Spring Equinox / Nouruz – 2017

Wishing Everyone a Great Spring Equinox / Nouruz The Chart is Set for GMT.

The celebration of the New Year in one way or another is virtually universal, although what is recognized as the new year differs. In the Western world, including that of the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the Winter Solstice is central in the Northern Hemisphere. Some forms of European Paganism take Samhain or All Saint’s Day as the marker for the New Year.  In Mithraism, the Winter Solstice, while Zoroastrianism, often conflated with Mithraism, takes the Spring Solstice and Entrance of the Sun into Aries, the Sun’s place of Exaltation

In Mithraism, the Winter Solstice, while Zoroastrianism, often conflated with Mithraism, takes the Spring Solstice and Entrance of the Sun into Aries, the Sun’s place of Exaltation

Reporter Shuka Kalantari records the sounds of a Persian New Year’s celebration at her friend’s home. Jumping over the fire is a symbolic gesture to start a fresh new yea

Traditional Astrologers always use 00°Aries. This calculation holds a very important place because it’s considered the Chart of the Year. The planet or luminary with the greatest Essential and Accidental Dignity is the Lord of the Year (LOY).  This year, the Sun is overwhelmingly the LOY! If the chart were cast elsewhere, where the Sun were below the horizon, and perhaps in a cadent house, it would not be surprising to find another body take his place as LOY.

Because this chart is of greatest use in the GMT Time Zone and with a northerly latitude, it speaks most obviously to the UK. I invite you to reproduce this chart for different regions. However, no matter where it is, that tight conjunction of the Moon and Saturn by itself doesn’t bode well.

Apadana relief depicting Armenians bringing wine to Nouruz in Persepolis

Nevertheless, this is no time to be worrying.  Nouruz has things in common with Easter, such as fertility (including eggs) and the theme of resurrection – the triumphant return of the Sun is all its blazing glory. These are metaphors to be sure.

Zoroastrianism is almost certainly the oldest monotheistic religions, with roots in  Sumer, Babylon, Assyria,  Persia, India and Central Asia.   Today, it is also celebrated in Afghanistan Azerbaijan, Russian Federation Kazakhstan Uzbekistan Pakistan and Turkey.

That Nouruz survives after thousands of years and calculated at the same time of year, testifies to its extraordinary power. Zoroastrianism is famously optimistic and the eternal flames are kept in her temples. This fire festival is one of sheer exuberance, joy, and gratitude. The Sun is the bringer and origin of life

Revelers jump bonfires and eat ashes to celebrate the first day of Spring and the Sun in his Exaltation.

“All evil vanishes from he who keeps the Sun in his heart.” – Indian proverb

A Time for Kali – The Indian Rebellion of 1857

Kali and Bhairava - terrible form of Shiva -  in_Union 18th C. Nepal

Kali and Bhairava – terrible form of Shiva – in_Union 18th C. Nepal

This has been a difficult article to write for many reasons. First of all, there is the scope and length of the subject matter. One can hardly do justice to a war by reading a single chart.. However, the beginning of a war, the initial attack can be read which will, in the process, give us the essence of the larger conflict. I have therefore elected to read the chart for the time of the beginning of the fomenting hostilities in Meerut The explosions occurred later in the day, but we cannot call that the beginning hardly’ There had, after all, been 20 acts of arson and the bazar had become frenzied – full of passionate intensity.

Secondly, the subject matter is particularly gruesome. It is as if Kali were unleashed to kill all indiscriminately. The was no mercy and in fact when a group of survivors were offered safe passage by what were believed to be sympathetic Indians, it turned out to be a trap. The survivors were set afloat and the boats set on fire.

Kali is a goddess of some complexity, but I doubt she has ever been accused of rationality or peaceful resolutions. Hers are primal and chthonic powers. She is known as the goddess of empowerment. She is the consort of the wrathful form of Shiva, who has been fairly compared to Dionysus by A. Danielou in Shiva and Dionysus (1984) The Hindu texts tell us that when she first entered the world, she killed everyone,  driven by blood lust and revenge, unable to stop the slaughter once it had begun. To suggest that she represents the Indians alone in the uprising would be too simplistic, but we can certainly say it was a time for Kali.


Jahangir investing a courtier with a robe o honour watched by Sir Thomas Roe English ambassador to the court of Jahangir at Agra from 1615-18,_

The British East India Company had been chartered by Elizabeth I in 1600 and formed a treaty with the Mughuls under Nuruddin Salim Jahangir (r. 1605–1627. India was not yet part of the British Empire and wouldn’t be for centuries. However, the company required an armed force, 80% of which was made up of native Indians

In some respects the essence of the conflicts seem modern – human versus religious rights imposed by an occupying force. The hegemony of the British was at the very heart of the matter At the centre of indigenous fears were the rights of women, It is not unlike the attempts of western groups to stamp out female circumcision, child marriages and the privation of an education. The British had banned Sati, where a Hindu wife is burned alive in the husbands funeral pyre. They had outlawed female

Family group of Thugees  (Robbers). The Indian thugs kill people by strangling them with their long kerchiefs which they carry on their shoulders.

Family group of Thugees (Robbers). The Indian thugs kill people by strangling them with their long kerchiefs which they carry on their shoulders.

infanticide and passed laws enabling Indian women to own property or get a divorce.  Even today, there are countries which will not permit a woman to drive a car.  In some instances,  it is virtually impossible not to have sympathies for both sides of a conflict; but today we have Boku Haram and the Taliban, both violently opposed to education for women and enforcing their brutal mentality through slavery and massacres while insisting they are acting in conformity with their religion.

For most of us this goes far beyond any concerns for religious freedom. Violent denial of the most basic rights isn’t something we can simply accept, even if we know we are powerless to change things in the short run. However we decide to act, it is imperative to understand that for many people the attempt to better the lives of women is seen as a religious attack.

The British had also brought 400 years of Moghul rule to an end. Orthodox Hindus or Muslims thought the traditional ways were being seriously challenged. William Wilberforce had pressed for a particular system of ethics which was alien to the Indians.

The Company had been rapacious in Bengal. Lands for which there was no legitimate heir could be subsumed into British India. There were unpopular revenue policies. Of course the humiliation of being governed by a foreign power contributed to the Rebellion. Indian aristocracy more than anyone else feared the changing society.

Bahadur_Shah_II_of_India - "the last Moghul"

Bahadur_Shah_II_of_India – “the last Moghul”

“The pretext for revolt was the introduction of the new Enfield rifle. To load it, the sepoys had to bite off the ends of lubricated cartridges. A rumour spread among the sepoys that the grease used to lubricate the cartridges was a mixture of lard and beef tallow.; thus, to have oral contact with it was an insult to both Muslims and Hindus. There is no conclusive evidence that either of these materials was actually used on any of the cartridges in question. ” (Indian Mutinee. Encyclopaedia Britannica).

There were also far more wide sweeping issues that had brought about the Rebellion Some Hindus were concerned that he British were undermining the caste system and one could in fact lose caste if their lips touched the flesh of the sacred cow, even if done in ignorance.  If the rumour had been correct both Hindu and Muslim would  expect retribution in this life and the next. The Sepoys were soon offered the older cartridge design for their rifles to allay their fears, but only a tiny fraction of them accepted them. It was so much more than cartridges. In the final analysis, the greatest concern was the fear of a Christianized and Anglicization India. We can say this was a religious war in that sense.

Sepoy C, 1857

Sepoy C, 1857

There are many excellent sources for the background of this nightmare. I particularly recommend The Last Moghul by William Dalrymple (Bloomsbury 2006) and Heaven’s Command by James Morris (Folio 1992) I have also added two videos below, that give a reasonable overview of an epically complex scenario.

Although the event has been called a mutinee, it was so much more than that. First of all, it was one of several mutinees, ignited for a variety of reasons and characterized by extreme brutality of mythic proportions. When all had settled down, there was a new social order and power structure and ironically, the mutinee lead to India becoming a part of the British Empire – The jewel in the crown. The last Moghul was pensioned off by the British and sent to Burma, where he died shortly thereafter.

The mutiny soon escalated into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to present-day Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, northern Madhya Pradesh, and the Delhi region


After Sunday Church services on 10 May 1857 in the cantonment of the town of Meerut, the inhabitants could not have imagined the horror to come. Meerut was not a military outpost per se.  It had minimal defences and there were women and children living there wh0 had been thought secure. It was like a barracks with family quarters.

There is no source fir the exact time for the beginning of hostilities , but by referring to other events I feel confident with this chart for 10.40 am. I f we turn to the chart, we find that it is at once quite literal and richly mythological at the same time .Picture2

The Lord of the Geniture is the Sun, the Lord of the Ascendant  Jupiter in Aries in the Ninth House is Almuten Figuris, ,Lord of the Eighth and in a Martian Sign. Jupiter is Peregrine. That could very well indicate many deaths with a religious causation, If we take the Leo Ascendant to be the British, the Solar Lord of the Ascendant is bringing the force of Algol or in this case Kali to bear on their lives.

The Ninth House informs the Tenth and the Eleventh House provides the support, What we find in the Tenth is truly extraordinary. The Lord of the Tenth is a strong Mercury in Gemini. The planets and luminary are all in Taurus, but Venus is Cazimi and both she and the Sun are conjunct Algol. The Sun is also Peregrine. Moreover, Venus is retrograde and transferring her light to Mars. It is just past Full Moon and the last Planetary Aspects made by the Moon is an opposition to Mars, she is also parallel the Fixed Star Facies, denoting ruthlessness.

Perseus from al-Sufi

Perseus from al-Sufi

Algol has the most malicious reputation and always seems to deliver what is promised – losing one’s head, often literally and significant of piled up corpses according to the Chinese. This is the eye of Medusa, the ultimate demonic star. More often than not, we will find Algol in the charts of extreme disasters. The hidden enemy is represented by Saturn in the Twelfth House, disposited by the Moon and conjunct the Fixed Star, Sirius — indicating searing heat.  Saturn is Lord of the Seventh House of open enemies. The attack was in the form of explosions and fires everywhere

The S. Node is in the House of the Goddess in Venusian Libra and the N. Node in the same sign as Jupiter. This is a volatile and violent chart and also one in which the power of the Feminine is overwhelming.

Perhaps in a later article, we might explore other charts for the myriad of events of the great rebellion , but for now we have what I would call the chart of its essence

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..

Venus & the Temple of the Sun

Konark Temple of the Sun

Konark Temple of the Sun

This is really not much more than a brief note and inquiry into the nature of the Sun and Venus when they are very closely associated. – in this case in a very beautiful and enigmatic work of art

It’s been my contention for most of my life as an astrologer that Aphrodite is a charming but inadequate personification of the celestial Venus. It is necessary, I think, to broaden one’s view by examining various associations , not just Hellenistic ones, to get a glimpse of the many layers of meaning and variety of expressions to fully understand the significance of the planetary archetype.

There are few better opportunities for this study outside of the Western tradition than that afforded by the temple of Konark , a 13th century Sun Temple, imagessat Konark, in Odisha, India.  It was apparently built by king Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty around 1250. This temple to the Sun god Surya is built in the form of a Solar chariot, drawn by seven spirited horses.

The motif of the Sun in a chariot drawn by horses is ubiquitous in the ancient world, although the details do differ. Here we have time represented by the months of the year, seven days of the week and the number of hours in a day. The chariot wheels themselves are decidedly Solar, but there is also poetry, music and dancers described among the erotic figures and hence we find ourselves very much in the fuller spectrum of all things Venusian. In fact, this is very much the realm of the Fifth House where Venus finds her joy

Sarasvatī - Hindu goddesss of Music, Poetry , Nature

Sarasvatī – Hindu goddess of Music, Poetry , Nature

Venus is known as Shukra in Indian mythology and is male. Shukra means semen, so the associations of fertility and creativity only strengthen the fifth house associations.

Shukra is however also represented by a female deity, most commonly, Lakshima, but there are obvious and close associations with Sarsawati, the patron of music, poetry and learning. The temple appears to embrace the Venusian within the larger Solar context.

This may seem confusing, but is much less so if you consider the Fifth House. First and foremost the house is the realm of all that is creative, including offspring and pleasure in music, poetry and sex. This is the house of Good Fortune in Hellenistic astrology and the parallels between the European and Indian conceptions becomes apparent, as do their differences .konark2

Consider firstly the relationship between the Sun and Venus in the symbolism of this temple’s construction. Its more than proximity of deities. It expresses a deeply intimate relationship to the Sun and Venus. Like all great art, it leaves us with many questions, but the study is time well spent

Kashmir Accession – Part One

Maharaja Hari Singh

Maharaja Hari Singh

We’ve discussed the charts of Pakistan and the Independence of India. It makes sense to look at the chart for the accession of Kashmir, cause for the single greatest conflict between the two countries, both of which are nuclear power. It has been generally regarded that the onset of a nuclear war is most likely between these two countries. Once a single nation stretching to Iran and Afghanistan, the two neighbours have seen virtually endless sectarian aggression

At the centre of the crisis was Mararaja Hari Singh, “one of the renowned rulers of British India as well as the Indian Union as king of the geographically largest and strategically most important empire of Jammu & Kashmir. He gained acclamation for being the last ruling king of Independent India since he continued to rule the state till November 5, 1952 while all other rulers of princely states had seized to be kings by 1948” (JP Singh.  Sept. 22, 2010, Chandigarh, India  Tribune)

The ten week period between Independence and Partition and the Pakistani aggression has been referred to as the interregnum.  On the 25 October 1947 the Maharaj of Kashmir declared accession to India. He was Hindu in a Muslim majority region. The British had made arrangements for dozens of Princely states to be virtually autonomous , mostly in exchange for trade.kashmir1

This isn’t discussed much, but the British had a tiny armed presence in India which would soon have been overwhelmed without these kinds of agreements. The Maharajahs were mostly very happy with the arrangements and expected that they would remain as independent states after partition. The new Indian government would have nothing of it.

Kashmir had no sense of urgency and failed to respond to all initial calls for a decision; Kashmir could be part of India or Pakistan. This is the chart for the time the Maharaja declared accession. It was in effect made in a state of panic. Pakistan was invading and he was willing to accede Kashmir to India in exchange for protection.

It is therefore difficult to see this event as a birth of any kind, but rather a necessary surrender of sovereignty. In somewhat the same way as the Independence chart for India it is an act of dissolution in reaction to violence from the new state of Pakistan.

However Nehru, as starry eyed and incompetent as ever, elected to make the conflict a world issue by effectively turning it over to the UN.  If he had been more decisive, the story of Kashmir might have been different.

The chart mostly speaks for itself. There are however some particularly striking elements in this chart that have played out to this day.Kashmir_region_2004

It’s a tight contest for Lord / Lady of the Geniture, but at the end of the day I will take an unafflicted luminary over a Twelfth House Jupiter in this case, even if the Moon is not in sect. The Day and Hour Belong to Saturn and Mars in both the Almuten and the Killing Planet.

We are immediately drawn to the string of Scorpio planets with Ketu and Mercury, all on the Midheaven  and in the Eleventh House. Both malefics are in the House of Death: Saturn disposits the Ascendant in Capricorn. Sun and Mars are in Mutual Reception, with the latter dispositing everything in the  Eleventh House. It’s very difficult not to see the assistance from the Eleventh House as overwhelmingly military, but it fails to give much comfort with the two malefics working together in such a violent manner. To top it off, Algol is conjunct (and parallel) the North Node


Jupiter in Sagittarius is in the Exaltation of the South Node, but the effects are ameliorated  due to house placement. Jupiter can only expand the trials and misfortunes otherwise indicated.

The South Node is in Scorpio. Jupiter does however oppose the Part of Fortune on the Twelfth / Sixth House Axis.  The PoF is disposited by Gemini which takes us back to Mercury in Scorpio. The Eleventh House is shadowed by the Planetary Parts of Mars and Saturn

The Moon in Pisces is applying to a Martial Venus. As we have already noted, Venus is the significator of Islam, so I see her as an emissary of Peace, particularly since she is the Lady of the Geniture – rather like a diplomat.

However, she also disposits the Seventh House of partnership and open enemies. The Moon in Mundane usually refers to the people, and with the Part of Forth in the Sixth, this makes an even stronger case. It is, after all, the people who will ultimately make the difference between war and peace in Kashmir, as long as it remains majority Muslim it is exceedingly difficult to see how peace can become a reality for this very troubled and strategically significant region. It also suggested a country that would be exceedingly difficult to govern in any way


Kashmir Accession – Part Two

Srinagar, India - Jammu Kashmire Libertion Front - Killed mostly civilians since thier inception in 1989

Srinagar, India – Jammu Kashmire Libertion Front – Killed mostly civilians since thier inception in 1989

  • Mountbatten’s conditional acceptance of accession is dated 27 October, 1947 to signify his acceptance of the Instrument of Accession signed by the Kashmir Maharaja.
  • The letter reads, in part : ” In the special circumstances mentioned by your Highness my Government have decided to accept the accession of Kashmir State to the Dominion of India. Consistently with their policy that in the case of any State where the issue of accession has been the subject of dispute, the question of accession should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the State, it is my Government’s wish that as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and her soil cleared of the invader the question of the State’s accession should be settled by a reference to the people.

    Bichitr - Jahangir Preferring a Sufi Sheikh to Kings, with James I lower left

    Bichitr – Jahangir Preferring a Sufi Sheikh to Kings, with James I lower left

  • Meanwhile in response to your Highness’ appeal for military aid action has been taken today to send troops of the Indian Army to Kashmir to help your own forces to defend your territory and to  protect the lives, property and honour of your people.”

It wasn’t intended to be the final word on the matter, but Mountbatten couldn’t have imagined that Kashmir would be tortured and destabilized by violence sixty years into the future, with no end in sight. It was essentially a stop-gap measure, meant to protect Kashmir against invasion. Mountbatten notes with pleasure that Sheikh Abdullah, a Muslim was invited by the the Maharaja to form an interim Government to work with the Kashmiri Prime Minister. This follows comparable attempts made by the Indian Congress and those associated with it even before Partition.

In spite of efforts made, violence has continued to this day. The Mumbai bombers were said to have been radicalized over the status of Kashmir. It is therefor difficult to know which dates to choose, but let’s look at the war of 1965. Kashmir itself is like a Paradise on Earth, as Shah had said four hundred centuries  before Partition.


The second Indo-Pakistani conflict (1965) was also fought over Kashmir and started without a formal declaration of war. The war began in August 5, 1965 and was ended Sept 22, 1965. Let’s look at the Solar Revolution for 1965, employing the  Accession chart as point of reference.

The war is over Kashmir, fought between Pakistan and India. So we have what Arif Jamal calls a Shadow War.

The Lord of the Year is Saturn, Day is Saturn, Hour is Venus. Mars is the Almuten and Retrograde.

The Moon is in Via Combusta in her Fall in Scorpio, but she applying to a trine with Venus in her Exaltation in the Fourth House.

The Ascendant isn’t very strong with Jupiter Cadent in the Sixth and conjunct Algol. Other than that there are no extraordinary afflictions. The relative dominance of both malefics isn’t as strong as in the 1947 chart, but they do play into excessive violence

The Seventh House of open enemies is disposited by Mercury in Leo. This isn’t strong either. The North Node is exalted in Gemini. We wouldn’t expect this particular conflict to last lang and it didn’t.

This all points to heavy losses on the parts of India and Pakistan over Kashmir. That was in fact the case, but the Indian Kashmiris took the upper hand and made significant long term tactical advantages

Independence of India – Part I

A Maharaja meets Vishnu in the Forest of Illusion - Rajput painting 19th C.

A Maharaja meets Vishnu in the Forest of Illusion – Rajput painting 19th C.

We have had occasion to discuss the chart for the Foundation of Pakistan and briefly touched on the role of India. There are two charts for India: the first is the chart for Independence and the second for the Republic in 1950. I will be concentrating on the first of these only.. It gives one pause to comment on a country of 1.241 billion souls as of 2011. It’s the largest Democracy the world has ever know or is ever likely to see.  It is the most diverse country in the world by most standards, yet one of the most cohesive. One needs to tread very carefully when making generalized statements.

Before we continue, I would like to bring your attention to a common but not universal chart used by many Indian astrologers. This is for the midnight speech of Nehru on 15 August, 1947. That was the time that England declared India to be fully independent and not necessarily the time of the signing of the document. Taking time zone differences into account and the general chaos of that any event of this magnitude inevitably creates, there is no evidence that this was the time of signing the document.

The admittedly controversial time of 12.00 or 21.10 pm is also used. I will be making my case for this chart and trust others will make their cases for any variants. No chart has been used universally however.  The term Children of Midnight has become evocative of euphoria followed swiftly by carnage and devastation in the light of sectarian violence as the Sub Continent’s boundaries are re-drawn without adequate consideration. That chart certainly deserves a place, but I’m using the latter time to see what it can tell us.

It would however be irresponsible not to point out that the Midnight Chart has the Moon Void of Course dispositing Mars in his Fall. Moreover, both lights are below the horizon. For those championing this chart should be aware of this and be able to explain why it would be chosen

There is however one thing that is very plain. The spirit of the Indian people is indomitable. But democracy lacks much meaning with high levels of illiteracy, extreme poverty and a seriously corrupt bureaucracy.

For most rural Indians, very little has changed for millenia

For most rural Indians, very little has changed for millenia

The chart must be seen for what it is. On July 18 1947 the UK Indian Independence Act received the royal assent. This was primarily a British Initiative and some have seen this as a successful attempt not only to create two Muslim states, but to fragment others within India as well. However, this would make the likes of Nehru and Gandhi complicit in a ‘neo-colonialist  plot to assist the British in making it easier to manage South and Central Asia. Those who take this view must question the Indian authorities who signed the Legislation because it gave them what they wanted.

indepence_indiaFollowing so soon after the publication of the UK Indian Independence Act of 1947, it seems unlikely an astrological  election was called for. If there was, the astrologer would probably have to work within a fairly narrow time frame. In that case, the chart would have been precessional or sidereal. This would produce a charts with a very similar configuration, but with most elements set back one sign.

I drew up a chart using sidereal and the result was indeed interesting. But again, one must give credit to the number of impatient fanatics involved. There was really no time to draw up an election and the sidereal doesn’t fit. With so many impatient zealots on the scene it looks as if there was no electional chart.

Of course the Cancer Moon is better in the sidereal chart, but at the end of the day the  western chart is more descriptive of India since separation. Because I doubt very much that an astrologer was consulted, I’m reading the chart as a Western astrologer. You will recall that Pakistan was born one day prior on 14 August 1947.

The chart is for the Independence of India 12.00 (noon) 15 August 1947 at New Delhi

This occurs in the Year of Mars on the Day of Venus and the Hour of Mars   Probably the most compelling element of the chart is the powerful Solar presence in the Tenth House. The Sun is Lord of the Geniture

However I would like to begin with the Ninth House Mars first of all. He is Free and Oriental, but in his Fall in Cancer. I think if this had been planned astrologically, the chart could have been drawn up two days earlier when Mars would have been in Gemini in the Eighth and the Moon in her Domicile in the Ninth.

At the very least, the astrologer would have tried to get the malefics in the best possible houses even though the Solar Square to Jupiter would have been tighter.

nehrujinnahIndian Independence Photograph of Nehru and jinnah 1947 british library

Photograph of Nehru and Jinnah 1947- Courtesy British Library

But Mars is prominent as the Lord of the Year and Lord of the Ascendant. Jupiter is ascending in Martian Scorpio and the Sun is separating from a Square to Jupiter. In fact,  Jupiter, the Greater Benefic is at odds with the entire string of planets in Leo.

India is very often associated with a dizzying array of religions although many of them are varieties of Hinduism. and also the home of great spiritual leaders or gurus.

Hinduism is justly known as a religion of pacifism. It is also true that India has never invaded anyone,

However, the Act of Independence was in fact an act of violence as much as anything else. It tore the nation apart as it had never been before. In Vishnu’s Crowded Temple, Misra tells us the Muslims wanted more, stating plainly in the press that this should not be seen as a hand going back in time to relinquish what had been conquered and ruled by Muslims for so long: “The Hindus saw partition as a defeat, the vivisection of Mother India.” (p. 256)

Two Pakistans were created, the second of which became Bangladesh. Communities were split apart, families forced to leave ancestral lands. It is truly extraordinary that the Ascendant is at precisely the same degree and minute as the Lot of “the year to be feared at birth for death and famine” The Ascendant is in via combusta and perfecting a square with Saturn.

The Ascendant here is also the vitality of the nation. It is weakened by these elements, although the Fixed and Angular placements will reach fruition in the long term. In counterbalance though, we have the Part of Spirit and Part of Jupiter as part of the mix. Jupiter is Lord of the Second House and considering the Part of Venus is in the House, the flow of wealth is relatively high for the nation as a whole, but we be better of if Jupiter were not in Scorpio. It could be a great deal worse, however. Military spending is high. India will be among the four largest armies in the world by 2020. In all fairness, Indian are not nearly as influenced by the military as is the case with Pakistan. It is however vulnerable to attack by China and Pakistan or both.

There was what amounts to a bloody civil war between Muslims and Hindus.  Conflict had already begun over who would take Kashmir and that war continues to this day. A country that had known a relatively high level of peace, has essentially been at war ever since, witnessing a nuclear India, followed by a nuclear Pakistan. .

The Mahatma was one of the great marketing delusions of the twentieth century. It has been forbidden to write of Ghandi in a poor light, but the story of post Raj India requires that all elements be openly discussed if we are to learn anything from it. This is most particularly the case when the astrological evidence screams out to be heard.

It seems particularly poignant that Mars would be the Lord of the Ninth House. From a state point of view, religion has perversely meant war. The separation of Hindus and Muslims came at a very high price. The way this chart is configured, India would appear to have a distinct advantage by the Jupiter and Ascendant opposition to the Venus ruled Seventh House. with regard to external enemies. The Node however is conjunct Algol disposited by Venus, which rules Islam.

This is certainly worth considering. Venus is in turn disposited by the Sun which in this situation could be read as nuclear.  A significant nuclear exchange between the two nations is not beyond the realm of possibility as the security of Pakistan’s arsenal has come under close scrutiny.  I realize I’m in danger of succumbing to speculation, but that is often where one finds valuable insights.

Among other things, the Tenth House is the House of attainment, governance, profession,  dignities, office and fame. With three planets and both Luminaries in Leo we see a bright hope perhaps, but also an incredible monopoly of power by ‘luminaries’ or an elite.  The term hubris comes to mind. The Ninth House informs the Tenth, so the military has a lot of sway. It need to be said that the military in India is not like the role of the army in Pakistan, but has needed to be highly vigilant for the survival of the state. That’s understandable, but what of the common people? The Sixth House is disposited by the weak Mars and opposite the Part of Fortune, but of the same Tripicity, so the benefits to the ordinary people are slow to materialize. The Almuten of the chart is Saturn in all its austerity.

Roudra - Lord Shiva's Dance of Fury

Roudra – Lord Shiva’s Dance of Fury

The ancient Indian love of theatre in all its forms is found in the Fifth House –  in the Exaltation of Venus and disposited by Jupiter. The love of deep traditions and rituals in everyday life are beyond comparison with other nations. This is so closely part of religious life and has sustained the Indian people for millenia.

It is said that India is rapidly becoming a super power. However, only one in ten benefits from the increase in wealth. In fact, farms have been confiscated and given to corporations to further the globalization of agriculture. The gap between rich and poor is extreme. Rape in India has become endemic. She is facing a serious water shortage and most of the water she has is severely polluted. Perhaps what is most miraculous is that such a vast and diverse country is governable at all.

In Part II I will be looking primarily at Solar Revolutions, Firdaria and other simple techniques to show how this event has unfolded over time. We may also have occasion to take a look at Lunar Mansions.

Indian Independence Part II

Mughal Empire

Mughal Empire

In my judgment, this act was one of the most ill-concieved in history. India was the loser in virtually all instances.  To understand the deeper nature of ongoing conflict there are many good books on the subject. I would personally recommend two fairly recent ones: Shadow War: The Untold Story of Jihad in Kashmir by Arif Jamal and Descent into Chaos by Ahmed Rashid.  A fine history of India since the Great Rebellion is Vishnu’s Crowded Temple by Maria Misra. The Hindus: An Alternative History by Wendy Doniger begins 50,000 years ago in the Indus Valley and brings us to the present.  I find it invaluable in understanding the Hindus and how the religion has shaped India’s history.William Dalrymple’s The Last Mughal is a modern masterpiece.

Last Mughal Emporer

Last Mughal Emporer, Bahadur Shah II. The Dynasty fell to the British in 1857.

India has been at war with Pakistan four times since its Independence, althuogh the conflict over Kashmir is constant and ongoing. She has also been at war with China over a territorial dispute initiated by China largely because India had given sanctuary to the Dalai Lama. It is important to note that although India and Pakistan are nuclear powers, only Pakistan has a first strike policy.

It is worthy of note that the Muslim conquests of India were bloody affairs But the establishment of the Mughul Dynasties brought a degree of civility. With 100 million hindus slaughtered over a three hundred year period, its small wonder that India accepted the dynasty. Yet Ghandi was able to say that Islam and Hinduism were the “two eyes of India.” I mention this in part to put the conflict with Pakistan in a larger context, but also to draw attention to what seems like an infinite tolerance on the part of Hindus when it came to religion.

India Prior to Independence & Segregation

Indian Empire Prior to Independence & Division


There is no need to look at all conflicts between India and Pakistan, but let’s take a close look at The Indo-Pakistani War of 1971. It was a military conflict between India and Pakistan. Indian, Bangladeshi and international sources consider the beginning of the war to be Operation Chengiz Khan, Pakistan’s 3 December 1971 preemptive strike on 11 Indian airbase. ( The World: India: Easy Victory, Uneasy Peace, Time (magazine), 1971-12-27.

First of all, the name of the operation was highly significant. Ghengis Khan was the great Mongol warlord that laid waste throughout Asia and the Middle East and to India. The Mughuls were descendants of the Mongols and other Turko-Mongolian tribes.  They had become Islamized before their assault on the Sub Continent and subsequently ruled India from 1526 to 1858.

“The Pakistan army conducted a widespread genocide against the Bengali population of East Pakistan, aimed in particular at the minority Hindu population,leading to approximately 10 million people fleeing East Pakistan and taking refuge in the neighbouring Indian states. The East Pakistan-India border was opened to allow refugees safe shelter in India. The governments of West Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Meghalaya and Tripura established refugee camps along the border. The resulting flood of impoverished East Pakistani refugees placed an intolerable strain on India’s already overburdened economy.” See Time Magazine December 1971firstsr

The Solar Revolution for 1971 gives us Mercury as Lord of the Year and he’s Retrograde in his Domicile and Exaltation in Virgo. He is also in Joy by house. Mars is also Retrograde – in Aquarius in the Sixth House. More crucially, Mars is with the Node and Sirius. Mars is said to be like a tiger in a cage in the Sixth House, but he is disposited by a well placed Saturn.

Jupiter has returned to Scorpio and disposits two angles, the Fourth and the Seventh. The third house is the house of brothers. With Mars dispositing Jupiter and the Fourth House as the end of the matter, it’s quite clear to me that India will prevail. Her hidden enemies are Venus (again the significator for Islam)  combust. The war lasted thirteen days and ended with the full surrender of the Pakistani army.

This occured when India was in her Mercury/Jupiter Fidar. The Lord of the Year and Almuten of the chart is Mercury. Mercury is in the Eleventh Lunar Mansion, the Mane of the Lion.

Indira Priyadarshini Ghandi was the second longest serving Prime Minister of India and the only woman to hold that office. She was the only child of Prime Minister Nerue. She Married Feroz Ghandi.. She was about as establishment as she could be in relation to the forces that brought Indepence to India. She was assasinated by her own bodyguards in 1984. Her son Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated a few years later.

Mahatma Ghandi and Indira - 1924

Mahatma Ghandi and Indira – 1924

She was known as the Iron Lady, just as Thatcher had been. Mahatma Ghandi went to Oxford Law School, Nehru went to Cambridge and Jinna studied at the University of London, succeeding Mountbatten as Viceroy. The point is that all the major players were educated in England and were part of the Raj. unsurprisingly, as the only child of Nehru, Indira was educated at Oxford. All of these people to some extent were deeply influenced by facets of British culture.

In 1937, Indira enrolled at Somerville College, Oxford, where she studied public and social administration, history and anthropology. She joined the British Labour Party and woked as an ambulance driver during the blitzkrieg  Her marriage to Mr. Ghandi – no relation to the Mahatma – was scandalous at the time. She was Hindu and her husband was Parsi. All this completes a picture of a few elite, but well meaning forgers of a post colonial India that fits well with the chart for Independence. They had a great deal in common with British Liberals and they had all grown up in the context of the Raj.

She was exceedingly authoritarian which she said was necessary because India was close to impossible to govern. She had made what looked on the surface to be small land reforms, but this was widely interpreted as a way to conceal the implementation of total authoritarian rule.


Her assassination was particularly ugly. Two of her own entourage, including her Sikh bodyguard shot thirty bullets into her  in New Delhi on without warning on October 31 1984. I’ve drawn up a chart for this day. It’s a Directed Ascendant Arc derived from the Independence chart.

We can see that Mars has slipped into Leo and holds the same position as the Independence Chart. The conflict is religiously based. Her bodyguard and accomplice were Sikhs. All Sikhs use this name and it means Lion ! Mars is parallel Aldebaran and in the Face of Saturn. — quite lethal and unexpected. The Lord of the Seventh is Venus once again The Tenth house Stellium is still there, but in Virgo. Once again Scorpio is a major player.

The full story of Operation Blue Star is long and convoluted, but in it’s simplest form it was a major conflict between Sikhs and the Indian Army. Mrs. Ghandi ordered the Army to arrest radical Sikhs. In the process, she was responsible for defiling the temple.

During this time the chart for Indian Independant is in the Moon / Sun Firdar.

I don’t believe any chart can ever define such an ancient and diverse people.  Hinduism thinks in terms of billion year cycles. Moreover,  the British had ruled India for less than century, the Mughals for considerably more. One of the Indian criticism of Gnadi is that he tried to portray a single Indian identity — the one that doesn’t have any colour ! We think of India as one country because her invaders tried to define her as such. But India is a vast mosaic of tribes, castes and ethnic groups. Hinduism has arguably given India it’s principle identity, but traditionally there are said to be 330 million gods associated with the religion !

Fire Incarnate – The Choleric Humour

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA It seems to be very easy for people to forget the actual physical attributes of the elements and think of them as symbolic only. This is regrettably the case with some some students of astrology. It’s easy to say “I’m a Fire Sign” without thinking much about what Fire really is and how it relates and interacts with the other elements.

With this in mind I’ve put together a four part series on the elements in the hope of elucidating the physical characteristics and symbolic power of the Elements at the same time. There is no contradiction here. What is above is also below.

The element of Fire in Astrology is Initiated by Cardinal Aries. Zero degrees Aries marks the Spring Equinox and the transit of the Sun through the sign of its exaltation.

It’s the astrological New Year in the Northern Hemisphere and charts are drawn in order to divine the nature of the following twelve month cycle. This chart is also how we determine the Lord of the Year.

The Fire triplicity then moves to Leo – Fixed Fire – and Sagittarius common or mutable. The unfolding of this triplicity gives us a great deal of insight into the nature of Fire in astrology. Fixed Fire is Solar and Mutable is Jupiterean. The latter disseminates the essence of Fire.

The ingress of Aries is a time of renewed hope in the waxing Sun and the subsequent growth it produces – think of photosynthesis as well as long, warm days to nurture the crops.

Zoroastrian Chaharshanbe Suri

Zoroastrian Chaharshanbe Suri

Fire and Sun worship is ubiquitous. This should come as no surprise  because it satisfies two very basic human needs –  heat and light. The second of these has been raised to the level of divinity by virtually every spiritual teaching, even if be as metaphor for the inner light or light of God.

There are many, many fire festivals held at this time of year in a multitude of cultures.

Amongst the most ancient is the Zoroastrian Festival of Naruz or Chaharshanbe Suri. Fire worship and a Solar deity are central to Zoroastrianism.

The Hindu Festival of Colors, Holi, is among the greatest of ceremonies in the world, with many million ecstatic participants. The festival takes place in honour of a youth who escaped, without injury, from the clutches of a demoness named Holika after she lit him on fire.

The festival also marks the beginning of spring and is celebrated with bonfires, throwing colored powder and water on everyone

Perhaps just as ancient are the Rites of  Spring celebrated by the Celts in honour of the waxing Sun and renewed life. They were all Solar or Fire festivals and the theme of fertility is integral to them all. The Celts refer to the Vernal Equinox as Alban Eiler which translates as “Light of the Earth.” At this time, when the day is equal to the night and waxing , is a traditional time for sowing crops. Solstices and Equinoxes were powerful places places on the wheel. This time of balance between.the forces of day and night were highly auspicious events for the Druids

Festival of Holi - India

Festival of Holi – India

Let’s look at the element of Fire and it’s relationship to the other elements. Fire needs Earth for fuel and Air to sustain it. In the process of burning, water is usually released. So what do we mean when we say someone is “fiery”?

The traditional response would be to refer to the Choleric humour. But please keep in mind that the Sun sign gives very little information about humours. It is quite possible for a Solar Pisces to be more Choleric than a Sagittarius, although they are likely to express it differently. It’s unusual to find someone with only one humour active, so the art is to learn how the four of them interrelate, combine and repel.

Galen’s system gives us the bodily fluid Yellow bile, for choleric. The season is Summer. The primary organ of interest is the Spleen. The humour is warm & dry, the native often idealist However the Choleric Humour is easily angered and bad tempered. You will find that very often those who have a strong choleric Humour dominant tend to treat people like fuel. Fire is volatile. It is visible but has no fixed form. It can burn us as well as cook our food. 4_body_fluids

This is immediately recognized in the physical element of fire. When channeled properly it provides us with warmth and light. There is something about flames that fascinates us.

However, if it gets out of  control,, all Hell can break loose : the fire consuming everything in its path, feeding on Earth and sustained by Air. It repels water, but water can extinguish the flame if caught in time or in a massive enough measure.

Fire is a purifying, masculine energy. It is the source of strong will and energy, just as we temper steel in a forge. Fire creates and destroys. Learning to start and harness fire must have been the single most significant event for human beings.

If you can think of human interaction in these terms, imagining all the possibly combinations, interactions and repulsions, you will have a deeper understanding of Traditional astrology.


Alchemical Symbol for Fire

Alchemical Symbol for Fire