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.

Venus in Pisces January 27, 2015: The Sweet Sea

January 24, 2015 by  

Venus in Pisces: Aphrodite Anadyomene Fresco from Pompeii

Aphrodite Anadyomene Fresco from Pompeii, 1st century CE

Venus in Pisces, Her Exaltation

Venus dances into Pisces on January 27* and will remain there until February 20*. Her presence will affect primarily those with planets in Pisces, but she will bring beauty, romance, seduction, and love into all horoscopes, depending on the natal house containing Pisces.

Venus has a natural affinity for the sea. As Ovid wrote of the goddess of love:

“I [Aphrodite] should find some favour with the sea, for in its holy depths in days gone by from sea-foam I was formed, and still from foam I take my name in Greece**.”

(Ovid, Metamorphoses 4. 521, trans. Melville)

This year’s transit of Venus through Pisces is especially auspicious. She is occidental of the Sun, and during this part of her cycle she moves closer to the earth, with the closest contact at her inferior conjunction. Venus’s proximity strengthens all matters of love and pleasure. She is much more amorous when occidental than when oriental. Also, she will be far from the Sun during her transit through Pisces, unafflicted by his beams. This is uncommon, as Venus is always within about 45 degrees of the Sun. We have a rare opportunity this year to experience Venus at once beautified in Pisces and unobscured by the Sun.

Venus and Mars

As Venus passes through Pisces, she will draw ever nearer Mars, to whom she is highly attracted. As a pair, they represent romantic love contrasted with the traditional marriage of convenience. Recall that historically, marriage was no place for romance, so Aphrodite and Ares’ passion was by definition illicit. Venus and Mars will conjoin in early Aries. Until they consummate their attraction, their flirtation in playful, dreamy Pisces will intensify.

Venus makes a stressful square aspect to Saturn on January 30*, which will be covered in greater detail in a separate article. After January 30*, it is smooth sailing for Venus on the Pisces seas.

Exaltation Degree of Venus in Pisces

Each planet has a special degree somewhere in the sign of its exaltation where it is “super-exalted” and highly potent. Venus’s magic reaches its apex in the degree of her exaltation, 26-26.59 degrees of Pisces, which Venus transits on February 17*. Here her influence is most elevated and perfect.  This is an auspicious day on which to borrow her glamour for makers of talismans or those seeking favorable elections for love.

Love symbolized by Venus in Pisces waxes and wanes like the sea tides. It is at once inconstant and enchanting, a spell that captivates because of its transience. Poet Algernon Charles Swinburne called her

The sweet sea, mother of loves and hours,
Shudders and shines as the grey winds gleam,
Turning her smile to a fugitive pain.
Mother of loves that are swift to fade,
Mother of mutable winds and hours.
A barren mother, a mother-maid,
Cold and clean as her faint salt flowers.

(from “The Triumph of Time,” Poems and Ballads)

Natal Venus in Pisces

Natal Venus in Pisces gives an appreciation for art and beauty, even sentimentality. Unless she is afflicted, her exalted position lends one a certain purity of feeling.

Aleister Crowley, in Your Place among the Stars, wrote of natal Venus in Pisces:

The native dissolves himself into the beloved, making a true union, and the greatest sorrow that can be experienced by a person with this position is when the beloved fails to appreciate his devotion to the full. Venus in this sign is not particularly fastidious; she is too ready for the pleasure the yielding gives to others. In some respects this is the highest possible development of Venus. (p 310)

Venus in Pisces is not in the least intellectual; she is intuitive, and this intuition is the outcome of her extraordinary nobility. Her willingness to pay the price, however great, gives her the privilege of a knowledge almost divine in its immediateness. (p 311)

*All times and dates are for Pacific Time. To see these dates in Universal Time, visit the Swiss Ephemeris for 2015.

**Aphros means “foam” in Greek.

Horary Astrology of Illness: When Recover? Part 2

January 21, 2015 by  

Horary astrology of illness: excising the stone of folly by Pieter Huys.
Excising the Stone of Folly by Pieter Huys (16th c.). Only the most cutting-edge medical treatment here at Gryphon Astrology.

The horary astrology of illness is complex and requires a fairly subtle level of interpretation. Part 1 of this post summarized essential traditional horary techniques for determining the duration of an illness. Now I will share my own horary question on illness that prompted this line of research in the first place, and apply the techniques to see what information we can extract. I am somewhat embarrassed to share such a trivial horary (though it has been a gnarly cold), but hope it will be useful to readers who want to try their hand at applying the theory while lacking a convenient disease.

The horary chart is below:

Horary: When get better from cold?

When will I recover from this cold?

Judgment

Expect a change in 3.5 days, so Tuesday, January 20, though not necessarily an improvement [NG: True; the cold symptoms are waning as of 1/20, now just fatigue and chills. Delightful.]. A more favorable turn of events may occur on Thursday, January 22. The cold is likely an exacerbation of an existing chronic state of a choleric/sanguine nature, and may in fact be the return of old symptoms brought about by my naturopathic remedy.

Showing Our Horary Work

In my experience, using horary astrology for illness related questions poses a special challenge, because a really good analysis of any chart requires both horary skill and subject matter understanding. I am not a health practitioner (the public should count itself lucky), and therefore lack some of the traditional vocabulary of disease and treatment. That said, we should celebrate what we can do, and determining the course of the disease is well within our powers.

First, the sources tell us to analyze three key factors; the Ascendant and its ruler (these represent the querent), the Moon, and the sixth house and its ruler, which describe the disease.

The Ascendant is fixed, one indication of a long-lasting disease. Jupiter in Leo is in its triplicity and retrograde, and conjoins the ascending degree. Recall Lilly’s comment on pages 251-2 of Christian Astrology: the involvement of a retrograde benefic suggests a slow recovery with the possibility of a relapse. I suggest this is especially true when the benefic is in a fixed sign. My suspicion, based on previous episodes, is that this illness is a flare-up of a long-standing sanguine/choleric imbalance, as indicated by Jupiter. A retrograde benefic can also be the temporary return of old symptoms as part of a long healing process.

Venus on the seventh house cusp applies to oppose Jupiter in about 3.5 degrees, and he receives her into his triplicity and term. She rules the tenth house of remedies/treatment, suggesting a possible benefit from medicine, but with difficulty and slowness (opposition between two benefics from fixed signs). Venus brings old Jovial symptoms about through the remedy.

The Sun rules the Ascendant and is in the sixth house, at 26.5 degrees of Capricorn. A planet placed in its decan/face suggests that the situation is not great, but hardly desperate. It is written that a planet in its own face is like a man on his own threshold; not really honored in his house, but not homeless. The Sun in Capricorn is a fair picture of a cold; an ordinarily hot and dry planet finds itself in the incompatible, cold/dry sign ruled by the Sun’s enemy, Saturn. The Sun is in the last few degrees of its sign; it will shortly move into the hot and moist sign of Aquarius where the Sun is in its detriment. Lilly says that the imminent change of sign indicates that the disease will improve or alter in so many degrees as remain in the sign. Here, 3.5 degrees could be most likely days or weeks. I chose days, since a cold is typically measured in days or weeks, and the Sun is in a fast-moving cardinal sign (CA 267-8).

Let’s now apply our astrological microscope to the disease itself, indicated by the sixth house and its ruler. A cardinal sign on the sixth house cusp indicates a fast-moving disease (CA 248) that is cold and dry (earth sign). Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, which typically produces lingering illnesses, though this is somewhat modified by Saturn’s oriental position, very swift motion (over 5’ a day right now), and mutable sign. So, it’s a nasty cold, but not as lingering as it could be.

The Sun applies to sextile Saturn, and is received by Saturn into his domicile. The reception will continue as the Sun moves into Aquarius, since Aquarius is also ruled by Saturn. Reception is especially helpful when a significator aspects a malefic, because it makes the malefic abate its malice. The Sun, in aspecting Saturn, will escape Saturn’s malign influence because it is being received into Saturn’s domicile like an honored guest into a mafioso’s lair. There might be a crisis in the disease when the aspect is exact, on Thursday, January 22.

The Moon is in a mutable sign, suggesting a medium duration to the illness; it won’t be over very quickly, but neither will it stick around for eternity. The Moon’s last aspect was a square to Mars, suggesting I caught the illness while traveling. In traditional thought, Mars is one of the planets of travel. Mars rules the ninth house and is placed in the seventh house of “over there.” The Moon applies to sextile Mercury and Venus, followed by a trine to Jupiter. This indicates recourse to a remedy (sextile to Venus) and benefit from it (Moon’s received trine to Jupiter). On Saturday, I took some homeopathic Phosphorus, and have had a dramatic increase in energy ever since.

One more relevant point: William Lilly has a nice section in Christian Astrology on applying the principles of horary astrology to illness. Page 280 indicates the nature of the disease when shown by the Moon in Sagittarius conjunct, square, or opposite Mars:

“I daily find by experience, the sick party his Blood is overheated by some inordinate exercise, that he burns extremely, sometimes the malignancy of the pestilent Fever is such, he is twice or thrice let Blood [NG: Did not do that yet!]; they are besides many times offended with the Hand and Foot-gout [NG: Not yet], or Itches or breaking out [NG: Not that either], and sometimes with sore Throats [NG: Yes to that], and at other times sharp Rheums offend their Eyes.”

Lilly’s analysis sums it up; I had spent much time walking outside in cold and damp Portland (Mars in a cold/wet sign) last weekend and got a cold/sore throat. Not bad for a 400-year-old, William Lilly!

Horary Astrology of Illness

January 19, 2015 by  

The ill horary astrologer

The Poor Poet, by Carl Spitzweg (1839) [NG: The horary astrology in her lair]

Illness focuses the mind on the essentials; nutritious food, a hot drink, and a comfortable bed or couch become key, while everything else recedes into the background. Having suffered from a cold these last few days, I focused on the above life-saving factors while recuperating. Illness has been a great excuse to get caught up on my reading and sleep. Nonetheless, being sick is no picnic, and in between sneezes, I had only one question on my mind; when will I get better? For much of my life, I have suffered from colds, flus, and similar maladies that lasted for weeks or months despite trying all possible remedies, so I naturally worried this cold, too, might turn into one of these familiar germ marathons (shudder). I asked a horary question to determine how long I would be ill. Read the horary question about the illness, judgment, and follow-up information here.

My approach to horary has changed a little over the past few years. Now, whenever I encounter an unusual horary question, I research the suggested interpretive techniques in traditional sources before analyzing the horoscope, often taking notes. Here is what I found: While the traditional texts have some material on the duration of illness, it is often intertwined with other issues, such as determining whether the patient/querent will survive. The texts thus require close reading and annotation to tease out the relevant information, which I will share with you.

The sixth house chapters of horary texts are a sobering reminder of the fragility of life and health in most of human history. Texts like Ben Dykes’s translation of The Book of the Nine Judges, and William Lilly’s Christian Astrology (a book especially rich in indications of the duration of disease), while I sit in my 21st century study, I feel doubly fortunate: I don’t have to worry whether this particular illness will kill me, and I can easily cast a horary on this relatively trivial issue. Neither of these comforts were available to most querents of horary astrology throughout history.

Below are some of my paraphrased and reorganized gleanings of horary texts for determining how long an illness might last; may these prove useful to you (though I hope you have few occasions to use them!). Then, I will share my own horary on illness (see Part 2 of this post) and show how I put the principles into practice.

1. William Lilly, Christian Astrology (“CA”), p. 247-8: Diseases signified by Saturn are long and regulated by the Sun [NG: for timing purposes]; diseases signified by Jupiter, Mars, and the Sun are shorter and regulated by the Moon [NG: again, timed by the Moon], Venus shows illnesses neither long nor short, Mercury diseases are “divers and inconstant,” [NG: variable and intermittent], Moon diseases are “such as do again revert,” [NG: illnesses that are episodic and recurrent].

2. CA 248: A fixed sign on the sixth house cusp shows a long illness difficult to remove; cardinal signs show a short one; while mutable signs show a medium disease that changes and may recur. [NG: The Moon’s sign should be analyzed the same way as the sixth house cusp, in my experience.]

Last degrees of a sign on the sixth house cusp shows the disease nearly at an end, or about to alter in some way.

The domicile ruler of the sixth “of evil influence” [NG: perhaps a malefic or debilitated benefic] and placed in the sixth, shows an enduring, serious illness. Conversely, a fortunate planet in the sixth shows an illness that will not kill and will soon be cured.

Saturn ruling the sixth, and placed in a fixed sign, “he extremely prolongs the Disease.” This is also true if he is slow in motion or retrograde. If he is in a cardinal sign, in his own term/bound, or swift in motion, then he will not be so evil, nor will he prolong the disease.

A cardinal sign on the sixth house cusp and/or the Moon cardinal, and “no impediment otherwise appearing,” the disease will last a short while.

Common signs on the sixth house cusp (except Pisces, which acts as a cardinal sign) “do more long continue any infirmity.”

3. CA 249: If the Moon applies by difficult aspect to the ruler of the Ascendant, the disease increases, and is not yet at its worst at the time of the question. The same is true if the ruler of the sixth house applies to square or oppose the ruler of the Ascendant, or if the ruler of the sixth house is in the eighth or twelfth houses. “The party sick must be more afflicted ere his Disease leave him.”

An unfortunate planet in the sixth moving from one sign into the next shows the disease will soon change. The number of degrees before the change of signs determines so many days, weeks, or months, depending on the sign.

Ruler of the sixth house retrograde, combust, in the eighth or twelfth houses, conjunct, square, or opposite Saturn or Mars, or ruler of the fourth or eighth house, it shows “much infirmity, a long continued and sudden alternation of the Disease from better to worse, if not Death itself”

4. CA 249-50: Saturn, Mars, or any unfortunate planet in the sixth house shows great danger, but if the planet is well placed or essentially dignified, it is not very harmful, and “the Disease is happened casually and suddenly, than upon any prepared matter in the Body beforehand.” Similarly, a benefic planet in the sixth that is not the cause of the illness, the disease will not become permanent or chronic.

The ruler of the sixth house in the Ascendant, and the ruler of the Ascendant in the sixth, the disease has been going on for a long time, and will continue to do so until one of the significators leaves its current sign [NG: This is a helpful hint as to the timing of diseases in general; a significator’s change of signs very frequently shows a change or improvement in the illness and so is relevant to my original question.]

Ruler of the sixth house square or opposite the ruler of the Ascendant in the azimene degrees, the disease is incurable.

Ruler of the sixth in the Ascendant shows the disease will continue but the pain eases.

Ruler of the sixth in a cadent house, the disease is neither serious nor will last a very long time.

Diseases not easily curable are shown by malignant planets in the sixth house, or the ruler of the sixth in the sixth, eighth, or twelfth house.

5. CA 250-1: Good signs of health and recovery for the ruler of the Ascendant and the Moon: Neither is conjunct, square, or opposite Mars or Saturn, or any badly disposed planet; both are direct, free from combustion, swift in motion, not peregrine [NG: out of their domicile, exaltation, triplicity, terms, or faces], nor in their fall or detriment; neither are in the sixth, eighth, or twelfth houses, nor in aspect with their rulers.

The ruler of the Ascendant afflicted by sign placement, retrogradation, being peregrine, combust, or in fall/detriment, querent may be cured, but will soon relapse or even die. If Saturn rules the Ascendant, in his own dignities [not peregrine], slow, diminished in light [NG: perhaps relative to the Sun], retrograde, shows an illness that lasts a long time.

6. CA 251:Ruler of the Ascendant swift in motion, entering into another sign or house (as long as it is not the sixth or twelfth house), the disease will quickly end.

The ruler of the Ascendant not afflicted, swift in motion, in a good aspect to a fortunate planet, the querent will quickly be able to overcome the disease.

All the significators of the illness in fixed signs indicates a long time before the disease is cured, and it will be with difficulty.

7. CA 251-2: A malevolent planet applying to the ruler of the Ascendant, or the Moon slow in motion and in aspect with the ruler of the Ascendant, slows the cure and prolongs the disease.

A fast cure is promised if the Moon is swift, or is conjunct a planet that is oriental, direct, and swift. If the Moon is conjunct a retrograde or occidental planet, the cure is slow.
Both the Sun and Moon in cadent houses, disposed by unfortunate planets, shows a very serious illness, but if fortunate planets participate, the person will be cured, though the illness is chronic and grave.

Ruler of the sixth house combust, retrograde, in fall/detriment, in the eighth house, conjunct, square, or opposite Mars or Saturn, and the Moon also applies to conjoin, square, or opposite the ruler of the eighth house [NG: most likely, the more of these factors are present, the more certain one can be of the judgment], the illness “will never leave the sick party till death.”

The Moon or ruler of the Ascendant conjunct, square, or opposite a retrograde benevolent planet, the person will recover slowly, with some possibility of relapse.

8. CA 267-8 “How long ere the sick recover.” Count the degrees between the ruler of the Ascendant and the aspecting benevolent planet (if applicable). Cardinal signs indicate days, especially if the significators are angular and swift in motion. Mutable signs can be days, weeks, or months, depending on the rest of the horoscope and the nature of the disease. See if the Moon is swift or slow in motion, and her sign.

Cardinal signs and angular houses show days; mutable signs and succedent houses show weeks or months, fixed signs and cadent houses indicate months or years.

When the ruler of the Ascendant moves into a new sign where it has essential dignities, the sick party recovers or feels a noticeable improvement [NG: not clear if we are meant to count the degrees until the sign change, or check the ephemeris for the actual day of the change of signs]

9. ‘Umar, 6.9. [This section and the next are from The Book of the Nine Judges, translated and edited by Benjamin Dykes, pub. 2011 by the Cazimi Press.] “On the nature of the disease.” The Ascendant and the Moon in cardinal signs indicate death or health [NG: depending on other indications] more quickly. The Ascendant fixed indicates death after a lengthy illness [NG: again, assuming the horoscope supports a conclusion of death]. The Ascendant and the Moon in mutable signs indicates health, if they are fortunate; if afflicted, they show “a hastened death.”

10. Dorotheus, 6.6 “On those growing ill.” Cardinal signs indicate an acute illness, mutable signs show an illness of medium duration, and fixed signs “afflict with a steady and long-lasting disease.”

U.S. Presidential Elections Study: 1880 Election Horoscope

April 27, 2014 by  

Ghazi-ud-din Haider: King of Oudh by David Hume, early 19th century

Ghazi-ud-din Haider: King of Oudh by David Hume, early 19th century

As you may know, in early 2012 I studied Aries Ingress horoscopes for the United States for presidential election years to determine whether there was a common thread indicating the winner. To my surprise, I did find a method that seemed to work, and used it to present a prediction of Barack Obama winning the 2012 election, at the New Orleans United Astrology Conference (UAC) in May of that year. You can read the details of the 2012 prediction of the US election result here.  That article compares the 1880 and 2012 Presidential elections, as they had some astrological similarities.

Since then, I have received a number of queries to see the rest of the data, and to share the method. We are about 2.5 years away from another Presidential election now, so the speculation as to the winning side is slowly gathering steam. To respond to the requests for more information, I have decided to write a series of articles, one for each election chart starting in 1880, through 2016. This will allow interested readers to follow my reasoning and examine the method used. What is unique about this study in astrological circles is that I came to the charts with few preconceived notion about how the charts would show the winning party; I relied on them to show the method, since we already knew the presidential election result.

Sometimes I get asked why I chose 1880; I simply worked backwards from the then-known results (2008) until I felt I had a good handle on how the horoscopes indicated the winner each time.  By the time I got to 1880, I had run across some very obvious horoscopes, and a few challenging ones, so felt I had a good sample.  There is nothing magical about having stopped at 1880.

1880 Presidential Election Horoscope

As always, we cast the Aries Ingress horoscope set for Washington, D.C. in a Presidential Election year.  The Aries Ingress is a horoscope set for the moment the Sun enters Aries, the start of the astrological New Year.  It is a long-standing tradition that the moment of the horoscope holds the seeds for major events for that location in the upcoming 12 months.

1880 Aries Ingress Horoscope

1880 Aries Ingress, 3/20/1880, 0:05:27 am LMT, Washington, D,C.

Our Assumptions for Each Ingress Horoscope

Incumbent and his party are the 10th house of the “king.”   This assignment goes back at least as far as the Hellenistic astrologers of 2000 years ago, though I am looking to the more recent medieval Arabic astrological texts.  The challenger and his party is the 4th house and its ruler. This is because the 4th house is the 7th from the 10th; the king’s opponent. In our Aries Ingress horoscope, we examine what is happening to each candidate’s house and ruler to determine who wins.

We use traditional planetary rulers of signs only (no Uranus, Neptune, Pluto), though all planets are displayed in the chart.

Horoscope Analysis

1. The 10th house is ruled by Virgo, and its ruler is Mercury stationary in Aries, in the 4th house. There are no planets in the 10th house, so we look exclusively to the ruling planet. The very next aspect is the Moon in Cancer (dignified as it is in the sign of its domicile) about to form a square aspect to Mercury.  Square aspects are not considered “easy,” but we will see in chart after chart that the nature of the aspect does not matter, so long as a candidate’s planet connects with another strong planet somehow.

2. The 4th house is ruled by Jupiter in Pisces conjunct the 4th house cusp. The fourth house has a dignified Jupiter on the cusp, and the Sun, exalted in Aries, just inside the cusp. Mercury and Saturn in Aries are there, as well. Jupiter does not have any planets applying to it very soon; certainly no sooner than the immediate Moon-Mercury square.

Conclusion: The incumbent party stays in power.

The Election Horoscope Yields Two Key Rules for Predicting the Winner of the Election…

1. Is either planetary ruler applying to another planet in its own sign or exaltation, or in a sign where candidate’s planet is strong (house, exaltation, triplicity)? If so, that is the winner.

2. Is there a planet or Node closely conjunct the 10th or 4th house cusp that is not the 10th or 4th ruler and in the same sign as the cusp? Its benefic/malefic nature helps or harms the incumbent or opponent, respectively. If only Jupiter in Pisces was not also the ruler of the 4th house here; its presence would have handed the challenger the White House.  A candidate’s planet on that person’s house cusp might indicate that candidate staying home, as it were.  The other planet on the 4th house cusp is the exalted Sun in Aries, which would be helpful if only it wasn’t in a different sign than the house cusp.  Tough luck.

…and a Couple of More Minor Observations:

3.  It does not seem to matter that a late degree is on the 4th/10th house cusps.

4.  One candidate’s planet (in this case, Mercury, ruling the incumbent Republicans) placed in the other candidate’s house does not seem to harm the candidate ruled by the emplaced planet.

What Actually Happened in the 1880 Presidential Election

The Republican Party had the White House, but the incumbent president, Rutherford Hayes, did not seek re-election. The party nominated James A. Garfield as their candidate. The Democratic challenger was Winfield S. Hancock, a Civil War general. The race was rather close; Garfield won 214 electoral college votes to Hancock’s 155, with each side garnering about 48% of the popular vote. Wikipedia notes that “this was the closest election ever in terms of popular vote (with a margin of fewer than 10,000) and states carried…”  (Note that some sources have the margin as 2000 popular votes.)

The incumbent party retained the White House, though the actual holder of the Presidential office had changed.

Astrology of the 2014 Crimean Crisis (or Is It the Russian Crisis)?

March 15, 2014 by  

Mars Sleeping

Mars Sleeping by Hendrik ter Brugghen, 1625


Much has been made of the claim that Russia invaded Crimea, starting the Crimean crisis, under Mars retrograde, as it is said (by an unattributed source) that wars begun under Mars retrograde end poorly for the initiator. I am not sure that the invasion will end terribly for Russia, and definitely not because of Mars’ retrogradation. An examination of the timeline indicates the Russian invasion began up to two days before Mars went retrograde on March 1, 2014. Specifically, as early as 4:20 am on February 27th, armed professionals planted a Russian flag on the Crimean parliament. On February 28th, soldiers without insignia, but widely believed to be Russian, took over major Crimean airports. Thus, I question the premise that the invasion actually began when Mars was retrograde, since on February 27th, Mars was still moving forward, though only at about a minute per day.

If anyone knows the source of the aphorism that wars and conflicts begun under Mars retrograde are bad for the instigator, I’d be interested in knowing about it. Interestingly, my research uncovered zero major 20th century conflicts that began under Mars retrograde, making it difficult to support or deny the accuracy of the aphorism. However, their very absence might suggest that conflicts begun under Mars retrograde tend not to become major wars.

So, how does this invasion turn out? We can look to the horoscope for Ukraine’s legal independence, which has the IC, Moon, and Venus all in Libra. Given the combination of Mars retrograding back to 9 Libra, the situation could be resolved as early as May 20, 2014, when Mars stations direct. It may take that long for Russia to feel that it has sufficiently asserted its control over Ukraine, after which point the forces may come home.

However, note that eclipses in the Aries-Libra polarity will continue until March 23, 2016, which will be the last eclipse (lunar) at 3 Libra. There may be new protests in Ukraine against Russian domination for the next few years. Given the upcoming April 15 eclipse in Libra conjunct Mars, I expect the situation to culminate in the next few weeks ahead of the eclipse, but the underlying tensions and violence to not really go away until after the Aries-Libra eclipses have passed in 2016.

Progressing the independence horoscope, we see that progressed Mars sextiled the Moon in December 2013, an influence that will likely be felt for at least all of 2014. Even today the progressed Midheaven squares progressed Saturn, a restrictive, sad, and bad influence for another two years, through 2015. I suspect that Ukraine is in for a challenging two years, though the Moon-Mars sextile suggests the population finding its identity and voice in 2014.

What about Russia? I initially expected it to run into problems due to indications in its Aries Ingress horoscope, but then realized that the Ingresses set for Moscow and Kyiv are very similar, almost identical. So which country gets the bad prognosis? Common sense says that it is Ukraine, as the smaller neighbor. So comparing Ingress horoscopes is out. Note that historically, comparing Ingresses probably rarely worked, since it’s often neighboring countries that go to war. Thus, the Ingresses set for their respective capitals will often be similar. Still, we can analyze the Ingresses and see if we can tease out any specifics for either Ukraine or Russia.

The medieval Arab author, Abu Ma’shar, writes that if, in an Aries Ingress, malefics make hard aspects to Aries, Scorpio, the Part of War, the sign of the country in question, or the significator of the king, then “enemies will achieve victory over [the country]” and will cause the country “grief and sorrow.” Several of these conditions are true for Russia, though we must take them with a grain of salt, since some are true worldwide for that Aries Ingress. The Aries Ingress horoscope set for Moscow (which sets the tone for the following 12 months), is below. The same Ingress holds for the Ukraine, with a few degrees of the house cusps earlier than that of Moscow’s Ingress.

First, war is indicated during the 2013 Aries Ingress period (March 2013-March 2014) according to Abu Ma’shar, since Mars is in a sign angular from the Ascendant (Aries is the 10th sign from the Ascendant). The Part of War is calculated by taking the distance from Saturn to the Moon during the day, and projecting the distance from the Ascendant. The Part of War is in Aries for both Russia and Ukraine.

2014 Aries Ingress for Russia (nearly identical for Ukraine)

2014 Aries Ingress for Russia (nearly identical for Ukraine)

Let’s take Abu Ma’shar’s conditions for defeat one by one:

  • The malefics (Mars and Saturn) are both present in signs of Mars. This is bad, but true worldwide, indicating that any country starting a war during this year would do badly.
  • Mars is with the Part of War. This means defeat, but for whom?
  • Russia is traditionally a Taurus country, and Saturn in Scorpio opposes Taurus.
  • The significator of the Russian president is Mars, which is accurate right now, but not negative as Mars cannot aspect itself nor is it aspected by Saturn.

Abu Ma’shar also says that if the king’s significator (here, Mars) is combust, defeat and “grief and sorrow” will be “feared concerning him.” Here, Mars is very much combust. Again, we are talking about both the Russian and the Ukrainian government, but we cannot have the same thing happening to both parties, so we can assume Ukraine will be harmed more.  As the Athenians said to the Melians, just before they annihilated the small island city-state: “The strong do as they can, the weak suffer what they must.”

The 2014 Aries Ingress paints a similar picture.

  • Saturn is still in Mars’ domicile, and Mars in Libra opposes its own domicile. Again, this is true worldwide, but bad for countries starting conflict at this time.
  • Mars is with the Part of War, which is in Libra, another strongly negative indicator…for one or both parties.
  • Saturn is still in Scorpio, opposing Taurus, the sign of Russia.
  • The Moon rules the king, and it is conjunct Saturn in the second house, suggesting that economic restrictions create problems. The problems will be worse for Ukraine as the smaller country. This could be foreign sanctions, or simply problems with the domestic purse. Again, Ukraine has a much smaller budget than does Russia, so one would expect it to suffer much more than Russia.
2014 Aries Ingress for Russia (nearly identical for Ukraine)

2014 Aries Ingress for Russia (nearly identical for Ukraine)

Russia does seem to be in danger of overextending itself with this operation. Vladimir Putin’s natal horoscope has progressed Mars square Jupiter sometime this year (the exact date is unclear because his birth time is not known). This combination indicates too much risk-taking and conflict-seeking behavior, resulting in losses, especially financial or reputational. Of course, this also shows conflict (Mars) with foreigners (Jupiter).

Traditional Astrology Handbook: How to Ask Horary Questions

March 12, 2014 by  

Excommunication of Robert the Pious by Jean-Paul Laurens

Excommunication of Robert the Pious by Jean-Paul Laurens
[this is what happens when you don’t consider your horary question for a sufficient length of time]

Since June 2013, I have been writing a book-length commentary on Guido Bonatti’s 146 Considerations.  This is not as dry as it sounds; my work is an astrological textbook with lots of examples, using the Considerations as a structure to convey astrological concepts in a systematic, organized manner that is also fun and relevant to modern readers. Now, on its face, Considerations is a long list of astrological guidelines, rules, and aphorisms written in the 13th century. It is well-known among astrologers even today, but mostly as a collection of handy pointers rather than something more substantial. This sells the Considerations far short of the complete astrological study guide that it really is. Here is a better description, from my introduction:

The Considerations are actually much more than Bonatti’s random brain droppings: they are a syllabus for a complete traditional astrological education, but, in the traditional manner, the teacher does not spoon-feed the student much. Until now, to get the full benefit of the wisdom in the Considerations, the student had to do significant additional research to locate the relevant reference sources. Often, Bonatti only names a concept and then moves on, leaving to us the work of locating his sources. My book collects and interprets key sources for the reader, so that it completely fills in Bonatti’s telegraphic outline. If Considerations is the course syllabus, my book is the textbook for an intermediate or advanced astrologer who wants to enrich her technique and improve her results.

I will be posting occasional excerpts from the book on the blog. Today’s excerpt is from the 2nd Consideration: How to Ask a [Horary] Question. Asking horary questions the right way is key to obtaining a clear answer.  If one’s mind is unfocused, the chart for the question will reflect that.  From my experience, this advice holds even when using  other divinatory means to ask questions, such as the Tarot cards, I Ching, geomancy, or dream incubation.  Bonatti provides a two-step approach to ensuring one asks horary questions (or any divinatory questions) in the proper way:

1. Pray to God [I would add that this means any personally meaningful spiritual entity/concept] to receive the truth
2. Hold the question in mind for at least a day and a night before going to the astrologer (or casting one’s own horoscope), “not touched by just any motion of the mind (as sometimes many impertinent people are wont to do, as is said elsewhere).” (p. 265, Bonatti, Treatise 5 of the Book of Astronomy, 146 Considerations, trans. Benjamin Dykes) It is also acceptable to ask questions immediately that arise out of suddden events, where waiting 24 hours is not practical.

My commentary on the 24-hour waiting period, from the “2nd Consideration” chapter:

The 24-hour minimum is a useful requirement, because it allows the querent to live with the question while awake as well as asleep, allowing both the conscious and unconscious to work on the matter. Very often, the querent will end up with a slightly different question at the end of the incubation period. The extended incubation fosters active problem-solving as it prods the querent out of the realm of vagueness into a deeper understanding of her own motives. The horary does not only reflect one’s situation, but also the querent as actor in her own life. The clarity of the querent’s mind and intention is directly related to the clarity of the resulting horoscope.

The recommendation for waiting 24 hours is helpful especially for astrologers and horary students, since the temptation to cast charts at whim is always there. Unless there is a genuine emergency (and those are thankfully rare), it is best to wait and turn the horary question in one’s mind for a while. Very often, one finds that there is no need for a chart; the answer is right in front of one’s face. The clarity of the horoscope goes up significantly when the querent poses a well-considered question.

Sometimes, it is challenging to wait the necessary 24 hours, and I am the first to admit that putting this kind of restriction in place was difficult at first, given that I like answers fast.  That said, it’s improved the quality of the readings I do for myself immeasurably, whether using horary astrology or other means of divination.

The English astrologer William Lilly, who, along with his student, Henry Coley, translated (and heavily edited) the Considerations into English, had this comment on Bonatti’s recommended horary question process:

Those that take this sober course [the process recommended by Bonatti], shall find the truth in what they enquire after; but whosoever do otherwise, deceive both themselves and the artist; for a foolish Querent may cause a wise Respondent to err, which brings a scandal upon Art amongst inconsiderable people, whereas the Astrologer is not blameable, but the ignorant silly Querent.

China’s Big Transfer of Power: November 8, 2012

November 7, 2012 by  


Chinese Man Tending Cattle
Thomas Hill

It appears that at least one major player on the global scene has not learned the lesson of Facebook’s bungled IPO:

“DO NOT PLAN YOUR MAJOR EVENT AROUND AN ECLIPSE.”

It appears that in planning the once-a-decade transfer of power to a new group of politicians, China has done exactly that. Originally, the plan was to transfer in October, presumably around the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic (Oct. 1, 1949). It seems that the upper-echelon negotiations have dragged on longer than expected. There is a solar total eclipse on November 13, 2012, and for reasons explained below, we will see this particular eclipse is not very favorable for China.

As we saw with Facebook’s IPO on the day of an eclipse, big changes or launches made around an eclipse tend to require revision later, and often have the project end as a massive flop. I first read about this phenomenon in Bill Meridian’s book, the Predictive Power of Eclipse Paths, and have been watching for manifestations ever since. Meridian discusses his own experience with taking a new job shortly before an eclipse. The new job promptly fizzled out, and he had to find new work soon after.

The November 13, 2012 solar eclipse is a rather unpleasant piece of work, especially when we overlay the horoscope for the eclipse on the horoscope of China.

First, let’s look at just the eclipse horoscope, set for Beijing, China.  The eclipse occurs at 21 Scorpio, an inauspicious part of the sky. This is where the star Zubeneschemali, in the North Scale of the Balance constellation resides. However, historically, the Scales used to be known as the Claws of the Scorpion. The Scorpion is portrayed in a Babylonian boundary stone as reaching for a cup; perhaps the Cup of Life, or of victory. The Scorpion, of course, is the animal that slew the mighty Orion, so the sense is that the Scorpion is a killjoy. Those hoping to win the prize may be disappointed as the Scorpion taketh away.

The eclipse also has Saturn on the Ascendant, suggesting trouble and distress. Saturn falls on the right shoulder and staff of Boötes, the celestial herdsman or ox-driver. This suggests trouble for the “shepherds” of the country; if we had a benefic planet (Venus or Jupiter) on this star, the picture would be rather brighter, and would promise improvement to the country. The presence of Saturn is somewhat more problematic. Also, transiting Saturn squares China’s Moon at 0 Aquarius – this change will not be great for the population as a whole.

Solar Total Eclipse, Beijing, China
November 14, 2012, 6:07:59 am, AWST (-8)

The November 13, 2012 Solar Eclipse in China

This eclipse is particularly significant for China for two reasons. One, it falls in the important first house in Beijing, so will have an effect on the Chinese people. The first house rules the people and the nation as a whole, so eclipses placed in this house will have an evident impact. Two, it contacts the horoscope of China in some major ways.

We use the horoscope for the start of the People’s Republic of China as October 1, 1949, 10:00 am, Beijing, China. The time is from the memoir The Private Life of Chairman Mao, written by his doctor, Li Zhisui, who said that Mao and his comrades first took the podium in Beijing at 10:00 am to announce their glorious victory over Nationalist forces. (The book was brought to my attention by a recent article in The Mountain Astrologer magazine.)

The 1949 horoscope has 22 Scorpio rising, so the eclipse at 21 Scorpio falls exactly on the Ascendant. This alone would be enough to suggest a disruptive influence interfering with the transfer of power. Eclipses on the Ascendant/Descendant axis of a country or organization suggest transformation at a profound and immediately evident level – certainly, the handing over of the reins would qualify.

However, we can expect conflict at the uppermost echelons of China. Note that the eclipse Midheaven falls on China’s Mars (and, if you use the modern planets, Pluto – yes, China has a natal Mars-Pluto conjunction). So, that shows power struggles (Mars/Pluto) among the leadership (Midheaven). However, note the interesting aspects to Mercury, ruler of the Midheaven. The eclipse Venus is conjunct Mercury, and the eclipse Jupiter trines Mercury. So, there will be some very nice monetary benefits for those coming into power. You may have seen the New York Times’ expose of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s personal wealth of $2.7B, most of which was accumulated since his rise to high position in the 1990s. It’s good to be the king!

People's Republic of China Horoscope, Beijing, China

People’s Republic of China Horoscope, Beijing, China
October 1, 1949, 10:00 a.m. AWST (-8)

Some Predictions for China

Based on the above, I would suggest the following:

1.  The power may be handed over, but perhaps not completely, or the arrangement will not prove permanent.

2. There will be conflict (more than the usual machinations) among the upper tiers, and it may even become public.

3. Those coming into power will obtain tremendous financial benefits. Quelle surprise!

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).

The Interviewee Interviewed

July 3, 2012 by  

The Astrology News Service has published an interview with me regarding my methods of politico-astrological analysis, thoughts on the role of astrology in the corporate and legal worlds, as well as a little about my background.  Happy reading!

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