As we approach the festive season at the close of another year (don’t they pass ever more rapidly…) I include in this newsletter an update on the vision of a healing orientated vision of Evolutionary Astrology that I am working on in my writing, teaching and client work. I hope that you find it useful or at least interesting.
In October I taught two great groups Stateside: in Boulder, CO (a workshop on my core approach to the natal chart) and in Portland, OR (a workshop on composite charts). I was struck in both places by the quality of the students. The response towards deep questions about the way the chart works by students who are bringing years of their own study and approach to astrology to bear on the method I am teaching drew out the best in me and kept me on my toes!
In Boulder I was emphasizing how helpful studies can be but how they need to come to a point of focus; a commitment to a particular approach to achieve the depth that is present in the natal chart but that requires a dedication to a central method or point of entry in order to get the most from it. I was sharing my experience over the years of working with people who have many years more experience of astrology that myself but who have often struggled to orientate to the range of possibilities within the birth chart. It is ironic that the more experienced astrologer in many ways faces a different version of the one faced by the beginner in the field; with all the possible meanings within a chart – where does one begin?
The person who has been studying for years; who goes to a workshop on psychological astrology one month and horary the next, who hears a talk on the Hellenistic approach and the next a psychological astrologer, enters a world of potential confusion whereby they struggle to know which approach to apply when looking at the chart. Even though they know huge amounts about astrology they do not know where to start.
I encourage students of all degrees of experience and ability to follow a period of open research into several different approaches and then to make a commitment to one approach. And from there to develop that approach to a high degree of proficiency before undertaking another. Of course, you do not have to make that my approach. But if you do find this is a useful approach, then I have developed resources for you.
Believe me, I understand just how complex and confusing it can all be! In developing my approach I have tried as elegantly as I am able to make the technical side as simple as is possible but still achieve access to the depth contained in the horoscope. This keeps the teaching clean and gives as direct access as possible to the core psychological, spiritual and personal information in the chart.
The central resource I have for students at present is the Pluto School tuition program based on Healing the Soul: Pluto, Uranus and the Lunar Nodes. This foundational course of 12 lessons is a practical step by step guide to understanding and utilising my method of reading a chart.
The first two lessons are on Pluto through the archetypes. The next two are on the Nodal Axis of the Moon. In these first four lessons the student is encouraged to use five example charts of people they know and to draw by hand those charts as we cover the different positions in the lessons – in this way there is a visual element to the learning. This is the way I taught myself and evolved the method in the first place. I would hand draw charts with just Pluto and the Nodes of the Moon to emphasize how much one can discover just from those placements.
Lesson five is on Pluto aspects to the Nodal Axis of the Moon and lesson six is on squares to the nodes of the Moon. Again the student is encouraged to hand draw these developments on their core five charts. Students are given example charts that I talk through on the audio component. Lesson 7 is a step by step guide that gives a student a complete procedure for orientating to the deepest psychological orientation of the natal chart. Lesson 8 is an example chart challenge for the student.
The last four lessons integrate the Uranus teaching that makes up chapter three of Healing the Soul. They show clearly how to identify and interpret trauma signatures: an insight which will give enormous support to future chart readings on how people may transform and heal. The final two lessons are putting this whole process together as a complete method with another example chart for students to write up their own understanding.
Finally there is a certification process: an example chart marked by myself as a testimony to someone’s potential to use this method clearly. The tuition program is the clearest articulation yet of my core approach. It is a condensed one also as I work towards accessibility of meaning for people – just twenty something hours of audio and a series of mini essays and assignments and the committed student will have a competent grasp of the approach which they can then put into practice and gather experience by application.
New Projects in the Works
Following the incredible feedback around my work at the Norwac conference this year I wrote half the draft of a book with the working title Therapeutic Astrology over the summer. In the process I had to put another book project on hold that I was already half-way through, leaving myself in the odd position of having written two half-books instead of one whole one! I have just come back to this book in the last few weeks and will finish it over the winter. It feels like the crucial next step: explicitly integrating the insights of depth psychology into evolutionary astrology.
This period coincides with working with a colleague on a book on the life and work of Roberto Assagioli the founder of Psychosynthesis, the originator of the first soul psychology. I also have a chapter on the outer planets as higher octaves of the inner planets (Mercury with Uranus, Mars with Pluto and Venus with Neptune) in a book Transpersonal Astrology coming out in the spring.
On the website we are now making available the recording of the keynote address, two talks and full workshop from Norwac 2012. The keynote address, Where Two or More Are Gathered focuses on a 12-step model of the archetypes as a healing journey and includes a section on the model of the psyche used in Psychosynthesis. During the talk I emphasize the field that exists between two people when they sit together for a reading and how that field holds both their energy fields and more; even the potential for grace. When I created the talk I had no idea the conference would be held over Easter; that I would be giving the keynote on Easter Sunday morning!
In Saturn: the Guardian of Our True Potential I explore Saturn as an archetype of apparent loss that if embraced can lead to a deepening maturity and empowered personal authority. I use examples from my client work to illustrate this clearly. In my other NORWAC 2012 talk, The Power of the Circle, I focus on how the natural zodiac (Aries Ascendant, Capricorn Midheaven) forms a blueprint for understanding all of the aspects. Then I show how all aspects have phases and I use the chart of Michael Jackson to show how these phases worked out in his life.
I've received enthusiastic feedback about the post-conference workshop, The Silver Path of the Moon, in which I adapt my core method of Pluto and the Nodes of the Moon to become the Moon and its nodes. I did this to show evolution from the personal, felt level of the individual having a reading (the Moon) rather than the more unconscious orientation of the Pluto placement. This workshop ends with a powerful synchronicity when a chart example on the board echoed the experience of one of the participants. In both men's lives, a near-death experience around age 12 was prominent. And if that was not enough, because he was 12 years older than the man whose chart was on the board, he had experienced his near death experience almost to the day that the man in the chart example was born! Both men’s experiences had radically transformed their lives. We ended the workshop there; with a short prayer.
Thank you to everyone who has participated in these talks and workshops, or who have had readings or expressed interest in my work. The cutting edge of my evolution at present is working to bring the therapeutic dimension into the astrological world. I spend a long first chapter of the work in progress outlining how, whether astrologers like it or not, when you are doing a reading you are two people in a room, one asking the other for some kind of guidance and you are therefore involved in a counselling dynamic. This is true whether you chose to acknowledge it or not. I am working for the community to acknowledge this choice so that people going for readings are able to get more from the process; so that they are able to feed their soul with the potential contained within their chart and not be restricted by prescriptive descriptions of what are supposedly good or bad planets.
There are no bad charts; there is just the nature of our lives and how the chart can offer insight into how we might best live them.
God Bless and Merry Christmas to you all: may we all give the best of ourselves in 2013.