Neil Spencer, ex-editor of the New Musical Express and Observer astrology columnist, gave this year's lecture at the Astrological Lodge about the year ahead.
Neil asserted that astrologers spend much of their time looking at the past rather than the future. He, like me, is a strong believer in astrology as a tool of prediction. There are other schools such as the Centre of Psychological Astrology (founded by Liz Greene) that eschew the 'fairground' aspect of mere prediction, preferring to delve into the psyche. I disagree. Meat and potatoes stuff, let's have more of it. Put your money where your mouth is.
This high risk approach can of course lead to mistakes. A year ago Neil, thinking about this year's Neptune-governed Olympics, predicted that:
Nobody's going to be able to breath, the air quality is going to be a problem.But actually the Olympics in China were a huge success. For Neptune can also symbolise idealism and fantasy.
Neil says: Astrologically, next year is an exciting one. Neptune is a big player in 2009.
Neil looked at some of last year's predictions; holding a 'hindsight' competition, giving points, Eurovision Song Contest style, for accuracy and bravery and subtracting points for fence-sitting.
- Jonathan Cainer on Jules Holland's Hootenanny show: "Next year we will have our first female president". Nul points for accuracy but un point for prediction.
- Mountain Astrologer magazine: Wrong on McCain, wrong on Obama. As for the presidency, some fluff about "only time can tell". Nul points.
- Henry Weingarten, financial astrologer, predicted on September 8th, profit for the market, in the same week that Lehman brothers collapsed, and the market dived. Wrong!
- Bernard Eccles, for same period predicted optimism but did say 'Don't owe any money'. Un point for final remark, nul points for wrong prediction.
- In the Astrological Association journal, Roy Gillett got it right.
- Maggie Hyde, Company of astrologers, on the 15th March 2008, nailed it: 'How to survive the financial mid-winter'.
This year's themes are Pluto in Capricorn, the Saturn/Uranus conjunction, the fact that the 3 collective planets in the last quartile (the collective) part of the zodiac, the Jupiter/Neptune conjunction in Aquarius.
Pluto in Cap: keywords: Absolute control/brute realism/battle for resources/meltdown and recasting of the economic system/implosion of patriarchy.
"What Pluto does stays done."
The India chart has Pluto at 29.55 degrees. Mumbai...
On December 27th '08 Mars will conjunct Pluto.
The Aquarian theme of '09: Jupiter heads into Aquarius on the 5th of January then whizzes quite quickly along to Neptune in Aquarius, then stays there, more or less for the rest of the year. "There's alot of music in there..." says Neil.
Keywords: the audacity of hope/optimism as social capital/join the professionals (for Neil, Aquarius is the sign of professionalism), glamour and scandal, idealism and duplicity, hot air, airborne infection.
If you are born in 1962 you have hit the jackpot.
Blair, during his transiting Jupiter/Neptune opposition lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. He chose the Neptune (deception) side of the opposition rather than Jupiter (truth).
Obama's inauguration on January 20th at midday. Jupiter will be on his midheaven. Kings dream about charts like this. It will be huge.
Every astrologer knew Reagan was into astrology when he chose the bizarre time of 12 minutes past midnight to be inaugurated as Governor of California, an electional chart with Jupiter on the MC.
Prince Charles elected Jupiter on the MC when he got married to Diana.
Roosevelt, another Aquarian, is the president most likely to be the role model for Obama, similar struggles, had an astrologer.
Someone pipes up: "And Chiron is wedged between Jupiter and Neptune".
Neptune is experiencing the Neptune return of it's own discovery (around the same time as film and photography were invented which is why it rules them).
To continue the Aquarian theme, there will be 3 eclipses in Aquarius this year.
25th January: solar eclipse in Aquarius.
9 February: lunar eclipse in Aquarius.
3rd August: lunar eclipse in Aquarius.
Neil then asks with a slight sneer: "What's so great about the Age of Aquarius anyway?"
I completely agree with him. Apart from the fact that The Age of Aquarius has got it's own theme tune, I think Aquarius get a good press from astrologers because so many of them are Aquarians themselves (I am). It's all bollocks.
He continues: "Early and late degrees dominate. Anyone who has stuff at 22,24, 25, 26 degrees check it out"
Uranus in Pisces over the last few years; keywords: wild water, liquid technology, radioactive seas, pirates on the high seas.
The Johnny Depp 'Pirates of the Caribbean' franchise will run and run until Uranus moves into Aries. (Apparently Russell Brand is mooted for the next one.)
Continuing the oceanic theme, we will have 2 new moons in Cancer: June 22nd conjunct Pluto and July 22nd, a total eclipse whose pathway will be over China and Indonesia.
Venus will be retrograde: 6/3 to 17/4 then 21/5.
Mayans didn't like Venus retrograde.
In 1993,2001,2009, Venus was previously retrograde in Aries.
Mars retrograde. Mars enters Leo on the 16th of October next year.
"Stay clear of Leos" is Neil's somewhat sweeping advice.
November 15th 2009, Pluto square Saturn, taste of what is to come in 2012.
Labour party is an Aquarian party. They should benefit next year. Early election. But misplaced optimism... Saturn on their moon at Christmas '09.
Nothing happening for Conservatives. Jupiter return. Chart: 12 November 1867. Midday.
LibDem's: not good at all. Nick will be in trouble. Pluto going over their Capricorn planets.
We looked at various charts: The Fed, Gordon Brown, David Cameron (who will have the opportunity to show us whether he is just a charming Libran or whether he has a backbone too).
The U.K. 1801 Union chart: January 1st 1801, midday. Not only is the UK sun in Capricorn, but our moon is in Cancer. Double whammy.
It is, as I have mentioned before in this blog, the Saturn return of the Monetarist revolution in the early '80's.
One person in the room shouts that "The Queen will abdicate in the next 4/5 months".
Neil looks approving of the kamikazi lunge at prediction but skeptical of the content. "The royals have a lot of fixed stuff" he states politely. (This is astrologese for 'no way will she abdicate, fixed sign people never give in').
Another person yells "She'll go on and on. 2015 more like."
Somebody else mentions: "Thailand has got Saturn at 1 degree Capricorn".
People nod knowingly.
Neil says: "Cardinal signs often has to clean up the mess left behind by the mutable signs"This is an astrological joke. People titter.
Another shouts out: "The shipping market has plunged".
Neil: "Does anybody see anything positive in this Jupiter/Neptune conjunction next year?"
I say:"Might get some good movies out of it?"
"Jupiter/Neptune is also adventure" states Neil, meaning it's not all gloom and doom. "It could also be even crazier internet stuff."
Somebody makes the connection between the last time Uranus was in Pisces "prohibition in the 1920's" but this time, it's the opposite, increased opening hours and public drunkeness.
The nodes also will change signs in August. The south node will go into Cancer, not good for the property market.
I'm sorry if this post only makes sense to astrologers. It is a code, a language. It is a relief when you can speak in shorthand to another astrologer.
Afterwards we all went to the pub. I heard this conversation on the way out:
How are you?
Fine. We've got an eclipse on our mutual Sun's next year.
So we have.