Copyright: Alex Trenoweth, 2018
Teachers, parents and pupils in the northern hemisphere are preparing for the commencement of a new academic year. And what better way to begin the academic year than with a head start? Coming soon is a very special guide for each year group. Don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter for special offers on professional consultations, webinars and classes. In the meantime, here are a few astrological tips to help children get the most out of their free education.
AND. . .if you ever wondered if LUNAR PHASE has an impact on the behaviour of children, here is a video of my lecture in India! (Don’t forget to ‘like’ the video on youtube!) If you’d rather read the article, here is a link. There’s even a full length, nerdy version (the one that got me the honorary doctorate!)
For teachers, back-to-school can be a time for a last minute scramble to enjoy what remains of their long summer “break” (as a teacher myself, I use this term very loosely!). COMING VERY SOON is a handy guide for helping teachers manage an unmanageable career! Bookings for consultations here.
For parents, it can be a time of taking great pride in their child’s growth and maturity but it can also be a time of anxiety as they wonder how their little one will cope in a new classroom complete with a new teacher, new classmates and an ever changing academic curriculum. COMING VERY SOON is a handy guide to help parents be the anchor for their tempest-tossed teenager!
And of course, for the pupils themselves, starting all over again in a new environment with changing friendship groups, extended learning and pressure to do well, it can be a time of great anticipation as well as nerve-wracking apprehension. COMING VERY SOON is a guide to help parents and teachers help the children in their care learn and develop.
Fortunately, astrology can give an insight into this exciting time of year.
Every academic year has a unique astrological signature and understanding this is the key to delivering stimulating lessons or preparing children for the opportunities and obstacles ahead. Additionally, some year groups will have important astrological milestones that can be utilised to enhance chances of success.
Most people are familiar with astrology through its association with Sun signs. However, astrology is far more complex than just this one facet and so to understand how a child grows and develops, it is important to look further than the Sun and focus on Jupiter and Saturn, which is usually different to one’s sun sign. Together Jupiter and Saturn form an astrological signature for every academic year group and fortunately, this isn’t difficult to work out.
We all want the best for our children and regardless of whether a child is a “chip off the old block” or as completely different to us as they can possibly be. We also want our children to be happy and well adjusted. The very fundamental key to achieving this is through understanding ourselves as authority figures first. In astrology we can do this through understanding Saturn.
The sun takes one year to travel through each of the zodiac signs. Saturn however takes about 29 years to go around the Sun and only passes through (roughly) one sign every 2 and half years. Saturn makes key connections to its natal position about every 7 years and at each stage, we are forced to make a decision that will have a knock-on effect in events for the rest of our lives. A bit of pressure? You bet. This is why an authority’s figure’s input is so crucially important to children. Once you have a good understanding your own Saturn, you are in a wonderful position to help your pupils or children navigate the tricky waters of growing up.
Jupiter takes about 12 years to go around the Sun and only passes through (roughly) one sign per year. Jupiter makes key connections to its natal point about every three years and at each stage, the child learns crucial information and develops new skills. Children born in a given academic year will share the same Jupiter sign and with a little refinement, it is a very straightforward task to work out a child’s Jupiter sign. If a teacher can understand how the pupils in their care learn and develop then they can make their very difficult (and heroic!) jobs a whole lot easier.
So why Jupiter?
Astrologically, Jupiter is about higher learning, distant travel and philosophical beliefs including religion and politics. It also represents the confidence it takes to make that leap of faith so necessary for learning. Parents and teachers intuitively understand and encourage children to learn but can sometimes miss the mark by not realising that what works for one child of a certain age may not work for an older or younger child. Appreciating a child’s Jupiter sign removes the guesswork and eliminates the chances of misunderstanding the learning motivations for that child.
Key Jupiter and Saturn transits to their natal points form the basic building blocks of life.
The first waxing Jupiter square to its natal position occurs when a child is about 3 years old. Important milestones include being able to walk without hindrance, being toilet trained and being able to speak clearly enough to be understood by someone other than their immediate caregivers. How convenient this is for a parent who wants to expand their child’s horizons through travel! No more diapers, playpens or translating to distant relatives!
The first Jupiter opposition at about the age of 6, builds on what a child has learned during the first square: children learn and develop variations on walking and running such as skipping, jumping with both feet, hopping on one foot and climbing. And just watch children of this age play: they take risks, they have faith that they won’t get hurt or sick and their antics force the people looking after them to enforce every safety measure available. Children of this age also start to put the sound of letters together to form words and sentences. They learn that with a little faith, those squiggles are a wonderful way to communicate.
At the first Saturn square at around the age of 7, there is usually an event or a problem that means the child begins to understand limitations. They (or someone they love) get hurt or sick, they experience a setback or a knock to their confidence that means they lose interest in something that had previously captivated their attention. Everyone experiences times of trials and tribulations. We all make mistakes and have to admit we have been wrong. We have two choices on how to deal with these setbacks: either we get back up and keep on fighting or we roll over and give in. If authority figures understand a child’s (or in the case of a teacher, the entire classroom) perception of failure and setbacks, they can help them develop coping mechanisms that will serve them for the rest of their lives.
The first waning Jupiter square to its natal position occurs when a child is about 9 years old. Almost all children have imaginary playmates/adversaries but at this age, children can distinguish between fantasy and reality. The stuffed animals stop talking and the bogeyman under the closet retreat to the shadows of memory.
Not so long ago, the behavioural changes observed in adolescence were blamed on “raging hormones”. It is now understood that whilst the influx of hormones are a contributing cause to behaviour, they are not the sole culprit. Instead what is being increasingly understood and more thoroughly researched are the neurological developments that occur at the time of the first Jupiter return at around the age of 11 years 8 months.
Although the precise age at when these neurological developments begin depends on a wide range of environmental factors, it is generally accepted that the brain startss making its transition from the brain of child who thinks with its limbic system (based on reflex and immediate gratification) to the brain of adult who makes decisions with their cerebral cortex (based on logic and reasoning) is during early adolescence. The physical evidence of these changes can be seen in the increase of folds of the brain material in the cerebral cortex. Viewed neurologically, this is a very exciting time indeed. But for parents and teachers, a whole new problem rears its head: adolescent behaviour.
Children of Jupiter return age are usually preparing for the transition to the “Big School” where they will meet pupils from different backgrounds and religions, will have more classes and subjects, more teachers (all with different teaching styles) and thus will begin a whole new chapter in their lives. Because there is so little interface between primary school teachers and secondary school teachers, pupils of this age can quite literally feel lost in the crowd: they’ve gone from being the eldest in their schools where everyone knows them to being very small fish in very big ponds. Added to this problem is that secondary school teachers are more focused on the older children who must begin the process of exam preparation. This tendency—as well as the tendency to invest money in the exam year for academic interventions—means that younger adolescents are ignored. This means they find new and creative ways of getting trouble.
And so what happens to “naughty” children (who tend to be boys who develop later neurologically than girls of the same age) during their Jupiter returns? Big, bad Saturn stamps down on them. Data from a London school showed that children of this age received more sanctions for behaviour in general but for disruptive behaviour specifically. But as any busy teacher will tell you, it is important to choose battles wisely by focusing on the most serious offenses. The little stuff is often shrugged off as all being a part of growing up. In other words, children will learn to use the distractions of more serious behaviour to get out of completing work to an acceptable standard for the very simple reason that no one is going to challenge them. All that brain development that takes place during these important early years of adolescence is almost completely wasted.
Problems only exacerbate as an adolescent continues to mature. By the time they reach the age of 13, poor behaviour is at its peak and this age group becomes the class teachers least like to teach. Astrologically, this is when not only as transiting Jupiter is sextile to its natal position but also Uranus makes its first Ptolemaic aspect by transit (also a sextile). Uranus is associated with friendship groups and rebellion and, as Jupiter magnifies what it touches, it’s no surprise that this age group begins to stop listening to authority figures and instead looks to its own peer group for information, advice and ways of getting trouble.
And still that adolescent brain has not finished making its transition to that of an adult’s level of functioning.
At around the age of 14, the rapid development of the brain begins to slow down and with this settling, behaviour also begins to improve. Responsibilities inside and outside of the classroom also increases and as the pupils continues to mature, their brain begins the process of shutting down its unused parts and exercise those parts that are used more often. Think of the implications of this: a child who has been allowed to develop poor habits will only continue to build on these thus fixing these habits that will stay with them for the rest of their lifetime. They will learn how to make excuses for their bad habits and begin selecting people and/or groups that will accept these bad habits. It is the starting point of addictions that can take a long period of time to overcome (if ever at all).
But what if parents and teachers really understood this? There would be some serious changes in the way we raise and educate our children!
Understanding children and how they learn and develop is far more than just being concerned with what they are learning. Instead, there should be more emphasis on how a child learns and develops. Astrology can be an enormously helpful tool not only with understanding how but knowing when.