astronomy) and a logical, table-building, mathematical practice, both with relatively ancient routes of course.  Yet I am tempted to call Gainsburg’s approach “retro” – in the nicest possible way.  The Light of Venus reminded me a little of some of the 1970s astrological literature and of the Jeffrey Wolf Green school of astrology.

The author’s claim is that “What’s Your Phase” is the new “What’s Your sign” and suggests that “it may be that your greatest contribution comes not from your planets and thus your personal identity, but the spaces in between them”.  I like this approach as it reminds me of certain modern artists (playwrights, film-makers, authors, actors) who emphasise that it is not always what characters say that matters: it is the gaps in between what they say that often conveys something of profound importance!
Adam Gainsburg’s work is considered to be pioneering in the astrological field and as such it might be fair to compare him with other innovators, such as John Addey.  It is certainly refreshing to see someone talking about something that seems new, even if the relationship between the Sun and Venus has been there all the time!  With any new approach, though, I am eager to test it against reality.  Only then can I decide if I am going to add its methodology to the (already fairly packed) repertoire of tools for understanding “what’s in a chart” – and whether I should be pointing clients and students to the new information.  I want to feel satisfied that it adds something vital or at least very relevant, when students are already struggling to understand the basics of astrology or clients are busy wanting answers to slightly more mundane queries.  Even if the book is only going to be of passing interest to me plus nearest and dearest, perhaps the acid test for relevancy of astrological material  is that the information (or interpretation) has to ring true.   I am glad to report that I could certainly relate to the description of my own Venus phase; a part of me wished I had some other Venus phase, as what I read was effectively a repeat of a message I have received in other areas.  But there is value in having confirmation of what you already know –  this is sometimes what clients seek from a consultation session or reading.  For more objectivity and a fairer test, I compared the interpretations given of the various Venus phases against the charts and personal knowledge of a handful of people I am well acquainted with – and equally thought that the phase meanings reflected something quite profound about those people.

Whilst I prefer not to gripe about small technicalities in any painstakingly constructed art work, there are a couple of features that niggled a little, although they don’t detract from the core value of the book.   The first is that, whilst this may not strictly be an astrology ‘cookbook’, it does have a somewhat formulaic component.  This is particularly clear in the definitions of the “Collective Theme” of each phase, under the “Phase Meanings” headings.  These revolve around ‘feminine intention’ and ‘feminine identity’ and come across as variations on a theme, with verbs as their distinguishing factor.  Maybe this is just the way it has to be.  A book needs a structure after all; the material has to be clearly organised in some way.  But, when I noticed the similarity of the wording in these sections, I suffered that temporary experience of doubt and slight cynicism that I hear in the voices of those members of the public who say: “but when I read the sections in horoscope columns, I could relate to any one of them”.
The second factor is that the author mentions that he has taken pains to keep the book’s language simple and accessible; whilst I am sure that his intentions were true, I also think the book contains psycho-spiritually-based language that will be more accessible to some readers than others.  For example, a phrase  such as “Crystallizing our re-made feminine intention; radiating, manifesting our feminine destiny” might not bring immediate clarity to all.  This might not matter, however, if the book contained case studies and/or even a few metaphors that could help to elucidate and pin down meanings.  As it is, the language in the book seems to leave some of the’ meanings’ given open to further interpretation.

Moving on, to structure, as well as the key chapters on the 13 phases of the Venus-Sun cycle, there are explanatory chapters on Adam Gainsburg’s reasons for writing the book, the meaning of Dharma, the Feminine Principle and Feminine Self, astrology (the sky approach vs the other approach) and how the Venus phases work.  A further, tabled section clearly lists the Venus phase dates, helping to instantly identify your Venus phase (no clunky maths or chart scrabbling to do!). 
One way and another, the book has some hidden depths and extra little nuggets tucked away.  There is a glossary of astrological terms and some fascinating appendices, which include things like ‘Notes for Consulting Astrologers’, ‘Meditation Images of the Venus Phases’ (which reminded me of I-Ching hexagram phrases), ‘Venus Retrograde & Venus Invisible’, ‘Venus and the Moon’, ‘The Solar Feminine’ – and more, across 13 separate subject headings ( nice symbiosis!).   Last, but not least, there is an extensive bibliography and reading list, together with a resources section. 

Appendices can sometimes look like passing add-ons.  However, one of these focuses on the Venus-Moon ‘alchemy’ in the chart, an understanding of which can help “those interested in increasing their feminine authenticity” – a section which might be helpful for anyone working with their shadow side/dark side, wanting to get clear on actions that could move them more towards the light.  Once again, I ‘tested’ the readings of each sign against that which I know to be true about self and others and was quite impressed by how the interpretations seemed to really fit.  Not only is this useful for self-knowledge, but it helped me to somehow understand and even forgive some previously inexplicable behaviour through the years.   I suspect The Light of Venus could therefore be a helpful ‘manual’, over time or, at the very least, become one of those texts that I can reach for if I feel I have lost my way a little, to remind myself of why I am here and how to get back on track.  Clearly, a lot of time and love has gone into the creation of The Light of Venus and for that reason alone, it deserves careful, meditative reading.  It is a book that focuses on astrology as a tool for growth – on a global scale - but starting simply and very personally, with you - and me.  All in all it is a very thoroughly researched book, with a fresh approach and the kind of deeply insightful information that might make a difference to how you feel about yourself and your life.  For professional, natal astrologers, it might make a difference to your clients’ view, particularly if they are interested in concepts such as spiritual/personal/planetary growth and evolution.  Many of mine just want to know about quite everyday, down to earth things!  But I can see the concepts in this book appealing to those keen to pursue a spiritual path.  Adam Gainsburg has produced an interesting, refreshing book, worthy of praise and attention.
If you are interested to know more about your own birth chart, you may like to consider booking a Mindbliss Astrology reading: http://www.mindbliss.co.uk/astrologychartreadings.htm

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Decans Horoscope Column

One of my current ventures involves writing a monthly horoscope column for the www.totally4women.com website; however, it is a horoscope column with a difference.  Instead of focussing on the typical forecasts for the 12 signs of the zodiac (which I have been doing in various places for the past 23 years), this time I am writing about the zodiacal decans ("You what?"  - I hear you say!  Bear with me...).  I am referring to the divisions of each of the zodiac signs, into three, separate sections, which cover a specific time span in the calendar months and which are each ruled by a different planet.  So if you were born - or know someone else who was born - in the first week of May, for example, chances are you or they are a 'Second Decan' Taurean.  And that means something different, astrologically, than whatever you already know about Taurus.  As it happens, the sign of Taurus is the focal point of the latest piece, which has just been published at this fun and fascinating women's website: http://www.totally4women.com/2013/04/21/what-the-stars-say-taurus-horoscope/.

 
You can also find information at T4W about the Decans in general, as they relate to every zodiac sign and the information for previous signs already published, including Aquarius, Pisces and Aries: http://www.totally4women.com/life/what-the-stars-say-zodiac/.


Celestially Yours

 

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Venus Pluto Aspects - Pluto Stationary Retrograde

With Pluto shortly about to reach a station and then turn to retrograde motion, at around 11 degrees of the zodiac sign of Capricorn, it is no surprise  to have lately heard from quite a few people with strong Plutonic connections in the birth chart.  In particular, I am hearing about relationship problems and, in several cases, the people concerned have a powerful Venus-Pluto aspect in the chart. 

The word  ‘aspect’, is our technical term in astrology for a specific kind of angular connection, from the visual mathematics of geometry.  It is also a term used by estate agents to describe the views from windows in the rooms in properties that they show.  The term has a common ground here, because when we talk about planetary aspects we are describing the way in which planets seem to look out at one another.

Astrologers sometimes talk about “hard” and “easy” aspects.  In the first case we usually mean squares (planets 90 degrees apart) and oppositions (180 degrees apart) – and sometimes conjunctions, which describe when planets are right next to one another, or in the exact same place.  Easy aspects are trines (planets 120 degrees apart) and sextiles (60 degrees apart).

The difficult Venus-Pluto aspects are the ones I think of as particularly powerful in a chart, in that they seem to be hard to live with at times.  Therefore the person concerned experiences any current planetary connections to their Venus-Pluto aspect very intensely – and perhaps not least of all because Pluto itself seems linked to rather intense energy!

I sometimes find it a good analogy to personalise the planets as characters.  So, if you can imagine Pluto interacting with Venus, here we have a bit of a bully, prepared to do almost anything, even if it is underhand or illegal, in order to have his own way (Pluto).  This manipulative, forceful and sometimes deceitful energy is strongly drawn to attractive, lush, sensual Venus.  In Tarot Venus is linked with the Empress and so contains the qualities of nurturing, support and kindness.  In astrology Venus takes a variety of forms, depending upon which sign she resides in, at the time.  She can be anything from soft and gentle to alluring and seductive.  For Pluto it is fairly simple: he just wants all that Venus can give and will try any trick in the book to get it.

Some say that  Pluto – whose character equivalent in Greek mythology is Hades – is not all bad, but there is little doubt that he is tricky.  And for any Venusian person caught up in a relationship with a Plutonic kind of personality, it is frequently not an easy ride.  Therefore, Venusian people may need their wits about them as Pluto changes direction, to spot when they may be falling for some trick, drawn in almost magnetically by an energy field that feels somehow “wrong” or uncomfortable, or unwittingly under some kind of attack.
As for the Pluto personality, the key to freedom from any destructive or miserable cycle is to realise – or remember – that you can have what you want, or close to it, but you don’t have to go to extremes to get it.  Sometimes the cause of Pluto’s ongoing discontent is a growing sense of jealousy, which registers painfully in the body – but the pain is caused by the mind.  The jealousy comes, perhaps, from an internal dialogue of comparison, which pits others as “up there” and “better” in some way.  They seem to have what the Pluto person wants and which feels out of reach.  But is it really out of reach?  Probably not.  This child comes into life with blessings and gifts, also, but maybe not the right conditions and opportunities for them to blossom in the usual way or time span.  The key to true happiness for the Pluto personality is to work from the roots up, creating the right conditions – not trying to artificially pinch them from the outside and paste them into place.  They will become dislodged too easily that way and it will take a lot of energy to keep them there!  But what grows from the roots up can be lasting and beautiful – it just needs time and the right care and attention.

Ironically, both characters need the  same thing when Venus and Pluto are challenged astrologically – to turn towards greater self-care and let the love and healing take place on the inside.
©Diana McMahon Collis 11 April 2013
Image of Woman in Venus Mask © Boguslavovna | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Tarot Numbers - Sixes

Today, the seasons are transitioning - and in the UK this is more marked right now than at the Spring Equinox itself, as our clocks have "gone back" and the evenings are visibly lighter for longer.  So I want to talk about a transition number in the tarot.  It is number Six.  Firstly, the previous number, Five, reminds me of being on a see-saw.  It represents a midway point in the Minor Arcana of the tarot; a point from which we can roll back, stay static or move forward, possibly in a new direction.

Six is the actual step forward.  Six is when we have the impetus, or sense of safety, or feeling of a 'green light', which is telling us and showing us that we can go ahead.  So if Sixes come up in your reading for yourself or another, it means some forward movement is on the way and that, generally, it will be good.  This is perhaps most obvious with the Six of Wands, one of the keywords for which is 'victory'.  Or with the Six of Swords, which indicates a journey to a safer place, usually after a period of stress, strife or difficulty.

Bearing in mind that the Six of Cups is often linked with the past - past places, past contacts, etc - does this hold true for that card?  Yes it does.  At least it does if you're seeing several Sixes in the reading and/or if other cards are pointing to forward motion and change - say The Chariot, The Fool or The Wheel, from the Major Arcana are showing up.  Or one or more Sixes appear in the spread of cards.  Then you can be fairly sure that this is the case.  The Six of Cups, in particular, may be saying that a connection with the past will help to pivot you forward to a new future.


The Six of Pentacles is an interesting card, because it suggests doing more financially and work-wise. I think it's a card that warns to consider the choice carefully because, whilst success may be promised, there can be the risk of overburdening. I use the Cosmic Tarot for some of my professional tarot readings and this is especially obvious in the imagery on that card - a man holds out his arms with the six Pentacles between them, rather like a juggler. If those arms go any wider he might find he drops one of the Pentacles! So it's a card about limits as well.

We can also sometimes think about the Six as an actual measure of time, of course. We may need to think about the unit of time - Six years, months, weeks, etc.  And as to whether the figure six runs from the current time or a past time.  In a recent client reading two Sixes appeared in the Celtic Cross tarot spread and, after discussing the client's life context a little, it became clear that the time period would be measured from when she had lost someone important in her life.  The Sixes here were showing a transition forward after a period of bereavement.

If you have experience of, thoughts on or questions about working with the Sixes in the tarot, I'd love to hear your comments, here on the blog!

For those who have been following this blog, it's been a while, I know. Celestial spot has been publicly quiet but only because Celestia has been hard at work 'in the ring', as it were! The desire to write is very powerful, though and I think the blog will soon have new life because of this. Posts may be a little shorter sometimes, but better a little than not at all, we figure - and hope you agree. We hope you enjoy the latest!  Happy Easter (or your favoured festival, at this time of the year) to all.

Celestially Yours

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Retrograde Planets - Mercury, Venus and Mars

Did you experience a lot of grief around the recent spate of Mercury retrograde through Aries and Pisces?  That would have been from around 12th March to 4th April 2012.  I thought the cosmos was having a bit too much of a laugh when things went wrong with my computer, my mobile phone, our land line AND the TV!  If something to do with communication could go wrong, it did go wrong.  So I said prayers to the astral God of Communication (Mercury) - and, guess what, they slowly started to go right!

I really don't believe that the astrological deities are cruel though.  When Mercury is retrograde it pings those words starting with 're' - review, reverse, return....  I should have returned my mobile to Orange when it first started going wrong; it turns out it is still under warranty with Sony Ericsson and I was advised I could return it to the manufacturer to be fixed.  Nonetheless, I've been thinking about upgrading my mobile to a smart phone - time for a review!  As for the TV - well it needed retuning, of course, because of the digital upgrade.  And why did I feel it so keenly?  Well, the Sun in my chart is in a sign that Mercury rules (with the idea of the planets as 'deities', they 'rule' over certain domains in the chart...in this case the domain of Virgo).

Not all that occurs in relation to retrograde planets is painful, though, particularly at the point where they change direction and go forward again!.  A client had several things go right for them soon after Mars recently turned direct - around 14th April 2012.  Why, especially would that matter for them, though, when their Sun sign has not much to do with Mars or Virgo, the sign it was in?  Well, my client's rising sign (aka the chart's Ascendant) is Aries and that is one of the signs that Mars traditionally rules.  So, if the zodiac on your chart's Ascendant - your 'rising sign' is governed by the planet that has gone retrograde (appearing to be backward in motion) or indeed direct (appearing to be forward in motion) you're probably going to feel it extra strongly.

The next big change of this nature that's coming up is Venus retrograde in Gemini, from around 15th May to 27th June 2012.  So, yes, Sun Geminis will feel it, as will those people with other personal planets or their rising sign in Gemini.  But anyone with a Venusian planet rising will likely feel it too - that is, if the sign of Taurus or Libra was in the Ascendant at your time of birth.  Ditto for anyone with the Sun, Moon or personal planet such as Mercury, Venus or Mars in Taurus or Libra in their birth chart.

Questions or comments? Let us know....!

Celestially yours,