Celebrity Astrology (and Astrology of Current Affairs): Pope Benedict XVI’s speech – Part I

September 23, 2006 by  

Horoscope Pope Benedict - Pope Portrait

As popes go, Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger) is a controversial figure. He is unapologetically traditionalist in his doctrine and fairly blunt in his words. More than that, however, he is highly intellectual in his words and written works and as such is apt to be misunderstood by the masses. As an astrologer, this is quite interesting, and I wanted to find out more about Pope Benedict’s astrological indicators. Today, we will look at:

  1. Indications of becoming Pope in Benedict’s natal horoscope (Part I),
  2. Predicting when Benedict might become Pope (Part II), and
  3. Predicting the time of Benedict’s speech about Islam and its ensuing outcry (Part III).

Benedict’s horoscope is truly fascinating, and highly instructive to those, like myself, who are fascinated by indications of spiritual vocations in the horoscope. Beyond that, however, I have tried to find out what made Benedict’s horoscope different from any other Catholic clergyman, such that we would see indications of the Papal office. I also like numbers, so I was curious what were the chances that someone could have this fascinating horoscope or at least its salient features.

Natal Horoscope - Pope Benedict XVI

We immediately note the presence of Jupiter in Pisces on the Ascendant. Jupiter rules religion and the clergy, and here it is in its own sign of Pisces. This Jupiter is by far the strongest planet in the chart, as it is both in its own sign and on the Ascendant, from which position it can strongly influence the native’s life. However, not everyone with Jupiter in Pisces on the Ascendant becomes Pope, or even enters the clergy. Approximately .69% of the world’s population has this combination with Jupiter on the Ascendant in Pisces – that is, 41.4 million people. Thus, we have to look for more features that make Benedict’s horoscope unique. Jupiter rules the 9th house of religion (as well as the 10th house of fame); only 3,472,222 people in the world have this factor in their horoscopes as well.

Planets in a given house are extremely important to the affairs of that house. In Benedict’s horoscope, Saturn is placed just inside the 9th house of religion, and it is conjunct the Royal star Antares. Saturn is not very strong in this horoscope, as it does not have much essential dignity in 6 Sagittarius, and of course, it is cadent. However, this Royal Saturn also closely aspects the Part of Fortune at 8 Virgo (no, I do not reverse the formula for the Part of Fortune by night). Any planet aspecting the Part of Fortune will have a great deal to do with the quality of the fortune and the heights reached by the native.

In Benedict’s horoscope, Saturn is disposited by this ultra-religious Jupiter in the Ascendant. Now we are down to about 120 people in the whole world who have a similar configuration. Since most of them are inherently not in a position to become Pope (too young, too old, female, not Catholic, etc.), we can start to appreciate the uniqueness of this configuration in Benedict’s horoscope. We can also appreciate the importance of being born into the right conditions for our fate. To illustrate, Bill Gates does have the horoscope of someone who would become financially successful, but only because he was born into a very wealthy and influential upper class family in the richest country in the world, could he amass the fortune that he did. Others in the world have a very similar chart to his, but if they are rickshaw pullers somewhere in Asia, maybe they will own their own rickshaw business someday. Context is everything.

Free Astrology Advice – Horary Astrology: Should I Pursue This Spiritual Path? Does He Love Me?

September 21, 2006 by  

Free Astrology Advice - Horary Astrology - Mystic Marriage


My main difficulty at the moment is trying to find my spiritual path, plus balancing it with my “real” (maya) life. My mother is a very spiritual being. Therefore she pushes me to follow a certain path which I know is right, but find that my Ego and current state of mind prevent me from progressing as quickly as she would like. I realise she only does this out of love, but I do think that I need to do things in my own time, even if it means suffering a lot along the way. Can you please let me know if I should continue to be under my mother’s wing when it comes to spiritual things, at this point, or if I must start to break away from her now? I feel like I still have to go through her to get to God/ Higher Self etc. Will I get far spiritually in this life i.e. reach a higher level of realisation/ enlightenment and find true Peace and Equanimity in my life? and When? I am so confused right now.

I also am in love with someone. I have known him for almost 10 years, but only over the last two years have I opened my heart to him and realised that I do think I want to spend the rest of my life with him, if anyone. However, despite having told him how I feel, I cannot get a deifnitive answer, only an “I don’t know”. We never actually dated or were involved physically, just friends. He is involved in starting up his business and really focuses all of his time on that, so he’s also made it clear he does not want a relationship with anyone right now. Plus we live in different countries! The problem is, everyone tells me he’s not interested, and maybe I am in denial because my feelings are so strong.. but I want to know.. is he the one I am going to end up with this lifetime? Should I wait for him or is it hopeless? Does he have any feelings for me?


Nina Gryphon:

Dear M.,

Those are some major existential issues you are dealing with, for sure. I do not get many questions from people concerned about their spiritual progress, though I am certain the world would be a better place if everyone was half as dedicated to the care of their soul as you are. I will answer each of your questions separately below, and will treat the chart as a separate entity for each question.

Your Spiritual Path

As you can probably appreciate, no horoscope can tell you whether you will be saved/reach enlightenment or not – and it’s questionable whether we should try to find that out, even if we could! What would be the point in striving to better ourselves then? The chart can show, however, whether a certain path is right for you, and how your faith affects you, for better or worse.

Free Astrology Advice - Horary Astrology - Religion and Love

In this horoscope, you are Venus, and your religion is Mercury, ruler of the 9th house of religion. Mercury is very strong essentially, as it is in its sign and exaltation in Virgo. This is a good start, showing that your chosen religion is a sound one, and holds many potential benefits. Venus is in Virgo as well, showing that your religion is foremost on your mind (as is clear from your question), and that you think very highly of it. The problem is that when Venus is in Virgo, it is in its fall – so one way to interpret this is that because you are immersed in this religion, this makes you feel bad about yourself, and consider yourself worse than you really are (fall is an exaggerated badness). Too, Mercury is in Venus’s fall, showing the religion somehow harms you. This might be because of the way that you approach your religion, not because there is anything wrong with this spiritual path. So the solution to your dilemma is to change the way that you view this religion and your duties in it.

When a planet is in its fall, this makes me think of someone who has willingly given up the reins of their life to someone or something else. You mentioned that this religion requires that you always turn the other cheek and accept what you are given. This is very noble, but in every religion there is a place, too, for holy anger in the face of evil or deliberate harm. Someone who fights injustice is certainly not turning their other cheek to evil, and yet they are doing God’s work. The first step is to know your own heart and nature, and to know whether the right path for you is that of knowledge, service (this includes fighting for the highest causes), or devotion – all religions have their way of accommodating each different type of nature. There is a place for everyone, but you must seek it out and claim it for your own. Without seeing your natal chart and doing some in-depth analysis, I do not know which is right for you.

You asked about your mother’s role in your spiritual pursuits. She is shown by Lord 10, and is the Moon in Taurus in the 8th house. The Moon is exalted in Taurus; she is indeed highly spiritually advanced, but exaltation also means exaggeration. Perhaps she likes to appear more saintly than she really is, and being her daughter, you can see this clearly. In Taurus, the Moon is in Venus’s sign. Since you are Venus, we can see that she really is trying to do her best to help you, out of genuine love for you. In the 8th house, however, the Moon cannot act very well, despite her strength. The 8th house is the turned 11th house of hopes and wishes. Despite her great spiritual gifts, she is not very strongly positioned to help you, because of her own unrealistic expectations of your progress. You will have to take responsibility for your own spiritual path and not expect too much support.

Your Relationship

In this chart, you are Venus and the Moon is your emotions. Venus is in detriment, showing you are not feeling too fabulous these days, and perhaps a bit despondent. Things seem worse to you than they really are. The Moon is quite strong in Taurus, but it is in Venus’s sign, so your emotions follow your mind’s lead. And you are not very happy right now with this relationship.

The man is shown by Mars, Lord 7, and the Sun, which is the level of his physical attraction. Mars is in Libra, where it is not very strong, but it is in Venus’s sign. Mentally, he does feel a strong bond to you. The Sun, however, shows a different story. It is in Virgo, in Venus’s fall – he is not physically attracted to you. Interestingly, the Moon, your emotions, are in the detriment of Mars. Do you think ill of him in some way, despite your friendship? My sense is that he is looking for a physical relationship, and perhaps because he is in a different country (or because of your religious beliefs, I don’t know which), this puts a damper on things. It is difficult to persuade any man under 100 to be in a relationship where the physical needs are not engaged, and this is probably no different.

Your significators, Moon and Venus for you, and Sun and Mars for him, are not making any aspects, showing the lack of an opportunity to start a relationship, even if the motivation was there.

While I wouldn’t forget him, because he is obviously a good friend, I would also consider his needs and wants in this situation. And, like in your spiritual query above, you should start taking the reins of your life into your own hands, rather than handing them over to others.

Arabian Part of Spirit and the Guardian Daemon in the Horoscope

September 3, 2006 by  

Archangel Michael - The Guardian Daemon

Dear Readers,

I have decided to experiment with a new way of blogging, not unlike the way in which most bloggers out there do it. Yes, Gryphon Astrology joins the 21st century at last. That is, I will write a lot more astrology posts that are shorter, to keep the momentum going on the blog. I’ll be shooting for one post a day, to have some kind of quality control. To get the ball rolling, here is one such short post about the astrological Part of Spirit (the opposite of the Part of Fortune).

My best, and happy reading,

Earlier, I had written on the astrology blog about the connection between the Guardian Daemon and the Lord of the Geniture. To quickly recap, the Guardian Daemon is the ancient Greek name for what we now call our Guardian Angel. In the article above, I wrote about how the Lord of the Geniture, our strongest planet in the horoscope, is a symbol of our Guardian Daemon. The best planet we have will always bail us out of the mess in which we manage to get ourselves. So, to get a sense of what the Guardian Daemon is for us, what is its nature vis a vis ourselves, we must look toward the Lord of the Geniture. Is it nurturing? Aggressive? Disciplinarian? Those are the qualities that will always save us when we are in a tough spot.One ancient astrologer made the direct connection between the Guardian Daemon (also known as the Eudaimon, or the Good Spirit) and The Part of Spirit. The Part of Spirit is calculated in the opposite way from the Part of Fortune, so Asc + Sun – Moon. Note that for reasons explained in an earlier article, I do not reverse the Part of Fortune and its associated Arabian Parts by night. Firmicus links the Guardian Daemon and Part of Spirit in one sentence:

After these four cardinal points, that is the Ascendant, Descendant, Midheaven and IMC, there is another set of four points in the nativity which are also of following and favorable power. These are Dea, Deus, Bona Fortuna (Good Fortune) and Bonus Daemon (Good Spirit) which the Greeks have called thus Thea, Theos, Agathe Tyche, Agathos Daemon.

So there you have it, the Part of Spirit IS the Agathos Daemon. But what do we do with this information? As with any Arabian Part, it is best when it is aspected by its sign ruler, and that sign ruler is essentially and accidentally strong. But it doesn’t always work that way in real life. Any planets aspecting the Part of Spirit will tell us of the nature of our Guardian Daemon. Then, we would inspect the sign ruler of the Part of Spirit.

For example, imagine a horoscope where the Part of Spirit is at 7 Libra. It is trined by the Sun at 4 Gemini and squared by the Moon at 6 Cancer. The two aspecting planets rule the 10th and 9th houses respectively. Does this bode well for the native’s spiritual career? It certainly does, indicating that not only is the Part of Spirit in play, as John Frawley puts it, but it is also going to be used at its highest capacity (strong Moon). Especially more so when we know that the Sun, though essentially weak, is in the sign of Mercury in Gemini. Our hypothesis is confirmed when we see that the temperament is overwhelmingly phlegmatic, with the most “phlegmatic” planet, the Moon, in strong essential dignity, ruling the 9th house. We have here no ordinary character.
This horoscope belongs to Padre Pio, a 20th-century Catholic priest and saint.

Padre Pio Horoscope

Temperament Assessment: Which is the Right Way?

July 10, 2006 by  

Phlegmatic temperament - cold and moist.  Fishmonger's shop.

In light of Thomas’s quiz (see previous post), and my post on melancholy, the question came up: which is the right method for assessing temperament, anyway? Every traditional astrology has his or her pet method, none of which work 100% of the time. With people who are strongly tilted toward one or two temperaments, all of the methods will arrive at very similar if not identical conclusions. With individuals who are more balanced, and have only a slightly predominating humor or two, we will see a greater discrepancy with using various techniques.

Let us take the example of Paul Newman. I got interested in Newman’s horoscope while writing “Spiritual Direction in the Horoscope,” an article that will be published in the next issue of the Dutch traditional magazine Anima Astrologiae. Newman has a pretty balanced temperament, so the results will vary depending on the method we use.

Here is Newman’s horoscope:

Paul Newman's Horoscope - Temperament in the Horoscope

Here is the result we get if we use Dorian Greenbaum’s method (discussed in her book on temperament) which she has developed by her study of various traditional sources (all of whom, in turn, had their own methods!):

  • Ascendant sign element – Capricorn – Melancholic (2 points)
  • Ascendant ruler intrinsic quality – Saturn – Melancholic (1 point)
  • Ascendant almuten (defined as planet with most essential dignities in a given degree) intrinsic quality – Mars and Saturn are tied, so Choleric and Melancholic (1 point each) – we’ll pay attention to these if there is need for a tiebreaker.
  • Moon sign element – Pisces – Phlegmatic (2 points)
  • Moon ruler by sign – Jupiter in Capricorn – Melancholic (1 point)
  • Moon phase (using Lilly’s method here) – 1st Quarter – Sanguine (1 point)
  • Season of birth – Winter – Phlegmatic (2 points)

The grand total is: Melancholic (4.5), Choleric (.5), Phlegmatic (4), Sanguine (1 point). So according to Greenbaum’s method, we have a melancholic/phlegmatic, a hard-working, practical type with an emotional, self-protective tendency. This analysis gives us a very cold temperament, with some difficulty getting the heat going, both physically and emotionally.

Let’s use a different method to compare and contrast. John Frawley, in his Real Astrology Applied, goes through a temperamental analysis based closely on William Lilly’s method. Using the Frawley/Lilly method, Newman’s temperament would look something like this:

  • Ascending sign: Capricorn – Cold – Dry – (a slightly melancholic Ascendant)
    • Aspected by Mercury in Capricorn, oriental, Hot (Capricorn gives some Dry)
    • Aspected by Venus in Capricorn, oriental (slightly Hot and Moist)
    • Aspected by Saturn in Scorpio, oriental (and on the MC) (very Cold and Moist)
  • Lord of the Ascendant: Saturn in Scorpio, oriental: Cold – and Moist +
    • Aspected by Mercury in Capricorn, oriental (Hot and somewhat Dry)
    • Aspected by Venus in Capricorn, oriental (slightly Hot and Moist)
  • The Sun in a Winter Sign – Cold and Moist
  • The Moon in Pisces in 1st Quarter – Hot – and Moist +
  • The Lord of the Geniture – Mars in Aries, occidental – Hot (due to placement in Aries) and Dry + . Mars is the LoG, as it is the only strongly essentially dignified planet in the chart.

This gives us Cold-, Cold-, Cold, Hot-, Hot, Dry-, Dry+, Moist+, Moist, Moist+. Using Frawley’s method of combining the most frequent elements, we see that Newman is pretty well balanced, and gives us a slightly predominantly phlegmatic (cold and moist) temperament. So we still get a cold temperament, but one that is only a little cold, whereas Greenbaum’s method gives us a downright glacial temperament. We don’t know Paul Newman well enough to decide which is correct, but our guess is that the latter method describes him better. He is known for taking a relaxed approach to his career, and even his hugely successful charity food line, Newman’s Own ™, happened sort of by accident, as he tells it.

This is not to say that Greenbaum’s method is wrong – any solid method will succeed 85 or 90% of the time. However, nothing in our sublunary sphere is 100%, and astrology, or rather the astrologer, is the same. This is the point of traditional astrology – because we astrologers tend toward imperfection, we seek out methods that have passed to us from higher, more lasting spheres than our own.

To have your temperament analyzed with suggestions on how to better balance it, consider a professional astrological consultation with Nina Gryphon.

Gryphon Is Back!

March 11, 2006 by  

Hello everyone, I am very excited to be back after a longish pause of almost four months. During this time, much has happened, but I have certainly not given up on traditional astrology! On the less-momentous scale, I got a much-needed update of my AstroDatabank software (which I heartily recommend to anyone with an interest in natal astrology. They have now added a few features especially nice for a traditional astrologer).

Past and Future Astro-Adventures of the Fearless NG

A more thrilling escapade (more thrilling than updating my astro software, even) lay in store a few weeks ago, when I went to a fantastic workshop with John Frawley in San Francisco. The workshop was two days. The first day consisted of discussions of natal astrology, while the second day focused on fixed stars. It was a wonderful experience, both because it was super educational (where else can you get a traditional perspective on the astrological links between George W. Bush’s chart and that for Baghdad?), but also because the caliber of the attendees was simply top-notch. Many of the attendees came from outside the Bay Area, the farthest being a strange land known as New Jersey. I was impressed with everyone and my only regret was that I didn’t get to spend a few hours talking with each person there.

My next astro-adventure is John Frawley’s conference in Fulda, Germany in early May (you can read about it on his website), which promises to be great fun. The two lecturers are John himself, and Branka Stamenkovic, a traditional astrologer from Belgrade. My understanding is that Fulda has at least one Internet café, so I plan to blog the conference from there with some pictures of the proceedings (watch in amazement as John and Branka fearlessly tame a stable of wild and dangerous antiscia!). I really look forward to meeting the European contingent of traditional astrologers as well. Not to mention the shopping in Germany (insert Homer Simpson drooling noise here). Needless to say, if you’re going to Fulda for the conference, send me an email and introduce yourself.

Future Blog Articles

So, what’s ahead for us here on the Gryphon Astrology blog? Last time we ended with some talk about the Fixed Stars. I have since gotten deeper into this topic, and have acquired a few books on mythology to better help me understand the underlying myths. I have even begun reading a few of the said books. I will talk more about a few major Fixed Stars from a mythological perspective, to better clarify the relationship between the myths and the stars’ use in a chart. Since last November, I have accumulated a few horaries I would like to share with you as well, so I will bring those out as time permits. Finally, I have been doing a lot of reading of the ancient Greek philosophers, courtesy of that prolific and incredibly gifted 18th-century translator, Thomas Taylor. The Greeks spent a great deal of time thinking about spiritual matters, as well as the unseen world in general. One of the things I found fascinating, especially within an astrological context, is the existence of what the Greeks called “Guardian Daemon,” which was co-opted into Christianity as Guardian Angel. Finding the nature of this entity in a chart poses an interesting challenge, and I look forward to addressing it in an upcoming article. In the meantime, stay tuned and once again, it’s good to be back.