Stage Set / Through the Houses

Stage Set / Through the Houses

Shakespeare once wrote that the entire world is a stage and all the men and women merely players. In a sense, one’s natal or birth chart is a metaphor for his or her personal play, complete with stage set, cast of characters, plot, or the story line, and of course both character growth arc and theme.


This post is about stage set ; astrologically there are twelve of them, known as ‘houses’. Each of these correspond to one of the twelve pie -like slices that divide up your natal chart. Just as with one of Shakespeare’s plays, each of the characters/planets act out their own part in the story these stage sets.

It goes without saying that those individual parts will be as greatly colored by the stage set (or house) inhabited as it is by the clothes/manners/customs each player brings to the stage, (determined by the Zodiac sign in which the planet is located). For example, Venus in Virgo will always dress and behave very differently than would Venus in Leo. But both will be challenged when play on a stage set run, for example, by Scorpio and it goes without saying that they will be challenged in different ways.

Also note that each of the player shares scenes with certain players but not others. In this sense, planets/players only interact with other planets/players when they form aspects with each other. If that Venus in Virgo makes an aspect to Mars in Taurus, then they have an opportunity to work together. But if Mars were in Libra, then chances are they’d pass each other without making contact, like ships in the night.

Sometimes, even when planets/players share the same stage/house they may not interact because they are not in aspect – for example Venus in Virgo stares off blankly into space whilst the remaining players including Mars in Virgo are engaged in a heated argument.

The twelve houses are divided up into four elements, which tell much about the nature of that stage set:

  • Fire Houses show us how we ‘show up’ in the world; how we format, express, and assert ourselves as separate individuals, different from the crowd.
  • It’s no accident that Fire Houses always follow Water Houses, where our personal identities have to some extent been compromised or even completely dissolved. In Fire Houses ,we ‘find’ ourselves again.
  • Fire Houses offer opportunities to expand ourselves, to be joyful and creative. Planets in Fire Houses provide important clues as to how we express our vitality, our vision of self and the world.
  • Planets in Fire Houses are always about potentiality although some are able to express this more easily than others. For example, Saturn in a Fire House may fear personal expression, thinking that his vision is not good enough, not worthy. Jupiter, on the other hand, is more likely to do better as is Mars although both might get carried away. If you know someone who is always ‘in your face’, then you’re probably experiencing this kind of fiery over-exuberance.
  • Finally, it’s worth remembering that planets in the Fire Houses tend to be idealistic, similar to planets in Air Houses. The primary distinction between planets in Fire Houses and Air Houses is that those former usually take physical action whilst those in the latter, tend to caught up in their heads.

  • Traditionally, planets in the Earth Houses show us how best to make money. From birth, we’re told the ‘sky is the limit’ but at some level we all suspect that might be true. But such understanding comes as absolutely no surprise for planets in Earth Houses; planets in Earth Houses are all about working tirelessly to produce results in the here and now.
  • It’s through the planetary energies in our Earth Houses that we give form and definition to our personal values and surprisingly, given all the societal hype to the contrary, we must do this for our own benefit, expecting (and receiving) thanks from none.
  • Similarly, planets in the Earth Houses are not concerned with giving form to the values of others. It’s nothing more than a happy coincidence if the outside world values our efforts.
  • Unlike planets in the Fire Houses, that are concerned with pure potential, planets in Earth Houses are both immediate and practical. Unlike with planets in the Water Houses, there is no connection to past or future. Similarly, unlike planets in Air Houses, planets in Earth Houses are not concerned with the ideal.
  • Finally, it’s worth remembering that in regards to the Earth Houses, values are not the same as morals or ethics. This may be difficult to comprehend for those with lots of Air in their charts, but in Earth Houses possession is prevailing ‘the law’; for planets in Earth Houses, there is no concept of ‘share’.

  • Astrological air is about discerning patterns as well as words and ideas.
  • In the Prologue to the Gospel of John, we learn that with the ‘word’, God created the universe from the formless dark, taming chaos through organization of matter according to the blueprint of His ‘idea’.
  • Words have power, as every good magician knows. Once something is named, it is identified as separate from us and can be controlled and manipulated accordingly.
  • Plato believed that timeless archetypal ‘ideas’ or ‘ideals’ format our everyday experience. Little wonder that planets in Air Houses are predisposed to to operate through ‘preconceived’ ideas of the ‘perfect’ world of Plato.
  • Little wonder then that planets in the Air Houses are involved with informing our ‘idea’ (i.e. blueprint) of the world as well as debating with others who fail to hold our same ‘idea’. Planets in the Air Houses (especially the 11th) are also involved in bringing our ‘ideas’ to a wider audience.
  • Finally, planets in Air Houses are often restless and discontented, and unless well controlled and focuses, act rather like the senseless ‘chatter’ you might expect from a group of adolescents on a school trip.

  • Water Houses always follow Air Houses, dissolving (or at least unsettling) our thoughts and ideas. Let’s face it – we all love to cling to our beliefs but at some point we realize they no longer serve us well.
  • Contrary to popular belief, planets in Water Houses are not unconscious so much as they feel ‘fated’. The problem isn’t so much lack of control over the energies represented by Water House planets but instead that we feel uncomfortable expressing them in the rational, everyday world.
  • ‘Fated’ does not necessarily mean that bad things will happen. What it does mean is that we will have to work harder than usual to ensure things go well.
  • Water House planets never operate alone; they are always about connections of some kind. In this regard, they represent our ‘inheritance’ – i.e. family background/patterns – and let’s face it not all of those are going to be nice.
  • Thus when dealing with Water House planets we must always remember that their energy is not our own. In this respect, it may be better to think of then as sacred gifts from another realm, gifts that if we fail to give they due respect and honor, they may well prove to be our undoing. This is especially the case with 8th house planets.
  • When dealing with Water House planets, look for compulsive behavior, impulses and urges that are extremely difficult to control.
  • Finally, Water House planets crave a creative outlet so ensure that you develop some sort of structure/or form for that creativity to express itself. Perhaps it’s time for painting or pottery classes or even a course in interior design.

HouseExplanationNatural ElementExampleZodiac Sign AffiliationQuadrant
1st / House of Self / Natural ruler is MarsIt's in this house that you find symbolised how you first met the world when you were born; this imprints on your entire life. Also how you present yourself to the world as the uniquely special individual that you are. Imagine the baby chick hatching from the egg and announcing his/her presence with his/her first chirps. Planets found in this house colour the first impression that you make on others, which may or may not be in keeping with the person that you ‘really’ are. Also the way that you INITIATE things. The natural planetary ruler of the zodiac sign on the cusp of this house determines your chart’s ‘ruler’ which in turn suggests much about how you’ll live your entire life as well as your physical appearance.fireThose with Mercury in their 1st house will present themselves as curious and how they satisfy that curiosity depends much on Mercury’s zodiac sign. Mercury in a water sign will approach the world through emotional connections whilst Mercury in an air sign would operate by expressing his/her ideas. Those with Saturn in their 1st house may be reluctant to approach life at all, cautiously venturing out expecting to be met with criticism. By contrast, Jupiter in the 1st house will arrive on the scene accompanied by fanfare and a drumroll. Mars in the 1st house may present themselves as angry and argumentative. Uranus in the 1st house may manifest as being highly original and inventive whilst Neptune in the first house may manifest as being dreamy, confused, and potentially gullible. ariesAwareness of Self - Cardinal
2nd / House of Resources / Natural ruler is VenusIt's in this house that you find symbolised your personal values - that which you find beautiful, desirable, and of worth. This is also where you'll get in touch with your special gifts & talents. You'll need to cultivate a good working relationship with your 2nd house these planets and the energies they represent. If you don't, they can turn against you, most probably by negatively effecting your bank account.EarthThose with Neptune in their 2nd house, may be perpetually perplexed as to why their money just seems to slip away. Those with Pluto here may need to their resources in more constructive ways. For them, money may be a way of wielding power over others and with this placement, eventually that will backfire. With the Moon in this house, the individual may struggle with fluctuating financial circumstances. By contrast, Jupiter in this placement may achieve significant wealth only to unexpectedly lose or give it away. Equally, they many find themselves constantly on the verge of financial disaster, relying on luck to save the day. The Sun in the 2nd house meets her financial situation with vitality and courage. Developing their personal talents and gifts may take on much more importance than the size of their bank account.TaurusAwareness of Self / Fixed
3rd / House of Exploration / Natural ruler is MercuryIt's in this house that you find symbolised how you explore your world and gather information about it that will format your ideas and beliefs. This house also symbolises the way you communicate your ideas/beliefs, especially with those who live nearby. Planets here benefit from a good education that provides exposure to multiple points of view.AirThose with the Moon in the 3rd house will explore their world through feeling what others are thinking. The problem is that the impression of that world and the people who populate it maybe have much more to do with their own emotional balance than what is really ‘out there’. Jupiter in the 3rd can quickly make a proverbial mountain out of a mole hill, blowing everything they find during their explorations out of proportion. This placement can also indicate someone who travelled or changed residence many time during childhood. With Pluto in this house, early education is a deeply transformative experience during which even a school trip to the museum turns into a murder mystery worthy of thorough investigation. Saturn here may leave the individual struggling to express themselves in a wqay that can be understood and Neptune might manifest it what appears to be confused and scattered thinking whilst at the time providing uncanny insight.GeminiAwareness of Self / Mutable
4th / House of Father & Fatherland / Natural ruler is the MoonIt's in this house that you confront your family inheritance, usually from your father's side. Planets here suggest how you can constructively deal with and build upon this inheritance. Dreams and memories may play a vital roll here. If you try to ignore the 'family ghosts' symbolised here, they will likely continue to haunt you with a vengeance.waterSome with Jupiter in the 4th house are born into aristocratic families or at least had a few well-known ancestors in their paternal blood line. Often there’s a significant influence of a foreign culture. Others might travel from country to country, trying to find their spiritual home. By contrast, those with Mars in their 4th house may struggle with an inherited anger at the world. Whilst those with Venus in their 4th house may enjoy a positive family inheritance, both psychological and material. Those with the Sun in the 4th house may struggle to avoid identifying too closely with their family inheritance whilst those with the Moon find refuge by ‘going back home’. This is not to suggest that this is easily achieved and sometimes those with this placement wander restlessly in search of someplace that feels like ‘home’. CancerIntegrating with Your Environment / Cardinal
5th / House of Creative Expression / Natural ruler is the SunIt’s in this house that you find symbolised how you take joy in life – in being who you uniquely are and sharing what you uniquely have to offer. Planets found in this house suggest the hobbies or similar activities in which you fine most pleasure. They also suggest what and how you need to be creative (i.e. painting, playing a musical instrument, or writing novels) in order to show self and others that you are special. This house is also associated with children and love affairs – both of which are often perceived as avenues of pride and personal expression. fireThose with the Sun in the 5th house will revel in creative self-expression, whether it be for professional purposes or just for fun. Romance is highlighted. Those with Saturn in this house also experience the urge for creative self-expression but often hesitate worrying if how they’re doing it is good enough. With the Moon in the 5th house, creative self-expression may feel effortless, innate, and natural. Often the creative potential of the 5th house Moon appeals to the general public. With Jupiter in the 5th house, creative self-expression is done with panache although it could become excessive. Pluto in this house adds an element of obsession whilst Uranus adds an air of unconventional.LeoIntegrating with Your Environment / Fixed
6th / House of Perfection / Natural ruler is MercuryIt's in this house that you find symbolised how you can best be of useful service to self and others by honing in on and refining your special gifts and talents through the symbolism of your 2nd house. Planets here suggest how best to accomplish this. It's also the house associated with health and everday routine.EarthThose with Venus in the 6th house take pleasure ensuring everything in her life is neat and tidy. It’s not good enough to simply do a job; that job must be beautifully done. Jupiter here may feel cramped when forced to settle down to a daily routine but he does add an air of honest pride in any job well-done. Mars might approach honing his skills and talents like the proverbial 7-day wonder, pushing herself hard to get the job done. With this placement, an exercise routine is essential; aggression that fails to find a satisfactory outlet can lead to headaches and/or other illness. Neptune here suggests a sensitive nervous and/or weak immune system that may well benefit from alterative medicines like homeopathy, whilst Saturn here prefers a more diet/exercise regime.VirgoIntegrating with Your Environment / Mutable
7th / House of Partnerhip / Natural ruler is VenusIt’s in this house that you find symbolised what you’re looking for in your partnerships with others, business or personal. It also suggests how, in your partnerships, you’re likely to behave. While the 1st house is all about ‘me’ and how ‘I’ related to the world, the 7th house is about ‘we’. Given that the 1st and 7th houses are in opposition to each other, it’s a given that ‘me’ and ‘we’ will not always agree. It’s for this reason that the 7th house is also knows as the house of ‘open enemies’; for there are bound to be times that the tension and conflict inherent in this house, fail to be satisfactorily resolved. The 7th house is always known as the house of marriage. AirThose with Mercury in the 7th house want their partners to be intellectually stimulating, albeit not necessarily faithful. By contrast Saturn in the 7th may attract controlling partners and then spend their time together complaining how their partner has tied them down. Pluto in the 7th may find their partnerships fraught with crisis and transition, although what they learn from these personal experience can often be translated in helping others in a similar position. Neptune in the 7th suggests some level of co-dependence as well as significant pain and disillusionment when their partner leaves or otherwise lets them down. Uranus in the 7th may find it difficult – if not impossible to commit. Equally, however, they may choose an unconventional partner of whom family and friends do not approve.LibraAwareness of Others / Cardinal
8th / the House of Shared Resources /Natural rulers are Mars & PlutoIt’s in this house that you find the natural extension of partnerships formed in the 7th house – shared resources and sex as well as the power both can wield. Like the 4th house, the 8th house is also associated with inheritances, albeit of a different kind. Sometimes these inheritances relate to financial assets. More often, however, they reflect the rewards and punishments that come as the result of family patterns operating over decades and even centuries. This is the stuff of Greek tragedy. It is also the stuff of what esoteric philosophers call the ‘astral plane’, where invisibe but powerful emotions collect and circulate often causing havoc here on earth. Finally, this house is often associated with death. Planets in this house might be taken literally to symbolise your physical death.waterThose with the Sun in the 8th house are tasked to connect with something greater than self. Money and possessions are merely at the surface level of what is shared with others. A desire for deeper intimacy is what the Sun in the placement confers whilst with the Moon in the 8th struggles with this kind of intimacy. It can be so overwhelming that it threatens the Moon’s sense of security, without which the individual cannot be happy. By contrast, Mercury here is keen to explore the mysteries of life reflected in the 8th house. Venus in the 8th places great value on the more intimate exchanges between people. She’s a natural in the bedroom and also has a flair for make good business deals. She is likely to do well financially from marriage/partnership. Likewise, Jupiter in the 8th often benefits financially from marriage although he’s much more likely than Venus to take good care of it.scorpioAwareness of Others / Fixed
9th / Natural ruler is Jupiter / The House of ExplorationIn this house you will find the natural progression from that which you’ve learned in the 7th and 8th houses; the 9th house offers light at the end of the tunnel if you’re experiences in the 7th and 8th were bleak. It also offers understanding through expanding your horizons either through travel, advanced schooling, or reading. You might even become the ‘teacher’ in the sense that you’ve got wisdom gained through your experiences to offer. Because the 9th house is a Fire House and the Fire Houses are a conduit for bringing joy and creativity into our lives, expect whatever you choose to make of planets in this house to make you at least somewhat happy. fireThose with the Sun in their 9th house may view their entire lives as a journey or pilgrimage; indeed they may never stay in one place for too long. Those with Venus in the 9th house may find great aesthetic beauty and value in all that which is foreign; likewise they may spend significant time contemplating the meaning of life. Mercury in the 9th may likewise travel or even study abroad and find his thinking and belief systems greatly affected by it. Uranus in the 9th is always looking for ‘truth’ and may hold progressive views on the nature of ‘truth’ and where it might best be found. Mars in the 9th may also be in pursuit of ‘truth’ and/or the meaning of life but may take a more personalised and perhaps aggressive approach.sagAwareness of Others / Mutable
10th / The House of Status / Natural ruler is SaturnIt's in this house that you find symbolised how you make your mark on the world and for what you will be remembered. The nature of this mark will be reflected by the zodiac sign on the cusp of this house as well as planets that inhabit it. It is also in this house that you’ll discover where and through what mechanism you seek public recognition, keeping in mind that this is not always the same thing as your personal achievements. The planets in this house are highly visible to the world at large and difficult to hide even should you wish to do so. It’s worth keeping in mind that which for you will be remembered is not always the same as that for which you would like to be remembered. EarthThose with Saturn in the 10th house will probably have to work hard to achieve the respect and status that the desire and it may take much longer than they could have imagined. Those with Jupiter in this house may appear larger than life and enjoy more than their fair of luck achieving their ambitions. With Mars in this house, ambition is strong and possibly even ruthlessly asserted, Likewise, with Pluto in this house. With Pluto in the 10th house, the individual be a serious power broker, albeit sometimes behind the scenes. Uranus in the 10th house needs to contribute some original and progressive to society. Whatever that might be, they are unlikely to be remembered as ordinary.capIntegrating with Others / Cardinal
11th / House of Shares Interests / Natural rulers are Saturn & UranusIt's in this house that you find symbolised how you come together in groups with otherswith whom you share common ideas and beliefs. Planets in this house describe how and why you come together in these groups as well as where you might need to compromise in decisions regarding your group's common ideals and beliefs.AirThose with Mercury in the 11th house, might be keen to join organizations that promote a common belief, concept or cause. With the Sun here, this cause, concept, or belief is likely to bring personal recognition, not the least because the individual identifies so strong with it. Mars in the 11th house brings with it deep passion for that cause, concept, or belief although this could well lead to disputes and arguments with other group members. Saturn in the 11th may similarly struggle fitting in; perhaps they are too black and white or insist on too much structure. By contrast, Neptune in the 11th is likely to identify so closely with the those causes, concepts, and beliefs, that she loses her sense of self. Venus in the 11th brings the ability to encourage a sense of co-operation amongst group members whilst Jupiter brings a sense of inspiration and well-being.AquariusIntegrating with Others / Fixed
12th / House of Seclusion / Natural rulers are Jupiter & NeptuneIt’s in this house that you find symbolised how you are in touch with that which you share with the rest of humanity. In Jungian terms, this is referred to as a collective unconscious. Being too closely connected with this energy (or in some instances, lost in) carries serious dangers. Hence this house is often referred to as the house of self-undoing. To avoid disaster, you must always remember your personal responsibility with working this power. Planets found in this house should be expressed not for personal benefit alone, but instead of the greater good. But at the same time, you should never help others when to do so causes damage to yourself. Likewise, you must also never allow yourself to play the role of the martyr. waterThose with the Moon in the 12th house may bind that like psychic vacuum cleaners, they ‘suck in’ whatever is in the atmosphere. They may think they are experiencing their own emotions when instead, they have absorbed those of another. The Moon in this placement might also suggest unfished emotional business from prior lives and/or a complicated relationship with their mother. Venus in this house suggests the love of that which is subtle hidden, or hard to grasp. In some cases, you may fall for someone who is not free and your love must necessarily remain hidden. Jupiter in this house may convey the sense of having guardian angel; the ‘get-out-of-jail’ card that shows up at just the right moment. It is also a placement oft-associated with gifted counsellors, psychics, and healers. Likewise, with Pluto in the 12th house although the energy involved will be more intense and in some cases, much darker.PiscesIntegrating with Others / Mutable

Lunar Needs

Lunar Needs

This is the second of a series of blog posts designed to help you to understand how your astrological Moon drives the ebbs and tides of your everyday life as well as your most intimate relationships. This post is about some basic astrological symbolism involving the lunar needs.

AriesNeeds to be constantly ‘doing’ – preoccupied with finding a worthy challenge or other avenue to self-gratification – tendency to be pushy, impulsive – even reckless – when threatened, likely to be provocative and argumentative. Potential place of sanctuary – a sports stadium, battlefield, or boxing match.
LeoNeeds to be noticed, admired, and appreciated – preoccupied with one-upsmanship (“I can do it better than you can”) – tendency to be generous and loyal – the ‘life of the party’ – when threatened, can quickly become the quintessential ‘drama queen’. Potential place of sanctuary – a party, playground, or theatre.
SagittariusNeeds everything to be light and lively – preoccupied with travel and finding adventure – tendency to teach/preach and share ideas – gregarious – when threatened can become arrogant and haughty. Potential place of sanctuary – a university, church, airport, or courthouse.
GeminiNeeds constant stimulation (chaotic and curious) – preoccupied with drawing conclusions and making connections – tendency to be a ‘jack of all trades and master of none’ – scattered – when threatened, can become gossipy (even traitorous) and cynical. Potential place of sanctuary – a classroom, newsroom, or bookstore.
LibraNeeds to be pleasing and harmonious – preoccupied with attractive surroundings – tendency to redress imbalances – play ‘devil’s advocate’ – when threatened can be critical and judgemental – especially when there appears there is no way to be ‘liked’. Potential place of sanctuary – an art gallery, interior design centre, or beauty salon.
AquariusNeeds to learn and discover – preoccupied with what makes people tick – tendency to spout own views and beliefs as ‘the truth’ – especially when it comes to politics – when threatened, likely to become disruptive and/or seek an abrupt change of scenery. Potential place of sanctuary – convention hall, conference room, political rally.
TaurusNeeds to feel physically safe and comfortable – preoccupied with retaining control – tendency toward possessiveness – ‘what’s yours is mine but not vice versa’ – when threatened, can become vengeful especially if feeling betrayed. Potential place of sanctuary – a restaurant, farm, or massage parlour.
VirgoNeeds to feel useful and productive – preoccupied with health and well-being – tendency to feel nervous or ill-at-ease when everything is not ‘just so’ – when threatened, can become supersensitive and highly critical. Potential place of sanctuary – the workplace, health clinic, lab, employment agency.
CapricornNeeds structure and boundaries – preoccupied with clear-cut guidelines and rules – tendency to feel responsible and do his/her duty – when threatened, takes up the drawbridge and retreats behind the castle walls. Potential place of sanctuary – the corporate boardroom, top of a mountain, or in a walled (well-tended) garden.
CancerNeeds to feel emotionally connected with everyone – like a chameleon, instinctively blends in to his environment – tendency to take up role of caretaker – “Here, have my homemade chicken soup.’ When threatened, clams up and/or gets seriously annoyed. Potential place of sanctuary – home or museum.
ScorpioNeeds to keep a close watch on the situation – like a sharp-eyed eagle, always on guard – tendency not to reveal underlying motivations but anxious to fully comprehend those of others – when threatened, can provoke ‘crisis’ as smokescreen. Potential place of sanctuary – a trauma centre, operating theatre, or brothel.
PiscesNeeds to be in a sympathetic, understanding environment – preoccupied with helping others – tendency to fantasize and day dream – when threatened, melts down and/or disappears. Potential place of sanctuary – rest home, bar, or spiritual retreat.

Healing Fictions in Your Most Intimate Relationships

Healing Fictions in Your Most Intimate Relationships

This is the first of a series of blog posts designed to help you to understand how your astrological Moon drives the ebbs and tides of your everyday life as well as your most intimate relationships. This post is about healing fictions.

Each and every ‘story’ that you relate to self and others is a ‘fiction’ – at least it is a ‘fiction’ in the sense that it is your personal interpretation of your experience of an external event or series of events which may or may not correspond to the interpretation of the same event(s) by others.

These stories or fictions are not only central to life but they are also essential to our sense of ‘self’

According to James Hillman, noted Jungian psychologist and author of the acclaimed (and amazingly accessible) book Healing Fiction, coming to grips with this process of ‘fiction-making’ is healing. Not only does it promote self-acceptance but also self-understanding. This in turn gives you the chance to assert conscious control over your affairs especially in respect of your most intimate relationships.

Astrologically, your Moon is the key to this process

In the Neoplatonist cosmos, the Moon stands at the gateway of your psyche and the material world. Thus your Moon not only mediates between events, experiences, and the meaning that you ascribe to them, but it also gives you a wealth of information about the archetypes, symbols, and metaphors that inform your (inner) world.

For example, my Moon is in Gemini. My stories – or ‘fictions’ – must be light and lively. It’s only to be expected that I will embellish and embroider the facts to make it so. If there were to be dark and/or seriously scary bits,  I’ll be obliged to ignore them. It’s a given that to the extent difficult emotions are involved, I’ll avoid them like the plague.

  • However, if my Moon were in Scorpio, the scary bits and difficult emotions would be just my cup of tea; they would probably even dominate my story.
  • If my Moon were in Capricorn, my story could take on a paternalistic, moralizing tone – don’t do that again, else bad things will happen.
  • With Moon in Pisces, my story would center on my (confused) emotional response to whatever has happened.
  • But with Moon in Leo my story would center on what most flatters me.  
  • With Moon in Aquarius, my story would center around talking about how I’m feeling about something in order to avoid actually feeling.
  • If my Moon were in Aries, I’d focus on the action of who did what to whom especially when it was the result of someone’s loss of temper.
  • With Moon in Taurus, I might focus my story on how things felt to my touch and/or tasted and how this contributed (or not) to the overall experience.
  • But with Moon in Virgo, I might focus on what went wrong and how, in the future, it could be fixed.
  • If my Moon were in Cancer, I might focus on how the overall experience either strengthened or weakened my emotional connection with others.
  • However, if my Moon were in Sagittarius, I’d probably focus on the importance of what I’ve personally learned from the experience.
  • Finally, if my Moon were in Libra, I might focus on how the experience was fair (or not) to those involved.

Not only does your Moon’s sign effect your fiction-making, but also its house placement

My Moon is in the 12th house. When I sense rejection or criticism, I clam up and slip away. By contrast, if my Moon were in the 1st house, I would be so self-focused  that I wouldn’t even care if you were listening; my overwhelming need is to dominate the situation.

Finally, the aspects your Moon makes to other planets in your chart necessarily also colour your perception. For example, I have Moon square (hard aspect) to Mars. My fiction-making is often peppered with anecdotes belying my anger and frustration. Everything that I experience isn’t quite right’ – if only, if only? But if my Moon were, say, in an easy aspect (trine or sextile) with Jupiter, my story would be warmly optimistic; my default perception is that all is ‘right with the world’. But if my Moon were in a difficult aspect (square or opposition) to Jupiter, my story would be wildly unrealistic; my default perception would be that when it comes to luck, I always draw the short straw.

Now, after paying close attention to my own stories, I’m more aware of how -without conscious intervention – I’m most likely to experience any event, especially in regards to my most intimate relationships.

Say, for example, that I have an argument with my husband

With my Gemini Moon, I will automatically avoid difficult emotions. With his Scorpio Moon, my husband will automatically interpret this as purposefully ignoring his feelings. The moment he expresses criticism in this regard, I will clam up and slip away. With his Moon in his 5th house, my husband might well take pleasure in this result. This leaves me to fuss and fume (anger/frustration) in private.

But if I can accept that regardless of how I’d like to perceive the event, difficult emotions are integral and inevitable. Now, at least I am able to acknowledge such emotions exist thus allowing my husband to feel that at last, he’s been heard re: his feelings. Hopefully, this will circumvent the rest of what was once an inevitable and ever-repeating cycle.

How best can you use your stories to improve your world and relationship?

Spend some time analyzing your stories

  • Notice which character you adopt as your narrator of the story? For example, do you tell the story through your own eyes & ears or instead through the eyes & ears of someone else involved in the event/experience?
  • Notice whether you are the subject or the object of the story. For example do you say ‘I did XYZ to him’ or instead, ‘he did ABC to me’?
  • Do you sound enthusiastic when you tell the story or are you more subdued or even unhappy?
  • Which verb tense do you choose to use? For example, is everything in the past tense or do you also introduce the future tense? ‘My boyfriend dumped me but I will get even.” Maybe the story remains 100% in the present tense – ‘My boyfriends dumps me and then I say…”
  • What important themes or motifs recur or are missing from your stories? For example, do you constantly throw in certain words but not others like failure, success, temptation, resistance or luck?
  • What labels recur (good, bad, nasty, nice) and to whom or what do they attach?

Consider how best to rewrite the story/fiction so that it serves you better both now and in the future

Interestingly, there’s lots of leeway here because although story line (plot) must move forward (cause and effect) in time, narrative does not. You can start at the end of your story and how you’d have liked it to end and work backwards in time like with a typical murder mystery where we start out knowing who got killed and maybe even who did it but we don’t know all the essential ‘why’ and ‘how’ until we track back though the crucial events from beginning to end. Your goal is to open up space for a new and different story to develop – giving yourself full opportunity to fill in the gaps and ambiguities or flesh our and develop certain characters and/or motives.

Dignities & Debilities of Mars & Venus

Dignities & Debilities of Mars & Venus

Each planet in your chart has a job to do but some planets are better placed than others to do it (albeit not always without some risk).

Consider that Aries is the zodiac sign associated with confidence, courage, bravery, assertion, and competition. Since the job or planetary purpose of Mars is to compete and win, it’s not difficult to see how, in Aries, Mars is well-placed to achieve his aims.

But in Libra, where Mars is considered to be in detriment (i.e. struggling), he might not fare so well. In Aries, Mars was free to disregard the needs and feelings of others when in pursuit of his goals. But in Libra, the needs and feelings of others are shoved in his face.

This is because Libra is associated with achieving balance and harmony, especially in romantic relationships. As most marriage counselors would agreed, typical Libra traits like diplomacy, tact, and a willingness to compromise are useful to further relationships. Yet compromise (much less tact and diplomacy) does not come easily to Mars. Remember how Mars is hard-wired to win by any and all means? How on earth could that ever play out well in Libra?

Equally, Venus in Aries (the zodiac sign where she is in detriment), will struggle. Imagine how difficult it might be to achieve harmonious relationships through the guise of egotistically fueled assertion and constant competition?

For an example how this might play out, consider the Greek myth about Jason (typical Aries) and the Argonauts and the disaster wrought in his marital relationship with Medea.

By contrast, Venus is very happy in Libra, the sign opposite Aries and one of the two zodiac signs where she is considered in dignity.

The planetary purpose of Venus is to both attract and be attracted ‘the other’, especially when it comes to romantic relationships. In this regard, a willing to compromise is clearly a bonus. Yet all too easily compromise can turn into paralyzing indecision.

For an example how this may play out, consider the Greek myth, The Judgement of Paris.

Venus also does well in Taurus, the other zodiac sign in which she is in dignity. Like Libra, Taurus is characterized by romantic relationships albeit of more earthy and sensuous nature. Taurus adds to the mix her famous loyalty and dependability; such traits usually considered to promote harmonious relationships. Yet when it comes to the pursuit of pleasure, another important of job for Venus, things can get quickly out of control in Taurus.

For an example of how this might play out, consider the Greek myth about the wife of King Minos and her dalliance with the Minotaur.

The sign opposite Taurus is Scorpio, where Venus is in her detriment. Although like Taurus, Scorpio is also loyal, Scorpio is also notorious for being distrustful and suspicious, traits not usually associated with happy relationships. Like Aries, Scorpio is also ruled by the planet, Mars. This means that the relationships of Venus in Scorpio are in many respects like those of Venus in Aries – fraught with competition. Add to that the propensity to be jealous, hold grudges, and seek revenge, and it’s not difficult to see how Venus in Scorpio may not enjoy same quality of relationship as might Venus in Taurus .

Not all is lost, however.

As noted earlier, another key purposes of Venus is to full her desire for sensuous pleasures. In Scorpio, sexuality is not taken lightly are passion and intensity are the order of the day. The problem comes when in the pursuit of pleasure societal taboos are ignore and broken. This is always a risk with Venus in Scorpio.

For an example of this how this might play out, consider Greek myth about Medusa.

Just Plain Nasty

Just Plain Nasty

From the end of November 2019 to the beginning of January 2020, we’re confronted with some just plain nasty energy as Mars moves through his home sign of Scorpio. Of course, it doesn’t have to be nasty but there’s a pretty good chance that it will be and to learn why, please keep reading.

But first, let me give you a taste of what it might look like:

 …. my husband and I were driving from Oxford to the Lake District on the motorway known as the M6 and the traffic, unpleasant at the best of times, was worse than usual. But it all came to an ugly head when a dark BMW cut us off moving last minute and without indication, into the fast lane and my husband, who has Mars in Scorpio, didn’t hit the brakes but instead accelerated. Despite some unpleasant gesticulation between my husband and the driver of the BMW, we didn’t collide but I think you can see the potential for disaster when two powerful cars (my husband drives a black Audi A5) engage in a proverbial ‘pissing contest’ at 80-90 mph.

Welcome to Mars in Scorpio.

When a planet, like Mars, is in a sign it rules, in this case Scorpio, it readily expresses itself in way that is keeping with its essential nature.

As the god of war, Mars does war-like things: he fights, cuts, thrusts, and initiates. Mars is also associated with valour and courage and so when Mars is behaving well, we might expect Mars to be the proverbial knight in shining armour, fighting for a just cause. But when Mars is behaving badly, we might expect him to be excessively combative and aggressive, often for no readily apparent reason.

Every planet is both a ‘good’ and a ‘bad’ side, at least ‘good’ or ‘bad’ in keeping with societal norms and values. Often, it’s difficult to predict which side will manifest and this is especially the case with planets like Mars, which are considered to be ‘nocturnal’ in their essential nature.

‘Nocturnal’ is associated with the feminine and so in classical astrology, takes on characteristics associated with being variable and receptive. Nocturnal planets like Mars are even more variable when they are in the feminine signs they rule, in this case Scorpio.

In the northern hemisphere, Scorpio is decidedly autumnal – the light of the Sun is in slow, yet steady, decline until fully dissipated with the winter solstice.

This symbolism, which informs much of western astrology, suggests that Mars in Scorpio is more likely than not to behave in a dark, destructive, dissipating way. Because Scorpio is a ‘fixed’ sign – i.e. ‘holding the fort’ – Mars in Scorpio is often highly defensive whilst at the same time on the offensive – hence witness the recent ‘road-rage’ incident on the M6 when the ‘space’ occupied my husband’s black Audi A5 was ‘invaded’ by the dark BMW.

Turn Down the Heat

Turn Down the Heat

‘Mars tells us how the individual uses his energy and makes his presence felt.’

Karen Hamaker-Zondag


Today, Mars moves into Scorpio where he remains for next six weeks.

Astrologically, Mars represents our assertiveness, our sense of determination. He also represents our desire to win. In Scorpio, Mars has a special mission, to distinguish himself from others, to stand apart from the crowd.

Yet in Scorpio, Mars remains uncertain of his prowess, his ability to make his mark, and so more than in any other zodiac sign, in Scorpio he is likely to become obsessive, overemotional, obstinate, and to overcompensate.


Consider Jackie, a member of a Fortune 100 company’s senior leadership team. For some months, she’d been challenging the CEO and her other colleagues on almost every point they tried to make.

For a time, this was tolerated. Jackie did bring some good ideas to the table. But when the CEO most needed Jackie on board to roll out a new strategic plan, the proverbial ‘s…’ hit the fan.

Just when everything seemed to be going smoothly and everyone else was on board, Jackie started to interrupt meetings with what seemed like one pointless detour after another. It didn’t take long for colleagues to conclude that Jackie was intentionally derailing the meetings in order to draw attention to herself. As the result, most members of the leadership team grew increasingly irritated and began to pay Jackie less and less attention.

This, in turn, prompted Jackie to turn up the heat. Her disagreements started to focus less on the issue at hand and more as a personal attack on another. It didn’t take long before every meeting turned into a battlefield on which the strategic plan had stalled.

With this, CEO felt forced to ask Jackie to resign.


  • Whether at home or in the workplace, when Mars in Scorpio starts to misbehave step back from a personal reaction.
  • Instead, step back and specifically ask for his opinion and listen carefully when it is given.
  • Evaluate his opinion on its merits and give specific feedback regarding how it does and does not impart value and/or will or will not work.
  • It’s tempting to internalize any disagreement/opposition as personal criticism, especially when emotionally delivered. Resist temptation. Exercise self-management. Refuse to react negatively or ‘retaliate’ in kind.
  • Instead, demonstrate your willingness to accept criticism when properly delivered and then carefully draw the conversation back to the actual issue(s) at hand.

The Nostalgia Trap

The Nostalgia Trap


With the Sun in Scorpio (brooding) and the Moon in Leo (self-centered), today and tomorrow are Six of Cups days.

On one level, this might manifest as pure and simple happiness of the type many of us enjoyed during childhood – when the days were long, the world beautiful, and life, like the summer morning, was something to be savored.

On another level, however, this might manifest as something altogether different, something deeper and, perhaps, more sinister.


It’s worth considering that in the tarot, first and foremost, the number six represents the centrality of ‘self’. Like the sun, we each become the central figure about which our entire world orbits. A healthy dose of positive self-esteem is important because without it, well, we might not even get out of bed in the morning.

But in some instances, the number six represents that central ‘self’ as having lapsed into a kind of stupor, a nostalgic longing for something from the past, fueled by frustration of no longer having access to it. At an individual level, the result is difficult enough; we lose faith in our future and may indeed struggle to get out of bed each morning. But when it occurs on a wider level, the situation becomes more dangerous.


The collective – over the past few decades, we have experienced a revival of this later form of nostalgia on a collective level, a societal longing to reproduce a shared, idealized piece of history. Those caught up in this phenomena identify solely with those with whom they’ve shared this ‘golden age’. This leaves those who are not part of this elite group as outsiders and intruders.

Recipe for disaster – since 1947, in America, each successive generation of young men have earned, on average, three times as much as had their fathers. But since the late 1970’s, the trend has reversed. Even before the Great Recession of the late 2000’s, the median real earnings of men aged 24-24 (with high school diplomas) has declined by 28%. Put that together with statistics demonstrating that even during periods of economic expansion, the top 10% of earners took 95% of income growth and we’ve got a recipe for disaster. Not only do the ‘good old days’ seem better, but in some very real sense they actually were.

The cure – shit happens – we can choose to view the difficult situation as a glass half empty but equally it might be viewed as half full. In this respect, research shows that we do ourselves a favor when we adopt the more positive approach. This is not the same as blind optimism, otherwise known as the Pollyanna Syndrome. Instead it is an affirmative decision not to blame others for whatever ills have befallen you and to take personal responsibility for making the situation better, as best that you can. The up-side of this approach is that you actually feel better straight away and from that you gain improved self-esteem on a daily basis. Who knows but that perhaps the optimism you project into the universe might soon enough become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you’re interested in learning more, read The Resilience Factor: 7 Keys to Finding Your Inner Strength and Overcoming Life’s Hurdles

by Karen Reivich and Andrew Shatte.

Surviving Scorpio

Surviving Scorpio

Mars (Ares), the ancient god of war, is the traditional ruler of Scorpio and this pretty much sums things up: astrologically, the planet Mars speaks to competition, a fighting spirit, and a ‘do or die’ need for victory. Mars also speaks to courage, bravery, stamina, and unwavering determination to achieve one’s goals.

If you want to make a favorable impression on your Scorpio boss, ensure you do not come across as sugary or submissive.

Be ambitious, always look him or her straight in the eye, and gain his or her respect by proving you’re strong enough succeed and survive. If you fail to do this, you run the risk of bringing out the natural  ‘bully’ in your Scorpio boss and if it is one thing of which you can be certain, that will not be nice. Scorpio can and will steam roll you straight into oblivion.

That brings us to yet another key point regarding the nature of Scorpio. Do not be surprised to discover Scorpio has a sharp tongue that packs a powerful punch. Mars, in myth, is associated with cutting, wounding, attacks, and knives.

For Scorpio, revenge is a favorite dish and one best served freezing cold.

Naturally, there’s a fine line between making that good impression on someone and overshooting the mark, hence stepping on their toes. This would be a dangerous line to cross with Scorpio. Consider the Scorpion, the symbol for this sign, a nasty little creature that might kill you for no other reason than it can.

Equally, however, do not underestimate the good will and commitment that Scorpio can and will direct in your favor. She is extremely loyal to those she loves as long as you give her no reason to doubt your own loyalty in return.

Scorpio is a water sign and as, so as you might expect, water signs absorb, blend, and dissolve. If it is one thing at which Scorpio excels, it is dissolving every boundary you could possibly erect to hide your deepest, darkest secrets. She can spot an inconsistency, something that doesn’t quite add up, a mile away and she won’t rest until she gets to the bottom of it, exposing all.

Needless to say, this lack of boundaries does not go both ways. Maintaining an unscalable wall of privacy and secrecy are second nature to Scorpio. Scorpio may go to great lengths to find out about you but she will be completely paranoid about you, or anyone else, doing the same to her.

Beware.  Scorpio may be a water sign, flowing where it suits her, but if it is one thing that she can’t stand, it’s change, especially when she feels it is thrust upon her from outside. This is because Scorpio is fixed water and FIXED is exactly how it sounds – resistant and immovable. Astrologically, each of the three fixed signs are magnetic, each in their own way, a centripetal force drawing energy inwards, toward the center. This is accomplished by attracting and controlling others.

Scorpio always brings commitment, passion, and drama to the table.

It is the job of the fixed signs to hold fast, preserve and stabilize. There is no sense asking Scorpio to entertain a new idea (or anything else) as long as she considers there is still mileage in that which has served her well for years.

If your love interest is Scorpio, here are a few words of advice.

If the interest in question is a man, do not try to dominate him in any way. It will backfire. Instead get up on your pedestal and let him adore you. However, under no circumstances are you to (consciously or not) make him jealous. If the interest in question is a woman, she must be able to trust you completely; loyalty is the name of her game. Ask about her philosophy of life. She’ll enjoy explaining it but do pay attention. If you’re the least bit insincere, all will be lost before it even begins.

Finally, if you have any doubts about what it takes to survive your relationship with a Scorpio, consider, carefully, the following:

‘I do not fight other gods, as you do, because you always want to see quarreling, pain and war. You have your mother’s unbending and intolerable obstinacy.’

The Iliad (Zeus speaking to Ares)

When Passion leads to Burnout

When Passion leads to Burnout


With the Sun in Scorpio (passion) and the Moon in Cancer (emotional well-being), today and tomorrow are Eight of Cups days.

This suggests sadness and disillusionment, a fall from the world of lofty hopes and dreams into one of bitterness, anger, and regret.

This card, the Eight of Cups, is ruled by water yet it refers not the open sea or even the babbling brook but instead to bogs and lagoons, the deep, stagnant waters that are the breeding grounds for all sorts of unpleasant, unhealthy things.


It’s worth remembering that the astrological element of Water corresponds to the Jungian function of ‘feeling’. This suggests not only getting bogged down in your own feelings but also your inability to access the opposite Jungian function of ‘thinking’, and hence plot your escape.

It’s the nature of Scorpio to be unrelentingly passionate about something or someone. In combination with Cancer, where emotional security is top priority, the result could be burnout when that which was once thrilling and engaging turns overwhelming and exhausting.


The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently included burnout in its International Classification of Diseases, IDC – 11, suggesting that it is a syndrome resulting when chronic (workplace) stress fails to be successfully managed.

The three elements comprising burnout:

  1. Constantly feeling exhausted or ‘empty’.
  2. Feeling distant, cynical, and/or negative about your job.
  3. Reduced productivity.

The Mayo Clinic suggests that these can go on to cause other issues like fatigue, insomnia, and extremely altered moods. In essence, burnout can affect both your mental and physical health on a major scale.

Suggestions to combat burnout:

  1. Manage your workload – whilst you definitely do need to ‘stretch’ yourself to further both professional and psychological growth, there is also limit to how far you ought to go.
    • Some believe cutting workload is the answer. But, research shows it’s more complicated than that.
    • Consider what is commonly referred to as the William James Formula: self-esteem = personal success/pretensions (aspirations).
      • For example, if I want to make $100 but only make $50, then my self-esteem is 50%.
      • But if I expect to make $20 and do make $20,  then my self esteem is 100%.
      • The natural conclusion is that I can cut back, make less, and improve my self-esteem and overall well-being.
    • However, this formula fails to consider the factor of time.
    • For example over time you can raise your self-esteem well above 50% by continuing to to push out of your comfort zone if at the same time you are taking affirmative steps to cope. Just like your weight-training at the gym, you’ll continue to increase your ability to undertake every-increasing workloads if you respect yourself and your body and don’t expect overnight miracles.
  • Manage expectation  – there is a unbridgeable divide between realistic and unrealistic expectations. In other words, there are things that one can and cannot ever achieve. Whenever there is serious tension between expectations and the reality of a situation, you’re headed down the road to burnout.
    • To manage this, you need to be brutally honest with yourself and everyone involved about the unbridgeable divide.
    • For example, does your boss contact you at all hours of the night and day, leaving you feeling as if you need always, to be on call? Realistically, you know that this situation may be sustainable in the short run but over extended periods of time, it definitely is not. Instead of allowing it to just carry on until you suffer burnout, ask yourself what you can do to shift the situation and manage the expectations of your boss.
    • It’s quite possible that your boss may respect you all the more for having established boundaries rather that continuing to allow yourself to be used like a doormat. If, however, that is not the case, then consider looking for a new job.
  • Managing rewards – if the extrinsic and intrinsic rewards of any undertaking fail to match the time and effort invested, then over time you’re headed for burnout.
    • However, it’s important to acknowledge that not all rewards are created equal and the rewards necessary to warrant continuing to move forward may change significantly over time.
    • Equally, not every task is created equal. Sometimes we just need to immerse ourselves in the here and now, and get that which needs doing, done. This approach works well when the time and effort involved are minimal. But as the time and effort involved in making ‘it’ happen increase, then the rewards need also to increase.
    • Ask yourself whether the task at hand is set to help you get where you want to be in 5, 10, or even 20 years. If the answer is yes, then pull out all the stops. If the answer is no, then limit the time/effort expended on a particular task until it falls more in line with what you want/need to get out of it.

Mirror, mirror, on the wall…

Mirror, mirror, on the wall…


With the Sun in Scorpio (covert) and the Moon in Gemini (cerebral), today and tomorrow are Nine of Swords days.

This suggests a deteriorating situation with which you’ll continue to struggle until you’ve taken a cold, hard look in the mirror.

The bad news is that the tarot suit of the swords symbolizes victory earned only at the cost of complete and utter destruction. The good news is that the number nine symbolizes renewal and regeneration and so now is the perfect time to reverse that deteriorating situation.  


It’s worth remembering that whatever the nature of this situation, the only component over which you will ever enjoy real control is your own thoughts and behavior.

It is also worth remembering that every day we each (albeit unconsciously) enact the #dramatriangle and that the victim role is the most coveted of the three roles involved. Although we all play this ‘game’, some are more prone to getting stuck in it than others and Scorpio is a prime example.

It is the nature of Scorpio hold and nurse a grudge, a classic manifestation of victim mentality. With Scorpio, a minor affront can easily turn into a serious betrayal especially with help from Gemini, who loves to stir up muddy waters with fast and furious mind games.


As noted above, the only way you can fix this deteriorating situation is to take that cold, hard look in the mirror. Start by asking yourself some questions:

  1. What do I really want in this situation? It’s difficult to get what you want if you aren’t honest with yourself what that is. This dynamic sets the stage to blame others for this failure and, not surprisingly, leaves you firmly in the coveted seat of the victim.
  2. Have I made it clear to everyone involved what I want? Even if you know exactly what you want, you can’t expect others to know unless you’ve clearly told them. If you’ve not done that (and there are many reason why you might not have done), then you may want to revisit question one.
  3. Do I behave in such a way as to support what I’ve said that I want? People take their cues from what you do as much, if not more, from what you say.  If you’re sending conflicting signals, you would benefit from revisiting question one because chances are those conflicting signals are happening for a reason.
  4. Do others understand what it is that I want? Ask them.