Life with Mars

happy pigs in poo

If you land on this page, you are probably well versed in the latest astro drama brewing in the skies. This month, and for the rest of 2020, it’s all about Life with Mars. First we see it screaming through its home town of Aries, happy as a pig in poo*. By mid September that smell isn’t coming from the pig, it’s the smell of brakes as Mars screeches to a halt and begrudgingly goes back over the same roads its just travelled aka goes retrograde.

And it is a very pissed planet, having to look at the same old stuff again instead of charging ahead into new territory as it is wont to do. Just wait until it realises it’s a three times trip across the same landscape. Each time Mars squares off with Saturn, it is frustrating for Mars and antagonising for Saturn. The first hit is at the end of August, next hit is the end of September and first few days of October and then one final time in the middle of January, albeit with a sign change for both Big Baddies with Mars into Taurus and Saturn into Aquarius. Mars loses strength in Taurus, thank all deities for that small blessing. I think I speak for us all when I sigh a heartfelt “oof”.

So we have Mars in Aries going against its direct, assertive and impatient nature. And it is stepping into the ring with Saturn, the elder statesperson of Get Your Shit Together-ness, who is also retrograde rn but seems to be making the most of it, as Saturn in Capricorn does. Mars is bored, frustrated and not really paying attention coz, like, been here before so nothing interesting to see. Saturn is checking its foundations are solid and stable, because it ain’t gonna be here again for quite a while so may as well make the most of it and get to work from the inside out.

It’s been a tough year for the planets too

From September 10th/11th depending on where you reside on Earth, you, me and the whole damn world are going to be spectators of the planetary square off of 2020. We are so close to the finish line. Some of us will be covered in crap and blood and pig poo. Some of us are flinging the crap, blood and pig poo. These last few months are going to be the make or break of 2020 us. Mars is in Aries, Saturn is in Capricorn. These are both cardinal signs, and cardinal signs love to start things. Seeing it to the end is not their job, they are already off to start something new before the last job is even half way completed. There is no shying away from this three round fight. If it isn’t happening to you directly, you will most certainly be watching, living with or attempting to avoid the flying poo. No escape. So, basically 2020, but in a short Netflix must-see series. Remember the olden days of 2020 when y’all went nuts for Tiger King? You can’t believe you did that, right? Well here we are again, but in our own lives not Netflix. Yay.

When good Mars goes bad

Mars in Aries gives us action, drive, energy. We feel direct, assertive, courageous, or reckless depending on how you feel about the definition of courage. We seek the heat, we get impatient with the heat and we fire up quickly from the heat. Then it’s gone, all burned up and all good now. Mars in Aries cuts and burns and really doesn’t mean to, it’s just how it is, no time for apologies.

Retrograde Mars in Aries is frustrated, reactive, impotent. We feel passive aggressive, full of suppressed rage and bile. It has to come out. Burn up. Cut off the painful bits. It will hurt, but not for long. And why does everything take s o m u c h e f f o r t ?

We see, hear, or experience accidents, injuries, headaches, inflammation and rashes. We crave hot and spicy and then complain when it burns. We are reckless with sharp things, both physical and verbal. Bugs bite, road rage abounds, reckless behaviour begets regret, but only long after the event.

But it’s not all bad. Right?

No. Not everything is smelling like the pig’s delight. But there will certainly be an uncomfortable vibe in a particular area of life rn. Whether this square off between Mars and Saturn hits you hard and knocks you out, or merely pulls you up enough to pause and have a long ponder on the discomfort and how to remove it, well that depends on a few things. Your natal chart, transits, progressions, projections, returns…you will only know, when you feel it. And you are probably feeling it, or not, right about now. Which is exactly why everyone needs their own personal astrologer, just sayin’.

Band-aids suitable for cuts and burns

Ok, so how do we navigate and perhaps even remediate this hot cold, fast slow mess, or at least try to minimise the drama? Can we? Dare we? Of course we do, it’s the Life with Mars show!

Mars is energy, Saturn is time. We take the time to burn the energy so we don’t get burned up or out. Retrogrades are do-over time. If you find yourself frustrated at being back on familiar ground, try looking at it from a different perspective. Handstands are effective, though perhaps just stopping and laying down on the ground to stare at the clouds would be sufficient too.

But just in case, and with tongue firmly in cheek, here are your sassy and definitely NSFW Mars in Aries Rx square Saturn in Capricorn Rx horoscopes/survival tips/band-aids for getting through the next two months with a smile on your dial and your life relatively intact by the end of it.

If your Sun or Ascendant is in –
  • Aries – Burn yourself out with exercise. Get sweaty. Love yourself sick because you are so damn hot. Now take a cold shower, have a tantrum because cold showers suck and your usual assertive ways aren’t being appreciated enough for the effort you put in to getting shit done. Rinse. Repeat.
  • Taurus – 2020 so far may have you deeply pondering the Meaning Of It All. Or deeply frustrated with everyone else failing to see The Point Of It All and just have faith. Humans, huh?! Take a long nap, you deserve it
  • Gemini – Your debts to society are really cranking you up. Staying in and sorting out your taxes may not sound like the most fun you’ve had this year, or maybe it is, ’cause 2020. But it sure beats going out with the gang and ending up further in debt for something you didn’t even enjoy. Drop your phone in the loo and stay home instead
  • Cancer – You don’t have to stay where you are Cancer. You are a successful person. You eat the competition for breakfast. You don’t have to put up with this crap. Just remember what they say about keeping your enemies closer. Try separate beds for a while yeah?
  • Leo – Oh Leo, I hear you. What is the point of the daily grind if you’ve had your wings clipped and can’t fly away to distant exotic beaches during your hols to be admired and adored? Well, your health is one reason. And your socials for two. Post and poo regularly
  • Virgo – Birth, death and taxes. Insurance. Loans. A stroll in the park for you usually Virgo. Usually. ATM it’s all feeling like you’ve killed your creativity to feed the banks and taxes. You’ll be right. Lube up buttercup and take a break, enjoy some hot (kinky?) fun. With protection. Kids tend to wreck both the bottomline on spreadsheets and all your kinks
  • Libra – So how awesome is it to spend So Much Time with your beloved/partner? All of your dreams have come true. So why do you feel you are being hugged by a boa constrictor. Practice fake snoring and politely offer to sleep in the spare bedroom for a while ‘so your partner gets a good rest’
  • Scorpio – You know you need to watch your health. The ads on TV know your weaknesses. It’s all too depressing. Do yourself a favour and delete Uber Eats. Only eat fast food if you are prepared to walk there and back to get it. You hate me now but to future you, you’re welcome
  • Sagittarius – There are only so many ways to have a good time on your own. You need money, other people need you. Get creative. Start an Only Fans. If you are lucky enough to be free to hook up, use protection. It’s not just your imagination that is fertile
  • Capricorn – You need a bigger office. With a big lock on the door. Paint a feature wall for all of your awards and honours. Get another lock installed. Sign up to the next season of Survivor. It will be a cakewalk after the last few years you’ve lived. Congrats in advance #winner
  • Aquarius – It is all a conspiracy. But no one will listen. Take the high road. Write angry letters to the local online newspaper or HOA. Anonymously ofc and using your neighbour’s VPN
  • Pisces – Show me the money!! Those outstanding payments for your hard work are burning you, hard. It is coming. In the meantime light a bonfire (outside!) and burn all your old financial records. Marshmallows are a tax deduction, right?

* “Happy as a pig in shit” is a common Aussie expression. We are professionals here so for the purposes of this article we have amended this saying to “happy as a pig in poo”

Book Reviews

The Houses

Temples of the Sky

Deborah Houlding


Intermediate* – Advanced


Traditional, Horary, Mundane, Medical, Technical, History

Serious fan get it

You know those astro books that you read and have so many aha! moments you want everyone else to read it too? ASAP! You just know that even if it isn’t their cup of tea/usual astro style, they’ll find it interesting and informative? Then you start daydreaming about gifting it to every astro friend, or starting an astrology book club so you can all sit around Zoom and discuss it for hours….no? Just me? Ok, fine, whatever, but The Houses: Temples of the Sky is that book. For such a slim astrology text (coming in at 168 pages, you can read it in a weekend!) Deborah Houlding sure manages to pack a whole lotta high grade learning between the covers. Best of all, you feel smarter before you even get to the first chapter. Brilliant!

Drama Central

For those of you who are wise enough to avoid the hot mess that is Twitter, you’ll be blissfully unaware of the “One True And Correct House System” cycle. Cliffsnotes – a few times a year someone (usually a student or an astro-twitter newbie) will post an innocent question/comment/complaint about house systems. One of the larger accounts will comment, often linking a ‘and here’s one I prepared earlier’ article or vid on their favoured house system. A fan of a different house system will wordily disagree. Subtweets abound. An amusing meme or two bring the lols. And the comments, aaah so many comments. It’s the only reason I’m there tbh, munching away at my popcorn….Well, if I was a more extroverted human, this is the book suggestion I would drop in the comments whenever the crap hits the Midheaven (whichever damn house it’s in ;)) in the never-ending Great House Debate. 

Between the Covers

This book provides you with more than just a solid historical foundation so you can pick your home team in Twitter battles; Temples of the Sky gives an in-depth synopsis into the meaning of each of the twelve houses and how they have evolved over time, from Manilius to Modern. Part 1 should be required reading for every first year astrology student imo, thus the asterisk up the there when considering what learning level this book suits best. I want you to know there will be no judgement if you peruse Part 2 and decide to pop the book on the shelf for a while so you can delve deeper into the very important things you took up studying astrology for. Like, say, learning if your relationship is doomed because your Sun signs are incompatible (shakes fist at Linda Goodman, still together 20+ years later) and why my your house was always messy if I’m you’re a Virgo rising (that’d be late Leo tyvm Ma, shakes fist at mum’s dodgy calculations using Linda’s books)!

Part Two

It’s juicy, with a thoroughly researched breakdown of the technical basis of the house systems, covering the where, when, who, why and how of the houses. Placidus, Morinus, Campanus, Regiomontanus, Alcabitius, Koch, Equal, Whole Sign and Porphyry house systems are all discussed, without judgement, which is refreshing, and allows the reader to select their preferred house system with confidence. I highly recommend wasting a few hours in the near future looking at your chart in all of the above styles, if you haven’t already. It’s an interesting experiment, and you’ll learn a thing or two, which is pretty much my favourite thing to do, and if you’re into astrology, I’m sure it is up there on your list too. 

But wait, there’s more

The appendices are a trove of excellent astrological information. The glossary of terms is in-depth enough to justify purchase on that alone. There’s an interesting reproduction of Al Biruni’s ‘Advice on Finding the Hour of Birth‘ which is further proof to me that day births have it easy from day dot (don’t fight me until you read it. Then fight me.) But my favourite bit is the brief but thorough look at the planetary hours, including instructions on how to calculate them, which you should totally have at least one go at, dear reader, you’ll feel like a total astro-boss if you do. It was a bit of fun to dust the cobwebs outta my brain and flood it with memories of learning how to do calculations – by hand! – and feeling like Einstein every time my math resistant brain got ‘it’ and could move onto the next bit to stumble over. Aah, the good old days, thank heavens for technology….I love you Solar Fire!

The bibliography is extensive, and if you are an astrology history buff, there’s plenty of highly regarded and meaty works here to tempt you. The general index and house rulership index are ah-MAZ-ing to this horary lovin’ library technician’s eyes, thorough, detailed…if you are familiar with it, you could pretty much answer a horary question using this index alone. Though I suggest checking out the STA link below if you really want to know horary.

Deborah Houlding is an absolute legend in the astrology community, and not just for this book. She is the creator of the Skyscript site, which is an absolute treasure trove of credible astrological articles, interviews and forums, the founder of the School of Traditional Astrology, an award winning astrologer, and, I found out today, an artist, and a bloody good one too! Check out Deborah’s sites below-

Must. Own. The Houses: Temples of the Sky

The Houses: Temples of the Sky is available at the usuals – paperback version from Book Depository and Amazon, digital at Amazon, and tbh, it’s a bargain. This is a Must Own for any astrology library.

I really wish I did at this point. But no, I do not receive money or perks from any endorsements I make on this blog. It’s all for the love of astrology and books. Enjoy!

Happy astro reading!

Foreword by Robert Hand

Introduction: (Wheels and Signs – Theories on House Division)

Preliminary Guide to Divisions of the Celestial Sphere

Part I

1. Introducing the Houses: An Historical Overview

2. The Angles: Significance of Egyptian Solar Philosophy

3. Aspects & Gates: The 2nd/8th House Axis

4. Planetary Joys: 5th/11th House Axis

6. Cadency & Decline: The 6th/12th House Axis

7. House Rulerships in Practice

Part II

8. Technical Basis & the Inherent Difficulties of House Division

9. Ptolemy’s Powerful Places

Appendix A – Glossary of Traditional and Technical Terms

Appendix B – The Planetary Hours

Appendix C – Al Biruni’s Advice on Finding the Hour of Birth

Works Cited

General Index

House Rulership Index


It is all about the houses. Just like the title says…


The Wessex Astrologer

Bournemouth, England

1998; Reprinted 2006

This book review was originally published on the stellarleeastrology blog.

Astrology Book Review Book Reviews

The Rulership Book

Rex E. Bills


All, but essential for Horary, Mundane and Medical/Health Astrologers


All. It’s terrifically helpful

This book is another fave of mine

And imo, an essential reference textbook for any Astrologer. I purchased my copy in 2010 and every time I open it I am blown away by just how much information it contains. So you wanna know what rules the deliciously bitey sloe gin you’re cradling while writing your monthly horoscopes (no? Just me?), Rex knows – that’s Sun, Leo, Neptune for gin and Saturn for sloe. As I pondered this info and enjoyed the warm sunny glow on my insides after that first sip of gin, the bitter, slightly fruity undertones of sloe berry making me purse my lips like a cat’s bum for a second….yep, definitely Sun/Saturn. Cheers!

First published in 1971, and still in print today, Rex has collated an extensive and comprehensive list of primary and secondary rulerships of just about everything, including the kitchen sink (Moon, Cancer, Neptune, Pisces, in case you were wondering). The bibliography is very much of its time, listing works by famous astrological authors including Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson, Alan Leo, Marc Edmund Jones, Dane Rudhyar and many many more, but is extensive and reads like the astrology library we all dream of owning one day….


The Rulership Book is broken into easy to navigate sections; alphabetical, planets, signs, and houses. Rulerships that were mentioned by only a few astrologers (at the time of writing, remember it was published in the early 70’s) are given secondary rulership and are listed in parentheses. In the introduction Rex reminds the reader that rulerships can change, that greater research is required (I see Dr Lee Lehman has done just that but I don’t have her book  yet to compare, though it is on my wishlist!) and that there is disagreement amongst Astrologers on many rulerships. Imagine that, Astrologers quibbling  over details….it’s almost like we are ruled by Mercury, not Uranus as Rex says…

The Appendices are brilliantly comprehensive to my eye, but I am not a medical Astrologer by any measure. There are tables covering all parts of the body from bones to veins and they are just damn interesting! Prepare to read and reread them while looking at the astrological timing of every injury or medical issue you and your loved ones have ever had, especially if your partner is as accident-prone as mine. There is a table of house rulerships for organisations, very handy for Mundane research, and tables for flavours (Sunny Saturnine sloe gin anyone?). There is even a table for forms, as in circles, lines and angles, particularly in reference to handwriting, and perfect for any graphology fans out there or if you want to know why you can never understand your doctor’s scribble – Rex says Mercury btw but I reckon Saturn for sure. Read the book and let me know what you think.

The Rulership Book is a a great addition to any astro library, but an absolute must if you are interested in Horary astrology. Rex provides us with the rulerships for hundreds of countries, U.S states, U.K counties and popular regions of Europe. There are rulerships for many common anglicised first names, sadly not mine, but the name ‘Rex’ is ruled by the Sun. Makes sense, since he really is the star here. There are rulerships for Saints, musical scales, periods of life, gemstones, colours…I’m telling you, it was exhaustively researched and is mighty extensive!

Must. Own. The Rulership Book

For what is basically a two columns per page, 440 page long compilation of astrological correspondences, I reckon you will actually enjoy reading this text. It is available at all good bookstores, Book Depository and in both digital and paperback formats from Amazon.

Nope, I don’t receive money or perks from any endorsements I make on this blog. It’s all for the love of astrology and books. Enjoy!

Happy astro reading!

Part One, An Alphabetical Listing

Part Two, A Listing by Planets

Part Three, A Listing by Signs

Part Four, A Listing by Houses

Appendices, Special Listings

Principle Bones of the Body


Principle Muscles of the Body

Principle Arteries of the Body

Principle Veins of the Body

Chart of an Organization





Any info about the author! I like to ‘meet’ them and trawled many many pages on Google looking for even a smidgeon of information about Rex. I have Mercury in Scorpio – I. Must. Know. More. Please, please, let me know if you know any of Rex’s bio, surely there must be a published article or two in pre-digital astrology journals somewhere in the world?


American Federation of Astrologers, Inc

Tempe, Arizona

1971, my copy – 2007

This book review was originally published at the stellarleeastrology blog.

Astrology Book Review Book Reviews

The Inner Sky

Steven Forrest


Beginners, Intermediate, Students


Evolutionary, Modern Psychological, Contemporary

What is a Sting?

Let’s start with the face palm bit – my copy of this absolute gem of a book has a blurb from Sting on the front cover. Do not be put off! For those who don’t know him, he’s an elder rock legend mind-altering substance tantric sex loving yoga fan. And a bit of a fox, still, imo, though I only appreciate his music many many years later, indie music snob that I am.

Now, back to business, The Inner Sky. This book is the book to gift your pals when they say they wanna know more about astrology. Steven Forrest is one of the kindest, most generous astrologers around and we will all be utterly devastated when his time to evolve to the great beyond comes. Steven cares! His writing style is what tender loving care looks like in print. I suggest you have a quick squizz at some of Steven’s content on his website or YouTube to hear his lovely voice so you can imagine he is narrating the book to you while you read. Go on, you will love it.


This book really does cover all astrological basics, and though the chapters are short, you get a lot out of each one. In Part One Steven shares a birthchart of a famous person, ‘the Englishman’ and his chart is used as an example all the way through the book. Do yourself a favour and DO NOT PEEK OR GOOGLE the data, if my Scorpio Mercury can resist, so can you. Also, it is a delightful way to learn how to piece all the different bits of information together when reading a chart, and quite rare for an Astrologer to use only one chart example throughout a whole book. There are eight sample charts of famous humans in the appendix to play with once you’ve finished the book, but by focussing on just one you don’t get overwhelmed flicking back and forth between pages to see what the author is referring to. An under appreciated gift, truly.

Astro Style

Steven is an Evolutionary Astrologer (EA) and I highly recommend checking out his website for more information on this particular style of astrology at He works with the Natural Houses style, that is; 8th House corresponds to Scorpio corresponds to sexuality etc. I have dabbled in EA, as all astrologers of my vintage would’ve, as this was in line with the Modern Psychological style I was taught by my teacher. I am a great believer in looking at all the different astro styles as you learn the discipline, I am not a fan of the staunch ‘One True Astrology’ brouhaha that crops up with cyclic regularity on the socials. Lifelong research is integral to your astrological knowledge. Fads come and go, in astrology as in the world, but any investigation into different astrological styles add a little to your own, whether you are a professional or just astro-curious.

I love this book. I have scribbled throughout it, notes and glyphs and !!! and 0_0…. all through it, as well as sticky tabs and post it notes and I just discovered when I pulled it off my shelf, 3 bookmarks?!? As a former library tech, I generally consider writing in books sacrilege. As an astrologer, I consider this my astro love language, it says “I will never ever get rid of this book”. There are very few in my collection who are desecrated in this way. The Inner Sky deserves nothing but.

Must. Own. The Inner Sky

The Inner Sky is available at Book Depository, in Kindle and paperback from Amazon.

Nah, I don’t receive money or perks from any endorsements I make on this blog for you to buy this book. It’s all for the love of astrology and books. Enjoy!

Check out Steven’s website here –

Happy astro reading!

Part One – The Territory

Chapter 1

Why Bother?; What About Metaphysics?; The Seven Principles

Chapter 2

Symbolic Language; Symbolic Reading

Chapter 3

What Exactly is a Birthchart?; Why is East on the Left?; Planetary Motions

Part Two – Words

Chapter 4

The Prime Symbol; The Circle of the Year; Seasons. Not Stars; The Dance of the Elements; The Modes; The Twelve Signs;

Chapter 5


Chapter 6

Planets; Two Solar Systems; Retrogradation; Introducing the Players; Significance of Retrogradation; The Invisible Planets; Beyond Pluto

Chapter 7

Houses; The Daily Cycle; Horizon; Meridian; The Great Cross; Houses and Signs

Part Three – Sentences

Chapter 8

Interpretation I:

Planets in Signs and Houses; Planets in Signs; What about Houses?; Tactics; Five Steps

Chapter 9

Interpretation II:

Aspects, Rulerships and the Nodes; Aspects; Minor Aspects; Orbs; How to Recognise Aspects; Planetary Rulerships; The Moon’s Nodes

Chapter 10

Interpretation III:

Putting It All Together; A Helpful Trick; The Ruler of the Ascendant; Planets in their Rulerships; Planets Conjunct the Sun; The Stellium; Angular Planets; Singletons; Stationary Planets; Strong Aspects; Keeping Perspective on Focalizers; The Moon’s Nodes

Chapter 11

The Englishman

Chapter 12

Dreaming the Universe


The Englishman’s Birthchart

Astrological Software

Sample Birthcharts – Muhammad Ali; Neil Armstrong; Phil Donahue; Billy Graham; Elisabeth Kubler-Ross; Bruce Springsteen; Gloria Steinem; Lily Tomlin

Suggestions for Further reading




Chiron, the asteroids, but that is about it. Seriously, this book is a must have.


Seven Paws Press

Borrego Springs, California

First published in 1984, still going strong. I tell ya, it’s a classic!

This book review was originally published on the stellarleeastrology blog.