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Pamela Stephenson's Treasure Islands: A Neptune-Pluto Journey
Published: 4th August 2008
This article looks at a Neptune-Pluto journey taken by Pamela Stephenson/Connolly, the psychotherapist, author, former comedienne and actress, and wife of comedian and actor Billy Connolly.
The quotations at the start are central in setting things up for the astrology that follows, because they express in non-astrological terms aspects of human experience common to us all at certain stages in our lives.
What Pamela describes very often goes unexamined and unexplored, therefore the purpose of this article is to examine it astrologically using the data supplied by Pamela in her book.
In her book 'Treasure Islands: Sailing the South Seas in the wake of Fanny and Robert Louis Stevenson', Pamela describes a literal and metaphorical journey that begin with an epiphany one morning in New Zealand:
"Staring out at the glistening harbour, I traced the cat's cradle pattern of eager boats with well-trimmed sails cutting confidently through the waves. Of those on a starboard tack, sunlight simultaneously caught each filled sail in the same quadrant, a thrilling synchronicity that seemd more art than nature. Those pearly triangles seemed to hold a rare porential for joy, optimism, adventure and clarity of purpose - all elements from which I had become disengaged in my present life.
As I gazed beyond them to Rangitoto, the green-peaked volcanic isle familiar to me from my early childhood, I grasped a terrifying reality. I'm drowning. I am gasping for breath. Splashing furiously just to stay on the surface. No life jacket."
Towards a solution
We all have these moments, times when we have inner promptings about our lives that are profound yet which can be easily turned away from and lost if we're not careful to listen to them and give them room to come forward and tell us more of their story. Pamela continued, as her inner self went from describing the problem to pointing to a solution:
"An instant later, a female spectre clad in pale Victorian garments floated up from my unconscious realm. I recognised her immediately. It was Fanny, the wife of Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson. I had just been reading about their fascinating voyages around the Pacific Ocean in the late 1800s, through which Fanny had helped her ailing husband become infused with health, energy and a new zest for life - exactly what I need myself."
"'You are truly awash', she declared, poking me with her umbrella. Label it what you will... existential angst, creative illness, mid-life crisis... you must take action!"
Process of change
Here, Pamela's internal compass reveals more of its message to her and its desires for her life, and the process of change becomes clearer:
From that marvellous moment on, Fanny became my accomplice, co-conspirator and inspiration. If that petite, corseted woman could turn her husband's life around through a series of perilous adventures on the high seas then, in spirit, she could do the same for me. The notion of following in her wake began to crysallise in my mind's eye."
These powerful moments in time and space often occur linked to things we have read or seen, conversations we've had, people we've bumped into. Often they're written off, dismissed as inconsequential. Astrology can show that this is just not so, and Pamela's book is a good example of how that works.
Here is Pamela's birth chart. There is no time available so the house cusps have been removed. The Moon's position is approximate: it could be roughly 6 degrees either side of the position shown, however it is definitely in Taurus.
Note the position of Pluto at 18 degrees 9 minutes of Leo, in virtually exact trine to Mercury at 18 degrees 12 minutes of Sagittarius. They are both in trine with the Moon's North node at 15 degrees 19 minutes of Aries. The three of them make a Grand Trine in Fire Signs.
Here's the birth chart of Pamela's near-namesake, Fanny Stevenson. Note the positions of Pluto, and Saturn. Pluto is at 17 degrees 45 minutes of Aries, while Saturn is at 21 degrees 23 minutes of Sagittarius. They are trine each other.
So, Pluto in Fanny's chart (17 Aries 45) is in close trine with Pluto in Pamela's chart (18 Leo 09), and strengthens the Grand Trine in Fire. But that's not all.
Moment of Epiphany
Here's the chart for Pamela's moment of epiphany:
Pluto is at 18 degrees 59 minutes of Sagittarius, in trine to both Fanny's and Pamela's Plutos. This forms a between-charts Plutonic Grand Trine in Fire Signs.
Importantly, Pluto is rising during the epiphany, and that in itself is symbolic of the dawning awareness of Pamela's impulse towards resurrection and renewal. The Ascendant is at 17 degrees 06 of Sagittarius, and so forms part of the Grand Trine, and links directly with Pamela's Mercury at 18 degrees and 12 minutes of Sagittarius.
Neptune, the planet of the oceans, of inspiring visions, and of redemption, is approaching a once-in-168-years return to Fanny's natal Neptune.
Finally, here's the chart for the moment, just over a year after the epiphany, that Pamela and her crew set sail on her voyage in the wake of Fanny and Robert Louis:
As you can see, Pluto is once again cast into prominance by virtue of its position at the Midheaven. The degree of the MC is 22 Sagittarius 07, and Pluto's is 19 Sagittarius 33.
The Plutonic nature of the journey is clearly shown: life and death in both literal and psychological senses (mainly from armed pirates and extreme storms), the desire to be reborn, to find strength anew, to let go of what is now defunct and to begin a new phase. The trip was also for the purposes of psychology research, again reflecting Pluto's associations.
Neptune is at 13 degrees 18 minutes of Aquarius, almost exactly conjunct Fanny's Neptune at 13 degrees 40 minutes of Aquarius. The return sought is both literal and metaphorical: to the sea, to the vision, to the more ideal life, towards salvation and respite, towards decrease of suffering and increase of health.
Mercury is at 25 Leo 45, almost exactly conjunct the MC of the epiphany moment at 25 Leo 19, and they are both trine the epiphany moment's Venus.
The Moon - co-ruler of the sea, and ruler of women - is joining the Grand Trine, placed at 16 degrees 54 minutes of Aries.
Here is a diagram displaying the main connections clustering around the Plutonic Grand Trine in Fire Signs with all the other chart information filtered out:
There are more connections between these charts, beyond the scope of this article. The main connections are the Plutonic ones, followed by the Neptune ones. Both of these slow-moving planets are here shown to link events and people across more than a century of time, even bridging the living and the dead.
Both Neptune and Pluto are Water planets. Both represent awareness and insight, strength and renewal, emerging from the often unconscious parts of the inner self, and both symbolise the desire to wash away the old and refresh life.
These epiphany moments described by Pamela are replete with meaning, and this example shows how an internal prompting that manifests as a 'mid-life crisis' is actually a confluence of several things: the inner and outer worlds, the self and other people, past and present and future.
Seemingly random connections and points of inspiration are woven together across time and space, interacting in the expression of the psyche, the soma, and the process of life itself.
An astrological view of Pamela Connolly/Stephenson:
Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Nick Clegg, EU, USA, France, Australia, Uranus in Pisces & Neptune in Aquarius, & more
Euro Currency, NHS, BBC,
USA economy, Ofcom, Concorde, W Edwards Deming, European Central Bank, stock markets, & more
Health, emotional intelligence, Zodiac elements, understanding change, Russell Brand, James Bond, Angelina Jolie, Desmond Tutu, & more