The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 367, titled:
With Chris Brennan and Nicola Smuts Allsop
Episode originally released on September 6, 2022
Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: email@example.com
Transcribed by Mary Sharon
Transcription released September 14, 2022
Copyright © 2022 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hi, my name is Chris Brennan and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. In this episode, I’m going to be talking with Nicola Smuts Allsop about fertility astrology and the process of using astrology in order to help with conception and having a child. So, welcome to the podcast.
NICOLA SMUTS ALLSOP: Thank you very much. It’s fantastic to be here.
CB: Yeah. You are here for the International Society for Astrological Research conference that’s happening in Colorado later this week, right?
CB: Okay. We almost did this interview actually last time I was in London in 2019 but we just barely didn’t cross paths. But I’ve been meaning to since you published your book titled Fertility Astrology in 2017 or 2018.
NSA: I think the book came out in early 2016. But yeah, it was at the conference that we met, I think in 2018 in America. Yeah.
CB: All right. Great. Well, I’m excited about this topic. This is a topic that is actually a very big topic. And it’s something that you’ve come to specialize in, but you actually started initially doing it as part of your early consultations but then eventually it became actually like a personal thing for you yourself that you ended up applying to your own life, right?
NSA: It did. I must admit it started off with one case, the first case, Amanda, where I made a very wild and naive prediction in my very early career, basically hadn’t really started practicing. And when you get a prediction that is so right and so perfect, it really scared the bejesus out of me. I thought, “What is this astrology?” It was almost too much too soon. So I spent a lot of time unpacking the chart to find out what exactly was it that made me say that. And following Amanda’s prediction in 2003, there were seven other pregnancies that are predicted to the date in the next six months. So it was almost as if fertility astrology chose me and not the other way around. And I then decided to focus all of my efforts on finding material that I could use for that. Because of course all the people who were suffering had heard about Amanda’s story and they all came to me. And back in the day– and let’s just remember that 2003 is quite some time ago now– there was very little in traditional astrological writings. There was virtually nothing. I had to be a member of the Real Astrology Yahoo group, and the other one was… Gosh, I can’t remember the name. But anyway, it was a John Frawley’s split-off group. Those were the days when we had [inaudible 00:02:57] internet and you had to ask your question, post your chart, but you would have had to have done some work yourself. And then you’d have to wait a whole day for people to reply to your email. And then you’d have a conversation about your chart. And like I said, in the absence of all the Schmidt’s Project Hindsight material– because that hadn’t been finished or published yet– and in the absence of a lot of other Ben Dyke’s work, everything that’s come out now, it was really very difficult to find those older texts that could give you some kind of basis for my kind of astrology that I wanted to practice. I did find speaker publications, The Liber Hermetis. I think Robert Hand was involved with a translation of it, Dorotheus of Sidon. They all came out through speaker publication and they were most helpful, and I actually started there. That’s where I started my research.
CB: Okay. So the initial entryway for you was making a successful prediction about somebody having a child and then realizing that that was possible, essentially, several people having a child. And then eventually, clients started coming to you with actual problems where they’re having problems conceiving or wanting to get advice for what the best times would be in order to attempt to have children.
NSA: Well, birth. We didn’t realize that at the time and I suppose it’s quite apparent now but, you know, one in six couples has trouble with infertility. So regardless of what kind of astrology you practice, one in six couples in your practice is going to ask you the question one day, “We’re really struggling to have children, can you tell me when I’m going to have them?”
CB: Right. That’s a huge number, one in six.
NSA: It is. It’s startling. So yeah, that’s where I started. And I think Cape Town where I was practicing at the time is a relatively small place and I think once word got out about that, obviously I had all the people who couldn’t get pregnant. And part of the consult with me was to talk… People who are struggling with infertility, they find the need to explain a lot and to tell the story. And so there was a lot of note-taking in those days and a lot of medical histories. I mean, there are a few components to fertility that I started comparing to actual astrology myths, if you like, or actual astrology signatures. I realized pretty early on that, okay, in the woman’s charts, we need hormones. We need a uterus, we need eggs, basically. And the Ascendant will tell you what the uterus is like, because it’s the ship that you sail in, it’s the physical body. And the Moon will tell you the quantity of eggs, the quality of eggs through the aspects of the Moon. And the hormones are going to be any negative aspect or positive aspects from Neptune, and sometimes to Venus. So we get a Moon-Venus can also be a hormonal thing.
So I listened to all these stories, I started tracking all of their complaints, and using the symbolism in astrology that I already knew, I kind of worked out, “Okay, so these people with Moon-Neptune or Moon-Venus, I’m going to maybe go with thyroid or endocrine problems. If the Moon is ruled by Saturn conjunct Saturn, I’m gonna go with low ovarian reserve.” And so I started building up a database of anecdotal evidence for want of a better word. I would also talk them through the psychological aspect of that. So for me it wasn’t just about, “You’ve got Moon conjunct Saturn so you have low ovarian reserve.” I would want to talk to them about “Now interestingly, the liber hermetis starts off with if you have Moon conjunct Saturn, then your mother is a slave.” So just using that, that’s where I started. And I’m going, “Okay now, how can I reinterpret this into 2003? How can I make this useful?” Then I’d go… My rejig of that was to say, “Well, it seems to me that you carry with you the narrative of not enough.” I’d say to people, “You don’t feel like you have enough time, you don’t feel like you have enough money, you don’t feel like you have enough emotional resource in order to do the things that you want to do.” So even if you have masses of money, you still feel that on some level. And that stigmatizes in the physical body and makes the body stingy in the production of eggs because it’s so precious this low ovarian reserve. Once people could make that connection, they would go, “Okay, fine. I’m now not going to resist going on Clomid or other egg-stimulating drugs because now I realize that this is actually a thing. It’s not in my imagination and it’s not in the imagination of the doctor, I can resonate with this. I can see how it’s acting out in my life.”
That’s just an example of how we did that and that’s just in the woman’s chart. In the male’s chart, what I was looking at was Mars as the primary indicator for sperm, and Mars in terms of what are the aspects to Mars and the dignity of Mars. I was looking at things like… I noticed that a Mars square Saturn or opposite Saturn is men or people who have an issue to do with sometimes authority figures acting as a handbrake. And where they feel like they just can’t get the energy out because something’s always pulling them back. In terms of my fertility, I went, “Okay, well, that’s a motility problem in sperm. That’s when your sperm is going to have enough sperm, but they’re not going to be swimmers for some reason.” And that started becoming true. Then I looked at Moon with hard aspects to Mars and that became a signifier for morphology issues. What I found really interesting with talking to women about partners with sperm issues is that sperm gets reproduced fresh every 72 days. So if you have a chance to change a man’s paradigm about his emotional feeling about his Mars or his energy or his possibly masculine issues due to the Mars-Moon conjunctions or hard aspects, you could actually change that fresh pot of sperm. And it has happened more than a couple of times in my practice that from one round to the next round of IVF, things have changed dramatically in a sperm test. But it is also funnily enough noted by Robert Winston in his book, Infertility, where he told somebody to change their lifestyle, adjust their diet, but also go for therapy or something. And what do you know? The next batch of sperm was different. So it’s not uncommon and it hasn’t been– how can I say– it’s not been well written up because I think it’s one of the softer psychological issues that IVF specialists are not focusing on. But it is possible.
CB: Okay. Let’s back up a little bit and just assume the listener has no background whatsoever in the topic of fertility or even having children and start from square one. I like that stat you give that one in six people have problems. One of the things you emphasized at the beginning of your book is that for most people, having children is a lifelong aspiration or even a career goal really something about their overall life direction and sort of destiny that they want to accomplish. And most people have an assumption all the way up until the point they get there that it’ll be something relatively easy. That it’s just something you do and then you have children, but that it’s not supposed to be a problem. But some people get to that point and then there’s a stumbling block for various reasons, and there can be a whole host or a whole variety of different reasons that people run into issues.
NSA: Yeah. Wouldn’t it be great if all 16-year-olds came to see me and we could map out their fertility then and they could take it forward? I think it’s true that the reasons that people want to have children are varied, and I have no judgment on any one of those reasons. Sometimes you’ll get a newish marriage, but a marriage that is not necessarily working out that well. And the couple, predominantly the woman will assume that if we just had a child things would get better. If we just had a child, he’d be more committed to the relationship, he would find meaning, he would whatever. And we all know that actually having a child kind of will highlight the problem in a marriage, it won’t actually fix the problem. But that still doesn’t stop me from helping somebody having a baby, I’m just noticing that that’s one of the reasons. Another reason is financial or material security for women. If they have a baby with a man, they often figure out that this is a way to at least have children that are going to be materially sorted out by someone else. There are people who have children because “My mother’s dying and she hasn’t had a grandchild yet, and I’d like to give her a grandchild.” They don’t necessarily think of the consequences of then the child’s going to be yours for the next 21 years, they’re doing it to please the parent. And again I have no judgment, these are the reasons. I don’t think that people logically think about, “I want to have children.” I think one gets in a grip of an emotional storm and you suddenly decide for whatever reason that now is the time. And you justify it by a whole lot of other reasons. But I think it is very compelling for women, especially, because they know that after the age of 36 their fertility drops off a cliff.
CB: Okay. So there’s a timing issue there where…
NSA: But for men, there isn’t.
CB: Before menopause. Or before, what is the timeframe? You said is it 36? Is it getting pushed out a little bit more at this point, or?
NSA: Well, medical science is fantastic. What can happen is that, you know, you can have a baby on your own up until the age of 36/37. People start having problems at 37, particularly with ovarian reserve and worth hormone levels. They’re getting into their pre-menopausal stage. One statistic is if you are trying to have a baby at the age of 40 or 41, even with IVF, you have a 1% chance of success. Even using your own eggs, even using IVF, a 1% chance. That’s very, very small.
CB: Okay. Once you get to 41?
NSA: What happens then is that people will decide, “Okay, having children is a deal breaker for me. I want to be pregnant and I want a live baby in my arms.” They will negotiate with the gods, the fates, and the doctors, and they will use donor egg. Now, using donor egg gives you then an extended fertility till the age of about 45.
CB: Okay. So the issue is that by 36 and afterwards there’s a lack of eggs from the mother?
CB: Okay. But then one way around that is to get a donor egg fertilized and then implanted?
CB: Okay. And you can do that up to– what did you say? 45?
NSA: 45. Some clinics will do up until 50, but it just depends on the clinic. These scientists are very clever, they don’t want older women in their clinic because they skew their lovely data. So they don’t want to post too many unsuccessful IVFs. You have to find yourself a doctor who’s going to be willing to take you on after the age of 45, which is difficult but they are there. But most countries have got a legal cutoff where if you have an embryo that is still sitting in an IVF clinic somewhere at the age of 49, they will ring you up and say, “If you don’t plan to use this embryo, we are destroying it.” Usually they will ask if they could use it as an embryo share to give it to somebody else if somebody needs it. Usually it’s altruistic, there’s no money involved. But however, at the age of 49, you will get that call if you have embryos stored somewhere.
CB: Okay. That’s interesting timeframes, and I’m trying to think of different planetary transit cycles that coincide with some of this. I know the Uranus opposition is famously around 42 or so. So we’re talking about that timeframe roughly as a cutoff.
NSA: You were also talking about a Neptune square Neptune at 45. And that’s the hormonal endocrine change. That’s the start of the perimenopause and that’s when the endocrine system does kind of break down. Also, I think you’re reaching the end of your Jupiter Fidaria depart 50. Jupiter is the planet that does bring babies and things, I think that’s the end of that Fidaria.
CB: Yeah. I think you’ve said in your book that Jupiter really is one of the primary, especially in terms of transit indicators, things that you pay attention to and try to focus on for possible timeframes of having a child.
NSA: I do. But also, I must say that nothing in my fertility work… I can’t even look at a Solar Fire transit list without knowing what is Almuten of Pregnancy. So for me, that’s a fundamental tool that I got from Omar of Tiberius which says if you’re going to ask about pregnancy, there are seven things that go into you getting pregnant. And one is your physical body, so that’s the ruler of the Ascendant. And the degree of your Ascendant. And then we’re going to look at the Moon and the position of the Moon and the position of Jupiter. So he had seven points that he really looked at in a complicated algorithm, which gave you the Almuten of Pregnancy.
CB: So that’s four, what are the other three?
NSA: Okay. So it’s Ascendant, the ruler of the Ascendant, the degree of the ascendant. The ruler of the Moon, the degree of the Moon, the ruler of the fifth house cusp, Jupiter, and then you have to look and see is there a planet that is bodily in the fifth house? And they get an extra five points just on top. And then we’re using, obviously, five points for Rulership, four for Exaltation, three for all three Triplicities, two for Term, and one for Face.
CB: Okay, so your primary access point and one of the unique things that you did with your book and your approach that you developed compared to other approaches– because I know you mentioned one earlier fertility astrology book where you weren’t crazy about the technique that was proposed there– but one of your unique things is determining the Almuten of Pregnancy from the eighth century/ninth-century astrologer Omar Tiberius. And then that will help you in order to identify what the primary significators of pregnancy are in the person’s chart.
NSA: Yeah. Once you know the Almuten of Pregnancy, basically what you’re going to be looking at is, “How is it placed in the chart by dignity, and what is its ability to act? And what are the aspects to it?” This is where I’m kind of a hybrid where I’m staunchly Medieval but yeah, if that Almuten of Pregnancy’s got a conjunction to Pluto, I’m not going to look askance.” We have to look at that and go, “Okay, so this is an issue.” Often that Almuten of Pregnancy will be conjunct a planet like Uranus, which means– Uranus, for me, is a planet of IVF. It’s surgery and innovation and advanced techniques if you like. So, when the Almuten of Pregnancy is contacting Uranus by aspect, it’s not a bad thing. I’m going, “Okay, the way in which you’re going to get pregnant is like this. We’re not saying it’s a no, we’re just saying this is the method by which you’re going to get pregnant.” Sometimes also if the Almuten of Pregnancy is in detriment, it often indicates that you’re going to get pregnant out of the mainstream according to a Bernadette Brady quote in her medieval course that’s out of the mainstream. And that can be you’re going to get pregnant with somebody out of wedlock, you could be pregnant with somebody out of your tribe or out of your age group, or something will be weird and wonderful about how you’re going to get pregnant. But it also could be that your pregnancy is going to be, or your fertilization is going to be in a petri dish. Which is also out of the norm. So paying attention to that like you would normally using your normal regular astrology, you can then rate the ability of that Almuten of Pregnancy to perform in the chart.
And then obviously, I look at Profection. You want to see that if the profected house is ruled by the Almuten of Pregnancy then you’ve got a very good chance of getting pregnant that year. If you’ve got to profection but the Almuten of Pregnancy is aspecting the ruler of that profection, you’ve also got a good chance. So it’s about linking those two and saying… I always go lastly to transit, “What is Jupiter doing? Is Jupiter going to be helping you with the profection? Is it going to be transiting either the profection ruler? Is it going to be transiting the Almuten of Pregnancy? What is it going to be doing?” And I want to see when I’m writing up my notes, so I just take a small little highlighter and I go, “Oh, that’s a nice little moment, a nice little moment.” And then I go with these big highlights where the Almuten of Pregnancy is highlighted in a specific way. And you’ll see in my notes that most people only have two and a half to three times a year that’s lucky to conceive. That kind of is corroborated by the medical fraternity. They also agree that if you put two 20-year-olds in a room and they have sex every day, they only have a 15. That’s one to five percent chance of falling pregnant in that month. So if I extrapolate that, which I once did with [Christian Borup] in some weird afterparty algorithm, we figured out that actually if we’re using Jupiter, you’re getting 17%. So we were looking at Jupiter to the angles and to the luminaries, and you’re gonna get that. So yep, we think okay, three times a year is when you’re gonna have a highlight or a chance.
For me, the wonderful thing about the Almuten of Pregnancy is that sometimes it’s Saturn or sometimes it’s Mars. And that could be disturbing for somebody when you’re talking to them and you say, “Your Almuten of Pregnancy is Saturn.” What it means is that you’ve actually now just converted one of your malefics into a benefiic. You’ve actually halved the ability for the malefics to rain on your parade and ruin your fertility because instead of not wanting Saturn in your fifth house, if the Almuten of Pregnancy is Saturn you want it all over your fifth house. So what tends to happen with those women is they get double the chances because you know, you have Saturn and Jupiter and Venus slightly to bring those pregnancies. So that’s really good. And the same with Mars.
CB: That brings up a point. One of the points you focused on in your book is how something needs to be promised usually in the natal chart in order for it to manifest in a person’s life, and that not everybody’s birth chart is created equal just as everyone’s life is not created equal, and different people experience luck or hardship in different parts of their life. Which practically normally speaking just seems sort of random and chance-like in our lives, but through the lens of astrology we see that there’s some patterns to this. And some of that can be seen in the birth chart, the areas where sometimes people struggle more or run into more challenges versus have greater ease. So there’s some people similarly when it comes to the issue of of pregnancy and having children, it’s something that comes much more naturally or with ease, and there’s other people that do run into issues. And sometimes there’s indicators of that in the birth chart itself.
NSA: There are. And there are traditional ones. It’ll be for instance, a Moon in a woman’s chart that’s really besieged and hammered. You look at that and you go, “Not only are you battling a lack of psychological patterning, perhaps, or a childhood drama. Overlaid on that, you know again, has it stomatized in the body and they now have low ovarian reserve? Is the Moon not being aspected by Neptune and it has chromosomal integrity issues? So there are indicators where it’s going to be more difficult for other people.
CB: And sometimes that can be– you mention in the book– sometimes it can be a physical issue that can be an impediment to getting pregnant and other times it can be a psychological issue?
NSA: Yeah. And sometimes, you know, charts are very strange things. I’m dealing with two charts mostly, so I’m dealing with a husband or another woman depending on what kind of arrangement I’m looking at. But in the partner’s chart… We don’t partner and then want to have children with people randomly, we tend to have some severe sort of karmic attraction with these people. So sometimes I will see… There’s a terrible signature called killer cell. I hate the term but it’s so colloquial it needs to be said. It’s called killer cell. It’s basically an immune disorder whereby you might get pregnant, but the fetus might not implant because the woman’s body determines that the fetus is a foreign body and then rejects it.
CB: The immune system attacks it or?
NSA: The system attacks it. So sometimes you’ll get a woman who comes to you and she says, “I’ve had three IVFs, we’ve had grade one embryos every time, and my hormones are fine. We keep implanting, nothing happens.” And you see that the husband will carry a Neptune square Mars and you go, “It’s not in her chart, but he’s carrying it for her.” So between them across those charts, you’re going to see them as one system. That they are going to be experiencing, coming into contact with, or having an issue with autoimmune diseases which could be causing the fetus not to implant. The fact that it’s not in her chart and she’s the one carrying it is immaterial, it seems. Sometimes we get a real crossover. Other times I’ll see a dead or a dull spot in a woman’s chart by transit, but the husband’s having a massive solar arc Venus to his Sun. And I’ll say do the treatment then, and the treatment works. Because both people are combined so it’s about addressing those charts. But I just wanted to say also that, Chris, this is the problem with fertility astrology. It’s that we cannot blindly apply Medieval astrology without holding the space that medical science is advancing and is absolutely fantastic in and of itself. I’m just thinking that we have a commentary on the quality of time, that’s our contribution. They have the ability to do the mechanics and to do that kind of setup. And I think it’s really important to leave a bit of space. And I’ll never say never with somebody because you don’t know what medical science is gonna come up with. We’ve had uterus transplants, can you imagine? You could look at somebody and you can say you have no uterus, and five years later they’ll come back and say, “I’ve had a uterus transplant and a baby.” It’s remarkable what can happen.
CB: Yeah. That’s really important as a core point, is that you use astrology and was a really powerful thing you said in the book, was that astrology is like an additional tool but it’s not the only tool, really. It’s just supposed to be used as something additional on top of every other medical and psychological and other thing that can be done in order to help a person to conceive a child or to have a child. But the one thing that’s unique about astrology and the strongest thing that you’re able to bring to the table as an astrologer is that astrology is able to address the issue of the quality of time, and the better times to do something where success may be more likely, the chances may be more likely versus times in which things might be a little bit more challenging.
NSA: Exactly. I think that is the best that we can hope for using astrology in this instance. I also want to add that I think it’s really important, you know, couples go through such a lot when they go through IVF. They have to make so many decisions. And these decisions are so expensive. It’s £5,000– I don’t know what it is in dollars– to have around one round of IVF.
CB: I think that’s about $5,000 at this point, they’re parodies.
NSA: And now you’re going to ask a couple who are under severe psychological strain, you’re going to ask them to make a decision about when they’re going to have their IVF treatment. Somebody has to take leave from work, and somebody’s got to be injected for 14 days at a stretch. The investment is great. So somebody chooses the date and then it doesn’t work out. Now we’ve got to go for round number two. Now we’ve got to choose round number two. Who’s going to choose round number two? Whether you like it or not, there’s always going to be that sort of subliminal blaming. “Well you chose last time and it didn’t work out.” Whereas I always say, “Use me as an ombudsman. Blame me if it doesn’t work out. Let me choose when you’re going to have your cycle and protect your relationship.”
CB: So it’s a hugely financially draining process. It’s also hugely emotionally draining on the couple or on the mother. And that’s one of the things you say in the book is that by the time somebody comes to you, they’re usually at last resort at this point, because it’s not working and this has been a hugely trying and also traumatic process that they’ve been going through in trying to achieve something that’s become very difficult for them quite by surprise, or opposite– in many instances– to their expectations.
NSA: Yeah. Yeah.
CB: Besides the financial drain, what’s involved in the emotional or physical drain?
NSA: Okay. Just the process of being hormonally stimulated means that for eight days in a row, you have to be injected both in your butt and your tummy. Sorry, this conversation can get quite technical [laughs] and graphic. And so some couples they choose a cheaper option of IVF where they plan to do the injections at home without going to a clinic, which means often that the husband has to inject the wife. Which is traumatic. I mean, who wants to be doing that? The injections are not comfortable, sometimes they’re painful. So for a couple of days two weeks in a row, you’re going to be making your wife experience pain in order to do this. CB: Right, it’s not like a sexy process, that sort of thing.
NSA: [laughs] There’s nothing sexy going on. And you’re gonna see her with bruises. And then you’re gonna go to be scanned and then you have to watch a doctor intravaginally scan her, which is really fantastically emasculating and also makes everybody very vulnerable. And then they decide, “Okay, we’re going to have more of a stimulation where we’re going to try and either hold off the ovulation in order to fit in with the laboratory scheduled hours because you don’t want to ovulating too soon or too late.” So you have these wonderful injections right into your stomach which cause massive bruising. Finally, they’ll call you in for egg retrieval and then you’ll go in and have your eggs retrieved, which again is not comfortable. So, husbands battle. Not only are they paying for this, but they’re seeing their wives in discomfort and pain. And a lot of men don’t have a vocabulary to deal with that. They don’t know how to reassure their partners without feeling completely lost and vulnerable, and they’re too scared to show emotion in case they completely lose it, and then they don’t know what they’re going to do with themselves after that. So you see them rather not saying anything at all. And the woman… Okay, the women tend to be split into two camps. There are some women who want their husbands to hold their hand through everything, and it’s “if I’m going to be in pain, he must be in pain” kind of scenario. And then there are the other women who I think are the most strategic, and they’re saying, “Don’t come to the appointment with me, I’m going on my own or with a girlfriend.” And they go and have all the painful injections on their own and they don’t leave their husband see that part of them. But their husbands are more likely to pay for a second and a third round of IVF if they haven’t been through that painful experience or seeing all that pain and discomfort. It’s a huge dynamic that couples go through.
CB: So it’s like the mother is going through major emotional and physical turmoil, and I’m sure that may be showing up in her transits at that time so that’s something you need to be prepared to understand as an astrologer in terms of what you’re seeing or looking at. And that there may also be major tensions in the relationship at the same time for various reasons because of how grueling this whole process is.
NSA: Exactly. Sometimes when I’m looking at my transit printouts from Solar Fire, I will see things like there’ll be a Uranus sextile in the Ascendant, there’ll be a Uranus sextile in maybe the Almuten of Pregnancy by transit. I’m going, “Oh, good. This is all good. This is IVF. This is telling me IVF.”
CB: Medical technological invention or innovation happening.
NSA: I might also see Neptune square the Ascendant or Neptune active in the chart. And also in that particular instance, I’m not using Neptune as a grief marker or as loss or as infection or whatever else Neptune is usually described in other medical situations. I’m just going, “These are the hormones. These are the hormones that she’s taking. This is the stimulation. This is what’s happening.” I’m not troubled by Neptune. I’m definitely not troubled by a bit of Saturn square Venus, and I’m definitely not troubled by a bit of Pluto square the Moon. Because Pluto square the Moon is what we call, I call it the IVF rape. When you go and have your egg transfer, that’s what it really feels like. It really feels like you come out like you’ve been punched. It’s those kinds of transits that don’t worry me. I see that and I go, “This is all part of the story. You see, I’m all about the story. The transits must tell a story. The story must be chronological, so I don’t want to see the Neptune before she’s starting the IVF. I want to see the Neptune as part of the IVF or after.” So you’re following the story. I tell you the only thing, the only signature that absolutely terrifies me and that I really really don’t like is when we have a Saturn square Neptune or Neptune square Saturn by Solar arc or Transit. That is the one thing that really bothers me. That is my biggest miscarriage marker. So what I will do is I will advise people to delay their implantation, so you can have your egg retrieval but then do your implantation after that transit. I also don’t like eclipses. I don’t like eclipses in the four weeks after implantation. Something seems to happen-
CB: Just as an electional issue in general, avoiding eclipses for the implementation or does it matter if they’re, for example, eclipses in the fifth house I’ve seen sometimes be if somebody has children.
NSA: It’s not necessarily even if they’re in the fifth house. I’ve been tracking my charts and its more like a feeling that I see; when people get pregnant– I don’t know, say at the beginning of September and there’s an eclipse in the first week of October, then it’s at around six to eight weeks that the heartbeat comes in. So you might well get pregnant, but it’s kind of now we’re stepping into sort of Plato’s idea of the soul. That soul is now coming down through the ethos and the levels of all the planets, and it’s going to be deposited on Earth by the Moon. And there’s an eclipse. It’s almost like the bus where the souls have a crash. For me, it’s like there’s an obstruction to those souls coming in.
CB: Sure. That’s one of the other things we haven’t gotten into yet, is that one of the other obstacles to successfully having a child for some people is miscarriages along the way, either when they’re trying to have children naturally or even during the process of doing IVF.
NSA: Yeah, it’s about just avoiding. Those are the two things I avoid, is the Neptune squaring Saturn and Saturn square Neptune, and eclipses too close to the six to eight weeks when the heartbeat’s coming in. I don’t mind it if the heartbeat has been in or established for four weeks, and then there’s an eclipse that’s fine and it doesn’t seem to matter if you do your implant a week or even days after the eclipse. It’s just that eclipse during that time seems to be sensitive in my charts.
CB: Okay. One of the things that you mentioned was the life narrative, because one of the things that you’re looking at is you’re trying to establish how does this fit into the person’s life narrative up to that point, and you want to see things that seem to fit into what they’re hoping for astrologically in terms of the narrative that they want to achieve, which is having a successful pregnancy at this point.
NSA: Yeah. Some of the things that are really interesting is that women often get some kind of activity or something going on in their 10th house cusp because your 10th house as a woman is your social identity if you like. That’s reflected in whether you’re single or married, or your job title if you have a career. But very much those changes get made when children are arriving. Also, people have to leave their jobs. So often when I see Saturn for instance coming to the 10th house, I get quite excited. I go, “Oh, you’re going to lose your job. Fantastic, because that means you’re losing your job for the reason of pregnancy. I want to be clear that I only focused on the pregnancy. If there are other reasons why you could be losing your job, you need to tell me. But if one of them could be that you’re going on maternity leave, well, this is good. This is telling the story.”
CB: Right. Giving something up in order to do something else.
NSA: Yeah. Similarly, things like Pluto in the fourth house or Saturn on the fourth house you go, “Oh, renovations? Somebody applying for permits to increase? Are you moving house?” Saturn on the Ascendant is also all those kinds of legal documents like applying for new passports, birth certificates, trust funds, all of a sudden especially with the men. The men get a Saturn to the Sun, and men get Saturn to the eighth house cusp often because it’s all just, “Okay, here’s another bank account for the baby.” Or here’s another… In their minds they are already setting up a financial structure going forward for something. So you want to see that. When you see that… So firstly when I do see people, I like to know what’s going on in their lives. Because I say to them, “I don’t really want you planning a huge publication of a book, at the same time that you are intending to get pregnant, without letting me know.” Because sometimes Jupiter will give, but it will only give here and it won’t give there. I think the reason why I am quite successful in my prediction of pregnancy is because I’m typically only looking for one thing. I’m not being expected to interpret and predict five things, I’m only going for one. I say to people, “Be quite clear that this is the thing that you’re going for, and streamline your life so that you’re orientating yourself towards this because then you have more success at getting it.”
CB: Right. That makes sense because when you’re doing astrology, it’s one of the major obstacles to predictions is that there can be multiple threads or a nexus of important events in a person’s life at important turning points, and the astrologer may look and see some timing indicator that they think is going to mean something or some type of event but it could be a secondary event that occurs at that time in the person’s life.
NSA: Exactly. And it’s not the astrologer’s fault. It’s just that the person has got these multiple streams of focus.
CB: Yeah. And that’s probably more of an issue in modern times where more women are able to push pregnancy later because they are trying to pursue careers and make major career achievements before they are ready to sit down and have children.
NSA: A really interesting study would be– and I think Wendy Stacey might have done something in this area– that since 1965, Caesar births became very popular.
NSA: Cesarean births. We could say that yes, in first-world countries cesarean births are the choice. So what you’re going to have obviously is you’re going to have a predominance of people who are born with 11, 10, nine, maybe eight-house Suns, because that’s going to be the operating times of doctors that fits in with their lifestyle.
CB: Yeah, a doctor I interviewed in a previous episode and she said they tend to schedule it during business hours. So you have this sudden shift and preponderance of people that were born during the day basically, instead of at night.
NSA: Yeah. And I have to run it through JigSaw once, many years ago I ran about 2000 of my charts through JigSaw and the common denominator amongst all of the female charts was a luminary the Sun or the Moon in the 10th house. Just randomly, it doesn’t matter what Moon or what Sun. And what that told me was these are people who have a desire to be out there in the world and to be a cog in society. The meaning in their lives is to be out there in the world and not at home having children. And so they delay things. They become part of a corporate lifestyle, they earn their own money, and then what happens is they marry but they’ve never… They’ve bought houses jointly but they’ve never had to justify their purchases to anybody. And the loss of financial independence or the fact that you now have to hand over practically your fiscal life to somebody else for a period of time makes them vulnerable and quite honestly is often the thing that stops them getting pregnant. And they will often self-sabotage in order not to get pregnant, in order to say I tried but it didn’t work. So I just find it interesting that we need to find a way where it’s not considered unattractive for women to ask their husbands how are they going to be protected if they do get pregnant, and not to ask, “What is your will? Do you have any debt that I don’t know about? And by the way, you’re going to need to put 10 grand into my account without asking as an allowance because I’m not asking you for money for things, toothpaste.” Until we sort that out and until we realize that we’re asking somebody to give up such a lot that that needs to be considered. I think yeah, it’s very hard for the 10th house luminaries.
CB: Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. And there’s just so many different factors that you have to take into account as an astrologer that some astrologers may not be prepared to, if they haven’t gotten through this or if they don’t know all the nuances. But it’s something that you really started seeing all the different possible variations of different ways that people approach or different scenarios that come up during the context of having children for different people and how wildly different it is, but how you have to be able to identify what that looks like in the birth chart.
NSA: Yeah, but I think all astrologers do that. All astrologers have to assist the client in terms of whatever it is they’re asking. Whether it’s career or not, you have to, you know, where are you in your life? What were your expectations and what did your parents expect from you? Why are you still seeking approval? All of those things. My job often is to just be very common sense-like and to say to people, “What are your expectations of your relationship? Do you know that it’s going to get worse not better initially?” And mostly asking men, “What are your expectations of mothering?” And you’d be surprised. Some people think about it a lot and some people don’t think about it at all. And I think that when people go to an IVF specialist to get pregnant, the IVF specialist has got no remit, they are legally not allowed to ask you about your experience with your mother. They are not allowed to ask about financial inequality in your relationship. They’ve got 15 minutes with you in order to get your eggs and scan you and get you out of their office. That’s it. But when you come to an astrologer, because of the lack of regulation ironically, we are allowed to ask anything. We can go anyway. And so my doctors who work with me and I work with a few doctors all over the world, they love getting patients with me. They say they are so efficient. They come in, they know what to expect. They have had their God chats–because that’s another thing we can get into quickly– they’ve had their God chats, they know what to expect physically. They know when they’re going to have it because I’ve done their charts with them. And my doctors are so supportive that they will stimulate the hormones according to the astrology charts that I give them and accommodate what they want to have happen.
CB: Right. You’re trying to bring an almost holistic approach to the entire process. Would that be a right way to phrasing that?
NSA: Yeah. But what I’m saying is from our point of view as astrologers, we are uniquely placed to be able to do that. I’m sure that doctors would love to discuss more things if they had the time, but they’re actually not allowed to.
CB: Yeah. Well, because you’re looking at the person’s chart which is giving you a unique insight into the life narrative as a whole, and it’s bringing in components and background that you’re able to then see and investigate more from the person’s background and ask them questions about and have a dialogue about in order to sort of establish what their life narrative is.
NSA: Yeah, I just want to get back into that God thing like I said to before, because I think this is quite important. If you’ve never experienced IVF and suddenly you realize okay, we’re going to have to have IVF, one of the questions that comes up for people is, “Are we not playing God? Are the doctors playing God?” For some people, this is disturbing and is contrary to their religious beliefs or whatever held faith issues that they have. So what I always say to them is with IVF and with most things, is that medical science can prepare you. We can take out your eggs, we can fertilise your eggs outside of your body, we can create an embryo, we can then put that embryo back in. But it’s the implantation that counts. And that’s when the window for God to speak is still there. Because you can’t force an implantation, and you can’t form an implantation. And conception has never ever been formed and cannot be predicted and so it’s a very, very sacred moment. So even if you’re using IVF, you’re still setting it up, and somebody else has to speak. So it’s a nice way to get people around the God issue.
CB: Right. Similarly as an astrologer, that’s probably important in terms of setting expectations and the limitations of what you’re able to do. Even if you’re able to give somebody an edge or an advantage in terms of the timing potentially, or to see timing periods coming up that might be more successful than others, there’s still limitations to what you can actually accomplish.
NSA: There are. And I always say to my clients, “I cannot give you one hundred percent guarantee, because it’s your body. I don’t know what you’re eating, I don’t know what exercise you’re doing, I don’t know what your home environment is like. I don’t know what the doctor’s good fortune is going to be on that day. I don’t know whether the lab technician is going to be hungover. There’s so many variables that I can never ever give you a hundred percent. But I can give you the best timing, I can give you the best potential, I can give you the luckiest window. And that’s about it to maximize your chances.”
CB: And so managing expectations, then is probably a little bit of something that’s necessary or something that you need to do in that process.
NSA: I do and I always do. That’s the first thing. It’s part of my little intro caveat. “You do know I’m not a medical doctor.” That’s how I tell everybody. I want them to nod their heads because when we start going into, you know, astrology used to be part of medicine. And when we start talking about the predispositions in the chart, it sounds very medical and I want them to understand that I’m getting this from the astrology and not from some weird medical background that I have. And then I say to people, “If you haven’t actually thought about investigating this, maybe it’s useful if you do.” Sometimes what happens is that I’ll pick up a thyroid issue that they haven’t investigated, and that thyroid issue then can be sorted out and their fertility can continue. But fertility was never going to be a success if they hadn’t addressed the thyroid issue. So it’s still important to have a conversation and to say, “These are general predispositions. And it’s almost like your astrological DNA, you might be carrying a marker for diabetes because your families are full of diabetes. So everybody in your family has got Venus square the Moon, but it could be contributing to your infertility and that there’s an insulin issue which is giving you polycystic ovarian syndrome.” The funny thing is that most people kind of know, and they go, “Oh, I knew I should have had that test. I know that something’s not right.” It’s at that moment where you go, “Oh, yeah.” And because it’s somebody that’s outside of the situation and it seems to be random, it’s got that random feel to it, that’s when people notice it and they do something.
CB: Yeah. One that’s always one of the most important experiences with astrology is oftentimes when you’re sitting with a client, there’s that experience of telling people something that they already know about their life that they’ve already experienced, but it’s something that they’ve normalized or taken for granted. And hearing it from an external third party or from a stranger that should have no background on the person’s life and having it reflected back in that way just through looking at the chart, is an important and maybe the most important part of the whole process of doing even just a natal consultation on its own. So it sounds like that’s a piece of it, is just the sometimes mirroring back something a person already knows about their life but they’re not really fully taking into account or they’re not doing something about.
NSA: Exactly, exactly. It deepens the trust that they have with you. And then what I always find is that we often get that situation where… Let’s talk about Moon-Saturn. We get people with Moon-Saturn and they are hard on themselves, and they are sometimes emotionally isolated. And the extrapolation to where you could take that signature is they take themselves and they go, “I don’t deserve.” So it becomes a case of I don’t have because I don’t deserve. And so what I say is I’ve usually tried to establish enough in the chart, enough of a resonance if you like, or enough of a mirroring where they feel that the next thing I’m going to say is also truthful. So when we get to the point where I say, “Remember that thing about not deserving? Well, your child is going to choose their own chart.” And I firmly believe that the birth chart is a lens through which you perceive your life. It’s not necessarily your real life, it’s the way in which you choose to see it. So what we tend to do is we tend to edit art or reality through the lens of the chart. I’ll say, “So long as when your baby comes they’re gonna have their own birth chart. It doesn’t matter if you are the perfect mother, if they’ve got Moon in Saturn they’re gonna find something to find fault with. But it’s okay because so long as you fed them and you’ve sent them to school and you’ve been a consistent parent, that’s the best that you can do and the rest is up to them and how they perceive their reality.” The feeling of relief, you can actually see it on their faces. And I say, “If I’ve said anything truthful about you today, it’s because you gave me your birth time, date and place. That’s all I have to work with. And your child will come with their own birth date, time and place. So you will always be good enough.” And it’s amazing to see them just relax into that. Sometimes I wonder is that all it took, or is it just part of that process? But I just find it a useful conversation to go always to the deserving part.
CB: Yeah, that’s a really important point about sometimes it’s never clear how much when people describe their relationships with other people, or especially relationships with a parent. And you can see that signature in the birth chart how much that’s reflecting an external truth about how let’s say the parent related to the child and whatever dynamics the parent actively did versus how much it’s just the child’s perception of the parent and their experiences with them that is their own actual subjective experience, but may not objectively be as true if a third party observed the relationship or something like that.
NSA: A really good example of this, Chris, is that I have two girls, two children, and they were born 20 months apart. One sees me as a Moon in Leo square Pluto, and the other one sees me as a Moon in Cancer. Now tell me, I can’t be both. But I can assure you I’m the hardcore bitch. I’m that Leo Moon square Pluto. My older daughter, she sees me as Mother Teresa.
CB: As the more nurturing type.
NSA: We laugh about it in the family. It’s an open thing in the family. I go, “How on Earth do you see me as this perfect person? Because we all know I’m not.” And she laughs and says, “Whatever I need, you give it to me. You give to me whatever I need in that moment. You’re just unbelievably there with whatever it is that I need.” And I’m going, “Wow, okay.” These children are 20 months apart and there’s no ways I could have been a different kind of mother. No ways. They had identical bedtimes, routines, lifestyles, everything. So that is one way for me at least to kind of go, “Yeah, well, this is perception.”
CB: That raises an interesting issue in terms of that common experience that people say of different siblings at different parts of family having different experiences of the person because of the order that they were born. For example, the first child sometimes complaining that they had it worse because the parent was more uptight or something like that, but then the second child the parents started to get it down and they adjusted and didn’t make some of the same mistakes or different things like that. It seems like it would partially be tied into that issue as well in terms of that sequence, but that would be something that would be described to some extent in the birth chart actually is part of what you’re saying.
NSA: It’s the younger one that sees me as the Leo Moon square Pluto, not the older one. They each have got my DNA, astrological DNA, so the one has got the Moon square Pluto and the other one has got the Moon opposite Saturn-Uranus. I’ve got a Moon conjunct Saturn opposite Pluto-Uranus. So they kind of have taken bits and pieces of me. But when I have quizzed them, because this obviously has interested me as a fertility astrologer is how they have perceived my mothering and my ability to nurture them, it’s been just jolly interesting that the older one comes up with the Mother Teresa and the younger one comes up with a much more hardcore version. [laughs]
CB: Okay. You’ve had two children, and then this is where also part of your personal story intersects with the topic of fertility astrology because you did go through some of this process at one point in trying to have a third child.
NSA: Yes. In 2004 I married a very lovely second husband. And he hadn’t had children, so I decided to go for IVF. So we did try a bit of Clomid. And this is the other thing when we talk about-
CB: How old were you at the time, approximately?
NSA: I was approximately 31.
NSA: And I’d had two children by surprise so there was nothing wrong with me, and he had also had a previous pregnancy which he had terminated when he was very much younger. So we were typically that couple where 30% of the time, it’s unexplained infertility.
CB: Right. You were expecting this to just be easy.
NSA: We were expecting it to be very easy. Yeah.
CB: Yeah. And then all of a sudden you’re trying and it’s just not working and you’re wondering what’s going on?
NSA: But at the same time, I must confess, I went through the IVF process with one eye on the astrology. I was curious. And my whole attitude and brain was wide open to catch and see all the symbolism that I could. Well, I wasn’t in that typical framework of being devastated if I wasn’t going to succeed, because my youngest child was actually 12, and that gap was going to be huge and my life would have been very different. So we approached this IVF with a fairly healthy kind of skepticism and a healthy approach of well, this may not work out. My husband had the South Node in his fifth house, and I always had an eye on that and I went, “Okay, there’s a certain amount of rejection here.”
CB: Nataly or by transit?
NSA: Nataly. And then obviously I looked at my own chart and I went, “Well, there’s so much on my chart that’s so paradoxical.” The other thing is that fertility isn’t stagnant. I don’t think you can ever look at a chart at the age of 15 and make a categorical statement about somebody’s fertility for a couple of reasons. Again, that person’s got to partner up with somebody else and their chart might speak louder than this chart. So it all depends on who you’re having babies with. Secondly, fertility is not static. It changes. One way in which I could… The technique that I devised to try and describe the changes was to direct the Almuten of Pregnancy through Triplicity, Face, Rulerships. Which was something that nobody has done. I went to look for Valens and trolled through a number of old texts, and everybody can direct the Arabic part and they direct to the Part of Fortune but nobody really has been directing the Part of Fortune through Triplicity.
CB: Right. And so by that, you look at the three triplicity rulers using the Dorothean triplicities of the Almuten of Pregnancy?
NSA: Yes. And then you may hear a comment as to, “Are you going to be one of those people that has children early or later in life?” So of course instead of, and one should have but who does that anymore– please don’t tell me you do, I’ll feel so inadequate– calculate the whole [unintelligible] of somebody’s length of life before they come to see you. And then you divide their life into three and then you’d say, “Okay, in this half of your life your Almuten of Pregnancy is more active or more prominent, and therefore you’re gonna have your children here or here. We know that obviously you might live till the age of 80, but no one’s fertile till the age of 80 so we have to actually condense that period of fertility from 14 to 45.” And so I kind of chop it somewhere. It’s not an exact science, I think at about 26/27 is the first chop off and then at about 38 is the next chop off. So when I look at somebody’s chart, I will direct the Almuten of Pregnancy and I’ll say, “Okay, well, if the triplicity phase ruler is in the second half, then maybe you’re going to be more likely to get pregnant in the second half of your fertility life.” So that’s a way in which to look at it. Anyway, when looking at my husband’s chart, it didn’t look that promising. My own chart was more interesting because I could see that by triplicity phase rulership, I’d moved into a different phase. Which completely explains the phenomenon of secondary infertility as a whole. A lot of people complain that they get pregnant in their 20s, late 20s, and the minute they get over 30, they struggle to get pregnant and they then spend the next five years battling.
Chris Brennan: It’s interesting they just passed the Saturn return, basically.
NSA: It’s a phenomena, secondary fertility is a phenomena. So there was that. I did go through that process and I must have had… Much though I would love for astrology to stand on it’s own and for men to be fertility astrologers and for everybody to engage with us. It does relax my patients or clients a lot when I say I’ve been through IVF. They go mad. They go on such high doses of hormones that literally they don’t know themselves. Obviously, they get on the internet and they join these forums, and it’s almost like they don’t even want to talk to their family members anymore because as far as they’re concerned, their family members have got no idea of what they’re going through, which is true. And so they isolate themselves from the rest of the world, and they only really are interested in talking to people with experience. So I’m very glad of that experience, and I’m also equally glad that we weren’t successful because I wouldn’t be here today if we were if that makes sense.
Chris Brennan: Why are you saying?
NSA: Because I would’ve had another child, I would’ve had to go through that whole process of giving up hobbies like astrology.
Chris Brennan: Yeah, they would only be turning 18 or something at this point. One of the things that is interesting is you know the date in which basically you found out that the process had been unsuccessful, right?
Chris Brennan: And I noticed that Saturn was stationing direct I believe in your fifth whole sign house and opposing your Sun very closely on that day. So that’s an interesting transit in terms of Saturn transiting your fifth house having this obstacle come up in terms of being able to have children, going through this long process, and ultimately it being unsuccessful and Saturn kind of saying no at that time.
NSA: Yeah. So what was interesting about that whole timeframe is that you don’t really…. So firstly, Saturn was not my Almuten of Pregnancy, had Saturn been my Almuten of Pregnancy, that would’ve been happy days, that would’ve been twins. But Saturn wasn’t, Jupiter was. I don’t remember clocking it exactly, I don’t remember looking at my chart because remember, I think I was still a very young astrologer then, I hadn’t even graduated yet.
Chris Brennan: And you first started studying with Rod Suskin in South Africa, you’re from South Africa.
NSA: Yeah. So not so [far] with astrology, so I don’t think I’d even notice that, but I must tell you that even if I had noticed that, I still would’ve gone through the process. Because your timeframe of success, and I’m kind of always at the edge of not using the astrology instead of medical science, we can’t just dismiss the medical science just because astrology’s saying no. What we must do is do the medical science knowing full well that it might be a no and manage your expectations. So that would’ve been my attitude at the time had I noticed that Saturn stationing.
Chris Brennan: And that’s super important because there’s some people that go through that process and they reach, let’s say, a Saturn obstacle in their life at that point, but through much effort and sometimes hardship they’re able to push through it and still come out the other side getting what they want or being successful.
NSA: Yeah. I think for me the joyful part of that IVF and its subsequent failure was literally lying in that bed, I mean, I now present the charts as [Nancy and Lisa] and yes, it is my chart. But I mean, can you imagine as an astrologer you’re lying next to somebody and they’re going through the same process and you ask them for their birth data and they give it to you, and you quickly rig it up on your phone and you work out that their chart is an exact mirror image of yours. I mean, that was gold. That was just awesome. And then I also felt so for her because her Almuten of Pregnancy was Mars, and it was so much more dignified than mine and it had much more beneficial contacts and later on I found out even better-fixed stars. But also she had a little one cell embryo. I mean, I had five cell embryos. I had loads of perfect-looking embryos, and she had this tiny one little sickly thing, and they were just putting it back in because this was the last time they could afford it. And I remember actually lying on the bed next to her, and I remember thinking to myself, this is this double Pisces, I remember thinking, “Please, if there’s a baby, go to her, she needs one. I’ve got two children, go to her.” And I remember that feeling, I I remember that leaving. And so there’s a lot about it that I don’t feel any regret or any kind of sorrow that that didn’t work out, because I think just in terms of that book and what I’ve done with my life, it’s just wow, that was the reward.
Chris Brennan: Yeah. So one of the points that you’re just saying that you had a case study of somebody that was born within a year of you with the rising sign the exact opposite of yours, so there are many interesting parallel transits. But she had a better lineup astrologically for being successful, and she ended up being successful while you didn’t at that time. But that’s an interesting, again, Saturn transit that’s kind of parallel to… We were talking about Saturn in the 10th house earlier and a mother that maybe has to give up her career in order to pursue other life work, having a child at that time. And for you, that Saturn transit through your fifth was kind of not being successful in having a third child at that time, but this opening up a whole new world to you in terms of you getting much more personal first-hand experience and understanding the whole process much better in a way that you wouldn’t have up to that point, and therefore, eventually being able to go on and write this book and help lots of other people through this process.
NSA: I would definitely say that that’s a true reading of it, and not only because my Saturn conjunct my Moon is in the 12th house and it’s sextiling my Sun in the 10th ruled by Saturn. So I think I have a tendency to turn hardships into new things and make it work in a positive way or at least have a positive attitude. That might be my Pollyanna, double Pisces, don’t care, still working.
Chris Brennan: Sure. Or even just having, I think, a day chart Saturn, sometimes in those surmountable difficulties being a little bit more negotiable sometimes. So a lot of this is taking place in the context or part of the backdrop of some of this work is medical astrology. And even though you’re not a doctor, still having some background in some of the traditional understanding of what signatures mean different things with respect to the body is kind of an important component of this as opposed to having a purely, let’s say, psychological understanding of astrology.
NSA: I can’t stress this often enough. And that is, I think, especially, I mean, in niche astrologies like fertility astrology, financial astrology, those astrologies which are focusing on a specific area. I think you can’t really do the astrology justice unless you actually know the environment really well. So in order to be a financial astrologer, you got to know the stock market and you got to know exactly how it works.
Chris Brennan: You got to know it just as well as you know the astrology.
NSA: Exactly. So similar thing happens with fertility astrology, a similar thing happens. You’ve got to make it your interest and your focus. And luckily for me, I’m supported by some really lovely doctors who have allowed me in certain circumstances to actually watch IVF procedures. So there’s this feeling out there, I mean, every time I say, “Well, the fallopian tubes are ruled by Mercury,” I can see a hundred astrologers nodding, their heads thinking, “Yes, because it’s a tube, you go down the tube, Mercury travels down the tube.” Whereas when I saw it when I was watching these IVF procedures, all I saw was the doctor is putting a sperm and egg, which is like the Sun and the Moon together in the fallopian tube. The fallopian tube is facilitating a cosmic marriage. That was my understanding that the fallopian tubes are ruled by Mercury. So it broadened my ability to think on that level, to actually see it happen. And when I saw an [ICSI] process, so [ICSI] is a process where when normal fertilization doesn’t happen because the boundary of the egg is too hard and the sperm can’t get in for a number of reasons, and we’ll talk about that in a moment. What they do is they actually take the sperm in an injection needle and they pierce the outer lining of the egg, and they actually forcibly introduce the sperm into the egg. And so when I saw that, it’s kind of, “Oh, I mean Mars in a woman’s chart.” So that’s the way that the eggs are going to get fertilized, ICSI. So I say to people, “Instead of waiting for your second round of IVF with ICSI,” because ICSI is always an additional addon that gets charged for, I said, “Have ICSI the first time, don’t wait, just have it the first time.”
Chris Brennan: Right, because Mars symbolically has like a piercing quality.
NSA: Yeah. So I’ve been lucky to have that support to broaden my medical knowledge so I could deepen that symbolism.
Chris Brennan: Okay. So that’s really important because you can’t just be a good astrologer, you have to know the details of all the different medical procedures and the different scenarios that are involved so that you can then develop an understanding of what symbolism that you’re looking for and what different things you’re seeing in the chart actually look like in real life.
NSA: Yeah. And I think also understanding, so I broadened my understanding to incorporate medical anthropology because I think that we need to understand how people regard illness. And for a lot of people, fertility is a disease or it’s an illness because it’s an aberration from the norm. For them it’s not normal, it’s a condition. And it’s about understanding how people respond to that. So there’s going to be those who fight against stuff, there are those with strong sort of Martial elements in their chart, where everything is a quest and everything is in military language. And when somebody’s sitting with you and that’s their attitude, it’s really important to meet them at that place and we talk about a fight, and then you can adjust your language so that it feels like you’re on their side in their fight against this. And then there are other people who they first want to find the meaning, like, “What does this mean that I’m not pregnant? Does this mean that I’m unworthy?” For them, you’ve got to use a different approach. But medical anthropology has given me a much more academic and thoroughly structural framework on which to hang my consultation practice or the way in which I approach it, and for that I’m very grateful. Because I also happen to think that we astrologers get very frustrated that other people don’t read our academic papers and that other people don’t step up and learn more about astrology before they come out and criticize it. But likewise, I’m always conscious of the need for us to actually go and study other stuff in order for us to be able to have a sensible comment on that as well. So I want to see in what way can we contribute to medical anthropology, in what way can fertility astrology form part of their normal lexicon. And thankfully, because of Insta and because of the world we live in, astrology seems to be much more accepted and much more sort of getting its own sort of groove again, and I just hope to be part of that kind of serious conversation happening on the side.
Chris Brennan: Right. Yeah, it’s really taken off over the past few years and much more advanced forms of astrology.10 years ago people would know their Sun sign, but now everybody knows their Sun, Moon, and rising sign, their big three, and that’s such a major shift just in and of itself. But that being said, one of the things that was interesting that you mentioned in the book is oftentimes it’s the mother that’s approaching you or wanting to come in for the consultation often sometimes as a last resort. But then the husband often is skeptical or is kind of being dragged into it, and some of that famous sort of gender dynamic where for some reason women tend to be at this point in time more open to astrology and men tend to be more skeptical for whatever reason, but that comes up as an issue sometimes for you in the consulting room since it’s often couples coming to see you.
NSA: It does come up. And so my approach to that is to firstly, there’s nothing more depressing than a fertility consult. So I often say to people right up front, I say, “You know what guys, when you put down the Zoom call, I want you to understand that today has been about looking for problems as to why you’re not getting fertile. This is not a normal astrological meeting, and normally we would talk about all the positive things in your chart, health, wealth, happiness, and it would be quite bright and sunny.”
Chris Brennan: Right, because they’re coming to you with a problem.
NSA: Yeah. So I’m looking for the problem, so I’m going to be really candid. I’m a Capricorn, so my bedside manner is a little bit stretched into the point. But I also have got enough Mercury in Sag that I actually use humor, especially when I’m trying to relax a couple where I see that the guy is a little bit nervous and he’s not sure he wants to be there. I start talking about her chart and in slightly–
Chris Brennan: You’re doing like a standup routine or?
NSA: Conspiratorial kind of things like, “I know why you feel this way because she does this or she does that,” and I’ll gently make like a light issue. And those girls don’t mind that you’re slightly having a giggle at their expense because they understand that you’re making the husband comfortable. And once I start getting more and more accurate about her and the chart and how their charts work together, they’re relaxed because this isn’t about blame. I often say, “You communicate like this and she communicates like that and neither of you’re going to change, so you don’t have to go off and do work. You just have to understand that this is what she means when she says this and this is what you mean when you say that.” And instantly, they realize, these skeptical men, that nobody’s pointing a finger as to who’s infertile and why, it’s just this is the deal. So I try and at least make people laugh at themselves or at me or be self-deprecating at least once in the interview just to bring it up a bit and also normalize it. Most of my patients say when they leave that they didn’t realize how normal IVF was and that they didn’t realize how common and that it’s okay and that it’s going to be fine. They built up a huge thing in their minds about how awful it is and how devastating and what have you, and I just dial it down completely and go, “No, it’s not, we’re just going to do these treatments. We just going to do it here, this is what it’s going to feel like.”
Chris Brennan: Right. And in some of the interviews, for example, in your YouTube channel with past clients, it seems like afterwards there’s the husband or men in some instances who were impressed once they saw the results, it’s just a matter of what works and what helps in terms of the process and maybe being more impressed or convinced that there’s something to astrology after going through it sometimes when you’re able to help them in some way.
NSA: I know the couple you’re referring to. The wife is actually a research scientist and the husband is a chemical engineer, and so these are not stupid people. She was of the kind that she just thought, “You know what, I’m going to try everything, and this is the one thing I haven’t tried.” They tried something like seven or eight IVFs and it didn’t work. And she said, “This is the one thing I haven’t tried, so I’m going to try this and I don’t care what people think about it or what have you.” She was in that completely irrational frame of mind, but she’s a researcher, so her mind is always actually open ironically, she’s not closed. And he was just trying to keep her happy, but also not terribly closed. He was just going, “Okay, well, we’re doing acupuncture, we might as well do this as well.” So they signed up. And then what it gave to them, and in fact another couple immediately after them also said was, men like a bit of a roadmap, men like to know what’s going to happen when. So if you just give them this piece of paper and say, “This is when you’re going to have your treatments for the next year,” they’re suddenly relaxed because they know what they’re supposed to be doing, they can organize their leave, and there’s none of this real make up our minds on a day to day basis. So most men like the fact that there’s now a plan, and they like the fact that there’s no indulging of any sort of hair brain scheme. So when people come and say like, “I don’t have any embryos, I don’t have any eggs, but I don’t know about egg donation,” I’ll get them to egg donation as fast as I can because I’ll believe that’s their quickest way to getting pregnant. So we don’t indulge fantasies, and the men are grateful for that. So the minute there’s common sense applied and there’s a plan, that seems to work for them. The couple that you’re referring to, actually he then started to consult me for the next two years. And it was actually in one of the consultations with him afterwards where I predicted their fourth child. So I predicted that they would have a baby and they ended up having triplets. But in the next two years, I said to him about nine months after the triplets were born, I said, “Be careful because you’ve got a very fertile mark on your chart.” And he laughed, he said, “Don’t be daft, we had nine IVFs to have those children.” I said, “No, no, really.” And they managed to get pregnant with their son, Ethan, all on their own at the time that astrology said. So he then actually started studying astrology with Rod Suskin as a chemical engineer. He saw that there is a pattern to this. I think he appreciated the fact that while we might not understand the pattern and we might not have the scientific tools to measure the pattern, he knows about the rays from the planets, he’s not really that interested in that kind of thing, he just said, “There seems to be a pattern and I want to know more about it.” So it’s heartening that you can turn somebody around. But equally, I’ve had people, I did a research paper recently at the University of Lampeter, I think it’s published on academia.edu. And in it, I asked 11 people who’d been successful with me what their experience with fertility astrology was and how they thought that they’d experienced it. And there was a lady there who was extremely hostile, she hated me, but she got pregnant. And she had to admit, she said, “I hated you for reasons because I was struggling. I tried everything else, it hadn’t worked. I didn’t believe that it was going to work. I was sort of your worst kind of patient, the one that wasn’t going to be compliant, and it worked.” And so she said, “I’m a believer in your kind of astrology, and I’m sorry I was hostile at the time.” So it’s not a case of whether you believe in it or how skeptical you are as to how successful you’re going to be, it seems to work anywhere.
Chris Brennan: Right, even if you’re sort of reluctant or even if for some people it’s a last resort in terms of trying to achieve this. I can imagine though there’s other scenarios, one of the issues is the astrologer wants to help and the astrologer wants to be able to, for example, predict good things or make a good prediction or one that’s in alignment with what the client wants, but I’m sure in some instances sometimes you run into an issue where it looks more challenging or you don’t want to give a client false hope either, so that’s something I know all astrologers struggle with, but it’s probably even more pressing here when people want to achieve something specific.
NSA: It is. I think one of the difficult signatures that I see in a chart in a woman who has been struggling is a Moon-Neptune hard aspect, because that is most often prevalent in my charts that have eggs with a chromosomal integrity issue, which means that there’s a genetic problem and that the embryos, there’s something not quite right at the embryos. So what tends to happen is that they have many IVF implantations, but they lose the baby before a heartbeat is detected. Some of them don’t have the money to do pre-genetic testing, so they’re a bit blind, they don’t know what’s happening, they just know that it isn’t working. And those women are potentially already sort of 42, 43. And then you have to say to them like, “What is a deal breaker here? Is it a deal breaker in your life to have a baby?” And if the answer is yes it is a deal breaker, you want a baby more than anything, then I say to them, “You have to consider donor egg then. If you don’t mind either way, you can carry on trying, but I’m telling you now that people with this signature or this marker most often require a donor egg.” And it’s a hard conversation to have, but they’ve already been told a lot of home truths, they’ve already been to a doctor. Most of them know. I kind of refuse to be that person who just says, “Nevermind about what the doctors say, I’ll do a spell for you, light a candle, all will be fine.” I’m not that person. So it’s tell me what your goals are and I’ll align myself and my astrology with your goals, but I can’t be pretending that you don’t have serious issues. I have had about three 50-year-old patients, and they’ve been really challenging. And I’ve handed them to, I have got a very lovely doctor that does deal with older women and who’s very good at doing the best that he can. The point is to never say never, refer them to specialists who are sensitive and caring and who can help, but also let them know. So what I say, “If you are not pregnant by this state, then you must consider that the door’s closed.” So I give them a time in the future where they don’t have to do it in front of me, they don’t have to do it in the moment, they can consider it later to be something they need to walk away from.
Chris Brennan: And one of the things that you do utilize in addition to using natal astrology, looking for natal signatures, and also looking at transits or other timing techniques based on the natal chart is you also employ electional astrology in order to help pick out dates for different parts of the process, especially it seems like the implanting is a major thing that you try to some extent to elect.
NSA: Okay. So the problem with fertility astrology and any prediction is that you are so squeezed by what’s happening in the woman’s cycle and the medical fraternity that you have less room to maneuver than you think. So using any timing related to the Moon, forget it. I cannot give somebody a day that you have to have your implantation on this day at this clinic. That’s not going to work because it’s just not feasible.
Chris Brennan: Due to restrictions of scheduling with the clinic and their limited options for availability?
NSA: Exactly, and also the woman’s cycle. The woman’s cycle suddenly goes out, her follicle isn’t big enough, they’ve got to wait a little bit longer. There are so many variables, and the last thing you want to do is stress your patient even more by giving them dates that they can’t possibly adhere to, and then they feel like they’ve missed their one and only chance. So I tend to use really big solar arcs. And I use those solar arcs and I say to people they’re hot to trot a week before and three weeks after, which gives them an adequate window for their implantation to happen anytime in those four weeks. Which means that their hormonal cycle doesn’t need to be altered too much. And because it’s a solar arc, we know that it’s probably got a three-month window, not just a… But I’m trying to get them to as closest to that date as possible, but potentially just after. And so that’s what we aiming for. We can’t aim for any progression of the Moon. Any closer time cycle is really tricky. Transits, I look to transits of Jupiter to the Moon sort of before when were doing the egg retrieval. So if we’re doing an egg retrieval, because egg retrieval and implantation can happen at different times. So if I say, “Listen, if your problem is the fact that you don’t have that many eggs and you are going to do a frozen transfer, then have your eggs retrieved here, because Jupiter is conjunct your Moon.” Jupiter’s not conjunct your Moon six weeks later when you’re having the implantation, but that’s okay, you’ve already got the eggs you need. So I do adjust slightly, but it is difficult to elect. I will never just elect a day for something. And I’ll try and avoid eclipses obviously, and I’ll try and avoid the Saturn square Neptunes in terms of having an implantation date. But you’d be surprised that you don’t really have much to maneuver with as an astrologer.
Chris Brennan: Sure. Well, and even some of those broad things that you gravitate towards or avoid in terms of the astrological weather at the time, even over several months time spans, I guess, would still count as a type of electional astrology, even if it’s not picking the exact day and time.
NSA: Yes, I would say.
Chris Brennan: Okay. One of the things that came up in the book is you said with medical intervention and stuff, there’s going to be opportunities that are becoming more and more frequent in terms of being able to choose doing medical interventions in terms of changing genes and stuff like that as a thing that comes up, but it also raised an interesting parallel that sometimes comes up for astrologers is the question of electing a cesarean birth or having an idea of what the birth chart, roughly speaking, at some 0.8 months in the future is going to be for a child and that almost being a sort of engineering in and of itself to some extent. Does that ever come up as a process or is that something you’ve thought about abstractly?
NSA: It does come up. So I do often get women coming to me saying, “I want a Pisces baby. I want a Leo baby. I want whatever.” And you go, depending on how much you’ve been struggling, again, “What is the deal breaker? Do you want a baby? Let’s be real.” And also to say that it’s really, really difficult to get that right. And so, no, I don’t do that. And I don’t like the gender engineering either. So there are lots of people who… And a lot of Indian people come to me and ask me for advice on how to have a girl baby or picking a time for a girl embryo. I know Vedic astrology and [Ganesh] actually also he had some method to determine that. If you had conception when the Moon was in a female sign, you’d have a female baby. And when the Moon was in a male sign, you’d have a male baby. But since nobody’s been around to even witness a conception, I don’t know how that’s actually possible to predict.
Chris Brennan: Right. You brought this up in the book as an objection to some earlier methods on fertility astrology that are kind of out there. But one of the issues is conception and issues surrounding like when conception actually takes place due to some timing issues there.
NSA: Yeah. So I just want to make clear that the [Ganesh] method is terribly elegant in that it wants to suggest that you are most fertile when you repeat the natal lunar solar aspect in your chart.
Chris Brennan: Okay, so if you’re born with–
NSA: With a Crescent Moon then you’re going to be pregnant or most fertile on a Crescent Moon every month.
Chris Brennan: Okay. So that’s the theory or the hypothesis.
NSA: That’s the hypothesis. Which begs the question now because I’m saying, okay, so we bleed every 28 days, and somewhere in between, an ovulation can vary quite a lot in women, so not every woman ovulates on day 14. Some women ovulate on day 11, some on day 16, there is a certain amount of variability. We can tell and we can film the ovulation, that’s that’s the easy part, but nobody knows. So once your egg has been released from the ovary, it then travels down the fallopian tube. The sperm then travels up through the cervix and into the fallopian tube, and comes to meet the egg where they are fertilised in the fallopian tube. It then takes another– and this is the interesting point– up to six days for that embryo to come back down into the uterus and to implant in the uterus. So you could have had sexual reproduction on Saturday, but only by the following Friday is that embryo gonna come back and implant in the uterus, but nobody can check. It could be sooner, could be later. So when we’re using the Jonas method, I’m going, “How does he know when conception happens? There’s a six-day lag and the Moon can move a lot in six days.” I’m not sure how he did his paper, I’m not sure how he he worked it out. Because I don’t know where or what his starting point was, you know what I’m saying? He was just using sexual activity. Furthermore, he was using reported sexual activity. Now it is my experience of our fertility clients that people lie a lot about when they have sex. You’ll find that somebody will say about, “Oh yes, and we got pregnant. We got pregnant on this anniversary.” No, they didn’t get pregnant on that anniversary, they got pregnant two weeks before when they had a massive do-or-die blood fight and everybody was drunk and disorderly, but they don’t want to own that they got pregnant on that night. It’s much more nice and romantic to say we got pregnant on this anniversary. So I know that people lie, I’m very realistic about this. But Jonas seems to base his entire data on when people said they had sex. You didn’t see them have sex. And then furthermore, there’s a discrepancy with the data. So I’m not sure how Jonah’s can be used in my natural astrology, natural medical astrology. However, I reserve a little space for Jonas. If we’re going to use Jonas in Horary astrology, then that’s a potential because that’s then using it as a completely different divinatory tool. That’s no longer natural medical astrology, that’s of another order. Then I’m quite happy for people to use it like that.
I also think that Jonas was, not irresponsible, but again I don’t know how he supports his hypothesis for gender selection on the Moon and the conception because of the lag of those six days. And because gender selection sometimes is so medically important, I mean, if you have haemophilia in your family and you cannot afford to have a son because your son will have haemophilia, I would not want that on my head to choose an elective date to make sure that they only have female children. And I also, again, don’t like the engineering part where people don’t want female children because they only want male children like in some Asian countries, I get a lot of requests for that. So I’ve decided just as a practice policy just not to do that. Also, because I can’t find an astrology that is watertight enough or to give me the confidence to be able to do that. Sorry, and another issue and that thing is most people will will also ask me, “Will I ever get pregnant? Look at my chart, will I ever get pregnant?” And I’m gonna go, “Well, the question is, will you ever get pregnant with this chart? You must bring me the other chart so that I can see that chart too?”
CB: The partner’s chart, you mean?
NSA: Yeah. So that’s very hard to say, “Will I ever get pregnant?” If you’re going to bring me somebody’s chart who is totally infertile the answer is probably going to be no. The other thing is we have spent a lot of our lives as females or couples contracepting. And so if the verdicts, for instance, say you’ve got a very clear black and white understanding of how many children you’re going to have. But if you’ve been contracepting, you might have denied the opportunity for those children to come. So it’s a moot point. And it’s not one that’s easily answerable. That’s another funny little philosophical thing that I often have to spend time thinking about but I keep coming around to, “Oh, there’s no answer to that.” Is there?
CB: Right. It’s similar to the issue of medical intervention being a new thing in modern times. And sometimes you saying that showing up with Uranus transit of advancements in technology changing what otherwise might be the natural order of things.
NSA: Yeah. And let’s face it, when you have a woman of 45 coming to see you to have a baby, I mean if I was practising mediaeval astrology she would be looking at grandchildren and she would be possibly going to die soon. We are asking sometimes too much of astrology, and that’s why I suppose this book is an attempt to kind of show at least my very basic and rudimentary understanding of how to integrate what’s happening now in medical technology with an older astrology, so that we can at least use the older astrology but we we now know how to manage our expectations, or we now know how to make it applicable as opposed to just something that’s on a bookshelf that we can’t access.
CB: Yeah, and how to contextualise it was one of the really great things you were talking about earlier at the beginning of this interview. It was just talking about the concept of detriment and drawing on Bernadette Brady’s statements or interpretations of how in some traditions that’s referred to as exile and being away from home, because the planet’s literally the furthest from its domicile that it can get by being in the sign opposite to one of the signs that it rules. And then in modern times you’ve seen that sometimes manifest in symbolically appropriate ways in that context.
NSA: Yes. And quite often in same sex couples, particularly men who have to have surrogacy, they seem to have a lot of the Almuten of Pregnancy in detriment. And often, they are literally using surrogates from across the world, which I’ve always find so interesting in its actual manifestation.
CB: Okay. And then circling back to the conception issue, isn’t there a separate issue of like, can sperm survive for a few days or something like that, and that can cause a delay in terms of when conception takes place?
NSA: Yep. Sperm can last up to about four days depending on the pH of the vagina. So if the pH is very acidic, not so long, but if the pH is more balanced, well, yeah.
CB: Okay. So there’s there’s a whole host of issues in terms of the traditional concept of the conception chart, which I want to say that was probably rectified most of the time in ancient astrology and was primarily designed in order to study how well the pregnancy itself might go, but there’s just a host of practical issues with trying to come up with a conception chart at this point.
NSA: There are. I don’t recall the old older writers having issues to do with the conception chart. They might have said conception and sexual reproduction were one and the same. Aristotle was the first one who kind of… He came up with a weird thing where he said that a boy baby takes 60 days to get a heartbeat, and a girl baby takes 40 days to get a heartbeat or something like that. And he had the numbers down to, you know, you’ve got a pregnancy of 240 days and then you have a pregnancy of 268 days. And if it’s 268 days, that means this. He had various understandings of I think there were Venus cycles. And by the way, he had no problem with termination quickening until about 16 to 20 weeks, that wasn’t an issue for Aristotle. But I was really interested in this. Firstly, the difference between the 60 days and the 40 days for male or female foetus because I don’t think you could possibly tell that. But it does highlight that sometimes it’s a lag. Sometimes women can bleed in the first week of pregnancy, so if you’re getting pregnant in the last two weeks of the month or later, you might still bleed. And then he might have assumed that that pregnancy was a younger pregnancy. Then she misses her next one, but then he thinks, “Okay, she’s only two weeks pregnant. No, actually four weeks pregnant.” There seems to be like a bit of discrepancies in his understanding. But I just think it’s really interesting that those 60 and 40 days is roughly six to eight weeks when the heartbeat does come. And I’m going, “Wow, did he hear that? How did he… He must have…” I mean, it’s quite something to have witnessed or observed in those days.
CB: Sure. Yeah. And I remember talking about conception charts. Like, Hephaestion of Thebes for example has his birth chart and then he has his consumption chart supposedly, and Valens probably also has his conception chart but in both instances they’re trying to demonstrate this theoretical concept that goes back to [unintelligible] that the sign of the Moon at conception is the Ascendant at birth and vice versa or something like that. So it’s a very theoretical concept, which is one of the reasons it makes me think that maybe conception charts were probably just rectified based on that concept, rather than something that was more strictly based.
NSA: Of course. Because if anybody in your family or close to you has been pregnant, we know that the doctor and with some fairly fancy technology, they can make some predictions as to when you’re going to deliver according to birth, weight, size, and what have you. Very few people actually give birth on the day that they’re supposed to, and with some huge variables. And also due to environmental conditions again that you have no control over. So I think the conception chart is a theoretical chart. I happen to know that I was about a month premature so it makes anything that I look at I go, “Well, how do I even approach that? Do I give him this birth date or do I give him the birth date when I was supposed to be due?” So, yeah.
CB: Yeah. That raises a really interesting point as well, which is that with advances in medical technology, children can be born much earlier or more premature and still survive than in ancient times.
NSA: This is true. And often… [laughs] In the early early days, it’s not long time ago when I was doing Bernadette’s Medieval course. We were looking at the chart differentia. I mean, I’m a twin. And although I’ve got quite a strong high leg, everything else is super screwed. So basically because I’m the girl twin, I would have been put out in the woods and just left. Secondly, I’ve got this Moon-Saturn opposite Pluto-Uranus square Mercury-Jupiter, and there was nothing else going in my favor. And I would have thought that that would have had an impact on my health. I would have thought that having such a differential chart might have implications for health later on, but it doesn’t seem to have been the case for me. And certainly at the time that we were doing that course, it seemed to have some kind of effect on Charlie Chaplin if I remember correctly. That his differentia of chart meant that they were. But again, it’s all about medical technology and the rescues that we can have. I mean, I’ve had my appendix out, I’ve had various other little things that might have complicated the issue and been part of that initial prediction. I’m not sure.
CB: Right, that makes sense. Where are things headed in the future in terms of fertility astrology? What sort of research is coming up? What sort of things, if you had unlimited time and unlimited research potential or clients or what have you would you like to see or like to take it in the future in terms of either your own private work or in terms of where you can see things going with this decades into the future?
NSA: Gosh. Well, let’s just start with Pluto going into Aquarius. Aquarius being the anima mundi, the 11th house, which is the house of-
CB: Yeah, I was gonna say as an Aquarius rising, let’s not go there. But go ahead. [Nicola laughs]
NSA: It’s the 11th house or the Anima Mundi, and this is kind of my partner’s children. So I strongly believe that we are going to head into another Roe versus Wade forevermore scenario where we are talking about the viability of life itself; when life begins, the rights of a foetus, the rights of the… The environment is going to be more about fertility rights and reproductive rights. I think we’re going into, and it’s going to be I don’t think less legislation, I think it’s gonna be more legislation. I’m not sure which way it’s going to end up. Anyway, I see that on the horizon. What does that mean for fertility astrologers? Well, it means that they are now trying to shut down, for instance, surrogacy programmes in India, with the idea that women in India are being exploited. And part of the problem I have with that is that those women are very often women that have been left by their husbands or they have absolutely no other means of schooling their children, feeding themselves. And for them this is not a hardship, they consider themselves lucky that they could do this. But the Western first-world countries have determined that they are being exploited so they’re shutting down those programmes. So if not India, then where are we going to go? So I think those kinds of legislations about who can do surrogacy? How much it’s going to cost… That’s going to come into play. That’ll make more and more people desperate, and it’ll make more and more people are very vulnerable themselves to scammers and exploitation.
I think that we are headed for a period where… I mean, my children are in their 30s now and their friends. At least one of my children has said well, they’re not sure about having their own children. And it’s because they see this whole climate change in the world that we’ve created for them. They’re finding it difficult and they’re finding it a challenge to provide for themselves and then to provide for children. And they take the responsibility of having children quite seriously, so they are looking at it quite seriously. I suspect that we’re going to have a lot of people who are going to think like that and then at the very last minute, they’re going to come in at 42 and they’re going to be phoning me and saying, “I thought I didn’t want but now I do.” So there’s going to be a bit of that.
CB: That’s a really interesting thing in terms of people’s life narrative, people not wanting children at one stage in their life but later going through some sort of transit or progression or something and changing their mind, and suddenly wondering if it’s too late or if it’s still a possibility.
NSA: I think every new relationship that one has brings with it its own blossoming or emerging thing that you do together. So what happens is that, especially with this generation of 30-year olds, it’s been very puzzling to me basically. Because old as I am– I think I’ve had more sex than them– they go to festivals, they hook up, but they don’t form relationships. They’re very abstemious, they’re quite discerning, and they rather operate on quite a shallow level, and they communicate on Instagram. And so as a result, their relationships are very– for me at least, and this is consider a mother talking a little bit– distorted in a way and not really building a future together. There’s lots of options. There’s lots of browsing and scrolling of options, but no sort of like, “We are in this together.” So I see that until that happens… When you love somebody and when you’ve decided to merge your life story, for some people– and I’m not saying for everybody– for some people, it’s that ultimate act of recreating oneself or recreating something jointly which is all encompassing. And it’s very seductive, that idea of having a baby. It’s very seductive. And I think that when people are in that space, that’s when it’s going to happen, but it will be delayed. So I’m looking at these 30-year olds and I’m going, yeah, they will wake up and they will find themselves finally in a relationship. But while they’re also young and beautiful and just hooking up and being how non-committal, I see them well able to deny children because their lifestyle doesn’t hold space for their children.
CB: Yeah. And you mentioned sometimes being in certain relationships where that’s not the case, but then all of a sudden sometimes being in others where suddenly there’s a desire to have that. That’s such an interesting concept that you’ve mentioned a few times during the course for discussion, which is different relationships having different synastry and people’s planets falling in different parts of your chart and activating different parts of their chart that maybe a different relationship didn’t activate.
NSA: Yeah. I know several relationships where even just the introduction of a pet dog, for instance, has changed things. Changed the dynamic completely. It somehow allows people to express themselves more vulnerably or more openly with a dog than they do sometimes in their relationship. That kind of feeling might make people have more confidence. For instance, a lot of people talk about, “Well, let’s get a dog first and we’ll decide if we’re gonna have children.” That’s very common, I’m not against it. It’s just like, oh my gosh, but when you have children that dog is going to be a burden because you’re not gonna have time for walking the dog and the children. But, you know, if the dog opens up the relationship space for you to consider that kind of sacrifice, well, then it’s a good thing. Because sometimes people aren’t able to imagine. There’s also a phenomena which I find common. I know [unintelligible] the Moon-Saturn, but it is the most common signature for infertility. Sometimes people feel that there’s not enough love in their relationship, that they’re not gonna have enough love for their partner and another. So they feel that the love that they have to give is finite, and they can’t imagine that they are able to incorporate it. And it’s very hard to to tell people– from my side of the table where I’ve had two children, it’s very hard to convince them that actually love is infinite. It’s unbelievable how you can have this baby and love everybody 150% even more. Even when it’s really bad and times are really tough. You don’t know until you’re there about the capacity that you have for that love. But people are so scared and anxious that they won’t have enough love. It’s just an interesting dichotomy that sometimes you have to just take the leap of faith and just do it anyway.
CB: Right. Yeah. It’s interesting you’ve had a chance to see so many different signatures with different couples and have greater insight about where they’re coming from with some of the signatures like that and some of the things that they maybe struggle with, not just physically but sometimes psychologically or emotionally and in terms of carrying certain family dynamics as well.
NSA: Yeah. One of the things that I always say to people, especially women who want to have multiple rounds of IVF or they’re just starting the journey with IVF, you look at the husband’s chart and the husband has got in Sagittarius he’s got Mars square Uranus or the Moon square Uranus. He’s got this deep-seated desire for physical independence. And so what I normally advise this woman is I normally say, “Listen. So long as you can convince your partner that he can be a bachelor for the rest of his life, he’ll be paying for these IVFs. But the minute you start saying things…” Because you know women can be very funny. The minute they start trying to have IVFs they’re going to say, “Well honey, you better get used to this because when the baby comes, you’re gonna have to do 50% and da da…” They start curating a man’s time. And people with anything Uranus square, any luminary or Mars, they don’t like that. And that’s when they want to check out. So when the first IVF doesn’t work, they close shop and say, “You see? Didn’t work, we’re not trying again.” But if, and I say to women, “Just tell them that they can be a bachelor forever, you can nail him once the baby’s born. We’re here to get you pregnant, but you’re not going to get pregnant if you’re gonna keep curating your partner’s time before the baby’s even here.” And also once the baby’s here, the partner actually forgets about the independence momentarily because they’ve got this whole new thing that’s going on in their lives that’s new and interesting, and has broadened their horizon so it’s a different game anyway. But it is interesting how… Yeah, people have ideas about what kind of parents they’re going to be and whether they can cope and whether they can’t. Yeah.
CB: Right. And in the process of having children sometimes changing or people becoming different people than they expected going into it.
NSA: Yeah. There’s a lot about women with the 10th house luminaries that want to go back to work straight away, and their partners are surprised and hurt because they think that they must now turn into these wonderful mothers that just want to stay at home and bake cookies all day long. I always say to them, “Have a conversation upfront where you actually organise the childcare sooner rather than later because you’re going to want to be back at work. And it’s not an indictment on the kind of mother that you are, but people need to understand that there are different kinds of mothers and it’s okay. A typical thing is also men with Pluto opposite Venus. Often there’s a very compelling intimate sexual relationship with a partner, and men suddenly feel like, “Okay, now here’s the baby coming along and it’s already interfering. Sex is not quite what it was because she’s heavily pregnant and another baby’s going to be screaming and crying and breastfeeding, and I’m going to feel excluded and I’m going to feel like I don’t have that sexual connection.” And for some people, that sexual connection is the very expression of who they are. Could be heavy Scorpios where that’s just what they need. And so it’s really useful sometimes to say to the wife, “You know, you are actually going to have to make date time for your guy. You’re actually going to have to make a real effort to be that person that you were before. It’s not all on you, but you need to understand that this is the thing that actually makes him feel like he can cope with life and not just dismiss it and say it’s just something he needs to get used to.” It’s about talking that through. I think men struggle especially if the child is a boy and there’s feeding going on, and there’s denial of sex because of, you know, just had a baby. It could feel like your relationship has changed forever and not in a good way.
CB: Okay. There’s one last thing I wanted to mention that came up in the book that I thought was really interesting point. You said something broadly speaking about trying to understand one’s destiny as a means of trying to control it. It was kind of like an observation about astrology and divination I think in history a little bit, but relevant in terms of understanding a person’s life narrative and how much you can exert some control or try to push things in a direction that is more close to what you want to achieve in terms of your ideal future.
NSA: Is this a question directly related to fertility astrology or just in general?
CB: I guess we can situate it in the context of fertility astrology, but it was just a really interesting point for me in general, or an observation that I, it’s not that I had never thought about, but the way that you phrased it somehow about part of the purpose for many people of trying to understand your destiny through let’s say astrology, is that people want to be able to influence it in some way rather than just experiencing it purely passively.
NSA: Okay, I think you’re discovering my inner stoic. Actually, my inner stoic is not so inner. [laughs] So being a Capricorn, I’m extremely practical and stoic. But I’m also always looking for ways in which to… I think if you give somebody something to do, or if you give somebody a task to think on or meditate on, they’re taken away with it and it’s something for them to fall back on just like a talisman to fiddle with, or to think about so that it distracts them from the IVF that they’re going through whatever it is. So when somebody is going through a really… I mean, I’m just trying to think in my own chart, and I know exactly what I was referring to there. So I’ve got Moon-Saturn opposite Pluto-Uranus on the seventh house cusp. And I think– I don’t know, somewhere in the 2000s or 2006 maybe– we had a transit of Saturn. Saturn was in Virgo on the Uranus and Pluto and was opposed to Uranus on my Moon-Saturn.
CB: Yeah, Saturn went into Virgo in 2007.
NSA: Yeah, as a transit. So when you’ve already been divorced once and you see that one coming up, you’re going, “Okay, don’t feel like doing this all again. Do we?” So the point is to look at that and go, “Yeah, this could be scary, but let’s see what I can do with this. Let’s see how I can manage this.” And so what I decided to do was, firstly there was an opportunity for my husband and I to decide to emigrate to England. So I thought, “Okay, Uranus coming over my Ascendant is asking me to physically separate. So I’m going to do this, but I’m going to be in control of it.” So I said to my husband, “We are going to physically separate, we can even financially separate. I’m going to go to England. We’ll continue to be married but this is the way that I’m going to do this transit.” And especially only because Saturn was also in the seventh house. If it had just been Uranus, I might not have been pushed there. But the fact that there was a Saturn-Uranus opposition, which was the reverse in my chart, none of that pushed me. So I said this is what we’re going to do. And he said, “Okay, fine.” He said, “I can see this and this will work.” So I emigrated to England, and we started a period of eight years where we lived apart on two different continents. And it was a six-weeks-off two-weeks-on marriage for eight years. And we’re still married, we’ve been married now for 24 years. I firmly believe that had we not done that, things might have conspired differently and I might have just lost my temper because let’s face it, I’ve got Uranus-Pluto in the seventh house cusp. God knows what I could have done. I could have just bolted, had a tantrum. But I was distracted now with the move, distracted with immigrating to another country. And because we had done the thing and we had separated, believed. And maybe that’s also part of the process, isn’t? It’s I believed that this was the best manifestation of my chart at the time and so nothing further happened.
CB: Yeah, that makes sense. It reminds me just of some of the old perpetuation rituals and things in ancient astrology where there was almost always this core underlying theoretical assumption that the astrological placement or the transit has to manifest somehow, and sometimes the best thing you can do is to try to do something in your life that would be symbolically appropriate that would also represent that, and that will soak up that transit or what have you symbolically. And in doing so, you do gain some control over it instead of just completely having some external manifestation that’s pushed on you.
NSA: I agree. Actually, there’s a very… Not a trick, but it’s something that I tell people. I’m finding a lot of youngsters now coming up with a Saturn-Neptune opposition. Saturn-Neptune opposition nataly must be quite tough for those people because there’s a lot of things that they find difficult to manifest, literally because of that opposition. And so what I often have advised people to do, while they’re trying to get pregnant and particularly if this is across the fifth house or involves the ruler of the fifth house or the Almuten of Pregnancy, what I try and tell them to do is, “Take up photography, but old school photography. Because what you’re trying to do is you’re trying to capture a moment that is very Neptunian and ephemeral. And you’re then going to use Neptunian chemicals and alcohol in order to develop the photographs, but you’re manifesting a photograph. And I’m hoping that that process is just going to soak up that aspect of your chart and not affect your fertility.” That’s kind of the art. I’m constantly looking at ways of finding activities or things that my clients can do that will enhance the potential for that to be a way to unlock it.
CB: I love that. That really takes things back to very ancient Mesopotamian astrology, and just bringing things that they were doing back then into modern times and doing a variation of that today. That really brings things full circle here. This is this is great, thank you for joining me for this interview today.
NSA: Thank you.
CB: What’s your website, and where can people find out more information about you?
NSA: I’ve got a website which is www.fertilityastrology.com. I have an app which is called Fertility Astrology on Apple and on Android, I have a YouTube channel, and my books on Amazon.
CB: Awesome. And the book is titled Fertility Astrology: A Modern Medieval Textbook. I’ll put a link to your website in the description below this video on YouTube as well as on the podcast website on theastrologypodcast.com. Thanks so much for joining me today.
NSA: Thanks, Chris. Thanks for having me.
CB: Yeah. All right. Thanks, everyone, for watching or listening to this episode of The Astrology Podcast and we’ll see you again next time.
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