Planetary Threads: Patterns of Relating Among Family and Friends

Lynn Bell

Part One: Planetary Threads. Lynn’s innovative exploration of the patterns of thinking, feeling and behaviour which run back through generations is enhanced by her unique adaptation of the genogram (a map utilised in family therapy) to highlighting particular planetary placements and aspects that recur in families. Her often dramatic case material, presented in fascinating detail, is rich and revealing, and we are gradually offered a profound vision of the intricately woven tapestry of the family matrix from which we spring, and the ways in which we repeat – or transform – the astrological and psychological inheritance which each of us carries.

Part Two: Siblings and Friends. The 3rd and 11th as relationship houses are often ignored or trivialised in astrological texts, but this seminar reveals the depth and importance of these two houses. An exploration of the enormous power of sibling relationships is enhanced by historical and contemporary case material as well as audience contributions, and the ancient but innovative idea of the 11th house as the bonus daimon, and of friends as the carriers of or catalysts for individual destiny, is presented with revealing insight.

Together, these two seminars present a new perspective on relationships within the family and amongst friends – those “nonromantic” bonds which are so often either overlooked or overloaded with too much emphasis on pathology. This volume offers refreshing and exciting new perspectives and new practical tools for the astrological student and practitioner.

Review by Brian Clark – FAA Journal June 2000

Planetary Threads is the 13th volume in the Centre for Psychological Astrology series, which I like to refer to as the Astrological Collected Works. Each volume is beautifully presented and is a written transcript of the seminars led by the totur at the Centre for Psychological Astrology in London. Liz Greene, who has authored five of these volumes, is a co-director of the Centre with Charles Harvey.

Planetary Threads is aptly named. It includes two seminar presentations, which cover aspects of the family; the first part concentrating on family dynamics, specifically family ‘threads’ or patterns, while the second part is a seminar on siblings and friends. The subject is universal and of wide appeal. From the onset of the book Lynn engages her audience, now the reader, with revealing case examples of the mysterious timing and repetitive family patterns which reoccur throughout individual’s lives. Each individual member lives out their own drama on a much larger stage dominated by the myths and unconscious aspects of the family heritage. This mystery, this fate supplies the context of the first part of the book. Lynn’s first example is Reeve Lindbergh, the sister of Charles Lindbergh Jr., whose kidnapping was a famous case in the 1930’s. Her mother never saw her son again after he had been kidnapped at eighteen months old. Reeve lost her own son at the exact same age her mother lost her brother. However the trauma seemed to recycle a profound familial loss which also activated healing in the family. The awe of this family timing or anniversary is shown in other cases such as the Fonads and her own examples. While case studies can often be dry and technical, these are alive and lucid, with the astrological symbols giving insight into the narrative. Throughout the text all the planets are described in the context of this larger familial story and examples support and demonstrate this. The geneogram is introduced and its power is illustrated in an astrological context with planetary threads weaving their way through the generations. Around the spindle gathers the narrative lived by family members. Throughout Lynn continuously demonstrates the astrological patterns that resonate with the stories making it a live demonstration of both the profound impact of the family story and the power of the astrological symbol to delineate it.

Being a seminar, audience questions are interspersed throughout the text. This does not seem to detract from the text but adds life. In some places I was about to ask the same questions.

Part Two of the book is another seminar which shifts the focus onto the other family members: siblings, and their extra-familial surrogates, friends. Having researched this are for my own book (The Sibling Constellation) I actually decided to read this part of the book first. What I loved about this part is personal. Amazingly Lynn explores the cases of Gertrude Stein and her brother Leo, as well as Vincent Van Gogh and his brother Theo, two very interesting cases I had abandoned in my research as I lost the ‘thread’. So it was great to read those. The wealth of the second part of the book is the amplification of the misunderstood houses of the horoscope, the 3rd and the 11th. Lynn does this in a variety of ways introducing us to the concept of planetary joys and the daimon, the angel of friendship. The astrology of these houses is discussed thoroughly and examples how this may manifest give a clear guide to the potential of each planet or combination of planets in these houses. Especially important I felt was the insights into the 11th and the rich area of friendship.

Lynn is also very articulate with myth and her discourse on the twins especially Clytemnestra and Helen and the sister theme is very revealing. Besides the contemporary examples in the book the mythic ones also speak in amplifying these areas. It is evident I enjoyed the book and found it insightful, engaging and a great asset for astrologers in a profound area not explored enough in our field. I encourage you to get a copy.

© FAA Journal June 2000

Note: We do not sell the books direct from this site, they are available in good bookshops and you can order them on the internet through Amazon or Wessex Astrologer by using the link to the right.