Gardening with Astrology: Planting Guide – Part I.

June 7, 2007 by  

Enchanted Garden Messer Ansaldo - illustrating astrology planting guide - gardening with astrology

Finding the best time to plant your garden using astrology is a tradition that goes way, way back in history. This serialized astrological planting guide helps you learn the principles of successful astrological gardening. However, there is much more to the art of astrological agriculture than just sowing the seeds at the right time. For optimal results, the soil must be prepared at the right moment, you have to plant at the right time for your crop/plant type (do you want flowers? Fruit? Fast or slow growth?), you should cut back growth at the right time, etc. Of course, the first and foremost consideration should be the right season and weather for planting in your area. No matter how great your planetary aspects, a coating of snow or hail is probably not going to help your project.

Part I. Preparing the Soil

As the ancient god of agriculture (the one who devours his own children), Saturn rules the soil, so you will want to make sure that it is strong. It preferably should not be in a barren sign, but if that cannot be helped, as it is barren almost 8 years out of 28, you will want some positive indicator of fertility influencing it, such as Venus in Pisces, or Moon in Cancer. The fourth house should be strong as well, as it rules the earth, or at least it should be free of afflictions. Regardless of Saturn’s sign or aspect, turning the soil during an hour of Saturn is highly recommended by the old authorities. I am sure that if you can do your rototilling on a Saturday (yes, Saturn’s day), on a Saturn hour, you get extra Saturn points.

How do you figure out when Saturn hours are happening at your location? Read this helpful two-part guide to calculating and using planetary hours.

The above also applies to fertilizing/manuring the soil prior to planting. William Ramesey, in his chapter on Tillage and Manuring the Soil, reminds us to make the Ascendant and its ruler strong, as well as the Moon and its dispositor. But that is good advice for many astrological elections, and not specific. Going by the rules in the previous paragraph will not steer you wrong, and, if followed over a period of time, should give you some enviably rich soil.

The Gryphon Astrology Blog Is Back

May 7, 2007 by  

Return from the Market

Well, I finally finished my 10 week legal project, and can now devote a lot more time to this blog. I had a lot of fun (yes, it’s possible to have fun as lawyer), and learned a great deal from this case, but I am super ultra excited to be back writing for the astrological community. A big thank you and hugs to all of those who wrote me during the last two months to see if I was still alive; I appreciate it a great deal.

A special welcome to those of you who are reading this after attending my talk in San Francisco on April 26. Thank you for attending and making the event such a success.

I haven’t been tending to my free reading requests queue in the last month, as the requests pile up faster than I can process them. I have modified the system such that unless you receive an e-mail from me saying you will get a free reading, it means the queue is full right now, and you may want to resubmit in a month or so.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.


The Seven Planets and the Seven Deadly Sins

March 10, 2007 by  

Portrait of Young Man

The weakest planet in a natal chart will typically show us to which of the classical “Deadly Sins” one is the most prone. For many of us, we will have more than one such planet, or at least a very bad planet connected to peregrine planets which can be easily influenced by their bad friends. Let us look at Justin Timberlake’s chart again:

Justin Timberlake Horoscope

Earlier, we looked at his natal Sun, and determined that it was very afflicted due to its position in Aquarius, the sign of its detriment. Also, it was afflicted because it was in the sixth house of illness, a traditionally malefic house. The trine to the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Libra was probably not helpful, not the least because Jupiter and Saturn are in the fall of the Sun. However, I do not think that the Sun is the biggest problem for Timberlake. I would bet that his biggest challenge is his Mercury in Pisces in the seventh house of partners and other people. Because the Sun is stashed away in a cadent house, it cannot act very strongly. So it may be a baddie in this chart, but it cannot exercise its influence.

However, Mercury is in its detriment and fall in Pisces, and it is angular, so it is well able to cast its negative influence over Timberlake’s life. No other planet seems particularly able to help it, or keep it in check, certainly not by aspect, though it may experience some help from Jupiter, due to their mutual reception (triplicity and sign). The challenge here is that Mercury is the only angular planet in Timberlake’s chart, so it will pop up again and again in all areas of his life. Most likely, it will describe Timberlake’s partners, and we can assume that his relationships will not be particularly easy as a result.

Taking a big picture view of the chart, Mercury’s deadly sin is envy. Seeing it in the seventh house gives us the sense that there is a strong tendency here to constantly compare oneself against other people, and focusing on what others have that the native does not. The reception with Jupiter, ruler of the fifth house, shows that this tendency is what drives Timberlake’s creative side to some extent. In that sense, it is a positive and productive expression. However, Mercury being as weak as it is here will not give us a great artist, though it certainly may produce a successful one. The royal star Regulus on the Ascendant does not hurt in this respect.

We can do this with any horoscope, so here’s the list of the deadly sins associated with each planet. When the planet is weak, the associated sin will most likely be an important obstacle that the person will have to surmount.

Saturn — greed

Jupiter — gluttony

Mars — anger

Sun — pride

Venus — lust

Mercury — envy

Moon — sloth

—Readers who are interested in a natal reading from Nina Gryphon may contact her via her reading requests form.

The Astrology and Meaning of St. Patricks Day, March 17, 2007

February 19, 2007 by  

Snake Charmer

St. Patrick is an interesting and important Saint, as he is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland. This is symbolized in the well-known story of him driving serpents out of Ireland after one of his sermons. Since there are no snakes native to Ireland, the story must be taken metaphorically.

Serpents are considered the manifestations of pagan beliefs and wisdom, like the well-known ourobouros, the serpent eating its tail. Another famous pre-Christian snake symbol is the two snakes entwining the caduceus, or the staff of Hermes. Even today, that symbol is taken as synonymous with the art of medicine. In that particular image, the staff shows the axis connecting the worlds of heaven, earth, and hell. The snakes show the energy lines connecting these three worlds, with each of the snakes representing the ascending and descending energy lines. The Saint Patrick story shows the abolition of using the energy lines to move between the worlds, a practice connected to pagan shamanism, replacing the personal experience of the unseen with the Christian faith.

Astrologically, there is some interesting symbolism in the choice of March 17 For St. Patrick’s Day (March 17 is supposedly the day that Saint Patrick died, though it’s unclear how accurately that was translated from the old style Gregorian calendar to the new style Julian calendar). On March 17, regardless of the year, the Sun would be in the last few degrees of Pisces, about to move into its exaltation in Aries, the first sign of the zodiac. So there is a sense that an old cycle is dying, and a new way of being is taking its place. This is very appropriate to what we know about Saint Patrick’s efforts to usher in Christianity.

On this particular St. Patrick’s Day, we also see Venus and Mercury in the last degree of Aries and Aquarius, respectively. Venus is moving into its own sign of Taurus, so it is moving from being very weak in Aries to great strength in Taurus. Conversely, Mercury is moving from the relatively good sign of Aquarius into its detriment/fall in Pisces. [This would be a very good day to do that Mercurial style project you might be starting, before Mercury passes through such a weak state in Pisces.] Given the combination of Venus in Aries and Mercury in Aquarius on St. Patrick’s Day, one would think that logistical planning (Mercury in Aquarius) will go without major glitches, but the festivities might get rather out of hand (Venus in Aries).

Free Astrology Readings: Brand New Way to Get a Free Reading

January 4, 2007 by  

Le Billet Doux

Dear Fabulous Folks,

In the interest of preserving my sanity, I have decided to stop accepting free reading requests via email. Rather, I now ask that interested readers visit my Reading Requests page, and fill in the form. This way, I am getting all of the information I need, and you are getting the best reading possible.

In related news, due to circumstances mostly beyond my control, I am now officially well behind on my free readings. In fact, I am so far behind that I am considering starting anew, since I suspect that a few of the questions I am answering have already naturally “expired.” To remedy this crazy situation, here’s what I propose:

1 . If you have previously e-mailed me about a free reading and I promised you one, but you are still patiently waiting, resubmit your question using the Reading Requests page. That way, I will know you are still interested. Otherwise, I will cross the reading request from my list in a few days.

2. I will keep my list of Free Reading questions down to a month (20 readings lined up), instead of three months (the old system). This way, more people would get turned away (I know, and I’m sorry), but the people who are selected would get a timely reading. If you find yourself getting turned away, try resubmitting your question a 2-3 weeks later when the list opens up again.

Thank you for being such fabulous and faithful readers, and have a wonderful New Year!


Electional Astrology: Best Times to Cut Hair in 2007

January 4, 2007 by  

Maid with Yellow Hair

To ring in the New Year (a few days late, but hey), I have put up my revised astrological website, Gryphon Astrology.

I wanted to draw your attention to an article that I just posted on my free astrological articles page, which is too long to put on the blog, but hopefully interesting nonetheless. I found the best astrological times in 2007 for haircuts, depending on your hairstyle needs. The webpage on cutting hair at astrologically determined times lists all of these times and dates so you can make some use of them.

Here is an excerpt from the article:

Electional astrology can be used for mighty tasks (like the founding of Baghdad, which was astrologically elected), or for the most mundane things. The Heavens don’t care – I suspect that from way up high, everything we do seems pretty minute, whether we are fighting wars or taking the dog out for a walk.

I don’t get asked for electional charts for the founding of cities very often, but I do get asked for the best times to get haircuts. To help you find the best times for cutting hair, I have compiled the times below for all of 2007, based on traditional astrological principles.

My Experience with Elected Haircuts

I have had very good results with getting my hair cut at times that I elected. For the last year or so, I have been growing my hair out, so I was going for fast growth and thickness. There is definitely an improvment in the quality and quantity of my hair, and I have started getting a number of compliments on it, without changing the style or color. This is definitely subjective (if you are a researcher who wants to pursue this, let me know), but it works and is also kind of fun.

The categories I investigated were as follows: best times for slow growth, best times for fast growth, and best times for thick hair. I hope you find the list to be of help in your own quest for fah-bulous hair.

Astrology of Christmas: The Star of Bethlehem

December 13, 2006 by  

 Adoration of the Magi - Star of Bethlehem

Around Christmas, there is often some discussion about the nature of the Star of Bethlehem, which led the Three Magi to the infant Jesus. Most writers come to the conclusion that the “Star” must have really been a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn (thanks, Kepler!), which occurred in the assumed year of Jesus’s birth. I believe that this is an incorrect conclusion, for a couple of reasons.

One, there are many documents extant today showing that the people of 2000 years ago knew their planets, and that they knew them better by sight than many people today. I find it difficult to believe that the ancients could not distinguish the conjunction of two familiar planets (Jupiter and Saturn) from a single star. We tend to look at the old stargazers as though they had trouble keeping the very basics straight, but let us not forget that these people could calculate a horoscope from scratch blindfolded (figuratively speaking) and were extremely familiar with the heavens through routine observation.

Two, just by sheer logic, it is easy to see that a unique event such as the birth of Christ could not have been shown by a recurring event, such as the conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. If an event is highly unique, the same should apply to the astronomical configuration mirroring it. We do not get a new Christ every 20 years when Jupiter and Saturn conjoin, or when Jupiter passes through Aries, or conjoins Regulus every 12 years, or whatever.

Part of the problem in determining the nature of the Star of Bethlehem is that we are not sure of the year in which Jesus was born. Presumably, it would have been no later than 4 B.C., when King Herod died, but even so, Jewish records of observed astronomical events around that time are kind of fuzzy. My best guess is that the astronomical event (to the extent it was astronomical, and not a religious vision visible only to a few) would have been unique, like a comet that made a special appearance. Chinese astronomers are supposed to have seen a comet hovering in the heavens for weeks on end in 5 B.C., which would support this theory.

There are a great number of theories about the nature of the Star of Bethlehem, some more plausible than others.   The ones put forth by astronomers tend to be most convincing to me (except when they start theorizing about astrology).  I would love to hear your own thoughts on this.

And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years. (Genesis 1:14)

Back from Vacation!

November 20, 2006 by  

Dear Readers,

I am now officially back from vacation.  It was very restful and energizing, and gave me some great ideas about my new astrology web projects.  I am currently working on a major new project, and will let you know about it when it’s ready to go live.  In the meantime, I just want to say it’s good to be back.

As always, you can email me with any questions or comments at

Nina Gryphon

On Hiatus until November 20

November 6, 2006 by  

Dear readers,

This is just to let you know the blog will be on hiatus until November 20 or thereabouts.  I will be checking my email, however, so if you feel the need to contact me (, feel free to do so.

See you all soon!

Nina Gryphon

Astrology of War – Horary Astrology: Will I Get the Kingship of Africa?

September 29, 2006 by  

Horary Astrology of War - King - Arab Warriors

One of my interests in astrology is looking at horoscopes done at some time in history, because very often they have topics we simply do not encounter today. In the past, it was not uncommon for astrologers to be employed by the nobility or royalty. Part of the reason for this, I think, is that the upper classes, not unlike today, were constantly involved in political intrigue and warfare. If they could find an astrologer to increase their odds of winning, so much the better. Many upper-class individuals still employ astrologers today, though as you may imagine, this is kept under rather tight wraps. When Ronald Reagan’s astrologer went public with the name of her powerful client, that meant the end of the relationship between her and the Reagans.

In this post, however, we are going to return to a happier time, at least for astrologers. The rest of society, as we will see from the chart, was not quite doing so well. This horoscope comes from a book on astrology titled On Reception, which was written in the eighth century A.D. by an astrologer writing in the Arabic astrological tradition, named Masha’ allah ibn Athari. He came from Basra, in modern day Iraq, and was one of the astrologers who created a horoscope for the founding of Baghdad. Baghdad is one of the few cities we know was founded at a specific time under appropriate astrological configurations, by the way.

This is the horoscope of a horary question asked by a Duke who was promised a kingship in Africa by a king. There was only one small problem: the kingship was in the hands of a rebel Lord, and the Duke naturally wanted to know whether he would get the kingship and what would happen to the rebel Lord.

The data for this question has been calculated by Robert Hand in his modern translation of this text. The closest date is December 1, 794 AD, at 4:00 a.m. Universal Time, in Baghdad. This time (yes, 4 am) proves that astrologers had to be on call 24/7.

The chart that is in Robert Hand’s text is not a chart that I could reproduce at my computer. The further back we go into astrological history, the more difficult we find it to reproduce charts in old texts. They simply do not match up to our computer-based databases. If we get the Sun to match its position in the text, Saturn is out of place, and once we put Jupiter where it is in the chart, Mars has suddenly moved 15°. This may be because the old astrologers were not working with ultra-precise instruments, or perhaps there is more to this art than having all the planets in the right places. Somehow, Masha’allah still achieved a high degree of accuracy even though his planets seemed to be where they shouldn’t. Below is my very primitive (but very authentic-looking) mockup of the approximate positions of the planets.

Astrology of War - If Get the Kingship of Africa?

Let us take a look at what is going on with this chart. The Lord of the ascendant is Jupiter, which is in the 10th house of kingship. This, by itself, is not sufficient proof that our man is going to get the throne he desires. Rather, it shows that he is entirely fixated on obtaining the kingship. In Virgo, Jupiter is in its detriment. The Duke is not in a good situation; this is because Jupiter is in the sign of Mercury. And how is Mercury? Bad. It is in Scorpio, retrograde, and in the 12th house of imprisonment. Mercury is also ruler of the seventh house of open enemies. This makes us pause and step back to reconsider the Duke’s question. He is not exactly asking whether he will get the kingship; he has already been granted the kingship by the King. Rather, the Duke wishes to know whether he will defeat his rival. As a result, we are going to be less interested in the 10th house, and more interested in the seventh house. This will tell us who will emerge victorious. This is a close contest.

However, while in the short term, there will appear to be a stalemate, the Duke will eventually win. Here’s why: Jupiter is in the 10th house, in the sign of Mercury. Therefore the rebel Lord has power over the Duke right now. However, Mercury is very weak in the 12 house, so he is in no position to act. What is worse, after spending a little more time relatively safe in Scorpio, Mercury will enter Sagittarius, which is Jupiter’s sign, and the rebel will fall into the Duke’s hands.

In his analysis of this chart, Masha’allah also observes that the enemy’s troops were owed back pay, and by paying part of what they were owed, the Duke would sway them to his side. Since ones support, military and otherwise, is shown by the second house, the rebel Lord’s troops are shown by his second house, the eighth. Mars in cancer retrograde is in this house, and will shortly be opposed by the moon. The moon rules the second house, and therefore represents the soldiers themselves. Both the moon and Mars are very essentially weak, but in strong mutual reception. The troops are not in good shape, and neither is the rebel Lord’s money, which is also shown by the second house. At this point, Masha’allah does a little handwaving, and tells us that the troops are owed money by the rebel Lord, so by paying them, the Duke will effectively disarm the rebel Lord.

It’s fairly hard to believe that Masha’ allah would be able to divine this from the chart alone, and I believe it is more likely that the Duke already had this information and related it to Masha’ allah. But, Masha’ allah was a great astrologer, so I would not cast aspersions on his skill unless I was sure of my argument.

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