2020 Virgo Ingress of the Sun

Musei Vaticani Caduceus

I rarely post on ingress charts other than the four cardinal Ingresses – the solstice and equinox events. Bot this is no ordinary year, by anyone’s standards and I’m there for watching the unfolding patterns that precede the Great Conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter in Aquarius, an event that will have repercussions not only until the next Great Conjunction but also for the next two hundred years. The shift is from the  Earth to the Air Triplicity. I have elaborated on this elsewhere.

The chart is drawn up for Greenwich BST + 1. I will not, therefore, be referring to the house placements, as these will change from zone to zone I would focus on the salient dynamic of the event as they will be most relevant to the larger view. Primarily, I’m looking at the relationships of the chart as a whole to the Saturn and Jupiter conjunction and the role of Mars.

Notably, the Sun enters Virgo in the Decan and the Bounds of Mars and with Regulus (00. Vir. 06′ 21″). Mercury is in the Decan of Mercury and within the Bounds of the Sun. Mercury id the Lord of the Geniture. Mercury in Virgo is Hermes in his sign of Exaltation and Domicile.

Mars is in the decan of and the Bounds of Saturn and Decan of Venus, separating from a square to Jupiter and applying to a square with Saturn, which in turn is in the Bounds of Mars and the Decan of the Sun.

The Moon is in the 16th Lunar Mansion at 18 LI 44′ 11″ in the Tropical zodiac. The Mansion begins at 12 LI 51′ 22″ and ends at 25 LI 42′ 51″ Th Arabic name is Al Jubana, the Scorpion’s Claw. Ibn ‘Arabi (1200 AD) attributes this Mansion to The Sixth Heaven, the Sphere of Mercury, the Abode of ‘Isa (Jesus).

The principal stars are Zuban Elgenubi, which Claudius Ptolemy tell sus is on the nature of Saturn and Mars – and Zuben Eschemali is Jupiter and Mercury. of the nature of Jupiter and Mercury.

Most crucially, in this particular configuration, the Moon on the MC is in the Exaltation and Decan of Saturn, It is at these levels that the chart discloses a more sombre, dare I say ‘heavier’ than what a cursory reading may easily miss.

She is in the second Pada of Nakshatra Swathi – the Lord of this Nakshatra is Rahu and the Pada is that of Saturn.

The most intriguing theme is the Mars and Saturn signatures repeated throughout the geniture. This illustrates the ongoing pattern of strife we have seen throughout 2020 as we look forward to the Winter Solstice and the Great Conjunction.

We should not miss the extraordinary power of the Virgin herself. Her meaning has been horribly diminished and misunderstood, this distortion began in earnest nearly two millennia ago in the Christian West. although has survived in Paganism. Hinduism and other religious and philosophical traditions. Monica Sjoo writes:

“Ancient moon priestesses were called virgins. ‘Virgin’ meant not married, not belong to a man – a woman who was ‘one-in-herself’. The very word derives from a Latin root meaning strength, force, skill; and was later applied to men: virile. Ishtar, Diana, Astarte, Isis were all called virgin, which did not refer to sexual chastity, but sexual independence. And all great culture heroes of the past…, mythic or historic, were said to be born of virgin mothers: Marduk, Gilgamesh, Buddha, Osiris, Dionysus, Genghis Khan, Jesus – they were all affirmed as sons of the Great Mother, of the Original One, their worldly power deriving from her. When the Hebrews used the word, and in the original Aramaic, it meant ‘maiden’ or ‘young woman’, with no connotations to sexual chastity. But later Christian translators could not conceive of the ‘Virgin Mary’ as a woman of independent sexuality, needless to say; they distorted the meaning into sexually pure, chaste, never touched. When Joan of Arc, with her witch coven associations, was called La Pucelle – ‘the Maiden,’ ‘the Virgin’ – the word retained some of its original pagan sense of a strong and independent woman. The Moon Goddess was worshipped in orgiastic rites, being the divinity of matriarchal women free to take as many lovers as they choose. Women could ‘surrender’ themselves to the Goddess by making love to a stranger in her temple.” (The Great Cosmic Mother: Rediscovering the Religion of the Earth by Monica Sjoo. Harper Books.)

Ancient Akkadian cylinder seal depicting the goddess Inanna resting her foot on the back of a lion while Ninshubur stands in front of her paying obeisance, c. 2334-2154 BC (Wiki Commons.)

I believe that Sjoo has overstated the case, only insofar as she has implicitly downplayed the Mother’s necessary and obvious relationship with men in the act of procreation, but her book is decidedly within the tradition of feminist writers in the 1980s. We understand that this sensibility and means of presentation were necessary and that this by no means undermines her salient points. The power of the Virgin, as she recites, is indeed great and all to often ignored and devalued – one might even say taken for granted.

In this ingress, we see her with Regulus, of the nature of Mars and Jupiter and Guardian of the North. Due to precession, Regulus has entered Tropical Virgo.  Powerful Indian goddesses are often accompanied by Lions.

Regulus is highly auspicious. The star brings great success if revenge is avoided. This is, of course, a great challenge. Still, there is a gentleness in this powerful Heart of the Lion and it comes as no surprise that the healing Angel, Rahapel finds his place here in the North.  He is of the nature of Jupiter and Mars may, therefore, be read as Mercy and Severity, the essential symbols of the Pharaohs as rulers were the crook (heka) and the flail or flabellum (nekhakha). A good King needs to know when to use one or the other for the sake of the Kingdom. In this case, we have a wise Virgin empowered amongst many elements of discord. She meets them opposing energy that seeks healing, assisted by Venus in the Moon’s domicile of Cancer. The interplay of Masculine and feminine energies in this geniture is not to be missed.     

Recently, someone referred (not disparagingly) to my “dystopian views,” particularly in relation to The Novus Ordo Saeculorum, the New Order of the Ages – simply referred to as “New Age” by modern astrologers. For the record, my view is virtually identical to that of the late Robert Zoller, who wrote:

“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.”

Where I depart from Zoller is in my conclusions as to what the human spirit is capable of apropos of the dark prediction. My impetus in revealing the nature of the Age is not to instil a sense of despair, fear or apathy. I have refused to present a deceptively pollyanna picture of a seriously challenging time, one in which our very humanity is being undermined at every turn. The antidote to this is not blissful ignorance, but rather a fearless and realistic estimation of the forces at play. The solution is a focussed, grounded and informed consciousness.  If one has cancer, pretending it isn’t there is foolishness. Foreknowledge is power and empowers us further by affording us a chance to employ wise remedies to the ailments of the spiritual, mental and physical body and ultimately to the Earth and the web of life itself.

We live in a time of extraordinary consequence. The choices we make in the next few years may very well make the difference between thriving or perishing, not only for human beings but for all of the natural worlds in it’s myriad of dimensions.

Because this article is written as part of a series related to the march towards the Solstice, it is best read in concert with the previous entries in this series.,

Figure of the Virgin – 1440-1450 Book of Hours, the Fastolf Master, Bodleian Library, Oxford

Full Thunder Moon : Appulse Lunar Eclipse July 04/05 2020

©Kym Mackinnon

This eclipse is not one to which I would normally pay a great deal of attention  It will be a faint Appulse Lunar Eclipse This particular Moon is dubbed the Thunder or Buck Moon. It will be (barely) visible throughout South America, North America and part of northwestern Africa.

This occurs two weeks after an annular solar eclipse. You may wish to refer to my article on that one as well.  Only 35% of the Moon will be covered by Earth’s penumbra. Below is the eclipse, with the focus on eastern North America and northern eastern South America.

I must emphasise at the outset, that the physical visibility of this eclipse is unusual and there is no known way to quantify exactly how this will affect the stamp of this event. My personal view is that the faintest is not the primary concern The facts of where the eclipse could be seen, even on a very cloudy night, is what matters most. Where the eclipse cannot be seen, its effects will be secondary or tertiary with respect to other regions of the world., 

The image below shows the areas of the eastern seaboard of the US in relation to visibility

The following image shows the place of the maximum eclipse:

This eclipse is most interesting in relation to the Cancer nation of the United Staes, not least because it unfolds on Independence Day 2020 at exactly the same degree of Cancer as is found in the chart of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. The chart below shows the eclipse in relation to Washing DC at the time of the maximum eclipse.

The chart has Mars ascending in his diurnal domicile and in an applying square aspect to the luminaries  The saturnine theme we’ve seen so much of this year consists, first and foremost in this instance, with Jupiter, Saturn and Moon in the 10th house in Capricorn opposing the Cancerian Sun and Mercury. Ketu in the 9th house is sometimes  considered unfortunate and with Rahu the 3rd house indicating we have conflicts with ‘brothers.” Deriving from the concerns of the 9th house. In this case, Rahu is exalted in Gemini which accentuates the event that much more.

Mars is the Lord of the Eclipse and also the Almuten. He is in the bounds of Mars and the decanate of Jupiter.

[Lunar Eclipse 2020 Guide When, Where & How to See Them. Courtesy of Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter & Space.com]

The Moon and Jupiter are in the 23rd Arabian Lunar Mansion, represented according to Ibn Arabi. The Moon’s position in the Tropical zodiac is 13 CP 29′ 37″ This Mansion starts from 12 CP 51′ 22″ and ends at 25 CP 42′ 51″

Ibn Arabi’s interpretation of the meaning of this mansion is the highly evocative nomenclature of  “The Fortune of the Swallower.” He assigns the  Divine Attribute as the Nourisher. According to H. C. Agrippa (1533 AD) it refers to (Latin) Swallowing and tell us that the significance is that it Causes divorce, freedom of captives, healing of sick. The talisman he suggests is for “destruction and wasting.” In the context of social unrest and the pandemic, financial ruin and other plagues, these attributions are remarkably apt.

Again, this article should be read as one in a series on the highly eloquent eclipses and planetary configuration of 2020


A Vast Image Out of Spiritus Mundi

The Divine Monochord – Robert Fludd 1617

As I wrote more than once over the last year or so, this was going to be an exceedingly difficult year and we are closer now to the Grand Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn on Winter Solstice 2020. This marks the nature, essence and direction for the next 20 years, with the various phases watched carefully – such as the opposition and squares that will occur during that period. There will also, of course, be a myriad of other influences that will stand in the larger framework. The events do at times seem to be genuinely apocalyptic.

Spiritus Mundi was a term used by W.B. Yeats to describe the collective Soul of the universe, containing the memories of all time. The current title is from “The Second Coming” by the poet, which also connects in important ways to an article I wrote in the Summer of 2017. The title, “Slouching towards Bethlehem,” was taken from the same poem. The themes are similar insofar as chaos and irrational action express itself, rooted in fear and anger, with global violence as a result. I will argue here, also, that awareness of the cosmic forces at play and what they are really showing us is the key to avoiding reactionary responses that lead us to an ever darker place and state of mind.

Cancer Ingress of The Sun. 20 Jun 2020. 10:43:33 pm. London, England

I would like to say that this is not a time for negativity, fear or projection. Many of the elements that we have considered essential parts of our lives have changed drastically and may appear to be beyond redemption. There is a centre to the storm and in that centre lies peace. However, the key is in understanding what we are experiencing. Terms such as “social isolation” and all that implies are quintessentially Saturn – Cold and Dry. One of the traditional names of Saturn is Fasifer, the keeper of Gate to the Fixed Stars, the final barrier, if you will.. His metal is lead which is extremely heavy and toxic. The lead used in the Roman water mains caused insanity in the population.

The Saturnine influences have been felt internationally and the greatest poison at this time is that of the mind and consciousness, even of the soul perhaps. We cannot run from Saturn, but he is far less dangerous if we understand what he’s all about. In everyday life, we may be presented with poisonous thoughts, in the form of lies, for example, but we don’t have to fall for them. We certainly don’t have to live by them.

If we turn to the Summer Solstice charts, we find that Saturn is the Almuten of the chart as well as the lord of the Ascendant. He is in one of his own domiciles in retrograde. As he slips backwards, he will be in his other domicile of Capricorn. Either way, he is strong, but perhaps a bit discombobulated. The eye is on the two social planets as they move toward the Great Conjunction. It’s a time of tumultuousness and intrigue.

Mars is the Jupiterean sign of Pisces, which thwarts much direct action. Jupiter is also in his Fall in Capricorn. We can say that for now, Mars has to do as he is bidden by the Great Malefic. Because of the natural idealism of Jupiter, it’s as if Mars is running amok, driven by a confused and misunderstood motive – is it to demonstrate for the greater good or to loot, driven by a state of chaos in which the message is scrambled in the smoke and rubble of a rebellious but incompetent urge to tear all asunder? The sextile between Jupiter and Mars is not particularly helpful in this case.

We have a relatively strong Mercury, but he’s also retrograde. He is free of the Sunbeams, in the 7th house (angular) of open enemies and the Sun in Cancer is Perigrine in the same house. Nevertheless, Mercury is Lord of the Moon in Gemini, within the North Node in Exaltation.

The Moon is in a very tight applying square to Mars. This is a shortlived transit but is also an integral part of this Cardinal chart – the influence of which will be in some effect until the Solstice.  The Moon works as an emotional impulse to Mars. That in itself is not always a bad thing, but we are mixing emotional with mental in a way that isn’t going to be graciously received. This is evident on streets around the world and in the resulting chaos and polarization in the media, including social media.

The theme of a dispossessed Mars is becoming manifest in calls for police forces around the world to be defunded. The Martian impulse is running rampant and at the same time, the Martial forces are being told to disband, to be de-funded even in very large cities with high crime rates. You will recall that Mars in the 3rd House is indicative of conflicts with brethren in this situation  That is one of the indications we might consider in the chart of a civil war.

Again, the theme of “Social Isolation” has become something of a racial Isolation, where for the greatest extent in decades racism of all stripes calls for distinguishing and separating people based on race, no matter how irrational that may be. But it isn’t about reason. This injured Mars resorts to vicious temper tantrums on a global scale, which affects the same on the other end of the polarity. Most importantly of all, nobody ever said that Mars was a wonderful ambassador unless of course, you think that napalm bombs are the greatest, most effective form of diplomacy Yet Mars is the Lord of the Geniture, the best ambassador available and perfectly mimicked by the Martian Hornets that line up to induce terror.

Venus is trine Saturn, which might have been a faint call for a gentler war among the masses is spoiled by being too little too late and both planets in retrograde motion.

The truly positive nature of this celestial map is that it calls us to step back and see what is actually going on, not only now, but always. We see Falsifer eagerly doing what he does best in such situations. How much of it is real and how much of it is hype? How could the world find itself in this extraordinary predicament – dropping the concerns of a pandemic, overnight and before its over, to gather in incendiary mobs, burning down the small businesses of the people they purport to fight while they wait for the Murder Hornets to arrive?

Sometimes it takes a sustained blow like this to force us to see the absolute madness of the status quo and the very real dangers of throwing it out before we know where we really want to go. The death of civilisation, as we know it, is miserably married to global financial ruin. All this is on the menu of the mainstream media, as is another far worse wave of the only virus to attain mythic dimensions in the collective psyche for more than a hundred years.


Stonehenge at the moment of Summer Solstice

Yuletide 2019

The four Cardinal Ingress charts are drawn up for the Solstice and Equinox points. Many traditional astrologers, such as William Ramesey are almost entirely concerned with the Aries Ingress, also known as the Spring Equinox, for sound reasons. It is how we derive the Lord or Lady of the Year.

Nevertheless, the Equinox and Solstice charts are also valuable and for that reason, I publish and read all four each year. The Capricorn Ingress has great significance in various cultures around the world. For most of us, the Winter Solstice coincides with Christmas, but also with Yule, St. Lucia’s Day, a festival of lights celebrated in Scandinavia, the Persian festival Yalda, or Shab-e Yalda, as well as lesser-known celebrations such as Alban Arthan (Welsh). Saturnalia, Dongzhi Festival (East Asia) and the Slavic Korochun festival.

What they all have in common is the theme of the rebirth of the Sun. However, the Four Quarters are equally important and moreover,  they are connected to each other on the Wheel of the Year. This has clearly been of great concern since Neolithic times.

This particular chart is drawn up for GMT, in part because of the momentous events occurring in the UK very recently. It’s something of a sombre chart at first lance, on the Day and Hour of Saturn and with a Martian Almuten. Mars is also Lord of the Geniture. The chart is essentially divided between the string of Capricorn / Saturn and Scorpio. A Mundane chart with the angles in Fixed Signs has a farther reach than one with even Cardinal angles would have. There are no retrograde planets.

Caduceus – The Staff of Hermes Johann Froben’s printer’s symbol

The First House carries the Moon, Mars and Ascendant. In a Mundane chart, the First House signifies the nation and the people as a whole, its general condition of prosperity and health or the reverse. The Moon also denotes the common people, women generally, crowds, and all matters of a common or public nature. It shows where the focus is for the people of the country. It is noteworthy that the Moon and Mars is a volatile mix and this will be part of the picture, as we experience social unrest.,

However, Ramesey suggests that “If the planet to which the Lord of the Ascendant or the Moon does apply or is in aspect with, be Jupiter, they shall be safe and secure that year, shall enjoy their liberties, shall be free from all manner of molestation, shall have justice and good laws executed and shall be in credit and honour.” (Book IV – Astrologia Munda Section II – Chapter III 46) The aspect, in this case, is a sextile to Jupiter. The results will be dampened but perhaps not entirely negated by his unfortunate placement. Jupiter in the sign of Saturn’s domicile is hard-pressed to be truly jovial. He is in his fall. The close conjunction to the Sun is also a main consideration.

If we also consider the Lunar Mansion. number 18.  al Biruni, tells us that “Al qalb, i.e. qalb al aqrab, the heart of Scorpius, Antares, is a red and trembling star which astrologers describe as having the nature of Mars; in front of it is another star, and behind it is a third, the three being disposed in a curve.:

The names for the Mansion is The Caduceus.  Al Kalb (The Heart) 8°34’17″ Scorpio to 21°25’40″ Scorpio. This is a time to heal and prevent illness in all its forms.

Venus governs women’s issues, national birth rate, social factors connected to marriage and children. Artists, musicians and the arts. Facilities for sport and entertainment. Peace and diplomatic resolutions. She is in the Fourth House, which is the place of the Ancestors, the land. This brings a more celebratory tone, a sense of connectedness with kin,

Mercury in the Second House augers well for trade, merchants and the collective national wealth, the exchequer, revenue, banks, the Stock Exchange and so on. It is indicative also of trade deals.

Saturns thrives and Jupiter flounders in Capricorn. We are witnessing the end of a 20-year dance between the two social planets and they approach a Grand Conjunction in a year from now.,

Ramsay writes that “Saturn in the third if he is well dignified, shall generally denote mirth and jollity to the people, that they shall delight and associate themselves one with another, and all heart-burning and differences between them shall be forgotten and laid aside. ” (Book IV – Astrologia Munda Section II – Chapter VI p.64)

Japanese Sun Goddess (660 Bc) – Amaterasu

All references to William Ramesey’s Astrologia Munda are taken from Steven Birchfield’s Revised English Ed. (2006). 

Ingress – Jupiter in Sagittarius

First of all, allow me to extend wishes for a Blessed Samhain – this time of the year is celebrated in many ways all over the world, but the common thread is reverence of the ancestors and conscious recognition of the process of turning inwards for illumination, The balance of night and day now moves to favour the night, until we reach the Winter Solstice.

The ingress of Jupiter into Sagittarius is, of course, returning Jupiter to his Domicile. Mercury is already in Sagittarius on this date and is auspiciously free of the beams,  Saturn is also in his own Domicile Malefics cause less harm when they are at ‘home’ but we cannot ignore the fact that Mars is in Saturn’s Sign. Jovial levity will be a welcome change to a Scorpionic Jupiter. The day and hour of the chart belong to Jupiter, but the Almuten is Mars.

Most of us have felt the tension and the sense of bottled up energy, only increasing as Sun, Venus and Mercury entered Scorpio. However, that has not been the only source of discord.  For example, Venus has retrograded back from Scorpio and into Libra. She is in her own sign, but her retrograde state prevents her from playing a strong role. Indeed. the light of Sun and Venus are collected by Mars because Sun and Venus are not in aspect, the Sun is squared Mars, Venus is trine Mars who is the Lord of the Sun in Scorpio, Mars is not in any of the dignity rulers, so the collection occurs.

This isn’t discussed much and may not always be that helpful, but certainly, in this case, Mars becomes very strong, beyond his domination over the Scorpio planets and luminaries. Jupiter has just left the House of Mars, with Mercury in tow. At the time of the ingress GMT, Saturn is in his domicile in Capricorn in the first house, while Mars waxes in Aquarius. Mars with the South Node and the Part of Fortune augers for serious challenges to the collective purse, because the second house speaks of financial matters of the state in Mundane astrology. We have already seen some rumblings, but the period ahead is one which requires wisdom and foresight.

Last but by no means least, we look to the Moon. In our char, we find a New Moon in the Thirteenth Lunar Mansion. This is Altair that is Dogstars, or the wings of Virgo; it is prevalent for benevolence, gain, voyages, harvests, and freedom of captives. The New Moon is associated with beginnings and what is initiated. This bodes well for those associated with those themes.  But it does come with a caution.

A series of great conjunctions, an illustration from Kepler’s book ‘De Stella Nova’ (1606)Because all moments are ultimately connected to all others, we need to understand these ingress phenomena from a greater point of view. We are in the last phases of the Superior Conjunction. The last conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn was in these ingress phenomena from a greater point of view. We are in the last phases of the Great Conjunction. The last conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn was on 19 May 2000 in the Earth Sign of Taurus. You will find a complete list of these Great Conjunctions from 5,000 BC here.

.You could say that the Great Conjunction in Aquarius in effect squares the last one by sign. Some astrologer has suggested that the next one in 2020 will mark the Age of Aquarius. I doubt this for a number of reasons. I have written many articles on the Aquarian Age and have stated that there is every reason to place the beginning of the Age in the early 20th Century.

Nevertheless, I can certainly concur that this Great Conjunction will massively stimulate the Aquarian agenda. We are in a time when there is surprisingly little thought behind the scientific advances and the morass of ethical questions that remain insufficiently considered.  Everything we have considered part of being human is challenged at every turn. This is either a time of wisdom or a time of extraordinary decay with the real possibility of mass destruction. The chart imbues an ethical sensibility via Jupiter and other key elements.

With this in mind, the chart is encouraging of the ensuing epoch. the Day and Hour are with the Moon in Jupiterian Pisces. The Moon is also the Almuten of the chart.  She is in the final 28th Al Butain. “The Belly. Helps the finding of treasures and retaining of captives. With Moon here, buy and sell but avoid the sea.” (Robson). Venus in Sagittarius is in her Joy in the Fifth House and has an obvious affinity to Jupiter and all he disposits. This is emphasized by Jupiter being in the Decanate of Venus.

Mars in his Domicile of Aries on the MC and in the Ninth House is a source of friction in the realms of religion, clashing philosophical approaches a well as the law. It is encouraging to see Mars in the Decan of Venus!

Please take into account that these charts are drawn for GMT. House placements and another element will vary by location. Much of what has been said applies to all.

The Turning of the Wheel – Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice – Capricorn Ingress of the Sun – Dec 21 2017, 4:27:52 PM  GMT

I believe that the pivotal charts for the two Equinoxes and Solstices are not so much a time for analysis as they are of seasonal observation. They are times of celebration. I will make just a few brief observations on the chart for the time of the Solstice. Before we do that, I’d like to take some time to recognize the nature and symbolism of the Winter Solstice.

This is a particularly auspicious day for people of widely diverse cultures, ranging from the St Lucia Day celebrations in Scandinavia, Saturnalia and its modern variants, Chanukah, Christmas and many Pagan celebrations that go back to the dawn of time. Less well known perhaps is the Persian festival Yalda, or Shab-e Yalda . It’s a celebration of the Winter Solstice in Persia that began in ancient times. It marks the end of the month of Azar. Yalda is symbolic of the victory of light over dark ar the time of the longest night. It is the birthday assigned to the Sun god, Mithra.  There are family celebrations with traditional foods like nuts and pomegranates. The intent is to stay awake all night long in order to welcome the rising Sun.

In my indigenous Celtic tradition, we bring the symbolism of Father Christmas, holly, the Yule Log, Mistletoe, the Christmas Tree and almost everything else we think of at this time of year in European cultures and increasingly in Asian ones as well. Yule is a Pagan holiday that celebrates the Winter Solstice. Every detail has significance. While it is true that Santa Claus and the Christmas tree also originate in part from different, but parallel traditions, the core symbolism of the point of greatest darkness is the seed for the renewal of the light – the waning of the light gives way to the waxing of the light force.

The Celtic Wheel of the Year

The symbolism is shown in the wheel of the year, constantly turning, waxing and waning throughout the year. On this spoke of the wheel,  the Oak King, representative of the light half of the year, changes places with the Holly King, representing the dark half of the year. This ensures that the light and warmth of the Sun will begin to wax each day until the cycles begin again. The universality of celebrations with similar themes are evidence of our deep connection to the cycles of Earth and Heaven.

On this particular Winter Solstice, of particular note is that Saturn enters his own domicile of Capricorn on the day of the Solstice. This is a very good thing. Saturn is relatively miserable in Sagittarius and when Saturn is in a sign that is not congenial, it augurs for more difficulties. You might think of this as something of a homecoming, with Saturn stepping into Capricorn with the Sun.

The warm expressiveness of the Sun is contrasted with the cold, dry astringency of Saturn.  Still, I see this as more of a congenial meeting, particularly because Saturn is in Cazimi. This is a very rare occurrence for the Sun and Saturn to be in this relationship right at the moment of the Winter Solstice. Saturn ends up with the highest score when accidental dignities are considered. It’s an auspicious event to see Saturn enter into his own domicile in this way.

To better understand Cazimi, it’s important to note that traditional astrologers maintain that the proximity of Saturn to the Sun, within approximately 10 degrees, is combust. Combustion is a term of Medieval origin that indicates that a planet is, as it were,  swallowed by the beams or fire of the Sun. When a planet is combust, it won’t be visible. Because light is an essential element in traditional astrology, this further points towards the poor condition of the planet. However, the ancient astrological tradition also recognizes an important exception. This exception is named Cazimi, a transliteration of the Arabic term kaṣmīmī. This empowers the planet greatly. Saturn, as William Lilly stated  “will be ’wonderous strong.’

The Almuten or Guardian Spirit of the moment is Jupiter.  He is the Face ruler of the Sun but has none of the essential Dignity rulers of the Sun.  Jupiter then collects light from both luminaries. This makes him a more powerful participant than may be obvious at first glance.  Mars has greater dignity and is in his domicile. These two in the Fifth House under Mars can be a boisterous combination.  The more difficult elements are not so easily obvious either. For example, the Moon is in the Eighth House. This is the House of death and the place of Aquarius in the Thema Mundi and she is the ruler of the Ascendant. This augurs caution, particularly in London at this time.  This a wonderful time to celebrate at home with family and loved ones.

Feat on Yalda Night

Reading Māshā’allāh : Sassanian Ayanamsa

The Sassanid Palace at Sarvestan Shiraz Iran – Persian: kakh-eh Sassani-ye Sarvestan – Photo- Javad Jowkar

Before we begin, I would like to make it abundantly clear that it is not my intention to replace the chart we have for the foundation of Baghdad  The data, but not the chart, came down to us from a venerable source  What I would like to do, however, is to explore what happens when we decide not to take the best of intentions as the only possible motivation and that, further, the shifting of one element in the charts’ construction can change the meaning dramatically and with often unexpected results. I do this with the full recognition that the perfect chart exists only in the Mind of God.

At the centre of my argument is the simple fact that this chart has been read with the unsupported assumption that Māshā’allāh used an exclusively Tropical zodiac. There is no evidence for this.

Scientists and other researchers understand the necessity of ridding ourselves, as much as is humanly possible, of preconceptions. I think it only fair to read Māshā’allāh using the Sassanian Ayansama to see what might be found. I will add that this study makes me uncomfortable for all the right reasons and I most certainly mean no disrespect to Māshā’allāh.

Māshā’allāh (from mā shā’ Allāh, i.e. “that which God intends”) was a Jewish astrologer from Basra. Ibn al-Nadīm says in his Fihrist that his name was Mīshā, meaning Yithro (Jethro).  Māshā’allāh was one of the leading astrologers in the eighth- and early ninth-century Baghdad under the caliphates from the time of al-Manṣūr to Ma’mūn, and together with al-Nawbakht worked on the horoscope for the foundation of Baghdad in 762. (See Māshā’allāh ibn Atharī (or Sāriya) [Messahala]

13-th century manuscript, drawn by Al-Wasiti of the celebrated book “The Assemblies”. Written by Hariri, shows a library in Baghdad

The chart that he was commissioned for the construction of Baghdad comes down to us from Al Biruni, a fellow Persian from modern-day Uzbekistan / Turkmenistan, in his monumental work The Chronology of Nations.  He is less commonly known by his full name of Abū Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Al-Bīrūnī (4/5 September 973 – 13 December 1048).  Biruni gives us the time, place and date, but makes no mention of the House System or Ayanamsa used for the chart. It’s reasonably considered that Māshā’allāh used Whole Signs and we know his most famous student did also. This still leaves the thorny question of which Ayanamsa he used.

If he used the Sassanian Ayanamsa along with material available to him in the Greater Bundahishn, this would change a great many things and certainly challenge some of our more cherished notions, such as the Chart for Baghdad being done in good faith in the hope of the greatest possible benevolence.

Before proceeding any further, it needs to be said that this chart has been subjected to all kinds of tortuous logic by several astrologers, including my initial article on this chart more than a decade ago. It has always seemed to have been discussed with a touch of reticence.

This is no more than a ‘what if’ because we cannot absolutely prove it either way.  As a Persian Jew, Māshā’allāh had good reasons to dislike and resent the Arab Islamic invasion of Persia and the slaughter of Jewish tribes in the Arabian peninsula and elsewhere. Jews had enjoyed a good life in Persia for millennia, as they do to this day. It would be extraordinary if he had no reservations whatsoever.


Here we have the chart with all the information passed on to us by Al Biruni, using Whole Sign houses, calculated using the Sassanian Ayanamsa.  This strikes me as a struggling chart with little to commend it if continued good fortune was intended when all is said and done. But the chart has never been unequivocally beneficent in any of its forms, using other house systems and the sidereal zodiac, for example. This has been part of the confusion. Baghdad was indeed a great centre of learning with widespread influence, both through space and time. However, it has also suffered excessive calamities and violence over the centuries and still suffers to this day. We see all this in the chart presented here.

The chart is not without considerable merit, but this is undercut by the very real and existential threats that are also illustrated. It is likely that only a seasoned astrologer may detect these in short order, but they cannot be unseen once they have been discovered.

The Sun in the Royal sign if Leo and magnificently placed with Regulus, one of the Royal Stars of Persia, known as the Watchers of the Directions,. Regulus is the Heart of Leo,  Watcher of the North and associated with the Archangel Raphael

Isrāfīl.-” Angel with Fish.” Mughal 1590 – Hossein Naqqash

The significance of this star is that it leads to immense good fortune, provided that revenge is avoided.  The Fixed Stars are stronger when well connected to a better planet. That is established. But reversals of fortune are part of the bargain if revenge is enacted.

In the ninth house, the Sun with Regulus is a powerful testament to the higher ideals of the proposed purposes and is placed in a near-perfect relation to Jupiter and the Ascendant.  This is also ideal when considering the meeting of foreign cultures and of course, religion provided that they don’t come in war. The Sun is in his Joy and in Hayz.

We find Mercury Retrograde and conjunct the South Node in the house of Death. This is most unfortunate. It also brings us back to the Moon. Cancer is her only domicile. The chart would do well to support a strong clerical and other positions falling under the influence of Mercury. At this level, always a crucial one in any system. They will be the keepers of the record and the ones who disseminate information of all kinds to keep the Caliphate strong.

Jupiter is in his own domicile and strong, in fine relationship to the Caliph and supportive of the goals desired  This reads like a great blessing and is very likely what Māshā’allāh would emphasise when presenting his election.

However, the fatal signatures of the chart should give us pause.

A brief history of the city shows us that Baghdad’s early meteoric growth was stifled due to problems within the Caliphate itself, including a relocation of the capital to Samarra (during 808–819 and 836–892), the loss of the western and easternmost provinces, and periods of political domination by the Iranian Buwayhids (945–1055) and Seljuk Turks (1055–1135).

Nevertheless, Baghdad held her place and continued as a major cultural and commercial centre in the Islamic world. Then tragedy struck on a massive scale. On February 10, 1258,  the city was sacked by the Mongols under the command of Hulagu Khan. The Mongols killed most of the inhabitants, including the Abbasid Caliph Al-Musta’sim. They also destroyed large sections of the city. Even the canals and dykes forming the city’s irrigation system were destroyed. The attack ended the Abbasid Caliphate. It has often been noted that Islamic civilization never completely recovered.

In 1401, Baghdad was again vanquished by Timur. So it continued, until the incursion of the Ottoman Turks. It’s difficult to make the case that Bagdad has not had far more than its share of sorrows and reversals of fortune.  It is equally difficult not to recognize the measure of success and abundance during its golden age.

We are used to thinking of the Royal Stars of Persia – the Watchers of the Directions –  as Regulus, Aldebaran, Fomalhaut, and Antares, representing the four Fixed Signs as the primary consideration in Persian astronomy.  However, the Sassanian model clearly puts the emphasis on Sirius.

Canopus is used in Islam for the orientation of places of worship. For those reasons, I have included it here. It is crucial to consider the Horoscope of the World which we examined in a previous article. In that schema, the House of Life (the Ascendant) was at the nineteenth degree of Cancer, the asterism Azara too was disposed in the star Sirius, which in the chart we have falls in the seventh house at 24°18.  I cannot see how he could have missed this detail. He was certainly aware of the Horoscope and the extraordinary power of Sirius.

In the Great Bundahishn

in Chapter 2, sections 3 & 4, in the translation by Behramgore Tehmuras Anklesariawe, we find:

“3. Over these constellations, He appointed four chieftains, in four directions; He appointed a chieftain over these chieftains; He appointed many innumerable stars that are recognized by name, in various directions and various places, as givers of vigour, by cooperation, to these Constellations.

4. As one says: “Sirius [Tishtar] is the chieftain of the East, Sataves the chieftain of the South, Antares [Vanand] the chieftain of the West, the Seven Bears [Haptoring] the chieftain of the North; the Lord of the throne, Capricornus, whom they call the Lord of Mid- Heaven, [is the chieftain of chieftains; Parand, Mazd-tat, and others of this list are also chiefs of the directions.”

Ibn al-Nadīm lists some twenty-one titles of works attributed to Māshā’allāh; these are mostly astrological, but some deal with astronomical topics and provide us with the information (directly or indirectly) about sources used which included Persian, Syriac, and Greek)  He was a learned, brilliant and extremely talented man. We wouldn’t expect him to simply make a mistake.

We should not ignore the fact that the chart was drawn up for the Day of Saturn – the Jewish Sabbath. No work is to be done on this day.

We find the Moon in Venusian Libra in the house of the Good Spirit. The Moon can refer to the common people in a Mundane chart and is feminine in any chart. Most interesting, however, is that she is disposited by a Mercurial Venus in the Anorectic degree in the house of open enemies. She is spent.  The benefits we might anticipate with Venus in this placement are such that Mars dominates in the sign of the N. Node’s exaltation.  Mars is doubly dangerous because he is also the Lord of the 12th house in Scorpio – this house is hidden enemies and self-undoing among other designations. Saturn is in his Fall and in a productive house.

I see no useful purpose to further elaborate on this. It is after all entirely speculative, even if plausible. I realize this turns the old enigma on its head, but sometimes an entirely new way of looking at something can be useful.  At the very least, it ought to raise awareness of just how different a chart can appear when the astrologer is using an Ayanamsa that may not have occurred to a modern reader. It also asks the astrologer to consider the cultural differences between practitioners that may very well, on the source be in agreement on virtually everything. This demands that we read far beyond the astrology itself, to the very ground of being which informs us all.


Beginning in 1211, Genghis Khan and his nomadic armies burst from Mongolia and swiftly conquered most of Eurasia. The Great Khan died in 1227, but his sons and grandsons continued the expansion of the Mongol Empire across Central Asia, China, the Middle East, and into Europe.


Note: shortly after publishing this brief article, I became aware of another, written in 2003: The Horoscope of Baghdad: historical, astronomical, and astrological notes by Juan Antonio Revilla. The topic is not identical, but Revilla does well in describing context, methodologies and sensibilities involved in deriving the chart.  He has a familiarity with Sassanian astrology and discusses many things, such as the Tables of al-Kwarizm, which go beyond the limitations of a single blog post.

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 !

Bright Sky : Thunderbolts & Tin

Jupiter and Semele - by Moreau

Jupiter and Semele – by Moreau

This is to discuss some of the etymological and ubiquitous symbolic qualities of the Sky God known by several names, but most famously as Zeus or Jupiter. He is perhaps best known as the Master of the Heavens.

He was identified by the Romans as Jupiter or Jove. Jupiter is known as the earth-shaker. At will, he could  summon rain, snow, hail, and all other meteorological phenomena.  He married his sister Hera.  Zeus was known for his countless love affairs. Neither chastity nor restraint are jovial attributes.

The son of Jupiter was Bacchus , synonymous with the Greek Dionysus. He shares some of his father’s traits, but in exaggerated form. He is typically depicted as the god of harvest, grapes, fertility and theater: other traits such as drunkenness, altered states including ecstasy makes him the opposite of Apollo.The “Apollonian and the Dionysian”  have been identified as archetypes in their own right.

Apollo, Dionysus & Hermes-Feasting. C. 450 BC

Apollo, Dionysus & Hermes-Feasting. C. 450 BC

Dionysus was very much his father’s son and was the subject of Mystery Cults, particularly in Greece.

Jupiter’s most feared and revered weapon was the lightning bolt, forged for him by the Cyclopes. Most cultures have a deity sharing enough similarities to associate it with Zeus.


Zeus’ name translates to “Bright Sky.” The letter zeta, is the Greek letter z for Zeus. Zeus is Jupiter’s namesake in Greek mythology. The same symbol represents tin, since it is one of the planetary metals in alchemy.   His Roman names are Jupiter and Jove. He is usually shown with his characteristic scepter and attendant eagles

I view the planets and luminaries as powerful archetypes, recognized cross culturally and for millenia. I prefer to think of these archetypes as Plato’s Forms.

This isn’t a modern idea as some misguided Traditional astrologers would say. It’s primordial.  

Indra, the Hindu king of the gods, is always shown with a vajra (thunderbolt) held aloft in his right hand. He too is an Earth shaker and bringer of all kinds of meteorological phenomena.

Images of Jupiter and Zeus were employed to portray Christ, particularly in the Eastern Orthodox Church, but there are plenty of examples to be found throughout Christendom. Justin Martyr is said to have converted a man to Christianity by assuring him that the Christian God was just like Zeus ! Read Plato’s On the Soul’s Recollecting True Being and Beauty from The Phaedrus for a the Platonic and Neo-Platonic conception of Zeus.

Also read William Lilly’s Of the Planet Jupiter & his Signification. for the the Medieval Astrological Jupiter.

Indra Holding Thunderbolt Vajra

Indra Holding Thunderbolt Vajra – Keshava Temple, Somnathpur

In astrology, Jupiter is a rich matrix of symbolism greater than the sum of its parts. He is power, excess, benevolence, jurisprudence. philosophy, joviality, exaggeration, generosity, and largesse. The thought of “the road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom” comes to mind ( William Blake – The Marriage of Heaven & Hell)

It is  becoming increasingly apparent that Europeans , Central and South Asians migrated from a common region in and around what used to be called Aryana.  The term Indo European can be taken more literally than it has been.

The Celts  had deities which are almost perfect parallels to Greek and Indian gods.  There are perhaps thousands of words in English almost identical to Sanskrit: for example, such as naam and name. The Celts  had deities which are almost perfect parallels to Greek and Indian gods. See this article for a list of thunder gods

I stress this because our recovery and understanding of ancient astrology depends on having some deeper knowledge of anthropology as well as philology, history. philosophy and geography.