February 26, 2012 by Nina Gryphon
The last few years have been busy here at Gryphon Astrology, leaving me less time for blogging than I would wish. On a personal level, there have been many changes; new work, a new home, new husband (first and hopefully the last), and a new city (Chicago). I have been busy researching astrological techniques and am happy to report that the years of effort have borne fruit. Here are some of the new projects you can expect to see in the near future:
1. The new GryphonForecasting.com website, focusing on financial and political predictions. Gryphon Forecasting will feature stock and market forecasts, free and paid, as well as a focus on world and national political events. I have been trading stocks for the last ten years or so, and have spent much of that time researching and developing astrological methodology for forecasting macroeconomic and stock conditions.
2. Gryphon Astrology newsletter. I have decided to focus on writing an occasional newsletter to provide a mix of shorter and more substantive articles for you. To make this happen, I switched newsletter providers recently. If you are a new or existing subscriber, please subscribe using the box in the right sidebar of the blog to ensure you receive our freshest astrological information.
3. Annual zodiac sign forecasts. Each month, I write a new forecast for each of the zodiac signs, a more economical option for budget-minded clients who cannot afford a personalized horary or natal reading. You will be able to download the forecasts electronically for a small fee from a dedicated page. Generally, I am unimpressed with the accuracy of the Sun sign forecasts available today, whether free or paid. I like reading them for fun, but typically leave feeling like I didn’t learn anything useful. Over the years, I have perfected a method of annual forecasting that is much more accurate, as it is based on the ancient method of annual solar aspects. I have tested the forecasts out on myself and a set of test subjects, and am impressed with their accuracy despite the absence of individual birth data.
4. UAC. I will be at UAC in New Orleans this year. Due to time constraints, I will not be lecturing, but am always delighted to chat with my far-flung readers in person. See you there!
April 26, 2009 by Nina Gryphon
Geomancy is a divinatory practice heavily influenced by astrology, and I wanted to shine a spotlight on a topic with which few astrologers are familiar. Like astrology, geomancy came to Europe from the Arab world, where it was called khatt al-raml, “cutting the sand.” Geomancy uses the random generation of marks or dots to create a four-line figure, one line for each of the four elements. The divinatory meaning of the figure depends on the number and arrangement of the dots. The most common way to perform a geomantic reading is to generate fifteen such figures, the first twelve of which are assigned to houses, just as in an astrological chart. The remaining three figures summarize the situation asked about.
The Art and Practice of Geomancy is perhaps the most comprehensive book on the subject available today. With a basic understanding of astrological principles, one can use geomancy with ease, though I am of the opinion that astrology proper provides a richer, more nuanced symbolism than the somewhat abbreviated version used in geomancy. The author provides numerous ways to interpret the geomantic chart to extract the maximum information possible, so whatever information a geomantic reading provides, the reader can make the most of it using this book. There is also some information on geomantic magic and invoking spirits, which is not necessary to the practice of geomancy, but presented as a way of enhancing the divinatory experience. Personally, I would not go to those lengths to get an answer, but the reader’s mileage may well vary.
Contents & Structure
The Art and Practice of Geomancy consists of three parts: I) The Art of Geomancy, II) Geomantic Divination, and III) Geomantic Meditation and Magic.
Part I introduces the reader to the various way of practicing geomancy, giving real-life examples of the way the art had been used in the past. There is a good section on the history of geomancy, which discusses a possible link between the geomantic systems of equatorial Africa and their later adaptation by the Arabs. One conjectures that the astrological symbolism had been superimposed on geomancy by the Arabs once they had picked up astrology from the Greeks.
Chapters Two and Three contain information about the geomantic figures, followed by a list of the sixteen geomantic figures, with a detailed list of associations for each. For instance, the figure Acquisitio (Gain) contains information about its other names, a pictorial representation, keyword, quality (stable or mobile), planet, astrological sign, astrological house relationships (where Acquisitio is strengthened and where weakened), its outer and inner elements, its associated parts of the anatomy, body type, character type, colors, commentary, and divinatory meaning. This richness of meaning provides a useful divinatory alphabet for most questions.
Part II starts with the step-by-step instructions for conducting a geomantic reading. Because of the emphasis on magic in this book, one of the possible methods involves invoking planetary spirits relating to the topic of one’s question. Chapter Five shows the method of interpreting the fifteen figures, but the real fun for astrologers begins in Chapter Six, where the first twelve geomantic figures generated in a reading are arranged in a square astrological chart, one per house, and we are off to the races. The general themes of the houses are described in detail, though the astrologically-minded reader can get additional information in Deb Houlding’s Houses: Temples of the Sky. I don’t agree with every single house attribution in The Art and Practice of Geomancy, but the author’s method is generally traditionalist in nature, and I was delighted to see that that Greer does not assign either transformation or sex to the eighth house.
Chapter Six also contains some geomancy-specific techniques, which involve relating houses in the chart to one another for additional layers of divinatory meaning. Chapter Seven discusses advanced interpretive methods, such as geomantic readings used daily, weekly, monthly, or annually; life readings; finding locations and directions; timing; the geomantic/planetary hours (including a handy method of calculating the planetary hours in the day); determining names, and dealing with deceptive questions.
Part III, Geomantic Meditation and Magic, contains information not found in most astrological texts, so one gets the sense that this book is a rather different kettle of fish. Chapter Eight contains instructions for geomantic meditation and scrying, which of course are ancient practices that can be applied to methods other than geomancy. The author does give the reader the warning to test the spirits, which is sensible. Chapter Nine gets into magic proper, and provides instructions for creating geomantic talismans and gamahes. Chapter Ten gets into the ritual elements of geomantic magic, giving names of the planetary gods, intelligences, and spirits, and methods for invocation of one’s guardian genius.
The book closes with an appendix of the Orphic hymns, a classical collection of invocations of the Greek gods translated in the 18th century by Thomas Taylor. Included are also conjurations of the planetary intelligences.
The Art and Practice of Geomancy is a unique book on the topic that will undoubtedly become a classic in the field. It takes a common-sense approach to a long-forgotten subject, and covers all of the bases very thoroughly. The astrologer might find geomancy an easy adjunct to the astrological practice, as there is considerable overlap between the two systems. For beginning astrology students, Greer’s book can provide an excellent introduction to astrological basics from a traditional perspective, presented in a simple but substantive manner.
The Art and Practice of Geomancy: Divination, Magic, and Earth Wisdom of the Renaissance
By John Michael Greer
Weiser Books, 2009, 252 pages, paperback.
$18.95, available on amazon.com
July 2, 2008 by Nina Gryphon
7. Daily horoscopes are an accurate representation of astrology.
Fortunately, that is not true. Most newspaper horoscopes are not based on anything resembling astrology, and rarely are they even written by purported astrologers.
6. The planets cause things to happen on Earth (the “Saturn ate my homework” theory).
The ancient astrological sources are very careful not to say that the planets cause anything. What would be God’s role, then? Rather, planets reflect everything on earth, as everything in the world is composed of planetary energies. When Saturn is in a bad state, all things partaking of Saturnian qualities are in a bad state. Ultimate causality affecting both us and the planets can only come from a Supreme Being, which is why belief in astrology is incompatible with atheism.
5. The constellations have moved over the millennia, so astrological signs are all wrong.
The astrological signs are not the same as the constellations. The astrological signs are an abstract 12-part division of the ecliptic band, which, thankfully, is still 360 degrees. The signs take their names from the constellations (which do move, thanks to the precession of equinoxes), but that’s all they have in common.
4. Astrology is one-size-fits-all, as computerized astrology reports prove.
Forcing astrology into such constraints may appear to work, but what you get is no longer astrology, but a mass-produced hodge-podge. The difference between a computerized astrological report and a personalized reading is like comparing mass-produced toys made in a sweatshop and a handmade, one-of-a-kind wooden toy. When the factory toy breaks as soon as it is out of the box, we get what we pay for. As with all the ancient sciences, astrology thrives in uniqueness and is disfigured nearly beyond recognition when pressed into robot-like service.
3. Astrology is part of the occult, demonic, and generally evil.
Demonic invocation is not one of the temptations of astrology. Pride? Perhaps. Mistakenly attributing causality to the planets (see item 6)? Yes. But there is no communication with spirits (unless one gets into astrological magic, which is a separate branch), or even tapping into psychic insights. Astrology is a learned skill; some intuition is helpful, but it is no different than balancing one’s checkbook. Though it is considerably harder to get right than debits and credits!
2. My astrology is better than your astrology. Multiple astrological systems cannot all be right.
That is like saying the Russian alphabet is inferior to the Latin, or that they are both inferior to ancient Scandinavian runes. They are all good for their given purpose (have you tried writing a Russian word in the Latin alphabet?), as long as you stay within one system. Once you try to borrow a little bit from there, and a bit from over here to create your own alphabet, you get an incomprehensible jumble. Regrettably, some astrologers have this buffet-like attitude. However, learning any traditional astrological system properly will give superior results. The issue is not finding the kind of astrology that is superior, but rather the skill of the astrologer.
1. Astrology is wrong. We cannot predict the future from the planets.
Correction: astrologers can be wrong, and often are wrong. But when we consistently get 80-90% accuracy, we must be doing something right! I myself was even wrong once; it was a most edifying experience. Between wishful thinking and incompetence, there is a lot of room for operator error in astrology. It is not unlike trading stocks; the theory seems simple – buy low, sell high – but the practice is a challenge. Emotions and inexperience are potent obstacles in both disciplines; there is many a slip ‘twixt cup and lip.
What other myths about astrology have you encountered or tried to dispel in others?
February 10, 2008 by Nina Gryphon
Damascius’s allusions to Greek mythology track the upward order of the planets very closely.
“The soul descends into generation, after the manner of Kore;” The Moon is associated very closely with the principle of generation, because of its watery nature, its speed of movement, and its constant change. Just like all things in this sublunar world, the Moon is constantly growing and dying, never staying the same. Kore (literally “the virgin”) was another name for Persephone, who was kidnapped and taken to the underworld by Hades. The implication here is that at the beginning of its journey, the human soul is forced to inhabit the inhospitable and arid realm of material forms, just like Persephone’s enforced stay in Hades.
“She is scattered by generation, after the manner of Dionysus;” Dionysus himself was scattered by the Titans, who prepared to eat him, having cooked the parts of his torn body. Zeus interrupted the feast, and Apollo buried the body parts. Dionysus was then reborn from his heart, which was preserved by Athena. The relevant Planet in the proper order would be Mercury, the planet of duality, having no gender of its own, and always influenced by planets disposing of or aspecting it. Similarly, the soul on earth becomes scattered, loses the direct identification with the divine principle, and must find its own way back to God. It is important to note that the god Mercury was the patron and guide of travelers.
“Like Prometheus and the Titans, she is bound to body.” Titans were the children of pre-Olympian gods who inhabited the earth; they were defeated by the gods, and humans were said to have been created from the Titans’ smoking ashes. The Titans are of the gross matter of the earth, symbolizing the natural downward tendency of Creation. For the purposes of our planetary ladder, the Titans are associated with Venus, which gratifies the senses and bestows physical pleasure. The more we live for sensation, the more we identify with the body and with matter.
“She frees herself by exercising the strength of Hercules;” In Greek mythology, Hercules is one of the few mortals to become divine, and his story points to a similar function of the soul. With this part of the story, we come to the turning point in the souls journey. This is appropriate, as we start heading toward the outer or slower planets, which are considered superior to the faster inner planets. The labors of Heracles are all concerned with the triumph of spirit or virtue over gross matter, paralleling the efforts of the soul to free itself from its material prison. Hercules’s chief virtue is, of course, strength. As a result, he is associated with the planet Mars, even though the next planet in the proper order should be the Sun. Despite this martial association, Heracles does have some solar characteristics, most notably, his connection with the Royal goddess Hera (Heracles means “the glory of Hera”).
“Gathers herself together through the help of Apollo and the savior Athene, by truly purifying philosophy;” here, we come to a combination of the Sun and Jupiter. Apollo is the god of prophecy, and the ruler of the objective world, as Tim Addey* writes. His name means “not many,” or in other words, “the one.” This is an excellent commentary on the nature of the Sun, which is always associated with things that are singular or unique. Even though all the other six planets are arguably unique, only the Sun is the living representation of the Creator.
Athena is the goddess of wisdom, and therefore the hidden face of Jupiter (Zeus), as she was born out of Jupiter’s head. She was considered to be the protector and helper of man, and this is why the Greek city is named after her. She protects and helps all heroes, who receive magical gifts from her to complete their quest; Perseus, Jason, Theseus, and of course Odysseus, her greatest favorite. Her gift is at once wisdom and divine protection, both qualities associated with Jupiter.
“And she elevates herself to the causes of her being with Demeter.” Demeter, in Greek mythology, was the goddess of fertility (her name means literally “the mother Goddess”), and the mother of Persephone; she rules the harvest and fertility. She is strongly associated with Saturn (who in Greek myth was her father, Kronos). Saturn is not only the god of restrictions and endings, but also the god of farming and the earth. Therefore, in the last phase of the soul’s journey, the soul returns to its true home, which is not the material earth, but rather its primal matter; the endlessly fertile Spirit.
*For further reading on the topic of ancient Greek mythology and its connection to Platonic teachings on the soul, I recommend Tim Addey’s The Seven Myths of the Soul, published by The Prometheus Trust.
February 9, 2008 by Nina Gryphon
It has become fashionable to correlate Greek mythology to astrology and the planets, though unfortunately most such analyses merely scratch the surface of myth, as the authors focus exclusively on human psychology. However, Greek mythology functions on many levels, and the Platonists used myth to describe the very nature of the human soul, rather than just the temporal travails of the ego on its passage through life.
The Platonic tradition, springing from Greece, relied heavily upon ancient Greek myths to describe the complex and often paradoxical interaction of man and the divine. Since astrology is a symbolic language describing the divine plan, we will see a very strong correlation between astrological and mythological symbolism, enabling us to access a deeper level of meaning than is common today.
Damascius, the last director of Plato’s Academy (an 800 year-old establishment which closed in 529 A.D), wrote the following lines about the journey of the soul:
The soul descends into generation, after the manner of Kore;
She is scattered by generation, after the manner of Dionysus;
Like Prometheus and the Titans, she is bound to body.
She frees herself by exercising the strength of Heracles;
Gathers herself together through the help of Apollo
And the savior Athene, by truly purifying philosophy;
And she elevates herself to the causes of her being with Demeter.
It is interesting that none of the Greek gods mentioned here are associated with the planets. From my research, I strongly suspect that many if not most of the Greek gods had two faces, one exoteric and mundane, and the other esoteric and celestial. As an example, the overt god of the Sun was Helios, who drove the chariot of the sun across the sky. However, the god embodying the highest intangible attributes of the Sun, such as prophecy and nobility, was Apollo. And so it goes with many of the gods.
The ancient order of the seven planets goes from the heaviest/slowest to the fastest and most changeable. Don’t forget that the traditional perspective gave precedence to those astronomical bodies which were perceived as the most constant and least subject to change, as change is a sign of imperfection and deterioration. Thus, the most elevated planet is Saturn, followed by Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and finally the Moon.
One may think of this list of planets as a ladder, with the Moon at the bottommost rung underneath which is this imperfect earth. Therefore, it follows that in order for the soul to reconnect with its maker, it has to start out at the bottom rung and make its way all the way up to the top, to Saturn.
October 24, 2007 by Nina Gryphon
Halloween costumes are a tough decision. Luckily, astrology is here to help you find the costume that best expresses your true personality (we’ll let others decide whether that is a good or bad thing). This article is the third in a series on Halloween costumes in the horoscope.
Our method is to find the ruling planet in your chart, i.e.: the planet that rules your Ascendant, and find your optimal costume based on its sign placement. Our previous two articles focused on Mars (ruling Aries and Scorpio Ascendants), and Venus (ruling Taurus and Libra rising). Note that we only use traditional rulers for this series.
Today, we will talk about those of you with Mercury ruling the chart, which category includes anyone with Gemini or Virgo rising.
Mercury in Aries, Leo, or Sagittarius (the fire signs) – runner, doctor (esp. in Aries, also Scorpio), bicyclist, F1 driver, archer (esp. for Sagittarius), courtier (very Mercury in Leo).
Mercury in Taurus, Virgo, or Capricorn (the earth signs) – stock trader, accountant, human calculator/pencil/computer.
Mercury in Gemini, Libra, or Aquarius (the air signs) – lawyer, writer, scientist (extra points if mad), singer (especially for Mercury in Libra), messenger, astrologer or fortuneteller.
Mercury in Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces (the water signs) – Poet (maybe one of the Romantic poets), sailor, actor (very meta-meta!).
October 15, 2007 by Nina Gryphon
The Halloween Costumes series continues; last week we talked about the best Halloween costumes if your ruling planet is Mars. Today, we will give some hints to those whose horoscope is ruled by the planet of love, Venus.
How do you know which planet rules your horoscope? It is the planet that rules your ascendant; we only use the classical rulerships here. The reason that your ruling planet is so good for determining your ideal Halloween costume is that this planet represents your ego, and Halloween is a great opportunity for you to really reveal your inner self.
Venus rules Taurus and Libra, so if either of these signs rise in your chart, this is the article for you.
Venus in Aries and Scorpio: Dominatrix, gigolo, Casanova, sexy police officer or soldier.
Venus in Taurus and Libra: Aphrodite, any famous sex symbol, flower arranger (or just a flower), fashion model.
Venus in Gemini and Virgo: French Maid, seductive accountant or librarian.
Venus in Cancer and Pisces: Artist, mermaid, genie.
Venus in Leo: Prince or princess, Cleopatra, Elizabeth I or II, any famous ruler.
Venus in Sagittarius: Lady Godiva (extra points for horse).
Venus in Capricorn and Aquarius: Milk maid, shepherd(ess), farmer, plumber or electrician, the CEO (especially female).
Find your best Halloween costume for Mars (Part 1 of 7).
Coming Soon: Find your best Halloween costume for Mercury (Part 3 of 7).
October 11, 2007 by Nina Gryphon
There are 1001 columns out there purporting to find your most appropriate Halloween costume according to your Sun sign. We’re above such superficial approaches here (but we are definitely not above dressing up for Halloween!). Instead, consider dressing up according to the planet ruling your Ascendant, which is the planet symbolizing your ego. And isn’t Halloween all about letting your ego roam free of societal fetters?
As always, traditional sign rulers are used, modified by the sign in which the planet is placed. Thus:
Mars (rules Aries, Scorpio rising) – think masculine and macho, modified by the nature of the sign in which Mars is placed.
Mars in Taurus or Libra? Sexy police officer or something with lots of leather. Gigolo.
Mars in Cancer, Scorpio, or Pisces? Pirate, sailor, harpoon fisherman.
Mars in Aries? Soldier, gladiator, cowboy, or matador.
Mars in Gemini or Virgo? Trial lawyer, fencer, Formula One driver.
Mars in Leo can go as Napoleon, Caesar, Alexander, etc. Lion-tamer, Hercules, or big game hunter.
Mars in Sagittarius? Knight, jockey, or equestrian (horse optional, but recommended). Archer.
Mars in Capricorn or Aquarius is a power executive, Alpine mountaineer, or a buff construction worker.
This series will run occasionally over the next ten days or so. I’d love to hear your ideas for each planet, or an astrologically-appropriate outfit you have worn in the past. I have Mars in a water sign, and once went as a pirate (this was before I got into astrology).
October 4, 2007 by admin
As you may have noticed, the Gryphon Astrology blog has been moved from its original home on WordPress.com, and will continue here. All the old posts, charts, and graphics are now here as well, so you can search the archive as before.
September 6, 2007 by admin
Just thought I’d give you a quick update on what’s new with Gryphon Astrology, because there is lots to tell.
1. As you may have noticed, the Gryphon Astrology website has undergone a much-needed overhaul. There are lots of new articles for your perusal, and it’s all much better organized. It was fortuitously finished while the Sun was in Leo and Mercury was in Virgo, with the Moon about to conjoin Jupiter in Sagittarius, which is nice.
2. Gryphon Astrology now has its very own email astrology newsletter, published quarterly (so it won’t clutter up your inbox!). The astrology newsletter will include horoscopes from my archives (not ones previously published on the blog), geographically extensive weather forecasts, book reviews, games, and lots more fun astro-stuff that is not on the weblog. You can subscribe by clicking the Newsletter link on the Gryphon Astrology website. The first issue will be out in a couple of weeks, when the Sun is in 0 degrees Libra.
3. Sneak preview #1: This blog will be moving to the gryphonastrology.com domain in the near future, so it’s all under one roof. Don’t change your links/bookmarks yet, but when the blog does move, there will be a permanent message on this blog with the updated URL.
Also, as a way of belatedly thanking all those kind people who linked to this blog over the last year, I would like to link back to your blog/site/homepage. Once this blog is moved to its new home, please email me with your URL so I know who you are, and I can reciprocate by linking back to you on the new blog. I have been bad about keeping my link list up to date, but I’ll be better, I promise.
4. Sneak preview #2: At the end of this month or early October, I will restart the astrology radio shows, though probably without Bernhard, who is industriously (yes, he has Virgo in his chart) working on his new astrology software deep in the forests of Germany.