One of my strongest childhood memories from school days was the humiliation of coming last in running races. Every single bloody time! And not just a little bit last, but a loooooong way last. Even though I was a bean pole of a kid, all skinny and gangly, my legs felt like lead. It was like running with a concrete building perched on top of me. I was not built for speed. That certainly didn’t change over the years! What I did learn to do was find a way to wangle sports days, and instead would head off down to the Condamine River, and there I would swim naked with the school boys who also fancied leaving the running to other people.
The Condamine River, Warwick, Qld, Australia
A couple of years ago, after having private laboratory testing for my adrenal and thyroid health, the report came back with the firm message: medically advised not to exercise. It was like a kick in the guts. I’d been carrying excess weight for a number of years that wouldn’t shift regardless of calorie restriction or exercise. Being told that exercise was injurious to my health was the last straw. I, being a determined Capricorn, continued to walk, and added weight-resistance exercises to my daily life. I kept cardio limited to walking and use of the recumbent bike and a little bit on the rowing machine. Over the past two years I’ve slowly built my body up and have learnt to become friends with it after feeling betrayed by it for so long. I took up swimming and aquafit classes, too, until swimming in water for several hours a week had a negative impact (chlorine is one of the worst things for the thyroid).
I have so often felt at my wits’ end, and the frustration of living a healthy lifestyle, but having a body which doesn’t reflect that, has many times left me questioning everything I’ve learnt about nutrition and health. It would be (and has, at times, been) too easy to fall into victim mode, but each day is a new day and I keep searching, exploring, and experiencing ways to be as healthy as possible.
One thing I have learnt is that stress of any description is a massive endocrine interrupter and is no one’s friend.
I’m not sure what inspired it really, maybe it was watching my friend Sara learn to run, but I got to the point of thinking: I have to do something radically different. I have to do something my body isn’t expecting or thinks it can do.
I found myself standing in the magazine section at the supermarket looking at publications of interest: Vegan Life, Gluten Free, Yoga, Gardening, Rural Landscapes, etc.
Women’s Running magazine sat there as if to say ‘why not?’ I laughed at the idea. Me, run? Don’t be stupid! Apart from having a body that doesn’t run: big (okay, huge) breasts, legs like lead, shoulders which have dislocated more than a dozen times, poor adrenal history, low thyroid; the magazine whispered something to me. I left it on the shelf.
A bit of bedtime reading!
Each week I’d pass the magazine section, and it would catch my eye. I wasn’t stupid enough to pick it up!
And then one day I noticed our local gym was going to start a Couch to 5k programme. Essentially you go from being a non-runner to learning to run 5kms over the space of about 9 weeks. I was on the verge of signing up. What stopped me? Was it because it was Winter and I was scared of slipping on ice? Yep, good reason not to do it! The last thing my shoulders need is for me to sleep up and cause more injuries to an already fragile body.
The REAL reason I didn’t sign up was actually because I thought my pelvic floor wouldn’t hold up. I’ve been on trampolines and rebounders, and figured running would have the same impact, and frankly, I didn’t fancy peeing my pants in public. So, I let go of the idea.
I felt like I’d let myself down, big time, but continued walking for half an hour on the treadmill (at 6kms an hour) several days a week, as a warm up to my weight-resistance work. Each day I could feel myself becoming stronger and faster.
Some months later, I googled C25k again. I read through the programme, and searched people’s success stories. What if I ran on my own, somewhere near home, where no one would see me? It was a Thursday, and I decided that come Monday I’d give it a go. I love Mondays, and knew it would be a good day of the week to start. However, the next day was a beautiful sunny Friday morning. I was out walking collecting feathers to use on an altar for a wedding I was due to officiate the following day. The Sun felt fabulous on my skin. I was alive, and happy with life, and suddenly the thought overwhelmed me: start C25k right now! And my legs moved. They moved! I looked at my watch and checked the time. And that’s how my first day of running started.
No matter which way I run out of our village, I am blessed with beautiful scenery.
I love running through woodland
Saturn was conjunct my ascendant. I love Saturn. Most astrologers and students of astrology pass on the idea that it’s a malefic planet which brings no good. But I love Saturn. It’s the Wise Elder of the zodiacal system. Saturn, to me, is the Fairy Godmother dressed in Crone’s clothing. She teaches us about plans, goals, discipline, and just getting on with things. She is the Goddess of Responsibility, and when we embrace that life is a pleasure rather than a slap in the face. I adore how Saturn just gets on with it all, without a fuss, and makes things happen.
A day I will remember! This was my first run as an Oma (grandmother!) I felt so high with love and joy about the birth of beautiful Sarah Hope, and each step felt like a breeze. I was covered in sweat in this pic, and so glad to be alive.
I’m now in week five of this programme (I had a week or so off between week 4 and 5 due to being away on work commitments) and am in absolute AWE at how I have adapted to life on two feet. My body wakes up and expects me to run, and the hardest thing for me at the moment is ensuring I have rest days in between so my muscles and heart have time to heal and process the increased work load. Yesterday I could have run twice. For someone who wasn’t a runner, I most definitely am one now. I am blessed to have had this transit of Saturn over my Sagittarius ascendant (Sadge rules thighs/upper legs). Every time I run, I tell myself: I am fit, I am healthy, I am strong, I have powerful legs.
My daughter Eliza started C25k a week or so after me. She prefers to run in the evening, but on this occasion we ran together one night. Such fun!
I love the discipline of running: one foot after the other. Some days, the first part can feel like hard work, but by the end of the session my legs have loosened and warmed up.
It’s an amazing feeling to be outside at dawn and be part of the Earth waking up for the day
The runner’s high is real, people! Running sets me up for the rest of the day. It’s like a happiness drug times ten. This past week Mars, the planet of drive, energy, passion and athleticism, has travelled over my ascendant, too. Bonus! All that extra high-octane energy pumping through my leg muscles. I feel ever so grateful for it.
Often by week five of the Couch to 5k programme, people are considering pulling out. But Mars has given me a boost, and I can really get a sense that in one month from now I’m going to be able to run FIVE kilometres without stopping. Just over a month ago, running for one minute was monumental, and frankly, I thought I might just die when my heart pounded so much. I’m barely aware of my heart now when I’m running.
I love to run in the mornings (the ascendant in our natal chart rules sunrise), and I get such a buzz being out the door while my family sleeps, and then watching the Sun rise over the hills.
There is a whole world in every step that I take: the breeze through the wheat fields; geese on high; birdsong; wildflowers in bloom; brambles, early morning mist shrouding the horizon, a red hot air balloon gracing the sky, hares bounding through the fields. Alone with my thoughts, I am creating not only a healthy and fit body, but a way of life in which I carve out some time for me where I am free of distractions. One step at a time.
There are no words for being awake, alive and experiencing a new day come into being. Sunrise here in the Eden Valley.
Sunrise through the trees
Mist over the river
My natal Saturn is in Aries (the athlete). For 48 years, I have felt held back in terms of body movement (I was expelled from ballet class aged five for not being able to touch my toes!!). And now, Saturn, that Goddess of time, aging, discipline and dedication, is showing me that: if you have a body, you’re an athlete. Consciously using the energy of Saturn allows us to become the ‘author’ of that part of our chart, and the energy it contains. Bit by bit I am learning about the best way to use Aries, both physically and emotionally.
A gentle read by a Japanese novelist about his experience of running
One of the BEST books I’ve read in a long time. So inspirational. It’s about so much more than running: it is about life, love, the power of the mind, and about being the best we can be.
From Your Pace of Mine? by Lisa Jackson
As much as I am a Sun worshipper (I am an Aussie girl stuck in the cold north of England), I really love running in the rain
Veronika Robinson is the author of many books, both fiction and non-fiction.
I Create My Day: simple ways to create a beautiful and nourishing life, is one of her most recent publications. All her books are available as signed copies from www.veronikarobinson.com She is a second-generation astrologer, a women’s mentor, and a celebrant (weddings, funerals, namings, and other rites of passage) who officiates ceremonies throughout Cumbria.
https://veronikarobinson.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/logo-1.png00Veronika Sophia Robinsonhttps://veronikarobinson.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/logo-1.pngVeronika Sophia Robinson2016-08-31 10:04:112016-08-31 10:04:11Astrologer's Notebook: Life on Two Feet
As I eagerly await the birth of my first grandchild, I can’t help looking at the alignment of the planets, and wondering just where those personal planets will fall exactly. I already see how her birth will impact me (and herself/himself, of course) through the outer planets. (If she’s born while Venus is in Leo, it will fall in my 9th house of grandchildren, indicating to me that she is, in fact, a girl.)
My gorgeous aunties
What intrigues me is the place of ancestry and family of origin in the natal chart. What I do know, with certainty, is that this baby will have personal (inner) planets in either Leo or Virgo, or both. These are such strong themes and archetypes on our side of the family.
My MC (midheaven: the highest/most visible part of the birth chart) is Leo ~ the storyteller (novelist) and performer (celebrant), not to mention editing a magazine for twelve years about raising children (another Leo theme) consciously. I have Saturn resident in the natural home of Leo: the fifth house. It’s a deeply creative house, as well as being considered the house of children. I also have my Chiron (wounded healer/teacher) and North Node (soul’s purpose) there, in the house of Leo (5th house).
females in my family tree
I have three planets in industrious Virgo, and Lilith in my 6th house (the natural home of Virgo). And that’s just me!
My husband has Mercury and the Sun in Virgo, and Pluto, Eros and Saturn in Leo.
My daughter Eliza has a Virgo ascendant, North node in Virgo and a crazily jam-packed sixth house. Her fifth house (Leo’s natural home) is blessed with Venus, Mercury and Neptune resident there.
My mother has Neptune conjunct Moon in Virgo, and although I don’t have her birth time, am almost certain her Jupiter is in the 6th house. My mother’s mother was a Virgo.
My father had Moon in Leo and Neptune in Virgo.
Obviously this blessed baby is going to have DNA from her father’s side, too, but one thing is certain: we are not born blank slates. It’s understood that when we’re born we are encoded with every thought our parents had up to the point of birth, every thought their parents had, and so on for seven generations. Frankly, I find it quite scary! On the positive side, though, and certainly when I look at my grandchild’s family line on her mother’s side, there is an immense amount of creativity and skill to draw upon. She will be our fingertips as she steps forward into the future. Oh what a joy it will be to watch her create her life! I trust that whatever we have achieved, enjoyed and learnt, will be there in her DNA for her to claim, if she chooses, as helpful and useful in this journey called life.
Not long to wait now 🙂
Leo: the storyteller, actor, performer, children, creative flair, fire, drama, great hair!, solar energy.
Virgo: nutrition, health and well-being, earthy, mind, body and soul health, apprenticeships, mastery, perfection, attention to detail, editing, writing, gardening.
Veronika Robinson is a second-generation astrologer with an international practice. She works by Skype, and also offers face-to-face consultations from her home in Cumbria. www.veronikarobinson.com/astrologer
https://veronikarobinson.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/logo-1.png00Veronika Sophia Robinsonhttps://veronikarobinson.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/logo-1.pngVeronika Sophia Robinson2016-07-20 17:15:522016-07-20 17:18:49Astrologer’s Notebook: Gifts from the family tree
The astro-psychological significance of the first Mars return
At the moment of birth, the cosmic blueprint of the heavens is mirrored in a person’s birth chart. The planets keep moving, and throughout life we have transits which show where the planets have moved to. When the transiting planet moves over, or in relation to, a sensitive location in the birth chart, it indicates an experience or the timing of an event.
The orbit of Mars is approximately 687 days, a little less than two years. It has a retrograde period when the Earth is passing it in orbit.
In astrology, Mars is one of the personal planets, however, unlike the Sun (conscious self), Moon (mother/emotions), Venus (love) and Mercury (learning and communication), the energy of Mars is directed outward. It’s associated with energy and fire, and rules the sign Aries, a cardinal fire sign. The key signature of Mars is initiation and activity. The symbol of Mars is masculine: a sword and shield.
In mythology, the Greek god of War, was Aries. The Babylonians associated Mars with their god of war and destruction, Nergal.
On a physical level, Mars is represented by the muscular system which is vital for us to move. In astrology, our Mars placement shows where and how we are motivated…it’s what gets us out of bed in the morning, if it’s functioning well. We can consider the energy of Mars to be like a soldier: off to war; fighting and anger. However, it doesn’t have to be aggressive, if used consciously. Mars is the power of sunrise, new beginnings, passion, drive, pioneering spirit, dynamic force. Mars has all the power of a new shoot in Springtime, so full of life force and energy. It’s the warrior, the courageous one, the hero of war time.
Mars is about energy, and how we express that is up to us. It’s where we are (hopefully) most driven in our life. The placement and sign of Mars in our natal chart stimulates a sense of urgency; gives us zeal and boldness.
When Mars make his first ‘return’, that is, his first orbit around the Sun back to the same position it was in our natal (birth) chart, it coincides with what is known in society as the ‘terrible twos’. This time in a child’s life brings fear to the heart of many a new parent. The fear can be alleviated when we understand the importance of this powerful time in our child’s life, and hopefully it helps us to be more understanding next time we see a toddler ‘losing it’ in a supermarket queue.
The first Mars return wakes us up. It shows us that we’re independent from our parents. For the first time in our little lives we feel like we have ‘tools’. The most important piece of ammunition we have access to is the mighty sword called “NO!” We wield it high and low as if our lives depend on it. They do! At two, it feels like it’s the only thing that can save us from those big people who are trying to walk all over our newly-discovered will-power.
Mars needs a mission. Without one, he causes chaos. His dark side comes forward. When he knows where he’s heading, and what his purpose is, then he’s our best ally. Understanding where a child’s natal Mars is (that is, what sign and house Mars was in at the time of their birth), allows us, as a parent, teacher, caregiver/guardian, to find ways to help channel that energy. Mars expresses his warrior self in one of 12 signs (like garments of clothing), and he channels this upon a stage (one of 12 astrological houses which represent the different areas of human life). What works for one toddler will not work for all toddlers.
Mars is the part of our personality which acts as our defender. It’s what helps us stand up to others. In astrological terms, the purpose of Mars is to act. If the warrior energy is subdued by hours and hours of television or artificial toys, pacifiers, or sedentary lifestyle or overly-aggressive parent, then he might react in ways that don’t serve anybody. Mars doesn’t like to sit still or be subdued. It’s like asking an Olympic athlete to always walk at your 90-year-old grandmother’s pace. Sooner or later, he’s going to explode!
What other ways does Mars manifest? Competition, impulse, passion, anger, independence, courage, bravery and power. Are these negative traits? That depends. Mars gives us the courage to defend the underdog; the impulse to run cross-country; the passion to launch campaigns; determination to reach the finish line. Without Mars, we might never get out of bed!
An unhealthy or unused Mars is often projected onto other people: “She’s so controlling.” “He’s so mean.” “Why is she so competitive?” We’re not likely to project the shadow side of Mars if we’re consciously expressing our own drive and power.
That’s me in the green dress, aged 11, holding my baby brother Albert. My brothers Kam (yellow shirt), Rene, and my sister, Ramona.
Mars is on ‘fire’, and if he’s not comfortable he’ll burn everything in sight. Who gives direction to our little warrior Mars? Hopefully, it comes from our natal Sun (the King) or our Moon (the lunar Queen). Maybe Saturn is saddling him with responsibilities and he feels insecure? Perhaps Jupiter is expanding Mars out of all proportion, or Neptune has swamped him in damp clothes. Every natal chart is different, and Mars will express according to the strengths and challenges placed by other planets in the chart.
The force of Mars can be volcanic and ruthless. It can also be idealistic and independent. How do we support our toddlers as these energies come alive in them during their first Mars return? It’s our responsibility, as parents and elders of the community these children are growing up in, to offer a ‘container’ for their developing Mars energy. If we suppress this energy or even ignore it then a huge part of the evolving psyche is left unresolved only to be faced again approximately every two years, and in ways that can be far more painful than at the tender age of two.
Your two year old is like a new soldier with his first weapon. He feels powerful and strong. The exertion of will is the purpose of Mars. How do we handle the raging, defiant toddler? Do we walk away (checking to see if they’re safe) and leave them to it? Do we scream back and demand they get it together?
Many adults access their own Mars to deal with what can be incredibly trying times. Our job is NOT to kill off the child’s Mars. If you ‘discipline’ or punish a developing Mars, you will teach your child to expect a world full of anger and hostility. It’s not healthy, either, to let the child run amok and terrorise everyone in sight.
The parental handling of Mars is crucial. We do need to create boundaries or our child may grow up to be selfish, disrespectful and violent ~ even if only at the bi-annual Mars return. If we approach our “NO!!” wielding Mars warrior with equally-angry energy we won’t achieve anything. As the ‘wise elder’, the key duty is to model healthy boundaries which honour and respect people and property. When a parent is clear about what is or isn’t acceptable in their family community, then the child grows up learning that. Parents often don’t know what their own boundaries are, and their child’s emerging Mars senses this. As an adult, when you’re clear about what is or isn’t acceptable, your child feels this. You can draw boundary lines or create fences which don’t involve shouting matches.
I’m grateful that my girls grew up able to stand their ground and say “NO!” It’s a wonderful, and often healthy, tool.
Every single day we are a living example to our children of how to express healthy passion and boundaries. We’re in a co-creation with our children. There are times, often many times, where they’re asking us through their actions to show them where the limits are. In olden days, some towns had walls around them to keep the residents safe. These were often border towns, where they were likely to be invaded. In parenting, we sometimes have to create walls, not only for our child’s safety, but also for the well-being of others, including ourselves.
How do we like to express our innate drive and passion? What’s our ‘fighting’ style? That depends on your unique natal chart. At two, the child controls the world. Everyone bows to the little terrorist’s demands (well, that’s what we’d call him if he was 20 and holding everyone to ransom.)
Parenting through our child’s Mars actually begins at birth. Our baby learns about his own sense of worth through how we respond to his actions. Most of his behaviours are instinctive, but our response, nevertheless, is feedback to him. If we’re parenting consciously, for example attachment parenting, and breastfeeding our child on cue so he doesn’t experience hunger, and carry him in our arms, he’ll be aware on a cellular level that his actions (snuffling for the breast; wriggling) mean his desires get met.
By the time junior is about six to eight months old, Mars has transited from the point of his birth to approximately 90 degrees away. This stage is shown by the child making the correlation between their actions and how they feel. Their arms are free and they can grasp things within reach. This is a huge turning point in physical development.
Between one year of age and fourteen months, Mars has moved to be in opposition to the natal Mars. This is commonly the time when a toddler begins to walk. The child is getting a sense of their individuality. Between 18 to 20 months of age, we see the second Mars square. We also see a courageous toddler, full of energy, demanding to be noticed. He is asserting himself.
At two years of age (24-26 months), we have the first Mars return.
It is natural for a two year old to think they rule the Universe.
The sign your child’s Mars is in will show how they gain experience. The angles in their chart between other planets will show what will assist or get in the way of their path to assertion.
It’s important to remember that Mars goes retrograde in its cycle, and this can show up as a variation in the ages between when children reach milestones.
It seems to me to be incredibly cruel to call the toddler years The Terrible Twos. Perhaps it’s symptomatic of a culture which doesn’t own its own anger? At two, the little child is learning to defend themselves (what’s wrong with that?) and learning how they can get what they desire. It was always going to be an intense time! It’s experimental for the little one. There’s a whole lot of unfamiliar energy invading their tiny body.
Although we’ll have Mars return to its natal position every two or so years throughout our lives, the first one is the most important that we’ll ever experience. How our caregivers handle it will determine the way we respond to it throughout life.
That cherubic baby so full of smiles and gurgles is now stamping down their padded feet and screaming like a banshee. It’s not pretty, but it’s not bad. This is their initiation into independence. How you greet them and how you ordain them through this right of passage will shape them for life. It is his Mars mission to challenge you at every turn. Are you ready for the challenge? Are you prepared to be conscious through their journey even if your parents weren’t conscious during your first (or subsequent) Mars return?
Mars also represents our ability to be sporty or athletic. Most children would greatly benefit from physical activity to channel the excess energy. Try swimming, rebounding (mini-trampoline), toddler dancing, Tumble Tots and other activities. Daily walks are a must, and suitable for any budget.
The child’s job is to express his needs and desires. The parent’s job is to model how to express that appropriately. Even if you have to say no, you can always ‘hear’ the child. The difference between a difficult Mars return and a healthy one is that the toddler is being acknowledged and heard, even if their demands aren’t met.
If the toddler doesn’t have his new-found energies met graciously, he’s more likely to become someone who uses aggression to gain attention. (It’s better to be wanted by the police than not wanted at all). The parenting decisions you make at this crucial point determine whether your child will become a victim or a bully.
One of the most challenging aspects for parents at this time is that it brings up how they were parented during their first Mars return. Parents often feel helpless at this time; and don’t the toddlers know it? The truth is that many parents feel threatened by their toddler’s newly-found assertion or aggression. The usual responses by parents are either anger or surrender. Neither of these will help your child.
Use this powerful time to develop your own ability to assert yourself. Look at how you deal with situations with work, friends or family. Do you stand up for yourself? Are you aggressive? Do you walk away with your tail between your legs? What are you modelling to your child?
By questioning how you deal with difficult situations, you’ll discover a better way to walk, hand in hand, with your child during this time.
Mars in the Signs
Mars in Aries is seen as independent, self-assured, enterprising, direct, forceful, courageous, active and busy. This is expressed in ways which are assertive, aggressive, impulsive, pioneering and adventurous. There’s a strong need to be a leader, and for constant newness. A fire sign, this Mars needs to express itself through physical activity.
Mars in Taurus adores their resources. This is the child who will not want to share his toys. He’s possessive of all he owns. This person is determined, strong, and able to persevere. Mars in Taurus values security above all else. This Mars placement is best expressed through practical activities. Give this child their own vegetable bed to nurture.
Mars in Gemini is passionate about communication and is keen to always learn new things. The passion is based on being a messenger of information. Expect a jack-of-all-trades with this placement, and the potential to live off nervous energy. Siblings will be important as will being involved in the local community. An air sign Mars is stimulated and aroused by mental stimulation. Make sure your child has lots of books out from the library at any given time.
Mars in Cancer shows that the person is strongly affected by their feelings, and is protective of their emotions. Home is everything to these people, so ensure your living space is nurturing. Give them opportunities to help bake bread and set the table.
Mars in Leo shows a person who needs to be centre stage. It offers up a creative, dramatic tone which can be playful, fun and powerful. This is the person who needs a stage to express on: the actor, storyteller, dancer, singer. When this child dresses up and is thanking you for her Academy Award, she’s not joking! Make sure you do have a dressing up box for the Mars in Leo child, and be sure to do lots of storytelling or at least be prepared for her to tell you stories.
Mars in Virgo will give you a child who is happiest mucking in with household chores, and lining up all the toys neatly. It brings with it a tendency for purity, perfection, health and efficiency. This is the child who’ll tell the parent to tidy up! He’ll want the socks folded neatly, and the toys clean. Right from early on, offer this child their own toiletry bag which they can keep neat and tidy. Such simple things make all the difference for this earthy placement.
Mars in Libra brings with it the tendency to argue with others. The passion and drive is directed towards another person and they need to learn to fight for justice without attacking those in their way. An air sign placement, this Mars wants you to engage in debate. She’ll never be happier than when she’s winning an argument.
Mars in Scorpio is seen as the person who is forceful, passionate, intuitive and emotional. There’s a deep desire to penetrate the Mysteries, and always investigating the mystical or psychic. Don’t be surprised if this person has a set of Oracle cards in their possession. This water-based Mars child wants to know all about the usual cultural taboos: birth, death, sex, other people’s money and psychology. She wants to dig deep.
Mars in Sagittarius is symbolised by the need to be independent, free, optimistic, enthusiastic. These people thrive on outdoor pursuits and adventures as befits a fire sign placement. If you have a Mars in Sagittarius child expect to spend their childhood climbing hills, going camping and skydiving!
Mars in Capricorn will gift a person with drive, ambition, efficiency, tendency to take responsibility, organisation skills, planning ability and a desire to achieve. Buy this child a filing cabinet, stapler, paper clips, pen jar and other organising tools, and watch her thrive. Another earth sign, she’ll love to be in Nature, too.
Mars in Aquarius people have a very active intellect. These are the people who want to change the world by working with large social movements. Freedom is so important for these people. Like the other air signs, this Mars is stimulated by intellectual pursuits, so be prepared to read, talk and do a lot of listening.
Mars in Pisces children and adults are sensitive and affectionate. They suffer when there is conflict or violence around them, and deeply desire peace. There’s a tendency to be sacrificial in order to achieve the peace they need. These people are poetic, artistic and imaginative as befits their desire to live in a dream world. You will find with this water-based Mars that this isn’t a child who’ll stand up and roar, but one who’ll hide behind your skirt. Mars in the Houses
The houses of an astrological chart show the areas where our Mars likes to hang-out and express himself.
Mars in the first house is seen as someone who is outspoken, dynamic, masculine, headstrong, impatient, courageous and independent. In short, it’s the risk-taker. At two years of age, it’s the girl who likes to dive-bomb onto the sofa. Usually from the chandelier!
Mars in the second house will manifest as the child who hangs onto her toys. She knows exactly how many she has, and where they are. Mars here will be passionate about food, values and resources. This child will thrive with a money box. To minimise their tendency to buy happiness with shopping trips, show them the resources which abound in Nature.
Mars in the third house can be seen in the person who is combative, intellectually energetic, and zealous about their ideas. There is the tendency to express this in writing or speech. The drive to learn is very strong. If your child doesn’t like the neighbours, the chances are good they’ve got a third house Mars. They’ll appreciate having a high fence! Take this child on regular trips to the local library.
Mars in the fourth house will be expressed as someone who is strongly drawn to the home and family life. Family ancestry will be very important, and helping the child to keep a scrapbook with a family tree is a good way to express this energy early on.
Mars in the fifth house offers a place for Mars to play. This is the house of creative endeavours and fun. People with this placement tend to be very creative and enjoy pleasure. They also have a need for exercise.
Mars in the sixth house will enjoy the day-to-day efforts of keeping house, such as cleaning cooking, etc. There’s a keen interest in healthy, healing and purification. This child will value learning all about homeopathy, flower essences and herbs, so be prepared for lots of potion making. This is the child who is more than happy to spring clean the house with you.
Mars in the seventh house can highlight the need to be forceful in one-to-one relationships. It can, when used positively, give drive to be dynamic in relationships. This person is passionate about being in partnership.
Mars in the eighth house shows a person who is driven to investigate the mysteries of life. She’s the secret detective. Set up treasure hunts and cryptic clues for this little sleuth.
Mars in the ninth house craves adventure, travel, outdoor pursuits, and is often drawn to philosophy and foreign cultures. This can be explored through learning a foreign language and making meals from around the world.
Mars in the tenth house manifests as the great achiever: the mountain goat which makes his way to the top of the hill. There’ll be a great drive to be recognised for one’s achievements. Honour this child’s successes, no matter how seemingly insignificant. This child will need to ‘create empires’, so find toys, games and activities that enable that to happen.
Mars in the eleventh house will be seen as the person who is driven by the need to be in group situations. There can be a tendency, however, to quarrel with friends. This person will prefer interacting on a wider, social level than one-to-one.
Mars in the twelfth house gives a person the desire to be involved in social services but in a very behind the scenes way. This child will be drawn to the mystical side of life. Opportunities within the family to value the spiritual, unseen side of life will help this Mars person to flourish.
Veronika Sophia Robinson is a second-generation astrologer, and has fond memories of her mother’s astrology room; a sacred sanctum held up with esoteric tomes and a magical black glass coffee table adorned with planetary symbols and glyphs. If you would like to understand yourself or your child better through astrology, Veronika is available for Skype (worldwide) or face-to-face consultations at her home in Cumbria. www.veronikarobinson.com
Seductress of the Night? Or Priestess of the Dawn?
Pick up just about any astrology book or magazine article which includes a section on Venus in the 12th house, and you’re almost certain to read that she is destined to engage in clandestine affairs. This is, after all, known as the house of secrets.
Astrologers, old and new, will tell you that she’s the mistress of the night. She’ll steal your husband. And see that woman over there? She’ll poach hers, too. But don’t worry, it’s just for a little while. Just long enough to scratch an itch or feed an unidentifiable longing. Don’t fret, you can have your man back when she’s done.
Many astrologers will warn you that when Venus resides here, she is subject to doom and gloom, and her love life will be sorrowful. But let’s be honest: it’s a rare person who hasn’t experienced heartbreak at some point, generally starting in the teenage years. If that weren’t true, I doubt we’d have a music industry.
Another common misconception of the twelfth house is the idea that it’s a blind spot in the chart, and that we don’t have any sense of our experience of the planets there. This may apply to some people, but not all of them. Everyone is at a different level of evolution and consciousness, and astrologers are best not to rehash stories but to let clients speak for themselves. Our potential for happiness is up to us, not our birth chart, nor an astrologer’s interpretation of it. We are here to outgrow the natal template. It seems to me that those who suggest the twelfth house is a psychological prison—some dark, karmic place where we have no free will—perhaps don’t have any valid real-life experience of the magic and charm of this terrain.
As with any astrological teaching, themes and stories continue to be perpetuated if we don’t listen to other experiences. The fault may indeed be with astrologers themselves, rather than the people seeking an astrological reading. The art of listening to our clients tell their stories, rather than assuming to know their level of consciousness or how they live out the template of their chart, is key to authentic astrology. As modern astrologers, we are the torchbearers for a more enlightened version of stellar stories.
As a 12th house Venus denizen, and one with Scorpio for added secrecy and sexuality, I believe it is time to disrupt the script, and reveal the truth about Lady Venus and her so-called hidden pleasures.
I have been happily married to my soulmate for more than two decades, and not once been engaged in an affair, physical or emotional. I have, however, been a keeper of sexual secrets, both as a friend and as an astrologer, and am a sealed vault containing the knowledge of other people’s hidden relationships. Women readily tell me their secrets, confiding that they couldn’t share them with even their best friend. I can reveal that the dozens of women I know who’ve had, or are having, affairs have Venus living in their 4th, 5th or 7th houses, not the 12th. Not a single one.
The IC (fourth-house cusp) is the midnight hour. The ascendant is the light of dawn: sunrise. Venus in the 12th isn’t hidden away: she is walking in the mists of early day. Perhaps too many people are still in bed at that time to recognise she’s up and about communing with the elementals and fairy folk, or catching the whispers of other lifetimes she has walked. Could it be that Venus has long gone by the time the rest of the world is downing their coffee and reading the newspaper? That doesn’t make her hidden. She’s simply the early bird! How could you possibly understand her world when yours is so different?
The light of dawn: when night meets day. It’s an enlivening time when the birds are urging the world to wake up, drawing us from slumber. If you’re not Venus, barefoot on the grass at dawn, you may not ‘wake up’ till the jarring shrill of your alarm clock. Lady Venus steps, like an oracle from ancient times, forward through the shrouded fields, content in her own company. Of course she’s alone, sleepy heads. She is at one with Mother Earth. Her soul listens to the sounds no one else can hear. Voices from another world sing in her ears. Even with both eyes closed, she can see.
To suggest that this placement is about illicit affairs is to degrade her purpose in the house of spirituality. Her sexual trysts are with a lover to whom she has bonded across all eternity. Nothing else would suffice.
Venus in the fourth, near the midnight hour, may well seek solace in the arms of someone else’s lover.
In the fifth, Venus wants to play. The house of risk taking and gambling urges her to slide down upon his forbidden silk sheets, or to linger longer in that motel room on the edge of town. Venus here wants to laugh some more into the afternoon at that little-known café down the dark alley, as you slide your foot against her leg beneath the table.
Venus in the seventh is respectably married. Of course she wouldn’t have an affair! The ring on her finger is proof. Or is it? This may be the last place you’d look for her to play out secret love affairs, but remember: it’s far away from her sense of self (first house). Who would think to go looking for ‘naughty’ Venus here? In my astrological experience, this is one of the most common placements for an ‘unfaithful’ Venus.
Looking to my natal Venus, one that’s not living up to other astrologers’ expectations, I ponder: how does Venus in the 12th best express herself? For me, she’s a lover of solitude. The deeper in Nature she walks, the better. The more solitary her journey, the more alive and feminine she feels. She is sultry, sensual, and sexual, for sure! She makes love between the Earth and the heavens, in a world that may be mysterious to strangers, but not to her. Venus is intimate with her surroundings. She seeks to master the energies of her pentacle: earth grows, fire glows, air blows, water flows. Spirit KNOWS. This is her message. If you were awake at sunrise, you’d know this too. You sense something mysterious about her, but don’t know what. And this is where those pesky rumours about her start: from people who don’t understand the dawn.
Venus here aspires to usher us to a new age, a golden dawn. But how can she if everyone keeps putting a pillow over their heads and hitting the ‘snooze’ button?
Venus in the 12th is not of this world. She’s been here so many times, exploring the themes common to mundane living. Her soul has bouts of divine homesickness. There’s no need for ambition here in the twelfth. It’s not relevant to the journey she’s on. After all, she has everything she could possibly need. Sorrow? A conscious Venus experiences sustenance here.
Venus is our ability to give and receive love. This may or may not include sex. To assign extramarital or secret affairs to a Venus who resides in the 12th house is to not understand her at all. Maybe those who make that prediction are projecting their unspoken impulses?
This Venus seeks to make love with the Divine. What mere mortal man could sate her appetite for universal love? Why would she fritter away her physical energies on a man when she could have so much more? For her, sexual expression is a way to touch the face of Goddess. To denigrate her to sordid affairs is to miss the point: the greatest lover she could hope for is not of this world. If that’s where her sorrow lies, then fair enough, but let’s not forecast the sorrow of ‘human’ heartbreak onto her.
Returning again to my Venus in Scorpio, I have, in the past, wondered if all the men who’d sexually abused me in childhood were hooked by her. Did I attract those men who wanted to do dirty deeds in secret? Instead, I see that Mars in the 3rd house of early childhood is a more likely culprit: I was learning about sexuality (Mars) from the time I started kindergarten, when a male teacher couldn’t keep his hands off my innocent three-year-old body. No, Venus in the 12th isn’t about sex. Pleasure, comfort, love, yes. Sex, not likely. Unless, of course, it’s of the tree-hugging, kundalini-awakening, tantric, soul-mate variety.
Me as a little girl with my uncle. You have to wonder, don’t you, what sort of man would think it was ok to sexually violate a child?
Venus in the 12th is a Goddess. She is a living embodiment of true spirituality: compassionate beyond measure. Her emotional quotient is high, here in the otherworldly home of Neptune. Venus in this landscape weeps at soul-stirring music, and cries at the exquisite feel of a newborn nuzzled against her cheek. Vibrational medicines which channel elemental devas are her ally. Art can leave her speechless.
She sees far into the future, our 12th house Venus, and, like a mermaid, brings lost treasures up from the ocean floor to share with others. Well, those who can be bothered to get out of bed at dawn! Her role is to guide us to the New Age, to taste the dew as the Sun greets morning, and to remind us that, as we go forth, we are so much more than we think we are. She delves, like the ancient priestess that she is, into her rich inner world, and speaks a language that crosses all cultures: love.
William Wordsworth painted the message of Venus in the 12th so eloquently for us when he wrote:
Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting The soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting And cometh from afar Not in entire forgetfulness And not in utter nakedness But trailing clouds of glory do we come From God, who is our home: Heaven lies about us in our infancy!
Oh yes! Venus dances naked in the 12th, draping herself with clouds of glory. She hasn’t forgotten where her star is set.
Love makes the world go around, and Venus wants to show us that divine love will have us all living happily ever after. We just have to remember where we’ve come from. And if you are willing to wake up, the Priestess of the Dawn will guide you.
Veronika Sophia Robinson is an author, astrologer and celebrant living in rural Cumbria in the north of England. www.veronikarobinson.com
https://veronikarobinson.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/logo-1.png00Veronika Sophia Robinsonhttps://veronikarobinson.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/logo-1.pngVeronika Sophia Robinson2016-06-08 16:38:572016-06-08 16:38:57Astrologer’s Notebook: Venus in the Twelfth House
What gets you out of bed in the morning? No, I don’t mean the soul-destroying sound of an alarm clock. I mean, what are you so passionate about that you can’t wait to start the day?
Astrologically, we look to our natal Mars for the style and nature of our passions. It’s all very well as an adult utilising this energy, but what if, like me, you have Mars in the third house? How was this expressed in early childhood? Apparently, my dad used to think I was really cute…until I learnt to stand with my hands on hips, stamp my foot, and say ‘no!’
Me at about three years of age with my sister Heidi.
My Mars in the third house of communication is active on a daily basis as I make my living as a writer, author, journalist, novelist and ceremony writer. As a young child, I learnt to spell words quickly. Before that, though, before words became my playthings with which to write stories and poems, I exercised my Mars in other ways that, looking back, were clearly emphasising its placement in house three.
My mother regularly sent me to the neighbours’ houses (local community, 3rd house) because I talked so much. She reckons her ears needed a rest, so off I went and visited the housewives close by. I chatted. For hours.
I had no interest in playing dolls or wearing pretty pink dresses. I was booted out of ballet class, me and my stupid frilly tutu, for not being able to touch my toes. Mars had other plans anyway. My days were spent playing with Matchbox ™ cars. I built cities in the dirt (I have Sun and Mercury in Capricorn) and drove my cars along the roads I made (3rd house).
In my local community, Mars spoke up. Ably supported by my friendly Sagittarius ascendant, I’d stand at the front gate every afternoon to say hello to the people walking by.
And then we left suburbia and moved rurally to 700 acres.
My childhood home: 700 hundred acres in rural Australia.
Our nearest neighbours were miles away! Never mind. I learnt to talk to myself. I’d spend hours up pepperina trees and climbing eucalyptus trees, jabbering away and ‘creating’ characters to interact with me.
This is the spring-fed creek I played in throughout childhood.
By the time I was 11 years old, though, I had four younger siblings, three of whom are boys. Needless to say, their company kept my Mars alive. (The third house covers communication, information, books, early childhood, siblings, media, magazines, driving locally, etc.)
So many trees to climb!
As parents, it’s helpful to understand our child’s Mars placement, not just so we can guide them through the toddler years of their first Mars return, without permanently stunting their expression, but so we can help to ensure the energy is adequately expressed. A frustrated Mars (in any part of the natal chart) always leads to trouble. Giving our children effective ‘weaponry’, according to their house placement and sign, can make the world of difference in how they go through life.
I was blessed in childhood to have a mother who filled my bookshelves with all manner of interesting books about past lives, souls, fairies and so on. During my school years, I’d haul bags of books home from the library. My appetite for reading was voracious. My mother also used to play ‘games’ with me, where we’d write creative sentences together. She’d pick two words, and I’d construct descriptive sentences around them.
My little legs learnt to walk the miles that separated us from our nearest neighbours. Oh what adventures awaited me! In rural Australia, my travels would include coming face to face with dingoes, foxes, snakes and goannas. Despite my fear, Mars ensured I kept walking. Kept moving. Kept soldiering on.
My natal Mars found it endlessly fascinating to be inside my neighbours’ houses and to see what they ate, and how they spoke to each other, and in what ways they decorated (or didn’t, as was the case) their homes.
If the third house represents early schooling, how did my Mars fare? Simple: I hated school! I’d feign illness so I could come home, or I’d take off from school and head down to the local river for a swim. It wasn’t that I was stupid or incapable of learning (Mars in Aquarius in the 3rd house is pretty bright, let me assure you), but that I hated having to sit still (Mars doesn’t ‘do’ still) and discuss things that weren’t remotely interesting to me. When I had to give a class talk, my topic was reincarnation. Aquarius. Always that bit different!
Looking back, I’m grateful for the circumstances of my childhood, my siblings, some of my teachers, my enlightened mother, and that I was able to express my need to communicate.
Mars is like our inner battery charger. It allows us to make our way in this world fearlessly and with purpose.
Veronika Robinson is a second-generation astrologer, and has a worldwide clientele. She is available by Skype, or in person at her home in Cumbria, for astrology readings. She is available for one-hour readings, or astro-mentoring: 10 weeks of half-hour sessions. https://veronikarobinson.com/astrologer/
For the next couple of days I’m offering a 2-for-1 deal on my astrology readings. £75.00 (worth £150)
Simply book a one-hour session on my website, and receive a second reading free (for yourself, friend, family member). I record calls by phone Skype, and can do readings wherever you are in the world as long as you have an internet/Skype connection.
The readings need to be ordered by Monday night, UK time, but can be taken at a time to suit. Some people are choosing to have face-to-face readings with me at our family camp in August (in North Yorkshire). https://www.veronikarobinson.com/creativity-camp/index.shtml I can also do in-person sessions from my home in Cumbria (near Penrith).
Spring is a wonderful time for an astrology reading. It’s when Nature reminds us that there is hope after the long dark Winter.
I’m not a doom-and-gloom astrologer. My goal is to inspire you to live to your potential, and to follow your soul’s calling. There is nothing to be fearful of when you entrust me to interpret your chart.
Not sure if you think astrology is useful to you? Have a read of some testimonials on my website. Love, Veronika x
https://veronikarobinson.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/logo-1.png00Veronika Sophia Robinsonhttps://veronikarobinson.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/logo-1.pngVeronika Sophia Robinson2016-04-23 12:41:292016-04-23 12:44:21Creating the life you were born to live
One of the biggest influences on my ability to find my life purpose, and walk my path with joy, has been understanding the astrological blueprint of the moment I was born.
Astrology can help you understand yourself, your relationships, your learning style (and your child’s), as well as help identify the best type of home, love, and work/career for you. It allows healing to take place when you can name and identify core wounds, too.
Astrology is beneficial for issues around health, intimacy, sexuality, finance, studying, marriage, spirituality, and more. ~ Veronika xx
There are so many decisions to make for your wedding day, but have you ever given any thought to the energies of the different times of day during which to ‘tie the knot’?
Depending on your vision of where the ceremony and reception will take place, you may feel you don’t have much choice in terms of picking a suitable time of day. Maybe you need to allow time for people to travel to the venue, or for the hair and make-up artists to work on their beautification project. Or perhaps the venue makes the decision for you.
The energies of the day mirror the seasonal energies.
Morning represents Springtime, and is ruled by Aries. It’s filled with the spirit of “let’s do this!” There’s a dynamic, powerful, and definite liveliness to morning. Think of the power and determination of all those Spring bulbs finding their way through the cold dark soil, and blessing us with their incredible beauty. They give us hope! And what of sunrise? How incredible is that energy? To marry at this time of day will infuse your marriage with a positive and energetic tone.
How many brides do you know of who married in the early part of the day? I did!
Over the years since that beautiful day in New Zealand two decades ago, I’ve often thought: “What was I thinking getting up so early to get my hair and make-up done?” In hindsight, I’m so grateful that I chose morning, and that by the time the ceremony was done we were able to celebrate with brunch.
To marry in the middle of the day, when the Sun is high in the sky, represents Summer. It is infused with a mature energy. Astrologically, this is identified by the Mother archetype of Cancer. Your marriage may bring this theme into rather sharp focus. Make sure you’re not marrying your mother (just joking!).
Late afternoon brings with it the energies of diplomatic Libra. We would assign the season of Autumn to this time of day. It is symbolic of a ‘gathering in’ sort of energy. A time for inner reflection. Given this energy, think about Autumn and what it means for you.
And what of night? To marry in the evening is symbolic of Winter: Energetically, it is Capricorn, ruled by Saturn. This is represented by storage and building our legacy. Saturn, when understood well, brings us discipline, structure and endurance. Perhaps these are energies you’d like to bring to the long-term nature of marriage.
So, perhaps you’re clear on what time of day would be best for your marriage. If you’d like help deciding a great day, astrologically, for your marriage, then feel free to book an astrology reading with me. I can do readings which focus on your synastry (what each of you bring to the relationship) or to help choose a great wedding day. www.veronikarobinson.com
Veronika Robinson has been officiating ceremonies since 1995. She has a deep love of the sacred, and derives great joy from creating, writing and officiating ceremonies for people. She specialises in handfastings, but is equally at home conducting more formal weddings in five-star venues, as well as namings, home blessings, blessingways, vow renewals and funerals. Veronika officiates sacred and inspirational ceremonies throughout Cumbria, northern Lancashire and Southern Scotland, and is particularly fond of outdoor ceremonies. www.veronikarobinson.com/celebrant
https://veronikarobinson.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/20170701_131550_resized_1.jpg23223096Veronika Sophia Robinsonhttps://veronikarobinson.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/logo-1.pngVeronika Sophia Robinson2016-03-17 11:10:312018-03-23 14:17:03Choosing a time of day to marry
As an astrologer, I find the study of this subject comes into its own when experienced in real life rather than just absorbed from a text book.
One of the things I dislike about astrology is actually down to what I call the ‘negativity’ of many practitioners who warn their clients of tough times to come. YES, life has tough times, no doubt. There can’t be a person walking this Earth who hasn’t had several times in their life which weren’t testing in some way. I also believe that we create our own reality, so if we ‘expect’ shit to come flying our way then that is what we’ll see. If, however, like looking at the weather forecast, we can understand the cycles of our lives we then have a better way of moving through life.
Let’s look at it this way: My county of Cumbria has recently experienced a huge amount of flooding. When the police say “don’t travel unless it’s an emergency” there’s a good reason for it. Flood water is dirty, you can’t always judge how deep it is and what may be in it, and you are risking your life by driving or walking through it. Common sense would say to stay out of those waters, but you know, there are always people who think they can take their car through rising waters and not be affected.
If the forecast was for a 32 degree Celsius day, there’s only one place you’d find me: soaking up every drop of sunshine in my garden. It wouldn’t make sense to go out sunbathing today: there’s no sunshine and it’s about two degrees outside. Now, I could go outside and get fresh air, and take a long walk through the woods, but I certainly wouldn’t be going out in a bikini. More likely it’d be thermal underwear and gloves and thick woolly socks.
Astrology helps us to understand the weather of our lives, and what our soul is calling us to explore.
Many astrologers get twitchy when they see aspects in a chart or by transit of squares and oppositions, but for me they mean ‘action’. Time to move, time to do something, or a time to evaluate priorities and seek balance. Trines and sextiles are lovely, but they don’t give us the gumption to make effective change (unless we are conscious). It is when we resist change, growth and transformation that our deepest pain is tampered with, and we find ourselves recoiling. There is so much freedom which comes from owning our wounds and learning from them. I look back at different times of my life and think “If only I had chosen to react differently” or “what was I thinking?”. Time (Saturn) is an amazing teacher, if we let it be.
As astrologers, do we do our clients any good by prophesising misery? I don’t believe so. Now, I’m the first person who would let a client know if there was a ‘heavy’ transit coming up, but I always do so with the suggestion of how to best move through it, and how to do so consciously. And therein lies the secret to using astrology practically in your life.
Riding the storm
For example, I’m currently experiencing what most astrologers would call one of the most profound transits (Saturn just crossed over my ascendant) …a time of heavy responsibility, loneliness, and well, frankly, most of the stuff you’d read about this transit is pretty much doom and gloom.
Knowing this transit was coming up made me really look inside. My goal is always to grow consciously, and question myself, my life, my beliefs and so on. I also love the energy of the planet Saturn (it rules my zodiac sign of Capricorn), so I wasn’t going to be intimidated by other people’s experiences of this transit.
I trusted that, as Saturn brings us rewards for how we’ve worked in the past (some call it karma), all would be well in my world. Saturn, as an archetype, is also about time, aging, the wise crone, later life, construction, rewards, discipline, boundaries and so on. I had already amped up my exercise routine with 8am one-hour swim sessions plus aquafit classes, a dynamic control & stretch class, and gym. To be clear, I am NOT someone who is into exercise and am definitely not a gym bunny! My dedication to this exercise routine is an example of Saturnian discipline. We live in a culture which teaches us discipline is external (coming via parents, teachers, government or church guidance/control). True discipline is always internal.
The ascendant marks the doorway (threshold) to the first house of the natal chart which governs, amongst other things, our identity, the face we show to the world, our sense of self, the physical body. So, I knew: Saturn would be having a conversation with me about ‘who I was’. The day before Saturn fully conjuncted my ascendant (also affirming that my birth time is, indeed, correct), I received amazing, life-changing news that does indeed change how I now see myself (and how others will see me). (watch this space for more info)
Saturn will retrograde and come back to this place in my chart in late Summer/early Autumn, a time when my younger daughter leaves home for university. Again, Saturn will be asking who I am now that my daughters are adults weaving their way in the world.
Interestingly, as Saturn walks through the threshold (doorway) of my chart, I am completing my novel, Behind Closed Doors, for publication. (My ascendant is Sagittarius, a sign associated with publishing.)
Of course, there are always several transits going on at any one time. Understanding their themes, their archetypes, their voices, their language, and how they can inspire us to live more fully, to be alive, to be conscious, and to let go of all the crap in our lives, is liberating in many ways.
I believe, as humans, we are adaptable and able to create soul-satisfying lives…but this only happens when we step out of victim mode and become conscious creators. Understanding our transits and making the best use of them is a great way to get into the habit of living from the heart.
I never imagined (ha!) that I could be a fiction writer. With a background in journalism, and a dozen or so (I keep losing count) non-fiction books under my publishing belt, I was clear that, as a writer, my work was always going to stay that way.
And then I wrote my first novel, Mosaic. It was an amazing experience for me to create worlds where previously unknown characters came to life and had stories to tell. After I wrote it, I was sure: there were no more fiction books inside me. Back to my non-fiction world I went.
One evening as I was cooking dinner, the entirety of my second novel, Bluey’s Café, came to me in the space of half an hour. It was like the Universe downloaded it into my brain while I was cooking. I spent the next five days typing it up like a crazy woman. A woman who neglected her family, her home, and every other aspect of her life. And even after that book, I was clear: no more fiction books inside me.
A couple of summers ago, I wrote five romance novels in the space of that one season. I don’t know if they’ll ever see the light of day but what they did do was show me how much I loved the realm of the imagination. From that Summer with ridiculously early morning writing stints, came the growing realisation that I wanted—needed, in fact—to be a fiction writer. Crap! What would this mean? I had spent the best part of twelve years working as a magazine editor, and writing non-fiction parenting and holistic living books alongside that job as well as a being a mother to two home-educated daughters. And now all I wanted to do was write fiction?
I turned life as I knew it upside down to make this dream come true. Unlike non-fiction, I require a completely different writing space and working environment for writing novels. My main requirement is perfect quiet. No husband chatting about sport. No children asking ‘what’s for dinner?’ a few minutes after we’ve had breakfast. And no cat. Although I’m a cat person, I can’t bear the cat being in the room when I write. All that snoring and dreaming of mice just unsettles me.
So, now I’ve created a life where I can write fiction to my heart’s content, and lo and bloody behold, there are non-fiction books screaming to come out. What’s my lesson? I’m a writer, and it is best not to categorise myself too rigidly. Of course, it’s a pain in the butt when it comes to marketing one’s self. Am I novelist? Er, yes. Am I a recipe-book writer? Yes. Do I write books for holistic parents? Yes. Do I write astrology articles? Yes.
I’m a straddler!
As I straddle the worlds of information and pleasure, I trust that the loyal readership I built up through years of my non-fiction work will be just as happy to straddle over to my fiction books and enjoy what I have to offer. And likewise, those readers who have discovered me through my novels, I trust will take a peek at my non-fiction world and try my other books out.
It is my nature to communicate and impart information. As long as non-fiction books ‘ask’ to come out of me, I shall write them. I have, however, found my spiritual home writing novels.