Miles Davis and Mercury: “Sometimes you have to play a long time to play like yourself.”

My other half is a huge jazz fan.  In the new house we’ve had to have shelving built to house the cd collection and then there’s the vinyl…  I’d like to operate a one in, one out system, but not sure how successful I’ll be.  I like some of it, but a lot I can take or leave.  In fact some of the more ‘out there’ stuff leaves me feeling quite anxious!  When will the tune start I naively ask?!?  I know, I’m a philistine, but I do find the characters interesting.  So many of the jazz musicians seem so fascinatingly enigmatic and simply to personify cool.  As my education on these mysterious individuals continues, as with so many things, my response is to take a peek at their birth charts and investigate the astrology attached to the events of their lives.Miles_Davis

In my limited experience of jazz, no one seems to do cool better than Miles Davis.  And what a fascinating chart; there is so much that could be said and quotes from Davis himself(as well as his music)  illustrate it so beautifully. MilesFor those who don’t know, ie myself a few years ago, Davis was a ground breaking musician and is considered one of the most influential in the 20th century, in any genre.  He pushed the boundaries of jazz and is described as one of the great innovators; look at that Jupiter in the 10th with Aquarius on the MC and Pluto on the North Node in the second house, it’s why he was here.

“It’s not about standing still and becoming safe. If anybody wants to keep creating they have to be about change.”

Then we have Venus in detriment at the bends squaring Pluto and trining Neptune, so there’s potentially a whole post on relationships, trust and values!!

“If you sacrifice your art because of some woman, or some man, or for some color, or for some wealth, you can’t be trusted.”

The bit I actually wanted to highlight is part of that fixed grand cross between Moon, Saturn, Mercury, Neptune and Jupiter.Grandcross

The fixed nature of this configuration gives a lovely illustration of why he was so prolific.  All that determination and methodical approach really brought him results.  Clearly there’s some crunchy stuff and it caused him problems too; Moon in fall for starters tightly conjunct Saturn, not easy at all.  His battles with addiction are pretty clear in the chart as well, but I wanted to look at that Mercury.

“It’s always been a gift with me, hearing music the way I do. I don’t know where it comes from, it’s just there and I don’t question it.”

Mercury in Taurus in the deep 12th house, so one might expect him to struggle with his thinking and communication, especially with the connections to Neptune and Saturn.  Music clearly is an excellent outlet for this type of placement, connecting with the ‘other’ and the unseen in order to put your message out there.  But one of the things that people recognise as being particularly distinctive about Miles Davis is his voice; that raspy, hoarseness that you sometimes have to really concentrate on to even hear, let alone understand.

The other evening I was sitting watching TV after a hard day of decorating and gardening.  My partner tells me that he’d just found a rare video with a recording of an interview with Miles Davis before he spoke in that raspy way.   Have a quick listen to the beginning and then run forward to his ‘before’ voice.

I was surprised as (not having given it that much thought) I’d always assumed that this was how he had always spoken, or something he had developed to add to his “prince of darkness” image.  It was explained to me that in October 1955 Davis had an operation to remove polyps from his larynx.  He was told not to speak for ten days but during that time got into an argument (who with depends on who you read, but possibly a record company owner) and raised his voice to the point that it was damaged irreparably.  Ooo, thinks me, wonder what the astrology was for that?!?

Of course it was Saturn opposite that Mercury.  It was his Saturn return year, so the old man of astrology was pinging off everything in that Grand Cross at different points.  He gets the first hit to the Mercury when he has the operation and then another two follow at the beginning of 1956, presumably as he discovers that his voice will never be the same again.  I thought it was a really interesting, literal expression of a transit to a twelfth house planet.  For the rest of his life speaking always sounds like a struggle, but in some ways it doesn’t matter because it isn’t his main means of communication anyway.  He’s channelling the invisible through his music, using his intuition and seeing where experimentation takes him.  He’s got plenty to say, but doesn’t need to speak in order to say it.  One final quote from Miles, which sums up twelfth house communication perfectly,

“Don’t play what’s there, play what’s not there.”


Weighing the heart: the solar myth of Virgo

The Sun moves into the sign of Virgo tonight – really, it’s that time of the year already.  The days are getting shorter and we even had a conversation about Christmas the other day, yikes!!

These amazing images can be purchased as posters or cards at

These amazing images can be purchased as posters or cards at

I really love using myth and stories to help people understand the challenges faced by the different zodiac signs.  I know I might have implied in the past that I struggle a little with the more difficult expressions of Virgo…  BUT the myth really helps me to understand what Virgo is up against.  The one I find works best is the ‘Weighing of the Heart’ from the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Egyptian funeral beliefs tell us that after death the soul journeys through Duat, the underworld and faces various challenges before the final judgement.  This final judgement takes the form of a test to see what sort of life the individual has led and what therefor what the fate of the soul will be.  The heart would be placed on a scale opposite Ma’at, Goddess of law, truth and justice who weighed no more than a feather.  If the individual had lived their life correctly, then the scales would balance perfectly, no more and no less.  However, if they had lived a life of excess the scales would tip and they would slip into the jaws of the waiting crocodiles, nice!

In order to achieve this perfect balance, our Virgo friends can become overly concerned with correct procedure and doing things ‘right’.  This search for perfection can mean others see them as being critical or judgemental, but it gives them a sharp eye for detail and a precise mind.  They have an ability to find ways to improve things, but need to learn how to communicate the ‘faults’ they find in themselves and others gently.  Underlying all this is a deep-seated fear of being judged and being found wanting.  Understanding this can help Virgo use the gifts of precision and craftsmanship in a way which allows them to say, ‘I did a really good job there and it’s finished’.  Recognising when their work is ‘good enough’, rather than constantly seeking to improve and therefore never finishing is a valuable skill for Virgo to learn.

Using the myth helps me to understand the challenge Virgo faces and makes me a little more sympathetic and a little less ‘Virgo’ towards them!   Happy birthday to all you Virgos!

Astrology reading giveaway

Everything Changes

So here we are at the start of another cycle of the Moon.  The Moon is new this evening in the Sun’s sign of Leo.  A fiery summer Moon that will be full on August 21st as the Sun moves towards the final degree of Leo.  So this will actually be an astrological Blue Moon, when we have two consecutive Full Moons in the same sign of the zodiac.LEO The Lion

For those born with the Moon in Leo they achieve emotional satisfaction through being admired and praised by others.  They want to be the centre of attention and enjoy nothing better than performing for their public.  These really are the children who can do no wrong in their eyes of their mother.  Of course they are also generous and loyal types who enjoy giving, as long as you say thank you!

So to celebrate this warm and generous sign Matthew…

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Posted in Sun

“Is the person next to you washing their hands with soap?” 100% responsibility!

I’m aware that I seem to write about Saturn and Saturn issues a lot.  In part I suppose this is about my own personal journey as Saturn features so strongly in my chart, but I also think the issues associated with him are something we really struggle with as a society.  Driving into work this morning there was a discussion on the radio about post-toilet hand washing; don’t let anyone ever tell me I don’t know how relax on the way to work!!!  There were some pretty horrific statistics about how few men wash their hands, really nauseating.  The bit that really struck me and made me say, ‘hello Saturn’ was the findings that the signs in public toilets which work the best in improving the number of people who wash their hands are the ones that say

“Is the person next to you washing their hands with soap?”Washing hands with soap and water

This made me laugh out loud.  All the arguments about hygiene, health and the invisible smears on that £5 note you just got in your change, simply can’t match up to the worry of what other people might think if I’m not using soap…  Picture the scenario, you’re washing your hands (because you’re not one of the many people who simply don’t bother) and see the sign.  You glance at the person next to you, who is also glancing to see what you’re doing.  The fear of ‘what will that person think of me if I’m not using soap?’ is enough for some people to do it properly.  How tuned into Saturn we are as a society is pretty staggering, isn’t it???

Although many astronomers consider Saturn to be the most beautiful planet in the solar system because of his stunning rings, earning him the nickname ‘the jewel of the solar system’,  Saturn in the birth chart often gives an indication of where in life our fears can be, especially when we’re younger.  The word saturnine is used to mean gloomy, slow or sullen.  For medieval astrologers he was the last planet visible to the naked eye and so viewed as the edge of the solar system.  In the chart Saturn is often associated with responsibility, authority, boundaries, practicality, reality and building or conforming to social structures.

The other big word associated with Saturn is judgement.  Judgement of ourselves and others, as well as attributing responsibility and blame, are all things that society is really hot on.  The hand washing sign really taps into this worry that we’re being judged by others, or gives us a way to judge other people –  and we all like a bit of that, don’t we?  It puts us in the right and we can feel superior.  The media love, love, loves being judgemental and pointing fingers.  A tragedy happens = who’s fault is it???  Who can we blame??

I talk a little bit about Caroline Casey’s take on Saturn in this post.  She’s definitely worth a read to try and see the positive Saturn, and any of the outer planets, can bring.  There’s so much negative stuff written about him and he certainly does seem to be the planet most astrologers love to hate. Fundamentally, it’s about taking responsibility for ourselves.  That’s all Saturn is asking us to do, be 100% responsible for our lives.

Astronomically Saturn is actually the least dense planet in the solar system.  If there was a body of water large enough to hold him, he’d float!  In contrast Mercury would sink the fastest.  Just take a moment to reflect on that.  How many times do we sink because of our thoughts or something that is said?  Think of all the little judgements your thoughts make on you every day.  If that was a ‘friend’ saying those things about you, you probably wouldn’t be friends any more.  Being the authority in our lives and taking responsibility for all our actions and their consequences means we can stop playing the blame game, be kinder to ourselves, stop looking for scapegoats and maybe, just maybe, float!

Astrology reading giveaway

So here we are at the start of another cycle of the Moon.  The Moon is new this evening in the Sun’s sign of Leo.  A fiery summer Moon that will be full on August 21st as the Sun moves towards the final degree of Leo.  So this will actually be an astrological Blue Moon, when we have two consecutive Full Moons in the same sign of the zodiac.LEO The Lion

For those born with the Moon in Leo they achieve emotional satisfaction through being admired and praised by others.  They want to be the centre of attention and enjoy nothing better than performing for their public.  These really are the children who can do no wrong in their eyes of their mother.  Of course they are also generous and loyal types who enjoy giving, as long as you say thank you!

So to celebrate this warm and generous sign Matthew and I are offering an astrology giveaway.  Like our facebook page and leave your name on the giveaway post.  We’ll pick a winner at random at the full moon on August 21st.   Readings can either be done face to face or via Skype anywhere in the world.  If you want to find out more about what an astrology reading can offer, check out this link.

Good luck!

Posted in Leo

The Balsamic Moon: dissolving into darkness

This evening we reach the end of the lunation cycle for this month and my promise to blog at each point in the cycle.  I’m already thinking about next month (one foot in the past and one in the future) and using some examples of individuals born at each phase.  For now, let’s finish this cycle before moving on to the next.


We enter the balsamic phase and move towards the dark of the moon where the moon is now between 45 degrees and 0 degrees behind the sun in the natal chart.  The equivalent point in the solar cycle is Halloween or Samhain, as the days grow shorter and shorter.  In the plant cycle the plant draws the vital essence back underground and waits for the next germination.

For those born at this phase they have one foot in the future and one in the past.  Their life purpose is about tying up the loose ends in order to move forward.  They have a vision of a future but are living within the confines of an old structure.  These natives tend to form frequent and very intense short-term relationships.  They often meet people and there is a sense of familiarity or recognition, perhaps from previous existences?  Then one day these people are gone from their lives.  They can come to question whether they are capable of long-term connections.  Although they are perfectly able to have long-term relationships, these short lived connections are important for finishing the larger cycle we are all part of.  Realising that these brief meetings are all that is needed changes the way they handle the relationships.  They learn the importance of saying or doing things at that moment, rather than waiting and putting it off.  They need to learn to look at the other person and know that they are at peace and it is time to move on.

The other major theme for balsamic moon people is the sense that there is something different about them from other people.  This is often strongest and most challenging during adolescence.  They may try to share with peers how they are feeling, but often it is only through sharing with older people that they can start to make sense of this feeling.  Their peers will be unlikely to understand or be equipped to help, unless they too are balsamic moon people!

The balsamic moon people are the visionaries of the cycle as they hold within them the stored energy of the cycle ready to be rebirthed into something new.  They are in some ways ahead of their time as they hold the essence of the future within them.

Finally, there is a sense of special destiny or being here for a purpose with these individuals.  Their purpose is to take meaning from all of their life experience and distil this into seed form so it can be passed on to another person.  They are meant to leave a legacy or testimonial so the new cycle can be enriched by it.

For the rest of us, when we reach this phase in our progressed cycle we have reached the bridge between one cycle of activity and another.  It is a time for letting go, purifying, healing and preparing for renewal.  We may feel a great loss as things that previously gave us purpose seem less important, but we need to let them go in order to make room for the birth of the new at the next new moon.  Astrologers frequently first see clients who are at this point in the cycle.  They are subconsciously aware that the old cycle is declining and they are wondering what may come next.  It is a point for reflection and taking stock; what is still important to me and what can I let go?  Something new is coming, but the seed is yet to germinate.

Astrology and vibrational healing, or what can an essence do for you?

We ran our first astrology and vibrational healing workshop on Saturday.  This was the first time we have run a workshop introducing people to the idea of how they might use essencesPE-combos We love astrology because it gives insight into our greatest gifts and talents, and also areas of life in which we experience tension and difficulty.  Our workshop sought to explain how to use flower, sea and gem essences to reinforce the strengths we find in our charts, and help us transform our difficulties into results.  So if you’re struggling with a particular Saturn aspect or transit, then an essence can help you work through the issues more easily and, perhaps more importantly, more successfully.

The idea behind the use of essences is about creating or restoring balance, helping us to find the best expression of ourselves.  We are all energetic beings and if there is a block or confusion in our energy, this can be manifested mentally, physically or emotionally.  Difficult aspects in our birth chart or challenging transits can throw us off balance and using essences can help us get back on track.  These aren’t magic potions!  We still have to do the work, but they can lend a helping hand when the work feels too much.6a0133f538e9e4970b017ee3eb264d970d-500wi

I thought I’d give an example from my own experience to illustrate this.  In my natal chart I have a tight Mercury Saturn square from my 7th house Scorpio Mercury to my 5th house Leo Saturn.  Saturn is in detriment in Leo, so he needs a bit of support from others at the best of times!  Saturn is associated with age, maturity and experience and speaking as someone with an aspect between Saturn and all my personal planets, bar the Moon, it gets easier to deal with these issues as we get older.  When we’re little (and by little I’m talking up to our first Saturn return!) these aspects can be very constricting and just plain old hard work!  The signature of Mercury Saturn is the fear of communication because, ‘what happens if I say it wrong?’, ‘what will they say if I say/write that?’ ‘no matter how hard I try I’m simply no good at this writing/talking business!!’.

As a child I had to see a speech therapist because my speech development was slow, although family members could understand me; simply too scared to communicate to anyone outside the family?  I was never one of those students who went way over their word limit, I used to struggle to reach it because my writing was too concise.  Similarly, starting to write has always been a struggle because I’m always afraid it won’t be good enough.  Before even writing a word I’ve tried and found myself guilty at the court of public opinion!

As I write this my throat is starting to feel sore.  This is a common physical manifestation for me of my fears around communication.  A physical symptom of the fear of saying the wrong thing or being judged by those around me.  As I say, this has got easier as I’ve got older, but sometimes I still get a bit stuck.  This blog has been a perfect example.  We first started this blog back in September 2010 and there have been several false starts. I used to start loads of posts, but never finish them, or come back later and scrap them because I thought they weren’t good enough. article-0-0BC38D2F00000578-51_964x634

Recently when I asked Matthew to see if there was an essence I needed he came up with Bluebell.  On the Pacific Essences site or in Sabina Pettitt’s beautiful book it says,

  • “For giving up constraints; opening the channels of communication
  • Resonance: Expression
  • Key Attractors: Openness, Communication
  • Key Challenges: Shyness, Fear, Panic Attacks
  • Meridians: Lung, Kidney
  • Chakras: Throat

Well that sounds like Mercury Saturn issues to me!  Matthew recommended taking the essence, which I did.  Not long after finishing the essence I wrote my first blog post for a long while.  Now I can’t stop!  That’s not to say that there isn’t still a worry about how my posts will be received; but I don’t want that to stop me putting some of our ideas out there.  I’m not saying there won’t be a wobble now and again, Saturn will transit over my Mercury later in the year and I would fully expect to be presented with some of these issues again.  Having said that, it’s a wonderful illustration of how essences can work to give balance when we struggle.

An essence consultation with Matthew can help you find which essence might best work for you.