New Moon in Aquarius, February 18, 2015

February 16, 2015 by  

New Moon at 29.59 Aquarius February 17, 2015

Vincent Van Gogh: Landscape with Couple Walking and Crescent Moon, 1890.

The New Moon of February 18 is the second new Moon in Aquarius this year. Two new moons in one sign are rare, as if two trees grow from one seed. February offers second chances in whatever area of one’s life is represented by Aquarius. Now is a time of return, underlined by the recent Mercury retrograde in Aquarius. Yet we cannot step in the same river twice, for other waters are ever flowing on to us, as said by Heraclitus. Even if it seems that we are doing something again, it really will be different this time. We are now poised at the edge of a metamorphosis disguised as a repetition.

The New Moon occurs in the term of Saturn, using the system of Egyptian terms. Given that the classical domicile ruler of Aquarius is also Saturn, this gives the New Moon a serious, Saturnian flavor, with a tinge of permanence. Aquarius and Saturn both embody long-lasting influences; Aquarius is a fixed sign, and Saturn is the most superior, and thus enduring, of all the planets. The fruits of our new phase will be with us for a long time. We are now putting down roots.

New Moon February 17, 2015, set for San Francisco, California

New Moon February 18, 2015, set for San Francisco, California

The need for change is felt keenly in the last ten degrees of Aquarius, and we desperately wish to just leave things behind. We are done. Austin Coppock’s book, 36 Faces: The History, Astrology and Magic of the Decans, summarizes the dissatisfaction of this decan as follows: “On a spiritual level, this face represents disenchantment with the fabric of everyday life and its petty terrors. It is divine discontent, the same that Siddhartha Gautama felt before he left his comfortable home.” (p 239) This New Moon is eager to leave the present and stride into the unknown future. At 29.59 degrees of Aquarius, we see the very last part of the transition. We may need to do some cleanup, but this New Moon definitively closes one door and opens another.

The New Moon will be especially potent if it is within 6 degrees of a planet, and to a lesser extent, an angle. Six degrees is the moiety (half-orb) of the Moon according to tradition. In this case, the lunation does not aspect other planets, so its character is essentially unimpacted by other planets.

Pushing Power: Astrology 101

February 9, 2015 by  

pushing power astrology - Psyche entering Cupid's Garden

Psyche Entering Cupid’s Garden – John William Waterhouse, 1905

Pushing power is a term found in many traditional texts. It is also called the gift of power, gift of virtue, and pushing strength. The principle is simple: a planet in one of its own dignities (planet A)  applies to aspect another planet B. It’s not very complicated, right? Planet A is pushing its own power, which comes from being in its dignity, to planet B. The gift of planet A’s power enables planet B to act.

So what does “pushing power” mean in a horoscope? In The Beginning of Wisdom, the 12th century rabbi/astrologer Abraham Ibn Ezra says “If the Lord of the Ascendant gave power to the Lord of the house of the matter sought, what is sought will be gotten according to his wishes…” (Introductions to Traditional Astrology, edited/trans. by Ben Dykes, Chapter III.16 “Pushing Power.”) Ibn Ezra is talking about pushing power in a horary context. We want planet A (the ruler of the Ascendant) to be essentially dignified, or at least not lacking in dignity, so that it is in a position to help itself as it aspects the ruler of the quesited house.

Example of Pushing Power in a Horary

In this horary, the Moon in its domicile is pushing its power to Venus, promising the desired outcome. How would you answer if the question was “will this debt get repaid?”

Moon pushing power to Venus

Horary: Moon pushing power to Venus

What if planet A, not planet B, is the ruler of the matter sought after (also known as the quesited in horary)? For instance, the ruler of the second house of money, in one or more of its essential dignities, applies to the ruler of the Ascendant. Ibn Ezra goes on to say about this possibility that obtaining the sought after thing “will be without labor.” This makes sense, since the quesited matter goes to the querent instead of the querent having to make an effort to get it.

Finally, consider this scenario: When planet B is retrograde, it can push power to planet A, assuming planet B is in its own dignities. In that scenario, we have both A and B pushing power to each other, each helping the sought after matter come to the querent.

Mercury sextile Saturn (again) February 5, 2015

February 3, 2015 by  

Mercury sextile Saturn, Couple in a Fantasy Costume by Ferdinand Bol

Couple in a Fantasy Costume by Ferdinand Bol, 17th c.

It is always a strange time when aspects get made, then re-made, then re-made once more. In January and February, Mercury retrograde in Aquarius sextiles Saturn in Sagittarius three times. The dates for Mercury sextile Saturn are, in Pacific Time, January 5 (Mercury direct), February 5 (Mercury retrograde), and February 19 (Mercury direct).

January 5: Mercury 1 Aquarius sextile Saturn 1 Sagittarius.
February 5: Mercury 3 Aquarius sextile Saturn 3 Sagittarius.
February 19: Mercury 4 Aquarius sextile Saturn 4 Sagittarius.

If either planet makes a close aspect to a planet or angle in your natal horoscope, you will have experienced their dynamic through January and into the first half of February.

Mercury sextile Saturn describes a process that began in early January and will complete in mid-February. Serious or practical communications, such as important documents, contracts, or negotiations will be important during this time. Research and moving house are possible. Mercury is retrograde in a fixed sign, so the process will go slowly and seem to drag on and on. Slowness is characteristic of fixed signs, retrograde motion, and Saturn. Mercury, ordinarily a fast planet, must be very frustrated. Mercury is in Aquarius for each of these sextile aspects to Saturn, so throughout the process Mercury is received by Saturn into Saturn’s domicile. Reception by a malefic helps ensure that the relationship is constructive, though not necessarily fun or easy.

Mercury sextile Saturn Rejection (the Opposite of Reception)

One more twist on this sextile is that Saturn is placed in Sagittarius, which is the detriment of Mercury (I thank the Starlight Knight blog for drawing my attention to this “rejection.”) The medieval astrologer Sahl bin Bishr describes this scenario. Applied to our Mercury sextile Saturn in Sagittarius: “It was as if [Saturn] came to [Mercury] from the house of [Mercury’s] greatest enemy, and [Mercury] will not receive [Saturn], does not come near it, nor esteem it.” (The Works of Sahl and Masha’allah, trans. Benjamin Dykes. The Introduction, Section 5.9, p. 32-34)

Mercury sextile Saturn describes a finely balanced negotiation, reflecting delicate, drawn-out operations and diplomatic maneuvers. One party (Mercury) has serious reservations about the relationship, but cannot let go (repeated sextile). The other party is quite welcoming (Saturn receiving Mercury), but the welcome is insufficient for Mercury to commit to the terms offered by Saturn. How will it end? Saturn is a superior planet, while Mercury is inferior. All things being equal, Saturn is more likely to get its way than Mercury.

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?


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:

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