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. Only the most cutting edge treatment for your cold 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!

Update (Jan 29, 2015):

The Sun moving into Aquarius removed some of the most acute symptoms of the cold, but I still was tired and got intermittent chills/fevers. The sign change didn’t produce the biggest change. It wasn’t until the evening of January 22, as symbolized by the Sun sextile Saturn (Sun being received by Saturn, so creating a harmonious relationship with The Great Malefic) that I first felt normal. It’s been a big improvement ever since.

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.”

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).

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!

Cancer Ingress 2012 Newsletter

June 23, 2012 by  

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.

Astrology and the Solar Eclipse of May 20, 2012

May 13, 2012 by  

Eclipse of May 20, 2012 - the beguiling of Merlin

The annular solar eclipse of May 20, 2012 at 0 Gemini is one of two solar eclipses of 2012 (the other occurs in November, as eclipses run in pairs six months apart). An annular solar eclipse is named after the Latin word “annulus” or “ring”, and this type of eclipse occurs when the Moon is on the far side of its orbit and appears too small to cover the entire solar disk. As a result, at totality, a narrow ring of solar light is visible around the Moon. Approximately one-third of all eclipses are annular. From first to last penumbral contact, the eclipse will last 3 hours and 33 minutes. The totality of the eclipse will last 5 minutes and 46 seconds.

The eclipse will be visible in Southeast Asia, southern Japan, the Pacific Ocean, and western North America (view a Google Map of the eclipse path here). The traditional perspective on eclipses is that they influence primarily the places where they are visible; from an astrological perspective, eclipses are especially active where they are angular in the horoscope. The duration of the eclipse’s effects in years is equal to the duration of the eclipse, or 3 1/2 years. Thus, we will see the effects of the eclipse through the end of 2015.

The eclipse occurs closely conjunct to the 1st magnitude fixed star Mirfak (alpha Perseus, meaning “the Elbow” in Arabic), which is traditionally seen as the side of Perseus, the famed killer of the Medusa and the sea monster Cetus. The star can be said to give bravery and strength, though it is placed in a warlike constellation ruled by Jupiter and Saturn, according to Ptolemy. Jupiter is for justice, but Saturn is for death. In general, this eclipse may bring earthquakes or big storms – the eclipse occurs in Gemini, an air sign, and its ruler, Mercury, is in an earth sign with Jupiter. Certainly Mercury and Jupiter in Taurus can indicate disturbances and movement in the earth.
Let us look at possible effects of this eclipse on the various localities where it will be visible.

China (Southeastern), Macau, and Hong Kong: China has been involved in an altercation with the Philippine Navy in the South China sea over the last few weeks. Chinese vessels stopped the Philippine government from arresting Chinese fishermen accused of illegally fishing in the resource-rich Scarborough Shoal area. The Chinese online media has been talking up preparations for war, which China’s Defense Ministry has denied. The thought is that China is asserting itself to look in control during its political transition this year. The presence of the eclipse indicates further warlike behavior, as the ruler of the eclipse is Mercury with Jupiter, but as Mars is not prominent in the eclipse chart, we do not believe a war with the Philippines will actually start. This is supported by a lack of contacts between the eclipse and China’s 1949 foundation horoscopes.

The Philippines, however, have the eclipse right on the Midheaven (3 Gemini), and the Eclipse Mars (10 Virgo) falls on the natal Philippine Mars-Moon conjunction in the 1st house. The conflict will continue in the Philippines’ backyard, and while it will not make a ripple in the Chinese horoscope, the tensions – and potential conflict – in the Philippines will likely be high.

Japan: We expect changes in Japan following this eclipse. The country has shut off all of its nuclear reactors in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, and has recently announced the nationalization of Tepco, the private company that operated the Fukushima Daiichi site. The entire management and board will be replaced as Japan attempts to clean up and contain radiation. The warlike posture of Perseus will show itself as people will demand accountability for this unnecessary disaster.

United States: The eclipse will pass through Northern California, within a spitting distance of Sacramento, the state’s capital. The California governor, Jerry Brown, had announced that the California budget shortfall had grown to $16B, in contrast to the estimated $9B, and that in addition to more program cuts, an increase in taxes will be needed. This is a state that already has the highest sales tax in the nation, and the highest top income tax rate. The economic difficulties that currently envelop California will continue with an added hit of drama. There may be increased earthquake activity following the eclipse. The eclipse will be visible from Las Vegas, Nevada and will pass through New Mexico – Albuquerque, as well as Los Alamos.

The eclipse horoscope set for Sacramento, California, is below:

Horary Astrology: Do Invalid Questions Exist?

May 1, 2012 by  

Note: A reader asked me recently whether a horary question about someone I do not personally know (i.e. Madeleine McCann) is valid.  I am not sure where the concept of some questions being invalid came from, as it does not appear in traditional literature; I assume it arose at some point in the 20th century.  Below are some thoughts on this issue. 

Let’s unpack what you mean by “valid.”  Does an invalid question mean that the answer will sometimes or always be incorrect if people ask a certain type of question?  I’ll assume that is what you meant.
Now, let’s take the logic a little further; let’s assume that hundreds of horary astrologers not connected to the McCann situation have asked “Is Madeleine still alive?”  For the sake of argument, let’s posit she is still alive.  Do we really think that all those charts came up with “no” as an answer?   That seems unlikely, so we can assume that questions asked by querents unconnected with the matter will at least sometimes lead to correct answers.  But when?  Does that mean astrology worked at some of those times but not at other times?  That does not seem right.
Does astrology stop working when we ask certain types of questions?  If “as above so below” is true – and Hermes Trismegistus assures us that “true without falsehood, certain, most certain” – then the stars should always reflect reality here on earth without exception.   I have gotten accurate results to questions about situations in the news that interest me, so these questions are clearly valid at least some of the time.
This raises a second question: Even if there really are valid/invalid questions, how far removed from a situation do we have to be for a question to be valid, and who decides where the line is drawn?   Immediate family to the McCanns?  Neighbors who sometimes saw Madeleine?  Friends?  How about acquaintances of the family?  Family of friends of the McCanns?  Any line that we draw between valid and invalid questions must be arbitrary, and not supported by traditional literature to my knowledge.
Why is it insufficient that this is a topic that affects me emotionally?  Presumably, Madeleine’s parents, would be mainly motivated to ask out of their emotional involvement with their daughter.  Is their question invalid?  Or are we letting post-Enlightenment materialism creep in by assuming that there must be a physical connection between us to have a valid question?  It’s well proven scientifically that emotions affect our bodies, so whether little Madeleine lives or dies does, in fact, impact me more immediately than we think.  The only requirement is that we care at least a tiny bit about what happened to this little girl.
I have recently become very conscious of the fact – and this is not about you at all – is that in all areas of life, there are people who set themselves up as authorities who are eager to tell us what is and is not possible and we are very eager to take their word for it.  The Buddha said: “One is one’s own refuge, who else could be the refuge?”  Also, “be a light unto yourselves.”  We cannot take statements of possibility for granted, but rather, let us do the actual hard work to test assumptions.  What is our reward?  The truth, the only thing worth striving for.

Astrology of Missing People: Is Madeleine McCann Still Alive?

April 25, 2012 by  

Children Playing on the Beach

Faithful readers of the Gryphon Astrology blog have read my 2007 post about little Madeleine McCann who vanished without a trace from her parents’ vacation apartment in Portugal, on May 3, 2007.  Recently, Scotland Yard stated they have evidence that Madeleine is still alive and they are investigating this line of inquiry.  Perhaps they read this blog!  In 2007, I wrote that the little girl is most likely alive.

As this is an emotional topic for me (and many readers), I impulsively cast a horary chart when I learned of Scotland Yard’s announcement, asking “Is Madeleine McCann alive?”  The chart is below:

Madeleine McCann Astrology Chart

Short answer: Yes, Madeleine is still alive.  There is a good possibility she will be found.

Long answer:  This is clearly a question about children; we have a Mercury-ruled sign rising, Gemini.  Mercury rules young children, especially those between 4-10.  We also have the Moon and Venus on the Ascendant, so further evidence that this is about a little girl.  Madeleine is represented by the 1st house (William Lilly assigned missing persons we don’t personally know to the 1st house), its ruler, and planets in it.  Any past connection to planets associated with the eighth house would indicate death.

Mercury, ruler of the 1st house, is in the auspicious 11th house, which, according to Lilly, means the person is still alive, however many reports there are of their death.

Saturn rules the 8th house of death in this chart; there is no past connection between Saturn and Madeleine’s planets (Mercury, Venus, or the Moon).  Lilly also says to watch out for oppositions between these planets, which we fortunately do not see here.

Now, the Moon does apply to a trine of Saturn, translating the light of Venus to Saturn.  However, we are optimistic that Madeleine is not in danger.  Saturn is in the 5th house, which is not malefic, and having Venus on the Ascendant is highly protective for the little girl.  Interestingly, Venus will not trine Saturn anytime soon; she will go retrograde a hair before the aspect perfects.

We do see that the Moon has separated from Venus, ruler of the 12th house, which means a past imprisonment or fear of imprisonment.  But interestingly, we do see Mercury and Venus applying to a sextile, and are cautiously optimistic that this brings some news of Madeleine.  This aspect perfects on May 4th, William Lilly says to look at when the ruler of the 11th (Mars) and the ruler of the Ascendant (Mercury) come into aspect to determine when we hear about the missing person.  Mercury trines Mars on the 13th of May.   Let us hope we hear about Madeleine on one of these dates.

Astrology Book Review: Traditional Medical Astrology

March 3, 2012 by  

 

Lee Lehman’s latest book, Traditional Medical Astrology, is out, and it is a rich work with copious detail.  As she points out in her preface, “the study of medical astrology is not especially sexy,” but when we need it, we really need it.   The same is true for this book; there is little flash here but much substance for when the need arises.  Lehman’s book is a good start for those interested in the historical underpinnings of medical astrology – and historical they surely are, since the Western and Middle Eastern application of astrology to medicine originated in antiquity and lasted until the 17th century.  Lehman’s focus and sources are strictly traditional, though she will use the outer planets on occasion to fill in an interpretation.  Note that Lehman is not a medical practitioner.  As a result, we do not see the application of medical astrology to cases under the author’s care, an essential perspective that distinguishes the classics in the field, such as the works of Nicolas Culpeper.  As an overview of the many astrological methods applied to medicine, however, this thorough book is outstanding.

Briefly…

Traditional Medical Astrology is a well-researched overview of traditional astrological medical methods, with a good historical and conceptual overview of the key basics of ancient medicine.  The book covers natal topics, such as the temperament and length of life calculations, in addition to decumbiture/horary charts for specific instances of diseases.  The last few chapters are devoted to electional astrology and prediction of the course of a disease.  A solid reference book for those of us interested in the theory and practice of traditional medicine.

Contents and Structure

In an early chapter, “A Word to the Modern Astrologer,” Lehman encourages readers coming from a modern astrological tradition to dive in.  This strikes me as sensible, given that traditional astrology can be intimidating, due to its plethora of foreign terms and frequent reference to ancient books.  Few of us in this age of superficial knowledge have been educated to grapple with intellectual difficulty, but as with everything, more effort usually equals better results.

Chapter 1, “The History of Medicine and Astro-Medicine” is a good summary of the historical movements of medicine starting with prehistory, with a strong section on the four-humor structure, especially as applied to astrological diagnosis and theory.   In the chapter, Lehman articulates a theory I have long held myself – traditional medicine worked hand in hand with electional astrology to assist in determining the best time for preparation and administration of treatments.  The theory is that astrology fell out of the picture at the end of the 17th century and the treatments were timed according to what is convenient/practical for the practitioner.  Perhaps for this reason, traditional medical treatments lost much of their effectiveness, and modern medicine began to be born from the search for a better alternative.

Chapter 2, “Understanding Hippocratic-Galenic Medicine” provides background on ancient ways of thinking about health and disease, and gets into the specifics of establishing and maintaining humoral balance by keeping the hot, cold, wet, and dry qualities in balance.  This chapter provides some background on the four complexional types – choleric, sanguine, phlegmatic, and melancholic – their personalities and predominant diseases.   There are a few valuable tables here, notably Hippocrates’ injunctions for balancing health practices by the season.  In winter, for instance, we would be required to do lots of walking but eat only one meal daily.  The austere winter regimen is offset by Hippocrates’ recommendation to have as much sex as possible to heat the body (“But honey, the doctor said it’s for my health!”).  In summer, we are encouraged to wrestle in the dust and keep our exercise short and infrequent.

Chapter 3, “The Body, Its Health, Temperament, and Virtue as Shown by the Natal Chart” gets into the eternally disputed methodology for calculating temperament.  Lehman makes a few good points, notably the element of the Sun being used, rather than the season.  I am not convinced that a perfect calculation exists, seeing the temperament as one of the tools in the astrological toolbox, but not necessarily the most important one.  The author then provides a few temperament calculations of celebrities.  It would have been nice to see a few charts for people known to the author that she can comment upon personally; with public figures; it is difficult to know what is reality and what is the public image, especially when it comes to health and the overall constitution.  I enjoy speculation as much as anyone (possibly more), but for teaching purposes, the more first-hand information, the better.

There is an interesting section on Richard Saunders’ natal Almuten of Virtue, which looks to the 5th cusp almuten to see which bodily functions were likely to be impacted for someone.  The 5th house is an unusual choice for a health reading, since we initially look to the 6th or the 1st houses of disease and vitality, respectively.  The 5th rules the liver, however, the traditional seat of vitality, which regulates the humoral balance.   I would have enjoyed seeing additional analysis and examples of this method, especially since Saunders’ method was of his own invention.

Chapter 4, “The Body and Its Diseases As Shown by the Natal Chart” starts with an interesting observation; unlike classical astrology, which mostly cared about the timing of one’s death, modern astrology tries to determine the exact cause of death – will it be cancer or heart disease?  One can hardly wait to find out.  There are difficulties with the modern approach.  The Pluto in Leo generation, in a most inconsiderate fashion, has 36% lower rates of death by coronary heart disease than preceding generations, happily ignoring the fact that Pluto is a malefic and Leo rules the heart.

This chapter is where the author gets into some data crunching.  It would be ideal if she delved into the statistics, and I hope to see more information in Lehman’s future articles or talks.  Comparison of each factor to the norm to see the deviation, a discussion of the sample characteristics, and controlling for variables such as age and sex would be outstanding.   Lehman looks at a sample of about 700 A-rated charts and the natal planetary hour and 1st/6th house rulers represented in heart disease, cancer, and drug abuse.  There are a couple of short sections on traditional analyses of disease, namely by Lilly and Gadbury.

Chapter 5, “The Body and Its Longevity” deals with the traditional length of life calculations.  As in many other books on this topic, the author starts with an apologia, presumably to comfort the more sensitive readers who may be learning of the existence of death for the first time.  This is followed by a substantive listing of Arabian parts around mortality and morbidity, and Morin’s own list of significators for the same.  The author shares some statistics and bar graphs describing the placement of the Arabic parts and planets in heart disease and cancer deaths.

Lehman then walks us through the hyleg and alcochoden calculations that lead to a length of life estimate.  This is a rather complex and hotly contested area of astrology, so the interested reader will want to review as many sources as possible, test many charts, and draw her own conclusions.  As with calculating temperament, no one method works 100% of the time, but some are better than others.  Ten examples are given for the reader to follow along with the author.

Chapter 6, “Astrological Iatromancy” is my favorite chapter, not only because iatromancy is a great word, but also because this is where we learn to apply some of the most useful techniques of medical astrology.   The author discusses the difference between horary (question) and decumbiture (start of illness or diagnosis) charts, and a checklist for evaluating such charts.  Then we are off.  This chapter is where Lehman’s skills and insights as a researcher and compiler really shine.  There is a handy six-step checklist (I bookmarked this page, as it is a great summary), followed by a lengthy list of medical aphorisms (of which there are thousands) from traditional sources including Saunders, Culpeper, Lilly, Hermes Trismegistus, and Blagrave.  She then provides a few charts that she has run through a computer program that has all – yes, all – of the aphorisms in Lehman’s sources.  It is interesting to see all the aphorisms fighting it out amongst themselves, and one cannot help but reach the same conclusion as Culpeper; let us keep our brains in our heads and not in our books.  Each chart is different and applying thousands of rules to it will not give us a magic answer.  The author seems to come to a similar conclusion, as most of the charts consist of her analysis with her six-point checklist, rather than a mindless application of aphorisms.

Chapter 7, “Prediction through Time: Crises and the Development of Disease” is a fascinating topic, as the ancients spent a lot of time evaluating the changes in a disease.  Specifically, astrologers and doctors set charts for the crisis points of the disease and watched for the good and bad aspects in those charts.  Crisis times are when the transiting Moon makes a major hard aspect to the decumbiture Moon.  Judicial (intermediate) times are when the transiting Moon makes a minor hard aspect (semi-square and sesquiquadrate) to the decumbiture Moon.   For chronic illnesses, we look at the same positions of the Sun relative to its decumbiture position. I have used this method for myself when ill, and it works extremely well.  We then see some of the predictive value of solar return charts when it comes to illness and injury.

Chapter 8: “Surgery: Electionals and Events” shows us some rules for surgery, as well as examples of surgical elections and charts for surgeries done without astrological consultation, with discussion of how the procedures had turned out.  The attentive reader will not be surprised to know that the surgery where the #1 rule of medical astrology was violated – never have the Moon in the sign ruling the treated body part – turned out terribly.  The patient almost died and had to have multiple re-dos of the surgery.

Chapter 9: “Non-surgery Electional Astrology: Purges, Diets, and Breaking Habits” provides more opportunities to apply the art of electing the right moment for treatment.  These are the moments that are more electable than surgery; few surgeons have very flexible schedules, but if we want to find the right moment to quit smoking, start a new drug regimen, or start a diet, elections can be helpful.  We see a summary of the therapeutic methods of the Hippocratic/Galenic practitioners, few of which are in common use today; bloodletting, vomiting, purging, enemas, sweating, and diuretic procedures.  Even for today, there are some helpful rules here, e.g.: to stop a nasal discharge, put the Moon in Earth.  Lehman applies the ancient rules for more modern problems, like beginning a weight loss regimen: eat your first “diet” meal on a waning Moon, then once you enter a maintenance phase, do a second chart with lots of fixed signs to keep the weight off.

In Chapter, 10, “Conclusion: When We No Longer Engage in Bloodletting,” the author puts the study of traditional medical astrology in context.  As she points out, U.S. medical expenses have tripled in the last 50 years, yet life expectancy has only risen 10%.  She expects that inevitable cutbacks in medical funding will lead to more alternative treatments, where medical astrologers could find a niche combining their skills with alternative medical modes such as herbalism, traditional Chinese medicine, or homeopathy.

Finally, there are a helpful few appendices: classical concepts necessary for horary (for those brand new from the land of modern astrology), a glossary of terms used in the book, where we may learn the meanings of words such as abstergent and spagyric.  There are a few worksheets for temperament calculation, and medical rulerships of various body parts.  Don’t miss the small but useful table comparing indications of a physical vs. mental or spiritual disease as indicated in horaries.

Observations

I enjoyed delving into this book, as it summarizes many of the traditional medical books on my bookshelf in easy-to-understand modern language. Though it is not a substitute for the classical texts, it provides a painless, accurate introduction to many essential topics that one can learn about in more depth from the masters themselves.  This is not astrology lite by any means, but rather straddles the ground between a reference work and a critical text, as many of Lehman’s books do.  Highly recommended.

—+++—

Traditional Medical Astrology

By: J. Lee Lehman, Ph.D.

Schiffer Publishing, Ltd., 2011

34.99 USD

Available at amazon.com and leelehman.com

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