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Venus into Aries, Busy Mercury & the Sun – Venus Reception Summer School Updates – Your choice of courses/places still available

The Astrology Blog 20 February 2023

All times in GMT


The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves.”

Victor Hugo



“I always believed that when you follow your heart or your gut, when you really follow the things that feel great to you, you can never lose, because settling is the worst feeling in the world.”


Rihanna – 20 February 1988, 35 today – Happy Solar Return



DATES FOR EACH COURSE – every date given is a Wednesday, the day you fly in, and return flights are the following Wednesday. Course days are Thurs/Fri and Sun/Mon, the rest of the time is your own to enjoy the whole Greek island experience.

Ideal for singles, group meals organised for the evenings, you never have to be alone unless you wish to be.


This year I’m using a lovely block of studios, set in their own gardens and leading directly onto the beach. For the first two weeks of our season – so Chris Mitchell’s week and then Elisabeth Brooke’s – this block is exclusively for Summer School students at excellent rates. I’m doing room allocations as of now, first come first served, please do get in touch if you’d like to find out more.



Here are the six courses planned for the 21st season of The Greek Island Summer School along with the number of places still available on each.

The best way to check current flight prices and choices is to go to Skyscanner. The destination airport is Preveza Aktio (PVK), 45 minutes transfer to Nidri –

17 MAY 2023

  • Unlock the Secrets of Medieval Astrology

With Dr Chris Mitchell

24 MAY 2023

  • The Astrology of Families

With Elisabeth Brooke

31 MAY – no course planned for this week as this is UK schools half term week, but available for a private booking of 1 to 4 people, on requested subjects.

7 JUNE 2023

With Joanna

30 AUGUST 2023

  • The Astrology of Relationships

With Joanna


With Sally Kirkman


(May include some astrology – to be decided with those taking part)  
With Joanna



If you’re a serious student of astrology one of the ways to learn is to follow the news and to match the current astrological picture to world events as well as to personal ones. In this sense a great deal of astrological knowledge is empirical, in other words verifiable by observation or experience rather than theory or pure logic.

Possibly the single biggest obstacle to getting to grips with how astrology works is to imagine that it’s “causal”. It’s not. The planets don’t MAKE things happen. Rather they reflect back to us in some magical way what IS happening, universally and individually. This connection between above and below becomes even more apparent when you look at “retrodiction” – what’s already happened in your horoscope and therefore in your life – as opposed to “prediction” – what is going to happen.

The dominant feature of last week was the Sun – Saturn conjunction, which falls once a year, as do the Sun’s conjunctions with all of the other planets. This one fell at 27 Aquarius. As Saturn has a 29.5 year cycle he takes about 2.5 years to get through a sign, and we’re now preparing for Saturn’s ingress into Pisces 7 March. There’ll be the usual long retrograde loop this year but he won’t slide back into Aquarius –

  • 7 March – Saturn ingress Pisces
  • 17 June – Saturn turns retrograde at 7 Pisces
  • 4 November – Saturn turns direct at 0 Pisces
  • 28 February 24 – the next Sun – Saturn conjunction at 9 Pisces

The Sun – Saturn conjunctions fall at a slightly later date each year, reflecting Saturn’s slow progress through the heavens –

4 February 2022 – 15 Aquarius
16 February 2023 – 27 Aquarius
28 February 2024 – 9 Pisces
12 March 2025 – 22 Pisces
26 March 2026 – 5 Aries

See Jamie Partridge’s website for this and any other planetary aspect that you want to research, it’s a mine of information –

As discussed last week Saturn is “the enemy of The Lights”, the Sun and the Moon, being strong in the signs where they are weak and vice versa –

  Dignity Detriment
Sun Leo Aquarius
Saturn Aquarius Leo
Moon Cancer Capricorn
Saturn Capricorn Cancer


In any conjunction the rules of craft tell us to assess the conditions of the planets involved in order to establish which is the stronger, in this case Saturn who rules endings and limitations. The Sun rules the life force, Saturn at the other end of the spectrum rules the end of life and can therefore figure largely at times of illness and, ultimately, dying. Before the discovery of the modern planets Saturn was the end of the known universe, we could go no further.

As always with these major conjunctions you’ll note that they manifest at both a universal and personal level. For me the conjunction fell just half a day before the exact anniversary of losing my twin sister Sue, 6 years ago. For those of you who’ve suffered similarly devastating bereavements you’ll probably agree that the passing of years doesn’t make things easier, but in some ways actually harder. This is one of the things that nobody ever tells you, but it becomes apparent. We also received the ashes of Miles, a friend and valued member of our community who died here in Greece 8th February.

We also expect matching breaking news to fall either on the day or within 24 hours of the astrological event, especially the 24 hours prior to the event when the aspect is “applying” (becoming exact). Allow longer windows of time for the slower moving planets but with the Sun a rough guide is a day either side.


The day before this Sun – Saturn conjunction the headlines were the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon, which took her own party and the world by surprise. I can’t find the original report I read but the striking point was that the day before her resignation she’d attended a funeral (Saturn). It was then that her decision crystallized. In subsequent interviews she described the world of politics as “brutal” and knew that she’d reached her own limits (Saturn).

The implications were clear. She wasn’t just exhausted with the job, she was contemplating her own mortality. She’s recently had her Chiron Return (which we all get every 50/51 years). In her horoscope the Wounded Healer is at 10 Aries in the 6th House, where we locate work in terms of crafts and skills but also the daily grind, and health.

Jupiter, the Liberator, is at 10 Aries today, the Moon – Jupiter conjunction this month falls on this Wednesday evening at 10 Aries. And to put that in perspective Jupiter transits all our natal planets just once every 12 years. She also had the New Moon at 1 Pisces conjunct her Moon’s North Node at 3 Pisces.


A high profile case in the UK these last three weeks has been the other Nicola, the tragedy of Nikki Bulley. She went missing on 27 January while walking her dog near the River Wyre in Lancashire, very close to where I was brought up and where I still have family.

On the day she went missing Venus had just moved into Pisces and when I clicked on the news yesterday I was aware that Venus was at the end of this sign, 29 Pisces, which is the degree of the malefic Fixed Star of Scheat. Venus’ final aspect before changing sign was also yesterday, to Pluto (loss, endings) at 29 Capricorn, so both planets on a “critical degree” (underlining the theme of endings).

I was therefore expecting some serious news about a well known woman (Venus) and sadly Nikki Bulley was the headline news. Formal identification still isn’t completed but it’s obviously Nikki who was finally found in the river. Scheat is associated with suffering and tragic misadventures, especially misfortune associated with water.

I’ve noticed that there’s often also mystery around Scheat, such as the death of Marilyn Monroe who had Uranus at 29 Pisces in the 8th House (death). There are now questions about why it took three weeks to find Nikki in a river that is so narrow that in places it’s no more than a stream, and she was recovered only a mile from where she went missing. Doesn’t add up.

Other tragic Scheat news is the devastating storms that have battered Brazil’s coast, bringing heavy flooding and landslides, resulting in neighbourhoods under water, flooded motorways and houses swept away.

If you want to learn more about Fixed Stars they’re all listed on Deborah Houlding’s website. You’ll also see that all the introductory info about the planets on this site are taken from my first book, Astrology for Today



Here’s your “at a glance” picture for this week, with only Mercury making any major aspects. It’s also worth noting the Moon’s conjunctions if you like to add some finer details into your astrological picture, and this week we have the monthly Moon conjunct Jupiter and then Uranus. We end the week with a minor aspect between the Sun and Venus, again worth noting as it’s the first aspect to involve Venus on her new journey through Aries that started first thing this morning –

Monday 20 February

  • Venus ingress Aries 07.57

Tuesday 21 February

  • Mercury 15 Aquarius square Uranus 15 Taurus 23.23

Wednesday 22 February 

  • Mercury 16 Aquarius trine Mars 16 Gemini 20.15
  • Moon conjunct Jupiter 10 Aries 22.49

Friday 24 February           

  • Moon ingress Taurus 08.30

Saturday 25 February

  • Moon conjunct Uranus 15 Taurus 12.26

Sunday 26 February

  • Sun 7 Pisces semi-sextile Venus 7 Aries 16.13



Venus is in dignity in Libra, sign of partnership, and therefore is said to be in detriment in the opposite sign of independent Aries. This does not mean that all Venus in Aries individuals are doomed to failure in romance but their task is not an easy one. Venus in Mars’ sign can be a troubled combination. Derek Appleby used to say that this Venus placing nearly always linked to a more than usually difficult adolescence, and often it’s the relating skills of things like consultation, negotiation and compromise that suffered. I’ve often noticed that Venus in Aries reflects a feisty streak and often fierce independence. But that doesn’t always equate to singledom.

Famous Venus in Aries types in the news? Rihanna. She played the half time slot at last weekend’s Superbowl and used the event to reveal her second pregnancy. Social media went into meltdown. The Moon is the most important factor in pregnancy astrology, so note that the New Moon this morning at 1 Pisces is exactly conjunct her Sun at 1 Pisces.

This was also great astrology for her comeback, as she’s been off the music scene for six years, and had her first baby last May. Nobody gets paid for these performances because the exposure is so massive that this is pay in itself. This Superbowl had an estimated audience of over 190 million.

Rihanna has Moon, Venus and Ascendant all in Aries – 11, 13 and 15 degrees respectively – and for her performance and announcement she was dressed top to toe in red (Aries/Mars colour). Jupiter – blessings and expansion! – transiting a natal Moon is an extremely common transit for a happy pregnancy.


Same applies to Princess Eugenie. Jupiter rules her 5th House of children and was transiting her Sun and Mercury in Aries when the news of her second pregnancy was reported.


Mercury the Winged Messenger dominates the beginning of the week. Mercury combined with any other planet points to significant news, decisions, information, conversations and anything else that comes under the huge umbrella of communication. The nature of the other planet adds the details –

Tuesday 21 February

  • Mercury 15 Aquarius square Uranus 15 Taurus 23.23

Wednesday 22 February 

  • Mercury 16 Aquarius trine Mars 16 Gemini 20.15

Mercury – Uranus combinations, especially by stressful aspects like the square or opposition, are whacky. The hallmarks to look out for are the unexpected, changes, wakeup calls, cancellations and the whole list of things that we would normally associate with Mercury when retrograde. This includes problems with technology, phones and cars. Uranus loves to throw a spanner in the works. Proceed with caution, especially in any situation that is already touchy.

The Mercury – Mars is a positive alliance in terms of the aspect, the trine being formed when the two planets share the same element, and is strengthened by the fact that Mars is in Mercury’s sign and still picking up speed since turning direct on 12 January. Great for written work or admin of any kind. Great for making definite choices if you’ve been juggling options, powering through jobs or organizing anything related to groups or teamwork.

However Mars is still Mars, the god of war, and this aspect can nevertheless spell heated words and conflict. Being hard on the heels of the Mercury – Uranus square don’t be surprised if you encounter bolshy, argumentative people or if you feel irritated or overwhelmed by the demands being made on you, emotionally, practically or time wise. Pace yourself and remember your right to say no.


Any combination of these two is good news because they can only ever meet up by conjunction (same sign) or semi-sextile (one sign apart). Venus never moves more than 46 degrees away from the Sun and therefore the next aspect, the sextile (two signs apart = 60 degrees) is not astronomically possible.

This particular alliance is strengthened by the fact that the two bodies involved are in what’s called a “Mixed Reception”. The Sun is in Pisces (Venus’ sign of exaltation) and Venus is in Aries (the Sun’s sign of exaltation). This is lovely symbolism for things like compatibility, healthy compromises and any kind of arrangements or agreements that are mutually beneficial. Receptions also suggest that there are moves we can make, things that can be swapped over, that will bring out the best in people or the potential of a situation.

The Reception will obviously be in play until one of the planets changes sign, which will be Venus, moving into Taurus on 16 March.  So we have three weeks of this rather delightful collaboration but the moment of their exact alliance this coming weekend is the hotspot and may well be packed with clues for what’s to come, especially if you have natal planets or Angles at 7 Aries/Pisces.

Next week we’re going to have the glorious Venus – Jupiter conjunction at 12 Aries. I’m watching them dazzle in the night sky right in front of my garden, drawing closer and closer, so this will be the big theme for next time along with Saturn’s last week in Aquarius,

Until then, with love from Greece


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