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


Links to interesting astrological sites and blogs

These are some astrological sites and blogs that may be of interest to you. I will endeavor to add anything I find of interest.

One of the best websites about astrology in general, filled with great stuff is Deborah Houlding’s Skyscript

Ben Dykes site is a must for anyone interested in traditional astrology.

Chris Brennan has a great site with very interesting blog on mundane astrology.

The CIA site full of goodies

The astrological dictionary, compiled by Chris Brennan. A wonderful work in progress.

Published in: on October 1, 2012 at 6:04 pm  Leave a Comment  
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The Wrong Chart

Every astrologer has done this at some point in their career; given a really good reading to someone and then realized that the chart was wrong! It happened to me just the other day and I could of course blame Mercury for being combust and having turned retrograde (on my Uranus none the less), but maybe I should just admit that I was just careless. Now it wasn’t the birth data that I got wrong, but the consultation chart.

I have been using consultation charts for a long time now. I always set the chart for the time that the appointment is made. I have found that coupled with: solar return, profections, progressions and naturally the birth chart itself, the consultation chart is a mine-full of information.

So last week I set the consultation chart for a regular client; I knew about the issues and situation she had been dealing with in recent times.  Looking at the consultation chart I could see many connections between it and my client’s natal and solar return charts; including its IC and her solar return ASC being on the same degree and its ASC being my clients profected ASC for the year. I expect to see these types of connection between consultation charts and my client’s charts; this confirms the validity of the consultation chart to me.

In blissful ignorance I continued analyzing the chart. Scorpio was rising; its ruler Mars was in the 12th house in Libra, between Saturn and the Moon. Mars was in a separating trine with Jupiter, sextile with Mercury and moving towards a trine with Venus. Both Venus and Jupiter were in Gemini and the 8th house. In fact Mars was in a partile trine to the cusp of the 8th.

I knew that my client’s mother had died some 18 month earlier and that there were issues with her brothers relating to the inheritance, her assets and property. Mars being with Saturn Lord 3 (her brothers) and the Moon Lord 10 (her mother) and the emphasis on the 8th house, particularly as Jupiter was by profection, Lord of the year and exactly transiting  her natal IC, I concluded that the whole situation surrounding her brothers and her mother’s estate was foremost on her mind and that she was finding it difficult; having problems taking action or making a stand on the issue  as her significator, Mars was in detriment in the 12th house.

Sure enough that first thing out of my clients mouth when she arrived was about her trip back home and the dilemma she was having feeling caught between her brothers; whichever way she went would alienate one or the other, yet she felt that both were looking to her to resolve the situation. In  fact  she really didn’t want to deal or even think about the whole issue, but knew that she could not continue to ignore it.

The situation like all family disputes is complex and her brothers relationship is intense (Pluto is in the 3rd house). The appointment went very well as we explored many options related to her ability to figure out which approach to take. When she left I felt that it had been a very insightful and productive session, and then I looked at the consultation chart; it was not only the wrong date, but also the wrong time!

How could I do this? Yet the chart “worked” in guiding us to the core of her issue, through which she found a possible course of action for her to follow. This was to take a more “spiritual” approach which is suggested in the chart by the partile sextile between the Moon (ruler of the 9th) and the Sun in its own sign in the 10th.


Going back and setting the chart for the correct time, I could not see the situation nearly as clearly, though it could probably be extrapolated.  There are few connections between this “right” chart and my clients natal and/or solar return charts. Had I looked at this chart I would not  have been drawn to conclude that she was dealing with her family’s inheritance issues. However Mercury’s aspect to Jupiter and the 9th house cusp, as well as his conjunction to the Sun does point to my client’s conclusion of taking a more spiritual approach to her situation.

I am left with a sense of awe at the mystery of astrology! How can such specific information be drawn from a seemingly random chart?  There is obviously some force at work which is beyond our control and that “knows” best.

Easy Horary “Will I benefit from being involved in this project?”

I love horaries that are quick and easy to judge!

The querent is a young woman trying to establish herself as a stylist in a competitive field. Initially she asked me whether she; should be involved in a project she had committed to? After a bit of probing we came to understand that what she really wanted to know was whether there was any benefit for her in being involved. So the question became “Will I benefit from being involved in this project?”

The project was a fashion runway show for some young emmerging designers and included the shooting of a promotional video. There was no money involved, though it promised to be a creative and possibly good networking opportunity. As her focus of interest is photo and props styling, she was made responsible for all props. She was now having second thoughts about the project as she had a lot of paid work on and felt that it was going to take up far more time than she first had anticipated. She also had a sense that the woman in charge of the project had subtly manipulated her into getting involved and was very vague as to the time commitment it would involve.

The chart has Aquarius rising giving Saturn exalted in Libra as significator of the querent. Saturn is being sextiled by the Moon in Sagittarius who could also be taken as a significator for the querent. The project, being a creative project that falls into the category of entertainment, I gave to the 5th house and therefore was signified by Mercury in Leo in the 6th house. Mercury is disposited by the Sun in Cancer in the 5th house, which I took as the “Boss” of the project, the woman who was putting the project together and had asked my client to be involved.

Both Mercury and the Sun are in the signs of Saturn’s detriment. The answer was that clearly she would not benefit from this project and in fact it was likely to be to her detriment.  Mercury in the 6th implies that she will be worked like a slave and the Sun’s position in Cancer shows us how the Boss could manipulate the Moon, our querent to do whatever it wanted.

The promise that this would be a good opportunity to network and make contacts, was not going to happen as Mercury, the project was already separating from Jupiter, the ruler of the 11th house who signified these contacts. However, Saturn being in a partile sextile with the Moon on the cusp of the 11th house indicates that the querent is already making contacts.  A fact that she conceded.

“Where are my glasses?” Beware of Saturn in the 7th house.

Barbara Waters wrote in 1973 “Horary Astrology and the Judgement of Events” (page 14):  “Saturn in the 7th house, the astrologer’s judgement is clouded…the reason for his blindness hardly matters because his judgement is clouded and cannot be objective.”

This chart has  Saturn in the 7th house and I, the astrologer got it wrong.  I even jokingly told the querent after giving my erroneous judgement that: “since Saturn is in the 7th house I am probably wrong”.  On that point I was right. Looking back at the chart the answer seems obvious, however at the time “my judgement was clouded”.

“Where are my glasses?” (21 Jan 2012, 12:52 PM, Melbourne Australia)

The querent had a trade table at an astrological conference. While setting up she had misplaced her glasses which were a new pair of designer prescription glasses. I was speaking with the querent, a friend and fellow astrologer, joking around as one does at a conference surrounded by colleagues and associates. When she told me of her lost glasses I offered to find them with a horary.

Only having the querent’s computer at hand I set the chart, but when I first saw it, I was shocked to find a chart filled with a million aspect lines and various asteroids and other points. To me the chart looked a confusing mess and I said: “I can’t see anything!”… I asked to change the settings and finally “saw” a chart as I am use to; clean and simple with few lines.

She, the querent is signified by the ASC and its ruler Mars in Virgo (working at a marketing table at a conference), the glasses are signified by the  2nd house ruler, Venus in Pisces, exalted (being designer glasses), but this placement also indicated that they are not in a totally foreign place, but rather a place where they are being “honoured”. There were a number of indications that the glasses would be found: the Moon in Capricorn is making a trine to Jupiter a planet in the first house, both luminaries are above the horizon.

But the only thing I saw was that there was no aspect between, Venus and Mars or the Moon and Venus (or Mars). I also saw the peregrine Mercury was on the MC, and I concluded that someone had found them, picked them up and walked off with them.  Not a thief so much as an opportunist.

I could not get beyond the fact that the Moon would first hit Pluto before he could complete his sextile to Venus; which I interpreted as a prohibition.  (This chart adds to my growing understanding that the outer planets do not function in the same manner as the seven classical planets do).

The fact that the Moon was in a partile trine with Jupiter in the ASC and had just separated from a sextile with Saturn (after which it ingressed into a new sign) shows that the glasses were probably in the possession of someone in authority, as Jupiter rules the 9th (the conference was being held at a University) and Saturn rules the MC (also both Jupiter and Saturn tend to suggest a person with authority). The glasses were found at the front desk of the conference and the querent was reunited with them a couple days later.

As for the astrologer, she learnt a valuable lesson; never try to read a chart without giving it due reverence.

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.