Astrology 101: The Sixth House of Slaves, Disease, and Pets

July 21, 2008 by  

Astrology 101: The Sixth House of Slaves, Disease, and Pets

The sixth house is traditionally considered malefic and harmful to life. This is because it is one of the houses (including the 8th and the 12th) that does not get the light which enters the chart from the Ascendant. In the natal horoscope, the sixth house is primarily associated with those lower on the social scale who work for the native (or slaves), disease, and small animals.

The Sixth House and Slavery Today

The ancient astrologers quite literally saw the sixth as the house of slavery and slaves. Many pages are dedicated to determining whether a native’s parents were slaves or whether he himself would end up a slave. At first glance, we can think that slavery is no longer applicable to our lives today. However, we do well to remember that even though slavery is illegal throughout the world, it is quite rampant even in the United States, though it is now called human trafficking. Therefore, for the average practicing astrologer to see a chart with indications of slavery for the native or others in his life is not at all unlikely.

Even outside of the explicit slavery context, many people all over the world hold jobs that are very low in prestige and income, and are quite menial. Again, as an example, if we saw an indication of the native’s parents being slaves, and we could rule out the fact of slavery, we might say that the parents were always employed in menial or miserable conditions.

In the traditional society, the sixth house also represented one’s clients, people who depended on the native for favors and patronage. The word client has different connotations today, but in a traditional society, people with reasonable assets were expected to take care of and aid those below them. Similarly, today, the sixth house represents one’s employees and staff.

Disease in the Sixth House

Some modern authors say that the sixth house rules health and disease, but this is sloppy thinking. Because the sixth house is associated with largely unpleasant things, or lowly people and animals, the positive concept of health does not belong in the sixth. Rather, the sixth house in the natal horoscope can show one’s propensity toward disease, and the types of diseases to which the person is prone. Mostly, the type of disease to which the person is predisposed will be shown by an overall analysis of the whole chart, but the sixth house, if implicated, can give clues to the kinds and sources of illness the person may expect.

If the sixth house afflicts some of the life-giving planets and houses seriously enough, we will know that the native does not make it to adulthood, or even to childhood. Such is the power of the sixth house and its ruler to afflict one’s well-being.

The Sixth House and Small Animals

Ibn Ezra says that the sixth house rules animals which are not “mount for man,” and this definition includes most animals that people have as pets today. But how can pets be so bad so as to deserve the malefic sixth house? I believe that the sixth house ultimately rules people and animals assisting us in household tasks. Thus, dogs and cats and even birds meant to guard and enrich our homes are ruled by the sixth house. Believe it or not, some people still have a use for their cats other than hairball production: cats keep their houses mouse-and rat-free!

But enough from me. How has the sixth house manifested in your own horoscope?

Learn Astrology: The South Node in Your Horoscope

October 10, 2007 by  

Astrology of the Nodes - South Node and its Meaning - Illustrated by Fall of Phaeton

The South Node is a respectable supporting player in all forms of astrology (horary, natal, or mundane), though its use and meaning is sometimes fuzzy. First, let’s talk about what the South node actually is, astronomically speaking. As the Moon circles the earth, it doesn’t do so in a straight line, it sort of bobs up and down as it travels, above and below the ecliptic (the apparent path of the Sun). The point at which the Moon moves upward through the ecliptic is the North node. The point in the ecliptic at which the Moon will dip down is the South node.

The Moon thus passes through the ecliptic twice in its monthly orbit. Since the Moon’s trajectory changes each month, it intersects the ecliptic at different points each time (this is the nodal cycle which takes 18.6 years), which is why the nodes appear to travel – or precess – in the horoscope.

This should give you an idea of why the South node is considered malefic; it is the point at which the Moon moves down through the ecliptic. Downward motion is considered bad, from a symbolic point of view. We moved down from Spirit into body, thereby losing some of our intrinsic spiritual qualities, cloaked as they are by gross matter. Similarly, planets that can join the South node are considered minimized in some way. If we have Venus in Libra conjunct the South node, some of that benefic Venusian influence will be lost. If Venus is in Aries, the sign of its detriment, and it is conjunct the South node, Venus now has less power to do harm.

Sometimes people wonder why the South node doesn’t make malefic planets even more harmful. This is because the South node is not a “thing,” like a harmful planet or star. The South node is an abstract point, so it’s best to think of it as a hole into which planets fall when they conjunct the South node. Their influence, for better or for worse, is now diminished.

It is impossible for the South node to cast aspects to anything. For an object to cast aspects, it has to be a thing. So abstract points like the nodes do not qualify. The only exception to this general rule seem to be the fixed stars, perhaps because they are so small and plentiful, and they don’t seem to work by much more than a conjunction. The nodes are similar, in that only a close conjunction seems to have an effect.

Some people claim that in the natal horoscope, the South node indicates our past lives. An interesting theory, though of course unverifiable. A more concrete application would be looking at any close conjunctions to the South node, and viewing the affected planet as made somewhat weaker in influence.

Learn Astrology: Saturn Problems, and How to Fix Them

August 30, 2007 by  

Monastery Graveyard in the Snow

Saturn is probably blamed for more problems than any other planet; this is one of the first things we hear about when learning astrology. If I had a dollar for every e-mail or comment I get having to do with Saturn problems, I would be the world’s richest astrologer. And, Saturn is traditionally known as the Great Malefic, indicating that our ancestors really disliked Saturn as well. The malign influence of Saturn has been blamed for everything from bad teeth to heartbreak, even old age and death.

So is there some way to fix our Saturn problems, so that we can avoid these problems once and for all? It turns out that people have been thinking about exactly this problem for centuries, and more like millennia. Below is a list of suggestions I found in traditional texts for dealing with Saturn issues:

1. Saturn is good to his own kind. Therefore, if you have been dealing with Saturnian problems, the key is to become more Saturnian yourself. Embrace a life of isolated contemplation (we didn’t say this would be easy!); move to a secluded mountain top. Spend a lot of time alone, and wear lots of black. The Renaissance philosopher Marsilio Ficino called this “divine contemplation.”

2. Saturn will have his due; make some space in your life for him. Most often, our Saturn problems arise from not having enough positive Saturnian influence in your life. Boundaries, meditation and contemplation, seriousness, and responsibility are all Saturnian. Make every Saturday (Saturn’s day) your day of meditation and retreat. Ficino called this “the day of Saturn unfit for action in peace or war but fit for contemplation and for beseeching divine patronage on that same day against dangers.” Brush your teeth and take responsibility for yourself. Restrict harmful things in your life. Go on a healthy diet.

3. Jupiter is an antidote to Saturn. Jupiter is the Great Benefic, and therefore is the only planet that can take on Saturn. Jupiter also governs spiritual contemplation, but more specifically, faith and hope. Jupiter rules positive thinking, and charity. If you feel you’re not getting enough from life, perhaps you should look into giving more yourself.

How have you coped with Saturn problems?

Astrology 101: The Twelfth House

May 28, 2007 by  

the twelfth house in the horoscope

The 12th house is one of the most fascinating astrological houses, because what we find connected with it often solves a mystery. Below is a discussion of some of the major traditional meanings of the 12th house:

Self-Sabotage, Secret Enemies, and Witches

These are the enemies who hurt us by clandestine means. Such a person might spread rumors or mail anonymous letters in order to harm us. For example, some of the classical astrology writers had many examples of horoscope so famous people who met a bad end because their 12th house was afflicted and their secret enemies eventually got executed or whatever.

Similarly, a witch would naturally also harm others via clandestine means, and we examine this house carefully when answering the question: “Am I bewitched?”

However, neither of these bad characters are as harmful as we ourselves. The 12th house is where we undercut our otherwise positive efforts. These are the strange compulsions that keep on surfacing, and that span the range between overeating and depression. Which of these actually manifest depends on the connection to other houses, and upon the person’s overall tendencies and temperament. For example, a very watery, phlegmatic type with a series of 12th house afflictions, especially in the water signs, might feel compelled to take to drink, or other drug abuse.

Secrets and Imprisonment

An active 12th house, in the right context, can show that there is secrecy afoot. In one of the Gryphon Astrology radio shows, I discussed the natal horoscope of an individual (now deceased) who had a “respectable” day job and by night was a high-risk sex worker. The 12th house was very active, and was connected to a debilitated Saturn-Venus combination. This double life eventually led to death, so the 12th house took on the dual meaning of secrets and of self-undoing.

Perhaps because 12th house habits are so problematic, they often lead to imprisonment. The “right” combination in the natal horoscope can show a more than casual brush with the judicial system.

Large/Wild Animals

Since the 12th house shows that part of us which is animalistic and wild, we also look for such animals in that house. A particularly strong 12th house, combined with the right kind of personality traits, could show someone especially attuned to working with animals, such as horses or cattle.

I am curious what your experiences with the 12th house are, whether your own or that of others.

Astrology 101: How To Use Planetary Hours, Part II

May 17, 2007 by  


Yesterday, we talked about the purpose of using planetary hours as a simple form of electional astrology, and how they are calculated. Today, we get to the good stuff: how to use the planetary hours in our daily lives. It is very simple – first, we must determine the planetary nature of the activity in which we want to engage, and then find the right hour.

But what if our activity can be described by two planets? To use the example I chose yesterday, if we want to paint or compose a song, both Mercury and Venus accurately describe the activity. In this case, we can have it both ways: Start on the day of Mercury (Wednesday) in the hour of Venus, or vice versa. For extra credit, we would want the planets in question to be strong, so Mercury in Gemini and Venus in Taurus, for example. If one or both are strongly placed by house and aspect at the time we choose, so much the better.

Below is a list of planetary hour activities from Henry Coley’s Clavis Astrologiae Elimata (modernized as much as possible). Use it only as a guideline – always rely on your understanding of the planets first. To get a more comprehensive understanding of each of the planets, click on the name of the planet below:

Saturn – In the hour of Saturn take no voyage to sea, neither take any long journey by land; for crosses will assuredly attend, and small success may be expected; take no physick: entertain no servant, for they will prove idle, careless persons: not good to put on a new garment, or cut your hair; but this hour is good to buy, or take leases of houses, or lands; good to buy any kind of grain, or to dig in the earth, or plow; not good to borrow money in this hour, or to fall sick in; for it threatens a long disease, and sometimes terminates in death.

Jupiter – in the hour of Jupiter ‘tis good to apply to ecclesiastical persons, and all great men, to obtain their favor. In this hour ‘this good to take a journey; or to go out of the house with success; good to sow all kind of seeds, or to plant; not good to be let blood; he that falls sick in this hour will soon recover; good also to lend, or borrow moneys; not good to enter a ship; not good to buy beasts; to conclude, this hour is good to contract matrimony in, etc.

Mars – In the hour of Mars begin no worthy action, or enterprise, for it is a very unfortunate hour in all things, and therefore as much as may be to be avoided, it is ill to take a journey, for you shall be in danger of thieves, very ill to take a voyage to sea, and generally in all things.

Sun – The hour of the Sun is not to be chosen, as being generally infortunate, unless in making application to great persons, not good to begin a building, or put on new garments, not good to enter into a man’s own house, for discontent and brawling may then be expected to follow, this hour is good for a man to receive preferment in, not good to court the female sex, or lay down moneys upon any account, ‘tis also very dangerous to fall sick in.

Venus – In the hour of Venus ‘tis good to court women, or to begin a journey, but not a voyage, good to enter upon any play, sport or pastime; not good to be let blood in, good to go out of a man’s [own] house with success, but not so good to return again in, good to take physick in, but if a man falls sick in that hour, the disease proceeds from some venereal distemper, this hour is generally good to undertake any business relating to women’s concern, or any delightful actions, not good to begin a new garment, but singular good for marriage, and contracting in matrimony, etc.

Mercury – The hour of Mercury is very good to merchandize in, buy or sell, or to write letters, or to send messengers, to take physick in, to send children to school, to begin a journey, to lend or borrow moneys in, to put forth apprentices, to begin any building, but not good to contract marriage, or to buy houses or lands, or to re-enter your house being abroad, lest discontent or brawling arise; nor good to take or hire a servant, or to redeem a prisoner, but good to plan or graft in, and finally to make suit to great persons.

Moon – The hour of the Moon is not accounted good to buy cattle in, especially of the smaller sort, nor to take physick in, or to make new clothes; ‘tis good to court the female sex in, or send children to school, and in some cases to take a journey, or to pursue an enemy, and to conclude, you may make choice of this hour to leave your native country in (if designed to travel) but choose another hour when you return, and are to re-enter your own country in.

Astrology 101: Planetary Hours and How to Use Them

May 16, 2007 by  

Clock with Prophets

In traditional astrology, the seven classical planets rule everything. We are familiar with the idea that all planets rule physical, tangible things.  For example, Venus rules tangible things like women, sweet foods, and works of art. However, the planets also rule intangible constructs, like time. According to modern thought, all time is the same, divided into equal portions, with one hour being just like another hour. However, traditionally, all the hours in a day were ruled by different planets, and the quality of a Saturn hour would be considerably different from a Jupiter hour. This is a very basic but powerful form of electional astrology – the idea that we can affect the outcome of events by beginning our project during an astrologically propitious hour. As an example, if we want to create the most beautiful painting within our means, we start working during a Venus or Mercury hour.

How Planetary Hours Work

1. Each day of the week is ruled by one of the seven planets. Sunday = the Sun, Monday = the Moon, Tuesday = Mars, Wednesday = Mercury, Thursday = Jupiter, Friday = Venus, and Saturday = Saturn. Each day begins at sunrise and ends at sunrise the following day. As a result, if the sun rises at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, and it is currently 4 a.m. on Tuesday morning, we are ruled by the previous day’s planet, the Moon. When 6 a.m., Tuesday, rolls around, the day ruler is now Mars until sunrise on Wednesday.

2. Each day is divided into two halves: daytime and nighttime: daytime is sunrise to sunset, and nighttime is sunset to the next sunrise. Then, each half, daytime and nighttime, is divided into 12 equal hours, giving us a total of 24 hours in one day.

Still with me? If you’re thinking ahead, you will realize that in the depths of winter, when night is a lot longer than day, the 12 nighttime hours will all be very long, whereas the 12 daytime hours will all be quite short, as all twelve of them have to squeeze into a short amount of daytime. The reverse is true in the summer, when the night is very short and the day is long. This is why the system is also called “the unequal hours” system. A daytime hour and a nighttime hour will usually be of unequal lengths, depending on the time of year.

3. Every day, the first hour after sunrise will be ruled by the same planet as the day ruler. Therefore, the first daytime hour of Saturday, the day ruled by Saturn, will be ruled by Saturn as well. The planets always go in this order, indefinitely (from the slowest planet to the fastest): Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Moon. So a Saturn hour is always followed by a Jupiter hour, and so forth. A Moon hour is again followed by a Saturn hour.

So how do you figure out what planetary hour you are currently in?

Yes, you could calculate it all by hand, but I prefer software. If you use Windows, get ChronosXP. It’s not beautiful, but it is highly functional. If you’re a Mac user, you’re in luck, because you can get Astroclock, the world’s most gorgeous planetary hours screensaver. When I first saw it on someone’s computer, I seriously considered getting a Mac. Astroclock also shows you the dodecahour (5 minute) and sub-dodecahour (2.5 minute) planetary rulers. I don’t use these minor subdivisions, but they certainly sound cool.

Tomorrow: What to Do with Planetary Hours?

Astrology 101: Help, My Planet Is Afflicted!

March 8, 2007 by  


I get enough questions on some of the terms and expressions I use casually in my blog posts, that I thought it would be helpful to start an occasional column explaining some of the terms. Last week, I got a very good question asking about the meaning of affliction, like when I say a planet is afflicted.

There is no particularly scientific definition of this, but a planet can really be afflicted in three major ways. It can be weak by sign placement, it can be afflicted by aspect (to another afflicted planet, pretty much regardless of the type of aspect involved), and it can be afflicted by placement in a negative house or by retrogradation.

If you look at your own horoscope, you’ll find that your planets are usually afflicted by one or maybe two of the above factors. The more of the above factors are present, the tougher it will be for that particular planet to behave well in your chart. For example, if you have a very afflicted planet ruling your 11th house of friends, you either have few friends, or there will be something wrong with your friends.

Typically though, you will see that while a planet may be afflicted, another positive factor helps it out. As an example, we can look at the chart below, which is the horoscope for Justin Timberlake, the pop star:

Justin Timberlake Horoscope

He has a somewhat afflicted Sun, because it is in the sign of its detriment Aquarius, and it is in the malefic sixth house of illness, and it is not helped by the negative reception from Jupiter and Saturn (which are in the sign of the Sun’s fall, Libra). Even though it is exalted, Saturn is still Saturn, and Jupiter is not strong enough to lend a particularly helpful hand here. This might point to Timberlake experiencing long-term health issues later in life, especially since the Sun rules his first house of the body and the overall vitality.

Tomorrow, I will talk about the types of difficulties associated with each planet, and use Justin Timberlake’s chart to discuss some of the difficulties associated with his planetary afflictions.

—Readers who are interested in a natal analysis of their horoscopes (afflicted planets and all), may contact Nina Gryphon via her reading requests page.

Arabian Part of Spirit and the Guardian Daemon in the Horoscope

September 3, 2006 by  

Archangel Michael - The Guardian Daemon

Dear Readers,

I have decided to experiment with a new way of blogging, not unlike the way in which most bloggers out there do it. Yes, Gryphon Astrology joins the 21st century at last. That is, I will write a lot more astrology posts that are shorter, to keep the momentum going on the blog. I’ll be shooting for one post a day, to have some kind of quality control. To get the ball rolling, here is one such short post about the astrological Part of Spirit (the opposite of the Part of Fortune).

My best, and happy reading,

Earlier, I had written on the astrology blog about the connection between the Guardian Daemon and the Lord of the Geniture. To quickly recap, the Guardian Daemon is the ancient Greek name for what we now call our Guardian Angel. In the article above, I wrote about how the Lord of the Geniture, our strongest planet in the horoscope, is a symbol of our Guardian Daemon. The best planet we have will always bail us out of the mess in which we manage to get ourselves. So, to get a sense of what the Guardian Daemon is for us, what is its nature vis a vis ourselves, we must look toward the Lord of the Geniture. Is it nurturing? Aggressive? Disciplinarian? Those are the qualities that will always save us when we are in a tough spot.One ancient astrologer made the direct connection between the Guardian Daemon (also known as the Eudaimon, or the Good Spirit) and The Part of Spirit. The Part of Spirit is calculated in the opposite way from the Part of Fortune, so Asc + Sun – Moon. Note that for reasons explained in an earlier article, I do not reverse the Part of Fortune and its associated Arabian Parts by night. Firmicus links the Guardian Daemon and Part of Spirit in one sentence:

After these four cardinal points, that is the Ascendant, Descendant, Midheaven and IMC, there is another set of four points in the nativity which are also of following and favorable power. These are Dea, Deus, Bona Fortuna (Good Fortune) and Bonus Daemon (Good Spirit) which the Greeks have called thus Thea, Theos, Agathe Tyche, Agathos Daemon.

So there you have it, the Part of Spirit IS the Agathos Daemon. But what do we do with this information? As with any Arabian Part, it is best when it is aspected by its sign ruler, and that sign ruler is essentially and accidentally strong. But it doesn’t always work that way in real life. Any planets aspecting the Part of Spirit will tell us of the nature of our Guardian Daemon. Then, we would inspect the sign ruler of the Part of Spirit.

For example, imagine a horoscope where the Part of Spirit is at 7 Libra. It is trined by the Sun at 4 Gemini and squared by the Moon at 6 Cancer. The two aspecting planets rule the 10th and 9th houses respectively. Does this bode well for the native’s spiritual career? It certainly does, indicating that not only is the Part of Spirit in play, as John Frawley puts it, but it is also going to be used at its highest capacity (strong Moon). Especially more so when we know that the Sun, though essentially weak, is in the sign of Mercury in Gemini. Our hypothesis is confirmed when we see that the temperament is overwhelmingly phlegmatic, with the most “phlegmatic” planet, the Moon, in strong essential dignity, ruling the 9th house. We have here no ordinary character.
This horoscope belongs to Padre Pio, a 20th-century Catholic priest and saint.

Padre Pio Horoscope

Moon Phases in Astrology: The Part of Fortune, Part I

August 5, 2005 by  

Moon phases astrology: the Part of Fortune

The Part of Fortune aka Fortuna has been used by astrologers for hundreds of years in natal, horary and electional astrology; many modern astrologers typically encounter it but do not use it. It can be quite a handy tool to have in natal analysis, and can substantially enrich one’s practice.

Though we will discuss this notion in greater length, the Part is generally taken to signify one’s material possessions, i.e.: one’s wealth. It is often taken to signfiy the state of one’s soul as well. Its reverse, the Part of Spirit, shows shows spiritual, inward possessions, or one’s propensity to religion and things of the Spirit. The condition of the Part of Fortune and its dispositor will determine the quality and state of one’s material and spiritual wealth.

In this article, we will discuss in detail what the Part of Fortune means and how to use it. In this Part I of the article, we will discuss the mechanics of how to implement the Part of Fortune in charts. In Part II, we will talk about the practical and philosophical meaning of the Part of Fortune.

Calculation of the Part of Fortune

The Part of Fortune is a point calculated in the chart, as distinguished from any astronomical body. To find the Part of Fortune, take the longitude of the Ascendant, add the longitude of the Moon, and subtract the longitude of the Sun (PoF = Asc + Moon – Sun).

Thus, 2 Aries is 2 degrees of longitude, 2 degrees of Taurus is 32 degrees of longitude, 17 Gemini is 77 degrees of longitude, and so on around the zodiac. The resulting point from your calculations is the place of the Part of Fortune. Its state and that of its dispositor (the planet which rules the sign the Part of Fortune falls in) will describe the state of the person’s possessions.

If you were born at night, that is, the Sun is under the horizon in your natal chart, some authorities state that you should reverse the above formula: PoF = Asc + Sun – Moon.

The Actors: The Sun, the Moon, and the Ascendant

So why use these three points in calculating the Part of Fortune? Obviously, they are the most important parts of a chart. This is especially the case in natal charts, where the Sun and Moon are the elements that power a chart, while the Ascendant is the place where the heavens meet the earth – the point of incarnation, in other words.

The Reversals of Fortune

One of the many debates continuing to rage among astrologers is whether to reverse the Part of Fortune by night (and therefore all the parts that use it also). Ptolemy, in his Tetrabiblos, states in two separate places that one should not reverse the Part of Fortune by night. However, many subsequent authorities, including Bonatti and Al-Biruni, state quite clearly that one should reverse the places of the Sun and Moon by night.

So why would someone do this? Bonatti’s chief justification for reversing Fortuna is that Parts should be calculated from the naturally stronger planet (he would have looked at our formulas from right to left). Thus, because the Sun is considered stronger by day, when it is in houses 7-12, Fortuna should be calculated from it during the day. Conversely, the Moon is stronger by night, and therefore the calculation should begin from the Moon by night.

However, there are a few problems with Bonatti’s reasoning. First, just because we are looking at a nighttime chart does not mean the Moon is stronger than the Sun. We could imagine a chart where the Sun is on the IC, thereby gaining some accidental strength, and the Moon is below the horizon in the sixth house. Unlike the Sun during the day, the Moon does not have to be above the horizon by night. Automatically considering it the stronger planet at night is simply wrong.

Second, the Moon is considered the “luminary of the time” in nighttime charts. All this means is that it has more of a responsibility for the native’s wellbeing on its planetary shoulders; it does not mean it can effectively take care of those responsibilities. Therefore, we should not artificially put it in the driver’s seat by reversing the Part of Fortune by night.

Third, reversing the Part of Fortune gives you another part, the Part of Spirit. The two parts are obviously related, since they are mirror images of one another. Bonatti writes that the Part of Fortune shows the soul’s strength, fortune, substance, etc., while the Part of Spirit (aka the Part of Things to Come) shows faith, prophecy, and religion. The two Parts are obviously distinct in some fashion, and transposing them by night causes us to get two entirely different beasties depending on when we were born.

Stay tuned for Part II. – the meaning and interpretation of the Part of Fortune.

(Sources used for analysis in this article: Robert Zoller’s translation of Guido Bonatti’s treatise on the Arabic Parts; Al-Biruni’s Book of Instruction in the Elements of the Art of Astrology.)

How to Read William Lilly’s Christian Astrology

July 20, 2005 by  

Hint: With your wits firmly ensconced about you. Or, to paraphrase the 17th century physician and astrologer Nicholas Culpeper, you must keep your brains in your head where they belong and not in your books.

Let’s get this out of the way first: why even read William Lilly’s Christian Astrology? Because it is the greatest book on astrology that has been written in the English language. Ever. Whatever you may think of the most recent editions of Neptune or Solar Arcs or that timeless classic, Astrology to Instantly Firm Up, Groom, and Tone Your Karma. Reading CA is guaranteed to turn you into a better astrologer, provided you use some common sense when reading. There can arise an infinite number of charts, each different from the last, and even the most explicit 1-2-3 instructions (on which Lilly tends to skimp, anyway) will not work in all cases.

Reading William Lilly is frequently crazy-making, and it’s not because of his archaic language (you should know by now that Lilly’s “clown” so often mentioned in CA = our peasant/country bumpkin/hick). Rather, it’s because he is not a particularly methodical writer or explainer. Don’t get me wrong – he was a truly excellent astrologer. It’s just that in the conveying of the information, he would be somewhat stream-of-consciousness. Disorganized, we would say nowadays.

So, how do you read Lilly for pleasure and profit? Since he himself provides no handy manual, here are some necessary steps:

1. Check and recheck that brain is in your head not book. Less messy that way.

2. Get pen & paper.

3. Open your CA, and start writing. Organize Lilly’s instructions numerically; break each segment down into an outline. Once you have a good algorithm for a certain operation (e.g. how to tell if it will be a girl or boy in a horary), go and test it out on some charts. As you do this, keep asking yourself at each step, why? Why do we care what the 11th house is doing in a pregnancy chart? (Answer: because in most pregnancies, it takes two, and the 11th house is the 5th house of the partner, who is signified by the Querent’s 7th. And it’s the partner’s kid as much as the Querent’s.)

Note that in many if not most chapters, Lilly will give several possible algorithms for a certain operation. In such cases, try to use both when learning, but mainly, be very analytical. Observe what common elements arise among the instruction sets. Then try to figure out why these elements are important.

4. Rinse and repeat, banging head against wall as little as possible.

Good luck, and let me know if you have questions. You can always reach me at nina ” at ”

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