…in astrological terms, being 59 means you’re in the middle of your second Saturn Return, when Saturn transits its own place for the second time in your life. It’s generally regarded as a pretty heavy time, of restrictions and difficulties.
By accident, I’ve just stumbled on the blog of a fellow astrologer who was born in the same year and is therefore also experiencing his Saturn Return. He wibbles on about it quite a bit, about the fear, the doubts and so on. Makes a bit of a deal of it.
For me the Saturn Return (so far – I’ve still got the third and last ‘hit’ to go) hasn’t been too different from life during the last few years, except ratcheted up by a factor of two or three – it’s just yet more of the same old worries about money and security that I deal with all the time. It’s wearing, wearying and tiresome, but I know I can deal with it. Sometimes I think that the worst thing that Saturn could do to me would be for me to win the Lottery jackpot; I think I’d lose all sense of purpose if I had nothing at all to worry about.
As I said, this astrologer makes a big thing of what he’s going through – but he’s right about at least one thing. It really does make you think and wonder about your personal future, about your purpose, about what you’ll leave behind. That’s been on my mind a lot lately, and I’m beginning to lay plans.

On a slightly different topic – this astrologer is spending his Saturn Return travelling. He’s presently going around a few of the prettier bits of the West Country and Wales, before travelling to Palestine to work (apparently, he’s none too clear on just what he’ll be doing there) as a ‘spiritual activist’.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favour of him and others going out to help there. But I do wonder – why this activist focus on Palestine, why do so many people think that it’s so overwhelmingly important in the world that they have to drop everything to fly out there and give some sort of help? There are plenty of other conflicts, plenty of other oppressed peoples desperately needing aid – just look at the news.
Plus, what about all the communities needing help in this country? As I said, this astrologer is “travelling around Britain”, but is keeping to just a few of the nicer bits. No cities or ravaged industrial areas (or any part of Scotland even) feature on his itinerary. That’s his choice, of course; but I do wonder why he misses out so much. (Yeah, I’m a nosy cow; with a Scorpio Moon, I’m always wondering about peoples’ inner motivations.) Somebody experienced in counselling, community organising and conflict resolution, as he is, could find plenty of purposeful and rewarding work without having to leave home.
For lots of peace/leftist activists, Palestine is the big focus of their attentions; I get the distinct feeling that it has hugely symbolic and psychological associations for them, far beyond the mere matters of politics and human rights. The same thing goes goes for many other groupings of course; anti-abortionists hold up picture of babies and scream about “murder of the innocents”, animal-rights activists do the same with animals, Christian fundamentalists do it with Bibles. And so on. All invest the object of their particular cause with enormous symbolic significance that more often than not obscures the reality of that object. With some groupings, to point at that their presentation of their symbol does not accord with reality is to invite attack as “The Enemy”. Try telling some Christian fundies that the Bible isn’t inerrent, or an ALF activist that medical researchers try to treat their animal subject humanely (to take just two examples) and you find out the huge personal and psychological investment they have in their pet cause, their fetish-object. So much so that any hint that their view of this fetish-object does not accord with reality actually threatens their sense of identity.
Anyway, I’m trying to point out that people rarely apply rationality to the causes they hold dear; and much prefer to construct something that fits in with their thinking, rather than change their thinking. I was reminded of this the other day, when I came across an article opining that children with autism and Aspergers Syndrome (the fluff-bunny New Agey writer clearly had no idea that there are many adults on the autism spectrum) are “transhuman” and the next stage in human evolution. Now, as an adult with Asperger’s, the prospect of being put on a pedestal and labelled “transhuman” doesn’t thrill me at all, any more than being labelled “mentally ill” or “dysfunctional”. I am a human person and want to be accepted as such, not hidden away under a label. Putting a catch-all label on somebody effectively makes them Other, so that you don’t have to bother with dealing with them on a human level.
It’s my feeling that the many political and human rights activists who are so caught up in the Palestinian cause think the same way about Palestinians; for them, Palestinians have become symbols of human suffering and wrongdoing, something to hang their righteous anger on, something to march for and shout about, not human beings. The astrologer who is going to Palestine actually writes that he admires them for their large families and is looking forward to being amongst one – even though he’s certainly intelligent enough to realise that Palestinian women don’t have much choice about marrying and having children, that big families are the norm in places like Palestine largely because there is little in the way of material and social stability and that the small, fragmented families that he despises in the West are the result of social stability and universal welfare. It’s clear that big, nurturing, close families are something he longs for.

….I think my Astro*Diary site may now be taking off – today I have scooped the other astrology sites with an article by Robert Blaschke on the phenomenal Susan Boyle. Every astrologer has been gagging for her chart data and I got it (almost) first.
He sent it to me as a PDF; it took me over four hours to format it into HTML – most of the time was taken with redoing the six charts with it, which I was unable to extract from the document. But getting it finished, uploading then announcing it – and Twittering it! – was highly satisfying. My site stats are already climbing, with hits coming in from worldwide. It’s a good feeling when you know that loads of people are seeing your hard work.

So now I’m having a rest.

I’m getting more involved in Facebook – I’m now in the networks of two daughters and a son-in-law. Nice to be able to keep up with family like this.
For the last 24 hours, I’ve had a headache. It’s much better now, but was pretty bad yesterday. I had the spend the day lying down; B cooked me some tea, but I could only get a couple of mouthfuls down. That is not normal, for me, especially when the food involves chips! Think maybe it’s an infected sinus – blowing my nose certainly helps.
Anyway, last night, while I was lying on the sofa with nothing much to do except making the occasional piteous groan, I thought of making use of the Transit website I had spent so much time developing (and only then found it wasn’t wanted). I’d been thinking generally of ways to increase our income, and of doing more to my Astrodiary site – I haven’t had a single order from it in the year or more that it’s been up – when I thought that I could very well attract traffic to it by turning it into a astrological news magazine.
This would involve finding stories for it, of course. But I keep coming across stuff that I would have put into the old Transit magazine; I still have the development Transit site on my computer and it already has a lot of content, in the form of copious links, news stories and an events diary, that could be transferred straight over. I still run the AA Diary, and I don’t think that anybody is going to complain if I add their events to this site as well.

So, busy making plans….

……out here in the hall; I’m giving serious consideration to B’s suggestion that I should move my computer into the living room. Trouble is, there isn’t anything big enough to put it on except the (ex-kitchen) table that it’s currently sitting on, and finding room will be difficult. So for now I’ll put on another cardi instead. Our central heating really needs replacing (the radiator behind me is barely warm), but that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.
At least I don’t have anything terribly urgent to get on with this week. I’m making good progress with the new website for Transit. It doesn’t have to be ready for another month, but it’s pretty much ready to go online now; I just need to add more content and fill out the year’s Diary.
Developing this website has really fired me up for doing more of the same – I’ve been delving into the WordPress code and I’m starting to make sense of it; hacking it to do what I want is looking very possible. If it was warmer, I’d spend an evening or two getting a new site together for the blog. But that’s for later. Hopefully, I can get some business from building more such sites – got to find something to replace the lost income when the final printed version of Transit goes out in March.

Ah well. In the meantime, here’s something that I wrote as an editorial for the next Transit – it will be in the last printed edition and the first online edition:
Hildegard of Bingen's art depicting Ecclesia and SophiaChoosing an image for the cover of the printed version of Transit was always a job that I left until last – I had to have the whole magazine assembled before I could start thinking about a cover. Invariably, the final image would just pop up almost randomly and would often be completely different from whatever I had started planning. At times this process got me far too close to the deadline for comfort. But, usually, the image that came up out of nowhere would be striking and apt.

While working on the development of this site, I decided that each section (Council News, Data Corner etc) would have its own readily identifiable logo, or icon. So I started writing down ideas; for most sections, an image came readily to mind – a globe for World News, the AA logo for Council News and so on. Then I came to Sophia Centre News. What on earth could symbolise Sophia?
As I often do, I went to Google Images for inspiration. There I found that unlike most deities, poor Sophia seemed to have no easily recognised symbol or appearance. I found her variously portrayed as a mermaid, a dove, a winged woman as well as numerous shapely Classical beauties (usually with whole galaxies of stars whirling around their well-coiffed heads). So, unable to find anything definite, I decided to stick to my tried and trusted routine of leaving the problem to stew in my subconscious for the time being.
At that point, I started wondering what was happening in my personal natal chart. I seldom look at my transits and hardly ever check my progressions (much of the time, I don’t even know what sign my progressed Moon is in). However, this was at the beginning of January – the start of a new year, and working on a new Transit. Very appropriate for checking up on my chart; so I fired up my astrology program.
I already knew that I was experiencing my second Saturn return, with Uranus opposing it (and the two of them opposing/conjuncting my Sun) – that had been happening for months. The big surprise was finding that my progressed Sun, at 15 degrees of Taurus, was exactly (to the minute!) trine my natal Saturn at fifteen degrees of Virgo; moreover, my progressed Moon was in early Capricorn and would be forming a trine with both later this year. What a lot of Saturn, Earth and Capricorn!
An even bigger surprise came when Mike Harding gave me Transit’s ‘birth data’ – the date that John Addey proposed that members should have a small newsletter. This was February 1st 1971, when Saturn was at, yes, 15 degrees of Taurus.
Ummm… More Saturn! (There are other significant links in the synastry too, but I’ll leave those for now.)

Saturn, Saturn, Saturn – what does it all mean? That’s what I’m still asking myself. But, possibly, it’s all connected with Wisdom and the getting thereof (“Sophia” means Wisdom). Saturn is usually portrayed as an old man – but plenty of old women know more than a bit about Saturnian matters. Perhaps Wisdom is the other face of Saturn, the one that is shown to you when you’ve passed a few Saturn trials? Perhaps, perhaps…

As of the date of writing I still haven’t found a image, by the way. But it will pop up eventually – Sophia/Saturn will see to that.

For me, the big event of the day was an exact astrological opposition between Uranus and Saturn. So I’ve avoided getting involved in any celestial pile-ups by spending my time at the pooter, struggling to get to grips with Joomla. My long-awaited Building Websites With Joomla 1.5 arrived last week, but I was too busy before to make a start on it.
It’s translated from the German, not altogether perfectly. So there are some awkwardnesses and strange phraseology – “barrier freedom” in particular puzzled me, until I worked out that it was what the Germans call Web Accessibility. But overall, it looks like a very good buy, and I’m now busy getting the Oakleaf Circle website converted to Joomla.

Oh, yes, and there’s some sort of election going on, I think…

Think I’ll have a listen to some Einstuerzende Neubauten – gloomy Germanic post-industrial rock seems to fit my mood a lot lately (I blame Saturn).

So, spent most of the evening designing my new site. The results are here (the links aren’t working yet). I quite like it…
Still haven’t decided where I’m going to keep this blog. Shoving it onto a new domain would be the simplest answer, but I’m worried about the expense of hosting; putting it onto a subdomain here wouldn’t cost anything extra, but I’m not sure how to go about moving it. Moving it to a subdomain would probably be exactly the same as moving it to another domain, but how about the MySQL database? Would that have to be reconfigured? Hmmm, got to research this…..
And what about my astrology services? Where would I put that page? To be honest, much as I like the theory, I’m not that committed to be a practicing astrologer; in fact, I’ve never really taken to it – though I’ll hand out advice, being an agony aunt isn’t my thing. And it’s been months since anybody asked me for a reading. So – do I keep that on?

ETA: Whooo! Did it! Moved everything into a sub-directory, reassigned the blog URL in the admin panel. And it all works. Naturally I backed up everything first – belt & brace, belt & braces….
Now I have to write some pages to go on the main site!