Astrologer Interview: James H. Holden (Part 4)

September 7, 2008 by  

This is the last part of Gryphon Astrology’s interview with astrologer, translator, and author James Herschel Holden.  If you are just joining us, read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 here.

JH: You asked me are there any particular techniques or areas that I favor. I guess looking back over the years I have been particularly interested in reading personality out of a chart. In fact, I wrote a paper on that that was published in our Journal of Research a few years ago. As you well know, trying to make predictions and put specific dates on them is hard to do with great accuracy, but we can do it to some extent. And we all try it. I mean if somebody gives you their birth date, then you put the chart up, and you can look at the thing, and you can pretty much tell what kind of person you’re dealing with there. To me that’s particularly fascinating, to try to work out the personality from the chart.

I might mention what’s in my paper, and I have a devised a technique that works for me, and I’ll mention it to you. It’s very simple, and you might try it yourself. The first house, the ascending sign, shows you the animal nature of the person. Now what I mean by animal nature is that this is the instinctive thing. If somebody suddenly says something to you, asks you a question, or somebody trips you up, or hits you, or says, “look at that.” You have an instant reaction to it, and this is a reaction that’s without thought. It’s what’s natural – that’s the ascendant, as I said.

And I will give an example with animals. If you have a rabbit sitting in the floor in front of you, a pet rabbit, and you throw a ball of yarn down in front of it, he’ll turn around and run away from it. If you throw it down in front of your pet cat, he’d pounce on it. That’s animal nature. This is the thing that you see with the ascendant. It’s what you do without thinking!

The Moon is the conscious mind inside your head, it’s what you think. And the Sun is a kind of a censor that sits there in the background. It’s kind of like a backseat driver. It says you’re going too fast or turn left here or something like that. And I think if you look at a chart like that, why it makes a whole lot of sense and you can read personality pretty well with that kind of technique.

And since there are three areas, and each one can be in a different sign, or in the same sign, or something, you’ve got 1,728 different combinations. And that’s about how many different kinds of people we might run across in the world. Now if you’ve got a planet in any one of those, obviously, that modifies it. For example, if you’ve got Mars in the first house then violence, to some extent, comes natural to you. If somebody comes up and hits you on the shoulder, you may turn around and slap them without even thinking about it.

On the other hand if you’ve got Mars in conjunction with your Moon or strongly configured with it or something like that and somebody slaps you, why you may think, I guess I ought to hit him, but I don’t know whether I want to do it or not. You’ll think about it before you do it.

And if you’ve got Mars with the Sun, then the Sun says it’s okay to hit if you want to. It’s kind of a censor. I see the Sun as a censor. It doesn’t necessarily tell you what to do, but it tells you what it thinks is right and what it thinks is wrong. We have all had the experience of saying something and then instantly wishing we hadn’t said it. And very often, why that is the Sun down there saying, oh No, that wasn’t righ; you shouldn’t have said that. And it popped out because either the ascendant popped it out instantly, or the Moon thought it up and put it out. But the Sun said: that doesn’t suit my personal, ethical standard; you shouldn’t have said that. I think if you look at a chart like that, I believe it’ll make more sense than the usual way that people do.

Now part of that you can trace back to some old writer. I think Alan Leo said something that agrees with part of that, but not the whole thing. I have found in the old books that there was always a lot of confusion over what does the Sun mean and what does the Moon mean and which one is the personality. Well, I think the personality really is the ascendant.

When you first meet somebody, you see him. You size people up from their looks, their physical appearance, and that’s the ascendant. When you get to know them, then you talk to them and then your Moon is evaluating what their Moon has them say. And if you get to know them real well, why, then maybe you get down to the Sun sign level and you see that their ethical standard either agrees with yours if you’ve got the same Sun sign or else it’s different.

One other thing that I’ve been interested in over the years is the house problem. Are we going to use Placidus? Are we going to use Regiomontanus? Are we going to use Koch? Are we going to use Sign-House? What are we going to use? And I would like to recommend that you take a look at what I call Sign-House, and some people call Whole Sign. But Sign-House is what I call it.

The way this works, you look at the ascendant, and no matter what the degree is, the sign that’s there, the whole sign, is the first house. Now if you’ve got twenty degrees of Aries coming up, then all of Aries is the first house. And all of the next sign is the second and the one after that’s a third.

Now this was the original system. This is what the people that invented it in the 2nd century BC came up with. And I’m not saying that they were smarter than us, or that since they did it that way, why, we ought to all fall in line and say hi-ho we’ll use it too, and so on. But I recommend you try that. I have tried it and I usually put a chart up in Placidus if it’s a natal chart. And then I look at it the other way.

I wrote a paper sometime back that was published in our monthly publication, Today’s Astrologer. It had the horoscope of Mussolini. And if you draw the chart in Placidus, or Regiomontanus, either one, I don’t think the house position suit him nearly so well as they do if you use Sign-House. For example, I think if you do it with either Regiomontanus or Placidus you’ve got the Sun and Mercury in the ninth house. If you do it with Sign-House, they’re in the tenth in Leo. Look at the kind of guy he was. He was a flamboyant speaker. He got up and blah, blah, blah to everybody, and people just ate that up.

Also, the other thing, is that he had the Moon and I think Mars and Saturn in the seventh house with Placidus and Regiomontanus. But if you do it in Sign-House, it’s in the eighth. How did he die? He got nailed by some partisans and they strung him up and machine gunned him. And that perfectly fits.

And all I’m saying is, try it. Now here’s the other advantage to that: It’ll work everywhere. If you take the city Murmansk. Now it is above the Arctic Circle and there’s 300,000 people that live there. And using Regiomontanus or Placidus, you cannot draw their horoscope. But with Sign-House you can do it. And even if somebody’s born at the North Pole, they’ve got zero Libra rising and you’ve got a sign for each house all the way around. And it seems to me that if the thing’s true it ought to work everywhere.

I’m not saying that Placidus is wrong or Regiomontanus is wrong,but I’m saying try this other one, and I think you’ll see some samples right in your own chart. And if it moves some planets into another house, well, look at it and say, now which one of those really suits me best. And the further north you are the more likely it is that they are going to move them into different houses. And I think putting up a chart using any of the quadrant systems in Stockholm, for example, where you can have houses that only have eight or nine degrees in them and others that have two whole signs; that doesn’t seem to make any sense.

I’m just saying here’s something that I discovered that people used at the dawn of time, and maybe you ought to take a look at it.

NG: My last question was if you’re related to Sir William Herschel [the discoverer of the planet Uranus].

JH: Oh, I’m sorry to say that I’m not. Sir William was German. He was born in Hanover I think. And I’m nearly all English with a tiny bit of Scotch in there some place. I don’t know where the name Herschel came from. My grandfather Holden’s middle name was Herschel. He was Albert Herschel Holden.

And he was the first in our family that ever used the name Herschel, and why in the world he had that middle name, I’ve never been able to discover. He’s long since passed away so I can’t ask him. I wish I was kin to Sir William, but I’m not.

I’ve got to tell you something funny though. I’m interested in genealogy. I discovered quite by accident that I was kin to Doris [Chase] Doane [former president of the AFA]. Yes. She and I were about tenth cousins I think. Now that isn’t very close but her maiden name was Chase, and if I go way back up to my great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfathers, one of them was named Chase. [Doris Chase Doane] was directly descended in the Chase line from that one. I was indirectly descended, I think one of this granddaughters married a man named Sergeant; and straight down the Sergeant line was my paternal grandmother, who was Cordelia Sergeant Holden. And so Doris and I were very distantly related. And I found that out just a few years before she passed away, and we kind of had a little bit of a laugh over that.

JH: This is for you or anybody else that’s bought one of my books. If anybody has got one of my books and they read something they don’t understand, let me know about it. Send me an e-mail and say, hey on page thirty-seven it says this, and that desn’t make any sense, or I don’t know what you’re talking about, and I’ll be glad to answer their question.

And let me say this about my latest book, The Five Medieval Astrologers. I solicit comments from anybody that’s bought the book. If you like it, tell me you like it. If you say, well, you should have done so and so in this part of it, or I read this, and I don’t understand it, why, let me know about that too, because this is feedback. And if we can fix it, we will.

JH: [On William Lilly] I’ve got a Master’s Degree in English and I was able to write my thesis on William Lilly. “William Lilly Christian Astrologer: a Biographical and Critical Study.” How about that? It’s probably the only astrological thesis that the University ever accepted.

But anyway in Chaucer in the Canterbury Tales, which I suppose you have read. You remember the Doctor of Physic? And in one place it says of him, “Gladly would he learn, and gladly teach.” And I have adopted that as a motto. I mean I like to learn things, and if somebody asks me a question, then I’ll do my darndest to answer it.

Astrology Book Review: The Consultation Chart (by Wanda Sellar)

September 3, 2008 by  

The practice of casting a horoscope for the moment of the consultation is quite ancient, though until now, there has not been a full-length book devoted to the subject. It is fairly rare to see an astrologer using this method today, though when I first started learning about astrology, I thought it was common practice!

The first astrologer I ever consulted was a very hip and alternative-looking lady with a sparkly purple sweater and a laptop in Seattle, Washington. I sat down at her table at the local New Age shop, not knowing what to expect. She pulled up a chart on her computer and started telling me why I had come to see her. I confirmed her analysis of my situation, and she answered my question based on the chart, pulled a few tarot cards for good measure, and sent me on my way (her prediction was correct, by the way). This experience obviously skewed my impression of what a typical astrological consultation entailed, with the result that I was hooked on predictive techniques from Day One.

Wanda Sellar describes a very similar procedure, sans tarot cards. She casts a chart for the moment the astrologer and client meet, with the ascendant and ascendant ruler of the chart representing the client, her mental and emotional state, and specific concerns. At this point, the consultation chart reading looks very similar to a horary reading, whereby applying aspects represent the future, and separating aspects show past events. In fact, one might say that the consultation chart is a horary chart with the question unknown to the astrologer. Sellar’s book proposes to teach the reader just how to interpret a chart with two unknowns; the question and the outcome.


The Consultation Chart is a terrific introduction to this ancient method. Make no mistake about it; the author uses modern house meanings, all of the outer planets, including Chiron, and sometimes takes a psychological approach to the chart. In that sense, The Consultation Chart is a modern astrology book that teaches an ancient method. The book contains thorough explanations of the meaning of the ascendant, planetary movement, planetary house and assigned positions, and detailed house meanings, all in the context of the consultation horoscope.

The most absorbing part of the book are the case histories, forming about one third of the volume. The author’s interpretations are crisp and succinct, helping the reader understand how the author arrived at her conclusion. There is a lovely assortment of various horoscopes for our study, including a chapter on “spooks,” showing consultation charts of clients asking about family members and loved ones beyond the grave.

A book that is highly recommended both for traditional and modern astrologers; the consultation chart method has much to recommend it for speed and accuracy. In Wanda Sellar, the method has found an experienced and gifted proponent.

Contents and Structure

Chapter 1 plunges the reader right into interpretation of the ascendant sign of the consultation chart, followed by a checklist of observations about the ascendant ruler, which will help the astrologer understand what is going on with the client. We are then briefly introduced to the planetary dignities.

Chapter 2 is a brief overview of the way planets interact, much like we would find in an explanation of basic horary concepts such as combustion, prohibition, and the somewhat controversial considerations before judgment. Chapters 3 through 5 give us a detailed tour of the planets and their meaning in the signs. The author uses the planetary dignities to assess the strength of the planet, or whoever the planet represents (a client, their significant other etc.), a more traditional approach. In chapter 5, outer planets are treated as something between full-fledged planets and fixed stars, one example of the blending of traditional and modern approaches we see frequently in this book.

Chapter 6 discusses the nodes and Chiron. Chapter 7 is a detailed explanation of each House, along with a short description of the meaning of each planet in the houses. The houses are interpreted with both modern and traditional meanings. Following are six chapters on case histories; career questions, health concerns, relationships, spooks, consultation/natal horoscopes together, and interpreting the turned chart.

In the examples provided, the author seems to take a more traditionalist approach, though she does use the minor aspects, with a stronger emphasis on the traditional house meanings. It is very instructive to see an experienced astrologer working through a chart where she has very little background knowledge of the situation. That takes confidence and serious astrological chops, both of which are evident throughout the book.


Wanda Sellar’s book is very timely, in that it gives astrologers an easy way to incorporate a traditional method into their practice, with both an increase in client satisfaction and accuracy. The consultation chart is very clear and efficient, and often cuts right through to the client’s real concerns. It takes practice to become good at this method, as the astrologer’s usually reading the chart on the fly, right there in front of the client. The Consultation Chart gives the reader everything they need to start working with the consultation chart themselves.


The Consultation Chart: A Guide to What It Is and How to Use It

By: Wanda Sellar

Wessex Astrologer, 2001

14.50 GBP (about double in USD)

Available from,, and

Astrology 101: An Easy Way to Predict Your Fate

August 20, 2008 by  

Accurate astrological prediction is supposed to be complex and incredibly time-consuming. It can be, and if you want detailed predictions, you will have to put in serious time studying the natal chart, directions/progressions, and other steps. However, there is an easy method for determining how good your life will be. Joseph Crane mentions it in his book, Astrological Roots (click for review), but the method comes from the ancient Greek astrologer Dorotheus, whose book, Carmen Astrologicum,  or the Song of Astrology, is widely available in English today.

Everyone’s life has peaks and valleys, times of good fortune and bad, and this method accounts for those variations. But this is not just about one’s material well-being, though of course money will play its role. This method shows which parts of our lives will be happier and easier than others.

Predicting with Dorothean Triplicities

Here is the basic method, step by step:

1. Examine the natal chart. Note which planets are strong or weak by sign, house, and aspect.

2. Determine the length of the native’s life. This is tricky, and merits a full chapter in a book, if not a book in itself. If you’re not familiar with this technique, you can use 75 years for our purposes, and be right much of the time.

3. Identify the luminary of the time (i.e.: the sect luminary). For those born at night, this will be the Moon; the Sun rules day births.

4. Note the elemental triplicity (earth, fire, water, air) of the sect luminary. Look up the planets in the table below, noting their order. For day births, note the planets in the order written. If you were born at night, the planet marked N will go first, then the planet marked D, followed by P:


Sun (D)

Jupiter (N)

Saturn (P)


Saturn (D)

Mercury (N)

Jupiter (P)


Venus (D)

Moon (N)

Mars (P)


Venus (D)

Mars (N)

Moon (P)

5. Each planet rules one third of your life. The happiness during that third of your life will depend on the strength of the planet in question.

Example: Barack Obama’s Horoscope

We can try out this method, with abbreviated commentary, on Barack Obama’s horoscope, which is below.

Barack Obama's Horoscope

Obama was born just after sunset, but it was still daylight, so we can consider his horoscope diurnal. Therefore, the sect luminary is the Sun in Leo. Leo is of the fiery triplicity, so the first third of his life is ruled by the Sun, the second by Jupiter, and the last by Saturn.

First third of Obama’s life – Sun in Leo, ruler of the 7th house, placed in the 6th house.

The strength of the Sun in its own sign tells us that Obama’s youth was generally positive, but the sixth house rules slavery and low social status, which might indicate difficulties early on in life. The sixth house also rules illness. Because the Sun rules the seventh house of other people, significant others, and open enemies, we might assume that he suffered through interpersonal relationships at this time, and that they created obstacles for him.

Second third of Obama’s life – Jupiter rx in Aquarius in the 12th house, ruling the 2nd and 11th houses, opposing Mercury in Leo in the 6th house, trine the Moon in Gemini in the 4th house.

This part of Obama’s life is auspicious for his career and wealth, as Jupiter rules the 11th house of good fortune and ambition, and the second house of money. Jupiter is moderately strong, as it is a triplicity ruler of Aquarius, but it is afflicted by house placement in the malefic 12th house of secret enemies, and by being retrograde. This might indicate partial success, but hindrances from enemies and secrets. There could also be health issues at this time, because the sixth/12th house polarity is involved. The Moon is relatively weak in Gemini, and ruling the sixth house might cast aspersions on his heritage (Moon in the 4th).

Last third of Obama’s life – Saturn rx in Capricorn in the 12th house, ruling the 12th and 1st houses, trine Mars in Virgo in the 8th, square Fortuna in the 3rd.

The last part of Obama’s life will be good, though not without some suffering. Saturn is a malefic placed him in the 12th house, so again we see suffering through hidden enemies. The contact to Fortuna promises financial success, but not without effort. Saturn’s trine to Mars might bring career success, as Mars rules Obama’s 10th house of success and fame. However, the weak house placement of the two planets indicates incomplete success, or even harm through his public standing.

Take a look at your own chart and see what comes up using this method. Is it accurate for you?

Astrological Predictions for 2007 – Jupiter in Sagittarius/Jupiter in Capricorn

December 13, 2006 by  


Jupiter, Mercury and the Virtue - Jupiter in 2007

This article is the first of a series about astrological predictions for 2007. Look for more 2007 predictions throughout the month of December, so that you are fully prepared for the new year.

Jupiter will move into Capricorn on December 19, 2007.

Jupiter will exit Sagittarius and enter Capricorn, which is the astrological equivalent of being thrust from a lavish party straight into the gutter. This is because Jupiter rules the sign Sagittarius, and is in its fall in the sign of Capricorn. Obviously, this does not bode well for Jupiter, but until it changes signs next December, there is much you can do.

Does Jupiter rule an important house in your chart? Yes, I know that all the houses are important, but some are more important than others. For example, if Jupiter rules your second house of finances, and is not horribly afflicted, its passage through Sagittarius might be a good time to do financial stuff. This could be anything from reorganizing your finances to looking into investments. Starting Jupiterian projects when Jupiter enters Capricorn is not going to be pleasant, and you will only get another good shot at this once Jupiter enters Pisces in 2009.

Jupiter – First Station at 19° Sagittarius on April 6, 2007; Second Station at 9° Sagittarius on August 7, 2007.

For the four months that Jupiter is retrograde, doing Jupiterian stuff is not the best idea. It does not mean that all your efforts will come to naught, but if you’re looking for optimal moment to do something, that four month period probably isn’t it. If you absolutely have to move on something then, Jupiter is still in Sagittarius, so it’s not all going to hell.

It is interesting that Jupiter will make its second station on the fixed star Antares. Antares is a Royal fixed star, though it is kind of malefic and seems to imply that a person will somehow overreach and fall from grace. Antares is considered the heart of the constellation of the Scorpion (which has gradually moved into Sagittarius due to the slow movement of the fixed stars over the centuries and millennia). There is no star more Scorpionic than Antares, and it is of Mars and Jupiter nature. So there is a real tendency with Antares for unbridled empire-building through war. This tendency to overdoing things can be present in Jupiter as well, but the danger is much less when Jupiter is in its own sign, where it is very benefic.

Should you undertake new things when Jupiter is on Antares? If you are a risk taker, or you’re going to do Antares-type things, like start building an empire which may one day cause your fall from grace, go for it. On the other hand, if you’re a quiet and conservative soul, I would highly advise against it.

— If you are interested in a personalized astrological recommendation of when to undertake an important project in 2007, you may contact Nina Gryphon at

Celebrity Astrology: Wealth in the Horoscope – When Would He Acquire Wealth?

September 27, 2006 by  

Wealth in the Horoscope - Cardinal Richelieu

Yesterday, we looked at the potential of wealth in a famous person’s horoscope. In the natal chart of Cardinal Richelieu, we saw that his second house Mars and to a lesser degree, 10th house Venus, would contribute to his great wealth. Given that Cardinal Richelieu was born into the minor nobility, there was likely already some amount of money in the family (do we do not know just how much), so when we see the great increase in wealth that his chart shows, we know that on an objective scale, he will end up quite wealthy.

So then, if the Cardinal came to us as a client, he would of course want to know when this wealth was likely to materialize. We already know from our examination of Cardinal Richelieu’s horoscope yesterday, that his wealth would come through his own efforts, and through royalty, specifically the Queen. It now remains to be seen at what time these influences would be most active in his life.

We can use the old Arabic system of triplicity rulers, also sometimes known as the Dorothean triplicities. The list of the Dorothean triplicities is on the Gryphon Astrology website, in the ancient text section. We look at the triplicity rulers of the Cardinal’s second house, using the order of the triplicity rulers given. The order given is: Venus, Mars, and the moon. We can thus divide the Cardinal’s life into three thirds. We know the first third will be ruled by Venus, the second third by Mars, and the last third by the moon. It is quite convenient when the chief significator of wealth appears as one of the three triplicity rulers, as it does here. Since we have determined that Mars signifies wealth for the Cardinal, we can safely say that his wealth (and the greatest increase in wealth) will come during the second third of his life.

Thus the wealth in the first third of his life will be pretty good, because it is ruled by an angular and elevated Venus. However, Venus does not have much essential dignity in 3° of Leo, so we know that while the Queen will be helpful in setting Richelieu on the right career path (10th house), and he will do fairly well financially as a result, the real wealth will not arrive until the second third of his life, ruled by the essentially and accidentally strong Mars in Scorpio on the ascendant.

The last third of his life will still be okay, wealth wise, but nowhere near the levels seen during the second third of his life. In his natal horoscope using the Placidus house system, the moon rules the Cardinal’s ninth house of faith, religion, and the Church. How is the moon? Not great; it is in the fifth house, which is not terribly strong, it opposes the Sun (and affliction to any planet because of the Sun’s burning beams), and has little dignity in 19 Pisces. Financially, Richelieu seems to have done just fine during the last third of his life, though he had spent vast sums of money on building his Palace in Paris, which was filled with major artistic treasures. The fifth house is the house of pleasure, so we see financial expenditures in that arena. Too, the moon suffers by the opposition to the Sun, which can mean the King’s money, or his ministers. Richelieu spent a lot of time and effort on quelling the various conspiracies against him, and it is unknown whether the King continued to reward him as generously as he had earlier in his career.

Then, if we wanted to know more specifically when Richelieu is great wealth would arrive, we would look at more time-the specific prediction methods. However, as an overall picture of the life, the triplicity rulers tell us quite a bit.

Horoscope - Cardinal Richelieu - Wealth in the Horoscope

That Something Extra in Astrology

August 16, 2006 by  

Medieval Justice

After a brief but relaxing hiatus, the blog is back with all sorts of deep-thinking ideas to stimulate your astrological nerve endings. —Gryphon AKA Nina

Can a merely competent astrologer ever become a great astrologer? Or, to put another spin on the issue, what distinguishes a cook who can whip up a reasonably tolerable and theoretically correct soufflé from one whose soufflé takes you to transcendent gastronomic heights and leaves you begging for more? This has been an issue that has puzzled me for quite some time, as I know many very competent modern and traditional astrologers, those practicing horary astrology, electional astrology and natal astrology, ones who are very familiar with astrological terminology, give clients astrological answers which are often right, at least in a general sense, and in all other respects have done their homework.

As a completely unscientific theory backed only by empirical evidence, I propose that in any given field, including but not limited to astrology (traditional astrology or modern astrology) the twenty percent rule applies. Thus, roughly twenty percent of astrologers can be said to have a good, solid technical command of their respective astrological fields, and they have put in the years of study and practice to make them the best they could humanly become. The question I wish to address in this article is: What distinguishes the very competent twenty percent from the ultra-amazing one percent?

Lest we get lost in a maze of fuzzy definitions (which, I confess, I use in abundance), let us look at this ultra-amazing one percent. I have this stubborn tendency, perhaps born of studying too much pragmatic traditional astrology, to define the quality of an astrologer based on the results he gets, rather than on the number of talks he gives, or the number of brightly-colored books he churns out. In my necessarily limited sample, I have found that the one-percenters are often not just right, they tend to be spectacularly right in their astrological predictions. They can often be recognized posthumously (which is too late for most of us), not based on the number of glowing eulogistic articles written about them, but by talking to their former clients and associates, who acknowledge that in losing that person, the world has lost a great astrologer.

Like any other group at the top of their field, the astrological one-percenters are both born and made. However, from a traditional natal astrological perspective, we can often locate several indicators of “specialness,” showing us that the person will really get somewhere. The more and starker indicators one has, the better, since we are dealing with degrees of goodness, rather than discrete steps from one level to another.

My rough guidelines are as follows:

  1. Pre-natal eclipse indicators (the more and the stronger, the better)
  2. The fixed stars on important points (royal fixed stars are great, but any fixed stars appropriate to the person’s field are extremely helpful as well)
  3. The Moon and/or Mercury strong and engaged (we are talking about a skill here, so the innate intelligence is important)
  4. Something good going on with Fortuna, and
  5. Astrological evidence of the willingness to make an effort. This is important, as the world is littered with people with astrological (or any other) talent, but with no willingness to put in the hard work needed to rise to the top. Having a melancholic temperament, for example, can be helpful. Lots of fixed signs are not bad, either. A little Saturn, a dash of Mars can be good as well, provided they are in helpful condition.

Example Astrological Natal Chart – Robert Shapiro

Now, I will not use the chart of an astrologer, either as an example of being spectacularly great or really terrible, for the obvious reasons that opinions may differ and egos are notoriously fragile creatures. Rather, I will use the natal astrological chart of a well-known American lawyer, Robert Shapiro, perhaps the best known for his representation of O.J. Simpson in his murder trial. Shapiro is considered a very skilled and talented lawyer, detail-oriented, and 100% committed to his clients. For a trial lawyer, he has managed to remain relatively uncontroversial and well-liked. When his young son was found dead of a drug overdose in October 2005, the death drew many heartfelt condolences from the general public.

Robert Shapiro Horoscope

Let us step through the above astrological criteria one by one:

  1. Prenatal eclipse contacts? Yes. The preceding lunar total eclipse has Shapiro’s natal Moon on the eclipse Ascendant. In the natal astrological chart, the Moon is in the 9th house of the law and higher learning, and rules the 11th house of money from the career. Too, Shapiro’s natal Ascendant is right on the eclipse Mercury in Virgo. In his natal astrological chart, Mercury is in the 1st house, which it rules, along with the 10th house of career. We can immediately discern that this person is going to have a successful career, of the Lunar or Mercurial sort. Being a popular trial lawyer certainly satisfies both counts.
  2. Fixed stars? Yes. Shapiro has Denebola on his prominently positioned Mars in his natal chart. Denebola is of the nature of Saturn and Venus, and according to Robson “gives swift judgment, despair, regrets, public disgrace, misfortune from the elements of nature, and happiness turned to anger, and makes its natives noble, daring, self-controlled, generous and busy with other people’s affairs.” The last seems especially apropos for a lawyer, doesn’t it? Though with Mars, the star can give fall from power and grace.

Alnitak, of the nature of Jupiter and Saturn, is on the MC, giving a powerful astrological testimony of both skill and luck. Robson says: Strength, energy, industry, organizing abilities, notoriety, good fortune, lasting happiness, a sharp mind and a good memory.

Moon and Mercury strong and engaged? Both are engaged from the previous eclipse, and Mercury is especially strong. Not terribly powerful essentially, but strongly placed and dispositing 5 planets in the chart. The Moon is not as helpful, but we know it will be very important due to the pre-natal placement regardless.

  1. Moon and Mercury strong and engaged? Both are engaged from the previous eclipse, and Mercury is especially strong. Not terribly powerful essentially, but strongly placed and dispositing 5 planets in the chart. The Moon is not as helpful, but we know it will be very important due to the pre-natal placement regardless.
  2. Something good going on with Fortuna? Yes. Dispositor is Mercury in the first house, not aspecting Fortuna, however. Angular Mars aspects Fortuna, and also receives great support from a very strong Jupiter in the 10th house. We can see that the business associates and clients will be very beneficial to the native’s fortune, which will come primarily from his career. Easy!
  3. Evidence of hard work? Yes. The temperament is predominantly melancholic; certainly very dry, and tending toward cold. This person can definitely work hard. We have already established that we have a strong Mars, showing a good drive, though Saturn is not bad, it is not as great as we would like. So we get an ambitious, hard-working type, which bodes well for success.

Astrology of Current Affairs: Hurricane Katrina…Back for an encore in 2006?

June 4, 2006 by  

Hurricane Katrina - Fish in Bestiary

The widespread and unnecessary disaster caused by Hurricane Katrina in 2006 is just beginning to drop out of the news. Of course, it’s just the beginning of the new hurricane season, and with global warming being what it is, experts say hurricanes will become more and more powerful and destructive. The question on everyone’s mind is “will there be another Katrina for New Orleans?” For another similar disaster would surely bring the city to its knees for a long time.

We do not have the founding chart of New Orleans, since it, like most cities, just sort of accumulated over time. There are some historical charts floating around, but it is unclear how useful they are in predictive work. The best we can do is to use a Cancer Ingress chart set for New Orleans. Let us first look at the 2005 chart to see how Katrina shows up. With Ingress charts, we must be very careful, since the planetary configurations are identical anywhere in the world (and it is funny to see some modern astrologers cast charts for a particular location and seeing death and destruction visited upon their own hometown…the same aspects are happening world-wide, folks!). Thus, we will have to watch out for close aspects to angles and their rulers, since that is the only thing that will make the New Orleans chart unique from, say, the Washington, D.C. chart.

Astrology of Eclipses - Hurricane Katrina - Cancer Ingress 2005

So back to our 2005 chart. Doesn’t look too bad, right? At least that’s what I thought when I first glanced at it. Mars, Lord 1, rules the location for the duration of the summer season. It is essentially strong, but accidentally (and remember, accident is what counts in these charts) very weak in the 12th house. The preceding eclipse is lunar, and as such has a luminary above the ground, which makes the effects strong, according to Lilly. Further, the eclipse will be partially visible from North America, further increasing its effects on especially the eastern part of the United States. So this eclipse will have a lot to say about the hurricane season in New Orleans. The Lord of the eclipse is Mars, ruling the elevated Moon in Scorpio (double whammy of wetness). Mars is in a hot and moist sign in the eclipse chart, which adds yet more moisture to an already drenched eclipse. Lilly writes that when an eclipse happens in the watery triplicity, it “presages a rot or consumption of the vulgar sort of people [these were the hardest hit group in the entire Katrina devastation, as the poorest areas of New Orleans were most affected by the broken levees]…destruction of Water Foul, great inundations and overflowings of the Seabanks [!].” And this eclipse was not even angular in New Orleans – merely elevated, and then “plugged in” to the Cancer Ingress.

Astrology of Eclipses - Hurricane Katrina - Eclipse of 4/24/2005

In the Ingress chart, Mars is also opposed by Jupiter, the planet of rain. Jupiter (and hence Mars) squares the IC/MC axis of one’s position in the world. Jupiter will afflict the city’s standing – despite being a benefic, here it is a rather malefic influence, due to its contact with Mars and the angles. Jupiter is not done with New Orleans yet – it is conjunct Vindemiatrix, a star of the nature of Saturn and Mercury. It is generally malefic, and is specifically associated with overreaching and causing one’s ruin. Finally, we get the Moon in Sagittarius trining the Ingress Ascendant. The Moon is conjunct the fixed star Sabik, which brings “wastefulness, lost energy,” among a host of other undesirable qualities. Indeed, these are words that well describe the relief effort mounted by FEMA after the disaster.

What about 2006?

Astrology of Eclipses - Hurricane Katrina - Cancer Ingress 2006

The 2006 Cancer Ingress chart for New Orleans has Cancer ascending, so the Big Easy will be ruled by the Moon for the season. The Moon is in Taurus, so it is exalted, and in the cold and moist 4th quarter. So how is New Orleans? It’s all right, but seems to be doing better than it really is (exaltation), because it is rather wet. The Moon is applying to an opposition of Jupiter, the planet of rain, in a cold and moist sign, which itself is retrograde. Could this mean that New Orleans will be inundated once again? If so, let us hope it is only with heavy rain and not with floods stemming from broken levees. The Moon also applies to the inauspicious Mars-Saturn conjunction in Leo on the cusp of the 2nd house. There is some hope here that serious disaster may miss New Orleans this year, however, since none of the above problematical planets aspect the angles, as happened in 2005.

And the fixed stars? Wasat, of the nature of Saturn, is right on the Ascendant. According to Robson, the constellation to which Wasat belongs (Gemini) indicates “trouble and disgrace, sickness, loss of fortune, affliction and danger to the knees.” Wasat itself brings violence and malevolence. This obviously is cause for concern. Let’s see what the preceding eclipse is doing: this is the total solar eclipse on March 29, which fell on 8.30 Aries, two degrees away from the Cancer Ingress MC. Despite this strong and malefic contact, it may not bode too badly for New Orleans. The eclipse chart itself shows the eclipse below the earth, on the cusp of the 2nd house, so its effects are not nearly as strong as they would have been had the eclipse occurred above the earth or at least in a cardinal house. The 2006 eclipse does not pass over North America, which further mitigates its effects.

Astrology of Eclipses - Hurricane Katrina - Eclipse of 3/29/2006

Lilly writes: “you shall usually find that where the Ascendant or Mid-Heaven of those Cities or men doe concurre with the place of Heaven Eclipsed or defective, that in a great measure the effects shall appear and manifest themselves upon those men, Kings, or Rulers, Kingdoms, or Cities, especially if the Eclips be above the Earth, for all Eclipses are held to extend their effects most forcibly when above the Earth, weakly and not so vigorously when under the Earth; but that they have also then some manifest operation greater or lesser, I could manifest by many examples of Eclipses in this age, and confirm my own judgement by the opinion of severall learned men; I shall instance only Cardan Seg. 7. Apho. 81…Eclipses in the fourth House or Heaven are more forcible than those in the eighth or eleventh, those in the first more strong than they in the ninth or twelfth, and it must be acknowledged that although Eclipses in the first House cannot be visible, yet we are by no Author prohibited to judge them…”

So 2006 will likely not pack the same punch as 2005 did for New Orleans, due to the lack of angular contacts in the Cancer Ingress and the “invisible” and succedent preceding eclipse So what can we expect this year? Probably a good, healthy storm over New Orleans, but this time with far less water than before. Let’s keep our fingers crossed.