Horary to the rescue…sort of


Will I find my wallet

On the last day of the UAC 2018 Chicago conference a young woman lost her wallet. As she was surrounded by astrologers many of whom are proficient in horary astrology it was only natural that a question was asked, a chart drawn up and judgements pronounced. The question was a simple one; will I get my wallet back but buried within was the implied concern about the contents of this wallet.

The planetary hour ruler was Jupiter, which had no connection with the Virgo ASC or its ruler Mercury. This indicates some difficulty in getting a definitive answer out of the chart or that the outcome of the question/issue would not be satisfying.

There were no obvious connections  between the horary chart and her natal chart (which she kindly shared with me);  however there were two powerful contacts with her current Solar Return chart and her current Lord for the year, Mars. The horary Mars is conjunct her Solar Return ASC and the SR Mars is conjunct the horary Moon. Both of these are within a degree. This is a question that is relevant to the immediate moment in time, but will not have lifelong repercussions.

The querent was signified by the ASC at 24 Virgo and its ruler Mercury, which at 29 degrees Taurus, is cadent, peregrine, under-the-sun’s beams and moving swiftly towards combustion. Being at the end of her synodic cycle Mercury signifies someone who is exhausted, at the end of her wits and has no power within the circumstances of the question.

The quesited, the lost wallet is signified by the 2nd house and its ruler Venus. Venus is elevated in the 10th house which at first glance looks to be a positive testimony for a quick recovery of the wallet. Venus has a bit if dignity by triplicity (I use Venus as diurnal ruler of the water triplicity), and is mutually applying to trine a retrograde Jupiter, who will receive Venus into his exaltation. However, looks can deceive and though Jupiter happily receives Venus, he is in Scorpio a sign harmful to Venus…so not so good. Venus is also out-of-bounds, symbolically a clear indication that the wallet is not where it is meant to be and is besieged in her opposition with Saturn and Pluto (the trine to Neptune adding more affliction).

When the significator of a lost object is in the angular 1st or 10th houses it indicates that the object is close to the querent and therefore more likely to be found. So, the wallet is likely to be found, but the afflictions to Venus tells us it will be harmed and so not returned in the state it was when lost.

The Moon is a general significator for lost object; and always provides testimony surrounding the question in general. Here it looks bad; though in her joy in the 3rd house, the Moon is cadent and afflicted by her opposition to the Sun and her recent sextile to the malefic Mars. Her next aspect will be to square Neptune, which will not help bring about any clarity on the matter; after which she will be Void of Course.

The Sun is afflicting both planetary significators for the querent; Mercury and Moon. He rules the 12th house, secret enemies and self-undoing. Indicating the possibility that the querent’s carelessness may have led to the loss of the wallet. Totally understandable within the context; the end of a long conference which included lots of interesting connection, conversations, laughter, learning, late nights and just maybe a bit of overindulgence!

There is no applying aspect forming between Mercury and Venus; or between Mercury and the Moon; and so no clear testimony of the wallet’s return. The only hope of the wallet being found are that both Venus and the Moon are with orb of aspecting the 2nd house cusp and the position of Venus in the 10th house. The Moon in the 3rd house of her joy may add some small hope.

Where might the wallet be? Venus and the ruler of the 4th house, Jupiter (signifying where the lost object lays) both being in a water sign, suggested that the wallet was left in a place where there is water such as a washroom, kitchens, garden. Washroom was the most obvious and logical considering the circumstances and environment of the loss. We suggested she check any washrooms that she may have gone into. She did and reported…nothing there.

Jupiter is lord of the 7th and peregrine, so could suggest a thief. However, theft (and thieves) are an active and purposeful, so we would be looking for an angular planet, more specifically a peregrine Mars or Mercury. We would also expect to see a separating aspect with the significator of the object (or the Moon) and that of the thief. Here Venus and Jupiter are applying to aspect indicating a future contact. So, it is unlikely that the wallet was stolen. Jupiter signify another person who will find and pick up the wallet. Remember that Jupiter is retrograde, peregrine and in a sign harmful to Venus. Could the temptation of a wallet full of money have been too hard to resist? Obviously so. Whoever found the wallet (Jupiter) may have taken the money, especially considering the state of their money, signified by the 8th house and its ruler peregrine conjunct South Node. {Note that Jupiter is in Scorpio and so disposited by Mars… Their money or lack thereof is very much their focus and concern}

We will never know for sure as the lack of planetary hour accord indicated no clear resolution to this issue/question.

Not long afterwards she was called and told that someone had returned the wallet, but it’s all important content, the money was missing. She had also already cancelled her credit/debit cards and so the return of the empty wallet was not a satisfactory end to the affair. The chart clearly shows that the wallet was close (10th house), but damaged. Horary astrology is pretty amazing!

Interesting to note that the poor girl expressed how angry she was about the whole affair. Remember what was being activated in her Solar Return? If she was my client I would suggest exploring Mars (and the 4th house) in her chart, but that is for another time.

I would like to thank Marco Patchett and Nate Craddock for their input into the judgement of this chart and pleasant company throughout the event.

Published in: on June 10, 2018 at 6:29 am  Comments (4)  

A Solar Return Story

I have been working with Solar return charts and profections for many years now. I take the ruler of the profected ASC as “Lord of the Year” and look at its position, condition and configuration in the Solar Return chart. When angular the native is more of a driving force behind the events that will take place that year, when cadent things happen through the outside impetus. I have found that the returning of angles in the solar return chart to the same signs as in the natal chart indicate a significant years.

Here is the story of a Solar Return. My son was visiting over the Christmas holidays and he asked me to look at his chart. His birthday being in April I drew out his next Solar return chart. As he had been living abroad in Cambodia for 4 years I could have relocated his SR chart, but I have lately been using the natal position, so set his SR for Melbourne Australia, his birthplace.

This is his natal chart. He has a Sun exalted in Aries ruling his MC, however the 10th place from the ASC is Virgo, ruled by Mercury. I have often found that writers have Moon in the 3rd house and my son has this placement in the sign of Aquarius. There’s an abundance of Taurus giving him a staying power and the ability to work hard.

The Ascendent of the Solar Return was almost at the same degree as his natal ASC, which made this a significant or important year for him. The ruler of that ASC was Jupiter in Taurus on the cusp of the SR 6th house and disposited by Venus.

He was turning 29 so he was in a 6th house profected year, with his profected ASC 21 Taurus. As he has Mercury, Mars and Venus in Taurus in his natal chart my first thought was that he would have a busy year. Since the Profected ASC landed on and was ruled by Venus; Venus was a clear “lady of the Year”.[1]  She rules the natal 6th and 11th houses and the 1st and 6th house by profection.

In the SR chart Venus is cadent in the 6th house in Gemini and conjunct the South Node. The theme of being busy, working hard but getting little recognition or honours during that year becomes more pronounced as the 6th house is emphasized yet again. Especially as Solar Return MC is ruled by a fallen and weak Mercury and Venus is making a partile square to a retrograde Mars in Virgo on the MC, denying any such honours.

The Solar Return Moon in Libra conjunct Saturn, reinforces the sense of hard work and also hints at his forthcoming Saturn return which will impact his 11th house of friends and colleagues.

So I made my judgment: “you will be working really hard, be very busy and may go back to doing something from your past (Venus conjunct the South Node), but you will get little recognition publicly for all your efforts.  The events for the year will be initiated by others rather than by you. It will be an important and significant year which will be fortunate as both profected and Solar Return rulers are the benefics (Venus and Jupiter) and both are in good condition in the natal chart and not too bad in the Solar Return Chart.”

My son could not make much sense of such a reading as he had been working as a journalist for 3 years and freelancing for the past year with quite a bit of success. He didn’t understand how being very busy and working hard would not bring him recognition, nor did the idea that events would be initiated by others make much sense, as it was through his own travel and ideas that he had come up with the material for all the articles he had been writing and selling. And how, he asked could the year be “good” if he was going to be so busy but get little recognition?

A couple month later, about 1 month before his actual birthday, he received a phone call out of the blue from a reputable publishing company asking him if he would be interested in writing a book on modern day Cambodia. He signed the contract in June (a couple months after his birthday) and will be busy writing for at least 18 months. He will be working really hard with little recognition initially. He is also doing research in a manner that recalls his time at the University.

The judgment stands; and my son was duly impressed.

A note of interest:

In most of the traditional text it is said that when Venus is the Lord of the Year or a time Lord of some sort, she will bring events and circumstances to do with relationships, marriage or women in general. It may yet prove to be the case with my son, though I could not see any emphasis on the 7th house to indicate relationship or marriage (and he is currently not in a relationship). It is interesting that it was a woman who called him asking him to write the book!

[1]   For those interested the Distributor of his ASC through the Bounds is Venus (until December 2017) and its partner is Mars, but will change to the Sun shortly before his 30th birthday in 2013.  From Abu Ma’shar’s “On the Revolution of the Years of the Nativities”, translated by Ben Dykes (page 132 – 156)

Should I direct this film clip?

As a rule, I normally do not think that “should” questions are able to be answered with horary, but every once in a while I get a chart that is just so clear, the answer so obvious that it defies this “rule”.

The querent had recorded a song and wanted to get it released but was told that without a video clip this would never happen. He has been trying to get someone to “direct” the clip as he felt totally unqualified to do so himself, though he had lots of ideas about how he wanted it to look.

This chart shows the significators of the querent highly dignified and fortified, while the significator of others (7th ruler, Mercury) or employees (6th ruler, Sun) are both in bad zodiacal condition and in weak positions, giving us the answer.

The querent is signified by Lord of the ASC, Jupiter in Sagittarius is on the MC. Venus being on the ASC would also signify the querent. Both are dignified benefics and on the major angles clearly providing the answer; yes he should direct the clip. The Moon also in the 10th close to the MC and conjunct Jupiter, is about to sextile the Sun (Lord 6), and Venus sextile Mars ruler of the 2nd (the money) and 9th (the vision), on the 11th cusp. With the help of friends (11th house) and hiring others (Lord 6) the job will be done.

The sextile of the Moon and Sun can be understood asbringing the vision to light, as the Moon is ruler of the 5th house which could signify the creative project, especially relevant as the Moon’s last aspect was a sextile to Neptune (conjunct the Sun) and universal significator of film.

Mars being exalted the vision and the friends assisting will be of a good quality.

It is also interesting that the Nodes are conjunct the ASC/DES axis, showing a fated quality to this question. Having tried to find someone to direct this clip for quite a long time with no success; signified by the Sun (Lord 6) in detriment on the 12th cusp opposite Saturn in detriment retrograde, being let down by others promising one thing and not coming through. These others could also be signified by Lord 7 Mercury in Pisces and with Uranus in the 12th, very unreliable. Neither Sun nor Mercury engenders any sense of reliability and trust.

The querent did go on to direct the clip with the help of friends and others. The exalted state of both Venus (the querent) and Mars (the vision and friends) show us that the querent was not 100% comfortable doing this but he was capable. It was a successful project whichsaw his vision realised.

In fact you can check out the final result here.

Defining Traditional Astrology

The great lineage of Astrology which stretches back at least 2 millennia is now being reawakened. In this post I am are going to focus on the philosophical and some of the technical differences between so called traditional astrology and modern astrology.

Traditional: The passing of beliefs or customs from one generation to the next. Any long held method, practice. Of or pertaining to time-honored orthodox doctrines.

Orthodox: Adhering to what is commonly accepted

On some level all astrology is traditional, as all are handed down by a previous generation of astrologers. However it is important to remember that there was a major break in the transmission of astrological knowledge and wisdom which resulted by the 20th century, in the development of very different types of astrology, which have a much shorter and more recent history; the “tradition” of modern astrology only extends back at most a couple centuries.
Maybe a better term to describe what has come to be known as “traditional” astrology would be “classical” astrology.

Classical: Traditional in style or form, or based on methods developed over a long period of time. Of a kind that has been respected for a long time. Used to describe something that is attractive because it has a simple, traditional style. Belonging to or relating to the ancient Greek and Roman world, especially to its language, literature, art, etc.

Traditional astrology is Western horoscopic astrology as it was practice and written about from roughly the 2nd century BCE through to the end of the 17th century. This encompasses roughly 2000 years of tradition and includes the astrology practiced by Vettius Valens, Masha’Allah, Al Biruni, Bonatti, through to William Lilly.
Over those centuries astrology reflected the political, intellectual, religious and social shifts in society; as well as their prejudices. Techniques were added, dropped and refined, yet the core doctrines on which astrology was founded remained fundamentally unchanged. The astrologers of old understood the importance of their roots and proudly called upon the astrological greats that came before them. As Guido Bonatti stated in his Book of Astronomy; treatise II (13th Century):

I will therefore speak, following the footsteps of our venerable predecessors, on those things which will seem useful for this work, calling to mind their opinions – namely, Ptolemy, Hermes, Jafar, Ibn Qurra, al-Qabisi, al-Khayyat, al-Kindi, al-Andarzagar, Masha’allah, ad-Dawla, Jirjis (and others who have studied in this science), by adding those things which will seem useful to me, according to how God grants me grace in organizing them and restore to me my memory.”

Birth of Modern Astrology
The late 17th Century saw a seismic shift in our perspective and understanding of reality, man, his world and the Cosmos. This heralded the beginning of the “age of enlightenment” also known as the scientific age. The paradigm changed from a view that held the manifested world to be a result of a non-material, essentially divine reality in which consciousness or spirit was primary; to one in which the physical, material world was the primary reality.
The enlightenment saw the formerly accepted essentially divine nature of the Cosmos replaced by a mechanical/mathematical one. The accepted reality now became, of a rational Universe adhering to physical laws, albeit driven by the hand of God. There was a rejection of the inherent intelligence of the Cosmos; the planets and signs were stripped of their numinous intelligence.
The enlightenment’s focus on matter and the physical had two effects on astrology. The first was of disenchanting it by removing its access to the Divine realm. The second was to fragment and separate it into bits, leading to the proliferation of specialization.
Traditional or classical astrology can not be contained or exist within a sole physical universe, nor can it be defined by “scientific” empirical observation. Within this new paradigm astrology lost connection to its roots.

Modern astrology that focuses on character analysis and the development of the individual, had its genesis in the 19th century, after approximately two hundred year of decline. By the 20th century, many different schools of astrology had developed, based on various principles. Philosophically these are very different astrology, born out of a different paradigm to the tradition. Some of these new schools include:

The Hamburg School of Astrology, also known as Uranian astrology. Was founded in 1925 by Alfred Witte. Uses hypothetical transneptunian planets and midpoints.
Cosmobiology: Developed by Reinhold Ebertine, (1940) Took a more critical and scientific approach to astrology. It refined the use of midpoints, did away with houses and charts. Was critically biased against traditional astrology.
Evolutionary Astrology: A form of natal astrology based on the philosophic principle that human being evolve through many lifetimes. Pluto and the Lunar nodes in the birth chart are used as pivot point to understanding an individual position in their evolution.
Esoteric Astrology: Based on the work of Theosophist Alice Baily, and her ideas on the evolution of soul consciousness. It uses an entirely  different set of rulerships which is unique to esoteric astrology.
Humanistic or Psychological Astrology: A 20th century development, that was influenced by Jungian principles, mythology and archetype. It takes a non deterministic approach to the natal chart.

Modern astrology has given us some wonderful tools with which to describe the character and explore the psychology and personal evolution of an individual. This in itself is a reflection of our modern understanding of reality; with its emphasis on the individual, and how astrology impacts him and his world. To illustrate this, take for example the title of the first chapter in the 1989 edition of “Alan Oken’s Complete Astrology” (1974):  Astrology and its Place in the Universe of Man. The second paragraph reads:

“…Yet your physical body does not represent your true dimensions. It is the extent of your consciousness which determine your relative position in the scheme of the Universe. Your physical body is but an anchor of your total being and has as its base, the Earth. As such it is subject to all influences of this planet just as our globe is, in effect, directly regulated by any motion of the Sun and it, in turn, is integrally linked to the fate of the Galaxy. In his consciousness of himself, Man, like a infant, often forgets that he is part of a greater plan of creation.”

Contrast Alan Oken’s 20th century words with those of 13th century astrologer Guido Bonatti, who begins his great work, Book of Astronomy with these words:

“The Soul which is in man is quite noble. It gives essence and perfection to the body, and its foods are very noble, with respect to the foods of the body, since the soul is most noble with respect to the body. And the soul rejoices in intellectual gain, and that depends upon the knowledge of philosophy; and in that the soul rejoices, and is delighted…And there is nothing in which the soul gains so much as in astronomy or astrology.
For through this study, we know and understand creatures beyond passion; unalterable and immutable in another essence since they are the super-celestial bodies. And through these creatures we are able to draw near to an understanding of the Creator, and to know however much more the human mind is able to attain, and to perceive Him to be beyond passion and unalterable.”

The Differences Between Modern and Traditional Astrology
Broadly and philosophically speaking the difference between traditional and modern astrology can be summed up as such:

  • Traditional astrology emphasises the Creator or God, the Divine, the world of spirit and our relationship to it.
  • Traditional astrology recognises the inherent intelligence or “consciousness” of the Cosmos and Planets.
  • In traditional astrology mundane matters of everyday life and the body, were seen to be subservient to the superior bodies; the soul could negotiate with them.
  • The traditional natal chart is a picture of the individual’s fate, his environment and place in the world, only part of which is his mind.
  • Modern astrology emphasises the individual and how the Cosmos impacts or describes him and his processes.
  • Modern astrology focuses on the consciousness of the individual.
  • In Modern astrology everyday matters are seen to be reflected or mirrored in the Cosmos.
  • The modern natal chart is seen as a picture of the individuals mind or psyche.

Aside from Cosmobiology, which did away with the horoscope and replaced it with a 90 degree dial, modern astrological horoscope look the same as traditional charts. There are some differences:

  • The use of outer planets and asteroids: Traditionally, astrology only used seven planets: 2 lights and 5 wandering stars to be precise. Whenever the   planets are presented they are the ordered by distance and speed. Called the Chaldean order: Saturn, Jupiter,   Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury and Moon.  This puts the Sun in the center of the planets.
  • The use of minor aspects: Traditionally aspect had to divide the 12-fold zodiac equally and so only the Ptolemaic aspect were used   (opposition, square, trine, sextile and conjunction). Aspects did not have orbs; planets did. Some minor aspect were recognised, like the semi-sextile & the ‘inconjunct’, but these were not considered strong enough to have much effect.
  • The use of Vertex, black Moon Lilith and other astronomical points: Not used in traditional astrology, though there was a whole doctrine of Lots, also known as the Arabic Parts. Today only the Part of Fortune is used in modern astrology.
  • Secondary progressions/Solar Arc: Traditionally primary direction were used. This fell out of favor as the calculation became too difficult it was replaced by the much simpler day for a year progressions or Solar Arc.
  • Emphasis on transits – especially of the outer (modern) planets: Traditional astrology makes use of a variety of planetary period or time Lords,  yearly and monthly profection and Solar and Lunar returns.

There is more focus on the Signs of the Zodiac in modern astrology. Traditionally, the Zodiac Signs were understood very differently. William Lilly begins his chapter on the signs of the Zodiac by setting out the various ways they were divided: by quadrant or season; by elements (hot or cold and dry or moist);  by sect, diurnal or nocturnal (masculine or feminine); by modality (moveable, common or fixed); whether bestial, humane or feral, fertile or barren; mute or voiced. He then writes of the nature, description, and diseases signified by the twelve signs. On the nature of Aries (CA page 93):

“Aries is a masculine, diurnal sign, moveable cardinal, equinoctial; in nature fiery, hot and dry, choleric, bestial, luxurious, intemperate and violent: the diurnal house of Mars, of the fiery triplicity and of the East.”

In Alan Oken’s – Alan Oken’s Complete Astrology  the chapter on Aries is called: Aries – I Seek Myself  (page  57).  He begins with these words:

Aries symbolises the realization within oneself that one is different and apart from the rest of humanity. It is therefore the individualizing agent, the ego, the consciousness of self. Aries is the beginning, the first emanation of self-awareness coming from the realm of the collective.”

There follows eight more page describing  various aspects of Aries in different context and ending with positive and negative keyword concepts for Aries:

  •  Courageous and Bold
  • Fool hardy and a zealot
  • Inspirational to others
  • Egotistic show of bravado
  • Intuitive and perceptive
  • Oblivious to all thoughts but own
  • Always takes the initiative
  • Acts without forethought
  • Direct and decisive
  • Lacks of subtlety; opinionated
  • Like to lead others out of darkness
  • Uses other exclusively in self- interest

Modern astrology focuses on and makes more use of the Universal signification of the planets. Each planet has a function that every individual must contend with. Alan Oken again (page 211).

“Saturn allows for personal growth, but only through the fulfillment of one’s earthly obligations and responsibilities. Thus the position of Saturn in the natal horoscope reveals what obstacles one has to overcome in order to achieve success…It is the energy of this planet which tests one’s endurance. It brings the trials and stumbling blocks so that an individual can attain the strength and wisdom he needs in order to deal with life’s difficulties.”

Compare to William Lilly (CA page 58 -61)

Nature: He is a diurnal planet, cold and dry (being far removed from the heat of the Sun and moist vapours), melancholic, earthly, masculine, the greater infortune, author of solitariness, malevolent”

He then lists what Saturn signifies or rules: in manner and actions, corporature, quality in man, professions, sickness, savours, herbs, plants and trees, beasts, fishes, birds, places, minerals, stones, weather, winds, years, countries and finally angels.

Traditional astrology uses the universal meaning of a planet, but focuses on the specific signification of planet within a chart: The universal meaning of a planet was based on its nature (hot, cold, dry, moist), its place in the scheme of   the solar system. It specific signification depended on what it governed or signified in the chart.

Traditional astrology recognizes malefic and benefic planets: One of the most contentious ideas to many modern student. The benefic planets: Venus and Jupiter brought about growth and pleasures, while the function of the malefic planets: Saturn and Mars was to bring about destruction; in order to keep the cycle of life flowing.

Sect: diurnal or nocturnal chart: Day and night charts were delineated differently. Some planets were understood to be stronger by day, some by night. This divided the planets into two Sects, consisting of a luminary, a benefic and a malefic planet. The day sect was: Sun, Jupiter and Saturn; the night sect was Moon, Mars and Venus. Mercury joined the day sect when oriental to the Sun, the night when occidental to the Sun.

In traditional astrology the essential and accidental dignity of a planet is very important: The condition of a planet dictated how well it could function and do its job. Essential dignity was based on a   planet’s position in the zodiac and there were five: rulership, exaltation, triplicity, terms and face or decans.   The accidental condition of the planet was based on its relationship to the Sun and Earth included: house   position relative to the angles, aspect, speed and direction.

Bonatti quotes Al-Qabisi about Saturn:

“Saturn is a masculine, diurnal planet, and he works at intemperate coldness and dryness. He is significator of fathers and grandfathers and all ancestor who is signified by the 4th house, but this is more by accident than nature, for he naturally signifies the person or body of the native, on account that the first thing that happens to a man is the physical person through which being is given to him.”

Here, Bonatti gives us a hint of what has to be one of the biggest difference between Modern and Traditional astrology. The associations between house and sign meanings, mixed with rulership.

Firstly, modern astrologers assigned rulership to the three outer planets: Uranus, Neptune and Pluto. This destroyed the symmetry of the ancient system and exposed the total misunderstanding about the meaning and function of rulership and dignity.
Secondly, the “astrological alphabet” was created; this was to de-rooted modern astrology from its tradition. The astrological alphabet connects the signs of the Zodiac and the terrestrial houses of the horoscope, as well as the planet ruling the signs. So the first house and the first sign, Aries became associated, and since Aries was ruled by Mars, the first house takes on Mars quality. The second house and the second sign, Taurus and Venus became associated…etc..
Once we get to Scorpio, Aquarius and Pisces, the outer planets were added to the mix: the 8th house and Scorpio, took on Pluto qualities, the 11th house and Aquarius, Uranus qualities and the 12th  house and Pisces, Neptune qualities.
With the astrological alphabet the lines between sign and house were blurred and the symbolic meanings of both became muddied. Having a planet in a house was like having it in the sign erroneously associated with that house.
While this “system” may appear logical on the surface, it is at odds with the centuries of tradition and the foundation of Western astrology. The astrological alphabet has created much confusion and separation between modern and traditional astrology.

Only in traditional medical astrology do we find a connection between houses, signs and ruling planet. The outer planets do no appear in the scheme. In traditional astrology the signs, were understood to be the celestial “houses” or domiciles of the planets; they had no relationship to the terrestrial houses of the horoscope.
The traditional scheme of rulership was based on a planet’s relationship with the Luminaries in particular the Sun; not on similar characteristics between the sign and a planet. It also informed the doctrine of aspect.

To conclude, the main difference between modern and traditional astrology is one of perception and philosophical understanding as to the nature of life. Modern astrology reflects the modern idea that fate can be overcome or transcended by our free will; the (natal) chart reflecting the individual and how best they can navigate life.

Traditional astrology is not focused on the individual or their will, but rather on the will of the Divine. The chart helps to understand our place in the overall (divine) order so that we may align with it. I will leave you with the words of William Lilly from his letter to the student (1647).  one of the last whose lineage is now being reawakened.

“My Friends, whoever thou art, that with so much ease shall receive the benefit of my hard studies, and doth intend to proceed in this heavenly knowledge of the stars, wherein the great and admirable works of the invisible and all-glorious God are so manifestly apparent… Consider and admire thy Creator and be thankful onto him, be thy humble, and let no natural knowledge, how profound and transcendent soever it be, elate they mind to neglect that divine Providence, by whose all-seeing order and appointment, all things heavenly and earthly, have their constant motion”


Published in: on December 11, 2018 at 6:11 pm  Leave a Comment  

Why Study Classical Astrology

When first faced with classical or traditional astrology[1] some astrologers steeped in the multifaceted mythical images of psychological and archetypal astrology are put off by what appears to be a dull, colourless and outmoded form of astrology. However, classical astrology is far from colourless or outmoded. It may take some effort to crack its archaic veneer, but once this is done the exquisite rationale, beauty and inherent wisdom upon which astrology is built is revealed.

Many astrologers especially those who have been doing astrology for a long time come to a point when they begin to feel the pull towards our inherited roots. Reading the old texts can be challenging and disheartening; the language appears stilted and the concepts are based on incomplete astronomical understanding may seem irrelevant to our modern worldview. It is necessary to approach these ancient texts from the perspective of the times in which they were composed. This requires at least a cursory knowledge of philosophical, scientific and cultural history.

Classical astrology demands a more rigorous approach to its study: techniques must be mastered, rules learnt and practice needs to be constant. It is all of these factors that often put the student off learning classical astrology. But the rewards for doing so are many.

It is impossible for a student to avoid the inevitable change that their astrological delineation will undergo once the door to the classical perception has been opened. This can engender a sort of “identity crisis”. In the same way that our growth from child to adolescent; or from single adult to committed parent can feel uncomfortable and even threatening, as we leave the familiar behind and enter territory we have not yet charted.

We are a product of our times, and we live in a time corrupted by the hubris of our technological prowess. It is often assumed that the current scientific, political, social and philosophical understandings we now hold, have evolved out the old beliefs of the past. Therefore, it is suggested, we now possess a better, more accurate and thorough knowledge. This is like the arrogant naivety of the young who think they are the first to notice the shortcomings of the status quo and discover the joy of rebellion.

To deny the relevance of classical astrology is to deny astrology itself. Coming to understand classical astrology makes us better astrologers, just as understanding history helps us to navigate the troubled times we seem to always be facing.

For those who want to take the plunge, go to www.sta.co

[1] By “Classical astrology” I mean Western astrology as it was practiced from circa 400 BCE to the mid-17th century CE.

Published in: on December 14, 2016 at 4:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Traditional and Modern astrology: a philosophical exploration (part 5 – Pythagoras)

Pythagoras and the Magic of Numbers

It is probably redundant to say that most everything in our Universe can be understood through numbers. Mathematics is truly the universal language, the secrets of which were first explored and brought to our consciousness by Pythagoras who lived from about 570 to 495 BCE. He was a philosopher, mathematician, mystic and scientist who established a philosophical school in Croton in Southern Italy. Plato was one of his students. Little is actually known about Pythagoras the man; however his ideas and teachings have been very influential. Pythagoras is famous for saying that “ALL is number”. While we may never know whether Pythagoras the man actually said this, we do know that he saw numbers as more than just a means of quantifying things; to the Pythagorians numbers were understood to have and to bestow qualities as well.

The ideas attributed to Pythagoras gave rise to sacred geometry as well as musical theory. His assertion that numbers had qualities and could be experienced expanded the notion we have of mathematics to include an esoteric dimension which included the ability to bring about healing. The doctrine of aspects in traditional astrology is based on Pythagorean principles.

Pythagorean number theory

One or the Monad is not considered a true number; it is the principle of number. It signifies the creative potentiality of all things, for it is potentially any number. It is both mother and father and is the source of all other numbers. One, is like God for it preserved; multiplying by one always gives you the number you started with, it preserves that number. It is unity that has yet to be manifested as it remains potentially anything and everything.

Two or the Dyad is also not considered a true number; but rather a process that flows from the Monad. Two is the source of multiplicity and the principle of knowledge, for it creates the difference between the knower and the known. The Dyad is said to attract the Monad to it and from it generates the rest of the numbers; as such it is related to love.

Three is the first actual number. It is a figural number because three points creates the shape or figure of a triangle. Three signifies knowledge and consciousness, as the knower and the known can now be recognized from a third perspective, bringing about conscious understanding or consciousness of knowing. The trine is related to three, giving easy understanding or communication between the planets.

Four is the number that represents manifestation and solid physical foundation. It is of course related to the square. The circle, which has no beginning and no end is said to represent unity or God as yet not manifested, the square represents manifested unity. From an astrological perspective four can be associated with the foundational cardinal point of the chart; the angles ASC, IC, DES and MC. These represent the body/health, home/family, relationship/marriage and career/purpose which are the foundation of human life.

The multiplication of three and four gives us the number 12 and we have twelve zodiac sign. While the addition of three plus four gives us seven which corresponds to the seven visible planets.

Six is a perfect number for it contains one, two and three (1+2+3=6), it is both odd and even (2×3=6). It is the number associated with reconciliation and represents “ensoulment” of the body by the soul. The number six creates 2 triangle that fit together bringing the elements together or God and the manifested world together.

We can see evidence of the Pythagorean number theory is the traditional doctrine of aspect. The monad is like the conjunction, the Dyad is like the opposition, the number three relates to the trine, the number four represents the square and finally the number six relates to the sextile.

Twelve was seen as representing a version of the bodies/sphere in the Universe: the one eternal and unifying God (realm of the fixed stars), the 7 planets, the 4 sub-lunar elements(fire, air, water and earth), arranged from most orderly to the least, from most perfect to most corrupted.

According to the Pythagorean understanding there were 3 parts of the Soul: the Curious part, that seeks knowledge, the Ambitious part that seeks honours and the Covetous part that seeks profit or power. Each part of the soul needs to function properly and be harmonized with the other 2 parts. We can associate these parts of the soul with the 3 traditional outer planets; the Curious soul with Jupiter, the Ambitious soul with Mars and the Covetous soul with Saturn (as the empire builder).

Traditional and modern astrology: a philosophical exploration (part 4)

How does Greek Philosophy Relate to Astrology?

Horoscopic astrology developed alongside the ideas of classical Greek philosophy. It could be said that the observation of the sky and planetary motions inspired much philosophical musing. In the past there was little separation between science and philosophy, between religion and astrology or between mathematics and magic. The world was understood to be idealistic; that is that idea or mind came before matter, matter being a result of idea.

From this perspective spirit and matter were considered equally real and important. The interplay and mutual relationship between God and humans or the planets and the affairs of the earthly realm was a given. The axiom “as above so below” rang true in every sense of the words; what occurred here on Earth was naturally to be reflected in the movement of the cosmos. This was not perceived as magical, but rather as logical.

It is only when our focus began to shift from a spiritual perspective of life to a biological one that matter became the ultimate reality and soul a construct of the human mind. This shift had a profound effect on our world. Mechanical science and technology has changed life on this planet as well as our human consciousness. No longer are we part of a tribe, no longer do we accept the concept of a predetermined fate, no longer do we see the movement of the planet and stars as evidence of their soul or ours, and no longer do we accept magic as being natural. For the most part we now see ourselves as a collection of individuals jostling to be and to find our purpose; our bodies and the rest of the material world is a manifest proof of chemical reactions that adhere to the laws that govern the physical universe. We elevate logical and rational thought based on sensible evidence over and above magical thinking that is dismissed as flights of the imagination, not based in rational reality.

Astrology has reflected this change by becoming primarily focused on the individual and his inner processes of realization. The natal chart has been elevated to being a tool to help in the individuation of the native. Astrology’s recent focus on the psychology of the individual is an illustration of this shift.

The Roots of Traditional Astrology

To really understand traditional astrology we need to shift our focus from the modern paradigm and reset it on how the world and cosmos were understood around 2500 years ago, when horoscopic astrology first began to appear. One of the first problems we encounter is the modern notion of evolution and progress, which has ingrained itself so firmly into our psyche that it is difficult for us to accept that where we find ourselves is anything but a higher more evolved level than what came before. We need to perceive the past not through the prism of the present, nor through the romantic notion of a past golden age, but rather from the neutral position of a novice or student eager to learn.

We need to let go of our preconceived ideas about astrology and accept that there is much we can learn from the ancients. This can be a very uncomfortable process as cherished notions and ideas need to be relinquished or at least re-examined. At the same time, it is immensely freeing to open our minds to other possibilities. Our understanding of concepts such as: god, soul, evolution, knowledge and information are different to what they were in the past and it is important to appreciate these differences.

Much of the rational for astrology can be found in the philosophical ideas and principles of ancient Greek philosophers including Pythagoras, Plato and Aristotle as well as the Stoic school. Having even a cursory understanding of these can be immensely informing to the astrologer.

part 5

Traditional and Modern astrology: a philosophical exploration (part 3 – the birth of modern astrology)

The industrial revolution (1750 – 1850) changed the lives of ordinary people and had a profound effect on society. The shift from an agriculturally based economy to a manufacturing one saw a decline in rural population and an increase in urban living. It also led to changes in the distribution of wealth and class distinction; as entrepreneurs were able to make fortunes in manufacturing which in turn created new jobs and led to the rise of a new middle class through the 18th and 19th century. As this middle class became more numerous, better educated and influential, they developed an interest in and fascination for occult subjects and mysticism evidenced by the founding in the mid-19th century of the theosophical society amongst others. It was through the mystery schools of the late 19th early 20th century that astrology began to reemerge from its years in the wilderness and find a new audience.

The astrology that returned was changed and coupled with the legal challenges that many of its practitioners faced, astrology came to reject event-oriented and predictive horoscopic analysis while focusing on natal astrology with an emphasis on character analysis and the psychological and spiritual development of the individual.

It was Alan Leo (1860 – 1917), an immensely successful and influential astrologer who through his work put astrology firmly on the road to the more individual focus and psychologically-oriented horoscope delineation of modern times. He is rightly known as “the father of modern astrology”.  Being a devout theosophist he also incorporated many of the concepts of karma and reincarnation into astrology. One of the principle things that modern astrology rejected outright was horary, which was seen by Alan Leo as being spiritually dangerous.

“Horary astrology, as practiced today, is the vilest rubbish imaginable, and not worthy of the name. Indeed, it is not astrology at all, but simply divination, for which purpose geomancy or card laying would answer just as well… It is the curse of the science and the ruin of the astrologer.”[1]

While it could be argued that so much of the techniques and knowledge of traditional astrology had been lost, making the practice of horary near impossible, the main issue was probably more philosophical and possibly legal.

By the early 20th century the world had changed to the point where the reasons for astrology’s initial decline were not even a distant memory, but rather a forgotten and irrelevant footnote in the history of science. It had been so long since astrology had figured in serious theological, philosophical or scientific discussion, that most would find it improbable that it ever had.

Without prediction, astrology was safe from legal persecution and accusations of fortune telling. Focusing on character analysis was a good way of deflecting any awkward need to justify astrology to an intellectual world steeped in a scientific perspective, which was firmly focused on material rationalism. Astrology could continue to amuse and entertain the masses without being any threat to serious thinkers of the day.

The astrology that emerged in the early 20th century was rooted in the mystery schools of the 19th century but informed by the new science of psychology and astronomical advances. This astrology incorporated the recently discovered planets, emphasized universal significance of the signs and planets and became firmly focused on natal and character analysis. By the 1980’s ancient myths, Jungian ideas, popular psychology and a sprinkling of “new-age” concepts were dominating astrological discourse, but astrology was still unacceptable in serious, academic circles.

part 4

[1]Alan Leo from Modern Astrology II/VII: 10 (1896) pp. 434-437 as quoted by Patrick Curry in A Confusion of Prophets Collin & Brown (1992) p. 165


Traditional and Modern astrology: a philosophical exploration (part 2 – history)

While we may never know exactly how or when horoscopic astrology first began. We do know that it sprung out of a time and place that was greatly influenced by the cosmological ideas of the Babylonian, the celestial religions of the Egyptians, the Hermetic magical understanding of correspondence in nature and the philosophies of the great classical thinkers and their schools, including Pythagoras, Plato, Aristotle and the Stoics. The period between the 4th and 2nd centuries BCE was a time when many of the ancient cultures and their accumulated wisdom came together. The city of Alexandria and its famous library became the cultural and commercial center of the Western world. Here Jewish, Egyptian, Babylonian and Greek traditions intermingled and unified under the Greek language of the Hellenistic lords. Horoscopic astrology appears to have been the results of this interchange of wisdom and ancient learning.

The Babylonian contributed their concept of the 12 fold zodiac and the planetary positions in the signs. The Egyptians brought the concept of the 36 decans and the importance of the rising decan which is possibly the origin of the Ascendant and it’s the importance in the horoscope. The Greeks contributed their understanding of the characteristic of the planetary Gods, the elements and most importantly their system of planetary rulership which was based on the distance of planets to the Sun.[1]

From these rich ingredients arose horoscopic astrology; a subject which was to profoundly influence man throughout his cultural, religious and political history. Astrology was understood to be at various times: a tool for predicting a predestined and fated future, a way of interpreting the will of God or the Gods, a form of Divination with which one could enter into a dialogue with the God(s) and sometimes a bit of all the above. By highlighting some of the mysteries that have fascinated mankind since the dawn of the ages, astrology engendered serious philosophical and scientific debate and challenged intellectual thought and beliefs over the centuries.

One of the foundations on which horoscopic astrology was based was a perception of life which was accepted for over two thousand years. This view was idealistic and held that the physical, transient, sub-lunar world that we experience through our senses was the result or expression of an immaterial, eternal and essentially divine reality. Over the centuries the details of what that essential reality actually constituted and how the natural world and humans were connected or related with it, was the subject of much debate; however the understanding that matter was subservient to a higher and more refined spirit or mind was the accepted paradigm.

In the centuries leading up to the birth of the Jesus, the pagan religions perceived the world as being at the mercy of the Gods whims. The planets were representatives or symbols of these Gods, and so could be relied upon to display their will or intentions. Astrology could forewarn man of the Gods intentions; man could then proceed to make decisions that were in accordance with them, thereby avoiding the displeasure and wrath of their Deities.

In the early centuries CE, as pagan polytheist beliefs were overshadowed by the monotheist beliefs of the Judaic/Christian and later Islamic religions; the planets lost their positions as representatives of myriad Gods, but retained their role as emissaries or signs from the singular Divinity, at least for a period of time.

As Christians challenged the dominance of pagan beliefs in the 3rd and 4th centuries CE, the role and influence of astrology changed. Astrology reached a height of sorts, during the dying days of the Roman Empire. The Roman emperors used astrology as a tool to give them political advantage; though this was not always to the advantage of their astrologers[2].

With the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, schools and libraries closed as financial support dried up, the knowledge of the Greek language died out, and the people became less literate. It is with gratitude that we should view the Arabic and Persian astrologers of the early Middle Ages; for while Europe descended into the period we now know as “the dark ages”, the intellectual light was transferred to the Middle East and there the wisdom of the ancient world including astrology was preserved, refined and expanded.

In the 5th and 6th centuries Hellenistic astrology traveled to the East and was intermixed with the astrology of the Persians[3]. Many of the Greek astrological texts were translated into Pahlavi (the language of the Persians) and we can surmise that some additions would have been made. It is unfortunate that no manuscripts from this period have survived, having been destroyed when later the Arabic Muslim armies overthrew the Persians and established their own empire.

Finding themselves in need of help to administer their empire the Arabs invited experts and intellectual giants of the world to assist them in building and maintaining their empire. They established a cultural, commercial and intellectual center emanating from their capital Baghdad; a city whose foundation date and time was elected by a group of astrologers.[4] For the next few centuries Baghdad and the Arab world attracted philosophers, artist and intellectuals of all sorts including astrologers.

Medieval or Arabic astrology flourished from the mid-8th century and lasted for about 200 years. A new translation project began as surviving Greek and Pahlavi texts were translated into Arabic. While the so called Arabic astrologers of the 8th and 9th centuries (many of whom were actually either Persian or Jewish), did refine some technical and mathematical points, the astrology they practiced remained for the most part Hellenistic. It is from this period that we begin to encounter the concept of planetary orbs, quadrant house systems and the beginning of horary astrology proper.

In the 11th century Europe began to reawaken from its 600-year hiatus. As the Christians began to repulse the Muslim from the Hibernian peninsula and reclaim their territory; they discovered the libraries left in their wake. Europe’s intellectual fire was reignited. By the mid-12th century one of the most feverish translation projects began. Arabic texts on all subjects including many on astrology were being translated into Latin. Classical Hellenistic works were made available for the first time in over six centuries to a very intellectually hungry Europe.

After astrology was reintroduced into Europe in 12th century, it took its place at the center of theological, scientific, mathematical and philosophical debate. It was an accepted subject of serious study that invited much debate, criticism and controversy[5] and was one of the principle subjects taught in the newly founded Universities. The basic curriculum consisting of the foundational trivium: grammar, logic and rhetoric; and the more advance quadivium: geometry, music, astronomy and arithmetic.

It is important to remember that during the middle age and renaissance, science and theology were more closely aligned; in fact, religious dogma aside, they had the same goal, to understand and come to know the nature of life and the universe. Within the study of nature, God was a given and needed to be reconciled with science as well as astrology.

In the west astrology reached the apex of its popularity and influence around the mid 1600’s; a time in which the political and social structures of Europe were irreparably changed by the English civil war, which culminated in the execution of Charles I.[6] At the end of the 17th century astrology experienced a sharp decline in influence. The reasons for this decline are multi-faceted and complex.[7] Astrology did not die so much as it was split into various factions that were unable to survive the tumultuous paradigm shift of the time.

After the restoration (circa 1660 – 1685) there was a backlash against astrology, more specifically judicial astrology[8], which had been used as a propaganda tool during the volatile and insecure period of the civil war. Astrology had become associated with seditious radicalism which was perceived to be the cause of so much destruction and unrest. The natural desire for calm and peace made many suspicious of anything that reminded them of that dangerous and dark period in their recent history; therefore astrology and astrologers were no longer trusted.

At the same time the new intellectual climate favoring a more Baconian[9] science based on observation and experiment, began to view judicial astrology as being irrational and overly steeped in magical thought and superstition. Publicly astrology lost favour with the intellectual world. Though many of the great minds of the late 17th early 18th century privately acknowledged the validity of astrology, especially natural astrology[10], they believed that judicial astrology had been corrupted and needed to be purged of irrational beliefs, popular magical connotations and political rhetoric. Many hoped to restore astrology, bringing it more in line with “natural philosophy”.[11]

There was another branch of thinking which believed that astrology had strayed from the purity of its classic Ptolemaic roots, and needed to be purified by eliminating the “false Arabic inventions”, the magical thinking and the new rational scientific thinking that had polluted astrology. Though many wanted astrology to be restored or purified in order to takes its rightful place in the world of the educated elite, its negative reputation and fragmentation weakened it so that it could not defend itself against its critics.

As the world and life came to be understood from the perspective of mechanical, material and intellectual rationale, rather than from the perspective of divine creation and immaterial soul; the perceived connection of astrology to divination and magic led to its diminishing importance in science and philosophy, and its eventual banishment from intellectual discourse. By the early-18th century much of what had previously been the domain of astrology, became redefined as astronomy or medicine; while astrology was dismissed as trivial and irrelevant or worse, misguided superstition. By the end of that century astrology had been relegated to the fringes and was of no consequence in academic or intellectual circles.

A third arm of astrology did survive and remained popular with the majority of the rural and uneducated public; this was the simplified astrology of the popular almanacs which the intellectual elite rejected and mocked as being only fit for the “vulgar” commoners. The common rural folks held on to evident truth of idealism (mind before matter) for longer.

Eventually even this more popular astrology was attacked when the vested interest of the industrial power fought to eliminate these almanacs because they were rooted to a past that was subject to the natural rhythms of time, which did not accord with the more mechanical “clock” time of the industrial age.

part 3

[1]For a full and detailed history of astrology’s beginnings see Nicholas Campion, the Dawn of Astrology, (Continuum Books, the Tower Building, 11 York Road, London)

[2]See Ben Bobrick, The Fated Sky: Astrology in History (Simon & Schuster, Rockefeller Center,  New York)p. 27-60

[3]Sassanian Persian empire flourished between 220 to 650 CE

[4]The chart was elected by the Caliph Al-Mansur’s court astrologer Nawbakht the Persian, Umar al-Tabire and the young Masha’Allah. The chart was set for July 31, 762 around 2:40 PM in Bagdad, Iraq.

[5]Benson Bobrick, The Fated Sky: Astrology in History, (Simon & Schuster, Rockefeller Center, New York) p. 91-92

[6]The execution of the King was a momentous event which destroyed the long held notion of the “divine right” of the King to rule.  I believe this created a split between us and the divine, which has led to the fragmentation of our world.

[7]For more information about this see Patrick Curry, Prophecy and Power (Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey  1989)

[8]Judicial astrology refers to specific chart analysis and judgment leading to individual prediction or advice, as different from natural astrology which looks at the natural phenomenon such as weather, health and mundane events, associated with celestial movement and cycles.

[9]Roger Bacon (1214-1294) whose ideas were later developed by Francis Bacon (1561-1626)

[10]See note 6.

[11]Natural sciences


Published in: on December 5, 2016 at 2:31 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Traditional and Modern Astrology: a philosophical exploration (part 1)

Once we enter the world of traditional astrology our view of life and the world changes. It is very difficult not to be influenced by the great astrologers that came before us. However, it is the incredible commonality between human experience of the past and our own that takes us by surprise. We live in a world that is imbued with the ideas that promote evolution and progress. Whilst everything on earth is born, grows, withers and dies in the endless cycle of life and death giving rise to the illusion of a forward movement of time, it is but that; an illusion.

Traditional astrology understands the importance of Saturn, not only as the ally of the astrologer but also as the significator of time. Saturn of old was also called the Lord of deception and it is possibly his rulership over time which earned him this moniker. As astrologers, we deal in time and are prone to get caught in its apparent but deceptive forward momentum. But looking back into the past, we recognize that we have not moved far. The cycles of life, of the planets and stars, mark our experiences, but time stands still in a forever present moment that is re-experienced over and over and over.

The theory that Darwin made famous; that every living creature adapts and evolves is so accepted that it is nigh near impossible to conceive of a past that is not somehow more backwards than our present day. Astrologers are far from immune to this notion and so they take up each “new” discovery in our skies as a sign that we, the collective, have evolved in our consciousness. This implies that in the past, the consciousness of the people was not as evolved and therefore was lower than that of people alive today.

Even a cursory knowledge of political, philosophical or even astrological history would disprove this notion. The wisdom of the past is awe inspiring when one makes friends with Saturn and takes the time and effort to explore it.

Traditional and Modern Astrology

The word traditional means to follow a tradition, which is defined as: “a) Passing of beliefs or customs from one generation to the next. b) Any long held method, practice…etc.…” [1]All forms of astrology practiced today fall into the definition of tradition, as all derive from the ideas and work of others who have come before.  The term “traditional astrology” has over the past 20 years or so, come to mean the astrology as it was practiced prior to the late 17th century, but this is not to say that modern astrology does not have its own tradition. However it is important to remember that there was a major break in the transmission of astrological knowledge which has resulted in the development of a very different type of astrology in the 20th century; this is the astrology we call modern.

Many modern ideas that have been incorporated into astrology are recent additions to a very ancient subject that have little connection to its past tradition. With the recent availability of modern translations of the older texts, we are experiencing a resurgence of interest in traditional astrology, which has reinvigorated the field but also highlighted some divisions within the rarefied world of astrology today.

Horoscopic astrology as it was practiced prior to 1700 encompasses roughly 2000 years of tradition:[2] and it includes the astrology as practiced by Vettius Valens, Ptolemy, Masha’Allah, Guido Bonatti through to William Lilly and his contemporaries. Over this time astrology was refined; certain techniques were developed, the application and emphasis on astrological doctrines shifted and changed to reflect the cultural, philosophical, religious and political developments of the times and location.

There are differences between the astrology that William Lilly practiced and that of Vettius Valens, however they are founded on the same basic fundamentals and are more similar than is the astrology of William Lilly to that practiced by the majority of 21st century western astrologers. The historical circumstances that led to this situation is one that needs to be understood if astrologers are to reconcile the rich legacy they have inherited to the art that they practice today.

Part 2

[1]Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, fourth edition (Oxford University Press, Walton Street, Oxford 1989)

[2]There was a long tradition prior to circa 400 BCE of omen based astrology, but astrology that uses a horoscope or chart with a calculated Ascendant did not appear until about 400 BCE


Focusing the Chart Using Yearly Profections

Have you ever wondered why some transits come and pass with seeming little impact on the life of the individual, even though they looked pretty powerful? Have you or one of your clients ever experienced a huge life changing event and yet there is nothing obvious happening in the chart that could be attributed to it?

The main technics that modern astrology has at its disposal for advancing the chart through time are transits and progression. Traditional astrology uses techniques that identify planetary periods and time lords. This is one of the principle differences between modern astrology and traditional (being pre-18th century) astrology. A time lord refers to a planet which has governorship over a period of time in a person’s life. When a planet takes over the role of time lord whatever it rules in the chart will come into focus; its condition and position in the natal chart will dictate how easy or difficult the period is likely to be.

Anything that happens to the planet that is the Lord of the time period will come to the forefront and be more likely to manifest in the life. Transits to or by this planet will be active and produce impressive events in the life, while transit to other or by other planets during the same period may feel like duds; nothing of any significance happens. It is as if the planet that is the time lord is switched on and lights up a particular part of the chart and therefore a sphere in the life. There are also times when a second planet may also be “switched on” and it will act as co-time lord.

This can be very helpful to the astrologer who is now better able to tell which of the many transits coming are likely to actually produce some activity and which can in all probability be dismissed.

There are many different planetary period outlined in the tradition; some cover periods of many years of an individual’s life and others that cover a much shorter period. One of the oldest and simplest time lord techniques that come to us from the tradition is yearly profections. Simply speaking the chart is moved or profected one whole sign per year. {This technique works best and is easier if using whole sign house system to identify areas of the life.} The ruler of the new profected Ascendant takes the role of time lord for that year. If there is a planet or planets in the sign of the new profected ascendant they will also be activated for the year.

Having the knowledge of which planet is the profected Lord of the year also helps to focus the solar return chart; for the position and state of this planet in the solar return chart provides more information.

An example of how this might work:

The native turned 51 years old in 2011, this is a 4th place profected year. We move everything in her chart by 4 full signs; her 4 degree Capricorn ascendant profects to 4 Aries, a sign ruled by Mars. Mars therefore becomes the Lord of the year from her birthday 2011 to her birthday 2012. Since she also has her natal Moon very close to the degree of the profected Ascendant, the Moon will also take on an important role during that year.

The 4th house themes are home and family and also cover literally, the physical home we live in. Her Moon being right on the IC point brings in the themes of the 7th house which she rules; therefore relationship and partners. Natal Moon reinforces this theme by being opposite natal Venus; the universal significator of relationship and partners. In her natal chart Mars also rules the 11th house; the house of friends, colleagues and our “hopes and wishes”. Note as well that the profected 7th house cusp lands on natal Venus at 4 degrees Libra, and profected Venus comes to the natal ASC at 4 degrees Capricorn, emphasis on relationship coming from many directions through the profections of the year.

Mary natal

 We would expect that all these themes: home, relationship and her “hope and wishes” will be brought to the forefront during this year. And they were. The native wanted to sell her existing house and buy a bigger place, one that was more modern and to her taste; her “hopes and wishes”. She had been living with her partner for just under 2 years and there were problems in the relationship that made her want to live alone again, though she was emotionally torn.

We can see by the state of her Moon that relationship generally would be a challenge for her. Moon in Aries means she has a strong emotional need for freedom;  Mars which rules it, has little dignity and is in the frustrating position of being weak in the cadent 6th house, squaring his dispositor Mercury, (universal significator of communication). He is also opposite Jupiter the natal ruler of her 3rd and 12th houses. Relationships would bring up this frustrated Mars and the difficulty she has in communicating without getting emotional or argumentative. As Mars is in the 6th house the stresses of all this are likely to impact on her health.

Using the yearly profections it is fairly easy to see that she is going to experience a difficult year, as well as a pivotal year, for both the home front and the relationship represent fundamental areas of life.

Her Solar return for the year 2011:

Mary SR

The solar return chart can be thought of as frozen transits for the year. Her solar return for the year 2011 strongly reinforces the themes brought up by the 2011 profections. This is not always the case, but being so tells us what an important and charged year this is for the native.

Lord of the Year, Mars and Moon are opposite on the ascendant and descendant angles. Both are in pretty bad shape essentially; Mars is in sign of its fall and the Moon is in her detriment. The Moon is also conjunct natal Saturn at 11 Capricorn and squaring the SR Saturn at 15 Libra. Bringing a Saturnian theme and further emphasizing the difficult nature to the year. The IC point of the SR chart is conjunct her natal Moon and there we find Uranus.

Because Mars is so powerfully placed on the 7th cusp, we know that the native will have the ability to take the action necessary, as difficult as it might be. Mars is about cutting or severing. Uranus is strongly placed on the IC of this chart indicating a change on the home front, but as it is also transiting the natal Moon, who rules the natal 7th it highlights the relationship sector as well. Uranus is associated with divorce and relationship breakups. In fact she did with great difficulty and emotional stress sell her house, break up her relationship with the partner and move into her new home alone.

One of the problems in the relationship had to do with money. She had worked hard to own her own home and was about to upgrade. Her partner had no assets of his own and she feared that he would be able to claim some of hers if they continued living together. She did not want to risk her fortune on a relationship that had problems (they argued an awful lot), even though she did not really want to break off the relationship totally as she enjoyed the companionship. Lord of the Year Mars in the Solar return chart is on the degree of her part of fortune, symbolically an interesting placement.

The year was immensely stressful for her and she developed a serious problem with her digestion, which weakened her physically as she was unable to eat very much. The South node in the solar return chart is on the 6th cusp and conjunct her natal Mars. As Mars is the Lord of the year, ruler of the profected ascendant, he governs her body and the south node is draining her vital energy.

Pluto is making a transit to her natal ASC which tells of major changes to her life, but the profections really focus us on which areas of the life those change are going to manifest. There is always so much that can be seen in a chart, but having a method with which you can focus on which area will come to the forefront makes it far easier to interpret what is likely to happen in the life.

Published in: on August 11, 2013 at 3:43 pm  Comments (5)  

Using traditional techniques is it possible to find “evil” in the natal chart?

EVIL  • adjective 1 deeply immoral and malevolent. 2 embodying or associated with the devil. 3 extremely unpleasant: an evil smell.  • noun 1 extreme wickedness and depravity, especially when regarded as a supernatural force. 2 something harmful or undesirable.

In religion and ethics, evil refers to the “bad” aspects of the behaviour and reasoning of human being – those which are deliberately void of conscience, and show a wanton desire for destruction. The opposite of goodness, which itself refers to aspects which are life-affirming, peaceful, and constructive.

Can evil be seen in a chart? Do certain individuals choose to be evil or are they fated to be so? And do their charts reflect this? And are we fated to live out what is in our chart? These questions are all loaded and profoundly disturb many in our profession.

In this day, when even the ancient descriptions of planets as benefic and malefic elicits fundamental discomfort in contemporary astrologers, it is no longer regarded as correct to think in these terms.  The idea that a planet or person could be inherently bad goes against our accepted standard of judgment. Deviation from acceptable behavior is seen as an understandable reaction to the emotional and psychological experiences that have traumatized or otherwise wounded individuals.

Ironically as we move away from judging an individual as evil we continue to embrace the idea that evil exists in the world. As illustrated by our “war on terror” and our fear of the “terrorist threat”. The concept of evil has always been present but we have confused the doing of evil with being evil.

When our ancestors spoke of a planet bestowing malevolent or benefic influence in a horoscope, we tend to imagine this as being a very cut and dry affair: bad planet cause bad things, good planet, cause good thing. The reality is far richer and more subtle then it appears at first glance.

In the traditional cosmos the so called malevolent planets were Mars and Saturn. At their best both are a necessary and positive force in the chart, allowing us to take righteous action, be responsible and build strong foundations. It is only when they are afflicted that their influence becomes a negative or destructive one.

A planet is at its best when in dignity, in a strong placement and even better with strong reception. A debilitated planet has a really hard time expressing its true nature; they become an exaggerated version of themselves. Mars doesn’t just take action he kills all who stand in his way. Saturn doesn’t just take responsibility he becomes tyrannical. The other planets can also cause trouble when in a debilitated condition, but their affect is unlikely to be thought of as evil.

Whether fate is pre-destined or created by the native’s choices is a tricky one.  The modern paradigm places more emphasis on the free will and choice of the individual then was the case in the past. In previous generations the individual had their place within the social hierarchy and few had any choice about it. Even those at the top of this hierarchy had limited choices. Overseeing all, there was God.

Now we speak of the higher self rather then God. We have become uncomfortable with the concept of a Supreme Being overseeing us all, choosing for us, and allocating our fate. The concept of the “higher self” individualises us, if not in fact certainly in title and allows us the illusion of more power to choose.

Regardless of our modern belief in the power or importance of the individual, fate can not be denied; it is what is bestowed on us. We are born into a certain era or time, a particular body, gender, to a particular set of parents, within a family, culture and nation. We do not consciously choose this, we are given this. This is fate. Our free will to choose is confined to our given fate.

The essential nature of man is both corporeal and spiritual; the integration of the two brings us closer to our essential nature. We can choose to align ourselves with our essential nature or to oppose it. The chart reflects the difficulties an individual may encounter making that choice. The more dignified planets there are in our chart the easier the choice, because the more dignity a planet has the closer to its own essential nature it is.

Essential nature is by definition good. It signifies the most balanced state of being.  Essential nature is aligned with the divine or God, however we define that word. In nature a daisy will grow into the best daisy specimen possible within the environment it is given. It can not do otherwise or choose to grow into a rose. Because nothing in the natural world can stray from its essential nature, there is no evil there. A volcano may cause devastation, yet cruel as this may seem, it is nothing more then the restoration of balance. Nature has no will to choose.

But the human being has free will to choose and can turn away from his essential nature. He must come to know and accept who he is, what he has been given, understand his purpose in the scheme of things and fulfill it.  The further away from his essential nature he moves the more he encounters evil or in the words of our fore bearers; malevolence.

The principle thing that pushes man away from his essential good nature is his desires; desire that stem from his corporeal existence. His desire to possess more then what he has been given, to be more then he is and to fulfill a purpose not of his own.  In modern jargon these corresponds to the ego and remember that the ego is never satisfied.

The Lord of the Ascendant, Pilot of the Soul and Significator of the Quality of the Mind

Using traditional astrological methods we can see in the natal chart how easy or not it will be for an individual to stay aligned with his true nature and how strong the pull of his desires will be. By identifying three planets: the Lord of the Ascendant, the Pilot of the Soul and the significator of the Quality of the Mind, we have the information needed to judge how likely one is to move towards or away from his/her essential nature.

Using the table of essential dignities we can identify the overall ruler or almutent of a particular degree of the zodiac by adding up the amount of dignities the seven classical planets (Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon) have at that degree.  We do not give the modern planets (Uranus, Neptune, Pluto) rulership.

Giving the planet in rulership 5 points, in exaltation 4 points, in triplicity 3 points, in term 2 points and in face 1 point, we simply add up the points for each planet to find the one with the most essential dignity at a particular degree or degrees. It is important to note whether it is a day or night chart and use the appropriate triplicity ruler.

Using this method we can identify the Lord of the Ascendant as the planet that has the most dignity at the ASC degree, in other words the almutent of the ASC. Often this is the planet ruling the ASC but not always. As the ruler of our ASC this planet is most concerned with our corporeal life which is often the driving force in our life. In modern jargon we could say it signifies our ego.

The Pilot of the Soul, is the planet in the chart with the most essential dignity overall. As well this planet must be placed in a position of strength, in other words a strong house, from which they can act.  Ideally it would also be free of accidental debility such as retrograde or combustion. All angular houses were considered strong with the 1st and the 10th seen as the strongest, the 4th and 7th less so, followed by the 5th and 11th houses, then the 9th, 3rd, 2nd houses finally the 8th, 6th and 12th as the houses of death, illness and self undoing respectively, were seen as the most unfortunate places from which action could not be initiated.

So, a planet in rulership, say Sun in Leo, but placed in the 12th house would not be as ideal as a planet with only triplicity but in the 10th house, like Saturn in Gemini. The Sun is imprisoned and can not act from the 12th house no matter how strongly dignified he is, whereas Saturn with less essential dignity has more opportunity to act because he is in a position of power.

Ideally, the Pilot of the Soul is the planet in charge; this is the planet that could set us back on the right path if we get sidetracked. This is the planet most closely aligned to our spiritual life, most connected with the Divine source. This is the planet we should endeavor to engage and make friends with, for it is most likely to raise us above our corporeal fate.

Finally we find the significator of the quality of the mind by finding the planet with the most essential dignity at the degree of the Moon, Mercury and ASC.  Quality of the mind does not refer to intelligence or being clever, but rather as to how the mind is used.  It relates to conscience and the moral nature of the native. This planet represents how well their corporeal and spiritual aspects communicate and integrate. In other words, do they use their minds for good or evil?

The same planet may fulfill two or more functions, at other times more then one planet may qualify as significator. To understand this better let us look at some charts.



The chart of Adolf Hitler has been studied by just about every astrologer since 1933, redundant as it may seem this chart is still a great example to use. We know that this native’s life was responsible for events that could be described as evil. It is generally agreed that being responsible for the death of so many millions is horrific.  But was he inherently bad? Was the road to evil imposed or chosen by him? Could he have made different choices?

Looking at Hitler’s chart we find that the Lordof the Ascendant is Saturn 13 Leo in the 10th house, because it has both exaltation and triplicity dignity over the ASC degree of at 21 Libra giving him a score of 7 points to Venus 5 point for rulership, Mars 2 point for term and Jupiter sole point for face.

Using the same method for the degrees of the Moon 6 Capricorn and Mercury 25 Aries, as well as ASC we find the significator of quality of his mind turns out to be Mars 16 Aries with 13 points, closely followed by Saturn 13 Leo with 12 points.  These two planets would function very much as a team especially as they are aspecting each other by square as well as by a very tight, almost to the minute antiscia* conjunction. This antiscia allows these two planets to function far more cooperatively then their stressful square aspect would indicate.

*Antiscia – From the Greek, meaning “opposite shadow”. A degree and its antiscia are equidistant from the summer-winter solstice axis (Cancer/Capricorn). Planets related by antiscia have the force of a conjunction.  Contra-antiscia (the opposition to the antiscia degree) has the force of an opposition.

Finally we must find the Pilot of the Soul. In this chart the search is difficult because Mars, Saturn and Moon are all in detriment, Sun and Mercury are peregrin which means they have no essential dignity whatsoever and Jupiter though he has face dignity is in his fall. Of the seven classical planets only Venus in Taurus has any dignity and she is retrograde, conjunct Mars as well as being very close to the 8th house cusp. Yet by default she wins the position of Pilot of the Soul. This would have been the ideal planet for Hitler to follow…But did he?

So we have:

Lord of the Ascendant                                  Saturn in Leo in the 10th house

Quality of the Mind Significator               Mars in Taurus in the 7th house with Saturn in Leo

Pilot of the Soul                                              Venus in Taurus in the 7th conjunct Mars

Lord of the Ascendant, Saturn in the 10th house, is debilitated in his sign of detriment, in other words far from his (Saturn’s) essential best nature. Saturn was seen as the great malefic by the ancients. Debilitated malefics function in extremes, their nature is amplified and exaggerated. This planet could bring great misfortune in ones life unless he was on his best behavior. At his best Saturn is patient, responsible, disciplined and holds a position of authority.

But in this chart he is not at his best, he is at his worst and yet he is positioned in the 10th house to act and act strongly. So he will act in a strongly malefic manner. Remember that as Lord of the Ascendant, Saturn represents Hitler’s corporeal desires and in the 10th he wants it be the boss, in Leo, he probably wants to be king. Saturn’s dispositor (and MC ruler), Sun is peregrin, he has no strength to give Saturn. Saturn receives Moon and Jupiter in Capricorn conjunct the south node. Moon in Capricorn is in detriment and would feel insecure. Jupiter is equally debilitated in his fall, though he has a bit of face dignity this is more to do with fear then an actual strength*.  Both being with the south node only adds to their debility. All this would give Saturn more justification to take control and not let go (Leo fixed).

* “The Faces supply some intriguing leads about those areas where the individual has fear or problems. The point is that most people don’t like fear and would rather cloak fear with hatred”.  From Lee Lehman “Essential Dignities” page 136

The significator of the quality of the mind is Mars working closely with Saturn. Here we find Mars equally debilitated in detriment squaring his ally Saturn.  One of the main meanings of the quality of the mind is conscience, knowing that an action is right or wrong because we are conscious of more then just our individual (ego) desires or needs.  We have already seen Mars’s connection with Saturn, but there is also a mutual reception by exaltation with the Moon. Both of these planets in detriment are receiving each other into their exaltation. They are exalting their detriment so to speak, not very reassuring.

Mars was also receiving Mercury into his rulership. Mercury being peregrine was easily enlisted to do Mars (and Saturn’s) bidding. Hitler was a great orator who was able to stir the emotions of the masses and lead them into war. (As an aside, Germany is said to be ruled by Mars and Aries. Hitler became Germany’s mouth piece.)

We find that Hitler’s quality mind was not going to tame or soften his Saturn’s drive for power and authority. On the contrary the two would work in tandem together and both bring with them the insecurity of the Moon and fear of Jupiter.

So far we have a dire situation, but was it absolutely necessary for Hitler to become what he became? The pilot of his soul may have helped him steer a different path. As Venus in Taurus we see fertility and creativity, but it is retrograde and conjunct Mars. The good nature of Venus is over shadowed by the strong malefic energy working together and feeding off the long term fears and insecurities (Moon, Jupiter conjunct South Node) that are present. The two malefics used the veneer of Venus to camouflage their indent, presenting a more benign face of Hitler to the world.

Remember that Hitler’s first aim in life was to be an artist and then an architect. Unfortunately he was rejected by the Vienna Academy of Art in 1907 and 1908 and didn’t have the educational qualifications to apply for study of architecture. We can only speculate how history may have turned out differently if he had been accepted by the Academy. So his Pilot of the Soul was not given a chance to take the drivers seat. Does this mean that Hitler was inherently bad or evil? I do not think so, but I would say that the odds were stacked up against him. He needed to overcome an awful lot to turn his life towards goodness.

Astrology is about time and we can not look at Hitler’s life or chart without regards to his time. Hitler’s fate was that of Germany’s. Looking at the chart of the man I would conclude that this was a man who was essential weak with little choice then to be carried by the forces of the times in which he lived.

Picking two events that seemed to have been pivotal in Hitler’s life; one mundane and one personal and, we may trace the growing dominance of Mars & Saturn’s influence in Hitler’s life.

Weimer Republic

In 1918 on November 9th the Weimer Republic came into being, shortly followed by the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. This perceived public humiliation of the German nation coincided with the period of Hitler’s Saturn return and marked a turning point in his life. This event planted the seed of his nationalistic and racial fervor that germinated into the Nazi Party and lead the world down the road to holocaust.

On that day the Sun 16 Scorpio was directly opposite Hitler’s Mars, Venus 16 Taurus and in contra-antiscia to his Saturn 13 Leo. The event chart’s North Node was at 13 Sagittarius, conjunct its MC and was on the antiscia degree of Hitler’s South Node 15 Capricorn, whilst The event charts Jupiter 15 Cancer was transiting Hitler’s own North Node at 15 cancer and his Moon 6 Capricorn was being opposed by the destructive and at that point unknown Pluto 6 Cancer. On a more personal front his progressed Moon 8 Aquarius was moving to oppose his Saturn 13 Leo.

The fate of his nation evidenced by this charts MC, Sun and North Node triggered the worst of Hitler’s horoscope promises: deeply malevolent Saturn and Mars in positions of extreme power, fed by the insecurity of his foundations (Moon, Jupiter and South Node).

Another incident that was very pivotal in the development of Hitler’s persona was the death by gun shot to the heart of his niece, Geli Raubal on Sept 19th 1931. Rumoured to have been his mistress, Geli and Hitler had an unusual relationship which in many ways played out the symbolic configuration of his Mars conjunct Venus in Taurus in the 7th house square Saturn. Hitler, twenty years her senior, found happiness with Geli, her presence subdued and relaxed him and yet he was totally controlling and fanatically jealous of her. There were questions as to whether Hitler was in any way involved in her death. The rumours and innuendos were never proved, but her death was to have a profound effect on Hitler.  He became suicidal and never regained the public joy he had exhibited in Geli’s presence.

On the day of this event we see Saturn was 16 degrees Capricorn trining Hitler’s natal Mars, Venus and conjunct his South Node while transiting Jupiter at 13 degrees Leo was right on his Saturn. Mars, ruler of his 7th house was transiting his 1st house, at 1 degree Scorpio applying to square his MC (5 Leo) and oppose his natal Mars, Venus conjunction. His progressed Moon sextiled his Mars, Venus and was conjunct his North Node and on its way to conjunct his MC on the day he took the control of the newly formed Third Reich (January 30, 1933).

Again we see both Hitler’s highly malefic planets; Saturn and Mars being triggered by this event. It is said that after Geli’s death Hitler threw himself ever more into his public life. Having enough influence to ensure that his involvement surrounding the suspicious circumstances of her death never came to light, must have been further evidence of his invincibility.  The ambition of his Lord of the Ascendant, Saturn coupled with the ruthless and destructive Mars, devoid of the balancing force of Venus (possibly symbolized by Geli herself, her death being the final death of Hitler’s Venus) allowed the evil that was festering below the surface to be given full expression.

We can not judge a chart in a vacuum. Hitler’ fate was linked to the circumstances of his era, culture, nation and birth. Hitler did not act alone in perpetrating the evil that was the Third Reich. Yet as the figure head for this movement he became the focal point of its manifestation. Was Hitler an evil man? The answer is that he was a weak man who through fateful circumstances yielded a huge amount of worldly power (symbolized by his celestially weak planets in terrestrially strong placement). What could have been done with this power need not have been so destructive, but it takes a strong individual to resist the allure of the ego.

In the words of the 13th century Saint Thomas Aquinas “The stars may incline, but do not compel.”  Yet even Thomas Aquinas conceded that only when a man’s soul was in communion with God was his will freed from the bondage of his corporal nature – with his physical body and its appetites, needs and desires. The stars may only incline, but your spirit needs to be in touch with a higher power to resist their inclination. Clearly this was not the case with the individual Adolf Hitler.

Bibliography and References:

J Lee Lehman, Ph.D. “Essential Dignities” Whitford Press 1989 page 136

Benson Bobrick “The Fated Sky: Astrology in History” Simon & Schuster 2005

Thomas Moore “The Planets Within, the Astrological Psychology of Marsilio Ficino” Lindisfarne Books 1982

Ian Kershaw “Hitler: 1936-45 Nemesis” Penguin Books 2000

Frawley, John “The Real Astrology” Apprentice Books 2000

Frawley, John “The Real Astrology Applied” Apprentice Books 2002

Holden, James H. “Abu’Ali Al-Khayyat The Judgement of Nativities” AFA 1988


Adolf Hitler: April 20 1889 NS, 6:30 pm (-0:52:08) Braunau am Inn, Austria (48N15 013E02) Rating AA

Germany Weimar Republic: November 9, 1918 1:30 PM CET Berlin, Germany from Nick Campion “The Book of World Horoscopes”

Geli Raubal’s death: Sept 19, 1931 CET -1:00 Munich, Germany. Date from public records, no time, chart set for 12:00 pm

Published in: on October 1, 2012 at 6:07 pm  Comments (1)