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 I know about transits…so far…

In the lead up to Christmas I’ll be posting bits and pieces to help you use astrology to set and achieve your goals in 2017…Tuesday Toolboxes, but not always on a Tuesday.

I remember Christmas 2006 well.

For one thing, it was just a few months before I turned 40 and I was a bubbling mass of restlessness. It sat in my chest and fluttered constantly, as if there were a chaos of butterflies waiting to be let out.

That restlessness hit a sort of a peak on a Monday night a few weeks before Christmas with something that I hadn’t seen coming. A single occasion that, somehow, changed me in a deep and transformational way. I wouldn’t be where I am now, I wouldn’t be writing astrology, I wouldn’t have been writing fiction, I wouldn’t be who I am now if it wasn’t for that night.

I didn’t know it then, but I know now that Pluto was about to exact the first of three squares to my Moon.

Then in March 2007, as the restlessness was almost too much for me to contain- ok, it had already well and truly broken free- I went to my first formal astrology class.

I didn’t know it then, but I know now that Uranus was conjunct my Ascendant, and Jupiter was conjunct my Midheaven. I didn’t know it then, but I know now that my progressed Sun was about to change signs. (Don’t worry if you don’t know too much about progressions, we’ll touch on it in a separate post.)

It’s been ten years since that night and over that time I’ve had a multitude of transits. It’s been one hell of a ride. I’ve ticked more items off my bucket list than I ever thought possible. I’ve added a whole lot more. I’ve done so many things that had never occurred to me to do. I’ve given up things I never thought that I would. I’ve lost things that devastated me. I’ve gained so much more.

In some cases, it’s been more than I thought I could bear, in others it’s been so much less than I wanted it to be. But looking back, I can honestly say that today I’m a different person, with a different look, a different outlook, a different career, a different circle of people, a different set of ambitions, and a different set of experiences to what I was back in Christmas 2006.

That one event, borne from the restlessness that was already in me, kick-started everything else that followed.  For that reason I’ll never regret it. I can’t regret it.

I’m asked a lot of questions like:

‘What does this mean for me?’

‘What will happen?’

“When will it be over?”

My answer? I don’t know.

Ask every Scorpio Sun their experience of having Saturn conjunct their Sun and you’ll get a different answer. Ask every Taurus Sun their experience of having Saturn oppose their Sun and you’ll get a different answer. There may be some similarities in the theme, but the outcome will be different. Why? Because as each chart is individual, so too is each experience.

We’ll talk next time about transits, how to read them, and how to use them in your 2017 goal-setting, but for now I thought I’d take a moment and tell you a little about what I’ve leaned about transits since that first class back in 2007. Some of this advice is harsh or confronting- for that I make no apology. Anyways, here’s what I know for sure about transits…so far.

  • That I’m still learning. I hope I never stop learning. I’ve got pretty good (in my humble opinion) at determining the themes and the areas of life that will be impacted, but as for the events themselves? Nope. Am I concerned about that? Nope.
  • An event doesn’t necessarily need to be something that happens directly to me. In fact, more often than not, nothing actually happens. Sometimes it happens around me, sometimes it happens to someone close to me, sometimes it happens within me. I’ve learnt to see all of these things as being Events can be physical, emotional or relational.
  • I always look at the transits within the background of whatever the progressed Moon is doing in my chart. Always. It changes, ever so subtly, but absolutely importantly, the prevailing and evolving emotional conditions. It’s the progressed Moon that really makes transits personal.
  • Your experience of a transit will be different to mine. Yours will be personal to you, based on the promise of your chart, and the other things that are affecting your life right now.
  • You can’t play transit poker. Your Pluto-Moon transit might be seriously shitty on the surface but turn out to be amazing and bring you tremendous accolades, but your friend’s Jupiter Return could be crappy indeed.
  • Transits take on a bit of a hierarchy in terms of the size of the change they bring – we’ll talk about this another time.
  • If you’re in a relationship with someone, the connections their planets make to your chart will also mean that transits to their chart will, by synastry, impact yours. I call this transits by association and I wrote about it here.
  • Sometimes your transit will be activated not by an event as such, but by someone with those characteristics coming into your life. My Uranus transit was first activated in this way. In the case of a Pluto transit, it could be someone in power, an authority figure, perhaps a therapist, or maybe someone who inspires control issues in you.
  • Transits in themselves aren’t malicious, and you are not a helpless victim with this thing happening to you- even though it might feel like it at the time. If you’re receiving a challenging transit, ask yourself honestly what it is that you should be learning from it.
  • You can’t control the change or the future. You can choose to accept it, you can choose to roll with it, you can choose to let the fear run through you and you can choose to watch it leave you.
  • I actively look for a silver lining, but that doesn’t always mean that there’s always one that’s immediately obvious.
  • Sometimes I fake it until I find it – the silver-lining, that is.
  • The actions you take, the decisions you make are all a function of your chart. Knowing your chart, and its promise, will provide you with the information that you require in order to make informed choices about the way in which you act and react. It enables you to treat your transits with more intention.
  • No matter how intentional you might be, life happens and gets in the way of the best laid plans.
  • If you can’t wait for something to be over, you could miss the cool stuff along the way.
  • Life needs the texture of up and down – even if sometimes it feels more down more often than up.
  • I never use a transit as an excuse not to do something – but that’s just me. My inbox is full of stories of people too afraid to go for a job interview or a date with someone they’ve been crushing on for ages because the transits aren’t right. All the planets do is provide the background weather – it’s up to you to go outside or stay in. I’ve always chosen to go out in the rain – but I do try and dress appropriately or be prepared for my hair to get super frizzy…continuing with the weather analogy.
  • It’s easier to say this stuff (or write it) than to do it or live it.
  • In order to make things personal to you, you must look not just at the planets being aspected, but what their story is in your life, and what parts of life they rule. There is no point saying something like Pluto is squaring your Moon if you don’t know what your Pluto story is, what your Moon story is, and what each need and represent in your life. Know your chart.
  • Know the condition, or dignity of the planets receiving aspects. Take that Pluto square Moon as an example. If you natally have Pluto in aspect to the Moon, you’ll “get” the energy of the transit much quicker than if you don’t.
  • Any loner or unaspected planet in your chart will feel the influence of a transit in a…purer (for want of a better word) way because that planet is not used to talking with others. Eg my Saturn is a stand-alone guy and transits from or to Saturn for me are the most difficult of all because I’m not natally good at integrating Saturn energy.
  • Transits to planets with multiple aspects to other planets can cause mass chaos as the energy bounces around your chart. Eg a transit to any planet in my kite configuration will be felt in many areas of life.
  • A transit will only deliver to the natal promise of the chart. If your chart doesn’t hold the promise or potential for you to be a leader, no amount of challenging Pluto transits will push you into that position.
  • Challenging aspects have more potential to bring truly great things than the so-called “easier” ones do. Why? Because they push you out of your comfort zone and place you in a position where you have two choices: to grow and step up, or to give up.
  • If a planet stations direct or retrograde on a natal planet or chart point take notice. Highlight it, put it in flashing lights or whatever. Just. Take. Notice. Take extra notice if the planet stationing is Saturn or Jupiter. Take even more notice if the planet doing the stationing is Uranus, Neptune or Pluto.
  • Outer planets generally have 3 (sometimes more) hits at a planet- and each will feel different. The 1st direct pass is an uncomfortable shock, the retrograde is about absorption of the lesson and the last can be the knife in the back that jolts you to take notice.
  • Sometimes you don’t know the value of a transit and the changes it’s brought until many years later.

Next time: The theory of transits…

Tuesday Toolbox 2.10: Chart Rulers and Dispositors

spoiled dog

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been talking about dignity and rulership. By now you should have a good idea about what planet rules what part of your chart, and which are your strongest and weakest (relatively speaking) planets. You know which are motivated to act, and which have the power to act.

We’re about to take that concept one step further.

Before we do, a word about Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. We’ll talk more about these over the next few weeks, but the techniques we’re looking at now are traditional in nature and usually use just the original (for want of a better term) two luminaries and five planets.

Having said that, I happen to think you can’t understand Scorpio without understanding the role that both Mars and Pluto play…and likewise for Aquarius (with Uranus and Saturn) and Pisces (with Jupiter and Neptune). But that’s my opinion.

Ok, back to our traditional rulerships:

  • Aries is ruled by Mars
  • Taurus is ruled by Venus
  • Gemini is ruled by Mercury
  • Cancer is ruled by the Moon
  • Leo is ruled by the Sun
  • Virgo is ruled by Mercury
  • Libra is ruled by Venus
  • Scorpio is ruled by Mars
  • Sagittarius is ruled by Jupiter
  • Capricorn is ruled by Saturn
  • Aquarius is ruled by Saturn
  • Pisces is ruled by Jupiter

The planet that rules the sign on your Ascendant is said to be your Chart Ruler. This planet is responsible for how you look, behave, act, and also represents your vitality. It pays to watch the transits and retrogrades of this planet very carefully.

The concept of dispositorship is similar, but different.

The final dispositor is the real power hitter in your chart, the main playmaker …and regardless of the aspects to it, you have to learn to make friends with it. Understand this planet- what it wants and how it operates- and you have a key to making the most of your potential. It’s your Kingmaker.

In some cases you may have more than 1 final dispositor, in some cases, you may not have a clear one.

First of all, though, you need to know what it means.

A planet in a sign is said to be disposited by the planet that rules that sign. And yes, this is how it’s spelt.


My chart is above. To make things easier, I’ve displayed only the traditional planets.

I have the Sun in Pisces. Jupiter rules Pisces, so therefore my Sun is disposited by Jupiter. Jupiter is in Cancer where it is ruled by the Moon. The Moon therefore disposits Jupiter. In turn, the Moon is in Pisces, so is disposited by Jupiter which is disposed by the Moon. And around we continue to go.

Mercury, in Pisces, will also end at the Moon and Jupiter.

What of the other planets?

Venus and Saturn are in Aries. Mars rules Aries, so Mars disposits both Venus and Saturn. Mars is in Scorpio where he is ruler. Mars is final dispositor in this case.

The three most influential planets in my chart would therefore be the Moon, Jupiter and Mars.

Given that I have three power players, it’s essential for me that they get along. Luckily they do:

  • The Moon and Jupiter trine each other
  • They are also in “mutual reception” ie the Moon rules the sign Jupiter is in, and Jupiter rules the sign the Moon is in.
  • Mars, Jupiter and the Moon are all in water signs and motivated by the same concerns

My life would be more difficult if they didn’t get along.

In terms of who has the most power to act? Given that both Jupiter and Mars are accidentally debilitated, that would be the Moon- in the 1st house- who is the most powerful planet in my chart.

Get the idea?

Let’s take another example. Below is Madonna’s chart.


Lets go through them:

  • The Sun in Leo is disposited by itself.
  • The Moon in Virgo is disposited by Mercury which, in Virgo, is disposited by itself
  • Mercury in Virgo is disposited by itself.
  • Venus in Leo is disposited by the Sun which, in Leo, is disposited by itself.
  • Mars in Taurus is disposted by Venus in Leo, which is disposited by the Sun which, in Leo, is disposited by itself.
  • Jupiter in Libra is disposted by Venus in Leo, which is disposited by the Sun which, in Leo, is disposited by itself.
  • Saturn in Sagittarius is disposited by Jupiter in Libra, which is disposted by Venus in Leo, which is disposited by the Sun which, in Leo, is disposited by itself.

What does this mean?

  • The Sun is ultimate dispositor for itself, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn
  • Mercury is the ultimate dispositor for itself and the Moon

The challenge for Madonna is that Mercury and the Sun have little in common. Further, with both planets accidentally debilitated in the 12th, she has to work extra hard to access their power.

Doing it for yourself…

What are your final dispositors?

What accidental dignity do your final dispositors have?

Keep an eye on your final dispositors- especially taking note of your health and vitality when they are retrograde.


Tuesday Toolbox 2.9 Accidental Dignity

Man on trip solving broken bicycle

Last week we talked about essential dignities- the relative strength given to a planet based on the sign that it’s in. It’s about having the motivation to act.

The thing is, as we know, it’s one thing to be motivated to act- it’s entirely another to have the power to do so…and that’s where accidental dignity comes into play- the astrological equivalent of being in the right place at the right time.

Accidental dignity can give a planet in the sign of its’ rulership or exaltation, and extra burst of energy. It also means that a planet essentially debilitated (so not operating to the best of its ability) if accidentally dignified, will have the power to do their worst. 

It’s a little like concept of how even good people can make stupid decisions if they run around with the wrong group…planets are the same.

Get it? No?

A planet has some extra strength if it’s accidentally dignified by being placed on an angle- ie the 1st, 4th, 7th or 10th house. The closer to the cusp, the stronger the dignity.

A planet is said to be accidentally debilitated if it is in the 6th, 8th or 12th house.

Taking our example of the Sun again, say you have your Sun in Aries. It’s exalted, it’s potentially powerful…but it’s in the 6th house- the sign of service, outsourcing and sickness. It might have the motivation to do amazing things, but its’ power is given to others. Your challenge is to find a way through service to others to help that Sun shine. Get it?

There are two other ways in which a planet can be debilitated- if it is natally retrograde or if it is combust, ie within 8 degrees of the Sun and therefore blinded by the Sun’s rays.

Actually, there are other ways as well, but we won’t go into these now.

Looking at my natal Mars. In Scorpio, it’s in the sign of its’ rulership. It has other lesser dignities too. It’s motivated to do big things. But…and it’s a big but…it’s accidentally debilitated by being in the 8th house and is further weakened by being retrograde when I was born. The spirit is definitely willing, but the flesh is weak. I tend to take a little longer to get going and stay going.

My Mercury is about as debilitated as you can get. Not only, as we saw last week, does it have no essential dignity, it also has no power- being in the 12th house and natally retrograde.

On the other hand, Saturn is in the sign of its’ detriment in Aries, but is accidentally dignified by being in the 1st house. Let’s just say he has the power to cause all sorts of havoc for me- I battle daily with worry over what others think, and whether I’m good enough. As for boundaries and knowing when to stop? Sorry…

The thing is, knowing about dignities can help you make the most of opportunities you could otherwise take for granted, and help you pinpoint those areas of challenge where you can make the most difference.

Mercury may be debilitated in my chart, but somehow, I have learned how to not only adapt to that, but to make the most of it. And, as it turns out, it’s a perfect placement for a writer- especially a writer of fiction. It’s my way of turning a debilitated planet into something that has the potential to be extraordinary.

The message? Debilitated planets can be opportunities- it’s a matter of how you look at it.

Doing it for yourself…

  • What planets in your chart have accidental dignity?
  • What planets in your chart are accidentally debilitated?
  • How does this alter your view of your “strongest” or “weakest” planet?

Want to take this further?

Check out this excellent resource at Skyscript. It goes much further than this into understanding planetary terms and face and other technical words. Then at the end, there’s a point scoring system if you really want to get serious.


Tuesday Toolbox 2.8: Essential Dignity

Fashion queen in crown sitting in jester court

We’ve now finished looking at all the traditional planets, but before we look at the outers- Uranus, Neptune and Pluto- we’ll take a mini break and talk a bit about rulerships and dignities…and it’s not just about holding your head high or talking proper-like in civilized company.

Dignity, astrologically speaking, can come in many forms. The dignity it has can be either essential or accidental. A planet without much dignity- whether essential or accidental- is said to be debilitated.

The amount and type of dignity a planet has will determine how much motivation and power it has to act. It doesn’t mean that planet is good or bad (although traditionally that’s exactly what it can mean)- but the more essential dignity a planet has, the closer it conforms to its essential nature and the more motivation it has to act. Aspects with other planets will, of course, make this easier or more difficult- more on that over the coming weeks. A planet gains essential dignity from the sign it is in.

Accidental dignity is all about the placement of the planet in the chart. Accidental dignity (or debility) will give the planet the power to act. We’ll talk more about accidental dignity next week.

Essential Dignity

There are a number of degrees of dignity. The two most important are rulership and exaltation. If you want to know more about the others, I’ll give you some links at the end of next weeks Toolbox.

When a planet is in the sign that it rules, it’s a little like having home-ground advantage. It operates in an environment in which it feels comfortable.

Take the Sun as an example. By nature, it’s hot and dry, ego-centric and masculine. It’s all about radiating warmth, and everybody else orbits around it. It makes sense that he will be motivated to operate as close to his natural self when in a sign that is hot, dry, radiating, and ego-centric. Like Leo- the sign ruled by the Sun.

The Moon is cool, moist, nutritive, feminine, intuitive, emotional. These qualities are enhanced when it is in the sign it rules- Cancer.

When a planet is exalted, or in the sign of its exaltation, it’s treated as a favoured guest, it’s given the good biscuits and the fluffy towels. It feels special and it’s natural mode of operation is exaggerated.

Let’s take the Sun again- exalted in Aries. Aries is also hot, dry, masculine, all about the individual, being first. It’s childlike and selfish. Yes, I said it. It’s about the ego. So is the Sun.

Essential Debility

Planets essentially debilitated, or in the sign of their fall or detriment, don’t work to their best advantage. Its’ behaviour is altered and in it’s unable to function in the way in which it normally likes operate. Like you would if you were staying in a house, or a town or a country where you didn’t feel comfortable.

Example? Take the Sun who is in his detriment in Aquarius- a sign where ego comes second to that of the group.

In Libra, where the Sun is in the sign of its fall, the focus is on the partnership, not the individual- the Sun is unable to act in the way that it is most comfortable. Where its’ qualities were exaggerated in the sign of exaltation, the Suns’ discomfort is exaggerated in the sign of its’ fall.

Notice something? It’s all about the opposites.

A planet will be in the sign of its detriment if it’s in the sign opposite to the one it rules.

A planet will be in the sign of its’ fall if it’s in the sign opposite to its’ exaltation.

Doing it for yourself…

Check out the relative dignity of your planets in the table below.

  • What planets in your chart have the most essential dignity?
  • What planets have the least amount of essential dignity?

In my chart, the planets with the most essential dignity are:

  • Mars is in the sign he rules (Scorpio)
  • Jupiter is in the sign of his exaltation (Cancer)

The planets with the least amount of dignity are:

  • Venus (Aries) is in the sign of her detriment
  • Saturn (Aries) is in the sign of his fall
  • Mercury is in both detriment and fall in Pisces
Sign Ruler Exaltation Detriment Fall
Aries Mars Sun Venus Saturn
Taurus Venus Moon Mars
Gemini Mercury Jupiter
Cancer Moon Jupiter Saturn Mars
Leo Sun Saturn
Virgo Mercury Mercury Jupiter Venus
Libra Venus Saturn Mars Sun
Scorpio Mars Venus Moon
Sagittarius Jupiter Mercury
Capricorn Saturn Mars Moon Jupiter
Aquarius Saturn Sun
Pisces Jupiter Venus Mercury Mercury


Tuesday Toolbox 2.7: Saturn

fitness woman runner trail running on seaside mountain stairs, training for cross country running.

Saturn is about boundaries, contraction, responsibilities, maturity, work, duty, limitations. I’ve suddenly developed a dislike for words ending in “ity.”

The questions associated with Saturn questions:

  • Where should you be accepting responsibility?
  • Where should you be pushing yourself to achieve?
  • Where do you need to look to find meaning in life?
  • Where does the pressure mould you as a person with mastery, wisdom, maturity and authority?
  • How strong are your structures, and where should you look to stabilize them?

Saturn spends about 2 ½ years in each sign, and makes one full trip around the zodiac in around 29 ½ years. Saturn goes retrograde for about 4 ½ months every year.

The Symbol…

The symbol for Saturn is below. Yep, it looks a bit like an upside down Jupiter. These two operate together- it’s the self-discipline and work you do with Saturn that allows you to make the most of the luck and opportunities Jupiter brings your way- you’ve got to climb to the top of the mountain to appreciate the views…that sort of thing.



  • By nature, it is cold, dry, masculine, chronic, restrictive, contracting, slowing and binding.
  • Saturn is involved with aging- both physically and metaphysically.
  • Saturn is the Greater Malefic- a tough guy- and man, don’t we know it!
  • Saturn gives form and structure and creates boundaries and limitations.
  • Saturn in strong signs or good aspect can be stabilising- relatively speaking…
  • Saturn is strongest in Capricorn, Aquarius and Libra, and weaker in Cancer, Leo, and Aries- again relatively, not absolutely speaking.
  • Saturn in weaker signs can be destabiising, devitalizing and inhibiting- relatively speaking…

Sign Placement…

The sign that your Saturn is in will tell you how you seek to establish and prove yourself through effort, work, and mastery of…well, whatever it is you need to master. It’s where you feel inadequate, fearful. It’s where you hesitate to take action- and where you must find courage in order to achieve and succeed. It also says much about how you set and achieve goals. It’s how you learn to develop self-respect and self-discipline.

I have Saturn in Aries. My challenge is to find the courage to push myself and compete to achieve. I struggle with the concept of being good enough. My goals must come from within.

Doing it for yourself…

  1. What sign is your Saturn in?
  2. What element is your Saturn in? What do you think this might say about your fears?
  3. What does your sign say about how you limit and restrict yourself? Any strengths or challenges?
  4. Is there something that your Saturn wants that it’s not getting? How can you challenge and push yourself past your fears?

House Placement…

Wherever Saturn is in your chart is that area of life where you need to create stability, boundaries, and structures. It’s where you need to learn to say “no” or “enough”. It’s here where you must work harder, take more responsibility, accept more pressure, and overcome fear. It’s where you learn to develop self-respect and self-discipline. It’s also where you should be setting goals.

My Saturn is in the 1st house. I’m immensely hard on myself. I worry inordinately about what other people think of me- to the extent that it stops me from putting myself out there fully.

Doing it for yourself…

  1. What house is your Saturn in?
  2. What does this say about where you limit and discipline yourself?
  3. What does this say about where you act alone or develop self-sufficiency?

Who does Saturn talk to?

Aspects that Saturn makes to other planets- especially personal planets- can help and hinder you in expressing yourself and achieving to your full potential. Difficult aspects to Saturn can limit, destabilize and devitalize the actions of those planets. Easier aspects could help stabilize, discipline and provide support to those planets.

Happy Saturn

It’s not in Saturn’s nature to be happy, but… a well-placed and motivated Saturn can be self-disciplined, self-respecting, accepting of one’s own company or solitude, responsible, accepting of effort and consequences.

Not happy Saturn

Negative, cold, non-responsive, hard, unemotional, pessimistic, depressive, melancholic, cynical, overly materialistic, as if you’re trudging through the drudge of the day and grudging every minute of it.


If you have Saturn retrograde natally*, you tend to direct your discipline inwards where it grows deep roots. You could appear to be overly self-sufficient- almost a loner. This could make it more difficult for others to get to know you…relatively speaking.

*Don’t know if Saturn is retrograde in your chart? If you’ve cast your chart using, there’ll be a little r beside the symbol. If you’ve cast your chart using astrogold, the degrees will be in red.


We’ll talk more about rulerships as we go along, but for now:

  • Saturn rules the signs of Capricorn and Aquarius, so is influential over that part of life that has these signs on the house cusp.
  • Saturn is exalted in the sign of Libra
  • Saturn is in its’ detriment in Cancer and Leo- both Mercury ruled signs.
  • Saturn is in its’ fall in Aries.

For now? Hold this thought too…I promise we’ll get back to it.

Next time….Uranus



Tuesday Toolbox 2.6: Jupiter

Two tourists with backpacks relaxing on top of a mountain and enjoying sunset view


Jupiter is about expansion, growth, faith, hope, risks, travel. Jupiter is about learning beyond our limitations; travelling beyond our cultural physical and spiritual boundaries; and taking leaps of faith.

When you’re expanding past your waistband instead of into the world you look to Jupiter for answers on these questions:

  • Where should you be expanding?
  • Where are you selling yourself short?
  • Where do you need to have faith and hope?
  • Where do you look to experience the world in a broader way?

Jupiter spends about 1 year in each sign, and makes one full trip around the zodiac in around twelve years. Jupiter goes retrograde for about four months every year.

The Symbol…

The symbol for Jupiter is below.



  • By nature, it is warm and moist, masculine, nourishing, expansive.
  • Jupiter is involved with growth and expansion- both physically and metaphysically.
  • Jupiter is the Greater Benefic- a good guy- but often we don’t know how good until in hindsight.
  • Jupiter in strong signs or good aspect to the Sun, Moon or Ascendant is generally someone with good health- relatively speaking…unless they live too well… (my hand is in the air)
  • Jupiter is strongest in Pisces, Cancer and Sagittarius, and weaker in Gemini, Virgo and Capricorn- again relatively, not absolutely speaking.
  • Jupiter in weaker signs can be a tad sluggish, lazy, glass half full or suspicious of luck.

Sign Placement…

The sign that your Jupiter is in will tell you how you grow, expand and improve yourself, how you seek to experience life beyond your normal horizons and boundaries.

I have Jupiter in Cancer- a place Jupiter is extremely comfortable. I’m (sometimes overly) open-hearted, (sometimes overly) generous, (sometimes overly) forgiving, (sometimes overly) protective, sometimes (overly) optimistic.

My glass isn’t half full- what I had I enjoyed, and now there’s room for more.

Doing it for yourself…

  1. What sign is your Jupiter in?
  2. What element is your Jupiter in? What do you think this might say about how you push past your boundaries and experience life beyond the horizon?
  3. What does your sign say about how you expand, grow and seek to improve yourself? Any strengths or challenges?
  4. Is there something that your Jupiter wants that it’s not getting? Is it getting too much of something too easily?

House Placement…

Wherever Jupiter is in your chart is that area of life where you are likely to take a few risks, find hope and trust for the future. It’s this part of life that helps you grow, improve yourself and expand into the world. It’s also where you find your own luck- or make your own luck…where the good things or benefits in life come.

Eg my Jupiter is in the 5th house. It’s about self-expression, pleasure, creativity, and having faith that the art I make (in my case, the words I write) will bring me abundance- of sorts…

The 5th is about giving birth to things and nurturing them- this can be literally parenthood, or the joy you take could be in the business you create or the art you make.

Doing it for yourself…

  1. What house is your Jupiter in?
  2. What does this say about where you seek to expand? Do you take more risks in this part of life? What do you do to improve in this area? Do you take your benefits for granted in this area?

Who does Jupiter talk to?

Aspects to other planets can help and hinder Jupiter in expressing itself to its fullest potential. Difficult aspects can mean that you have difficulty in allowing yourself to have faith- which in turn could hinder your expansion and growth. Difficult aspects could also mean that you might not know when to stop when it comes to indulgence or risk taking. Relatively speaking.

Happy Jupiter

Generous, optimistic, confident, seeking new experiences

Not so happy Jupiter

Greedy, lazy, pompous, preachy, over-confident, in denial or delusional ie of realities and consequences


If you have Jupiter retrograde natally*, you tend to direct your faith inwards where it grows deep roots. Your exterior could appear more serious- even though beneath the surface you are generally optimistic. This could stop you from opening your heart easily or fully.

*Don’t know if Jupiter is retrograde in your chart? If you’ve cast your chart using, there’ll be a little r beside the symbol. If you’ve cast your chart using astrogold, the degrees will be in red.


We’ll talk more about rulerships as we go along, but for now:

  • Jupiter rules the signs of Pisces and Sagittarius, so is influential over that part of life that has these signs on the house cusp.
  • Jupiter is exalted in the sign of Cancer
  • Jupiter is in its’ detriment in Gemini and Virgo- both Mercury ruled signs.
  • Jupiter is in its’ fall in Capricorn.

For now? Hold this thought too…I promise we’ll get back to it.

Next time….Saturn


Tuesday Toolbox 2.5: Mars


Mars is about energy, action, desire, willpower, stamina, strength, courage, passion, the motivation to go after the things that you want.

When your mojo has gone missing, you need to look to Mars to find out what its’ not getting.

When it comes to Mars, the question you ask is: what are you really hungry for?

Mars spends about 2 months in each sign, and makes one full trip around the zodiac in just under 2 years. Mars goes retrograde for about 2 ½ months every two years.

The Symbol…

The symbol for Mars is below.



  • By nature, it is hot, dry, masculine, inflammatory, energetic, excessive, malefic, expansive, drastic.
  • Mars rules heat
  • Mars is involved with all the methods by which we generate, maintain and use energy.
  • Mars in strong signs or good aspect to the Sun is generally someone with great vitality, strong constitutions, and good powers of recovery- relatively speaking…
  • Mars is strongest in Aries, Scorpio, and Capricorn, and weaker in Taurus, Libra and Cancer- again relatively, not absolutely speaking. In Aries Mars is competitive, in Scorpio he’s passionate and in Capricorn he’s ambitious.
  • Mars in weaker signs can be a tad sluggish, apathetic or can’t be faffed. Relatively speaking.In Taurus he can tend to indolence or slow to start, in Cancer he can tend to passive aggression, and in Libra he can tend to be overly compromising or indecisive. Notice I said “tend to”…

Sign Placement…

The sign that your Mars is in will tell you how you assert yourself, express your desires, and your willingness to dive into something new.

I have Mars in Scorpio. With me it’s about intensity. I’m prone to the occasional power struggle and revenge fantasy. I’m passionate, compulsive, can be jealous, tend to have good staying power. For me to go after what I want, I have to attach deeply and emotionally.

Doing it for yourself…

  1. What sign is your Mars in?
  2. What element is your Mars in? What do you think this might say about how you initiate activity? What motivates you to action?
  3. What does your sign say about how you go after what you want? Any strengths or challenges?
  4. Is there something that your Mars wants that it’s not getting?

House Placement…

Wherever Mars is in your chart is that area of life where you are likely to take action, pursue your desires, stand your ground, fight your corner, take a few risks, and act impulsively. It’s this part of life that gets your motor running. It’s here that you can find vitality and motivation. It’s also your personal battlefield.

Eg my Mars is in the 8th house. I need intense experiences…perhaps that’s enough said about that…

Doing it for yourself…

  1. What house is your Mars in?
  2. What does this say about what turns you on, brings you conflict? Do you take more risks in this part of life?

Who does Mars talk to?

Aspects to other planets can help and hinder Mars in expressing itself to its fullest potential. Difficult aspects can mean that you have difficulty in allowing yourself to take action and asserting yourself…or know when to stop when it comes to standing up for yourself ie aggression rather than assertion. Relatively speaking.

Happy Mars

Assertive, active, courageous

Not so happy Mars

Selfish, aggressive, cruel, insensitive, bombastic


If you have Mars retrograde natally*, you tend to direct your anger inwards- appearing controlled to everyone else. The risk is a volcanic explosion! You probably, once you get started, have good staying power, but may hesitate before taking action or asking for help.

*Don’t know if Mars is retrograde in your chart? If you’ve cast your chart using, there’ll be a little r beside the symbol. If you’ve cast your chart using astrogold, the degrees will be in red.


We’ll talk more about rulerships as we go along, but for now:

  • Mars rules the signs of Aries and Scorpio, so is influential over that part of life that has these signs on the house cusp.
  • Mars is exalted in the sign of Capricorn
  • Mars is in its’ detriment in Taurus and Libra- both Venus ruled signs.
  • Mars is in its’ fall in Cancer.

For now? Hold this thought too…I promise we’ll get back to it.

Next time….Jupiter.