Saturn & Jupiter Conjunction in Aquarius

Aja'ib al-makhluqat (Wonders of Creation) boy Qazwini, Harvard Art Museum

Saturn – Manuscript of the ‘Aja’ib al-makhluqat (Wonders of Creation) of Qazwini, c.1650-1700. Harvard Art Museum/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Folio 22v

It may seem early to be discussing an event that won’t occur for another year, but the fact is that all cycles and events are interconnected and the events preceding this Grand Conjunction provids substantial information regarding the event itself. I expect to have more to say on this momentous event as we get closer to the moment.

Great conjunctions occur regularly, approximately every 20 years, due to the combined effect of Jupiter’s approximately 12-year orbital period and Saturn’s approximately 30-year orbital period. These Comjunctions have been observed from the earliest times. and considered as portents of a new cycle in everything from political shifts to popular trends over the 20 year period over the upcoming Great Conjunction which will occur in Libra on 31 October 2040. looking back at the period we have experienced since 28 May 2000 in the Earth sign Taurus

The Great Conjunctions exert their influence most potently from one to the next, but it should be understood that it is a continuum, which was no doubt at least one of the reasons that Johannes Kepler mapped the relationship between the Conjunctions over time.

Diagram of great conjunctions (from the book De Stella Nova (1606) by Johannes Kepler)

The upcoming Great Conjunction we will experience about a year from now is particularly significant. The element will change from Earth to Air and with both planets in Saturnine Aquarius. It will occur exactly on the Winter Solstice with the Dragon’s Head exalted in Gemini in the Confines of Mars, who in turn is strong in his Diurnal Domicile and looking rather menacing on the Midheaven. One underestimates Saturn at one’s peril and even more so when Jupiter is with Saturn in Saturn’s domicile. There is really no getting around the harshness here.

Looking more closely, we find Mars in his Diurnal Domicile with the Moon in the same sign. Mars and the Moon never work well together. The Moon in Aries can be rash and reactionary – supplying the emotional fuel to trigger Mars. The other malefic, Saturn is with a saturnine Jupiter in the 8th House, associated with death. The Sun and Mercury are also disposited by Saturn. Mars casts a ray to Venus. The all-important Ascendant is in Cancer which is in opposition to Capricorn.

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The most fruitful way to interpret a chart such as this is to keep in mind that it heralds a mini-epoch. The first thing to examine is the change of elements from Fixed Earth to Fixed Air. We can also consider the transition as being from Venus to Saturn. There are those who would have this herald the Aquarian Age, but by my estimation, we are well into that Age already. Nevertheless, this event will add greater potency and relevance to saturnine Aquarius.

Capricorn and Aquarius oppose the lights, the Moon and the Sun respectively. Because the Sun and Moon are the elements of an eclipse, it would be a missed opportunity to examine the Annular Solar Eclipse which will occur on June 21, 2020.  It belongs to Saros cycle series 137 and occurs at the Moon’s Ascending Node, The duration will be 38 secs and the Maximum Eclipse will be seen in the region of New Dehli in Northern India I could have selected an area of extremely high elevation in Tibet but it made more sense to choose a major population and cultural centre which gives us virtually identical information.

I also have concerns about the escalating hostilities regarding Pakistan and India, particularly with respect to Kashmir. Both nuclear powers have become increasingly bellicose and both counties – one of creation and the other of Independence are Leo, in direct opposition to the Grand Conjunction. See also the eclipse charts for July 2020.

China may very well have a part to play in this conflict. As border disputes with India increase and China continue to favour Pakistan for its own commercial interests, there are several obvious flash point and this is clearly seen in the eclipse chart.

China is considered a Capricorn country and that Saturnine sign is in opposition to the Sun’s domicile of Leo and is in aversion to Cancer, the domicile of the Moon. However, China’s influence will not ultimately benefit either India or Pakistan. All three nations possess nuclear weapons.

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The following chart is for New Dehli at the point of maximum eclipse. This occurs with the Ascending Node at 00Cancer20 opposing both Jupiter and Saturn. An eclipse in Cardinal signs are relatively brief in terms of effect, but at 38 seconds and a mere six months to the Grand, Conjunction is enough in itself, but there is also the inescapable fact. of the axis marking the Solstice points. Eclipses never occur alone. There will be a  Penumbral Lunar Eclipse on 4–5 July 2020, but there will be no visibility in the areas mentioned.

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The effect of this eclipse on the Grand Conjunction will be significant, providing something of a supercharge to the event Ultimately, we are looking at cycles within cycles that go back to the beginning of time into the eternity before us.

In summary, the mini-epoch we can expect beginning with the Great Conjunction of Winter Solstice 2020 will feel more abrupt that in most cases because fixed earth is giving way to fixed air. Aquarius has the reputation of the innovative humanitarian, but we have been greatly misled by the fabrication of the Age of Aquarius and all it promises. Fixed air forges a mind that is not easily changed and technological innovation, accelerating daily, requires high ethics, intuition and a strong sense of benevolence. I recommend reading the great Hellenistic astrologer, Vettius Valens with diligence. Valens offers a great wealth of insight which very often requires careful reflection. Also required is an understanding of the context in which he expresses himself. He is discussing a sign, rather than a person. Also, it would be a mistake to assume “born under a sign” to of necessity mean the Sun sign.

Illustration of Aquarius in Albumasar’s De Magnis Coniunctionibus Annorum Reuolutionibus ac Eorum Profectionibus Octo Continens Tractatus. – Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

“Aquarius is the celestial sign which is masculine, solid, anthropomorphic, somewhat damp, single. It is mute, quite cold, /12K/ free, upward-trending, feminizing, unchanging, base, with few offspring, the cause of troubles arising from athletic training, carrying burdens, or work in hard materials, an artisan, public. Men born under this sign are malicious, haters of their own families, incorrigible, self-willed, deceitful, tricky, concealing everything, misanthropic, godless, accusers, betrayers of reputations and the truth, envious, petty, occasionally generous (because of flow of water), uncontrollable. As a whole this sign is wet. By part it is as follows: the first parts are wet, the upper parts fiery, the lower worthless and useless. It has …stars. According to the Sphaerica the right parts of Andromeda rise in the north with Aquarius, as well as the rest of Pegasus; in the south, the southern one of the Fish, except for the head. Juno, Hercules, Vulcan, Saturn. /12P/ In the north nothing sets. In the south the rest of Centaurus and of Hydra (up to Corvus) set . This sign lies toward the west wind. In addition it faces toward the zone of Egypt and the surrounding cities, i.e. from Egypt’s southern parts up to Pselchos, Dodecaschoinos, and Sykaminos; from its western parts to the oasis of Ammon and the surrounding cities; from its eastern part to the Red Sea which touches Egypt; and from its northern parts to Sebennytos and the Heracleotic mouth of the Nile.” (“Aquarius” – Vettius Valens, Anthologies, Book I)


Horoscope from the Book of the Birth of Iskandar 1411 Aquarius the Water Bearer – Note that complexion of both saturnine signs is dark.

Annular Solar Eclipse of 26 Dec, 2019 AD

I became aware of this upcoming eclipse quite some time ago. It caught my attention because the point of greatest eclipse is over Singapore, within a nexus of volcanoes and frequent seismic activity and of course the date echoes that of the massive tsunami in the Indian Ocean on Boxing Day, 2004 believed to be the deadliest tsunami in history, with a death toll in excess of 230,000 people in 14 countries.

It began at 7:59am local time on December 26, 2004, when a 9.1-magnitude quake struck off the northern tip of Sumatra in Indonesia, reminding us all that this region is extremely volatile. In fact, it was at the site of present-day Lake Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia. that the extinction level super volcano killed off all but about 10,000 human beings about 70,00 years ago.

The upcoming eclipse is .3 minutes and 40 seconds in duration, affording a window of more than two and a half years of influence, but that doesn’t mean that we would have to wait that long for results, particularly considering. the larger pallet of celestial events, not least of which is the momentous Superior Conjunction of 2020 12 Dec 2020.

The chart for the eclipse is, of course, diurnal, the Planetary Day is Jupiter, the Hour belongs to Saturn who is also the Almuten.  Mercury is Matutine Waning, Venus is Vespertine Waxing. No planets are in their Joy. Significantly, the Hyleg is the Sun – this evokes an image of the life force being diminished at the time of the eclipse.  Five planets and luminary are deposited by Saturn and Saturn’s reach extends to Mars in his own domicile with his exaltation in Capricorn. Importantly, the Sun in Capricorn is in aversion to his domicile. The N. Node in the fourth us the image of the ‘end of things’ as well as earth and its roots.

The Greater Malefic is unleashed. Saturn is the key player for this eclipse and even more so for the upcoming Conjunction.

There is a crucial element that might be missed by many astrologers using the tropical zodiac exclusively. The Eclipse occurs in the Moola (Mula. )nakshatra, which is the 19th nakshatra or Lunar Mansion.

Each of 27 (or, according to some texts, 28) equal divisions of the ecliptic through which the moon passes during the course of a sidereal month; a lunar mansion; the period of time with which each of these corresponds. In Sanskrit, nakṣatra means star, lunar mansion (lit. ‘with dominion overnight’) from nak, nakt- + kṣatra dominion See (OUP)

The significance of ‘Moola’ is root and its symbol is a bundled bunch of roots tied together. Moola nakshatra is ruled by the Goddess of destruction, i.e. Goddess Maha Kali. – sharp or dreadful.  Ketu is also attributed to the nakshatra.;  Michael Conneely  writes: “The planets and luminaries Mula Nakshatra is the first Nakshatra of the third (and final) Sattva group of nine Nakshatras, and it arises out of the very difficult Abhukta Mula Gandanta Zone: 2 deg either side of the transition from the sign before: Jyestha, to this Nakshatra: Mula.” See

mahavidya goddess with a pair of scissor_

This is an obvious potential pitfall of using the Tropical zodiac which is oriented to the Solstices and Equinoxes  The sidereal zodiac is fixed and based on the position of stars and the Moon. So, when we draw up a chart using Tropical, the nakshatras will, of course, remain in the same place, but do not appear to belong to the signs and asterisms from which they were derived. So, we have the odd situation of a planet in the early degrees of tropical Capricorn, whilst the sidereal charts place it in the early degrees of Sagittarius. This is the case in this chart. Moola is the galactic centre in Sagittarius ad to miss this is to lose much valuable information. In my own view, the nakshatras are too important to ignore.

Saturn itself, however, is in the 22nd nakshatra, Shiravan Chandra (Moon) owns this Nakshatra. This constellation spans from 10°00′ to 23°20′ in Makara, owned by the Shani (Saturn).

See the chart below, calculated using the Fagen-Allan zodiac.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that astrologers such as Vettius Valens and those before him used a sidereal (Babylonian) zodiac and sometimes in concert with a Tropical zodiac. Of course, for some time, the two systems would have yielded similar results. It would see that the exclusive use of the tropical zodiac came into being either by or through Ptolemy.  We are now seeing more clearly how the Indian, Persian and Hellenistic astrological traditions influenced each other. An increasing number of contemporary traditional astrologers have taken it upon themselves to discover what can be gained by knowledge of Indian and Persian astrology.

Having said that, the reading of the tropical chart for this event provides a great deal of information and could be used as a stand-alone chart. However, we would miss some extremely important elements in the process.

There is no denying that this a difficult configuration for the eclipse. We also find a strong Mars in the House of Death. Volcanoes and seismic shifts are notoriously difficult to predict, but with this chart, I think it would be wise to take careful note and do whatever needs to be done to minimize the loss of life The magnitude is uncertain, but it will be a highly significant impact that by no means will go unnoticed. By including recognition and analysis of the nakshatra, we are given deeper insight into the nature of the event.

The following video of the last eruption of Krakatoa was taken by Martin Rietze, who retains Full Credits.



The State of the Art

“When Jupiter burns in Cancer and Mercury is with it, the conditions of people will improve.”

This article isn’t for everyone. I’m assessing the state of astrology in the present. Much of what I have to say I have already expressed in other contexts. It is virtually impossible to write an article of this sort without offending anyone at all, but that is not my intent. I would be encouraged if the article were the impetus for a debate and self-examination in the astrological community regarding the state of the art of astrology. Realistically, though, those who are most likely to feel the need for that examination are not likely to read this article. I do hope that anyone looking to find authentic and professional services will find a compendium of what to look for and what to avoid,

Something I have tried to do consistently on this site is to elucidate classical and ancient astrology and its place in modernity. The reputation of authentic astrology is largely in tatters. There are however signs of resurgence not only of astrology but the spirituality, and mysticism, to which it has always been yoked. This is occurring in the renaissance of traditional western astrology, but I believe we still have much to learn from Persian and Indian astrology. This has become my current area of research.

We cannot ignore the larger context of the Age in which live. Robert Zoller describes it as well as anyone:

“During the Piscean Age, the benefic Jupiter ruled the angles. Jupiter ruled both Pisces on the 1st and Sagittarius on the 10th, and thus, while there was confusion of hierarchical religious institutions and political institutions and while this inevitably led to hypocrisy, the Age was nevertheless one in which truth and philosophy mattered to men. The Piscean Age will, as this Aquarian Age unfolds, be seen as a halcyon period of semi-respite from the essentially malefic and spiritually destructive nature of life. In the Aquarian Age, the malefics once again rule the angles and with them returns the natural severity of worldly life.

The Novus Ordo Saeculorum, the New Order of the Ages, will rule through the power of life and death (Scorpio, which is on the 10th), through behaviour modification, cloning, genetic engineering, mind control and the occult. Might makes right in this New Age. If the preceding Age produced metaphysical materialists, who duped the people through the opiate of religion, the New Age will produce materialist metaphysicians who will make the preceding political power elites look like inept apprentices.

In the Age of Aquarius, religion will be humanistic love of fairness and justice. While feeding the people with Libran platitudes, the Scorpionic rulers will work tirelessly toward the realization of their goal – absolute power over others, as Leo is seen in position on the 7th house. The will of the people will be towards freedom of expression (Aquarius), and they will be encouraged to do their own thing so that they keep their minds off what their rulers do.”

The modernity we know is the result of accelerated scientific advances and extreme, fanatical forms of collective political movements, sometimes in the guise of liberalism. I have argued elsewhere that the China of Mao or Stalin’s USSR is akin to Nazi Party ideology when it was rolled out as the National Socialist German Workers’ Party,  The power comes like an iron fist from a single leader who promises food, jobs, stability, equality, sometimes cars, a reason to replace religion, an overweening sense of being on the only possible path one should take.

The first thing these superstates do is to arrest and kill anyone considered an intellectual. Even possession of a typewriter and a few books meant a one way trip to the Gulag. This is because intellectuals are not only dangerous in undermining the State but are a category of the perceived “elite.” In Communism, they were called reactionaries. There can be no possibility of an opposing view. We like to think that we live in an age of freedom, but these freedoms are being not so slowly dismantled. These demonstrate a quintessentially Aquarian series of phenomena. We quickly learn the limits of free speech if we question the contemporary liberalism in the West, even though this secular liberalism is uncomfortably close to the extreme versions that we fought for most of the 20th Century. To survive in such a milieu, astrology must state its case clearly at the same time that it is seen to open other doors of perception to counter the scientific materialism that surrounds us and would define us. Considering all this, it’s amazing that it has survived at all. The fact that some of these states are now defunct, and have been for some time, doesn’t mean that the inherent ideologies have no effect on us. The so-called collectives we have in the 21st Century are mostly impersonal Corporate entities, devoid of ethics and in many cases even essential decency,

Hindu Calendar 1871-72.

The collective movements most famously of the 20th Century during the incursion of the Aquarian Age have for the most part been responsible for reducing the status of human beings to brainwashed drones, while the top of the pyramid or the center of the parties lives in opulence. This is essentially the global corporate model where impoverished people work in sweatshops to produces good that they could never afford. Aquarian Age collectivism is almost always fanatical.  The state of the art in astrology is not unconnected to the illusions of the Aquarian Age – things often look good even when they are the complete opposite. It has often interested me that those who don’t like my dystopian views of the Age are perfectly happy to call it the Kali Yuga. I would go further to say that not noting the character of different ages is spectacularly unscientific. The opposing axis is Leo, affirming the sense of self beyond the collective, but adding an essential egoism. This concords with Zoller’s description of the Age.

This contextual and practical examination is to a large extent a follow up from my recent article “On Earth, As It Is In Heaven.” The events, sensibilities, and zeitgeist of our times are underscored by what Robert Zoller referred to as The Novus Ordo SaeculorumAstrological practise cannot be entirely separated from how one views the world. Capitalism, for example, is much more than business. It is an entire matrix of consciousness. It includes virtual slave labour in sweatshops in the third world. Capitalism writ large is a boot in the face of the most vulnerable people on earth. That is a kind of evil in my view. The Lord of the Age is Saturn. There are New Age people who believe that light can and does exist without darkness, that things must always be sweet, even though they clearly are not. Scientific materialists are not likely to care much for astrology at all, but who has not been touched by it? Those who put a high value on ancient and traditional sources will take yet another view of the subject, and so it goes. The astrological category of prediction is a good case in point.

The question of prediction was raised in the previous article, in considering how the subject may best be explained and the work executed.  To clarify, it is fair to say that all forms of astrology are indeed to one extent or another predictive. It should be clear that predictions are made with a combination of specialized skill on the subject on the part of the astrologer and by techniques developed over the millennia, always separating the wheat from the chafe. The Nativity, for example, studies the chart as if it were a seed. Other forms are more obviously so, although there is no great qualitative difference. The song remains the same.

The astrologer must know many things before an accurate reading is realized. These include, in varying degrees, the physical, mental and spiritual elements that make up the native, For example, a knowledge of the humours allows for a reading that understands that a person with a strong melancholic humour will not react the same way as someone with a choleric one. There may be (and usually are) indications of potential health issues along the way. These and many other considerations help to give us a sound understanding of the vehicle in which the native is traveling in to navigate his or her world.

Mental states likely to manifest are equally important, not only for their own sake but for how they will likely affect how the world is seen and, in some cases, point to potentially serious problems such as depression. The spiritual element is far more subtle and should be approached with a feeling for what may be of the greatest assistance. The situation is substantially imptoved if the astrologer is able to know the native’s spiritual orientation. This is virtually impossible without some contact with the native, but New Age entrepreneurs claim to be able to do this by having you will fill out a short form online. Some claim to be able to determine your last incarnation. This is not even close to sound astrology and is really for entertainment purposes only. If that was the understanding, perhaps that wouldn’t be so bad. However, the querent is led to believe that they are getting the real thing

When we consider Mundane Astrology, we have a host of techniques; but frankly, one needs to know history, and usually geography and political movements.  Mundane is, of course, best known as a predictive branch of astrology, but just as families of Saros cycles have meaning to us in the present, so too do cultures work on a continuum.  In this respect, the prediction is Janus faced – looking backward as well as forward..Mundane astrology is challenging, but it doesn’t require multiple charts in bi-wheels, tri-wheels, Solar Returns compared to other progressions until one has a mass of data and no clarity.  This is particularly noticeable in political mundane astrology For reasons that remain partly mysterious to me, predictions on who will win a given election are wildly popular. You will also notice that it is the norm for there to be as many wrong predictions as accurate ones. This tells us that the flipping of a coin would be equally useful if our question is simply “who will win.”This fact offends hubris and so it should Humility is a crucial cohabitant of wisdom. One of the main culprits here is the speed at which we are expected to work during this age of massively accelerated technology. Nevertheless, that cannot excuse a self-interest that makes the clear reading of a chart an impossibility.

Make no mistake, we now live in an age where far more astrological charts are cast by the inept than the adept. This is almost entirely due to the incredible ease of using modern, sophisticated software programs, including free astrological calculation services available online.  It is not so long ago, that every chart was painstakingly calculated by hand. Nevertheless, having drawn up the chart, no matter how one does it, it requires interpretation and to do that effectively takes many years to develop. Learning the essential significance of a given planet, luminary or sign is the beginning. Learning how these interact with each other in a whole chart is perhaps the second step. Beyond that is how humankind and all of creation is interconnected, A neo-platonist would call us monads.

In my estimation, neither of these steps will be complete without a deep knowledge of the origins of this knowledge. Hermeneutics – A method or theory of interpretation – is an apt term in relation to the Art of Hermes. Hindus will say that the science of the stars was given at the time of creation and I’m not going to argue against that. Because most of human history has been transmitted orally, we cannot say with certainty when it began, or if in fact it always existed as part of being human – we do after all come from the stars – we are made of stardust. The oldest written work in the Indo European history is the Rig Veda, written in Sanskrit. The dates given for the creation of the text vary wildly. Some scholars suggest it was written circa 1500 BC.  Others have claimed that it likely dates back to the 8th C. BC, based on astronomical configurations recorded in the text. There is no doubt that the first sections of the Rig Veda are very old indeed, consisting or oral transmissions. from sage to sage. Today, there are many people calling themselves astrologers who have no interest whatsoever in where the science came from or what are the underlying principles.

Lunar phases in ‘Treatise of astronomy and computation’, in Turkish_translated from Persian, 1586-1600

The ancient world was far more connected than most people realize, As always, trade was the first cause of that. This brings China and the Silk Route into the fray very early on. However, the astrological tradition as we have known it benefitted from the close proximity of Persia to India. Persia, in turn, acts as a bridge to Babylon and Hellenistic world. Platonism and Neo-Platonism were crucial to the understanding of the metaphysics underpinning astrology. All of these cultures mixed freely in Alexandria. It is interesting to read Plotinus and see both Platonic thought and what looks like Hindu metaphysics. It is impossible to ignore the extraordinary similarities between Shiva and Dyonysis. The presence at the School of Alexandria was a crucible for numerous philosophical schools from throughout the Mediterranean, North Africa, Persia, India, Babylon, and the entire Middle East. There were Hellenized Jews, Stoics, Pythagoreans and all of these cultures had an intense interest in the Heaven and how they may be interpreted, Last but not least was the tradition of the Hermetica, also quite seamlessly a part of this nexus.

There is a spirit of wonder and also a willingness to learn from others in the earliest mentionings of the language of the stars. I believe that we are on the verge of new and powerful techniques that are also ancient. Much earlier than these philosophical systems we have the henge cultures of the Celts and cave drawings of Lascaux showing us that our earliest known ancestors watched the movement of the Heavens and organized their lives around constellations, the Lunar cycle and to a large extent, the cycle of Venus.

It is, therefore troubling that people calling themselves astrologers, more often than not. have very little skill and almost no understanding or interest in the underlying structure and philosophical underpinnings of the art.  The problem arises when the client is offered a vision of themselves that is divorced from the deeper wisdom potentially available in traditional readings. Again, we have a case of “I’m free to do whatever I want” with no real concern for the consequences. Considering the laws of nature is an antidote to that falsehood if observed.

All of the essential elements of authentic astrology are alive and derived from ancient sources – some say from the beginning of creation. Philosophies, such as Platonism and the Hermetica provide a special, sacred language to convey the subtleties and profundities that ordinary language may be found inadequate, For this and many other reasons, the underpinnings of astrology need to be studied in earnest

In the Aquarian Age, any mention of someone lacking adequate skill in anything might be cause for accusations of elitism. By the same logic, anyone with an avid interest in anatomy shouldn’t be prevented from performing any kind of surgery that strikes their fancy. Largely due to the internet, many people now claim to be astrologers who haven’t the faintest idea of on what astrology is based. Astrology has for the most part been reduced to the status of a parlour game. of essentially the same nature as newspaper Sun sign columns. If your chart isn’t saying what you want it to say, you can keep adding planets, asteroids, hypotheticals, centaurs, Priapus, the Black Sun, three Black Moons and a partridge in a pear tree. This is precisely what many modern astrologers do.

A King and a Monk (recto) Text (verso) Folio from the Uttaradhyayana Sutra said to be one of the final set of lectures given by Lord Mahavira before his liberation.

Astrology has also been weaponized by people who are willing to use every last asteroid to make their political case. The central issue is there for all to see. For every competent,  objective chart read, there are thousands that are neither competent nor even slightly objective. When one is in the position of assuming that anything can be anything in astrology, the art is easily abused and manipulated, becoming like a ventriloquist dummy, explaining every event as if in one’s own image. If one’s favoured political choice lost, then the chart is portrayed as a trainwreck of malefic influences. If your candidate wins, the same chart might well be interpreted as the beginning of a golden age. It is true that some court astrologers in the past were subject to execution if they provided information the monarch wished not to hear, but these days incompetence. and political bias are among the usual culprits.

Jain Cosmic Diagram. Gujarat. Circa 1500.

The beginnings of astrology were focussed on timekeeping and providing a powerful means to wed heaven to earth, in the words of Pico della Mirandola. This is the core of “on earth as it is in heaven.” In other words, the primary purpose and nature of astrology is that of a celestial dialogue. But we look through a glass darkly and perfect knowledge is forever elusive. The most engaging astrologers in my view are the ones with a strong sense of divine spirit at work. It is as if the entire soul is brought into play.

The nature of modern prediction has also fallen prey to the sensibility, depredation, and demands of the modern news cycle, an entity purchased by global corporations who control the news to favour the needs of shareholders Massive artificial catastrophes, even presidential peccadilloes, are stoked by nothing more than sound bites and questionable sources – often by out and out prevarication and dissembling.  Petty scandals steal the journalistic spotlight, while thousands of children are being slaughtered in a shadow war.

Weather predictions or a medical prognosis, whether achieved through astrological techniques or by medical and meteorological means., are useful because they provide us with a chance to prepare for inclement weather or alert us to minor or serious health issues, for which we may find effective remedies or other means to avert a health crisis.  Knowing who will be elected has rather vague uses when one considers how rarely political promises are made good. I do not denounce the practice for one minute, but I do think that context and relative worth are elements to be considered. It’s more like predicting the outcome of a horserace. Many people enjoy and use these methods and pursue these goals and there is nothing inherently wrong with them. From my point of view, however, they miss the point.

The Sky Goddess Nut body representing the Milky Way arching across the night sky.

Part of my distaste for many election predictions is that they imply that it doesn’t matter if anyone votes because the winner has already been selected by fate. I have no particular problem with fate, but it would make a mockery out of democracy if taken to this level. Certainly, one can argue that fate can work through elections, but it does feel a bit like playing with loaded dice, To me, the subject of political elections is sometimes handled just as well by skilled journalists and even historians than by competitive astrologers with an axe to grind. Objectivity is better-called disinterestedness in this case. It is a state of mind that, as far as is possible, lacks either attachment or aversion, The stars guide us. We do not bend them to our will.

It’s my contention, based on experience, that the greatest guardian of astrology is a strong desire to be a channel of a divine spirit. Divine Spirit is the quintessence of creation. You are right to feel uneasy about an astrologer who is glib, arrogant or professes no faith in the mystical essence of the art. A colleague once told me that he had no interest in the cultural and spiritual background of astrology and that it was “just like mathematics.” I completely disagree with that. When we say such things, we are rather too close to what I call the “slot machine mentality.” Ideally, astrology is at its best when it can develop a conscious relationship with divine intelligence, one that assists realization of the soul’s purpose and consequent destiny, rather than frittering away the power available by over attachment to questions of desire or acquisition. Two examples of the latter would be “when will Bobby love me” or “when will I be rich.”

The arrival of King Solomon from 17th or 18th century manuscript copy of The Book of Wonders of the Age -St Andrews ms32(o))

To be fair, many clients come to us with specific questions. When the answer is not what they wanted to hear, they will keep asking the same question, as if at some point they will hit the jackpot. They cannot be blamed.

The society we live in encourages such things. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, we either treat astrology with the reverence it deserves or we are complicit in its misuse. This is not primarily a moral issue. It is all about a consciousness and reverence of divine spirit, used for good vs corruption, in one degree or another, In short, the inspired astrologer is forever conscious of the weight of responsibility. This is not a burden, but a joy.

On The Melancholy of Marsilio Ficino Part I

Ficino De Vita Bk 3 eObtaining life from the hEavens

A Copy of Ficino’s Liber Da Vita Triplici

It is always a daunting task to interpret the subtleties of Marsilo Ficino’s thought. Not only was he brilliant in an age of brilliance, his interests were as deep as they were impressive in their broad compass. He was ever attempting to reconcile different religions and philosophies in search of the Prisca  Theologia.  His massive translation projects put him at the vanguard of Italian Renaissance endeavours. His syncretic Ne0-Platanism was at the root of his intellectual pursuits, which gives us one key to systems. However, no matter how prepared, I shall no doubt raise more questions than provide solutions. If nothing else, it is my hope that this short study might lead to fruitful discussions.

His father was a well-respected physician in Florence. When Cosimo de Medici met Marsilio he said “Cosimo, perceiving the genius of the young man and recognizing in him the extraordinary desire for study which set him afire, re-joiced greatly as if he had now fully understood that, beyond any doubt, this would be the man whom he had long since chosen to shed light on the

Marsilio Ficino

Marsilio Ficino

philosophy of Plato. And presently summoning Ficino, he exhorted him to take especial care over Marsilio’s studies so that he should not go against his natural disposition. He said that there was no reason to take account of domestic hardship, for he would never neglect him in any matter but would supply everything most generously. ‘You, Ficino,’ he said, ‘have been sent to us to heal bodies, but your Marsilio here has been sent down from heaven to heal souls.’ The Life of Marsilio Ficino by Giovanni Corsi p.6

However, Marsilio was also a skilled physician. With the combined knowledge of medicine and astrology, he was also a magus, philosopher and musician. He certainly knew his way around the complexity of a human being from the points of view of body, mind and soul.

To know anything much about Ficino at all is to know of his life-long project of finding ways to minimise the deleterious effects of Saturn.  He was passionate about it. He refers to its influence on himself as the great burden of a Melancholy Humour, otherwise known as an excess of black bile. Ficino was certainly among the brilliant minds of his age and has a reputation of having been a competent astrologer. He certainly knew the humoral system, probably as well as any physician of the time. However, we have Ficino’s birth chart and his comments upon it and they may well give us pause,

He certainly knew the humoral system, probably as well as any physician of the time. However, we have Ficino’s birth chart as well as his comments upon it. Ficino makes numerous comments on his severe Melancholy, but the most succinct passage, dealing with both his chart and humours is as follows in a letter to Giovanni Cavalcanti he writes “Saturn seems to have impressed the seal of melancholy on me from the beginning; set, as he is, almost in the midst of my ascendant in Aquarius, he is influenced by Mars, also in Aquarius, and the ficinonatalchartMoon in Capricorn. He is in square aspect to the Sun and Mercury in Scorpio, which occupy the ninth house. But Venus in Libra and Jupiter in Cancer have, perhaps, offered some resistance to this melancholy nature.”Marsilio Ficino, Three  Books on Life, [Florence 1489] 1989, p. 20

Further in a letter to Rinaldo Orsini, archbishop on Florence, he wrote “Venus subdues Mars and Jupiter Saturn. Letters Vol II. p.15

It was an odd comment to make to Cavalacanti because Ficino didn’t have the salubrious Venus in Libra or Jupiter in Cancer in his horoscope. Venus is instead in Virgo and Jupiter in Leo. This isn’t a minor error. His horoscope would have to have been in the previous year to have the Jupiter he cites. Of course,  if Ficino had said or meant that his chart would be better with the impossible planets, we can write this off as an error in communication. No other plausible option occurs to me.

Plato's natal chart as described by Maternus

Plato’s natal chart as described by Maternus (Mathesis VI. XXX. 24)

I have no way of guaranteeing the provenance of the chart above but it does closely match his own comments on it. The green planets have been added by an astrologer, noting the disparities between the original, using modern software and Regiomontanus houses, If however we use Porphyry houses the resulting chart is almost identical to the one he describes, with the exception of the impossible positions of the greater and lesser Benefics.

We have seen that Ficino notes that Jupiter in Cancer would have helped the situation, but if Jupiter were at that degree in Cancer, it would set the chart back one year while leaving everything more or less as is..

Instead, Jupiter is very much in Leo It isn’t easy to understand why Ficino would wish that Jupiter were in another sign, because Plato’s horoscope has the same first / seventh house axis in Aquarius and Leo. It is evident that Ficino admired Plato in the highest degree. I think at times the identity of Plato and Ficino got blurred. Further, we can argue that Ficino knew what he was doing, He certainly had extraordinarily wealthy and generous patrons and friends to remind him of the Royal throne of Jupiter.

Marsilio Ficino - 19 Oct 1433 - 1:42 pm - Figline Valdarno. Italy - Porphyry houses

Marsilio Ficino – 19 Oct 1433 – 1:42 pm – Figline Valdarno. Italy – Porphyry houses

In Book Six of his Mathesis, the fourth century CE Roman astrologer, Julius Firmicus Maternus, gives the following account of the natal chart of Plato, the fifth century BCE Athenian philosopher:

If the ascendant is in Aquarius, and Mars, Mercury, and Venus are in conjunction in that degree; Jupiter is on the descendant in Leo; the Sun is on the anafora of the ascendant in Pisces; the Moon is in the fifth house in Gemini, in trine to the ascendant; and Saturn is in the ninth house in Libra-this chart produces an interpreter of divine and celestial matters. He possesses a combination of learned speech and divine intelligence and is trained by some kind of heavenly power to give true expression to all secrets of divinity. This chart is said to have been that of Plato. (Mathesis VI.XXX.24)

Standard - Oriental - Occidental considered.

Standard – Oriental – Occidental considered.

2. Oriental and Occidental ignored

2. Oriental and Occidental ignored

Whether or not Plato shared what Ficino considered salient similarities with respect to his own horoscope, Ficino found his own to be problematic because as he stated “Saturn seems to have impressed the seal of melancholy on [him] from the beginning;” His references to this excess of black bile, which he sometimes refers to as scholarly melancholy are ubiquitous. It’s virtually impossible to think of Ficino without recalling his Melancholy humour.

In spite of the challenges in the horoscope, the philosopher has Sun and Mercury in the 9th House disposited by Mars in his sign of Exaltation.

However using traditional methods of determining  humor from the horoscope, we see immediately that he actually has more of the Sanguine and Choleric Humour. Sanguine is warm and wet, Melancholic is cold and dry.

So what happened? Did he perhaps feel the leaden weight of Saturn and conclude, considering also the exact Saturnine ascendant, the with the Moon and Mars disposited by Saturn.

At first glance, it appears that his humour is far more balanced than he suggests, with Melancholy taking no more than 16.67%  Sanguine shares dominance with Choleric and Phlegmatic takes the same as Melancholy. if we use the classical systems available to us, which take the sign. phase and many other elements into account.  If he ignored the Oriental or Occidental significators, he would deduce a Humour that is about 50%. of the Melancholy Humour. This still means the dominant Humour is Melancholy. However,  it matters how the black bile is produced. His biographer tells us:

His bodily constitution contained excessive blood which was mixed with a thin subtle red bile. His health was not at all settled, for he suffered very much from a weakness of the stomach, and although he always appeared cheerful and festive in company, yet it was thought that he sat long in solitude and became as if numb with melancholy. This came about either from black bile produced by the excessive burning of bile through continual night study, or, as he himself said, from Saturn, which at his birth was in the ascendant in Aquarius and nearly square to Mars in Scorpio. The Life of Marsilio Ficino by Giovanni Corsi p.46

If we take the considerations or Oriental and Occidental we would have the possibility of “excess blood with thin subtle red bile.” The other calculation renders no Choleric. This is a degree of sophistication that goes far beyond the usual calculations. What Ficino is saying is that how we live affects the expression of our humours. Humours can be altered in the process or their interaction with each other. His penchant for describing his own condition as scholarly melancholy takes on another level of meaning.

There will be a Part II, mostly to tie up one or two loose ends and to discuss his various remedies, including his use of sympathetic magic.

Hanging in the Balance


I think that by now the vision of an Aquarian Utopia populated by highly evolved, spiritualized beings devoted solely to the perfection of humanity has very little currency outside the lunatic fringe. At least I wish that were the case. The fact is, the idea has been marketed very successfully. If you can get a population to believe such things, they are very easy to control.

The illusion of progress makes real progress all but impossible to achieve. If you don’t realize there is a problem, there is no motivation to solve it. There are of course highly evolved and spiritualized beings here on Earth. There always has been. Humanity didn’t need to wait for Saturn.

This is likely to be the last article in a series regarding the nature of the Aquarian Age. The series of articles have been in large part a response to Robert Zoller whose views are notably dystopian.  I’m accepting Zoller on his own terms and methodology for this project. Although I’ve added many of my own thoughts, I find myself in general agreement with Zoller.

When we are talking about an Age, we paint with a very broad brush. This makes most astrologers understandably uneasy (or it ought to) but this is the right tool for the occasion. However, we do need to be careful of using the correct terms. For example, the word “fascist” have become so overworked that it’s oftentimes used in ways that are cliche and not helpful at all.

When the courtyard attendant asks someone not to smoke within nine meters of the door, he might be called a Nazi in an absurd attempt to link the enforcement of rules designed to protect asthmatics and non smokers to Nazi atrocities during the Third Reich.  This sort of trivial use or misuse of the term makes it a bit more difficult to recognize when we see the real thing.


Chart showing the angles to which Zoller is referring

Zoller suggests that “In the Age of Aquarius, religion will be humanistic love of fairness and justice. While feeding the people with Libran platitudes, the Scorpionic rulers will work tirelessly toward the realization of their goal – absolute power over others, as Leo is seen in position on the 7th house.” (The Use of Archetypes in Prediction .)

In this we can find either hope or despair. Venus is nicely placed in the Ninth House which informs the Tenth. Libra, however, is the Fall of the Sun. Venus will tickle the ear, but lack authenticity that comes with a stronger sense of self.  But the placement itself is benign, even if misguided. Optimism is a wonderful thing but that doesn’t mean the pessimist has nothing to be concerned about.

There are no goose stepping soldiers in Montreal, London, Berlin or Manhattan, but the police forces in many Western countries have become increasingly militarized, to the point that someone from a previous era wouldn’t recognize them as police at all.  The right to even peaceful protest has been greatly diminished. The implications that what used to be called citizens are now the *enemy.* The term used most often to refer to the population is “consumers.” They are guilty if the powers that be say that they are.

Again, the implication is that this world is in the hands of a small, but inestimably rich plutocracy. According to Oxfam less than 1% of people in the world have more than half of the wealth (The Guardian).

Even these figures distort the reality because the Plutocracy is a tiny fraction of that 1%. It has become virtually common knowledge that this wealth contributes in no small way to foreign and domestic policies in all of the most powerful countries. It’s called lobbying but in many cases it’s rewarding what is demanded and implied threats of consequences if the donor fails to get what he or she want. .

The International Monetary Fund which we are lead to believe is a benevolent institution devoted to the development of the third countries sound very humanitarian. However the IMF loans amounts the country cannot afford to pay back as the interest compounds. The recipient then has to offer its resources in lieu of payment. This keeps the third world in thrall while making the *humanitarian* bankers richer than ever.  There is nothing new about greed and injustice; but packaging these things as benign acts of altruism and humanitarianism soars to a new level of cynicism, which is decidedly Saturnine.


Somalia – Famine, war and corruption – only one case of a failing state resulting in massive refugee populations.

I also concur with Zoller: “As the Aquarian dream of humanistic science and universal brotherhood is a vision of the world to come in Pisces, and realized in Aquarius, so too, the Aquarian avant-garde will look forward to an Aquarian Golden Age on the one hand, while the Aquarian technocrats will look for a world corporation to fossilize society into a rigid caste system run technologically.” The Use of Archetypes in Prediction

The key problem is that the proponents of an Aquarian Golden Age are blinded by unfounded optimism. Ironically perhaps, if they were more realistic they would see that the agenda of the Aquarian technocrats must be curbed, not just for a better world, but for our survival as a species.

The Aquarian technocrats require powerful militaries and endless wars which are justified as necessary for the security of the nation. For “our own good” we give up freedom and human rights,

With Mars on the MC the Scorpionic “overlords” will have no scruples about using whatever force they deem necessary to put down the perceived enemies of complete global domination. In the spirit of Aquarian egalitarianism, a one world government sounds like a good idea. Just as George Orwell wrote in 1948, the world is divided into larger and larger sections, such as East Asian (“we have always been at war with East Asia”). Those not complying with the agenda are called terrorists – Orwell showed how the masses can be convinced that lies are true and visa versa.

1Aquarius - Delv - Kova by al-Sufi 'Book of Fixed Stars'1

Aquarius – From al-Sufi ‘Book of Fixed Stars’

Neither will their domestic critics be spared. This is all out fascism, largely concealed by the velvet glove. Wars are no longer fought for the nation state in the West, They are fought mostly to further the interests of corporations and to make the very wealthy even wealthier.

Some will argue that there have always been wars and tyrants to send good people to fight them. However, the level and scope of what have become endless wars since the Age began, with the dominance shifting from Naval Power to Air Power, is truly unprecedented. To a very real way we have the technology  to have wars that don’t end but become their own reason for being.

Predator drones are controlled from the other side of the world with impunity; but the target is people who are often unarmed ,with no chance of self defense They are destroyed without warning.. Arbitrary extrajudicial executions, carried out at the press of a button from CIA locations in California or Virginia, require no transparency or accountability. They operations are secret and above and beyond even international law.

The current President of the United States has insisted on his right to kill anyone, anywhere in the world, including the US, simply on the basis of alleged suspicion, This comes from a Democratic President with a Peace Prize. There is no trial and often no specific charge at all, All youths 16 or older can be considered enemy combatants. Almost 200 children have been killed by drones in Pakistan and Yemen alone on his watch. This mechanical, high tech form of slaughtering people is particularly ghoulish. The victims are often innocent and remain anonymous in our media. The globalism so commonly espoused in the Western world is often blind to who it kills, except of course for those who ordered the strike.

The astrological Saturn, by Hans Sebald Behamd 1539

The astrological Saturn, by Hans Sebald Behamd 1539

Many scientists, political commenters, environmentalists and others now consider nuclear war the most likely existential threat to the human race and thousands of other species, even if the exchange were limited to India and Pakistan. A nuclear winter would ensue and it would be difficult to imagine a more Saturnine fate. Rapid climate change, accelerated by the burning of fossil fuel is a threat as well. An accidental or deliberate leak of biological agents having the affect of a rapidly spreading plague of pandemic proportions is often cited as close to the top of the list of doomsday scenarios. These are created, exacerbated or potentially ameliorated by human beings.

Optimists are becoming less numerous regarding outlooks for the future. As Zoller stated, the two malefics on the angles lacks the optimism and idealism of a Piscean Jupiter. Steven Hawking, one of our most brilliant and  best loved physicists, has said many times that the only chance of human survival is for us to leave this planet. We have the technology to do real harm to the environment on an epic scale. In the meantime, famine, so often a result of war is obscenely commonplace considering the tools we have at our disposal,

Just as Libra in the Ninth is good at whispering sweet nothings into the ears of the rich and powerful, so it is an opportunity for renewed moral balance of a spiritual nature. Libra is after all the Exaltation of Saturn and the higher impulse is for true justice. We live in very dangerous times, If we can invoke the positive collective qualifies, we have an opportunity to take back what is ours. The real enemy is stealthy and the fist looks so much nicer in a velvet glove. Certainly denying or trivializing our powers of destruction will yield nothing but more of the same.

Saturn is the Reaper and what we reap is what we sow.  Saturn is all about consequences and revealing limitations, often in very challenging ways. It’s said that the path of good intentions leads to Hell. When humanism becomes a rallying cry for the availability of every human whim, it becomes something very different. The most poignant irony is that humanism, always attributed to Aquarius, spells the end of truly human life.

Clearly, this is no longer seen in an entirely negative light. For some, it’s the only solution. Why not have a humanoid that’s “Forever Twenty One” to do all the work and be able to function in the most extreme conditions, should they occur. Japan would prefer robots to immigrants in a rapidly aging society. And of course, the humanoid has perfect manners and can teach Japanese in Viet Nam.

The Aquarius / Leo axis has brought a culture of conspicuous consumption, unparalleled technological innovation, the rewarding of selfishness and celebrity for its own sake (one can now be famous for being famous) as well as opportunities to defeat the most miserable illnesses, illiteracy and some forms of inequality. The scales offer us a choice and until we make that choice we will be ever hanging in the balance waiting for “Godot” the Aquarian messiah or the end of everything that matters.

Eclipse – Battle of Isandlewana

Battle of Islanhlwan by Charles Edwin Fripp

Battle of Islanhlwan by Charles Edwin Fripp

The Battle of Islandlwana on January 22, 1879, was the most dire defeat of the British Army against any indigenous people in the Empire and it occurred at what might be considered the zenith of British power during what has become known as the Zulu Wars. This battle has been of great interest to military strategists and historians. I’ll be looking at this through the eyes of an astrologer.

Although they eventually realized that they were massively outnumbered, the British forces were confident. The battle had not been expected and in fact the British also had 1500 oxen with them, presumably for settlers – certainly not what one takes to war. British forces had never encountered what was now bearing down upon them with unimaginable force.

They were well trained and seasoned soldiers, numbering 1800, including British, colonial and native forces. They also had approximately 400 civilians with them. They were using state of the art weapons and under the able command of Lt. Lord Chelmsford.

Of primary interest were the much prized Martini – Henry rifle, equipped with bayonets. This was the first time it had been used in combat and it turned out that it had a flaw when used repeatedly for long periods of time. They tended to overheat, making reloading more difficult. It is unlikely that this would have been a problem in other battles. As well, the rocket battery was not mounted and became increasingly useless as the battle unfolded


The effective firing range of the Martini – Henry rifle was 400 yds or 370 m. I emphasize this because the range of sight needed to allow for this ability. The may seem obvioius, but at the time the soldiers had no real doubts of being able to hold back the massive Zulu assault.

The army of 20,000 Zulus had no bows, horses or wheels for that matter. What they had were spears and clubs. According to the grandson of the Zulu chief, the warriors were given a variety of drugs that made them fearless, bloodthirsty and in fact visionary. At one point in the battle the Zulus saw “strange birds” coming for them which they believed were evil spirits conjured by the British.


I have not found an exact, reliable time for the beginning of the battle, but it was close to Noon. The real problem came a couple of hours later. We do know there was a Solar Eclipse that sealed the fate of the British. From the blinding early afternoon Sun, there was a darkness, made worse by the excessive smoke and dust . This was at 2.00 PM LMT

The approaching Zulus became invisible long enough to advance well within the rifle’s range and therefore too close for the army to have the advantage of being able to shoot the approaching Zulus before they were close enough for arm to arm combat, an enormous disadvantage to the British. The fact that the Zulus were unflinching suggests their shaman had predicted the eclipse. I have not found any evidence that this particular eclipse was know to the British soldiers in advance of the event.

The Zulu soon breached the perimeters and were virtually face to face with the British before they could see what was coming at them.. The Zulu used a traditional formation known as the “horns of the bull.” The idea was to encircle and destroy the enemy. The motif of the bull and cattle is quite evident and it’s difficult to ignore the relationship to the Ascendant,

These were the days when armies wore brilliant colours proudly, rather than using camouflage. Yes, there were ambushes, but we cannot call this the age of stealth. Yet non – visibility is what won the day.

The Ascendant is the life force and this chart gives us a highly afflicted Taurus Ascendant. Along with the Part of Fortune, it is in tight conjunction with the highly malefic Fixed Star know as Algol. It has a reputation for making one lose their head, either figuratively or literally and is associated with piled up corpses.  The Ascendant is disposited by Venus, in turn disposited by Saturn, She is Peregrine and Under the Beams. Saturn is in a weak sign in the Eleventh House, denying help from military associates and friends in general. Moreover, Saturn is Almuten of the chart and Venus is the Killing Planet.

Saturn in Halb can also be said to be Lord of the Eclipse, as he disposits both luminaries and both benefics. It doesn’t seem too much of a stretch to suggest the Zulu association with the Tenth House Sun, as they are in effect eclipsed and maintain the high ground, retaining their sovereignty,serpens

The *enemy* is in the martial and stealthy sign of Scorpio, ruled by Mars, out of sect in the Eighth House of Death and dispositing the Twelfth House – all in all, a nasty piece of work in the context of the chart as a whole.  The Lord of the Eighth House is Jupiter, suggesting many dead.  Mars is conjunct Ras Alhague, the star in the head of the Serpent-charmer (Orphiucus), the Moorish El Hauwe.

Pliny said that it occasioned much mortality by poisoning. This constellation has also been called Aesculapius and held to rule medicines. By the Kabalists it is associated with the Hebrew letter Oin and the 16th Tarot Trump “The Lightning Struck Tower”. [Robson*, p.54.] It also has another role – that of Shamanic healer. The considerable participation of the shamanic priests shouldn’t be underestimated. From the concoctions given to the warriors to the healings during the battle. They evoked a powerful force that made the Zulus fight as one and without fear.

Given the inescapable association of the British with the Lion, I cannot but associate the Leo S. Node as the ‘end of the matter’ in the Fourth House. This can be taken as both the Lion defeated as well as resurgent. The Zulus won the battle, but decidedly lost the war

Thema Mundi & the Aquarian Age

The Thema Mundi can strike one as a rather strange beast at first. Thema Mundi literally means “World Theme”, with ‘the word theme also meaning chart.  What we have is perhaps best described as a mythical horoscope, of particular interest to Hellenistic Astrology, showing the ideal position of the planets and luminaries. I use the term ‘ideal’ in the Platonic sense of the Forms.


The chart shows the supposed positions of the five visible planets and the two luminaries, the Sun and Moon, demonstrating the logic behind the rulership of signs, planetary exaltations and so on. It is regarded as the placement of all bodies at the time of Creation.  It is clearly not intended to correlate to an actual astronomical event. because Venus and Mercury are at impossible distances from the Sun. Venus is 60° from the Sun and Mercury is 30° Astronomically, the angular distance of Venus is never more than 47.8° and Mercury not more than 27.8° from the Sun.

All planets and luminaries are positioned in a sign they rule and at 15 degrees of the sign. Below we has the same Thema Mundi illustrating the ways in which a planet may aspect another : conjunction, opposition, trine, square and sextile. These are what have become known as the Ptolemaic aspects, but it’s clear that they long proceeded Ptolemy. It is estimated that the Thema came into being circa 322 B.C. One could very well write a book on this, but for the time being think of this as something of a universal key to Hellenistic astrology and beyond.


There is another term used to describe how signs or planets can relate. Ptolemy referred to it as an aversion, But strictly speaking it isn’t an aspect for the simple reason that it doesn’t aspect anything.  This is very important in Hellenistic Astrology because the Ascendant is as the life force and also what ‘steers’ the owner of the chart. The Sixth, Eight and Twelfth House are unfortunate houses because they are in aversion to the Ascendant. They cannot ‘see’ it.  It is not nearly as important with an aversion between signs, such as Aries and Virgo, but a matter of great concern between the Eighth House and the Ascendant.

If you believe that any of this has any credibility whatsoever, there is no getting around the fact that Aquarius is in the House of Death on the Axis of Hades. Once again, we can see that utopian views of the Aquarian Age are delusional. There isn’t ant other way to interpret this Thema with respect to the Eighth House.

I have stated elsewhere that I believe the Aquarian Age began in earnest at the beginning of the 20th Century, with sea power giving way to domination of the skies, including space. I have also raised the issue of what I’ve called “velvet fascism.’ This first century of the Aquarian Age and now the second is extremely destructive with 60 million killed in WWII and 40 million Chinese under Mao Zedong. alone Most strikingly the greatest conflicts were over secular ideology. The Communist Revolution in China promised a world of equality and plenty – a worker’s paradise. That sounds very Aquarian.


Once in power, Mao was so fixed in his ideology that he became a great tyrant, tens of millions of people starved, he set his mind on destroying anything traditional or old. Long before the Cultural Revolution, the bloody invasion of Tibet took place, with ensuing physical and cultural Genocide.

Mao famously told the Dalai Lama that religion is poison. But he has in effect formed a secular religion that was not to be questioned. As a plethora of images show us, he liked to be portrayed as a demi-god and the people were mostly acquiescent. Is it really a true revolution to replace an Emperor with a dictator? The Bolshevik Revolution promised similar benefits, but again we have a case of ideology that resulted in untold tragedies and death.

It is estimated that 100 million Russians died under Stalin ,What has made the wars and revolution so much more horrible if the rapid advancement of technologies with which Aquarius is commonly associated.  From mustard gas to atomic bombs, we have seen unprecedented destruction. None of this seems out of place with what we saw in the Thema Mundi and in previous articles on the Aquarian Age.

Indians think in much longer succession of Ages The length of Ages are not always consistent. Depending of which school of Hinduism you ask, there can be a massi9ve discrepancy. Some sources say  the Kali Yuga lasts for 432,00o years only 5,000 years of which have elapsed.  The Kali Yuga is considered the worst Age of all, yet the symbolism is not so out of place in our own age.  The imagery is comparable to Rubin’s painting of Saturn devouring his children.  Saturn, is, after all, a malefic. and the Eighth House is the place of death.


The Platonic system gives us much shorter ages, but even so, it would be very far from the truth to say that someone can’t do good things in difficult times. They always have. However, the Age of Aquarius has been consistently portrayed as a Golden Age when people will attune to higher frequencies and love each other, as nobody could have loved each other in any other age. The most insidious aspect of velvet fascism is that it promises freedom, while globalisation, a very Aquarian idea, makes slaves of some and consumers of others. As always, to have knowledge is to be forewarned..

Aquarian Age III : The Myth of Ganymede

Antonio_Allegri (called Correggio) The Abduction of Ganymede

Antonio_Allegri (called Correggio) The Abduction of Ganymede

This is the third part of a series on the Age of Aquarius I began about a year ago. It is advisable to read parts I & II before reading this one. My main purpose is to bring about a questioning of the assumptions and expectations of the Age of Aquarius. This is a discussion the astrological community needs to have. Almost all I see on the subject could be mostly summed up the song by The Fifth Dimension. I’m not sure if it’s fear, laziness or a complete lack of interest that has cause this rather poignant dearth of discourse.

Aquarius is represented by Ganymedes, the Phrygian boy who was carried off by an eagle to Mount Olympus to become the cup-bearer of Zeus. The contents of the cup are not for common humanity, but for the gods. The myth was a model for the Greek social custom of paiderastía, the socially acceptable erotic relationship between a man and a youth. The Latin form of the name was Catamitus (and also “Ganymedes”), from which the English word “catamite” derives. See AMHER (2000), catamite, p. 291 Granted, Greek Mythology is not for the squeamish, but we are after all referring to a rape.

The pre – eminence of the aerial predator is also of interest, although the symbol is closely associated with Rome, the Eagle was a prominent symbol of the Nazis. The number of peaks and valleys of the Aquarian glyph has not been entirely consistent. There is generally two or three peaks and valleys. The SS officer lapel insignia invites comparison.

In a recent conversation, my friend Al Mackenzie mentioned that it had “occurred to [him] once that if you were to uncross the arms of a swastika and lay them parallel you would have the glyph for Aquarius..” The association of the Aquarian Age with what I have called “velvet fascism” has come up numerous times and is in that respect in agreement with Robert Zoller on the subject

Calligraphic glyph for Aquarius by Stefan Stenudd

Calligraphic glyph for Aquarius by Stefan Stenudd @

In the story of Ganymede the Water Bearer is a beautiful youth, abducted by Zeus in the form of an eagle for his own carnal pleasure. We can say that Ganymede was taken against his will to be the servant of the gods and of Zeus in particular. He serves as water bearers, but he also becomes the catomite of Zeus. The most salient of these facts are that Aquarius / Ganymede’ is by no means his own boss, Yet “New Age” sources will insist the ascent was to a higher state of consciousness ! I find this to be remarkably perverse.

The insistence that the Age of Aquarius must be an age of sweetness and light with technology in the best possible service of humanity is a position which is completely untenable, whether we examine the deeper meanings of the sign or simply observe how the last hundred years or so has manifested itself.  Again, I do not mention these things to dash all hopes 0r deride those who have sincere motives to seek justice and wisdom in an age where corporations increasingly affect the foreign and domestic policies of most of the world.  We should not be lulled into thinking that a new age will be the answer to all ills. It will depend on whose interests are addressed

Manilus relates that the “youthful Waterman, who from upturned pot pours forth his stream, likewise bestows skills which have affinity with himself: how to divine springs under the ground and conduct them above, to transform the flow of water so as to spray the very stars, to mock the sea with man-made shores at the bidding of luxury, to construct different types of artificial lakes and rivers,” and to support aloft for domestic use streams that come from afar. Beneath this sign there dwell a thousand crafts regulated by water. Why, water will even set in motion the face of heaven and the starry habitations, and will cause the skies to move in a novel rotation. ” (Astronomica, book 4, p.243.)

The nuances of mocking the “sea with man-made shores at the bidding of luxury” and ensuing lines could scarcely have been realized by Manilus. “Artificial” lakes and rivers already existed as reservoirs, aqueducts and irrigation during his time’ There is however the implication of technology gone awry or being used for very unnatural ends such as causing “the skies to move in a novel motion” I find an echo or Robert Zoller’s comments on the uses of technology in the Aquarian Age as being largely at the service of military interests and weapons that might very well include the manipulation of weather and even seismic events.  Environmental warfare is very much on the table in our New Age.

Returning to the emblematic Eagle, we are reminded of the ancient association of the Eagle with Scorpio. In Zoller’s schema, Scorpio has the nature of the overlords in the Aquarian Age. Aquarius is the servant or, as told in the mythology, a slave .Considering that the setting of Aquarius coincided with the inundation of the Nile in Leo seems like a mixed message to me. The necessary water arrives in abundance just, as it were, Aquarius retreats. The dryness of Saturn and the rigidity of Fixed Air, in opposition to the house of the Sun is an often puzzling mix.

Ganymede rolling a hoop and bearing aloft a cockerel - a love gift from Zeus (in pursuit, on obverse of vase). Attic red-figure crater, 500-490 BC; Louvre, Paris)

Ganymede rolling a hoop and bearing aloft a cockerel – a love gift from Zeus (in pursuit, on obverse of vase). Attic red-figure crater, 500-490 BC; Louvre, Paris)

Aquarian Age : Part II

Aquarius - Italian C. 1600

Aquarius – Italian C. 1600

As the Sun once again passes through Aquarius, this seems like an opportune time to follow up on my article on the Age of Aquarius. For those of you who have no interest in reading the original article, my essential premise is that we are already in the Age of Aquarius and it is mostly dystopian, in contradiction to those who have looked forward to this New Age as a time of enlightenment, peace and even a radical, spiritual transformation of humanity. You can read Part I here 

A source which will remain anonymous states “The Aquarian Age is the epoch of new knowledge pouring like Holy Water onto the Earth from the Creator.” If were seeking this *new knowledge* we would find a very rich source in the Age of Aries for example which gave us Pythagoras, the Buddha, Lao Tzu and great sages from all over the world, I see no evidence that humanity as a whole is more spiritual now than in any other age, One does not become spiritual because of an age. More often we do so in spite of it.

I will take Zoller at his word on this, although I do not entirely share his apparent fatalistic pessimism. I am most interested in what he has to say about the angles of the Piscean and Aquarian Age, including his references to the role of Libra, Leo and Scorpio.

“The Novus Ordo Saeculorum, the New Order of the Ages, will rule through the power of life and death (Scorpio, which is on the 10th), through behaviour modification, cloning, genetic engineering, mind control and the occult. Might makes right in this New Age. If the preceding Age produced metaphysical materialists, who duped the people through the opiate of religion, the New Age will produce materialist metaphysicians who will make the preceding political power elites look like inept apprentices.

In the Age of Aquarius, religion will be humanistic love of fairness and justice. While feeding the people with Libran platitudes, the Scorpionic rulers will work tirelessly toward the realization of their goal – absolute power over others, as Leo is seen in position on the 7th house. The will of the people will be towards freedom of expression (Aquarius), and they will be encouraged to do their own thing so that they keep their minds off what their rulers do.”

See full article @ Documents/Zoller/Archandpredabridged-2.htm


Leo - Islamic Circa 1300

Leo – Islamic Circa 1300

He says a great deal more about the prospects of the Aquarian Age, but Im suggesting that the Age is essentially Fascist in nature. The Oxford English Dictionary defines Fascism as “an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government and social organization” but this is a great simplification of what we are likely to see manifest in the Twenty-First Century.

Zoller writes “Knowledge will be valued only insofar as it leads to the ability to wage war and destroy, because Aries is on the 3rd house. In fact, the cultivation of knowledge as a source of military power will eventually lead to a secret means of altering and controlling such things as earthquakes and the Earth itself, even the core.” ibid

This is the *boot in the face* we associate with totalitarian regimes with little to no interest in the populace beyond what they can supply the regime. As such, they are completely expendable.

How can this be? The Age of Aquarius was billed as a time of harmony, understanding and humanitarian philanthropy. This was never anything more than a utopian dream put forward by the theosophists and their heirs.

When most people hear the term, they think of jack booted Nazis goose stepping through Berlin among a sea of black and red swastikas. Any high handed attack on civil liberties will, more often than not, invite comparisons to Adolph Hitler. But contemporary fascism has been called velvet fascism. I believe this is part of Zoller’s point regarding the role of Libra.

Let’s take an example we are all familiar with – Political Correctness. It’s a means to silence and control. It bypasses the reasoning faculties and instead hands down unbreakable laws that have never been voted on or objectively assessed with the help of the hard sciences or the insights of anthropology. They tend to be tenets set forth by the media for mass consumption. PC is *true* because those with the most power say it is.  This ‘might is right’ is at the core of fascism.

Prior to the 20th Century, such systemic dogma regarding all facets of life was the domain of organized religion. Now it is political will in the service of multi-nationals and enforced by both the military and an increasingly militarized police force.

This is an affront to civil liberties and intellect, but it feels very much like the fixed – humanism of Aquarius. Human behaviour is thus governed by a purely political cabal who are normally assumed to be Liberal. Oppression masquerades as moral progress.

So let’s now look at the other end of the axis, the hot and dry, fixed fire sign of Leo. If I understand him correctly, I believe Zoller is particularly glib on this, writing it off a diversion in which to  “do your own thing.” Surely, it is a great deal more than that. In it’s simplest terms, this presents us with a polarity of the self versus the collective. Technologically, we are faced with the paradox of *personal* devices that have the effect of merging us all into a global collective, for good or bad.

The Sun is in his fall in Libra, but also debilitated in Aquarius.  Abu’ Mashar refers to the sign as the “estrangement” of the Sun. As a “partner” in the 7th House, we are presented with a choice, but not an easy one. It is worthy of note that in traditional astrology the Ascendant is the patient and the 7th house the place of the physician. ( The Forty Chapters of Al Kindi p.250 ).

The Sun in his own domicile makes for a powerful opposition that serves to ease the otherwise gloomy rule of Saturn.  Many of the illnesses associated with Saturn, such as arthritis, are soothed by the application of heat. A partial list of saturnine ailments from Nicolas Culpeper includes tooth-ache, Melancholy, excessive cold and dryness (See Astrological Judgement of Diseases. p 76). Leo is monarchy at the other end of the axis with Aquarius and as such is part of a dynamic. The balanced offered by the polarities of any age, present us with opportunities and choices. Imperfect as it may be, this ‘patient – physician” relationship room.

14th century C.E. illustration from an Arabic manuscript , which is dedicated to astrology, astronomy and geomancy and which was compiled by Abd al-Hasan Al-Isfahani

14th century C.E. illustration from an Arabic manuscript , which is dedicated to astrology, astronomy and geomancy and which was compiled by Abd al-Hasan Al-Isfahani

Let’s look again at the political manifestations of this axis. First of all, the distinction between Right and Left wing has become pretty much meaningless. Absolute power exercised by the greatest plutocracy the world has ever seen imposes its will by way of leaders they have chosen to meet their own agenda. In this case, the *king* is manipulated, but also *selfish.”

The Obama Presidency is a particularly poignant case in point. Obama himself could well be described as the velvet glove for the iron fist, so often associated with Libra. His success is fuelled by a combination of platitudes and charisma, but he rules mostly by executive order, repays banks with the taxes levied on the poor and working class.  He reigns with the great benefit of a mostly uncritical media paid for by his masters. His rise was a wonder of commercial promotion, promising one thing and delivering the opposite.

There hasn’t been a great deal of secrecy regarding the fact that he was repaying financial supporters, rather than addressing the will of those who elected him.  His campaign promises have been almost entirely ignored. His protection of companies such as Monsanto, even to the extent of making it illegal to criticize the company have shown him to be little more than a shameless opportunist. We have seen citizens regarded as mere consumers with no particular entitlement, even if they paid for it.

Libra - Arabic, 15th C.

Libra – Arabic, 15th C.

Of course, Obama is only one of dozens of world leaders and they are not all like him. Most are. As we enter into the thick of the Aquarian Age, consolidation of absolute power has become commonplace.

Writing about an Age / Aeon requires us to paint with a very, very large brush. This is particularly the case when there is and can be no consensus regarding the start or end of any age. However, we can make observations that reflect that age. It also helps us to find balance and avoid the extreme conditions of an age where the malefics hold sway.

My intent has never been to overly denigrate the ideals expected of the Age of Aquarius, but instead to offer some counterbalance to the unconsidered  expectations of the Age as being a Utopian state of being, with spiritual altruism at its core. No age is that and should be seen for what it is. In a wider context, I would like to stimulate some discussion on the Ages that might bring us to a point of greater understanding

Queen Isabella I of Castile – An Exercise in Rectification

Isabel_de_castillaIsabella in the Rimado de la Conquista de Granada, from 1482, by Pedro Marcuello

Isabel de castile in the Rimado de la Conquista de Granada, from 1482, by Pedro Marcuello

The Astro Databank  offers the following natal data for Queen Isabella I of Castile.  22 April 1451 Jul.Cal. (1 May 1451 greg.) at 16:40 (= 4:40 PM ) Place Madrigal de las Altas Torres, Spain, 41n05, 5w0 Timezone LMT m5w0 (is local mean time). Rodden gives it a AA rating. Although I’m comfortable with the date, there is reason to believe the time is off by about two hours.

Rectification is made a bit easier if we have a good image of the person whose chart we are adjusting. Regrettably , portraits of Isabella differ considerably.  That still leaves us with scores of techniques, but I’m going to use just a few of them that work well in situations like this..

Rectification is a core skill for any astrologer. One needs to learn to recognize what I will call astrological discrepancies. For example, it is not a difficult task to recognize whether Saturn is in the First House or the Twelfth. there are physical and temperamental differences. One need only look and ask a few simple questions. The same goes for any planet or luminary. However, other potential house misplacements are more subtle and require other means.

Like any historical character of note, there have been many biographies, commentaries, pamphlets, films and polemics about Isabel. They portray her in a better or worse light and from many points of view However, there are a few core traits attributed to her which are almost universal.  She was an intensely pious Roman Catholic and her religion came before everything, with her duty to the realm as a close second. Nobody has credibly argued she didn’t love her husband, King Ferdinand, but she always made it clear that the realm came before everything but God. For Isabel they were in fact closely related when it cam to purging the Moors and Jews from Spain

She was tenacious, famously stubborn and excessively jealous. She was courageous beyond all expectations. She could also be fanatical, particularly in matters of religion  and it is this trait that has left the darkest legacy. Sometimes our virtues are our vices taken to the extreme.

As a savvy Queen, she was blessed with great statesmen, but the final decisions were very much her own. She was determined to turn a conglomerate of states into a unified, Christian Spain. She was shrewd enough to be the only monarch to supply and offer her patronage to a young Christopher Columbus,. Because of the immense groundwork done by Isabella and Ferdinand, Spain became a united and affluent state.


Below is the chart as shown on Astro Databank. Here we find both Mercury and Venus retrograde in Aries and on the Descendant, disposited by Mars in the Ninth and of course in Mutual reception with Mercury. An Airy Mars dispositing a weak and retrograde Mercury in Venus in Aries. is a recipe for volatile jealousy. However, it would seem to fit better if Mercury and Venus were in the Eighth and Mars in the Tenth. We can return to this chart, but for how I have good reason to consider alternative times. Mercury is conjunct the Pillar of the Horoscope ( Lot). This is true in both charts and draws attention to the importance of Mercury as the Lord of the Ascendant in the rectified chart.

Picture8The suggested rectification is for the same place and date but for two hours earlier. We can refine this, but this is good place to start. Instead of the Sun in the Eight and Libra Ascending, we know have a Ninth House Sun with the Part of Eros (Venus) and a Mercurial Virgo Ascending.

The Sun in the Ninth House of God is in his Joy. The placement accompanied by the Part of Eros speaks of intense piety, as was not shown in the previous chart. Ferdinand and Isabella had seven children;, five of whom survived to adulthood.

Although neither one of the Houses of Children seems to support that, there is in fact an enormous difference. In the rectified chart the Lord of the Fifth House changes from dry, barren Aquarius to Capricorn which is a semi fruitful sign. In itself, this is slight, but when we consider that the Lord of the Fifth is disposited by Venus and that the Lord of the Seventh is now Jupiter and the Lord of the Eleventh is the Moon.

PicturebThe overall picture, by no means ideal, is immeasurably better than what we had in the first chart. Perhaps we may allow ourselves to ponder the significance of Pisces in the House of Partners, signifying,  confidante-like relationships, including interaction with priests, marriage and business partners, agreements and treaties, matters dealing with diplomatic relations of all kinds, including open (known) enemies and attraction to qualities we admire from the other partner. I do not think it irrelevant that Ferdinand was a Solar Pisces.

The alternative is Mars as Lord of the Seventh House, complete with Venus in detriment. This doesn’t fit.

Mostly what we’ve done is move the houses over one place, but the results are considerable. Such things as the Part of Fortune and possibly the Hyleg will differ accordingly.

The Lord of Manners is easily identified as Saturn and Isabella was in fact known for her austere demeanor and life in general. Her dominant humour is melancholic., secondarily choleric   ( See Edwards, John. The Spain of the Catholic Monarchs 1474–1520. Blackwell Publishers Inc, 2000, p. 241-260 ). In the previous chart, Saturn would be in the Twelfth House an would radically change her stature and demeanour.

There are a few things that convince me that the second chart is closer to the correct time. In this one, The Sun is parallel Regulus and Aldebaran. The Part of Fortune is conjunct Aldebaran. These are both royal stars of the first degree.

In both charts Mars is overwhelmingly supported by Bellatrix and Betelgeuse and these are conjunct the mid-heaven in the rectified chart. Both are powerful stars. Bellatrix is a bright star in the shoulder of Orion  which embodies the power of the Feminine.

This one, far more than the first, is the chart of a great Queen, with intense religiosity and devotion. We have identified the volatile jealousy, replaced the infertility with far better conditions.  The Lord of the Eleventh House is her Moon in detriment. This tells us that she was largely self reliant.

These are fairly simple techniques for cases such as this one, where the main problem is the house and planetary positions providing a clearly inaccurate description based on what you know about the native.

Appendix I : Solar Revolutions

As stated in the article above, this wasn’t intended to be an exhaustive exercise, but rather to show some basic techniques for detecting an incorrect birth time. This was in part based on house placements that seemed to conflict with our knowledge of the native. I had made it very clear that there were several other techniques that might be applied to back up or fine tune our rectification.

However, in light of recent queries I’m happy to show that the chart is proven closer to the exact time by other means. Again, there is a myriad of tools available. However, I’ve settled on the what is probably the simplest technique. I’m adding the Solar Revolution Charts for the Year 1470, when Isabella gave birth to her first child, who was also named Isabel. The first is the chart for the Rodden data. The second is for the rectified chart.

roddenSRI find it unnecessary to go into great detail here. The charts speak plainly enough. The one from Astro Databank (above) gives virtually no hint of childbirth. In fact had there been one at all, it would likely not have not gone full term. The Lord of the fifth house of children is a Mercurial Venus in the barren sign of Gemini. Morover, the Lord of Venus is Mercury retrograde in the Twelfth House with Saturn. There is mutual reception, but I can’t ss this being of much use in this case. We vcan look at the Seventh and Eleventh House, but we find the Lord of the Seventh also in a barren sign.  The Eleventh tells us next to nothing. The Lord of the Eleventh is Mars in his Fall.

rectifiedThe second chart is very different. Here we have Jupiter in Leo with the Part of Fortune, but in the Fourth House., disposited by the Sun in Venusian Taurus. This gives us some hope.

Mercury, Lord of the Fifth, is still Retrograde, but he’s in his Joy in the first house. This is a very signicant difference. Mercury tends to take on some of the qualities of the sign we find him in. Taurus is a very fertile sign and Mercury can act here.

Over all, the rectified chart is immeasurably better than the original, particularly indofar as it’s signatures of fertility.

Both charts are Void of Course and neither gives us any of the Lots of parenthood as a guide. I’m still far more certain about the rectified chart. Neither chart is ideal, but the unrectified chart is clearly incorrect.

Appendix II : Solar Revolution – Marriagefinal

Finally, as if we needed more evidence, we have a Solar Revolution for the year of her marriage to Ferdinand. I’m using Morinus software because it provides more graphic information. I do not intend to get into much detail. The charts authenticity pretty much speaks for itself

Those of you who have studied Isabella’s life, will know her brother Henry was an ineffectual but treacherous monarch. He had done all he could to block her from successsion. It is no surprise then to see a weak Mars in the house of brothers as it is for the following year. Henry was in frail health and died during 1474 in Madrid

Most spectacularly, Jupiter is in his Exatation is in the House of Partners. The Sun is in the Fifth House. The Part of Fortune is in the Royal sign of Leo.

So we have an ongoing process. First there is the recognition that the chart is skewed, then step by step we narrow it down then test with Solar Revolution. Again, there are many other tools to use and many events we can try to nail down, but that really isn’t necessary. I’m convinced of the superiority of the rectification, although I make no claims to the exact degree. I’m primarly concerned with house placements and plausible planetary positions. This will meet most requirments in any case. Perhaps at some later time, we can discuss the finer tuning.