An Astrotale – Saturn in Cancer

•January 27, 2012 • Leave a Comment

Astrotales personify the planet in the differnt signs in order to make it easier to understand how they operate. For example, if you have Saturn in Cancer in your chart, you may find this story enlightening…

The old man with the crooked stick shifts uncomfortably, pushes a pile of magazines from the sofa and plumps up a sagging cushion.

My back always hurts in this damp sign, he mutters to himself. Damp, watery Cancer, damp with tears and rain and other assorted liquids. The landscape of the crab never felt as welcoming to him as it did to the others. Even Mars could make himself at home here, busy defending the home front – but even he, Saturn thought, might have some trouble sharing this soggy sign with its incumbent.

She was cooking again. Always cooking – making enough food to feed an army, far too much for one lean visitor such as himself.

She was perfectly at home, of course, and trying to make the best of an uncomfortable situation. If he moved some of the clutter, he could see her peeling apples for a pie, her rosy cheeks flushed from the kutchen’s heat, her loose garments begging for tiny hands to clutch at them.

How were they going to manage this uneasy cohabitation? They were so different. He ruled the opposite landscape to hers, cool, dry and efficient. She lived in a glorious mess of emotions, memories, dreams and  apple pie.

Maybe he was supposed to bring order to the little one’s life. To repress some of her wilder imaginings, help her to focus and prioritise. But howq could he do that without depressing her utterly? He depressed himself sometimes.

So damp – he shifted again, and a pile of books fell over. That would be that little wretch Mercury, esconced in Leo, and ready to fill her head with grand ideas. If he was in those golden fields now, he could make sure her library included some excellent reading, he could help that fledgling mind grow and mature.

“Have you seen the cinnamon?” The Moon Goderss appeared in the doorway, trailing aromas of baby powder, spices and fresh green apples. Her hands were floury, she looked utterly relaxed and in her element.

“Aaah – what does it look like?” he hazarded.

She frowned at him, and dusted flour from her skirts.

“It looks like – oh, never mind. Can’t you make yourself useful around here?”

“I could tidy up,” he said hopefully.

“Don’t you touch anything, I’ll never find it again. Go chop wood or something. The fire is dying.”

Chop wood – with my back? But he said nothing, just got slowly to his feet, allowing every muscle and joint to creak noisily, and went outside.

The country of the crab was beautiful, he had to admit. Water was its most obvious feature – a river slowly gently through the distant hills,  winding its way down to the great ocean beyond. The ocean was rightfully Piscean territory, of course, but the country of the crab fed it regularly with a river of dreams and memories, always hungrily making its way toward those shores.

We could build a nice mill down there, or maybe a small town, he thought. Once that Moon Mama’s got her crab claws into the little one, there’ll be enough babies to populate a small town, mark my words.

He sat by the woodpile, warming his old bones in the sun, and thought of the little one, the new soul who would walk through all these lands with them. Everyone was in place to welcome her, Mercury, the Golden lady Venus and dark Pluto enjoying the golden dawn of Leo country, Jove and his lady Juno, together in the soft Libran Landscape and Uranus relaxing in the country of the twins with the Dragon before the real work began.

In the far distance, Saturn could here the sound of chopping, and a slow smile spread across his lean face.

Mars was in Virgo territory, practical and energetic – and he was chopping wood.

Astrotale by Gail Kavanagh


Understanding the Role of the Ascendant (Rising Sign)

•June 10, 2008 • 3 Comments

The ascendant is the sign that is rising in the east at the moment of birth. It is not the same thing as the sun sign, although both the sun and the ascendant will be in the same sign if you are born at daybreak. Otherwise you can be born at any time of day, and your ascendant will still be the sign rising in the east.

The ascendant represents the face you present to the world – your physical appearance, your manner of dealing with people, and what they perceive at first glance. But what they see may not always be what they get – a woman with Aries rising may seen aggressive, adventurous and confident, but if her moon is in the sign of cancer, she will have a well concealed softer side.

Here are the general meanings of the 12 signs on the ascendant:

Aries: The physical appearance is quite compact and powerful, with a competitive manner. Aries rules the head, so those with Aries ascending may sport a few scars here. Pain will be centred in the head, so there may be headaches, or even migraines. The confidence that comes with Aries rising may be a mask if there are planets in less aggressive signs.

Taurus: A slid stocky build, a fondness for pastel colours, good food and company are Taurean first impressions. Taurus rules the throat, so there is usually something attractive about the voice – perhaps a good singing voice. The projected personality is warm and friendly but likely to be stubborn.

Gemini: The appearance will be thin, sharp and restless. Gemini rules the lungs, so they need to take to avoid pollution and smoke. Geminis are ruled by mercury, which also rules the hands, so they gesticulate a lot as they talk. Communication is life blood to a Gemini, they won’t be seen without their cell phones, and if they don’t have a car, then they will have a regular taxi service, as they like to get about quickly.

Cancer: In appearance, those with the moon’s sign rising have a tendency to weight gain, either through love of food, water retention or both. Cancer rules the breasts, so the women are usually well endowed in this area. The eyes shine under the influence of the Moon, and are round in shape. They may appear moody and restless by turns, and enjoy being near the water.

Leo: Those with Leo rising have an air of genuine nobility. The hair is very thick and lustrous, the chest very deep, the voice usually melodious and deep. Leo ascendants are usually very good looking and always impressive. Leo rules the heart, so there is a lot of generosity and warmth in their approach to life.

Virgo: As a rising sign, Virgo is reserved in appearance and dress, with a love of neatness and the `preppy’ look. Even regular features and an almost obsessive attendance to personal hygiene make this rising sign an attractive one, but the appearance can be marred by frown lines and worry lines. Nevertheless, Virgo in the ascendant generally assures a youthful appearance in middle age. Virgo rules the intestines, and this sign in the ascendant is certainly an example of `intestinal fortitude’.

Libra: The appearance is generally attractive and well groomed, very pleasing to the opposite sex. The Libra ascendant is diplomatic and thoughtful, and eager to please, but they may seem weak and indecisive. This can be a mask, however, if they have planets in more aggressive signs.

Scorpio: The appearance is magnetic, with penetrating eyes and a sensual look. The Scorpio ascendant will give little away, however, even if there are planets in more outgoing signs. It is natural for Scorpio to keep secrets. Scorpio rules the reproductive organs, which is one reason they enjoy such a sexy reputation.

Sagittarius: Generally long-limbed, athletic and active in youth, may run to overweight in more sedentary middle age. Those with Sag rising tend to be clumsy, but have an engaging, appealing air with a wide grin and a good sense of humor. Sag rules the thighs and the liver, and they do love to travel and party hard.

Capricorn: In appearance, they tend to be of medium height or less, dark or sallow in hair and skin colour. Capricorns often look worried, but this is an `upside down’ sign – they seem old when young, and young when they are old. Capricorn rules the skin and bones, so they are likely to be thin, angular and there may be a tendency to skin problems and arthritis.

Aquarius: Those with Aquarius rising are often very attractive, even beautiful, but not in a conventional way. They may be very tall, angular, dress in an eccentric manner, have green or blue hair, or generally march to their own drummer. Aquarius rules the legs, and they love to walk and stroll around the neighbourhood or the world.

Pisces: The appearance is often very attractive, with dreamy eyes and luminous skin. There may be a tendency to gain weight through water retention. Pisces rules the feet – they enjoy walking but prefer to be barefoot. They like to dress in a very personal way, with beautiful designs, colours and fabrics.

What are Progressions?

•May 28, 2008 • 4 Comments

natal chart is a `snapshot’ of planetary positions at the time of birth. It shows the potentials of the new born child, the tools with which he or she has to work in building their own lives. But the planets don’t stand still.

Within moments, hours, days, years, they are moving again. Life is motion, both above and below, and the motions of the planets are reflected in that original natal chart. Astrologers call this `progression’. The most common calculation used is `year for a day’, in which progressions are calculated at the motion of the Sun. Thus to look at the progressions of some aged 25, we would chart the progress of the planets 25 days after the birthday. Some, like the Sun and moon, would have moved quite far – others, like Uranus and Pluto, would barely have moved at all.

Take the Sun. At birth it may be at 5 degrees of Cancer. Taking the ‘year for a day’ calculation, we would look at the Sun’s position 25 days after the birth,which would correspond to the age of 25. As there are 30 degrees in a sign, the Sun at 5 degrees of Cancer has 2 degrees to go before it enters the sign of Leo. This corresponds to 25 years in the native’s life. So at the age of 25 or thereabouts, we can see that the natal sun will have progressed into a new sign. So what does this mean for the natal chart?

It means a new influence is at work in the native’s life. Cancer is a more retiring, home centered sign than Leo – but with the warmth of the progressed Sun entering Leo, that native now has the opportunity to come out more, to shine and show off his or her talents. The native might indulge in a complete makeover, change the focus of the primary relationships in the life (Cancer is far more likely to put up with manipulation and poor treatment than Leo), and generally widen the horizons to include more possibilities.

The progressed Sun entering a new sign indicates a change in life direction – the Sun represents our goals and aims in life, and the new sign offers not only new possibilities, but also new opportunities.

But the Sun, in its progession, can also come into aspect with other `set’ planets in the natal chart. For example, if the native has Venus at 25 degrees of Cancer, the Sun will come into conjunction with Venus some years before progressing into Leo. For our sample chart, this would occur around the age of 21. This could indicate that the native marries at this age – it may be a typical Cancerian marriage, with the Cancerian taking the more passive role, then along comes the Sun’s progression into Leo, and suddenly our native wants a stronger role in life. This is not invariably how it pans out of course, but it does explain why people we think we knew well, suddenly metamorphose into someone completely new.

Aspects between progressed and natal planets must be exact. In transits we can allow up to 10 degrees either way, but in progressions, the progressed planet must be 1 degree or less in aspect to the natal planet. Progressed aspects are very powerful and signify major changes in the life.

The Moon, of course, progresses at a much faster rate. It only takes two or three years to progress through a sign, but it also has quite a strong influence, and its aspects to the natal planets, while no less exact, are also important.

The astrologer also looks at the progression of the rising sign – for example, a natal chart can show the ascendant to be 10 degrees Capricorn, but 20 years later (with the ‘year for a day’ calculation) it will move into Aquarius. The ascendant shows the image we present to the world. Ever wondered why a conservative, buttoned up acquaintance suddenly sports tattoos and a motor bike? Blame Aquarius rising by progression.

`Di I contradict myself? Yes, I contradict myself. I am multitudes.” Walt Whitman wrote. he could have been talking about progressions.

Who actually interprets a natal chart?

•May 27, 2008 • 2 Comments

Every astrologer interprets a chart in his or her own way. Some see it as a kind of “user’s manual” for life, others see it as a psychological blueprinct of the psyche. Still others see it as a glorious landscape people with fabulous mythological figures. I am one of those and I will be sharing my `astrotales’ with you.

But everyone sees a natal chart very differently. It is a life, their life.

A life lived is a chart interpreted. Even if someone never has a natal chart drawn up, the life continues to be lived.

If a person was never told that progressed Venus had conjuncted the natal Sun at an age when marriage could be expected, something important would still occur at that time, and marriage would be one of the options. In the debate about free will or fate, the answer is quite simple really. Life presents us with timed options. We have little to do with that. A parent dies, something changes that is out of our control…that may be termed fate. What we do about it is free will.

An astrologer draws up a natal chart and is presented with a good deal of information about that person. But the astrologer also knows that much of this life has already been lived, and the chart interpreted, by the individual whose chart it is. The reason to have a natal chart drawn up and interpreted is quite simple: We are curious about ourselves, and want to know why the stories of our lives unfold as they do, and how they may unfold in the future. But usually it takes a crisis in the life to bring this about.

The astrologer does not often see a subject who is not in crisis, who is merely curious. People have charts drawn up when they have literally “lost the plot”. Suddenly it becomes imperative to know the elements of the story so they can move onto the next chapter.

From this chart circle, dotted with glyphs and numbers, a picture will emerge to experienced eyes. If your personal life is in a mess, the astrologer will look at Venus and the Moon and what is happening there. If life has always been a struggle, the astrologer will look at Saturn for an explanation.
You will ask, why me? The astrologer will say, because there is a lesson to be learned here.

Is it just a matter of being born at the wrong time?
No, this chart is a life, with good and bad aspects, signs and houses just like everyone else. Up to now, the client have interpreted it as best as he or she could.

But once the natal chart is drawn up, the client learns that there are things he or she can do nothing about, and other areas where clear choices can be made.

Up to now, this person may have been pushing the wrong buttons. Faced with choices, he or she may have been surrendering to fate rather than exercising free will.

The natal chart frees us from fate. It gives us information that helps us make better choices.

What’s Happening Now?

•May 26, 2008 • 2 Comments

This will be the first of a series of regular blogs on current planetary influences. What they mean to you pesonally, of course, depends on the aspects they make to your own natal chart. You can create a natal chart for free at the astrodienst site, where you will also find loads of free information to help you understand it.

As I write, the Sun is in Gemini, and Venus has just entered this sign, which is a lovely influence for Gemiminans, especially those born in the 1st-15th degree of Gemini (around may 21-June 5). On June 8, the Sun, Venus and Mercury will all be conjunct (the same degree or very close) in Gemini. For those born around this date, you will be able to relax and celebrate with family and friends (after all, it is the weekend), but don’t worry to much about schedules, because Mercury is retrograde in your sign and that means nothing will go as planned because of delays and errors. Just go with the flow while Mercury is distracted. It only lasts until June 19, anyway,

The Moon is in Aquarius today, which is less upsetting than the recent full moon in Scorpio. That was actually a Blue Moon (the second in Scorpio in a month) and these can be very intense, especially if you are influenced by Scorpio in your natal chart. A Blue Moon tends to bring about defining events that dredge deeply into your soul, hardly the sweet romantic influence of the famous song!

Aquarius is heavily populated at the moment, with Neptune, the North Node and Chiron there. The Moon’s passage over these planets could be a very healing influence, particularly for people affected by the Aquarian desire to reach out to others in brother and sisterhood. For Aquarians with a birthday yesterday or today, this will be a year of forgiveness and healing, and of meeting people who will bring enlightenment into your life.

Mars is in Leo, thundering through a fire sign, and giving Leos tons of energy with which to exhaust everyone else (as is their wont). But Mars in Leo is not terribly warlike, more an upright defender of tradition and spectacle. The Beijing Olympics begin on August 8, when the Sun is in Leo, which should be enough spectacle for any King of the Beasts. Mercury is also moving forward rapidly in this sign, so expect quite a few records to be broken. The Sun is also moving into conjunction with the True Node – stars will emerge from among the competitors, and this conjunction adds a touch of fate to the proceedings.

But all that is well ahead – take advantage of the Moon’s healing energy now.

The Head and The Tail of the Dragon (The Moon’s Nodes)

•February 26, 2008 • 1 Comment


The Moon’s Nodes are not planetary bodies – they are the north and south points of the ecliptic, where the moon intersects the path of the sun. The North and South nodes are always directly opposite each other, but depending on your date of birth, each node will occupy a degree and a sign just like the planetary bodies.

The Nodes of the Moon always seemed to be activated in a chart when something important is going on, like a fateful meeting or change of direction in life. The North Node of the Moon is called the Dragon’s Head and shows the direction in which we are headed – the South Node is called the Dragon’s Tail, and it shows where we are coming from.

In a natal chart, these points are always taken into account – they depict the soul’s journey, with the South Node pointing to the past (and past lives, many astrologers believe) and the North Node pointing to the future. It may be that some of the attributes of the South Node need to be flicked away by the Dragon’s Tail, while we follow its head in a new direction.

You can find the position of your Lunar Nodes by having a natal chart done, or you can get one free at by entering your birth data.

Locate your North and South Node signs. Note the sign of the North Node, and its opposite, the South Node, which will be in the opposite sign.

North Node in Aries/South Node in Libra: You are moving away from dependence on relationships to independence. Your destiny is to be a pathfinder, a trail blazer. It may seem selfish to move on and leave relationships behind, but it is your destiny.

North Node in Taurus/South Node in Scorpio: Leave behind the obsessions and jealousies of the past and move toward a richer, fuller life. Cultivate good friends, good times and abundance. Your destiny is to find security without burdening yourself with anxieties.

North Node in Gemini/South Node in Sagittarius: For you, the world is fated to narrow, to become a smaller place. You may travel widely at first, but then you will find a place to call home, and your focus will be on more immediate, local matters. Communication will be the key to your life path.

North Node in Cancer/South Node in Capricorn: Leave behind the endless climb, the striving for success, the consuming material ambitions. Your destiny is to find what you define as success – a happy home, strong relationships, and a fulfilling emotional life.

North Node in Leo/South Node in Aquarius: Yours is the path of pride and tradition, of leaving behind the quest for individuality at all costs. You will carry with you the memory of those who broke the rules to make your heritage great, and you will strive to live up to that greatness.

North Node in Virgo/South Node in Pisces: Not for you the vague and undefined dream – your destiny is to find solace in the details, in the perfect minutae of life. Rather than the grandeur of the artist, your destiny is to seek the satisfaction of the craftsman and the artisan.

North Node in Libra/South Node in Aries: You have been a trail blazer, headstrong and often selfish – but now destiny calls you to explore your relationships with others, and find balance between the self and the other. You may have many relationships, but you are destined to find the one who completes you.

North Node in Scorpio/South Node in Taurus: Your destiny is to dig deeper into your own soul and transform as the phoenix rises from the ashes of its old self. You need to learn to avoid jealousy and obsession and to leave behind attachment to material things.

North Node in Sagittarius/South Node in Gemini: The world is your oyster – travel widely, learn, seek mentors among the finest minds. Your destiny is to leave behind the narrow focus of the time and place in which you were born, and to seek grand ideas, great adventures.

North Node in Capricorn/South Node in Cancer: Your destiny calls you to leave the safety of the hearth and the fire side and climb as high as your mountain goat spirit wills. Your ambition should be to provide security and strength in business, and to work with the highest ethical considerations.

North Node in Aquarius/South Node in Leo: Your destiny calls you to break with tradition, and leave the ego behind. You will be less than conventional, even considered eccentric, but you are not bound by what others think.

North Node in Pisces/South Node in Virgo. Leave behind the details – for you, the Devil is the details. Let your imagination soar, seek transcendence and free yourself from petty distractions. Yours in the spirit that seeks communion with the infinite.

Blue Moon…

•June 9, 2007 • 5 Comments

Everyone knows this song, I should think – “Blue Moon, you saw me standing alone, without a dream of my own, without a love in my heart…”
What many of you may not know is that there is an actual “blue moon” phenomenon, which has come to be recognised as two full moon events in one calendar month. The upcoming bLue Moon on June 30 is even more rare and special.
You see, due to the time difference between the North and South Hemispheres, you in the North already had your Blue Moon on May 31. The first full moon was on May 2 in Scorpio, the second blue moon on May 31 in Sagittarius.
But in the South, that Sagittarian full moon fell on June 1, making it the first full moon of the month. The Blue Moon falls on June 30 in Capricorn. What a delcious anomaly – two blue moons in two months on opposite sides of the world.
What does a Blue Moon mean in astrology? Well, pretty much as the old saying goes – “once in a blue moon” – something rare, an opportunity, a chance, a surprise, something that doesn’t happen very often. It is most potent if it falls on your birthday, or on the position of the Moon in your chart.
Here are the significant degrees of the Sun signs, so you can check up to see if you have anything there which the moon will activate – the moon moves much more quickly, so just check what you have in the those signs that may be activated by its transit.

On May 2 2007, the Sun was at 11 degrees Taurus, the Moon in the opposite sign of Scorpio.
On May 31-June 1, the Sun was at 9-10 degrees of Gemini, the Moon in the opposite sign of Sagittarius.
On June 30, the Sun will be at 8 degrees of Cancer, the Moon in the opposite sign of Capricorn.