New Moon in Aquarius, February 18, 2015

February 16, 2015 by  

New Moon at 29.59 Aquarius February 17, 2015

Vincent Van Gogh: Landscape with Couple Walking and Crescent Moon, 1890.

The New Moon of February 18 is the second new Moon in Aquarius this year. Two new moons in one sign are rare, as if two trees grow from one seed. February offers second chances in whatever area of one’s life is represented by Aquarius. Now is a time of return, underlined by the recent Mercury retrograde in Aquarius. Yet we cannot step in the same river twice, for other waters are ever flowing on to us, as said by Heraclitus. Even if it seems that we are doing something again, it really will be different this time. We are now poised at the edge of a metamorphosis disguised as a repetition.

The New Moon occurs in the term of Saturn, using the system of Egyptian terms. Given that the classical domicile ruler of Aquarius is also Saturn, this gives the New Moon a serious, Saturnian flavor, with a tinge of permanence. Aquarius and Saturn both embody long-lasting influences; Aquarius is a fixed sign, and Saturn is the most superior, and thus enduring, of all the planets. The fruits of our new phase will be with us for a long time. We are now putting down roots.

New Moon February 17, 2015, set for San Francisco, California

New Moon February 18, 2015, set for San Francisco, California

The need for change is felt keenly in the last ten degrees of Aquarius, and we desperately wish to just leave things behind. We are done. Austin Coppock’s book, 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans, summarizes the dissatisfaction of this decan as follows: “On a spiritual level, this face represents disenchantment with the fabric of everyday life and its petty terrors. It is divine discontent, the same that Siddhartha Gautama felt before he left his comfortable home.” (p 239) This New Moon is eager to leave the present and stride into the unknown future. At 29.59 degrees of Aquarius, we see the very last part of the transition. We may need to do some cleanup, but this New Moon definitively closes one door and opens another.

The New Moon will be especially potent if it is within 6 degrees of a planet, and to a lesser extent, an angle. Six degrees is the moiety (half-orb) of the Moon according to tradition. In this case, the lunation does not aspect other planets, so its character is essentially unimpacted by other planets.

Pushing Power: Astrology 101

February 9, 2015 by  

pushing power astrology - Psyche entering Cupid's Garden

Psyche Entering Cupid’s Garden – John William Waterhouse, 1905

Pushing power is a term found in many traditional texts. It is also called the gift of power, gift of virtue, and pushing strength. The principle is simple: a planet in one of its own dignities (planet A)  applies to aspect another planet B. It’s not very complicated, right? Planet A is pushing its own power, which comes from being in its dignity, to planet B. The gift of planet A’s power enables planet B to act.

So what does “pushing power” mean in a horoscope? In The Beginning of Wisdom, the 12th century rabbi/astrologer Abraham Ibn Ezra says “If the Lord of the Ascendant gave power to the Lord of the house of the matter sought, what is sought will be gotten according to his wishes…” (Introductions to Traditional Astrology, edited/trans. by Ben Dykes, Chapter III.16 “Pushing Power.”) Ibn Ezra is talking about pushing power in a horary context. We want planet A (the ruler of the Ascendant) to be essentially dignified, or at least not lacking in dignity, so that it is in a position to help itself as it aspects the ruler of the quesited house.

Example of Pushing Power in a Horary

In this horary, the Moon in its domicile is pushing its power to Venus, promising the desired outcome. How would you answer if the question was “will this debt get repaid?”

Moon pushing power to Venus

Horary: Moon pushing power to Venus

What if planet A, not planet B, is the ruler of the matter sought after (also known as the quesited in horary)? For instance, the ruler of the second house of money, in one or more of its essential dignities, applies to the ruler of the Ascendant. Ibn Ezra goes on to say about this possibility that obtaining the sought after thing “will be without labor.” This makes sense, since the quesited matter goes to the querent instead of the querent having to make an effort to get it.

Finally, consider this scenario: When planet B is retrograde, it can push power to planet A, assuming planet B is in its own dignities. In that scenario, we have both A and B pushing power to each other, each helping the sought after matter come to the querent.

Mercury sextile Saturn (again) February 5, 2015

February 3, 2015 by  

Mercury sextile Saturn, Couple in a Fantasy Costume by Ferdinand Bol

Couple in a Fantasy Costume by Ferdinand Bol, 17th c.

It is always a strange time when aspects get made, then re-made, then re-made once more. In January and February, Mercury retrograde in Aquarius sextiles Saturn in Sagittarius three times. The dates for Mercury sextile Saturn are, in Pacific Time, January 5 (Mercury direct), February 5 (Mercury retrograde), and February 19 (Mercury direct).

January 5: Mercury 1 Aquarius sextile Saturn 1 Sagittarius.
February 5: Mercury 3 Aquarius sextile Saturn 3 Sagittarius.
February 19: Mercury 4 Aquarius sextile Saturn 4 Sagittarius.

If either planet makes a close aspect to a planet or angle in your natal horoscope, you will have experienced their dynamic through January and into the first half of February.

Mercury sextile Saturn describes a process that began in early January and will complete in mid-February. Serious or practical communications, such as important documents, contracts, or negotiations will be important during this time. Research and moving house are possible. Mercury is retrograde in a fixed sign, so the process will go slowly and seem to drag on and on. Slowness is characteristic of fixed signs, retrograde motion, and Saturn. Mercury, ordinarily a fast planet, must be very frustrated. Mercury is in Aquarius for each of these sextile aspects to Saturn, so throughout the process Mercury is received by Saturn into Saturn’s domicile. Reception by a malefic helps ensure that the relationship is constructive, though not necessarily fun or easy.

Mercury sextile Saturn Rejection (the Opposite of Reception)

One more twist on this sextile is that Saturn is placed in Sagittarius, which is the detriment of Mercury (I thank the Starlight Knight blog for drawing my attention to this “rejection.”) The medieval astrologer Sahl bin Bishr describes this scenario. Applied to our Mercury sextile Saturn in Sagittarius: “It was as if [Saturn] came to [Mercury] from the house of [Mercury’s] greatest enemy, and [Mercury] will not receive [Saturn], does not come near it, nor esteem it.” (The Works of Sahl and Masha’allah, trans. Benjamin Dykes. The Introduction, Section 5.9, p. 32-34)

Mercury sextile Saturn describes a finely balanced negotiation, reflecting delicate, drawn-out operations and diplomatic maneuvers. One party (Mercury) has serious reservations about the relationship, but cannot let go (repeated sextile). The other party is quite welcoming (Saturn receiving Mercury), but the welcome is insufficient for Mercury to commit to the terms offered by Saturn. How will it end? Saturn is a superior planet, while Mercury is inferior. All things being equal, Saturn is more likely to get its way than Mercury.

Reception by Malefic Planets in Astrology

January 31, 2015 by  

Reception by Planets Astrology

Jesus Summons Matthew to Leave the Tax Office by Jan van Hermessen, 1536.

Reception by malefic planets in astrology is an often misunderstood concept, a lost treasure of bygone ages.  Until new translations arrived in recent years, planetary reception was locked away in old, arcane texts. Reception is worth mastering, as it can transform your horary judgments, casting light like the proverbial Philosopher’s Stone.

One use of reception is helping planets avoid the evil of malefic planets. Astrology today uses the concept of mutual reception, such as when two planets are in each other’s domicile. The reception we are discussing is one-way, just half of mutual reception. Understand: every planet is always in dignity of one or more planets, but it is only being received if it also aspects those planets. Put another way, by being in another’s sign, exaltation, or two minor dignities, a planet is being received by those who rule those dignities, provided the receiving and received planets are in aspect.

Here is where reception gets useful: when a planet is being received by malefic planets, astrology says that the malefic’s evil is abated. This works in horary as well as natal astrology. If you were born with Sun in Capricorn conjunct Saturn (you party animal), have no fear. The Sun is being received by Saturn into Saturn’s domicile, so you will be spared the worst of Saturn’s depredations. This would also hold true if we saw this combination in a horary; let’s say that you are the Sun, about to conjoin the job of your dreams in the form of Saturn. Saturn signifying the job might mean that the job is Saturnian and oppressive, but because the Sun is visiting Saturn in Saturn’s own home, it will not harm you and may even help. Because Saturn is in Capricorn, his own domicile, he is inclined to be on his best behavior.

Charlie Hebdo Shooting: No Reception by Malefic Planets

What happens when a malefic does not receive the planet it aspects? Things can go seriously bad. At the time of the Charlie Hebdo shooting in Paris, the Moon in Leo applied to remake the opposition of Mars in Aquarius and Jupiter in Leo. Jupiter and the Moon were not being received by Mars, who was free to do his worst.

Incidentally, this is why the conjunction of Mars and Saturn in Cancer, where both planets are badly placed, is especially destructive. Neither planet receives the other and the result is evil multiplied.

Reception by malefic planets astrology

Charlie Hebdo shooting horoscope. January 7, 2015, 11:30 CET, Paris, France.

Sahl writes:

“…if a good planet were in the house of a bad one (or in its exaltation), [the bad one] receives [the good one] and restrains its own malice from it…” (Judgment 2, Sahl Bin Bishr. The Fifty Judgments, trans. Benjamin Dykes., Appendix A of The Book of the Nine Judges, Cazimi Press, 2011)

Aspects of Malefic Planets in Astrology

Sahl then goes on to say that a trine and sextile to a malefic planet works the same way as reception, in that a soft aspect abates the malefic’s trouble. However, Dr. Experience, as Culpepper liked to call her, disagrees. An easy aspect (and a conjunction) to a malefic might just indicate that its evil happens with ease; without reception, a soft aspect to a malefic planet does not necessarily help and can hurt.

A planet received by malefic planets is more protected. An example is Moon in Aries square Mars. Normally, Moon square Mars can contribute to an incendiary personality and health difficulties. Because the Moon is in Aries, she is received by Mars into his domicile and therefore she is protected from his worst manifestations. The native is still feisty, but an outburst of temper will not ruin his life.

In a few days, we will see Mercury retrograde form a harmonious sextile aspect to Saturn. Mercury is in Aquarius, so it will be received by Saturn, who is the domicile ruler of Aquarius. This helps ensure that their combination is favorable. Now, there are potential issues with Saturn being in Sagittarius, the detriment of Mercury, but that is a different subject for another day, covered nicely by the Starlight Knight blog for those interested in the dark corners of reception.

Venus square Saturn January 30, 2015

January 28, 2015 by  

 

Venus square Saturn Apparition of the Visage of Aphrodite by Salvador Dali

Apparition of the Visage of Aphrodite of Cnidos in a Landscape by Salvador Dali

Venus squares Saturn in Sagittarius on January 30, with both planets at 3 degrees of their respective signs. Venus in Pisces is not received by Saturn, making their connection difficult. If she had been received by Saturn, it would have mitigated his malefic nature and spared Venus some of the less pleasant interactions with the Great Malefic.

Wherever Venus in Pisces graces your horoscope, she encounters Saturn’s limitations three signs away. Pisces is a sign of the boundless sea. Its deity is Okeanos, the eternal, ever-fertile ocean which encircles the earth. Saturn, too, rules the sea: undrinkable, destructive, life-denying. Venus desires pleasure in the transcendence of limitations, while Saturn is the “pass-not” Pillars of Hercules. William Lilly writes that Venus and Saturn are natural enemies, because Saturn is the natural enemy of pleasure. That troubled relationship becomes evident at the time of Venus square Saturn, as the square is an aspect of tension.

Difficulties, disappointments, and sordid elements of pleasure arise at this time. That which we expected to bring love and enjoyment will instead bring restriction and sorrow. Beautiful dreams are hatched only to be shattered. Dream bubbles have a fated encounter with hard reality.

Below are a few ways in which Venus square Saturn can manifest. If either planet makes a close aspect to a planet or angle in your horoscope, the likelihood of Venus and Saturn acting in your life increases.

Venus Square Saturn in Your Horoscope

Venus in the first, Saturn in the tenth: Venus now lends seductive glamours; Saturn says: “Leave it and go to work!”
Venus in the second, Saturn in the eleventh: Money comes easily now but remember your friends.
Venus in the third, Saturn in the twelfth: Speak gorgeous words of temptation if you must but do not believe them yourself.
Venus in the fourth, Saturn in the first: Your home is an undersea grotto full of beauty and magic. Don’t forget your oxygen tank.
Venus in the fifth, Saturn in the second: You dream of romance, pleasure, and even children, but can you pay when the bill arrives?
Venus in the sixth, Saturn in the third: Work on improving health but avoid dark thoughts that drag you down.
Venus in the seventh, Saturn in the fourth: Good for romance; start thinking about living arrangements.
Venus in the eighth, Saturn in the fifth: Loans come through, debts are paid, but kids and real estate require funds.
Venus in the ninth, Saturn in the sixth: Travel and learn for pleasure, but watch your health.
Venus in the tenth, Saturn in the seventh: Work and pleasure blend more than usual; does your significant other know?
Venus in the eleventh, Saturn in the eighth: Fun with friends but debts or short funds put a damper on enjoyment right now.
Venus in the twelfth, Saturn in the ninth: Release from a long imprisonment possible now, but don’t necessarily expect enlightenment or justice.

Astrology 101: Voiced, Semi-Voiced, and Mute Signs of the Zodiac

April 5, 2014 by  

Fish Mosaic in Pompeii

Fish Mosaic in Pompeii

I have spent a lot of time digging through traditional astrology texts, and have come across a division of the three groups of voiced, semi-voiced (or half-voiced), and mute signs of the zodiac. It turns out that dividing the signs into these three groups is quite ancient and comes from the Greeks. There is a very good reason why one sign would be mute rather than voiced, and we’ll discuss it. Over time, the classifications have grown muddled in telling and re-telling, and every author can have their own version of this scheme.

The voice sign divisions are quite useful in two contexts:

Horary Astrology: In questions dealing with sound, singing, speech, and communication, seeing significators in a voiced versus a mute sign can indicate the answer itself. If someone is asking “should I go into voice acting?” and his significator is in a mute sign, that would be one testimony for “no.”

Natal Astrology: Prevalence of one type of sign over another can indicate the native’s speaking style and voice. As an example, traditionally, Mercury in a mute sign with a hard aspect to Saturn can indicate speech problems for the native.

As an example, here is Abu Ma’shar’s list of voiced, semi-voiced, and mute signs of the zodiac from the Abbreviation of the Introduction to Astrology, written in the 9th century AD:

Voiced signs: Gemini, Virgo, Libra
Semi-Voiced signs: Aries, Taurus, Leo, Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius
Mute signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Most authors assign the water signs to being mute, since a crab, scorpion, and fish theoretically make no sound (actually, this is not true. The fish in the pond outside my window definitely make themselves heard when they want to be fed; they come up to the surface and blow really hard right at the water line to create a loud sputtering noise.).

Here is where this division of signs really comes from: Dionysius of Thrace (2nd century BC) wrote a work called the Ars Grammatica, which separated the Greek alphabet of 24 letters into seven vowels and 17 consonants. The 17 consonants were then subdivided into eight semi-vowels and nine voiceless consonants. Now, you have to understand that the ancient Greeks were busily
assigning meanings, zodiac signs, letters, divine, and angel names to the letters of their alphabet for centuries before Dionysius wrote his work. This is not to suggest there was total agreement on these assignments, and surely systems varied among authors and in popular usage. However, Dionysius’ work represents the first assignment of zodiac signs to certain kinds of sounds.

Following popular attributions of signs to sounds, Dionysius assigned 12 of the letters to zodiacal signs, so you can probably see where this is
going:

Voiced vowels led to the full-voiced signs: Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Virgo, Aquarius
Semi-vowels resulted in semi-voiced signs: Leo, Sagittarius, Capricorn
Mute/voiceless consonants resulted in the mute signs: Cancer, Libra, Scorpio, Pisces

Compare this with the list from Abu Ma’shar, writing about a thousand years after Dionysius; one can see there have been a number of changes and most likely Abu Ma’shar and his sources did not understand reasons for the original assignment of the signs to sounds.

Much of the Greek material in this article came from the excellent book The Greek Qabalah: Alphabetic Mysticism and Numerology in the Ancient World, by Kieren Barry, published by Samuel Weiser, Inc., 1999.

Astrology 101: Saturn in the 10th House As Bad As All That?

April 2, 2014 by  

Carl XV of Sweden portrait

Carl XV of Sweden

As readers of the Gryphon Astrology blog know, I am a fan of evidence-based astrology. So many of both traditional and modern texts are full of speculation or anecdotal information presented as fact. As the Buddha teaches: “Don’t go by reports, by legends, by traditions, by scriptures, by logical conjecture, by inference, by analogies, by agreement through pondering views, by probability…” In this spirit (though perhaps using some inferences), I am doing a series of mini-investigations of astrological truisms to see whether it really is true. [In a moment of delicious irony, I am writing this article in a coffee shop  that often hosts religious speakers exhorting the local youth to believe and have faith!]

Here are some basic ground rules for our study, this time and always. We will:

  • Use birth times that are not on the hour or half hour, because they smack of inaccuracy
  • Use birth times with a AA Rodden rating
  • Use major (Ptolemaic) aspects, the seven visible planets, and traditional planetary dignities
  • Use charts of people who are older or deceased to more clearly judge the entire arc of life  [I remember getting criticized for this by a luminary of the astrological world during my tender years.]
  • Use charts where Saturn is in the same sign as the MC, to avoid issues around whole vs. unequal houses
  • Examine a manageable number of charts, around ten. A small sample, but instructive
  • Use charts that are more or less randomly chosen so long as they meet our other criteria (this is why most of the names are close to each other in the alphabet)
  • Attempt to find, if possible, a conclusion that we can use in our astrological practice

Hypothesis:

Most astrologers accept as fact that Saturn, the Greater Malefic, located in the natal 10th house of fame, status, and career indicates a problematic career, infamy, or a public fall from grace. We will attempt to determine whether this is in fact the case, whether there are exceptions to this rule, and if so, when do exceptions occur.

Our Sample Horoscopes:

Paul Newman, the very popular actor, untainted by scandal, who enjoyed tremendous, life-long popularity and recognition.
Saturn at 13 Scorpio near the MC, sextile Mercury, sextile Venus, and sextile the Ascendant.

John Bradshaw, well-known counselor, speaker, best-selling author. Studied for priesthood but quit due to his problems with addiction.
Saturn at 15 Aquarius retrograde, conjunct MC. No major planetary aspects.

Tycho Brahe, the wealthy and successful astronomer, famous for his death from a burst bladder following a party.
Saturn at 27 Sagittarius, square Moon in Virgo.

Charles I of Austria, last emperor of the Austro-Hungarian empire, who attempted to regain his throne three times after WWI, and was exiled.
Saturn at 29 Cancer conjunct Mars

David Vernon Cox, a US Marine charged but then acquitted of the severe beating of another soldier. Found dead in lake with multiple gunshots. Subject of film “A Few Good Men.”
Saturn at 23 Pisces, trine Mercury, opposite Mars

Fernando Cardoso, popular president of Brazil and the only one re-elected to a second term, public intellectual.
Saturn at 22 Capricorn, opposite Moon, opposite Jupiter.

Carl XV of Sweden, who saw royal power greatly reduced during his reign in favor of the Rikstag but served out his reign.  Died in his 40s.
Saturn at 19 Gemini square Ascendant.

Barbara Cartland, extremely prolific, bestselling society novelist, who lived into her 90s.
Saturn at 13 Capricorn retrograde opposite the Sun, conjunct Jupiter.

Jerry Casale, founding member of the punk group Devo.
Saturn at 23 Leo, trine Moon, trine Jupiter.

Findings:

1. Saturn in the 10th house dignified by sign.

When placed in the 10th, Saturn in its own sign (Aquarius or Capricorn) is extremely helpful and its strength can mitigate even difficult aspects (Barbara Cartland’s Saturn opposite Sun; oppositions to the Sun are considered malefic). Similarly, planets seem less afflicted by hard aspects to a well-dignified Saturn (Fernando Cardoso’s Saturn opposite Moon and opposite Jupiter). John Bradshaw’s Saturn in Aquarius worked out well for him, though it was retrograde, suggesting a period of “going backwards” in his achievements, perhaps his ongoing struggle with alcoholism. Carl XV’s Saturn in its triplicity belongs here, as he was born during the day. Saturn in Gemini is moderately dignified and was strong enough to keep him on the throne, though in a much reduced capacity.  Also, he died an untimely death, so the lack of support to even a decently-dignified Saturn showed up eventually.

2. Saturn in the 10th house in minor dignity, or without any dignity or debility.

When placed in the 10th, Saturn in minor dignity or without dignity or debility, is strongly influenced by aspects to other planets. Hard aspects to the other malefic, Mars, are deeply problematic. See David Vernon Cox, Saturn opposite Mars. On the positive side, see Paul Newman’s Saturn in Scorpio, helped out by its sextile aspects to Venus, Mercury, and the Ascendant. Tycho Brahe’s Saturn in Sagittarius square the Moon did not seem to afflict his life so much as his infamously strange and painful death (Moon in Virgo in the 7th house rules the bladder).

3. Saturn in the 10th house, debilitated by sign

When Saturn is in detriment (or presumably fall, though none of our examples has him in Aries), he can be problematic unless rescued by good aspects to benefic planets. For example, see Charles I, who did not give up royal power gracefully, leading him to die in exile where he was sent after his third restoration attempt. Saturn was conjunct Mars in his natal horoscope and not making any good aspects to any other planets. Howevever, look at Jerry Casale, whose Saturn in Leo trines the Moon and Jupiter. Hence his great success wearing yellow plastic suits and plastic flowerpot hats! Nonetheless, in an interview, when asked whether Devo has achieved its goals, he answered: “Mildly.” Casale gave the strong impression that he felt the group could have gone further than it actually had. Saturn is within 5-6 degrees of Regulus, perhaps further mitigating the planet’s essential weakness, but not mitigating Saturn’s malefic nature entirely.

Conclusion:

As is often the case, the truism of “Saturn in the 10th = disaster” is only partly right.  It is only the case if Saturn lacks dignity and receives no easy aspects from benefic planets.  If you have Saturn dignified in the 10th house with no bad aspects, you can probably relax.

Lessons in Horary Astrology: Lesson 2 – Planets: Your Tools

July 8, 2012 by  

When I was learning horary, I wish that someone had explained to me the basics of planetary motion and average speed.   The reason that this is important is that horary is 90% about planetary motion.  Think about that for a moment.  Our world down here is constantly changing; the way that this is symbolized in the sky is by the ever-changing state of the planets.  Knowing where the planets are going and where they have been is key to producing accurate judgments.

Pop quiz: Let’s say that I want to know whether I will get that job I interviewed for last week.  Eager to find out whether I get the job, I cast a horary. In our chart, I am represented by the Moon, while the job is represented by Mars.  We want to see a connection between the Moon and Mars to indicate that I get the job.  Our horary shows the Moon at 10 degrees Taurus trine Mars at 8 degrees Virgo.  All other things being equal, do I get the job?

No, I don’t.  Why not?  The Moon is separating from Mars, showing the job and I are leaving each other, rather than getting closer.  Now, if you know average planetary speeds, you know that the Moon’s speed is many times higher than that of Mars, and the Moon must therefore have overtaken Mars, rather than vice versa.  The Moon moves 12 degrees per day on average, while Mars moves about only about 1/2 of a degree per day.  The Moon has already left Mars behind.

To really be a hit at parties, commit this table to memory:

Average Daily Motions of the Planets, from fastest to slowest***

Moon: 13 deg 10 mins

Mercury: 0 deg 59 mins

Venus: 0 deg 59 mins

Sun: 0 deg 59 mins

Mars: 0 deg 31 mins

Jupiter: 0 deg 05 mins

Saturn: 0 deg 02 mins

***Important caveat: the planets are rarely moving at average speeds, so always check your ephemeris/software.  For example, today, July 7th, 2012, the planets’ speeds are as follows:

Moon: 13 deg 14 mins per day, Mercury: 0 deg 33 min; Venus: 0 deg 20 min, Sun: 0 deg 57 min, Mars 0 deg 32 min, Jupiter 0 deg 12 mins, Saturn 0 deg 01 min.

Now, given today’s actual planetary speeds, we have Mars at 2 Libra trine Venus at 9 Gemini.  Are the planets applying or separating?  Applying, because Venus is so slow right now, that Mars is (very slowly) approaching Venus.  Still, you should check your ephemeris to find out if Mars ever does catch up.  Venus is gaining speed, so it may be they never form the anticipated trine.

So, why does this matter?  Oh, only because it determines the answer to nearly all of our questions.  Let’s say that I interviewed for yet another job yesterday, and cast a horary this morning, July 7th, to see if I get this job.  If I am Mars, and the job is Venus, do I get the job?  Alas, not.  We see the promising Mars-Venus trine.  Looking in the ephemeris, however, we see that Venus rapidly gains speed in the coming days and pulls away from Mars.  Symbolically, this can show a job situation that was promising (seemingly applying Mars-Venus trine), that ends up not working out (Venus eventually pulls away before completing the anticipated aspect).

Lessons in Horary Astrology: Lesson 1 – Yes, It Is Pretty Simple

July 1, 2012 by  

Lesson 1: Introduction to Horary Astrology

Horary astrology is the technique of answering questions based on the time and date the question was asked, then interpreting the horoscope. It is the most immediately applicable astrological technique, and has the added advantage of not needing one’s birth time. For these reasons, horary has been a popular divinatory method for a few thousand years. If, like most people, you are used to interpreting birth horoscopes, this can be deeply disconcerting. Is this some kind of scam? How can you not need the birth data to cast a horoscope? The answer is that we are indeed interpreting a natal horoscope; that of our question. More on this later.

As a simple example, I will share a personal horary: my husband was taking his very last board exam in May, requiring many months of preparation and focused studying. On top of the comprehensive nature of the half-day-long exam, examinees have to answer the questions orally, adding more stress to the experience. The exam is equivalent to the bar exam for lawyers, in that students spend years dreading it, and have created a whole mythology of failures by previous test-takers. My husband is a skilled exam-taker, blessed with a phenomenal memory, but his anxiety worried me. At least it was a pass-fail exam!

I cast a chart, asking: “Will my husband pass his exam this year?”

“Will my husband pass his exam this year?”

Chicago, Illinois, April 9, 2012, 2:04 pm Central Daylight Time

He is represented by Saturn, ruler of Aquarius, which is on the 7th house of spouses. Saturn is the planet of seriousness, worry, and dark thoughts. Certainly a good description of his mood around this time! Saturn is also the planet of retention, so it is good for the memory, provided the planet is functioning well otherwise. Counting from Aquarius, we find that Saturn is placed in his 9th house of higher education and examinations. Dark thoughts about examinations – that fits rather well. Saturn is in Libra, the sign where Saturn is exalted, or extra strong. Further, it is in an air sign – these signs rule the mind and communication. Saturn’s strength is one indication that his subject matter knowledge is very good.

Now, the interesting thing is that Saturn is retrograde, which means that from our perspective here on earth, Saturn appears to be moving backwards in the sky. Since we are wondering whether my husband will be able to recall the vast amounts of material he memorized, Saturn retrograde is a good sign that says “yes, he will be able to remember the information.”

That is indeed what happened. My husband took his exam and passed. His sense was that the questions were not as hard as he expected, and he breezed through most of them.

You can see that horary can be rather simple. Not all questions are this easy, but most are, and can be successfully read by beginners using basic astrological building blocks as shown above.

Just as horary predicts the future, it can also show the present or the past. “Does my girlfriend Georgina still love me?” “Is Bob my child’s father?” (I get both questions with some regularity.)

Now, we could have answered this question from my husband’s birth horoscope, because it is a fairly momentous event in his life. The problem is that we cannot use the birth chart for everything. If I want to know where I left my wallet, good luck teasing it out from the natal horoscope! It’s just not that precise an instrument.

The Birth of a Question

How can horary work? After doing horary for a decade now, I came to the conclusion that we live in a universe where everything is significant. Thus, the birth chart of anything at all, whether a baby, a puppy, a country, or a question, will tell us something about the influences operating at the time of birth, and the future that is embedded in the moment of birth. To me, though, the most persuasive evidence on horary is the fact that it works. It’s hard to fudge yes or no questions such as the one above. Further, the descriptors of a situation, such as the appropriate symbolism of Saturn in describing my husband’s mental state while preparing for his exam, are very convincing when we have knowledge of the situation.

You can go through the old horary questions on this blog to see for yourself how horary works, and the fact that it can be used to answer just about any question. About the only question I do not know how to answer is “Which numbers will be drawn in the lottery tomorrow?” However, I can at least tell you whether you will win the lottery***, which is probably more useful.

***Probably not, alas.

Next week, we will go through some basics to help you get started looking at charts right away.

Horary Astrology: Do Invalid Questions Exist?

May 1, 2012 by  

Note: A reader asked me recently whether a horary question about someone I do not personally know (i.e. Madeleine McCann) is valid.  I am not sure where the concept of some questions being invalid came from, as it does not appear in traditional literature; I assume it arose at some point in the 20th century.  Below are some thoughts on this issue. 

Let’s unpack what you mean by “valid.”  Does an invalid question mean that the answer will sometimes or always be incorrect if people ask a certain type of question?  I’ll assume that is what you meant.
Now, let’s take the logic a little further; let’s assume that hundreds of horary astrologers not connected to the McCann situation have asked “Is Madeleine still alive?”  For the sake of argument, let’s posit she is still alive.  Do we really think that all those charts came up with “no” as an answer?   That seems unlikely, so we can assume that questions asked by querents unconnected with the matter will at least sometimes lead to correct answers.  But when?  Does that mean astrology worked at some of those times but not at other times?  That does not seem right.
Does astrology stop working when we ask certain types of questions?  If “as above so below” is true – and Hermes Trismegistus assures us that “true without falsehood, certain, most certain” – then the stars should always reflect reality here on earth without exception.   I have gotten accurate results to questions about situations in the news that interest me, so these questions are clearly valid at least some of the time.
This raises a second question: Even if there really are valid/invalid questions, how far removed from a situation do we have to be for a question to be valid, and who decides where the line is drawn?   Immediate family to the McCanns?  Neighbors who sometimes saw Madeleine?  Friends?  How about acquaintances of the family?  Family of friends of the McCanns?  Any line that we draw between valid and invalid questions must be arbitrary, and not supported by traditional literature to my knowledge.
Why is it insufficient that this is a topic that affects me emotionally?  Presumably, Madeleine’s parents, would be mainly motivated to ask out of their emotional involvement with their daughter.  Is their question invalid?  Or are we letting post-Enlightenment materialism creep in by assuming that there must be a physical connection between us to have a valid question?  It’s well proven scientifically that emotions affect our bodies, so whether little Madeleine lives or dies does, in fact, impact me more immediately than we think.  The only requirement is that we care at least a tiny bit about what happened to this little girl.
I have recently become very conscious of the fact – and this is not about you at all – is that in all areas of life, there are people who set themselves up as authorities who are eager to tell us what is and is not possible and we are very eager to take their word for it.  The Buddha said: “One is one’s own refuge, who else could be the refuge?”  Also, “be a light unto yourselves.”  We cannot take statements of possibility for granted, but rather, let us do the actual hard work to test assumptions.  What is our reward?  The truth, the only thing worth striving for.

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