Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! I hope you’re all doing well in these trying but interesting times. This month I would like to share with you some of my thoughts about how astrology can be employed as a magical tool for changing our world.
Our world needs powerful and sweeping changes if we are to avoid catastrophe in this century. I do not think there is anyone who could convince me that this is not the case, and judging by my contact with people from all walks of life over the last 30 years I believe that this opinion is virtually universal. I think the need for change is so glaringly obvious that anyone who thinks otherwise is probably living in a state of psychological denial of the seriousness of the existential threat. It is a threat not just to us but to every living creature on this planet. The scale of this threat engulfs not only plant, animal, mineral, microbial and all forms of physical life but also the multitude of unacknowledged and unseen beings such as the Elementals. These beings are intimately connected to the physical processes that take place in our world and they are not only able to affect those physical processes but are also vulnerable to being affected by them. As a simple but dramatic example the detonation of an atomic device not only devastates mile upon mile of land, it also throws the local Elemental realm into centuries of chaos as it tries to assimilate the released energy as radiation and destruction. As another example, the clearing of rainforest threatens to literally uproot countless plant spirits from their material homes, permanently extinguishing their physical anchors as plants are pushed to extinction before we even become aware that they exist, and this is ongoing all the time. At a certain point the damage done to these beings will lead to an inevitable cascade of catastrophic changes to our physical planet. Probably the greatest threat that we pose to these beings and thus to ourselves stems from our ignorance of their existence. However, the reverse is also true – by becoming aware of these beings again we can potentially heal all the harm we have unknowingly or foolishly inflicted upon them.
There are many ways in which we can raise our awareness of these beings. A course of instruction in magical initiation is only one of them. It is a very direct way, but there are many others that are equally direct and faster to pull off. Simply reconnecting with nature is the most direct way, especially when we find ways to give back to it some of the many things that we have taken from it over the millennia. The arts – music in particular – are also powerful ways in which we can not only give back to these beings from our hearts in ways which are genuinely healing for them and us but also ways in which we can actually perceive them. We may not be able to clairvoyantly perceive them but every individual has the capability of sensing them through feelings, the random and stray thoughts that we encounter every day and the whimsical moments when we are touched by inspiration or daydreams. Romeo and Juliet are real because they make us weep. It is not a case of ‘as if they were real’. They are, just not in the same way that we are real. With just a little opening of the I it is possible to perceive these beings at work in nature all the time at every level. They are our constant companions and have been since even before our human existence on this planet. They were with us when we crawled out of the waves onto the shore and when we learned to stand upright. They were with us when we first noticed the Sun and Moon and all the stars in the night sky. They were with us when the first mother gave birth to the first child and they were with us when the first flame created by our hands flickered as a reflection in our eyes. They guided us to find music in the first place, probably via birdsong but equally probably by the sound of a waterfall, a river, a crackling fire pit, a soft breeze or the sound of a Full Moon.
Astrology is a wonderfully inclusive tool because it doesn’t really care how you use it. You can use it in your life as a dancer or musician, in your life as a scientist or a political activist, to make sacks of money on the stock market or in any of the activities which humans do. Its application to almost anything people do is one of its greatest strengths. The symbolism used in astrology – the four basic building blocks of which are zodiac signs, planets, aspects and houses/temples – is flexible and broad enough to be interpreted in a multitude of ways and circumstances. For example, Mars is often stereotyped as a planet of war and conflict but it is also symbolic of effort and zeal, conviction, willpower, courage, moving forwards, decisiveness and individual choice. The sign Taurus is expressive of numerous traits like patience, caution, stubbornness, materialism, love of nature, endurance and resourcefulness. When you put these two things together, then, you have a combination with a great deal of possible expressions, such as moving forwards slowly and carefully or standing your ground and resisting change that is unwelcome. All of the possible combinations can also be put to positive or negative uses.
For the predictive astrologer who is trying to figure out what the symbolism of the future will signify this interpretive flexibility in the symbolism of astrology is the greatest problem but for the individual or collective seeking to employ astrology in a process of transformation it is the greatest blessing because it provides freedom of choice in the options for the direction future changes can take as well as the vital but frequently missing information concerning when those changes can be most effective and who is positioned to grasp the opportunity.
Individual and Collective Change
Although I do employ astrology as a form of forecasting as you can see throughout the archives of this journal my central focus as an astrologer is on the potential for astrology to empower personal and collective change and transformation. My regular readers will know that I have designed a completely new system for interacting with astrology that facilitates this process and that I have written extensively on what I call collective astrology as well as the more familiar and traditional method of personal astrology. You’ll find a large number of dozens of articles to browse in the archives that relate to this.
Up until now though I have refrained from giving any actual example of employing collective astrology as a practical technique and have instead tried to describe it in theory. There were good reasons for this but the central idea of what I’m trying to put across is a lot easier to describe with an example. It’s one of those things that looks extremely complicated in describing it but is actually a very simple idea. This month I’m finally overcoming my reluctance and giving you an actual example of how we can use this kind of approach to collective astrology in this year and next year. It is only one example and additionally only one way it can be approached.
First of all though we have to talk about the relationship between the individual and the collective. We need to understand that these two things are like two sides of the same coin. Simply put (and to be clear, it’s extremely complex) when there is enough individual change in a society the society itself changes. Similarly, when something happens to society (like Covid 19) it causes dramatic changes in the lives of individuals and therefore in their characters. This means that individuals who are committed to an ethical path help contribute towards a more ethical society. It also means that every time you get angry, so does the society in which you move. These effects are greater and more nunaced than what we can perceive. The transformation of an individual creates ripples around them in the lives of the people they know which in turn create ripples in the lives of the people they know and so on. These ripples arise simply from being around one another, sharing the same collective world. They are greatly amplified by the arrival of the electronic communication age but that is not the same thing, however there are parallels.
Certain individuals act to edit out the more negative things that circulate in our collective. How do they do this? Simply by being in control of how they react and respond. If an angry person dumps their anger on to you, it is up to you if you get angry back. You can also recognise your own anger and choose not to act upon it, an act which transforms the anger into whatever you decide to be in response. You can also perceive the anger more clearly in these cases. You can potentially see that the anger is justified as it sometimes is with all of the terrible things that go on, which means you can also potentially disarm it by relating to it through understanding. Sometimes we really need people to get angry at what happens, but during such times it is often necessary to take a deep breath and think long and carefully about how to act.
If one person can blunt the curve of negative collective thoughts and feelings much as they can against the transmission of a physical pandemic, it also follows then that an individual also has the power to amplify negative waves which are moving through the collective. Anger can ignite hatred, war or violence as a response. Again, remember that we do not perceive all the ripples of our every action and reaction. Seen in this light then there is great responsibility upon each and every individual at this time. Essentially we have dual paths offered up if we wish to change your world. One is to work on ourselves as people, the other is to work on ourselves as a people. We can change ourselves and transform ourselves individually, and we can change the way we behave collectively. The times actually require that we do both. In previous centuries it was perhaps enough to retreat from the mundane world and look inward, being the change that we want to see in the world. Now the times definitely also call for us to make a collective transformation and to involve ourselves in that process.
On Individual Change
Before we get into the example of using collective astrology to change our world here are a few points about individual and personal change to consider.
What I advise here is that you initially just observe your chart for a while before you actually get involved in changing or transforming parts of it. Simply use the method I provide for passively observing the effect that the Sun and Moon have when they come to certain places in your chart. Or spend a few sessions with an experienced astrologer. This will give you a clear picture through actual practice or advice on where the most troubling situations reside as well as a clear indication of where your strengths are. You can then use the system I designed to more actively interact with astrological influences and transform them from negative to positive expressions. Changes for the better that you make to yourself will change the future for everyone.
Some general advice here about where the most attention usually needs to be applied –
1) Challenging aspect patterns like the Grand Cross or strong oppositions and conjunctions which symbolise major stress points or struggles for the chart as a whole are often the most significant things to work on. Any planet can be involved in these patterns. Good astrologers can help you figure these things out, but as I said you can also set out on your own to find them.
2) The influence of Pluto, Neptune, Uranus and Chiron (and we might as well add Eris now) when they are in square or opposition, sometimes conjunction, are frequently of great significance if they make aspects to the inner planets, ascendant, midheaven or the Lights. These are usually big issues that will require the help of others to resolve. Often you will reach a point where whatever planet is involved here will start to provide you with information, situations and guidance that transforms you as a person so that you are more effective as an agent of its power at the collective level. When the aspects of these planets are not to the inner planets or the Lights but instead to the other slower moving worlds from Jupiter out, then that is more firmly in the realm of collective astrology. When this is the case individual and personal transformation of yourself definitely has an effect but it is not the most direct way to change the situation, and you likely wont even notice it at a collective level changing anything, the most direct and noticeable way with such aspects is actually to change something in your community or society. Jupiter and Saturn kind of sit on the boundary between the individual and the collective level, functioning as mediators.
3) Everything connected with Saturn is of great significance in terms of individual and personal self-development. By improving our expression of what Saturn represents in our charts we become wiser and more mature as human beings. This is always hard work and it always takes time measured in years. However there are moments in that process when you achieve a breakthrough that establishes a new set of rules.
Other chart factors may become important on an individual basis but these three guidelines represent the most significant and universal factors which individuals have to deal with in their charts. Working through the issues that arise from these things the potential for both personal and collective transformation is extremely high. Therefore it is recommended that people who want to change the world for the better by working on themselves focus upon these things.
On Collective Change
This is the more contemporary area since it is only in recent centuries that we have known of the existence of the planets beyond Saturn. A great deal of deep thought has been put into this area by numerous astrologers in that time, mostly focusing on how these outer worlds relate to societal shifts and major events as well as major psychological complexes present within each individual. Less attention has been given to the potential these planets offer for practical and actionable collective change. This is what I will be talking about here.
There are many ways in which we can use the potential of these new worlds to bring about transformation of our collective. The following method is just one of many that could be developed and used by groups of people anywhere in the world.
In this method we divide opportunity for transformation into two tiers. The first tier is the most powerful one but the second tier is the one that involves a wider span of generations and ages of people. I will refer to people in both tiers as the focus people or focus groups because they are the people who are having a particular astrological influence focus upon them at a particular time. The two tiers can work together and will likely produce greater and swifter change that way. You can also belong to both tiers, in which case you are often better positioned to direct the activity of the group. The number of focus people involved in any activity is limited only by practicality – any group of three (the minimum I take to be a group) or more focus people who are able to interact and co-ordinate their actions will work. The people involved depend upon the current and past positions of the planets, so the focus people involved will change from year to year. What follows is an example which is useful for both this year and next year, 2021. This means it has an expiry date. Beyond 2021, it is no longer actionable. After that point this message will only serve as an example of what could be done.
This message is also using only one of the outer planets for the demonstration – Neptune. There are other opportunities this year and next year from the planets Uranus and Pluto as well as from Chiron and Eris. The method used is exactly the same as the one you will learn about using Neptune. I will take you step-by-step through the process you need to go through to –
A) identify the focus people and
B) identify the astrological potential
Step 1 is to pick the planet that you are going to work with. This planet is called the activator. This is one of the objects beyond Saturn – Uranus, Neptune, Pluto, Chiron, and Eris. In this case I’ve chosen Neptune. I chose Neptune because it has a particular theme as far as collective change is concerned. That theme is a spiritual one which awakens people to the reality of universal love. In choosing Neptune it’s understood that we will be challenged in the way that Neptune challenges, because every effort meets with challenges of some kind. Neptune’s kind are typically connected with seeing through deception, delusion and possibly having to make some kind of sacrifice in order to transcend or improve things.
So at step 1 we look at the nature of these 5 planets and we decide which among them offers the opportunity that we are seeking and we make ourselves aware of the nature of the planet that we are dealing with by reading up on its astrological potential. It is also possible to work with Jupiter or Saturn if these 5 planets intimidate you. However in these cases I recommend working with a set time span in step 2, below.
In particular we want to pay attention to its current position in the sky and the sign of the zodiac which it presently inhabits because this will strongly and powerfully shape all of its potential at that time. In this case Neptune is in Pisces so we will consider how Neptune in Pisces relates to our intention, the thing we want to happen.
Once you know the nature of the activator planet and its current position in the zodiac as well as what that implies about its potential offering at this time, step 1 is complete.
The next step is to choose a time span for the work that will be done. At the collective level the minimum time span that is practical is maybe 6 months – any less than this does not provide enough time – while the longest is as long as group cohesion lasts. However in cases where groups continue indefinately the memberships and/or roles will have to change since the focus people change as time and the astrological clock moves on.
This time span can include a period of assessment or debriefing among the group, a time of winding down where there is no further activity, just learning and reflection, as well as a warm up period. It depends on you. You can also leave it open-ended, but human collectives work best when they see an end goal in sight at all times.
If you are working with Jupiter or Saturn the best time period to use is the entire time that the planet will remain in one sign. Keep to this regardless of whether Jupiter or Saturn has just entered a sign or is just about to leave it. This means you will have a period of up to about 2.5 years in the case of Saturn or 1 year in the case of Jupiter, maximum. In cases where Jupiter and Saturn are in the very end of a sign you may only have a few weeks or even days. In these cases you might want to wait a while until it enters a new sign, but that brings a different set of astrological potentials to the table – the hand is discarded and a new one is drawn. I also recommend that the time when one of these planets fully enters that sign and does not retrograde back into its previous sign be take as the start of the period, and the time when it first exits (regardless of retrograde motion) be regarded as the end.
In this example with Neptune in Pisces I have chosen a time span of from now until the end of 2021.
Now that you have chosen an activator in step 1 and a time span in step 2 you start with the astrological work of identifying the two tiers of focus people. The first thing to do here is to look up in your ephemeris the zodiac degrees that the activator (Neptune in our example) visits during your chosen period of time. Between now and the end of 2021 Neptune is between 16° and 23° of Pisces and will retrograde over 20° of Pisces so it will spend a longer period of time on that degree. This gives us a portion of the zodiac which we must work with to identify our focus people, the example here being between 16° and 23° of Pisces, with a particular focus on Pisces 20°.
This in itself is valuable interpretive data for anyone working with the decanates or degree symbolism, as many magicians and astrologers do.
This brings us to being able to identify the focus people in tier 1. This is the point at which the help of an experienced astrologer who knows their way around an ephemeris is invaluable. The work involved here is not tremendous if you know what you are doing but if you are having to think about it and work it out as you go it can take a long time. The same is true when we come to identifying tier 2 in step 5.
Tier 1 is composed of every living person who has in their natal chart any of the following planets in the zodiac degrees we identified in Step 3, in this example from 16° to 23° of Pisces:
Chiron, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto or Eris (i.e. any of the other activators)
In our example an experienced astrologer will immediately realise that there will be no living people with Neptune in Pisces except children 8-9 years old or younger, and they will all have Neptune in degrees earlier than 16° and so there will be no need to look at the positions of Neptune in the last 80 to 100 years. Most of them will also realise that Pluto was also not in Pisces during that time and a growing number of them will realise that Eris was last in Pisces in the first 20 to 25 years of the 20th century (it entered Aries around 1925). This means that only very elderly people will have Eris in Pisces and there are probably none or very few of them alive who have Eris in Pisces between 16° and 23°. So an experienced astrologer will immediately realise that they only have to work out when Chiron and Uranus were in those degrees over the last 100 years. This will always yield 1 or 2 results for each of them.
Here is the result:
1) Uranus between 1923-1926, focus people 94 to 97 years of age now. Then again from 2007 to 2010, now aged 10 to 13 years of age.
2) Chiron between 1964 to 1967, now aged 53 to 56. Then again 2015 to 2017, now only 3 to 5 years old.
This is tier one. All of the people born in those periods have either Uranus or Chiron between 16° and 23° Pisces meaning that all of them will have Neptune pass over their natal Chiron (everybody in the world ages 53-56) or Uranus (everybody in the world 10-13 and 94-97 years of age) in the period from now until the end of 2021.
A good astrologer who knows how to interpret these transits can now provide input into what the potential for these focus people is and what it can be used for given the overall goal. Here are some ideas to show what I mean, using the example of a group of people seeking to increase awareness of universal love (a quintessential theme of Neptune in Pisces):
– The Chiron group could learn, teach, heal, mend, repair, integrate or restore faith in the power of universal love. Seeing the older age group involved means that this group is going to be way more able to act than the Uranus group because they are in the prime of life. It holds interesting possibilities for anything connected with healing collective emotional pain. This is also interesting for nursery school teachers who get to work with 3-5 year olds.
– The Uranus group could revolutionize, wake up, operate online or otherwise refresh or inspire awareness of universal love. Seeing that there are people aged 94-97 and 10-12, this group also has potential for passing things between generations of great grandparents and great grandchildren. It’s also interesting for teachers of young teenagers.
Identifying the tier 1 focus people therefore gives more information about the potential for collective change as Neptune passes through Pisces 16°-23°. In this case it is composed of Chiron and Uranus in Pisces people. Chiron and Uranus will be the most common results at tier 1. This skews results towards healing the collective (Chiron) and awakening it (Uranus).
The next step is to find all the times in the last 80-100 years when either Jupiter or Saturn were at Pisces 16°-23°, the targeted area of the zodiac in the example determined in step 3. This is a bit more work but it’s a lot easier and faster when you remember that Saturn takes about 28 years to go around the zodiac and Jupiter about 11 or 12. This means you will end up with 3, maybe 4 instances with Saturn and 8 or 9 instances with Jupiter.
This is the result with the example:
1) March 1936 to March 1937, now aged 83 to 84.
2) May 1965 to April 1966 and November and December 1966, now aged 54 to 55
3) March 1995 to February 1996, now age 24 to 25
1) March to May 1927, now age 93.
2) March and April 1939, now age 81
3) February and March 1951, now aged 69
4) February and March 1963, now aged 57
5) January and February 1975, now aged 45
6) May 1986 to February 1987, longer because of a Jupiter retrograde, this group now 33 to 34 years of age
7) April 1998 to January 1999, again longer because of a Jupiter retrograde, this group now 21 to 22 years of age
8) March to May 2010 and then November and December 2010, the Jupiter retrograde period in this area of the zodiac is beginning to end, this group now 10 years old.
This is the main body of tier 2. All of the people born in those periods have either Jupiter or Saturn between 16° and 23° Pisces meaning that they will have Neptune pass over their natal Jupiter (everybody in the world age 10-11, 21-22, 33-34, 45, 57, 69, 81 or 93) or Saturn (everybody in the world 24-25, 54-55 and 83-84 years of age) in the period from now until the end of 2021.
Lets look at all these focal groups together in order of age with the natal planet in Pisces that will be activated by Neptune in brackets:
Think about how many people this is. If you are not in any of the groups, who do you know who is? You may not be affected by an influence but you can certainly be affected by it happening to others, which means you can also influence how they respond to it. Notice how they come from every age of our journey through life. Each will have a part of the bigger picture which will only come into play if they compare their unique perspectives. With Saturn you generally have people who know how to stabilize and bring things down to earth in practical ways via disciple, effort and strategic long term planning. With Jupiter you have a source of enterprise and optimism, a potential for luck to play a role, a way to expand or grow things and a way to bring more people into a movement.
Some ages are under-represented. There are only people in their 40s aged 45 and only people in their 60s aged 69. There is nobody in the 70s. This is ok, as those age ranges can be filled out in step 6 if necessary.
Frequently you will find an overlap between the two tiers at this point. For example notice how that in tier 1 there is a group aged 53 to 56 (Chiron) while in tier 2 there is a group aged 54 to 55 years old (Saturn). They are of course the same people and this is because of a Saturn/Chiron conjunction in Pisces in the mid-1960s. These people are being singled out as focal points on more than one level which may make their experience of this time of Neptune in Pisces more complex or complicated but also offers more options for them to work with.
We will discover even more overlap in the final step which identifies all the remaining individuals in tier 2. This is the final step and opens up levels where group networks can become incredibly complex.
At this level we look at the Lights, and if we really need to add more people to the focus group we can then include Mercury, Venus and Mars as well. Once again, we just find those people who have the Lights or the inner worlds in the targeted area of the zodiac, in this case Pisces 16°-23°. We go about this slightly differently though, since these objects move so fast that checking all their positions for 100 years would be a long and terrible chore that is best left to a computer program if we have one that can do so (I may be wrong, but I don’t think even Solar Fire can do this kind of search).
The primary thing to add at this level are those people who have the Sun in the targeted area of the zodiac. This is because the Sun keeps to a highly regular and orderly timetable in which it visits the same degrees of the zodiac or approximately the same days every year (approximately because of leap years). This means that everyone who has the Sun in 16° to 23° of Pisces will be born in the same period and days of every year. This is not true for Mercury, Venus or Mars who are more chaotic in their timetable and even less true for the Moon which cycles through the zodiac once a month (and so would produce an avalanche of data when tracked over a hundred years).
In our example the Sun is between 16° and 23° of Pisces every year between the dates of March 7th and March 14th. So everyone who has a birthday in this week no matter what year they are born in is added to the group of focus people at tier 2. If your birthday is a day or two outside of this range you are still within the aura that the influence creates.
Importantly, this information is also key information for everyone involved because it means that during March 7th and March 14th of the period in question the astrological energy available for what the group is seeking to achieve is extremely vital and ‘sunny’. So in our example the period during which the Sun is in Pisces and especially the period March 7th to March 14th 2021 would be the key point in time in which to make the greatest collective effort. Knowing where the Moon is every month allows the same foreknowledge on a month by month basis – whenever the Moon is between 16° and 23° of Pisces between now and the end of 2021 there is a major stirring of the energies available for whatever the collective effort is. A group can map out its life cycle and its breathing rhythm in this way, the times when it should be active (exhale) and the times when it should be reflective (inhale). Observation of the lunar cycle can also form a framework for this kind of timing of group activity.
This is the point at which I would stop adding people to the focus groups. However if someone wanted to be involved in the work but they were not part of any of the focus groups then they could check to see if they have the Moon, Mercury, Venus or Mars in the targeted area of the zodiac. This gives them four shots at being involved at tier 2, because if any of those bodies are in the targeted area of the zodiac they will also receive a transit by the activator in the period that has been chosen. In the event that this individual has nothing in the targeted area of the zodiac, but was still extremely keen on being involved, we can expand the search to involve the major asteroids, centaurs or the far-flung tiny mythic worlds like Varuna and Ixion, but this would be a more experimental involvement as we know little about what these objects pertain. Probably the better option for such people is simply to wait until the activator moves on to a part of the zodiac which does involve their chart, or just work with a different activator which will be in a different area of the zodiac in the same period. For example a Taurean person wanting to be involved in this kind of collective work but having nothing in the area of Pisces 16° to 23° might just instead do some work with Uranus in Taurus during the same period, provided they qualify as one of its focus people.
This in as brief a form as I can is one of the systems that can be used to interact with our astrology at the collective level. Different groups will find their own ways to use this information and apply it practically. Some projects could be started by individuals who use social media or other means to draw in people belonging to the focus groups. For example let’s imagine that you are an individual who wants to change the way that your local community interacts with nature and its environment by beginning local food production. Once you’ve identified a specific current astrological influence which offers a potential for this project (Uranus in Taurus is a good match here at the present time, as is Pluto in Capricorn) you could specifically ask for people who belong to one of the focus groups to come forward or you could use that information to assign roles and duties. Other projects could use this information to bring people together into more effective demonstrations, meditation, research, invention, ritual or art. An already established group of people who are used to working together and operate as a well oiled machine (a theatre group for example) can use this information just as well but they would possibly discuss amongst themselves what they wish to do with it and settle on an intention upon which they will cooperate together in order to achieve.
I hope that this brief look into the potential offered by the new worlds in our solar system has been clear and inspirational and that it has given you some ideas about your own projects that could use this tool. If you have any questions about it please just drop them into the comment section below and if you would like to write to me personally about your experience using this method I would be very happy to hear from you. I wish you all the brightest and most beautiful of futures.