As the title of this well-written, informative, and inspirational book indicates, Growing Pains illustrates how astrology can be used by teachers and parents to gain insight into the challenging behavior and attitudes of adolescents. The book is also meant to give teenagers an opportunity to understand themselves a bit better through astrology.
Few are as well-equipped to do this as the author, Alex Trenoweth, who uses her experience as a secondary school teacher, astrologer, and parent to take on this task, which to my knowledge has not been done previously in an astrology text. In her own words:
“As a teacher of adolescents, I wanted to use my skills and knowledge as an astrologer to enhance my career and yet at the same time be accessible to my colleagues as well as the parents of my pupils….Although my astrology colleagues help people from all walks of life and almost all ages, they tend to avoid adolescents, who need the most guidance. And so, this book is for adolescents, the people who love and care for them and anyone who is curious about how to get the most out of life.” (p. xiii)
Trenoweth does this by focusing primarily on the positions of Jupiter and Saturn—Jupiter rules the areas where we are confident and can move forward, while Saturn, the planet of discipline, rules the areas that we fear and must overcome.
The book is divided into one chapter for each sign placement of Jupiter and Saturn providing a precise and instructional overview of how teenagers with these positions behave, learn, and respond, and how a teacher or parent can use this knowledge to have a positive influence on them. Each chapter also shows what happens when Jupiter opposes natal Jupiter at the age of six, and when Saturn opposes Saturn at the age of 14 to 15. The author describes the teacher with that natal placement, and then fine-tunes Jupiter and Saturn by describing how their dispositors act in each sign.
In the chapter on Jupiter in Scorpio, Trenoweth describes how that placement combines with the position of Mars and Pluto (Scorpio co-rulers) in each sign, and then in the chapter on Saturn in Cancer she describes the Moon’s position in each sign. She finishes each chapter with a celebrity example to show how that person’s formative years contributed to who they became as adults. Since the positions of Jupiter and Saturn do not change throughout the day, she uses both timed and untimed charts including Alfred Hitchcock, Sean Connery, Robert Downey Jr., Cher, Leonardo DiCaprio, and others. I would have preferred only timed charts since they are readily available, but each case study is nonetheless applicable. Alfred Hitchcock, for example, has Jupiter in Scorpio, and his lonely childhood and love of mystery obviously influenced his approach to films.
The book concludes with the chapter, “The Variation of Jupiter and Saturn Cycles in One Academic Year.” Since Jupiter changes signs every 12 to 13 months, and Saturn changes signs every two and a half years, groups of students who will be in the same grade throughout their school years share the natal positions of these two planets. For example, a child born in 2005 will be 13 years old during this current 2018-2019 school year. In 2005, Jupiter was in Libra until it went into Scorpio on October 25, whereas Saturn was in Cancer until it went into Leo on July 16. That means there are three distinct groups of teenagers who are presently 13 years old:
- those born between January 1-July 15, 2005 who have Jupiter in Libra and Saturn in Cancer;
- those born between July 16-October 24, 2005 who have Jupiter in Libra and Saturn in Leo; and
- those born between October 25-December 31, 2005 who have Jupiter in Scorpio and Saturn in Leo.
Until I read this final fascinating chapter, I had never thought of viewing groups of students, who go through their entire childhood and teenage years closely intertwined, according to the characteristics and significations of those two planets. The author has done a wonderful job explaining this, and while every individual’s chart is unique, this presents a fascinating overview that can enhance how teachers and parents approach adolescents. In this chapter she compares Drew Barrymore, born February 22, 1975 with Jupiter in Pisces and Saturn in Cancer and Angelina Jolie, born June 4, 1975 with Jupiter in Aries and Saturn in Cancer, to show how two people, who would have been in the same grade at school, differ not only in their attributes, but in the timing of their first Jupiter return (around the age of 12) and their first Saturn opposition to natal Saturn (around the age of 14).
The appendix includes tables of Jupiter and Saturn sign ingresses, and their conjunctions, rounding out an extremely informative book, and one that should be on every astrologer’s bookshelf. Even if you are not a teacher or no longer have teenagers living at home, you can use the insights found in this book to advise people who do.
Ronnie Dreyer Horoscope Guide January 2019
This is the book for our times! Alex’s personal experience as a teacher, mother, and astrologer is woven together beautifully. I was touched by her caring attitude toward the delicacy of the role of teacher, and educator – and parent! A much needed book in an increasingly complicated world for
young people coming of age. All teachers (and parents and students) will learn a lot from reading Growing Pains.
Erin Sullivan, author USA
As a teacher, I use astrology, at times, to help me understand at-risk students. Trenoweth’s book Growing Pains is an extremely helpful resource in explaining how planetary birth (natal) Saturn and Jupiter placements
help determine how a child learns and relates to others in the classroom.
Whether you interact with young people in personal or professional contexts, I think you’ll find her insights to be both fascinating and useful. Highly recommended.
Lori Hoyt, practising teacher in the USA
Every parent wants the best for their child, especially when it comes to their education. Growing Pains is an indispensable resource for understanding your child’s unique template for learning. This book offers an objective
perspective, along with insightful guidance and practical tips to help you navigate your child’s journey through school.
Cassandra Tyndall, astrologer and mother, Australia
Alex Trenoweth does that rare thing few astrologers find a way to do: take real astrology out into the world of laypeople and show them how to benefit from its insights. This book can help adolescents themselves, teachers and parents understand one of the most important and powerful pairs of cycles in astrology and discover the wealth they have to offer. Alex draws on her experience as a teacher and astrologer to show how the cycles can be used to grasp and get the best of critical developmental cycles and presents them in a way that brings out the richness and depth of astrology in her inimitable style. I am so pleased this book is out in a new edition: unlike the latest theory on adolescent development, its value to parents and students will never go out of style.
Rod Suskin, astrologer, South Africa
How I wish that this wonderful book had been around 36 years ago when I became step-mother to a 13 year old! Not only would I have learnt so, so much from this excellent work by an experienced, thoughtful, caring teacher and very fine astrologer, but I am confident that I would have
bought copies for his friend’s parents and often exasperated teachers. As it is, I have already gifted this to local teachers and plan to buy a copy for another mother today. This work is a valuable addition to any astrological library but to parents and teachers it should be seen as one of the finest
works on understanding the adolescent and working through those Growing Pains.
Christeen Skinner, Cityscopes London Ltd. UK
As someone who taught high school for thirty years, but who knows little about astrology, I can say I found many things that Alex Trenoweth presented had classroom implications and applications. Alex uses astrology in the classroom for a better understanding of individual students as well as transits that correlate to age and grade-level periods of intellectual and emotional development. Her ideas that relate to the Jupiter and Saturn transits can have practical applications in curriculum development.
Some of what she conveys has already been learned by practical experience by many teachers. For example, if anybody asked me what are the most difficult ages to teach, I’d say 14 or 15. Astrologically, this would be the period of their Saturn opposition wherein a sense of independence
is combined with a “healthy” opposition to authority. We teachers would blame it on puberty, which is also true, but also fail to see it as a rite of passage or coming of age in the educational sense. Perhaps her most practical tip for a teacher might be to simply make a class list of students by their birth dates (oldest to youngest). In the high
school classroom, I’ve noticed the difference between the older and younger students in the class both in behavior and ability. In the lower grades, the difference is even more pronounced.
Finally, when you get down to it, education is our nation’s number one problem. If we are to have citizens who are both productive and responsible more resources are needed to provide students and educators with more options and not more standardized testing. They’re the ones that will be left
to solve problems left by previous generations.
Alan Bronstein, teacher, USA
Sensitive, kind and caring teacher and author of Growing Pains, Alex Trenoweth has identified herself with troubled adolescents. Her in-depth study of astrology, with psychological input, coupled with an intense urge to search for solutions to help such adolescents, have been brought together in this marvelous book.
Alex has paved a mid-path between a highly technical approach and a total ignorance about the synchronicity between cosmic planetary motions. Using the planets of Jupiter and Saturn, she demonstrates the waxing and waning of periods of growth and expansion with periods of trials and tribulations. Studying the cosmic cycles of these two major planets would be extremely rewarding for parents, teachers and guides as well as for the adolescents as
themselves. It is a must-read for anyone who works with children—or for adults who still have the child within.
Shankar Nash Kapoor, Justice (retired) Delhi High Court, India
If every parent and every teacher read this book it would be a better world. Kids have suffered educationally, not because teachers don’t care, but because a lack of understanding of their inbuilt dissimilarities and associated specific needs is not conducive to the flowering of their potential.
This book, written by a teacher and astrologer, will put this right. Not only does it offer insightful and humorous descriptions of character, and methods of getting the best out of that character, it also offers descriptions of famous personalities that come with handsome portrait drawings, and these descriptions allow you to see how the character traits you learn about manifest in the real world. I love this book.
Chrissy Philp, UK
Astrology is an invaluable tool to understand individual and whole year groups of school pupils. Alex Trenoweth’s Growing Pains draws on her pioneering work in the classroom. It is recommended reading for teachers,
parents and, indeed anyone who wishes go beyond projecting their own expectations, and instead relate to children and adolescents as they are.
Roy Gillett B.Ed [Hons Ldn], UK
Concerned parents are going to find this book helpful, as regards guiding and encouraging their teenage children, and what kind of encouragement is likely to prove effective. The different zodiac signs lend ‘colour’ to the working of these two spheres. Its author Ms Trenoweth is a mother,
schoolteacher and professional astrologer so is able to explain these things out of real experience. There are cheerful books giving tips about bringing up teenagers, however this one gives that much-needed help in terms of the different zodiac signs of Jupiter and Saturn. Plus, modern readers will not fail to appreciate use of a celeb bio-pic for each one of these, to help build up the picture.
For any teacher who believes character-building is more important than exam results, this has to be an important book. By using celebs in this way, Trenoweth focuses on the concept of success, to show how people have used their God-given talents to make something of their lives. In today’s
schools, encouraging pupils is far from easy and the twelvefold pattern here described indicates how this should be done. As a head-of-year in a modern Academy she has put these findings into practice, in a way that made sense
to her schoolteacher colleagues.
Astrological Journal of Great Britain
Growing Pains is a really inspired and useful way of using the Jupiter and Saturn cycles to help kids, parent and teachers through the stormy waters of adolescence.
Anne Whitaker, UK
Alex Trenoweth delights us by creating a bridge between astrology and
education that informs the readers of the cycles of Jupiter and Saturn in the growing process of adolescents on their way to adulthood. Undoubtedly, this book is a unique combination of Alex’s experience as teacher and astrologer. A must-read!
Ana Andrade, Peru
Alex has highlighted this area of astrology to the great benefit of parents who care to listen. What she has to say is perceptive and wise. Her pupils would have been nurtured so well by her understanding of ‘where they were coming from’. I commend you to Alex, her books, and what she has to say.
Hedley Spargo, teacher, UK
Part child, part adult, sometimes full monster!!! At least they appear so. The sad truth is they appear that way, simply because we adults have forgotten what our experiences of the world were when we were that age; or we simply have no understanding of how their minds work. That will all change when you read this wonderful book by Alex Trenoweth. Her experience as both a high school teacher and an astrologer has made not only an understanding of these years easily available, but she offers wonderful insights as to how to
make your relationship with your teenager more meaningful. If you want to help your teen make the most of these changes s/he is experiencing, then this book is a must, whether you are a teacher or a parent.
Chris Turner, Australia