What I know about Jupiter transits…


This post is the extract from a book I’ll be releasing very soon about Jupiter transits. It’s a longer post than usual – hello, it’s almost a whole chapter – but I hope you enjoy it…

There is this politically incorrect joke about a mercurially challenged, but venusianally (I just made that word up) gifted girl. Before you write to me, remember, this is a joke – and an unashamedly politically incorrect one at that.

Anyway, our girl is down on her luck. She’s lost her job, her credit cards are in a mess and she owes money everywhere. To make matters worse, her boyfriend has just left her for someone less mercurially challenged.

In desperation she cries to the Almighty.

“God – or whatever your name is – I haven’t asked anything of you for, like, years, but can you please make me win the lotto as I am just soooo broke.”

She sits in front of the TV that week for the Monday night draw, the Wednesday night draw and the Saturday night draw. She even watches the Powerball draw in case God misunderstood her. Nothing. Her numbers don’t come up. Not one.

“God, I know I haven’t been as good as I could have been over the last few years, but if you do this one thing for me, I will be, like, so much better. Pleeeeeeeease.”

Again nothing. None of her numbers came up. Not one.

On the third week she is even more desperate. She’s getting calls from debt collectors and her rent is late. “I will do anything that you want if I can only win the lotto,” she pleads.

In the distance comes a thunderclap and a booming voice. Our girl is frightened, but pays attention. The voice says “Enough with the pleading already – I heard you the first time. But help me out here, ok? Buy a F$%&ing ticket!”

You can almost hear the voice of Jupiter.

Often when opportunities fall into your lap, or things “just happen”, Jupiter has been activated. But to make the most of what he has to offer, you do need to help him out a bit. When Jupiter is transiting sensitive planets or points in your chart, you need to make yourself available to luck – take a chance, put yourself out there, enter contests, book that ticket, apply for that job, enrol in that course. It won’t necessarily guarantee success, but at least you’ll be in the running.

All too often Jupiter is regarded as being a celestial sort of Santa Claus, the archetypal pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – but Jupiter transits are so much more complex than that. Jupiter might bring gains, but he can also bring loss. Above all, Jupiter teaches – about potential, about possibility, about the future, about faith…about life.

You might lose something precious to you during a Jupiter transit. As painful as it may be at the time, the space it creates in your life – and the experience you gain from the loss (and yes, I know how counter-intuitive that sounds) – could liberate you to a higher expression of what it’s possible for you to be. As a result you could be free to do something else, or be with someone else, see a situation though a widened perspective, or pursue a different opportunity.

That’s why when someone says “Losing that ______was the best thing that ever happened to me…” the odds are pretty good that they’ve experienced a Jupiter transit.

The phrase “be careful what you wish for – you might just get it” applies to Jupiter. During a Jupiter transit you might get what it is that you think you want – but it could turn out to be the opposite of what it is that you need. Alternatively, Jupiter could bring you the opportunity you’ve been longing for, but because you’re either too afraid to put yourself out there – or you haven’t done the work that you should have done – you’re unable to make the most of it.

When Jupiter was transiting my 10th house, I was restless. I was convinced that what I needed was a new job. That would fix everything. I signed onto the job website and there was one sitting there waving at me. The location was right, the title was right, the money was more than right. Without thinking any more about it, I applied. What did I have to lose? Absolutely nothing. I was already feeling miserable. What did I have to gain? A new start.

Two interviews and three days later, I was offered the role – which I subsequently turned down. In getting what I thought that I wanted, I understood the worth of what I already had. I also began to understand that what I was running from wasn’t my job – it was myself. I could move to a different company, but I couldn’t lose myself. I had to stay and have the courage to deal with the issues I was attempting to escape from.

Jupiter presented the opportunity and I chose not to accept it. Instead, my perspective was widened so I could see the situation for what it was. This was Jupiter as the Teacher.

Regardless of the outcome, getting what we want can be instructive – we learn more about what we actually need, and where we can improve or expand upon ourselves in order to capitalise on the opportunity next time. The thing is, even in rejection there’s possibility. It’s when we do nothing that we get disappointed. Think about it – you don’t apply for that job so you can’t get it; you don’t ask that guy out so you can’t start a relationship; you decline invitations, so you don’t meet new people.

All of that is understandable. It takes courage – and faith – to put yourself out there. Each time that you step outside your comfort zone you risk exposing your vulnerabilities. Maybe now isn’t quite the right time, you say to yourself. Perhaps there’ll be a better chance of success later, or next time, you reason. In waiting until everything is perfect, and the outcome safely guaranteed, you mightn’t get hurt – but you will probably miss out.

Let’s look at some alternative scenarios:

  • You apply for the job and miss out. It prompts you to look at expanding your knowledge and experience through additional training. Perhaps you consider looking at a different field of work.
  • You ask that guy out for coffee and while it doesn’t develop into a romantic relationship, it does become a strong friendship.
  • You go to that party and meet some great new people – some of whom might be able to help you with your goals in the future. Imagine meeting a literary agent at a party who offers to read your manuscript – the one that you know you haven’t worked on as much as you should have. The agent reads your manuscript and gives you the ‘needs more work’ feedback. You mightn’t get what you want – a publishing contract – after all, your manuscript needs work. You could, however, get what you need – feedback, from someone who knows what they’re talking about, that the idea is good, the voice is sound, the pace is right, but it just needs another rewrite. You accept the invite and you meet Jupiter the teacher. Decline and you’ve missed the opportunity completely.

Sure, in each of the above scenarios you haven’t walked away with the outcome that you wanted, and, depending on the nature of the rejection, your ego could be bruised, but would you have preferred to spend your life not knowing? Living with the regret of missed opportunity? The what could have beens?

As an example, on the day of my last Jupiter return I sent off a query to a publisher for Baby, It’s You. I had high hopes – all the planets were aligned. Jupiter was returning to it’s natal position – what could possibly be better? I desperately wanted to be published – it was what I’d been working towards for the last few years. It was my dearest dream, my ambition.

A week later I was asked to submit more chapters then, after another anxious wait, they requested the entire manuscript. At that time I was asked not to show any other publisher. At each step my excitement built. This would be it. I’d done the work, the opportunity had presented itself, I was putting myself and my book out there.

Eventually, months later, I received a rejection – Baby, It’s You wasn’t quite what they wanted. I’d had rejections before, but this one really hurt. It sent me into a howling ball of disappointment. Once the tears dried I realised that my book had been good enough to get through the notorious slush pile. It had been good enough to get through the next round – and then the round after that. At about the same time everywhere I looked and listened seemed to be examples – successful examples – of independent publishing. It felt like a message so I looked and I listened and I found an editor who has helped me improve my craft and encouraged me to expand my boundaries through indie publishing.

That rejection was a massive disappointment at the time, but in hindsight it was also a Jupiter gift.

Jupiter presents the possibilities, it is up to you to do something with those opportunities, including making the choice to turn away from them.

Jupiter wants us to say “yes”, but has neither the patience nor the inclination to hang around while we debate and analyse all potential outcomes – quite frankly he can’t be faffed.  Show some faith, hope and courage and he will hang around. Turn away from opportunity and he will simply move on. Unlike Saturn he’s not about to stay around and punish you for your choices. Missed opportunity and regret is punishment enough.

Where Saturn wants to see commitment and discipline and maturity, Jupiter wants us to be audacious and willing to lose in order to gain. Jupiter wants us to say “yes” to life in all of its glorious possibilities. He wants us to be as awesome as we can be. He also wants us to have hope in the future and faith in potential.

Yet haven’t we been taught to play it safe? That if we don’t hope, we can’t be hurt? If we don’t take a risk, we can’t lose? But if we don’t enter, we can’t win either. So which is the better state? Being happy or content with all that you have – or wanting to reach for more? As soon as you begin to hope, implicit in that is a knowledge that tomorrow can be better than today. As soon as you begin to hope, you’re also acknowledging that there’s something in your present that you’re not satisfied with.

There is no right or wrong to this.

There is, however, a danger in over-extension, in not knowing when to pull back, in taking needless and heedless risks. There’s also a danger in coveting what others have and not knowing when to be content. Your own Jupiter placement and the boundaries imposed by Saturn in your birth chart will help you there – but that’s a subject for a whole other book.

During a Jupiter transit, don’t be afraid to want, to look up, to aim higher – but do it from a position of self-knowledge, experience and wisdom, ie from what you have already learned and the work that Saturn has asked you to do.

During a Jupiter transit if nothing happens, if life doesn’t change, don’t blame Jupiter. He’s done his job and presented you with the opportunities. The choice is yours to recognise them as such and either act or choose to ignore them. Your choice – not Jupiter’s.

Wellbeing Astrology 2018

It’s here! Wellbeing Astrology 2018. And, as always, it’s packed full of great astro writing.

Aside from the usual in-depth horoscopes for your year ahead, and the Moon calendar, it also has the following articles – and yes, I contributed again this year:

  • Astrology and the healing path – examine the lives and charts of Louise Hay, Deepak Chopra and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
  • Embrace your call to adventure – how the stars can point you towards what makes your heart sing
  • Eastern Influences in 2018
  • Global trends for 2018
  • Balancing heaven and earth – Uranus in Taurus
  • Use the houses to interpret your chart
  • Rock your sparkle – a guide to the planets
  • It’s all about the kids – what your child’s chart reveals about them
  • Lunar Medicine – how to support your Moon so she can nurture you back
  • Mining the depths – Jupiter in Scorpio
  • Faith, fortune, friends and favour – the 11th house
  • The astrology of your 30s and 40s – exploring the major transits that occur in your 30s & 40s…by yours truly
  • Connecting to your universal flow – your chakras and their corresponding signs and planets

And the contributors? I’m glad you asked…In alphabetical order:

  • Rozanna from Astrosparkles
  • Lynn Bell
  • Wade Caves
  • Frank Clifford
  • Hedy Damari
  • Dean French
  • Mari Garcia
  • Andrea L Gehrz
  • Shawn Nygaard
  • Damian Rocks
  • Kelly Surtees
  • Kira Sutherland
  • Ed Tamplin
  • and me…

How to get your hands on a copy?

I don’t have any to sell this year – it all proved to be too problematic last year – but Australian readers can pick one up from newsagents, or anywhere that sells magazines.

Otherwise, you can order it through Universal Magazines – the link is here. It’s $19.95 plus postage. Oh, and ignore the spiel on the web storefront – it clearly hasn’t been changed from last years mag.


The DIY Guide to Mercury Retrogrades

I’ve prattled on a lot in the past about Bali and why I love it – and the people. Possibly, though, the thing I love the most are the offerings.

The process of constructing and offering the tributes is not just a belief based ritual, but also a deliberate pause to be fully in the moment- regardless of the business of life going on around.

A local I spoke to up there said that every Australian and American he meets work so hard that they come to Bali to collapse and then go home to work so hard again to pay for the relaxation that they’ve just had and to save for the next holiday for the relaxation they need from working so hard to pay for it.

He said he didn’t understand it.

‘What do you do?’ I asked. ‘You work hard too.’

‘Yes, but we also stop for things that matter,’ he said.

‘What about the Europeans,’ I asked?

‘They seem to allow themselves more enjoyment,’ he said.

Perhaps he was typecasting, but I had similar conversations with others so maybe there’s something to it.

In our lives, we are so busy multi-tasking, juggling devices and schedules that we forget to notice the details. We miss things.

For me, Mercury retrograde has always been that time when we’re reminded that a little back-tracking, a little revision, a few deliberate pauses in the day can be a way in which we can reconnect – to our own creativity, to what’s important, to the moment.

It can be as simple as the reminder when you’re in disgusting traffic that as late as it’s making you, someone up the road may, as the result of a mechanical failure or an accident, be even more inconvenienced than you are.

Or the next time you’re delayed at the doctors being grateful that you’re not the one whose made her run late with something that could be more life threatening than what you’re presenting with.

Some years ago (back in 2010), I read this piece by Sarah Wilson:

“In my case, my computer short-circuited before I did. Yes, it’s only a computer. Computers don’t have free will. But there is NO TECHNOLOGICAL REASON for it doing what it did… So I’m taking the metaphorical route.

In the lead-up to all this, I was going too fast, loading up too much, taking on more than I could handle. My circuitry was overloaded. I was about to explode. But my computer blew up instead of me. It’s happened twice before. My computer implodes when I need to slow down. It stops me in my tracks, holds up a mirror to myself and I face what I’m doing.”

The fall out from Mercury retrogrades hits us because we need to slow down. It really is sometimes that simple.

These days our lives are ruled by Mercury things. There’s no avoiding it, and it’s great. I’d be lost without my smart phone and social media and google maps etc, but Mercury retrogrades are like a push in the e-tox direction. It’s back to basics time – almost as though the Universe is telling us that every so often we need to slow it down – listen to our own thoughts, revisit those things, issues, ideas, people, plans that need revisiting, and then move on again.

Much of what goes wrong during Mercury retrograde periods goes wrong because we haven’t done what we know that we should be doing. We should be backing up important documents/ photos/ music/whatever. We should be confirming appointments and travel plans. We should be carrying a spare pair of knickers in our carry-on. We should be leaving in plenty of time to get to where we need to get to.

We shouldn’t need a Mercury retrograde period to force ourselves into being just a tad vulnerable, but sometimes that reminder is necessary. Meltdowns as messy as they are, can also be therapeutic.

What is the Mercury retrograde?

  • The planet isn’t really going backwards, it just appears that way from where we stand here on Earth
  • During any retrograde cycle of any planet we bring our attentions within. The energy of the planet is intensified, and that energy is brought within. In that case of Mercury that means how we think, how we transmit messages and how messages are communicated and understood around us
  • this is your signal to slow down, go within, review, revise, rewind. We review and revise in our head the nature of the area of life this retrograde is happening in for us. With our brains occupied in a different way we lose focus on what is happening around us- and that is when things, generally shitty things, happen.

What is Mercury retrograde good for?

It can be a time of heightened inspiration – and as a writer, that’s a good thing. Besides, I have Mercury natally retrograde in Pisces – and that’s a little like permanently living with Mercury retrograde while the rest of the world is fast forward.

Ideas that have been lost in the whirl of busyness, pop back into my head, the words flow freely onto the manuscript, unrelated and random concepts can somehow make sense.

Mercury retrograde periods aren’t good for starting new projects, but it could be about assessing the value, scope or outcome of an existing one. It’s not about pushing forward, but rather holding back and planning. It’s when blasts from the past return to the present; and when lessons from yesterday can help you with today and tomorrow. It’s about considering your words before you say them; rethinking your message before you send it; going within and evaluating the consequences before making an irrevocable decision.

  • Take the time to recharge your batteries
  • Revise your goals
  • Review your bright ideas
  • Regain your faith in the future
  • Recommit to habits, goals, the things you need to recommit to
  • Reconnect with colleagues & friends you haven’t seen or spoken to for some time
  • Renew and refresh whatever is jaded and old
  • Revisit places, books, movies that mean something to you
  • Rest and relax

What can Mercury Retrograde affect or impact?

Anything Mercury ruled. This could include – but is not limited to:

  • Appointment times
  • Travel times and arrangements
  • Computers, phones and other electronic devices
  • Getting to and from places
  • Contracts and other documents

How to survive and thrive during Mercury retrograde

Dealing with it requires common sense, flexibility, clarity and patience. I often tell people to act as if they don’t have a smart phone, or are overseas with the data roaming turned off.

What do I mean by that?

Remember back to when you made appointments with people and you called them up and agreed a time and a place. You never knew if there’d be a pay phone handy, so you mapped out your route before you left, and made sure that you caught the train before the last train you could catch in order to ensure you got there on time. Remember then?

You didn’t squeeze in an extra coffee meeting knowing you could punch out a text to the person you were going to be keeping waiting. You didn’t turn up for meetings late knowing that you could dial in on the way.

If you needed a map, you’d print out the directions, or at least make a note of the details in the notebook you always carried.

Despite what some will tell you, life doesn’t stop just because Mercury has decided to pass between the Sun and the Earth and look like he’s going backwards. I might suggest that you delay signing contracts and making major purchases – if at all possible – but the reality is, there’ll be times where it can’t be delayed and how would you feel if you missed out on a fabulous opportunity just because Mercury was retrograde?

How to mitigate the possible damage?

  • Re-confirm appointments
  • Check and re-check your travel arrangements
  • Insure your luggage and tickets and make sure you have copies of all travel documents – preferably not in your bag
  • If travelling carry a spare toothbrush and change of clothes as carry on – just in case
  • Avoid mechanical problems, by making sure your car services are up to date
  • Back up computers
  • Avoid purchasing any major technology over this period
  • Avoid signing contracts, but if you have to, make sure you have read & re-read all the fine print
  • If you must commence a new project, do the scoping work carefully – and seriously people, we should be doing this anyway!
  • If you have any changes going “live” or being implemented, test, re-test, regression test, test the back out, test the install & test again. Test. Oh, and schedule enough time for testing and re-testing.
  • Don’t overbook
  • Leave plenty of contingency between appointments
  • Make sure that meeting minutes are thorough and accurate. The same goes for emails and change communication

Hmmmm sounds awfully like common sense, doesn’t it? Like the sort of things we should be doing anyway?

If it’s a major purchase ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I need it?
  • Do I really need it?
  • Do I really need it now?
  • Have I shopped around?
  • What’s my back up plan?
  • Can I afford it?
  • What happens if I don’t buy it?
  • Do I really need it?
  • Does it fit?
  • Am I buying it with a view to changing or renovating it?

If it’s a contract, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I need to sign?
  • Do I need to sign now?
  • What happens if I don’t sign now?
  • Have I read the contract?
  • Have I read the contract properly?
  • Have I read the fine print? Twice?

Get the idea?

Doing the above doesn’t mean things are perfect – heaven forbid. But if you keep your plans flexible and don’t get too hung up on frustrations, it’s all quite ok.

I dare you to give it a try.

Who is most affected by Mercury Retrograde?

  • People with strong Mercury charts eg people with the Sun, Moon, Ascendant or Mercury in Mercury ruled signs ie Gemini or Virgo.
  • People with these planets in the 3rd house
  • People who have the Sun, Moon, Mercury or Ascendant in the sign which is receiving the retrograde
  • People who have planets or chart points at the position where Mercury stations – either to go retrograde or direct.

What about the shadow?

Lots of astrologers will talk about the “shadow” period of any retrograde phase. Some will go as far as saying the rules above apply through the shadow period. I’m not convinced- but don’t take my word for it…you might be one of those that is sensitised to all things Mercury.

What I have found is that whilst things tend to have the potential to go more haywire during the actual retrograde period, things that stall early in the shadow period tend not to be resolved or green lighted until the end of the shadow…if that makes sense.

The shadow period lasts from when Mercury first passes the point at which it will later turn direct and lasts until it passes for the second time the point at which it turned retrograde.

For example,

Mercury turns retrograde at 11 Virgo 38′ on 13 August, 2017 (or thereabouts- depending on what part of the world you are in) and turns direct at 28 Leo 25′ on 5 September 2017 (or thereabouts- depending on what part of the world you are in). This means that the so-called shadow period will last from July 25 (when Mercury reaches 28 Leo 25′ ) until September 20 (when Mercury reaches 11 Virgo 38′ for the second time). Although the period when Mercury is retrograde will be from 13/8/17 – 5/9/17, the period in which it will be in shadow is from 25/7/17 – 20/9/17. That’s nearly 2 whole months…and therein lies my problem with the shadow theory. With 3 Mercury retrogrades per year, if we also pulled up stumps during the shadow we’d be looking at nearly 6 months each year when we can’t be as productive as we’d normally like to be.

But, as I said, that’s just me.

Mercury is next retrograde from 13 August, 2017

For Mercury retrograde dates, see this page.

For more on planetary retrogrades, see this edition of the Toolbox

For information on the Mercury shadow, see this edition of the Toolbox

Eclipses: The DIY Guide

Eclipse season is almost with us again- we have two in August:

8/8/17 Full Moon/ Lunar Eclipse 15 Aquarius 25′

22/8/17 New Moon/ Solar Eclipse 28 Leo 52′ Yes, if you’ve been playing along at home you’ll know that this is the 2nd Leo New Moon this year…just in case you missed the first.

Solar eclipses occur at a New Moon. During a solar eclipse, the Moon passes between the Sun and the Earth, blocking out the Sun for just a few short, dramatic moments. During a solar eclipse, you may feel like something is about to happen…and maybe it will.

Lunar eclipses occur at a Full Moon. The Moon passes behind the Earth and into its shadow. During a lunar eclipse, it could feel as though there’s something- an awareness maybe – taking place inside you that could be portentous.

The thing with eclipses is that often that the things that happen to, around or within you could have the ability to change the course of your life – although you may not recognise it as such at the time.

Regular readers will know that I tend to be a tad ambivalent around eclipses.

When I was first learning astrology, I saw eclipses as these mysterious and explosive events that could blow my personal universe off its self-important axis. That was until the first time I had a direct hit – well, close to it… that I was aware of, anyway.

It was March 2007 and the solar eclipse was at 28 Pisces – just 1 degree from my Moon. What happened? Nothing, not really.

Later that year the lunar eclipse fell just 1 degree shy of my Mercury, and another solar eclipse missed my descendant by, yes, you guessed it, 1 degree.

Since then, I’ve had eclipses very closely aspect key planets and chart points- mainly MC, ASC and DC – yet…nothing.

Looking back, plenty happened – plenty was happening – I just didn’t know it at the time. These were years when important issues were faced or changes occurred. Hindsight is a truly wonderful thing.

The thing is, eclipses are not necessarily something to be scared of. They can be invigorating, they can be momentous, they can be electrifying and unpredictable – a little like Uranus in nature, a little like Pluto in nature.

How do you interpret an eclipse?

In short, the eclipse takes on the theme of the planet being aspected and creates a crisis of sorts – and when I say crisis, please don’t think about this literally. Think about keywords associated with those planets to determine the nature of the “crisis”.

For example, eclipses in aspect to Venus will have something to do with relationship and values or your relationship to what you value or even how you are valued in relationship. Eclipses in aspect to the Moon will be about your defences and emotional security – the whole breakdown and breakthrough theory. You know the thing – your walls come down in some way so that you can get closer in another. When the eclipse aspects Jupiter, the theme is one of faith and growth – where you need to grow and need to dream and need to take risks in order to do so. Likewise any eclipse aspecting the Sun will raise issues of ego and self-expression.

The houses receiving the eclipse will give you an understanding of the area of life being affected, and the type of aspect can give an indication of the speed of “ease” with which the impact occurs – and when I say “ease”, I don’t mean “nice”, I mean, instead, speed or relative speed.

It’s also good to remember that eclipses are often not about immediate activity, but something that does spark within a period of time after the eclipse occurs. Check out April Elliot Kent’s Big Sky Astrology for some really cool information around timing eclipses.

Finally, the more total the eclipse, the stronger the effects.

What could happen?

What will happen? Good news or bad? Not so easy to predict – in fact damn near impossible. Eclipses are wild cards, the jokers in the pack, and most astrologers have eclipse war stories. As Bernadette Brady writes in The Eagle and the Lark, “armed with (this) information, astrologers then delineate the effect of the eclipse as some type of random, possibly, but not necessarily stressful, event occurring in a particular area of the clients life.”

Sometimes the stress seems like extraordinary busyness, sometimes chaos comes out of the blue, sometimes it’s good news from nowhere, and sometimes it seems like a whole lot of not much at all.

Sometimes the effects are subtle – sometimes they’re explosive. The eclipse that occurred a couple of days before my birthday in 2016 fell on my ASC, next to my Sun and opposite Pluto. I spent my birthday in bed with a massive dose of salmonella – talk about a Pluto purge. Plenty of other stuff happened – like really happened – and continued to happen. In one short month, every single previously stable structure in my life was rattled. Every. Single. One. I’m talking health, relationships, work, home, faith, friends, money.   I won’t bore you with the details, but in hindsight, it was all quite textbook in the way the transits built, were sparked, and continued to unfold. There were some big transits behind this including Pluto, Uranus and Saturn that were triggered into action. It really was the perfect storm, and because of that perfect storm, opportunities opened up that previously weren’t there. It was the events that began at that set of eclipses that resulted in us selling up and moving 1000kms north to the Sunshine Coast of Queensland.

2016 was a seriously crappy year, but because of that for the first time in I have no idea how long, I can say that I feel that we’re where we need to be. If the crises that occurred didn’t occur, we wouldn’t be here now – and that would be a tragedy.

Saros Series

Eclipses run in cycles or family groups, called Saros Cycles. Each Saros Cycle has a beginning, an end and a middle- and can last for over a thousand years. Each cycle will repeat every 18 or so years- as will the themes associated with that cycle.

The series of eclipses (Saros Series 18South- SS18 South) that so knocked me around in March is associated with endings and partings. Indeed, each of the active years in this cycle of eclipses has been associated with partings for me – although the angst and pain of that separation has, as Bernadette Brady writes in The Eagle and the Lark been tempered by exciting new opportunities opening up. And open up they have – and will, I assume, continue to do so.

What’s next?

You can look at each eclipse as it comes up as a new or full moon (albeit one on steroids) in isolation. To begin to understand them, though, you need to look at the pattern, the upcoming cycle, the ones that have gone before and even the ones that occurred before you were born. And that’s where Big Sky Astrology’s report comes in. The Moonshadow report is personalised to you, and will talk about the aspects being made by eclipses this year and next, the eclipses that have been and the planets that are being aspected – and what it all means for you…as well as some other bits and pieces about eclipses.

If you’re interested, click on the link in the side bar* on the website. I purchase one every two years and refer to them each eclipse season and again at the start of the year when I’m mapping my transits

More information please…

Bernadette Brady’s book The Eagle and the Lark is a brilliant resource. It’s where I go to for information on each Saros Series. It’s the only place I’ve found that lists each and the meanings. If you know of another resources, please share!

If you’re really technically minded, you could also find this link interesting…

This article, originally posted in The Mountain Astrologer, is also worth a read.

*In the interests of full disclosure, I get a small cut from sales of the report stemming from this website…


What house system do I use?

One of the most common questions I get is a variation on the following:

I’m an Aries Rising and Leo is on my 6th house, but you said that if I’m a Leo Sun this New Moon will be in my 1st house, 


I’m a Virgo Sun, but I have no idea what time I was born, so how do I know what house the New Moon is in for me

Each month, when I do the posts for New and Full Moons, and, indeed, when I do the posts for the Sun changing signs, I usually say something like:

If you don’t have any idea about your birth time, or can’t be faffed working it out, you can follow the solar guide:

  • If your Sun or Ascendant is in Virgo, this New Moon will be in your 1st house.
  • If your Sun or Ascendant is in Libra, this New Moon will be in your 12th house.
  • If your Sun or Ascendant is in Scorpio, this New Moon will be in your 11th house.


What I’m doing here is using Solar or Sun Sign Astrology.

Ok, let’s back track a little.

When you cast a chart on astro.com, the calculation will probably default to Placidus – arguably the most commonly used method of house division. There are, however, others – and most astrologers will be able to tell you the reasons why they use the one they use. We won’t get into it now, suffice to say that most house systems do require you to know the exact time and place of your birth in order to determine both the way in which the houses will be divided and which sign and degree is on the Ascendant. It’s why we can have houses of different sizes (although remember, they will always be the same size as the opposite house) and why we can have houses that intercept or encompass entire signs. Refer back to Toolbox no. 1 and 1.1 for more on this

If you want to know more about these, there are plenty of articles available – I’ll pop a few links at the end of this post for you.

Sun sign astrologers, however, use the solar sign or solar house system. In this method, each house is equivalent to an entire sign, with the sign that the Sun is in placed on the Ascendant. I use this method when I’m writing horoscopes for publications.

In this way, regardless of what time you were born, if your sun is in Pisces, Pisces will be on your 1st house, Aries on your 2nd, and so forth. If your sun is in Scorpio, using solar houses, Scorpio will be your 1st house, Sagittarius will be on your 2nd and Capricorn on your 3rd.

Unfortunately, sun sign astrology is often (I think unfairly) dismissed as being “popular” astrology or “media” astrology – labels which attack its legitimacy in much the way as the fiction genre I write – chick lit or popular women’s fiction – is seen as being not as meaningful as other genres.

Solar Astrology is, however, incredibly useful – and not just if you don’t happen to know what time you were born.

My chart is almost naturally a solar chart – I was born at dawn, so the Sun in Pisces was rising at the time I was came kicking and screaming into this world. My placidus chart is above – and my solar chart is below.

I’ve been experimenting with whole sign houses for the last 6 – 12 months, and I’ve pretty much made the switch. I find that it really works – especially when looking at transits.

With whole signs, whatever sign the Ascendant is in, the first house starts at 0 deg of that sign, with the next house starting at 0 deg of that sign…and so on.

The actual Ascendant will be a point within the 1st house, and the Midheaven (instead of being on the cusp of the 10th) will be a point somewhere within the 9th or 10th (usually) house.

Why do I like whole signs? Mostly for it’s simplicity. Each house encompasses a whole sign and there are no intercepted signs. It especially feels right when I look at transits, ingresses and lunations. But, as I said, that’s my personal opinion.

Because my Ascendant and Sun are in the same sign, my solar chart is also the same as my whole signs chart.You can see that my 1st house Saturn becomes a 2nd house Saturn, and my very 8th house Scorpio Mars is just as Scorpio but now motivated by 9th house concerns. Yep, I can see how that works. Same for my previously 12th house Mercury, that’s now just as Piscean, but perhaps a tad more motivated to act in the 1st.

The next most common question I’m asked is something like:

If I know my birth time, should I still look at the solar chart?

You know what? My answer is yes.

Why? I happen to think you can learn a lot from watching transits to the solar chart – and I don’t think it’s just because my chart is as close as it is to a solar chart.

My daughter is an Aries Sun with a Capricorn Ascendant. Her placidus chart is to the left. (I’ve blocked out her birth date and time for privacy reasons). Her solar chart is below – it’s a very different looking chart, but in it’s way suits her as well. I know her birth time, so you can see the actual ASC and MC are known.

I look at the transits to her chart using the Placidus system, but I also take note on which of her solar houses the Sun is transiting. Eg when the Sun was in Virgo and moving through her 6th (solar) house she got her first job – working in a gym. How very 6th house. Her MC is at 20 Virgo.

Her whole sign chart is below:


So my answer to your question is?

Look at both. The information is available, so play with it, see how one or the other works for you. Set intentions on both. Or don’t…there are a million ways to complicate a chart – and very possibly, this could be one of them…then again, it’s also a mighty good way to get back to basics and uncomplicate it as well. Your call.



Some links you could be interested in…

In defence of solar astrology

Something by Aquamoonlight about different house systems

A great article in Mountain Astrologer

As I mentioned earlier, I’m now using (mostly) whole signs – even though I was taught in placidus and really thought I was too lazy to make a change. Go figure.

How did I learn astrology?


There’s a couple of questions that I’m asked more than others, so while we have a bit of a lull and I’m in a procrastiblogging mood (I have a novel that’s due to the editor and is, I think, absolute shite) I figured I’d answer them.

How did I learn astrology?

Ok, I’m still learning – I don’t think you ever stop…but how did I learn the basics?

Of course I’d always been interested – in an I’m a Pisces so what does that say about me way. But when I hit 39, my world began to change in a major way. Knowing what I know now but didn’t know then, I was having some whoppers of Pluto squares and Uranus conjunctions.

Anyways, a random comment from a tarot reader in Melbourne got me interested. So I bought a book. Then another one. Then I started playing with charts. Then, in February 2007, I went to my first astrology class. It was in Sydney and my teacher was Kelly Surtees. I attended classes for the next couple of years, joined the NSW Astrology Association, attended a couple of conferences and even did the exams. Oh, and I also subscribed to The Mountain Astrologer – the best astrology magazine out there…naturally, with the exception to Wellbeing Astrology that I contribute to…

Over the years I’ve built a lovely network of astropals. When we get together it’s like talking a language that you just can’t talk at any other time. As valuable as my formal studies and personal readings were, it’s this informal chatting and exchanging of information that’s taught me so much more.

So what’s best for you?

To be honest? A combination of all of this. Some reading, some classes, and some like-minded peeps.

A few years ago I did some teaching – and loved it more than I can tell you. Sadly, work got in the way – but it’s why I started the Tuesday Toolbox posts. These are getting turned into a series of ebooks and will also become a course. Stay tuned for that.

As for the books I recommend to get you started?

If you want a textbook or some extra reading to help you on your way, the books that I’d recommend are:

  • The Chart Interpretation Handbook, by Stephen Arroyo. I can’t tell you just how much I love love love this book
  • The Inner Sky, by Steve Forrest,
  • The Essential Guide to Practical Astrology, by April Elliott Kent- although this is currently out of print, you might be able to snaffle a copy on ebay
  • Astrology for Dummies…yes, really…
  • Check out also the articles available on astro.com. I especially love this series on The Houses by Dana Gerhardt http://www.astro.com/astrology/in_dghouses_e.htm

Naturally there are heaps more out there – and we all learn differently, so if you have a fave, why not comment on the Facebook page?



Five reasons to keep an astro journal…

The New and Full Moon posts that I publish here are excerpts from my journals – and I share them with you.

Each time we have a New or a Full Moon, before writing a post, I read what I wrote at last year’s lunation. Sometimes it surprises me how similar the themes are. Sometimes it surprises me how far I’ve come.

Reading last year’s Taurus New Moon entry yesterday made me tear up. It also prompted me to write what is, for me, an extremely personal (and overly long – for which I apologise in advance) post for this year’s Taurus New Moon. You’ll see that in a couple of days.

There was so much going on back then that I still can’t share with many people and although, I’ve censored some of what was happening in my post, the memory of that pain lingers. I suspect that bitterness is what I need to let go of this Taurus New Moon…but more on that tomorrow.

The thing is, I’m a mad journaller- it’s something about the notebooks, I think. I’ll start a new journal for each major trip, and a new notebook for each fiction project. I also have an astro journal. I used to put all my transits in there. I was still learning about astrology- although, really, there’s never a time when you’re not- and also going through a heap of really scary looking transits.

These days although it’s mainly used it for New Moon intention setting and Full Moon insights, lately I’ve had cause to add some of my other impressions regarding particular transits in there. Reading it helps make sense of the chaos. I think it’s also helped me to be a better astrologer – a more intuitive astrologer – and one that looks beyond the literal meaning of a transit to identify the bigger picture.

Anyways, whatever stage of the astrology journey you’re on, here are five ways an astro journal can help you…

New Moon intentions…

As a minimum I jot down the aspects made by each New Moon, and the houses being transited. I also set my intentions for the month. It really helps me focus my energy. Plus, I can flick back to see what was happening last year – what my concerns were in that last cycle. You’d be surprised how the patterns repeat.

Full Moon insights…

Again I make a note of aspects and houses, but I also always just sit with this for a few minutes and think about how the concerns of these houses are balancing themselves out – or, more usually, over-balancing.

Moon days…

If you’re into something a little more regular, keeping a view of your mood and concerns during the cycles and transits of the Moon can help you maximise your good day quotient. Always tend to take things personally when the Moon is in Cancer? Avoid or re-schedule performance sessions or the like. Totally chaotic when the Moon is in your 10th house? Factor this in and avoid plans that require you to leave work on time or early.


I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get so caught up in the detail of analysing a single big transit, that I completely lose the big picture.

The thing is, most of these transits don’t operate in isolation, it’s when we see them together that we begin to see themes emerge- and also regain perspective. Journalling helps with that.


You know how they say that if you notice something once it’s interesting; if it comes up again it’s a coincidence; and the third time? Hello, you should be paying attention. Keeping a journal helps you identify these patterns and repetitions. If the last three New Moons have transited your 10th house, or aspected a planet ruling the 10th house, or aspected a planet natally in the 10th house, it’s a fair bet that the Universe wants you to have a good hard look at the work you do, who you do it for, and how you’re seen in public. Just saying.

It was through a journal entry that I realised that every single Saturn transit, regardless of what else occurs around it, will coincide with my back or shoulder problems flaring up. Responsibility issues anyone?

What about you? Do you keep a journal?

How to prepare for Mercury retrograde…

Mercury, as we know, does this a few times a year. For dates and degrees, check out this page.

Dealing with it requires common sense, flexibility, clarity and patience. I often tell people to act as if they don’t have a smart phone, or are overseas with the data roaming turned off.

What do I mean by that?

Remember back to when you made appointments with people and you called them up and agreed a time and a place. You never knew if there’d be a pay phone handy, so you mapped out your route before you left, and made sure that you caught the train before the last train you could catch in order to ensure you got there on time. Remember then?

You didn’t squeeze in an extra coffee meeting knowing you could punch out a text to the person you were going to be keeping waiting. You didn’t turn up for meetings late knowing that you could dial in on the way.

And before you travelled you made sure you had enough time to get to the airport, had books in case of delays, and records you kept separately of your ticket and passport details, plus copies of your itinerary, hotels and car hires?

You would never think of signing a contract without reading the fine print at least twice, and if you needed a map, you’d print out the directions, or at least make a note of the details in the notebook you always carried.

Remember then?

Sure, it was slower. You weren’t available 24/7 so had to fit in meetings as you could.

Our lives these days are ruled by Mercury things. There’s no avoiding it, and it’s great. Mercury retrograde though, is like the Universe telling us that every so often we need to slow it down – listen to our own thoughts, revisit those things, issues, ideas, people, plans that need revisiting, and then move on again. It’s a little like the detox we all go on after eating millions of lunches over the last few weeks as I say goodbye to people…

I’m not advocating that we do away with our little helpers – perish the thought, I’d be lost without my smart phone and social media and google maps and… – but Mercury retrogrades are like a push in the e-tox direction.

Despite what some will tell you, life doesn’t stop just because Mercury has decided to pass between the Sun and the Earth and look like he’s going backwards. I can suggest that you delay signing contracts and making major purchases, but the reality is, there’ll be times where it can’t be delayed.

Here’s what you do.

If it’s a purchase and it can’t be helped, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I need it?
  • Do I really need it?
  • Do I really need it now?
  • Have I shopped around?
  • What’s my back up plan?
  • Can I afford it?
  • What happens if I don’t buy it?
  • Do I really need it?
  • Does it fit?
  • Am I buying it with a view to changing or renovating it?

If it’s a contract and absolutely needs to be signed during the retrograde, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I need to sign?
  • Do I need to sign now?
  • What happens if I don’t sign now?
  • Have I read the contract?
  • Have I read the contract properly?
  • Have I read the fine print? Twice?

Get the idea?

Personally, I love Mercury retrograde periods…now.

I used to dread it – at least until I began to do the following… as far as I possibly could:

  • I booked fewer appointments per day
  • I left greater contingency before and after appointments
  • I scheduled additional testing for changes
  • I scheduled additional change communication and issued additional FAQs for changes
  • My meeting minutes were more thorough
  • I followed every conversation up with a brief confirming email
  • I took carry-on for business trips
  • I allowed extra time for travel time for interstate meetings
  • I backed up everything

Why do I love it now?

It can be inspirational…and as a writer, that’s a good thing.

Ideas that have been lost in the whirl of busyness, pop back into my head, the words flow freely onto the manuscript, unrelated and random concepts can somehow make sense.

Doing the above doesn’t mean things are perfect – heaven forbid. But as I keep my plans flexible and don’t get too hung up on frustrations, it’s all quite ok.

I dare you to give it a try…

Mercury stations retrograde at 4 Taurus 50’ on 10 April…