June 6, 2012 by Nina Gryphon
Yesterday, Venus moved across the face of the Sun, a conjunction not only in longitude, but also in declination. Venus was visible as a black dot on the Solar disc, moving diagonally across the Sun. The conjunction occurred with Venus in retrograde, and was exact at 15 Gemini.
Venus transiting the Sun – image courtesy of NASA
Last night, I had the opportunity to visit the Adler Planetarium here in Chicago, which held an observation event. The transit began at 5:04 pm CDT, and was visible until about 7:45 pm, when the Sun sank behind the skyline. There was also a live NASA feed from Mauna Kea, with commentary by astronomers and physicists. I got a chance to look through the high-tech observatory telescope, which was so clear that it showed the solar flares along with Venus herself, just as she made the mysterious black drop effect. This is the effect occurring when Venus separates from the corona of the Sun, and she looks more like a little drop than a clearly-defined sphere. The black drop effect has not yet been explained.
The viewing was a spectacular and special event, not to be repeated for another century. Even if you missed it, the good news is that Mercury transits the Sun about once a decade. Mercury is considerably smaller, however, so the visual is a little less dramatic, but still rare and beautiful.
I think of this transit as Venus being super-cazimi. Traditional sources say that planets are exceptionally strong when within 16′ of longitude of the Sun, as they are “in the heart of the Sun.” This condition is called “cazimi,” from the Arabic kasmimi. They are in the heart of the King, as it were, and so suitably powerful. Yet – and this will be a separate article on traditional astrological methods – a planet such as Venus is visually only in the heart of the Sun when she makes this super-rare transit. Could it be that cazimi only refers to these planetary transits across the Sun’s face? My few horary charts with cazimi planets indicate this may be the case. Stay tuned.
February 13, 2008 by Nina Gryphon
Horary Astrology Question:
We are both divorced with 2 children each, 3 of which live with us. We are hoping to move house and set up a cattery at the new home so I can be at home more. B is great (most of the time!) very un-emotional and does not show or talk about his feelings, his father died tragically when he was 11. I would love dearly for some commitment from him but fear it will never happen. We have been together for 8 years now. I think he thinks that setting up the cattery is enough commitment, he owns the house, etc., and I feel I have put all my eggs in one basket (again) and will end up on my own.
Your situation is difficult; a certain pattern has been set up that will be difficult to change without an effort on your part. But, let us see what the astrology says.
We have an early degree on the ascendant, indicating the situation is as yet underripe. This is somewhat puzzling, because the relationship has been going on for eight years, hardly an immature situation. It may be a reference to the fact that there will never really be a “right” time to take this relationship to the next level, and it may remain in this embryonic state always.
We see that you are very much interested in marriage, and even though before, you were content just to have a stable companion, you are now ready to get married. We see that the Moon in Taurus, which represents your emotions in the situation, is in the sign and triplicity of Venus; Venus rules the Arabian Part of Marriage at 11 Libra.
The most dramatic element in this chart is the extent to which all of the main significators; your planets and his, are in strong dignities of Saturn. Whatever Saturn represents has a huge influence over the situation, and will eventually decide whether you will marry your boyfriend or not. Moreover, we see that Saturn is right inside the seventh house cusp of partners, where it is strongly tied to your boyfriend.
So what does Saturn represent? It can be his children, as it rules the fifth house from the seventh, or it can be something hidden or secret, perhaps the emotional trauma you speak of. Whatever it is, it is harmful to you and your hopes of marriage. Saturn is in the detriment of Jupiter, your main significator, and also in the fall of Venus, the planet the rules marriage and his horoscope. Unfortunately, your boyfriend is very much under the influence of whatever Saturn represents — both of his planets, Mercury and the Sun, are in Aquarius, in Saturn’s sign and triplicity. I wonder if Saturn doesn’t represent the cattery; it rules his sixth house, but because of Saturn’s negative reception to you and to Venus, I would strongly recommend not setting up the cattery, for fear of perpetuating an already difficult situation.
The bigger concern I have is that neither of his planets seem particularly interested in either marriage or your planets, showing something of an indifference to you. If there is true mutual interest between two people, even a roadblock such as Saturn in this chart can be overcome. I am concerned, however, that there are some fundamental weaknesses in this relationship, and it will be difficult if not impossible to marry this man without addressing these issues first.
We see that the Moon is opposite the antiscion of the Sun, and the aspect will become exact about the same time that the Moon trine’s Saturn. It looks as though you will have to make a momentous decision in the near future, one that will make you rethink this relationship, and hopefully will bring out some of the problematic undercurrents more into the open where you can address them.
As always, I like to ask that in return for your free reading, you update me (either by email, or in the comments on this page) on what happened. I don’t mind being wrong, but I like to learn from what I did well or badly.
—Readers who wish to get a horary reading from Nina Gryphon may purchase one at top left, or learn more at the Gryphon Astrology Readings page.
February 10, 2008 by Nina Gryphon
Damascius’s allusions to Greek mythology track the upward order of the planets very closely.
“The soul descends into generation, after the manner of Kore;” The Moon is associated very closely with the principle of generation, because of its watery nature, its speed of movement, and its constant change. Just like all things in this sublunar world, the Moon is constantly growing and dying, never staying the same. Kore (literally “the virgin”) was another name for Persephone, who was kidnapped and taken to the underworld by Hades. The implication here is that at the beginning of its journey, the human soul is forced to inhabit the inhospitable and arid realm of material forms, just like Persephone’s enforced stay in Hades.
“She is scattered by generation, after the manner of Dionysus;” Dionysus himself was scattered by the Titans, who prepared to eat him, having cooked the parts of his torn body. Zeus interrupted the feast, and Apollo buried the body parts. Dionysus was then reborn from his heart, which was preserved by Athena. The relevant Planet in the proper order would be Mercury, the planet of duality, having no gender of its own, and always influenced by planets disposing of or aspecting it. Similarly, the soul on earth becomes scattered, loses the direct identification with the divine principle, and must find its own way back to God. It is important to note that the god Mercury was the patron and guide of travelers.
“Like Prometheus and the Titans, she is bound to body.” Titans were the children of pre-Olympian gods who inhabited the earth; they were defeated by the gods, and humans were said to have been created from the Titans’ smoking ashes. The Titans are of the gross matter of the earth, symbolizing the natural downward tendency of Creation. For the purposes of our planetary ladder, the Titans are associated with Venus, which gratifies the senses and bestows physical pleasure. The more we live for sensation, the more we identify with the body and with matter.
“She frees herself by exercising the strength of Hercules;” In Greek mythology, Hercules is one of the few mortals to become divine, and his story points to a similar function of the soul. With this part of the story, we come to the turning point in the souls journey. This is appropriate, as we start heading toward the outer or slower planets, which are considered superior to the faster inner planets. The labors of Heracles are all concerned with the triumph of spirit or virtue over gross matter, paralleling the efforts of the soul to free itself from its material prison. Hercules’s chief virtue is, of course, strength. As a result, he is associated with the planet Mars, even though the next planet in the proper order should be the Sun. Despite this martial association, Heracles does have some solar characteristics, most notably, his connection with the Royal goddess Hera (Heracles means “the glory of Hera”).
“Gathers herself together through the help of Apollo and the savior Athene, by truly purifying philosophy;” here, we come to a combination of the Sun and Jupiter. Apollo is the god of prophecy, and the ruler of the objective world, as Tim Addey* writes. His name means “not many,” or in other words, “the one.” This is an excellent commentary on the nature of the Sun, which is always associated with things that are singular or unique. Even though all the other six planets are arguably unique, only the Sun is the living representation of the Creator.
Athena is the goddess of wisdom, and therefore the hidden face of Jupiter (Zeus), as she was born out of Jupiter’s head. She was considered to be the protector and helper of man, and this is why the Greek city is named after her. She protects and helps all heroes, who receive magical gifts from her to complete their quest; Perseus, Jason, Theseus, and of course Odysseus, her greatest favorite. Her gift is at once wisdom and divine protection, both qualities associated with Jupiter.
“And she elevates herself to the causes of her being with Demeter.” Demeter, in Greek mythology, was the goddess of fertility (her name means literally “the mother Goddess”), and the mother of Persephone; she rules the harvest and fertility. She is strongly associated with Saturn (who in Greek myth was her father, Kronos). Saturn is not only the god of restrictions and endings, but also the god of farming and the earth. Therefore, in the last phase of the soul’s journey, the soul returns to its true home, which is not the material earth, but rather its primal matter; the endlessly fertile Spirit.
*For further reading on the topic of ancient Greek mythology and its connection to Platonic teachings on the soul, I recommend Tim Addey’s The Seven Myths of the Soul, published by The Prometheus Trust.
February 9, 2008 by Nina Gryphon
It has become fashionable to correlate Greek mythology to astrology and the planets, though unfortunately most such analyses merely scratch the surface of myth, as the authors focus exclusively on human psychology. However, Greek mythology functions on many levels, and the Platonists used myth to describe the very nature of the human soul, rather than just the temporal travails of the ego on its passage through life.
The Platonic tradition, springing from Greece, relied heavily upon ancient Greek myths to describe the complex and often paradoxical interaction of man and the divine. Since astrology is a symbolic language describing the divine plan, we will see a very strong correlation between astrological and mythological symbolism, enabling us to access a deeper level of meaning than is common today.
Damascius, the last director of Plato’s Academy (an 800 year-old establishment which closed in 529 A.D), wrote the following lines about the journey of the soul:
The soul descends into generation, after the manner of Kore;
She is scattered by generation, after the manner of Dionysus;
Like Prometheus and the Titans, she is bound to body.
She frees herself by exercising the strength of Heracles;
Gathers herself together through the help of Apollo
And the savior Athene, by truly purifying philosophy;
And she elevates herself to the causes of her being with Demeter.
It is interesting that none of the Greek gods mentioned here are associated with the planets. From my research, I strongly suspect that many if not most of the Greek gods had two faces, one exoteric and mundane, and the other esoteric and celestial. As an example, the overt god of the Sun was Helios, who drove the chariot of the sun across the sky. However, the god embodying the highest intangible attributes of the Sun, such as prophecy and nobility, was Apollo. And so it goes with many of the gods.
The ancient order of the seven planets goes from the heaviest/slowest to the fastest and most changeable. Don’t forget that the traditional perspective gave precedence to those astronomical bodies which were perceived as the most constant and least subject to change, as change is a sign of imperfection and deterioration. Thus, the most elevated planet is Saturn, followed by Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and finally the Moon.
One may think of this list of planets as a ladder, with the Moon at the bottommost rung underneath which is this imperfect earth. Therefore, it follows that in order for the soul to reconnect with its maker, it has to start out at the bottom rung and make its way all the way up to the top, to Saturn.
October 15, 2007 by Nina Gryphon
The Halloween Costumes series continues; last week we talked about the best Halloween costumes if your ruling planet is Mars. Today, we will give some hints to those whose horoscope is ruled by the planet of love, Venus.
How do you know which planet rules your horoscope? It is the planet that rules your ascendant; we only use the classical rulerships here. The reason that your ruling planet is so good for determining your ideal Halloween costume is that this planet represents your ego, and Halloween is a great opportunity for you to really reveal your inner self.
Venus rules Taurus and Libra, so if either of these signs rise in your chart, this is the article for you.
Venus in Aries and Scorpio: Dominatrix, gigolo, Casanova, sexy police officer or soldier.
Venus in Taurus and Libra: Aphrodite, any famous sex symbol, flower arranger (or just a flower), fashion model.
Venus in Gemini and Virgo: French Maid, seductive accountant or librarian.
Venus in Cancer and Pisces: Artist, mermaid, genie.
Venus in Leo: Prince or princess, Cleopatra, Elizabeth I or II, any famous ruler.
Venus in Sagittarius: Lady Godiva (extra points for horse).
Venus in Capricorn and Aquarius: Milk maid, shepherd(ess), farmer, plumber or electrician, the CEO (especially female).
Find your best Halloween costume for Mars (Part 1 of 7).
Coming Soon: Find your best Halloween costume for Mercury (Part 3 of 7).
August 27, 2007 by admin
Venus will turn direct in Leo on September 9th, 2007. Venus has been retrograde through early Virgo and much of Leo since July 28, 2007. Venus does not go retrograde as often as Mercury, so people are often nervous about the period of Venus’s retrogradation, as it is something slightly more special than Mercury.
Of course, the world’s relationships did not all come to an end during this time, though if you were electing a time to do something Venus-related, such as romance or sex, having Venus retrograde would be suboptimal. Again, lots of people throughout the world get married with Venus retrograde, and I doubt all those marriages are unhappy or come to an end. But if we are trying to find the best moment for marriage, for example, we want to make sure that you have as many of the planets on your side as possible.
This brings up an important point about electional astrology (the art of finding the right moment, astrologically, to do something). If we are trying to find an auspicious astrological moment for the marriage of two fundamentally incompatible people, there is no astrological moment that will make them be happy together. It would not matter if Venus was a direct, in its exaltation, and right at the top of the chart. The natal horoscopes would likely indicate that the people were about to make a mistake in marriage. This is why it is so important to look at the natal horoscope for electing an auspicious moment; unless something is promised in the natal chart, electional astrology cannot make it so. However, it can give you the best possible start, which will make the difference between success and failure.
July 10, 2007 by admin
When Venus turns retrograde at the end of July at 3 ° Virgo, this will be a mixed blessing for Venus. As we know, Venus in Virgo is in the sign of its fall, so it is rather unhappy in that sign. However, as it turns retrograde, it will exit Virgo and go back to the previous sign, Leo, where it is somewhat stronger. Both Leo and Virgo are barren signs, but Leo promises a lot more Venusian fun than Virgo does. Below are some tips on how you can use Venus retrograde for your own purposes.
Electional Astrology Advice
Obviously, if you’re planning some Venusian activities between July 27 and September 9 (when Venus goes direct), you’ll have to be extra careful to choose times when Venus is strong, to compensate for its retrograde weakness.
Now, let’s backtrack a little bit, and talk about some potential Venusian activities. Anything having to do with art, beauty, fashion, and women is of the nature of Venus. If you’re an artist, and your show is opening during this time, to the extent that you can, there are a few days where Venus will be very strong, despite its retrograde status.
Venus also rules sex, pleasure, and partying, so if you’re trying to make your move during Venus retrograde, you will have to be very careful.
First, please don’t do anything until August 9, when Venus returns back into Leo. The few days between August 9 and 12th are particularly auspicious if you’re trying to get some kind of public acclaim or wealth. This is because the Royal fixed star Regulus is at 29° Leo, and Venus will retrograde right over that degree.
Second, it is best if we can take advantage of Venus being in cazimi, or in the heart of the Sun. This is a state where a planet closer than 17.5 minutes in either direction from the Sun is considered extremely strong due to its proximity to the Sun’s life-giving essence. Venus will be in cazimi approximately between 11:45 p.m. GMT on August 17 and 10:45 p.m. GMT on August 18, 2007.
Some Famous People with Venus Retrograde
Tom Hanks, Johannes Brahms, Charles de Gaulle, Jean Luc Godard, Donald Rumsfeld, Cybill Shepherd, Adolf Hitler, Ken Kesey, Charles Lindbergh.
May 30, 2007 by admin
Venus enters the sign of Leo on June 5. Venus has little strength in Leo, and it is Peregrine for most of the sign. The hot, dry, and barren nature of Leo is rather inimical to Venus, which thrives in a more hospitable and fertile environment, such as Pisces, Libra, and Taurus. Of course, Venus will spend a lot of time in Leo this year, because shortly after its entry into the next sign, Virgo, it will turn retrograde, slowly make its way through Leo, and will finally leave Leo on October 8.
Electional Astrology Advice
Venus’s extended passage through Leo puts many people in a bind this summer, because the planet’s weakness comes at the height of wedding season. I heard that July 7 of this year is a very popular wedding date, and has had venues booked for several years in advance. If the people who insist on getting married on 7/7/07 knew that Venus on that date was peregrine, slow in motion (about to turn retrograde), conjunct Saturn in Leo, and about to enter its fall in Virgo, I imagine they would be somewhat less enthusiastic. It is true that a wedding electional chart does not live or die only by the position of Venus, but there really are much better dates to get married this year.
So where does this leave you, if you want to do something Venusian, like get married, or ask someone out on a date while you are still young? First, make your move before Venus enters Virgo, where it is in its fall. This happens on July 15. Venus in Leo is not great, but Venus in Virgo is downright bad. Second, definitely try to act before the last week of June, if at all possible, because then Venus will apply to conjoin our nasty Saturn in Leo. This is certainly not something you need either in your marriage, or even on a date.
Some Famous People with Venus in Leo
Andy Warhol, Pamela Anderson, Abdul Al-Biruni (famous Arab astrologer of 1000 years ago), Barbara Walters, the Dalai Lama, Percy Bysshe Shelley, Claude Debussy, O. Henry.
May 24, 2007 by admin
That exciting planetary time of year is upon us: the two benefic planets trine each other, creating a powerhouse combination of good luck and blessings. June 19th is a very good day, or really a two-day period, during which just about any endeavor will prosper. This is one way of using electional astrology to choose the most favorable time for important things in our lives.
If you are doing anything love- (Venus) or wealth- (Jupiter) related, you will find that this combination will help you a great deal. However, there is an important caveat here, and I’m not talking about Mercury being retrograde. The Moon, after aspecting Venus, will go on to aspect this nasty Saturn in detriment. Therefore, it is best to act on June 18, the day before the aspect becomes exact, and before 3:07 p.m. Universal Time, when the Moon aspects Venus. If this is too technical, don’t worry about it. Just know that there will be more factors in your favor if you act earlier than after the date and time above.
So, what can we do with this gift from above? Depending on what natal houses are ruled by Venus and Jupiter in your chart, this is a good healing combination, so if you’re undergoing some kind of medical treatment (other than surgery, which has its own set of electional astrological rules), this might be a good time to start. In general, any endeavor will benefit from this combination. If you are a Mercury retrograde-phobe, this will provide you with a momentary ray of light during which you can safely do mercurial things, such as sending important letters or e-mails.
You can learn more about electional astrology (and how it was used to found the city of Baghdad) on my website.
March 10, 2007 by admin
The weakest planet in a natal chart will typically show us to which of the classical “Deadly Sins” one is the most prone. For many of us, we will have more than one such planet, or at least a very bad planet connected to peregrine planets which can be easily influenced by their bad friends. Let us look at Justin Timberlake’s chart again:
Earlier, we looked at his natal Sun, and determined that it was very afflicted due to its position in Aquarius, the sign of its detriment. Also, it was afflicted because it was in the sixth house of illness, a traditionally malefic house. The trine to the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Libra was probably not helpful, not the least because Jupiter and Saturn are in the fall of the Sun. However, I do not think that the Sun is the biggest problem for Timberlake. I would bet that his biggest challenge is his Mercury in Pisces in the seventh house of partners and other people. Because the Sun is stashed away in a cadent house, it cannot act very strongly. So it may be a baddie in this chart, but it cannot exercise its influence.
However, Mercury is in its detriment and fall in Pisces, and it is angular, so it is well able to cast its negative influence over Timberlake’s life. No other planet seems particularly able to help it, or keep it in check, certainly not by aspect, though it may experience some help from Jupiter, due to their mutual reception (triplicity and sign). The challenge here is that Mercury is the only angular planet in Timberlake’s chart, so it will pop up again and again in all areas of his life. Most likely, it will describe Timberlake’s partners, and we can assume that his relationships will not be particularly easy as a result.
Taking a big picture view of the chart, Mercury’s deadly sin is envy. Seeing it in the seventh house gives us the sense that there is a strong tendency here to constantly compare oneself against other people, and focusing on what others have that the native does not. The reception with Jupiter, ruler of the fifth house, shows that this tendency is what drives Timberlake’s creative side to some extent. In that sense, it is a positive and productive expression. However, Mercury being as weak as it is here will not give us a great artist, though it certainly may produce a successful one. The royal star Regulus on the Ascendant does not hurt in this respect.
We can do this with any horoscope, so here’s the list of the deadly sins associated with each planet. When the planet is weak, the associated sin will most likely be an important obstacle that the person will have to surmount.
Saturn — greed
Jupiter — gluttony
Mars — anger
Sun — pride
Venus — lust
Mercury — envy
Moon — sloth
—Readers who are interested in a natal reading from Nina Gryphon may contact her via her reading requests form.