March 15, 2014 by admin
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.
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.
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).
March 12, 2014 by adminSince 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.
November 7, 2012 by Nina Gryphon
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.
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!
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!
July 8, 2012 by Nina Gryphon
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).
July 3, 2012 by Nina Gryphon
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!
July 1, 2012 by Nina Gryphon
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?”
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.
June 23, 2012 by Nina Gryphon
After a very eventful Sun in Gemini period, here is the latest newsletter, published at Midsummer.
Table of Contents:
1. The Meaning of the Cancer Ingress
2. Mars-Saturn Conjunction in Libra, August 2012
3. What We Are Reading: Secrets of the Ancient Skies by Diana Rosenberg
4. Facebook Inc: The IPO Horoscope (involving monsters of the deep)
5. Cazimi: Are We Taking Liberties?
6. Babies, Babies Everywhere: Mia Farrow
If you like it, you can sign up in the box on your right.
June 6, 2012 by Nina Gryphon
Yesterday, Venus moved across the face of the Sun, a conjunction not only in longitude, but also in declination. Venus was visible as a black dot on the Solar disc, moving diagonally across the Sun. The conjunction occurred with Venus in retrograde, and was exact at 15 Gemini.
Venus transiting the Sun – image courtesy of NASA
Last night, I had the opportunity to visit the Adler Planetarium here in Chicago, which held an observation event. The transit began at 5:04 pm CDT, and was visible until about 7:45 pm, when the Sun sank behind the skyline. There was also a live NASA feed from Mauna Kea, with commentary by astronomers and physicists. I got a chance to look through the high-tech observatory telescope, which was so clear that it showed the solar flares along with Venus herself, just as she made the mysterious black drop effect. This is the effect occurring when Venus separates from the corona of the Sun, and she looks more like a little drop than a clearly-defined sphere. The black drop effect has not yet been explained.
The viewing was a spectacular and special event, not to be repeated for another century. Even if you missed it, the good news is that Mercury transits the Sun about once a decade. Mercury is considerably smaller, however, so the visual is a little less dramatic, but still rare and beautiful.
I think of this transit as Venus being super-cazimi. Traditional sources say that planets are exceptionally strong when within 16′ of longitude of the Sun, as they are “in the heart of the Sun.” This condition is called “cazimi,” from the Arabic kasmimi. They are in the heart of the King, as it were, and so suitably powerful. Yet – and this will be a separate article on traditional astrological methods – a planet such as Venus is visually only in the heart of the Sun when she makes this super-rare transit. Could it be that cazimi only refers to these planetary transits across the Sun’s face? My few horary charts with cazimi planets indicate this may be the case. Stay tuned.
May 31, 2012 by Nina Gryphon
NOTE: Gryphon Astrology will be down for maintenance for a few hours sometime in the next few days – if it is down, just come back a few hours later.
I just returned from UAC in New Orleans yesterday. It was a great conference, with many eminent speakers and fascinating presentations. The conference culminated with the Presidential Panel, where five astrologers, each using different techniques, made their prediction for the winner of the 2012 elections. The participants, in alphabetical order, were Chris Brennan (Hellenistic), Gary Christian (Uranian), Edith Hathaway (Vedic), me (Traditional), and Claude Weiss (using a mix of mundane techniques). As far as I know, none of us discussed the outcome with each other prior to the panel. Yet everyone concurred that Barack Obama would be re-elected in 2012. I wrote about the 2012 elections here earlier this year; my talk was a condensed version of the article.
The panel was covered by major media outlets, who posted a story on Reuters and Associated Press covering the panel’s conclusions and citing Chris and me. You can read the story as printed in the Chicago Tribune here. The story quickly propagated through the world media, and was featured on Huffington Post, USA Today, Sina.com, NY Daily News, and dozens of other news sites and publications. When I returned to Chicago, I had an interview request from CNN/HLN and a local radio station; both interviews aired the same day.
As life returns to normal, we have lots of plans afoot, and I am sure you will be hearing more from me on my favorite topic, mundane and financial astrology.
May 21, 2012 by Nina Gryphon
This morning, Gryphon Astrology Newsletter subscribers received the latest installment of the Gryphon Astrology Newsletter. The number of readers has doubled over the last two months; thanks very much for reading!
Below is the list of this month’s articles. You can read the whole newsletter here, and can subscribe to future issues using the link on the right side of this page.
1. Stocks in the Summer
2. What Happens to the Euro? Does Greece Leave?
3. Profile of the Month – Tommasso Campanella
4. We Are Reading: Symbol and Magic in Egyptian Art
5. Transit of Venus on June 5/6, 2012