Monthly Archives: January 2015
Venus Exalted in Pisces
One of the most tortured and misunderstood concepts in astrology is that of Exaltation. There are two main reasons why this is the case. First of all, modern astrologers are either unaware that a mystical system exists that permeates and underlies all astrology or fail to see its relevance. Worse perhaps, is that there is awareness of this system, but the modern practitioner takes for granted that it can be changed to suit ‘modern sensibilities’ or ignored altogether.
If you can’t see why the system is the way it is, then what’s the harm in throwing a few extra planets or asteroids in for good measure? Who cares if there are enough asteroids to provide over a hundred of them for every degree of the zodiac? While we’re at it, why not add some new aspects because, you know, our subtle energies vibrate to a New Age to which the ancients had no awareness. They only used the seven planets and the five aspects because they didn’t know any better. Somebody ought to channel Pythagoras and let him know.
So when the question arises as to why a planet is exalted in a sign, those sufficiently divorced from the tradition, might attempt to understand it using, let’s say, psychological criteria that become increasingly exotic and usually highly subjective. In the case of Venus in Pisces, we are told that only Pisces can give unconditional and Universal love whereas Venus in other signs is presumably incapable. Universal love or agape isn’t what Venus is about. She is associated with Eros, music, seduction, sweets and so on. Recently I read that Venus is exalted in Pisces because Venus was born from the sea, more accurately sea foam, which sounds good until you realize that Pisces is not the ocean. That belongs to Cancer.
A brief search on the internet will provide several other stock explanations that make little sense when examined in the light of reason or by simple reference to the system that brought about exaltations in the first place.
The most direct technical answer to the question. ‘why is Venus exalted in Pisces.’ is to note that it’s opposite the Fall of Venus in Virgo. Exaltations are always in the opposite sign of their Fall Let’s begin with the Domicile of the Signs: below is the list of domiciles for each planet and luminary. With the exception of the Sun and Moon, all planets have two domiciles. One is Masculine or Diurnal and the other Feminine or Nocturnal.
The system is a perfect symmetry, but may not appear to be at first glance.. If we take the Sun and Moon as the centre, then the rulerships follow the Chaldean order of planets. So for example, Mercury takes Gemini and Virgo as domicile – that is to say the sign before and the sign after the Luminaries. Next will come Venus in Taurus and Libra Finally Saturn is left with Capricorn and Aquarius. See the diagram below.
The Moon has only one Domicile, Cancer – Nocturnal Feminine
Mercury has his Domicile in Gemini and Virgo – Diurnal Masculine and Nocturnal Feminine
Venus has her Domicile in Taurus and Libra Nocturnal Feminine and Diurnal Masculine
The Sun has only one Domicile, Leo – Diurnal Masculine
Mars finds his domicile in Aries and Scorpio – Diurnal Masculine and Nocturnal Feminine.
Jupiter has his Domicile in Sagittarius and Pisces. Diurnal Masculine and Nocturnal Feminine
Saturn has his Domicile in Capricorn and Aquarius – Nocturnal and Feminine and Diurnal Masculine.
These Saturnine signs oppose the Luminaries: Capricorn is the detriment of the Moon and Aquarius the Detriment of the Sun. Saturn is the greater malefic. The domiciles of Mars, Aries and Scorpio, oppose both domiciles of Venus, Libra and Taurus respectively. Jupiter the greater benefic has Sagittarius and Pisces for his domicile. Diurnal Jupiter trines the Sun and is Exalted in the domicile of the Moon. From this alone, it is easy to see why Saturn is the greater malefic and Jupiter the greater benefic.
Mercury appears to upset the balance by having his Domicile and Exaltation in Virgo, while he takes both detriment and Fall in Pisces. Venus then takes her fall in Virgo and exaltation in Pisces. This is because Jupiter opposes both domiciles of Mercury and vice versa.
Returning to Pisces, we find nocturnal Jupiter opposing Virgo, which is trine nocturnal Venus – thus Venus is exalted in Pisces. The system is simple once one knows how to read it. Remember this is only one way of measuring planetary strength. Domicile is considered to be of greater dignity than Exaltation.
My sole intention in writing this article is to explain the nature of exaltations and because Venus is exalted in Pisces at the time of writing. With this in mind, it’s neither the time or place to debate possible archetypal meanings. However, there is no doubt that Venus is very happy in the sign of the Fishes, but the happiness is more sensual than mystical in the ordinary sense of that word. After all, we have the greater benefic with the lesser benefic Venus in the House of Jupiter will not auger restriction. In the words of Mae West ““Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.”
The final analysis will look to the phases of Venus. She is known as Phosphorus as the evening and Lucifer as the Morning Star, but that is for another article.
Brian Jones – Eminence & Alienation
Most have heard of Brian Jones, if only as one of rock’s most unhinged, dissipated casualties who died in his own swimming pool as the result of an overdose at the age of 27. The fact that he had recently purchased the mansion that had previously belonged to A.A. Milne, the creator of Winnie the Pooh, made for a bizarre background of whimsy to a life of debauchery.
However, he was happier than he had been for some time. His untimely and in many ways implausible death has been examined in many ways, but the ultimate cause of his death is mysterious. He had not imbibed in heavy drugs and was a very strong swimmer. There was a great deal more to Jones than is commonly known To a large extent this is intentional. He had many enemies.
It is surprisingly challenging to find an accurate, credible chart for Jones. Perhaps the most often referred to source for natal information has a chart with Virgo Ascending. I found a brief article elsewhere that used the Scorpio Ascending, although the original source was not given and the timing of 12.07 given without mentioning whether it is AM or PM. I find no reason to doubt this chart. The one with Virgo Ascending is frankly impossible.
Jones was the founder of the Rolling Stones and gave it their distinctive sound. Initially, the sound was an emulation of American blues musicians, all of them black and none appreciated much by whites in their own country. It has been claimed that Jones was the only real slide guitarist in England when the group was formed. He was a major player in the introduction of American Blues in England.
He was their articulate and charming spokesperson. He could play anything with strings, from guitars, lute, dulcimer, sitar, a variety of North African instruments, mostly from Morocco. He was an excellent keyboard player – from piano to harpsichord. He played a wide variety of ethnic instruments, including the marimba on “Under my Thumb.” However, he didn’t write any songs than anyone can remember and for such a famously flamboyant dresser, he could seem quite wooden alongside Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.
It is this confluence of flamboyance and alienation that I want to explore using Traditional Astrology. Usually, readings of anyone, and particularly the likes of rock stars, rely heavily on exotic interpretations of the outer planets which could just as easily apply to legions of people born in a broad time frame. They do this very often at the expense of the original seven planets and luminaries.
We begin with Saturn as Almuten Figuris, This is the abiding spirit of the chart. The Moon is the Lady of the Nativity. She is free, Occidental and in halb. In the Tenth House she indicates, among other things, that Eminence manifests as a Lunar Leo. This is associated with flamboyancy, vanity but also great sensitivity, The Moon in Leo by itself generally augers well for musical talent which Jones had in abundance, despite the fact that the Moon is Peregrine in Leo. This Leo 10th House is of course what the public sees most. The Lord or Lady of the Nativity is like the ambassador or emissary so this Lunar – Solar Self was what was seen first and foremost by his *public,*
The combination of the Feminine Moon with the Masculine Sun brings a certain flare and an androgynous sensibility. Jones was an icon of the British Mod scene, pushing the limits of gender identification in fashion. Unsurprising, Anita Pallenberg, with whom he lived and loved with for two years, was herself a model. His father said she was the only woman he really loved and that he never really recovered when she defected to Keith Richards.
Further support for this Eminence is that the Lord of the Arabic Part for Kings and Sultans on Jone’s Nativity is also the Moon. So we have Moon on the angles, tenth house and free of malefics in a Nocturnal chart. The Moon is in an applying opposition to Venus and Mercury in Aquarius. The conjunction of the latter contribute to his musical abilities, This is given in rich abundance. Procyon on the MC, however, reminds us that there are great opportunities that are short lived.
Moreover, the Lot of Exaltation is in the Tenth House in Leo, the Domicile of the Sun, in the Decan and Trigon of Jupiter. The Lot of Spirit is in the Sixth House in the Exaltation of the Sun.
Finally, we consider the Ascendant for more on Eminence. This is where the cracks begin to show. Eminence can only be attained and maintained if the Nativity as a whole can support it. The Lord of the Ascendant is Mars in Taurus, in tight Opposition to the Ascendant. Saturn is in a 3° conjunction with Mars. So we have both malefics, in an angular house. Although Taurus is the Exaltation of the Moon, this does little to ameliorate the deleterious effects on the life force embodied by the Ascendant. The Lot of Jupiter is conjunct the Ascendant, but this wouldn’t be enough to change the prognosis to any great extent..
We can now look at the Sun in Pisces in the Fifth House. This is a strong indicator of a great artist, particular considering he is the Lord of the Tenth House and the Moon. There is a square between the Sun in the Fifth and Jupiter in the Eighth. This is quite deadly because Jupiter is the ruler of Pisces. The darker side of Jupiter is excess and in this case particularly excess inebriants, made all the more enticing because of the house placement and all the more deadly for the Eight House Jupiter. This could be interpreted as a *death wish* scenario. This ‘wish’ is all the more likely to be realized by the placement of the Nodes and their square to Jupiter. With the S. Node in the Fifth House we are given yet another indicator of the means to the end – entertainment, pleasure, sex and drugs will be the nemesis of the native.
Jone’s Temperament was strongly Choleric – highly driven and sometimes abrasive, a poor mix with his Jupiterean Sun — accentuating his Scorpio Ascendant. Alcohol ss very attractive to Choleric types. It would seem to be a cooling balance to the dry heat, but alcohol is known as fire water for good reason. It makes everything much worse in this case.
The obvious brilliance of Brian Jones was not supported by the Eleventh House, where we find the Lot of Saturn and Mars. In the end, he was kicked out of his own band after years of drug and alcohol abuse. But the difficulties began with his alienation. One wouldn’t expect someone with this chart to be what is now called a “team player” if that meant he had to play a subordinate role in the band he created. There was in fact some degree of paranoia, but this became a self perpetuating dynamic. The more he felt himself relegated to the side-lines, the more introverted he became. Beggar’s Banquet was the last album he played on as part of the band., but he is also on “You can’t always get what you want” and “Midnight Rambler” on Let it Bleed. You won’t find him in the credits.
Re. Brian Jones From Crossfire Hurricane Documentary
This is an admirable attempt to recreate all manner of customs, technology and aesthetics of ancient Persepolis. It should be of interest to anyone curious about ancient astronomy and its relationship to virtually all other forms of culture, It also shows the routes of trade between Persia, the Middle East, North Africa, Asia Minor and the Indian subcontinent in ancient times.
Legends of the Fall & the Ascent of the Soul
There was a comment left by one of my readers remarking on the fact that phenomena such as eclipses and comets are invariably seen as negative events or even evil ones. There is a reason for this, and for good or bad, it is something with which every traditional astrologer needs to make their peace. The topic could easily fill many volumes (and does) but it can also be told quite simply for our immediate purposes. This article is likely to pose as many questions as it answers, but I have tried to show various avenues of inquiry for further research.
Since Eve ate apples, the stars have been far less friendly. John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost provides us with more than one passage about how the stars were turned, but the followed encapsulates it all very well. The post lapsarian cosmology comes into being immediately after the apple incident:
While the Creator, calling forth by name
His mighty Angels, gave them several charge,
As sorted best with present things. The Sun
Had first his precept so to move, so shine,
As might affect the Earth with cold and heat
Scarce tolerable, and from the north to call
Decrepit winter, from the south to bring
Solstitial summer’s heat. To the blanc Moon
Her office they prescribed; to the other five
Their planetary motions and aspects,
In sextile, square, and trine, and opposite,
Of noxious efficacy, and when to join
In synod unbenign; and taught the fixed
Their influence malignant when to shower—
Which of them, rising with the Sun or falling,
Should prove tempestuous. To the winds they set
Their corners, when with bluster to confound
Sea, air, and shore; the thunder when to roll
With terror through the dark aerial hall.
(From Paradise Lost Book 10.).
The Fall changed all of creation, not just humanity After Adam and Eve were forced out of Paradise, an angel with a flaming sword guards the east and the Tree of Life with a flaming sword. This of course mirrors the new celestial restrictions. Adam and Eve. cannot return to the Garden – they must move forward into the world. The stars can still guide them in more ways than one, but they are now, as it were, the flaming swords protecting access to the Empireum.
After the Fall, humanity is in the Sub lunary Sphere and the seven spheres are bounded by the greater malefic. It is no coincidence that Saturn is associated with obstacles and limitations. Beyond Saturn are the Fixed Stars. He will not allow an easy passage. Existence in the the Sub – lunary sphere is subject to corruption, generation and delusions of all kinds The sphere is comprised of the four classical elements.
Buddhists would refer to this state of consciousness as Avidyā, symbolized by a person who is blind or wearing a blindfold. It is ignore – ance in its true senseIn this state, we are unaware of our true nature. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave where the cave dwellers believe the shadow play before them to be the real thing and in fact all there is. The one who unchains himself to turn toward the light of the Sun, outside of the cave. Essentially, you will remain in a state of illusion until you cast off the mind forged manacles.
There are many traditions that seek to win the Celestial Garden, such as Cabala, Hermeticism, Neo-Platonism and of course the Christian and Jewish faiths themselves, At the risk of over simplifying, these paths all strive for enlightenment and the Buddha tells us that the Enlightened don’t need astrology because they are no longer subject to cause and effect. All major religions and a good many philosophies subscribe to the belief, either stated or employed. Plato’s Doctrine of the Forms is very illuminating and will perhaps make a good starting point in understanding the traditional cosmology.
Islam rejects the notion of a Fall in the sense of original sin, but a Celestial Garden is the reward of the pious amd Adam and Eve lived in the Garden if Eden; the departure from the other Abrahamic religions in that Islam inteprets Adam as a prophet.
Stars play more than one role in Islam. Allah is referred to as “He Who is the Lord of Sirius, “(Qur’an, 53: 49) while the Kaaba is oriented with Canopus and has a meteorite that is the stuff of pilgrimage. Modern Muslims tend to think that the reading of stars is shirk (attributing a partner to God,) by considering that the planets and luminaries compel us to act. Essentially the same complaint was made by many Christians and for the same reason.
The history of Islam and its impact on traditional Western astrology is immense and the art is supported by the Qu’ran according to Muslims with whom I have spoken. There are two surahs that come to mind, but there are many more: “It is He Who maketh the stars (as beacons) for you, that ye may guide yourselves, with their help, through the dark spaces of land and sea: We detail Our signs for people who know. (Surah Al-Anam, 97) ” This can be read to mean guidance of many types, including astrological.
The second is this one : “He has made subject to you the Night and the Day; the sun and the moon; and the stars are in subjection by His Command: verily in this are Signs for men who are wise. (Surah An-Nahl, 12)” It is important to note that not only did Islamic scholars serve as conduits of Greek thought, including Hellenistic, but Middle Eastern traditions as well, such as Pre-Islamic Arabian and Persian, Almost all the star names we use are either Arabic or Persian. It is almost certain that Islamic astrologers were also exposed to Indian astrology. Our astrological roots are very deep, various and rich.
Furthermore, in all of these traditions there is a strong sense of having lost, or not yet attained, Paradise. Spiritual progress requires work ever since the Fall however one sees that and to whatever metaphorical degree of understanding. The core trope is ubiquitous.
Finally the Yusuf Ali translation of 67:5 in the Qu’ran. we read: “And we have, (from of old), adorned the lowest heaven with Lamps, and We have made such (Lamps) (as) missiles to drive away the Evil Ones, and have prepared for them the Penalty of the Blazing Fire.” The evil ones are usually referred to as Jinn or “shaytans” in the plural. The former can be good or evil and are spirits of smokeless fire. They are invisible unless they chose to be and live thousands of years. The “missiles” are commonly regarded as meteorites or comets, but also associated with the stars themselves who serve as guides and guardians.
Whether we look to Platonic myth of the Creation and Fall, the Mythos of the ‘people of the Book,’ and all major religions and most minor ones as well, there is the same theme: Creation in an ideal state which (ironically) cannot be sustained, a ‘fall from grace’ which includes all of creation and the promise of something far better than Eden. But it is conditional. Even the stars protect the inner sanctum, as it were, as well as the corresponding celestial realms – the microcosm and the macrocosm.
We could well argue that the mythos described is not literally true at all – perhaps even childish – but it has endured cross culturally for thousands of years. This may say something about the human mind or the nature of reality. Perhaps they are the same thing. After all, cosmologies are a way to make things make sense and they remain more or less intact even before our experiences reinforce them,
Of all the Fixed Stars used in astrology, only a handful promise good fortune. Among these are Spica, Canopus and others, but discernment is required to fully realize the benefits. It also makes a great deal of difference whether the star is ascending, culminating, setting and other considerations.
The Royal Stars of Persia, the guardians of the directions, are all powerful, but their great benefits can only be realized by meeting certain conditions. If these are not met, they can become harbingers of very bad tidings indeed. If one is going to enjoy the blessings of Regulus, for example, one must avoid revenge or any of the lower impulses. One’s character must be equal to the task of nobility.
The Royal Stars each have an angel assigned to them as protectors of the directions . Regulus is associated with the healing Archangel Raphael, the watcher of the North. Fomalhaut, is identified with the Archangel Gabriel, the watcher of the South. Aldebaran is assigned the Archangel Michael, the watcher of the East.; to Antares, the Archangel Oriel, the watcher of the West.
This merely an expansion or extrapolation of the archetypal myth of creation, its fall and the goal of realization after traversing the spheres. Just like the conditional nature of the Royal Stars, the ascent causes the malefic to lose their power thus elevation us to a much higher version of the Garden.
The simple point, easily missed, is that we cannot ignore the cosmology that lead to the astrology we practise. It is not crucial to understand it literally at all, but neither can we neglect such a powerful archetypal system.
The stars can be guides to us, but we must not lose sight of the ultimate goal. The Neo Pythagorean schema below provides a heightened knowledge of the spheres insofar as it offers ways in which we can actively participate in the harmonies of the spheres.
The Music of the Spheres. Shown in this engraving from Renaissance Italy are Apollo, the Muses, the planetary spheres and musical ratios.
Passage of the Emerald Comet
It cannot be anything but auspicious to witness an emerald green comet in the region of Orion at the New Year. It was detected by telescopes in August, but in astrology we deal with the visible in our science of light. Comets or “hairy stars” have fascinated humanity since the dawn or time..
If you are in the Northern Hemisphere, It will be quite visible to the naked eye later in the month, but at present we have a waxing Gibbous Moon that will be Full on 04 January 2015. Objects require much less ambient light in order to be seen. To view it look towards the late South Eastern sky beneath the feet of Orion. It will appear to pass between Canopus and Sirius, the latter being the brightest star in the sky.
The reading of comets is an ancient method of divination, almost always used in tandem with other astrological elements. For the traditional reading of comets, I will be referring to Guido Bonatti’s On Mundane Astrology Trans Benjamin N. Dykes Cazimi P. 2010. From here on in I will refer to this as BMD.
Bonatti asks us to look at the direction of the comet. If it is moving towards and / or has its head in for Taurus, “it signifies the killing of wealthy and great men in the northern part, and it signifies a multitude of differences between the wealth and the magnates and the rustics of the western parts … it signifies the bad condition of men and a scarcity of their good, and injuries of rebels against those who are in those region; which if it will appear in the west will be slower” (BMD 979).Countries ruled by ♉.– Persia, Great Poland, Asia Minor, the Archipelago, and the southern parts of Russia, the islands of Cyprus and Samos, and the port and vicinity of Navarino.
It’s not surprising that these countries and regions would be highlighted as there is a very high possibility of conflict, particularly with the deteriorating relationship between Russia, NATO and the US. In Mundane Astrology several elements are considered to give more precise information. In this case however, we do have some confirmation rather than a prediction in the ordinary sense of the word. Southern Russia, including Georgia, Chechnya and the Ukraine, perhaps. Asia Minor esp. Turkey is part of the picture and there are strategic troop build-ups in Cyprus. Iran has been the focus if Israel and the US for quite some time.
There are nine types of comets according to Ptolemy: the javelin, the tenaculum, the measuring0ros, a miles, the lord of ascona, the morning or dawn comet, the silver the rosy and the black “and he said the first four of these are likened to stars, And all signify wars and terrors and great events in the world” (BMD 986).
Ptolemy asks us to consider the colour of the comet, but his guidelines are far from complete. Green isn’t mentioned, but by association and process of illumination, I would suggest Venus – nevertheless her benevolence is all but lost when associated with a comet. Venus would also give us a further association with Taurus.
Historically, comets have rarely if ever been seen in a positive light as the image of the comet of 1527 below will attest: both image and written description personify the event . The comet’s “head like a bent arm, as if it had a sword in its hand and wanted to strike. And at the point of the sword there were three big stars and from the stars sprang a cloud-coloured stream, which was longer than the comet’s tail.” – The Book of Miracles I cannot help but wonder if the three stars are the belt of Orion