On the nature of astrology

Here is a little post with some reflections on why I do not think astrology is a science (as science is generally understood in our society).

I’ve been reading a lot of material in preparation for my dissertation’s proposal and I wanted to share some ideas from one in particular, a PHD thesis entitled ‘The Responsive Cosmos’ by James Brockbank. The author articulates very well something that I have struggled to understand in the past about the practice of astrology – why on earth we’ve never managed to prove empirically astrology working.

One of the main ideas he argues for is that astrology is a type of divination and it can never be proved to be a science as the empirical methodology fails to demonstrate how the discipline works. Brockbank uses a lot of Geoffrey Cornelius’ work and ideas from ‘The Moment of Astrology’, a book that blew my mind when I first read it.

Why empirical research, the scientific method which differs from what most astrologers call their “empirical research” (mostly their personal observations along the years), does not work is because astrology, as well as having a tradition with rules and meanings, depends heavily in context and interpretation. There is no way that we can come up with one general meaning and rule that works for every single context in astrology.

Simply put: empirical research looks for repetition and universal meaning while astrology is grounded in the individual case.

A Saturn transit to someone’s natal Moon can play out in so many different ways depending on age, background, life story, etc that we can never say for sure unless we have a conversation with the person having that transit.

This is such an important detail that always pops into my mind when in the social media astrological groups I see people asking questions requiring an absolute answer, like for example, ‘What configuration in the natal chart can be attributed to someone that is negative and always complains?’ or when someone says that Saturn in aspect to Venus will always translate as poverty.

It won’t. Astrological symbolism, as with most symbols, are multivalent, they do not simply translate to one thing.

This complexity, in my view, is also the beauty of astrology.

In Brockbank’s words:

‘There are twelve houses, twelve signs, a minimum of seven planets and no limit to the number of other points, real, constructed and hypothetical, that astrologers might use in their practice. Each of these hundreds of different meanings, making millions of combinations. It is inconceivable that all of these techniques, rules and procedures could be grounded in the empirical.’ (p. 30)

And he later concludes:

‘For the following reasons any analysis of astrology which follows the empirical approach will exclude them:  first, dialogue will be excluded because one will be following empirical rules which have been created without reference to the dialogue between astrologer and client; second, the particular will be excluded because one will be creating general rules which have universal application and may ignore the particular; third, ethnographic considerations will be excluded because what matters is not the individual case history but the general rule; and last, time is excluded because the rules used should apply to all cases at all times.’ (p. 37)

And these astrological rules and interpretations, most definitely, do not apply to ‘all cases at all times’.

Subjectivity is intrinsically involved in any astrological practice as it requires an astrologer to make an interpretation, and that astrologer in particular will not only have their favorite astrological techniques, but also have a certain perspective based on their unique life story, etc. (not to mention the particularities that that moment will also bring – the moment of interpreting something).

This awareness brings another question, is there such a thing as the ‘absolute truth’?

Brockbank argued that ‘the problem of assuming there is one superior truth is that there will be many different interpretations of that truth and it is possible that those who consider they are better astrologers or have more evolved souls may believe that they have privileged access to that truth.’ (pp. 300-301)

An interesting issue which I think to be very relevant for our current discussions while the transiting lunar nodes are in the Gemini/Sagittarius axis (with Gemini in the north node pointing at potential multiple truths as a way forward) and the general shift from Capricorn to Aquarius (reflected by Saturn and Jupiter currently in Aquarius, and Pluto joining it later on).

With all of that in mind, we would do well in asking ourselves: how gracefully can we accept and express uniqueness within diversity?!

Artwork by Karen Lynch

Jupiter (etc) on the IC

Today there was no thunderstorm.

Instead, just a gentle rain, one of those still somehow illuminated by the sun, some kind of rainbow weather.

As I watched it through my window, eating a piece of freshly cut watermelon I felt a warmth in my chest and smiled thinking to myself: ‘I’m in Brazil’

‘I am Brazil’ or ‘Brazil is me’, probably both.

With Jupiter conjoining my IC in Aquarius to the degree right now, I strangely feel a sense of belonging.

The last full moon was activating my MC-IC and a huge release of emotions happened to me, I had to begin letting go of the UK and the last (almost) 13 years of my life. Another chapter is beginning to unfold, and the pandemic and collective general chaos is affecting my options and the choices I have to make.

In the last few years I went through a Pluto hard transit to my natal Moon and a conscious quest for home sort of began, in the process I went through a lot of purging, moving around and challenging myself, perhaps all in order to discover a new sense of security within. But now it seems that I am closer to having an actual home to put my roots down a little deeper this time.

I am aware that the effects of a Jupiter transit lasts a lot less in comparison to the outer planets’, and for this reason it somehow reflects opportunities that are somewhat more fleeting. Saturn will then make its way backwards and forwards over my IC while Uranus squares it. I know that I need to change how I present myself into the world and I also feel that in order for that to happen I need some solid ground. I need to have a secure space to do my work from.

The amazing thing is, the more I listen to the voices coming from the depths of my IC the more I seem to be thriving in my work. Many people are seeking my services lately, with a few different talks lined up, including a short course I designed introducing Synastry, I am beautifully busy. There is also my masters’ thesis which I am just about to start. My professional dreams seem to be slowly coming true and I’m loving it.

My mind is sharp at the moment.

But for now, I silently eat my watermelons gazing out the window…watching the water nurture my surroundings.

Aquarius and the solar principle

It has been an interesting couple of weeks for me. I have some friends visiting and staying with me in the flat, including my brother, so the house is full. From the incredible quiet and self exploring vibes, which was also very melancholic at times, I now barely have time for checking in with myself so I am sort of allowing this time to be some sort of holidays. (haven’t had one of those in ages!)

Being a Virgo myself, it is pretty difficult not to do things that are practical in some way and so I recently delved into some of the Astrological Association’s old recordings of lectures. I found a few of Liz Greene’s talks, which I already bought and heard almost all of them, but there are plenty of historical (like for example a Gauquelin’s lecture on their research) and other important talks available for very affordable prices. (I recommend if you haven’t checked it yet).

One of the lectures I heard was about Apollo’s chariot and the solar principle in response to collective cycles given by Liz Greene, a wonderful (as I would expect) and enlightening lecture that resonates with what we are about to go through with a strong emphasis on Aquarius.

In about a month we will witness a cluster of planets in Aquarius which includes the Sun, Venus, Saturn, Jupiter and Mercury (which will, by the way, be moving retrograde at that time), and Aquarius speaks about the collective well fare. As Greene has pointed out in her lecture, Scorpio is concerned with depth but Aquarius is concerned with breadth (one of the dangers, she claimed, is loosing sight of excellence when there is too much emphasis on this sign as it focus on getting the ‘common denominator’).

According to Liz Greene, ‘where there is aquarian energy, the sun is invoked’ as it is its complement and opposite and I really like this idea. I feel that with such a strong aquarian energy, including the Saturn-Uranus Square that will be happening throughout 2021, we will do well in connecting with our solar energies.

The Sun is what gives us our sense of personal meaning, destiny and purpose. It is the point in the chart where we potentially feel unique and with a special reason to be alive. Liz Greene pointed out how we are under the risk of loosing the will to be ourselves when we identify entirely with a group (which is one of the reasons why the Sun is in detriment in Aquarius), and she also spoke about the dangers that throwing responsibility away from the individual can cause, when the group, ‘the great WE who have rights’, is actually made of individuals.

My conclusion here is that we will do very well in taping into our solar energies as we see the aquarian energy increase, this will be a way of avoiding darker scenarios where individuality is sacrificed completely to the ‘benefit of the group’ (in authoritarian regimes for example). So have a look at your chart, where is the Sun placed, what sign, what house? What can be the unique gifts that you can contribute with?

As Greene claimed, if we are willing ‘to be somebody who has something to contribute with the group then we will see a group that truly transforms the individual’. And let the Aquarian season begin!

A note on astrology and responsibility

How did the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction go for you?

I was checking my social media stuff today and had a thought that seemed to be fiercely expressed by Charles E. Carter when he claimed that it could be ‘criminal to introduce astrology’ to some, as he believed only ‘people with moral courage should study their own maps, and only those endowed with more than average common sense and sense of responsibility should study others’ . Obviously the next question to be asked is who is to decide when someone has enough common sense or moral courage, which is another very pertinent question, especially during the beginning of a collective cycle with such an aquarian overtone like the one we are currently heading towards to.

But I did feel slightly overwhelmed, for the first time, with the thought of how the quick spread of information (and in many cases, misinformation) can affect the practice and role of astrology. I used to feel excited regarding some predictions about astrology’s rise as a subject of knowledge, thinking that my profession would somehow become more respectable socially, but there is a very shadowy potential for astrology becoming popular again and taught by very unexperienced people. There seems to be many charismatic young people out there eager to accumulate a whole legion of followers no matter what kind of information they are helping to spread.

I am not very old myself, but I feel that I have always been aware of the necessary hard work, time and dedication when it comes to learning something as powerful as astrology. How can we make sure, as a community of professionals, that there is some kind of rigorous process when it comes to teaching and practicing astrology? Would the benefits that the digital era has and is bringing to astrology be greater than the potential pitfalls?

Reflections and realisations

The coming full moon eclipse on the 30th of November will be exact conjoined my natal Chiron in the 7th house. There are lots of different insights that I can have by observing the full moon’s chart in comparison to my own, but what strikes me is the reminder that most things astrological symbols reflect are rather process oriented than a ‘one off’ type of thing.

Another fellow astrologer wrote an interesting text regarding the coming full moon eclipse and linking it up to a lunation from May 2003, that’s when I was beginning my History degree in Sao Paulo. I can’t particularly remember anything else, nothing special in the relationship arena (which I would expect to see with a natal Chiron in Gemini in the 7th house). What about yourself, can you remember anything relevant that was going on for you in May 2003?

The Sagittarius-Gemini axis relate to information and education in general, how do you communicate your ideas and beliefs? How attached are you to them?

Since 2017 the big planets transiting Capricorn have been activating my natal 3rd house and a huge process of deepening and exploring ideas about astrology and how to communicate them has been taking place for me. Also, the Saturn-Jupiter conjunction will be happening there for me, in my 3rd house. It will be forming a trine to my North Node in Gemini in the 7th house as well as a square to my Pluto.

Ideas, communication, writing, reading, expressing myself, are some of the themes that have been under the spotlight for me recently, and it seems like it will be even more so in the years to come.

Regarding intense emotions and full moons and eclipses, I just realised how emotional I feel right now after having a melt down by myself for feeling really tired. I haven’t had a whole day off in ages, I can’t even remember when was the last one. I have always wanted to work on my career so badly in order to make sure that my job never feels like a ‘job’ in the boring/obligation kind of sense.

I have known that I can only dedicate myself to something meaningful and enjoyable for quite sometime.

But as I was crying and feeling the tension throughout my body today I suddenly realised that that too feels like ‘work’, like something serious and important, and that I need to find ways of relaxing and having lightness and fun in my life. At the moment I doubt my capacity for doing that, for enjoying myself without studying or working or being productive in some way. One of the only ways that I could do that was by having a romance and dating someone but the last thing I want to bring into my life now is frivolity, and dating seems very shallow to me at the moment (says the progressed Venus exact conjoined natal Saturn in the 12th).

I feel heavy. Hope you are feeling better out there.

Reflections on ‘we create our own reality’

Today I was listening to another fellow astrologer doing a live and some thoughts came up regarding what we do and what we say as astrologers as well.

Astrology is very pluralistic, and there are many different ways of practicing it, I can definitely see that. But I can also see, and have read some articles about that too, that in western astrology the ‘psychologising’ is pretty strong, where it is commonly claimed that the internal world speaks much louder than the outer world.

I do agree that enhancing self awareness is a pretty important step towards empowerment and the idea that that which remains unconscious has a very strong potential to become our ‘fate’.

But at the same time, I see the limitations of this way of perceiving reality. I have been watching a couple of documentaries about the cult that was under Keith Raniere’s leadership (who was convicted recently to 120 years in jail) and one of the main things they used to catch people and brainwash them, was this sort of ‘new age’ discourse claiming that you create your own reality etc.

By all means, I am not trying to compare a cult leader to astrologers who genuinelly have the best interest of their clients at heart. Not at all!

I am just reflecting on the potential pitfalls of claiming that we create our reality too much when it comes to illnesses for instance, or trauma in general. I don’t want my clients to feel guilty for having problems that we don’t really understand, even if Saturn is transiting that person’s whatnot, we still don’t fully comprehend why certain things happen in someone’s life the way it does.

Here is where I think astrologers would do well in keeping a sense of inflation under control, yes, we do have access to information that the majority don’t have. We spend more time exploring certain mysteries that most people have no interest or don’t even know it is possible to explore. But that does not mean that we fully understand what the universe or these mysteries are all about.

You might have a strong feeling about past lives, or whatever, but I don’t think that we should impose our belief system upon our clients in a way that might be causing more damage than healing.

Just a thought…

Solar Arc Direction and inner shifts…

Yesterday my Solar Arc ascendant has officially shifted to Capricorn, which will last for the next 30 years, so I guess this is a big deal.

Amongst a variety of prognostic techniques in astrology, Solar Arc direction is the one I don’t use it so often but as a kind of a ‘scientist’ I like observing it.

Apparently, in Solar Arc direction (I would actually consider that in relation to any astrological prognostic technique), when there is a shift in astrological sign like the one mentioned, we better look at what we have in that sign natally to get some clues on how the next 30 years might play out.

I have only Jupiter and the part of fortune in Capricorn, and the sign is also on the cusp of my third house. Natal Jupiter is in a tight trine to my Mercury-Sun conjunction and this seems to have a similar message to the third house cusp thing.

My take is that perhaps this shift from Sagittarius to Capricorn will enable me to move and travel a little less and to focus instead on work and intellectual production.

I also hope that this process will reflect a change from emphasising my Mars (out of bounds) conjoined Uranus in the first house in Sagittarius (square Sun-Mercury) to, the already mentioned, Jupiter.

I feel that I could do not only with learning more about practicing patience, but also and specially dealing better with boredom, something that tend to sabotage many opportunities in my life (for work, relationships, etc).

Perhaps living on the fast lane isn’t for me anymore and I would really like to learn more about taking things slow, learn more about working steadily and patiently towards a goal, and feeling ok with being temporarily bored without the need to act out and create disruption.

(BTW, Solar Arc Pluto is one degree away from my natal Mars… so perhaps learning these lessons are in the cards for me anyway…)

Have you observed a shift of signs by Solar Arc direction in your chart? How did that play out for you? Did it help integrating your natal chart more?

Celebrating some achievements

The last month and a half have been so incredibly busy for me: taking up my two final modules for the masters (that in itself is so much work already!), doing three talks in the month of June, also started teaching astrology webinars and have over 10 students waiting for me to come up with the second series, not to mention the other more humble life tasks which are equally important (even if it doesn’t seem like).

After all, where would I be without my routine? Without my ‘healthy-ish’ meals? Without my long walks after lunch and long baths listening to Billie Holiday? I honestly think that I could only manage the amount of things I had to do because I kept track of my basic routine as well. Without that I wouldn’t have made it!

Interestingly, Uranus is transiting my 6th house, and work is somehow embedded in my daily rituals and routine. There isn’t one without the other.

Two out of the three talks are done already, and I think they went very well. I have a real passion for teaching. This week I will be finally giving my talk at the Astrological Association’s conference on the astrology of the Handmaid’s Tale. Such an interesting novel, with an amazing tv production and not to mention, Margaret Atwood herself, a figure that I deeply admire and researching about her was a real joy.

Atwood’s natal Sun is very close to my ASC, so I guess the commonality speaks for itself. I somehow feel a sense of closeness when I watch her speak and I wish I could meet her in person one day and have a cup of coffee.

How did I manage to get through the most difficult challenges of this month, in special my fear of coming out professionally in the astrological community and my inner critic’s strength and power over me sometimes? I guess that I have used a few different tools in the process, but specially reminding me of the joy I feel when I talk about astrology and when I share ideas in general (which helped me with the masters as well) was a huge part.

Passion and joy seems to be a great guidance force in life… at least sometimes… or maybe most of the time…

What is your passion and what brings joy into your life?!        😀

 

 

Astrological Debates and the coming Full Moon

Catching a bit of a ride with the current energies building up to the full moon happening this coming Friday. It will be forming a t square between the Moon in Sagittarius, the Sun in Gemini and Mars in Pisces (close to Neptune), all at 15 degrees (so watch out all of you with personal planets in the mid degrees of the mutable signs).

As the lunar nodes have also shifted recently to the Gemini-Sagittarius axis, I expect a lot of intense discussions to be taking place, and considering the apex of a t square as a potential clue to a way out from the dichotomy symbolised by the opposition (between the Sun and Moon in this case), I feel that there is something of the energy of Pisces and Neptune that can help us get out of the impasse. Perhaps transcending truths that are plainly egocentric and not really constructive for others as well as ourselves is one way of interpreting this.

Both Pisces and Neptune at best talks about compassion and the capacity for dissolving boundaries which are necessary for us to understand that ultimately we are all connected. So perhaps something connected with that could help us resolve some of the difficult debates that we are bound to be witnessing, as well as taking part in, this week.

Another thing that comes to mind is any form of artwork could also be of great help now to contain the splits of opinion within and without!  Paint, drawing, dancing, writing…

This whole thing reminds me of a small discussion I got myself involved in these days, and made me think as well (again) about the spread of misinformation that we currently can have access to using social media. Freedom of expression can be great and very empowering, but at the same time, there seems to be a lot of people claiming to hold the truth about something which isn’t quite correct.

To be precise, there was an individual claiming to be a professional astrologer who said that: ‘If you have Saturn in a hard aspect in your chart it can and it will definitely make you poor’. I mean, what the fuck? After this post there were lots of comments from scared people, trying to find out if they had that or not in their natal charts.

I usually don’t get myself involved in these online debates, but I couldn’t help and just searched for examples of people with hard aspects from Saturn who happened to be quite rich actually, to respond to that person.

Anyway, my message here is to say that astrology can be a wonderful tool for empowerment and insight but it has to be used wisely. And, at the same time, I strongly feel that it cannot be used divorced from serious commitment to personal work and growth. It’s just too easy to project our life’s traumas and shortcomings into an astrological aspect, star sign or whatever, and then spread misinformation to people around us perpetrating fear and disempowerment.

So remember, if it sounds like fear mongering and simply negative, go and try to find another source or another astrologer to have a consultation from. I am pro different views and techniques and approaches to astrology, but definitely not supportive of astrology done badly and without personal responsibility.

Productive quarantine and Pluto retrograde

I think that I am finally managing to create a productive routine during the lockdown. I guess moving countries again was also inevitably disruptive on my daily practices, etc.

That Mars/Uranus in Sagittarius in my chart reflecting the part of me that keeps travelling and moving around no matter what…

Anyway, Im enjoying the time and space to focus on the things that truly matter to me, in this case, my astrology work. I’ve been working on talks that I will be giving this June, and also taking the opportunity to watch free online courses as well. It really is mind blowing the quantity of online webinars and lectures available even for free at the moment.

That really made me think about the Saturn-Jupiter conjunction in Aquarius that will be taking place in December 21 this year. It seems like we are heading towards the direction of a massive boom of online education, where information is made accessible to a larger number of people.

These days I watched an interesting webinar on how to create online courses and it was quite insightful. Im glad I did it. Now Im being flooded with ideas for creating a short course on astrology myself. I love teaching and public speaking, especially about a subject that Im so passionate about like astrology, so I see potential for developing something really nice.

I even had someone getting in touch with me for a short astrological session in order to learn a bit, rather than just receive the interpretations. That is a sign, isn’t?!

As I work on my talks and think about these ideas of mine, I have to witness a very strong fear of coming out, perhaps a fear of failure, Im not entirely sure. But I do remember astrologer Frank Clifford talking about the journey of Virgo being connected with developing self-confidence because they never believe they know enough or that they are good enough.

That resonates with me so much!

My first big talk for the Astrological Association is happening in June 28 or 27 and Im dreading that moment and, at the same time, really looking forward to it because I will have to break an old pattern of fear, otherwise I won’t be able to do it.

I feel that I was born to be a communicator (amongst other things of course), but it does not come very easily in terms of taking action and being confidently encouraged. But once Im on stage it is almost like something else takes me over and it is really joyful, I feel incredibly high during and afterwards as well.

Anyway, Pluto is going retrograde today until around October the fifth, and this is a great time for revisiting our shadow work. Looking into those paralysing fears that are limiting our capacity to live our lives to the fullest, preventing us from being what we are meant to be.  That’s what Im going to do as I prepare myself for the series of talks that I will be giving in the near future…

Wish me luck!

And if you have been following me and my work for a while and feel that you could be interested in knowing more about the teaching side of it, get in touch. I would love to hear from you.