Heaven Obscured

Confusion in the People
Navigating the Tides of Change

This Carter Memorial Lecture was first given to the English Astrological Association's annual conference on the 29th August, 2003 in York, England

Astrologers everywhere are living in a heightened state of awareness this year because Uranus is changing signs. Even more interesting, it is entering into mutual reception with Neptune. We are all looking for clues in history, watching the news, and observing each other and ourselves for signs of the new conditions we might expect. For an astrologer the pleasure of this leads to the work of translating what we discover into every chart we do; bringing the patterns of the outer planets with their sweeping, collective stories right into the heart of personal lives. We are the navigators, reading the winds and tides for those who call on our skill and art.

On the 10th of March this year (2003), Uranus went into Pisces. Along with most other astrologers in the Western world, I had been tuning myself to this event for months before it occurred. This is the picture I have by my desk, to honour this transit. It is Hokusai’s The Great Wave. The book from which I took this picture says that the print was made from the original woodblock in 1836. Uranus was in Pisces. In fact, it was the last mutual reception with Neptune before our own. It’s a beautiful image, and the interesting thing about it is that you can look at it and see an exhilarating and joyous image or you can see a frightening one. You can start out seeing it one way and then turn it into the other. Whichever way you see it has more to do with how you see, than the image itself. But you can go farther with it too: how would feel if you were in one of those boats? Would it be frightening? Ecstatic? Will the people in the boats survive the ride through the wave? Probably, but there’s always a risk in wild water.

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