Thursday, October 13, 2016

Astrology as a Zen Koan

I have a Facebook page. I use this to post my "Astrological Talisman Weather" and focus on a current astrological configuration. This time I focused on Mars in the 2nd Face of Capricorn, "The 2nd face is of Mars and is a face of seeking things that cannot be known and seeking after such things that cannot be attained..." Johannes Angelus

This is one of my favorite examples of a Face/Decan. First, it is very lyrical. I'm sure all of us have had experience with seeking what cannot be known or cannot be attained. "But what possible good would this talisman be?" the student asks, "This is not a result that I would want' Very interesting! This assumes that the purpose of the creation of the Heavens, this infinite Cosmos, was to satisfy my needs and ego desires. Not so! We were created as parts of the universal Whole and it is we who serve it.

Furthermore there is the real quality of a Zen koan here (Google it!) A koan is not nonsense, is not a puzzle to be solved or information to be known. A koan is a pointer for enlightenment and for awakened minds. What is it that is sought but cannot be known and cannot be attained? Answer: enlightenment by the separate self. So the picture above is of a famous pilgrim St James. Seek and ye shall find! Knock and it will be opened, but you will not be you.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Renaissance Astrology Inner Circle

Folks, I am very pleased to launch the Renaissance Astrology Inner Circle!

As you may be aware we no longer sell talismans to the general public, but we will now sell Renaissance Astrology talismans by private sale through the Inner Circle. Here is more information on buying talismans, pentacles and magic mirrors through the Renaissance Astrology Inner Circle.

The Renaissance Astrology Inner Circle is a private group limited to those seriously interested in the study and practice of authentic Hermetic astrology and astrology magic. All students in Renaissance Astrology courses are eligible to be part of the Inner Circle, as are clients who have previously bought a Renaissance Astrology talisman or pentacle or had a Renaissance Astrology reading. Other Inner Circle members are by invitation only. For a limited time, the Inner Circle is free to all those that are eligible, but starting January 1, 2017 there may be an annual subscription fee, depending on your eligibility. If you are interested in becoming part of the Inner Circle please read the rest of this section and then Contact me. Let me know if you are a student of mine and what course or what readings I've done for you, if you have previously bought a Renaissance Astrology talisman or pentacle or what study and experience you have with astrology, magic and the esoteric. If accepted you will receive a link to the private Inner Circle webpages as well as a username and password

In addition to being able to buy talismans, pentacles and mirrors, Inner Circle members have access to my Daily Planetary Practice invocations, a potent tool for celestial theurgy, spiritual growth and increasing practical astrological magic power.

Let me say a bit more about the Renaissance Astrology Inner Circle, its origins and purposes. First of all, I lost my original jeweler which caused a great deal of upheaval and reduced my inventory considerably. However, I now have a new jeweler/mage Muhammed Ajmal who is an excellent astrologer (after he is one of my students!). He does beautiful work, particularly with Arabic talismans. This makes me very happy because I am a Sufi and in addition, it is so important right now to have peace and goodwill between Western and Middle Eastern practitioners of the esoteric arts.

I have stopped selling to the general public because, even though the vast majority of talisman and pentacles customers were great, we had problems with the occasional naïve newbie client who expected that the day after purchasing a talisman they would win $1million in the lottery or that they would get Harry Potter effects like lightning coming out of their fingertips. Also some clients thought that the effects should be guaranteed and that they should be able to return talismans or pentacles that they were unsatisfied with. The childish, naïve and unreasonable customers are best screened out to avoid dissatisfaction.

I can’t tell you how many positive testimonials I have gotten from talisman and pentacle customers and how unhappy people were that Renaissance Astrology talismans were no longer available. Sophisticated clients know how much effort it takes to find good elections and how difficult it is to cast talismans in the short window available of auspicious times. Wise clients understand that the effects of talismans and pentacles cannot be predicted and are different for everyone, in quality, quantity and timing.

There is a subtler problem as well. I am very happy to do astrological readings because as much as possible, I tell people the truth, good or bad, about their situation. Knowing what is likely to actually happen, they can chose their response. Selling talismans, however, can feed the illusion of control, can convince people that if they simply spend money, they can have anything they want.

I've realized more and more that my ambition is to be a celestial priest, working in harmony with the astrological spirits, rather than an astrological magician ordering up the results I or my clients desire. Theurgy, literally "god work" as a path to spiritual growth is more and more my focus. This is not to say that we cannot have very significant positive effects from talismans, but that focusing on using these spiritual means for spiritual effects, as opposed to seeking only material effects may be more fruitful. In addition, we can seek to change ourselves to conform to the celestial powers, as opposed to trying to use these spirits to rearrange the outside world to suit us. Through the power of Venus, for example, we can ourselves become more love and thus attract love, as opposed to trying to lure in someone to meet our ego's desires.

This focus on more on spiritual growth is what motivated me to provide the Daily Planetary Invocations to Inner Circle members. This is one of my primary magical/spiritual practices where everyday I invoke the spirit of the planet ruling the day. After over 15 years, my connection to these spirits is quite strong.

Eventually I hope to expand the offerings, but for now I am very pleased now to launch the Inner Circle. Thanks so much to all my clients, customers, students and fellow travelers on the magical/spiritual path! Again here is the main link to the Inner Circle.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Don't Do This At Home: Innovation within Traditional Astrology

I recently had a combined planetary/fixed star electional posting on Spiritus Mundi my discussion group. I've been getting a lot of great elections, though some have problems.

This one was interesting as the poster was looking to combine a Jupiter planetary election with a Spica fixed star election. In the election Jupiter and Spica were a ways apart, within 8 degrees, but not closely conjunct.

I told the poster that the election didn't quite feel right to me. I realize, I said, that this is all a bit idiosyncratic and I apologize, but for these combined planetary/fixed star elections I use the usual planet to fixed star orb which is 1 degree.

Ok, why then do I use a much bigger orb for the Moon in fixed star elections? Well, these are not Moon/Spica or Moon/Regulus, etc., combined planetary/fixed star talismans. The function of the Moon in a regular fixed star election is simply to get in contact with the fixed star and do her usual thing of passing their influence on to the sub-lunary realm. We need her to do this because the fixed stars are the highest sphere and so far from us. We don't actually invoke the Moon in a normal fixed star talisman consecration, she's just acting in a subsidiary role. Plus from a practical standpoint getting the fixed star rising and within 1 degree of an applying Moon would almost impossible.

So, this is definitely getting into the weird, weird world of how Warnock does it, without necessarily being the "best" or the "right" way to do it. If there was another master traditional astrological magician who had done hundreds of talismans and said, "hey, no problem, use an 8 degree orb for any time you work with planets and fixed stars" that would not violate the tradition, but would be their own idiosyncratic approach.

I'd caution students against immediately innovating, however. Do a hundred talismans following the rules, immerse yourself in this sublime art and then when the principles are mastered, then you can do some individual riffing that still stays in the tradition.

Friday, July 29, 2016

The Chandra Levy Case and the Gold Standard of Astrological Prediction

The Chandra Levy murder case is once again in the media. Here is the NY Times article.

This was a 2001 murder that took place in Washington, DC. Chandra was an intern who had an affair with a congressman and then was murdered. A suspect was found guilty, but recently charges against him were dropped.

At the time I lived in DC and the events of the case took place less than a mile from where I lived. I don't normally do "celebrity" charts, but this one was so close by that I went ahead and took a look at the event charts. At the time, Chandra had disappeared and no one knew whether she was alive or dead or what had happened.

You can see the charts and actual written prediction I made in advance of knowing the results

A couple of comments. First, as far as I am concerned this sort of analysis is the true gold standard for astrological prediction. To be a traditional astrologer and do a real prediction, one must work from a specific chart that applies to the situation, use traditional techniques and have a written prediction, made in advance, before the results are known. That written prediction then needs to conform to the results.

This rules out looking at Hitler's, Einstein's, presidents' or other celebrity charts, where the native or querent and their career and life are already known. This rules out the "psychic" astrology reading that may well get it right, but doesn't actually use astrological technique and is not replicable by others; instead the astrologer used the chart like a crystal ball or tarot card spread as a means to access their psychic abilities or a reading where a chart is not provided or even used. This rules out the oral reading that is accessed by fallible memory later, "oh yeah, I'm sure I predicted that perfectly"

This is not to say that I always perform up to the gold standard. I'm fallible, I don't always get predictions right. And I have to say that the Chandra Levy predictions did involve the use of intuition, judgment and psychic ability. For about a week after I made these predictions, I kept looking at people's faces and seeing skulls. Nevertheless, this was psychic ability exercised within the parameters set forth by the chart.

It's very important to set these high standards for ourselves as astrologers. It keeps us from being lazy and keeps us from fooling ourselves into thinking that we are predicting when all we are doing is reading what we already know back into the chart. But it is also important to realize we can't always get the prediction right. We set the bar high and we keep our eyes open!

Monday, July 25, 2016

Example of Financial Trading Horary

Folks, I get a good number of inquiries about using astrology for gambling, in particular lottery, and for the middle and upper class version of gambling which is financial trading, in particular stock trading, day trading and foreign exchange trading (the permutations are endless).

I've probably had over 5000 e-mails and phone calls from people that somehow came up with the exactly the same great idea that no one else has ever thought of which is, "HEY! I can use astrology to [pick winning lottery numbers, stocks, bonds, derivatives, forex, etc.]" There is certainly a great deal of money to be made selling gambling or financial trading systems, but I always wonder if it is so effective, why sell it, why not simply do a few trades using it and retire? But hope springs eternal.

So I'm always leery about doing gambling or trading readings. One problem is that to get a good horary you need to really care about the question. If you ask "Will I marry X?" obviously this is a very emotional, very visceral question. "Should I sell stock X at 10?" I'm sure the querent cares about the profit, but I doubt whether they have a close, personal relationship with stock X, again other than whether or not it will make them money.

All this being said, I have had a reasonable amount of success with financial trading horaries, so long as the querent is savvy about how to use the information and understands the results are not guaranteed. Here is a recent example:

Question: Will stock X increase in value over the next 30 days?
Time Question Received & Understood: 12:11 pm CDT July 10, 2016
Place Question Received & Understood: Iowa City, IA 41 N 39 91 W 31

The meaning of the astrological factors are fully explained in the analysis below.
Astrological Factors Considered:
In this chart 11 Libra rises and it is Saturn hour. As Saturn rules air signs by day the chart is radical or rooted which means it has internal signs of accuracy. As Libra rises you are signified by Venus who is peregrine and thus weak in the 10th house. The Moon is in detriment in the 4th house. Stock X is signified by the 2nd house which is ruled by Mars, who is slow, but well dignified by sign in the 2nd house. The Moon sextiles Mars significator of the stock, then opposes the Sun and changes signs.

Your significator Venus is weak, an indication that you don't have a lot of control over the stock price, which certainly fits the situation. The Moon is afflicted, which can show a problematic or stressful situation. The key is the state of the 2nd house and of the 2nd house ruler Mars. Mars is slow at the moment and in a fixed sign, but well dignified by sign. This indicates that the fundamentals of the stock are good, but that it is currently underperforming and will improve as time passes. Mars also rules the Part of Fortune, emphasizing these same indications. So my sense is that the price slowly improves over the time period of the question.


Good call on the X stock! It went up. I had some doubts on the reading since technical and fundamental analysis were full of uncertainty and didn't quite align with your horary. The stock had some good news with positive earnings report. We'll see how it goes over the next 30 days.

Here is more on Horary Readings.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

What Does Lilly Mean by Possessing?

I got a very interesting question today. "On page 641 of Lilly's Christian astrology, chapter CLIIII, whether or not adversaries shall be overcome. He states, 'the lord of the seventh possessing the tenth or the lord of the tenth possessing the seventh, the native shall overcome his enemies. The lord of the twelfth in the tenth, or the lord of the tenth in the twelfth argues the same.'"

Does he mean the same thing by the lord of a house possessing another house as he means by the lord of a house being in another house? Or are these two distinctly different set of directions. What does he mean by the term possessing? Very good question and not one that I had an immediate answer to. Let's look at more uses of possession.

Lilly at Christian Astrology page 36, "That if on the Cusp of the tenth house you find the Signe Aries, then on the Cusp of the fourth the Signe Libra; and look what degree and minute of possesseth the Signe of the tenth house, the same degree and minute of the opposite Signe must be placed on the Cusp of the fourth house"

Lilly at Christian Astrology page 206, "[Tenants, good or ill.] If an Infortune possesse the Ascendant, the Tenants or Occupants are ill, deceitfull and unwilling the goodnesse of the ground should be discovered: if a Fortune be in the Ascendant judge the contrary, viz. the Tenants are honest men..."

Lilly at Christian Astrology page 230 "but if a fixed Signe possesse the Ascendant or 5th house, or any moveable Signes, and the Sun and Moon be therein, viz. either in fixed or moveable Signes, and in the 5th or 1st house, it’s a certain argument the Woman is with child but with one:"

Lilly at Christian Astrology page 239 "South Node also possesseth the Ascendant; a strong argument of barrennesse" [South Node is rising]

Lilly at Christian Astrology page 264, "If the Significator be in the middle of the Signe, the middle part of the Member is distressed, and so the lower part of the Member, when the Significator possesseth the lower degrees of the Signe."

Lilly at Christian Astrology page 267, "I usually observe, who is the Lord of the Ascendant, and which of the benevolent Planets he is in aspect with, and how many degrees there are distant betwixt them, in what house they both are in, viz. whether Angles, Succedant, Cadent, what Signe they possesse, whether Moveable, Fixed or Common"

Lilly at Christian Astrology page 422 "If in this house good Planets have either government, or are in possession thereof, or aspect the same without the testimonies of the Infortunes, it signifieth good, or is an argument thereof in all questions concerning this house" [9th house]

Lilly at Christian Astrology page 550 says, "If the Lord of the ascendant is beheld by no Planet partilly, judge by that mediety of the signe which the Almuten doth not occupie or possesse."

Lilly at Christian Astrology page 580-1, "Briefly, let him consider whether the Significator be happy or unhappy, secondly, the Signe he occupies: thirdly, the Infortune that afflicts the Significator: fourthly, the Signe he possesseth."

Ok, I should say at the outset that Lilly and his 17th century contemporaries were not always consistent in their use of terminology, jargon and terms of art. House, for example, is confusing because sometimes it means sign and sometimes it means one of the 12 houses.

Possessing definitely seems confusing! There does seem to be a tendency to use the term possessing with signs. This can be used of a sign possessing a cusp, which means that sign is on the cusp. More frequently we see a planet possessing a sign, which generally seems to be used to mean that the planet is in the sign. What is very confusing is that Lilly on several occasions contrasts occupying a sign with possessing it.

It is interesting to just considering the term possess


1 a : to have and hold as property : own b : to have as an attribute, knowledge, or skill

2 a : to seize and take control of : take into one's possession b : to enter into and control firmly : dominate c : to bring or cause to fall under the influence, domination, or control of some emotional or intellectual response or reaction

So to posses is to have ownership of something, but also has a sense of presence, of entering into and even of physically holding.

So we can see how possess could plausibly be applied either to house or sign rulership and simultaneously to emplacement in a house or sign. And in fact, house rulership and house placement both show the involvement of a planet, node, etc. with the affairs of that house.

So very interesting question and another example of the need to flexibility and tolerance of ambiguity in our traditional sources.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Almutens vs. House Rulers: Deep Practice

I recently had a question about my evolving use of almutens versus house rulers in elections. An almuten is the planet that has the most dignity over a particular point in the chart or selection of points.

You look at the house, exaltation, triplicity, term and face rulers add up their points and subtract if it is the planet's detriment or fall.

So for example, if the point we are looking at is 1 Aries by day, Mars gets +5 points as sign ruler, Sun +4 as exaltation ruler, the Sun gets +3 points as day triplicity ruler of fire signs, Jupiter rules the term and gets +2, while Mars rules the 1st face of Aries where 1 Aries is, and gets +1. We add the points so Mars is 6, Sun is 7, Jupiter 2 points. Since the Sun is 7 he is the almuten. It is possible to have co-almutens, if the planets tie their score.

In 9th & 10th century Arabic astrology, which is direct ancestor of European traditional astrology, they are very big on almutens and use them for all sorts of purposes. The medieval astrologer Guido Bonatti, since he is closer to the Arabic astrologers in his practice, tends to use almutens a lot, so our contemporary traditional natal astrology which is heavily based on Bonatti, due to Robert Zoller, is also a big user of almutens. Horary astrology, based as it is more on Lilly who is much later, uses almutens a lot less.

One of the possible uses of almutens is as substitute house rulers. So, using our example, if Aries rises, the standard house ruler of the 1st house is Mars, since Mars rules Aries and Aries is on the cusp of the first house, but if 1 Aries rises, then the Sun is the almuten of the rising degree and thus almuten of the 1st house. Probably my biggest use of almutens was in marriage elections. These are hard to do because you need the 1st ruler and 7th ruler dignified or at least unafflicted, and the only possible pairs of 1st/7th rulers are Moon & Saturn, Sun & Saturn, Mercury & Jupiter, Mars & Venus. So I started doing marriage elections where, for example, Cancer rose, so the Moon was the house ruler and afflicted, but Venus was almuten of the rising degree and dignified.

I'm not sure it is a case of almutens not working, but I started realizing from a practical standpoint in doing readings that you need to focus and not have too many significators. For example in a relationship reading you look at the rulers of the 1st and 7th and planets in the 1st and 7th, but Lilly also says look at the Sun for Men and Venus for women. You end up having way too many planets to look at. Adding almutens into the mix just meant too many planets. Also I started feeling like I was "cheating" a bit when the house ruler was afflicted to use the almuten.

Here's what I think. Ultimately what we are doing is trying to look through the chart to see underlying spiritual patterns and cycles. While I don't think it is anything goes and you can do anything at any time and justify it astrologically, I do now feel that if you are working within the tradition you can have your own idiosyncratic approach so long as that approach is consistent. To do this requires a long immersion in the study of the tradition and then significant practical application. But after this you start to get guided in your approach. So I started feeling like I should stick with house rulers. Now it would not be irrational to end up just using almutens, they are really big in 9th-10th century Arabic astrology that is the root of European traditional astrology. But I started feeling, as I said, that generally using house rulers and then when the house ruler was afflicted, switching to almutens, was not a good way to accurately reflect the underlying spiritual cycles. My sense is that you could go with house almutens, but if you did you would need to feel like "yes, this is the way to go" and be consistent, not just switch to regular house rulers to avoid an afflicted house almuten.