Friday, June 19, 2015

Free or Controlled Thought & Discussion?

I recently received a mass e-mailing of a pdf entitled, "AMERICA IS BORN Out-of-Sample Tests and Predictions for the Regulus USA National Horoscope" by the anonymous Dr. H. This is another in his series of mundane/geo-political astrology works.

Whatever the merits of his work, I was highly disturbed to find this in the front of the pdf.

Regulus Astrology LLC asserts the moral authority to prohibit any astrologer from making any prediction of harm for any American, its elected officials, or the President based on the Regulus USA National Horoscope . By continuing to read this document the reader agrees to the conditions of this disclaimer."

Aside from the question of the propriety of death prediction, Dr. H is asserting that he has total control over how you, the reader, use the ideas and information contained in his article, in particular his personal view as to what the correct US birth horoscope is, which he proprietarily terms the "Regulus horoscope"

Now there is no doubt that Dr. H, like any author has the right to stop people from simply copying and plagiarizing his work. But under US law it is not possible to copyright or patent ideas or information. This is because of the importance of the free interchange and discussion of ideas.

What Dr. H is doing is copying the hard ball corporate tactics of the large software companies like Microsoft and their end user license agreements ("EULA"). A EULA is a private contract and thus can go beyond what is allowed under copyright and patent law.

Just by reading Dr. H's article, Dr. H insists that he can tell you what you can and cannot do with the information in it. This is like the first ornithologist to discover a bird insisting that no one can talk about the bird, without the ornithologist's permission. Dr. H could just as easily start charging for any use of the "Regulus horoscope" or start censoring people's opinions of it.

This is a direct attack on a key principle: free debate and exchange of ideas and information. The horoscope of the US is not a private possession of some individual, that they can use, abuse, charge for and control. We all, including Dr. H, benefit from the free interchange of knowledge. Personally, I am boycotting Dr. H and any discussion of the "Regulus horoscope" until he removes this disclaimer and makes clear his acceptance of the free interchange and expression of astrological ideas and information.

NEWS FLASH As of June 22, 2015, Dr. H e-mailed me and indicated that he had removed the disclaimer on his article. This is great news and Dr. H is to be commended for his commitment to the free interchange of ideas.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Horary and Electional Testimonials

Whenever I get positive feedback, I always ask if I can use it as a testimonial.

I now have a 43 page Word document filled with testimonials, but then I seem to forget to post them.

In the past two days I've got a very glowing horary as well as electional testimonial, so I thought I would post them.

The horary is interesting because I tend to have a lot of trouble with lost item horaries, and in fact this one didn't lead to recovery, but nevertheless had some very interesting results. Here is more information on Horary Astrology.

June 17, 2015

Hi Christopher

Are you interested in feedback on how uncannily accurate your Horary reading was? I know you're busy but I am really astounded! (I'm actually speechless about it but I can type effectively) :)

While I never found the will, you pinpointed within a couple feet exactly where he hid the combination and keys to his safe. (The safe only contained his property titles) If I were a stranger that walked into my Brother's house solely with your information, I would have found the combination/key safe numbers within 10 minutes.

Unfortunately my brothers had to drill open the safe before I received your response. The card and keys were within inches of the chimney. They were within 2 feet of the furnace (heating system) and were up high on a heating vent in the basement. The reference to 'where animals are kept', he hung a treasured Wolf picture within inches of the keys.

Also that you said I may already have the will unknowingly? Well I am the beneficiary of his bank accounts, so that in itself is very significant and amazing that you would pick up on that.

He has 6 properties with quite a few tenants that I have to try and manage along with the incredible sorrow of the loss of my dearly loved Brother. Plus I'm caring for my Father who has dementia. Omg. The legal and time consuming factors of probate seem too much for me to deal with without Kelly's direction of who he wanted to inherit his properties.

I'm interested in pursuing this further with another Horary question and analysis, but I will completely understand if this is potentially draining or not your favorite thing to be involved in. There is suspicion that someone removed the will from his home hence your observation there is mystery involved. And that the will is far away from me (if I understood your statement correctly) it would make sense.

No matter what you choose, I will respect that and have much gratitude to you for what you've presented via Horary.

Very Best regards,


The election is also interesting, these are quite evident results which we don't always get. Here is more information on Electional Astrology.

June 18, 2015

I think I told you how many good things happened here with the electional chart you gave us for August, 2013 when we moved here. If I didn't shout enough, I'm shouting more. Thank you so much for your talismanic work and astrological work. Our income has increased, my husband's health is now at the point that if he continues improving in his weight and A1C levels in his blood, the doctors will take him off his insulin (type 2 diabetic). My dad came out of the blue on my birthday to gift me this house we're buying before he dies (he's 85) like whammo. Unreal.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Reassurance Reading

As horary astrologers doing readings for others and as horary clients, it's useful to recognize what I call the reassurance reading.

Probably the most common examples of these are querents asking "When will I get a job?" and what could also be called a rebound reading, asked when a relationship ends and the querent asks, "When will I have a relationship?" or "Will I ever had a relationship"?

"When" is a red flag, because it assumes a yes answer and just wants to know when it will take place. "When will I be elected president of the US?" in 2016 or 2020? Generally I deal with "when" questions by rephrasing them as "Will I get X and if yes, when?" which works fine as far as me judging the question.

The problem is from the client's perspective. With certain types of questions the querent gets upset with a "no" answer. The whole point of the reading from their standpoint was to get a "yes", that's what they are paying for! Unconsciously they are seeking reassurance, in the job context, that despite their current problems they will get a job eventually, in a romance context, again despite their current problems that they will eventually have a relationship.

Now my impression is that for a lot of readings, like psychics or modern astrologers reading natal charts, that clients and fortunetellers are on the same page: the client will get a vaguely positive reading, no matter what. With traditional horary, however, negative readings are not only always possible, they are more frequent than positive readings. This is logical isn't it? How often would you pay $60 to ask about a relationship that was going great or when you have a great job. You do a horary when you get worried and when you get worried there are clearly going to be times when that's justified. I had someone complain about my Horary CaseBook that there weren't more positive readings! Well, yes if I could just get clients to ask questions when the situation was positive and the answer was yes. Similarly I have clients complain, "Both the readings I got were negative!" I understand that it is perfectly natural to blame the messenger.

There is a place for reassurance readings and it is fine for clients to seek them, but traditional horary practitioners, to be fair to the client, should alert them. With a traditional horary reading both a yes and a no answer are always possible. Just today I had a potential client that wanted an emergency double price reading, but wanted to ask "When will I get a job?" I asked them, as I routinely do with querents who want to ask this question, "Will it be worthwhile to pay and get a 'no' answer?" If so I am happy to do the reading. If a "no" is not helpful or you hadn't even considered the possibility of a "no" don't get the reading!

I have a similar rap for the rebound relationship readings. It is not unusual for querents to ask about a particular relationship get a "no" and then want to ask a general "When will I have a relationship?" reading. I try to discourage this since I find that the previous relationship often pops up. Until a particular person or relationship is off the emotional radar, so to speak, it doesn't make sense to ask a general relationship question with no one in mind.

Obviously all horary astrologers have to decide how to deal with these issues for themselves. I suppose I could just take the question and then zap 'em with the no, but as noted I'm moving towards making sure they know the options, that seems fairer. Of course if one's readings generally come up positive this issue won't arise, but then a rather high level of customers dissatisfaction with accuracy arises. Ultimately, there's no way around the fact that clients often don't or won't get what they want. Traditional horary doesn't do reassurance readings, not if it is done properly. Fitting client expectations to one's methodology is key because then we get the repeat customers who are very happy with the ability to get accurate, precise predictions because they want the truth, be it negative or positive.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Devotional Approach to Working with Astrological Spirits

I had an interesting question recently about deconsecrating a paper talisman. The querent wanted to know how to deconsecrate a paper lunar mansion talisman at the same time as creating a new talisman for the same mansion. This is a perfectly reasonable question and I definitely don't want to insist that my way is the only way, but the question got me thinking about my whole approach to working with astrological spirits.

I must admit that I always feel uncomfortable with deconsecration. I realized that this springs from my basic attitude toward astrological talismans and spirits, which is not necessarily the only way to approach them. Let me lay out my own stance, which I do not insist is the sole "correct" way, just what I have personally been guided to. My approach is very devotional, more "religious" and is very much in the context of my overall Buddhist spiritual path. It is quite similar to how the planetary and stellar spirits are treated as gods in Vedic astrology and Hindu spirituality.

I see the power of astrological talismans as coming primarily from the astrological spirits that inhabit them, if they are created at the proper time and consecrated. The astrological spirits I work with are angelic, in the Buddhist context they are devas, so they are much more powerful than I am. I cannot command them and they do not wish to make deals with me. I am blessed to be able to be in contact with them and the material benefits I may receive are a secondary bonus of this contact. I don't tend to ask for specific results from them. I seek to have a long term close connection to these spirits and venerate them at appropriate times by invoking them and offering candles and usually incense. My attitude and actions, as much as I can, are always respectful. You might call my approach devotional.

There are certainly other ways to approach astrological magic. We could consider it a matter of "energy" and the talismans as batteries charged with astrological "energy" This is not untraditional, as there is a lineage of ancient astrology that conceptualizes the effects of astrology and talismans this way. Al-Kindi, in his On the Stellar Rays, takes this approach, describing how all things radiate spiritual rays. Now this is definitely not a modern scientific view because these rays or energy are not detectable by science and not part of the electro-magnetic spectrum or light or gravity. Nevertheless, this is closer to the scientific attitude than my approach.

So if we are just dealing with impersonal energy stored in batteries, we can make whatever talismans we want, the focus on whatever effects we desire and then dispose of the talisman once it is used up or we no longer need its effects. As moderns we don't worry that the battery or the electricity it contains and by extension the energy of a talisman, will be offended if we toss it out, we just need to figure out the proper disposal method once we've gotten whatever use we wish out of it.

Another traditional attitude, but one different from the devotional approach, is to work with spirits but in either a contractual or dominating way. These approaches are exemplified in Western esoteric practice by the pact with the Devil or demons (explicitly contractual) or by the Solomanic grimoires which seek through invocation and conjuration to dominate spirits through the will of the magician, names of God and other means. Goetic magic uses both of these means, commanding the spirits, but also providing them with what they desire (rum, a chicken, tobacco, etc.) in return for specific results. These approaches are not "wrong" just different from the devotional approach. The focus is on gaining particular effects desired by the magician as determined by the magician. The spirit is either willingly or unwillingly induced to provide what the magician wants.

So depending on what our view is of our relationship with the talisman and spirits that will clearly determine our attitudes about consecration and deconsecration, ritual and results. If the talisman is a piece of lifeless technology, obviously there is no problem tossing it out when you are finished with it. If the talisman contains a dangerously rambunctious servant, then you need to treat it as toxic unless and until it is properly disposed of when you are done with it. If you are the boss, then you can experimentally invoke spirits just to see what happens, but you need to be fully protected in case they attempt to rebel. If you are respectfully calling upon a powerful friend, teacher or benefactor with an appropriate request or simply to show respect, no protection is necessary, but it would be disrespectful to decide you are done with it and to dispose of it thoughtlessly.

Being called to the devotional approach, I obviously prefer it. I like that as long as I am respectful, I need not worry about spiritual protection from the astrological angelic spirits I invoke. I don't need to watch my back! I also don't need to worry about getting tricked or getting the letter of my request granted but with all sorts of side effects. I can trust that the planetary and stellar spirits have my best interests at heart and will send me what I truly need versus what I may think I desire. This approach obviously colors my practice and in fact, I am more of a celestial priest, than an astrological magician.

All of these other approaches are certainly traditionally rooted and followed by contemporary practitioners. The advice of the famous Sufi mystic Ibn Arabi is appropriate, "seek the spiritual path that inspires you" I feel blessed having been guided to the path of devotion.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Void of Course Moon

I was just asked by a poster on my discussion group Spiritus Mundi about the void of course Moon, specifically if this only affected Moon talismans, or had a more general application to all talismans or possibly even broader.

This is a very interesting question, very timely! I appreciate the opportunity to hold forth at length on this topic, which would be impossible without such good questions. It is interesting how various themes becomes fads and then fade away. Over my 15 years as a traditional astrologer I have seen a lot come and go through the much larger, predominately modern astrological and New Age/contemporary esoteric community.

When I first started as a traditional astrologer people wanted to know how I could have the temerity not to use the outer planets. That faded and then was replaced by the overwhelmingly apocalyptic Mercury retrograde, which still has many adherents, but is not at the raging flood level of a few years ago. The next fad was the 13th sign, Constellational Zodiac. Currently we are in the grip of the deadly, to the level of Ebola-pandemically dangerous, void of course Moon which seems, in the popular astrological imagination, to blot out the good in any chart and destroy any election irretrievably.

I have a dual role and interests here. As a traditional astrologer I am repeatedly called upon to explain and to justify why traditional astrology does not conform to the currently accepted views articulated in these fads. As a student of the magic of the soul and psychology of Giordano Bruno, (see Mass Magic Course and An Example of Mass Magic on the Renaissance Astrology website), I am very interested in the formation and power of fads and memes.

Ok, so let's get oriented. The first problem is the idea that there is "astrology" in general. In this view, there is one objective reality out there and lots of individual astrological techniques floating around that can all be used independently. We can test these and find out which is the "best" house system, for example, and this will be true for all astrologers, for all time, in all circumstances. This is how modern science operates and thus it is not unreasonable for modern people to adopt this view of astrology.

My view is that there is no such thing as "astrology" in general, except perhaps as a general intellectual classification. There are actually a number of major schools or types of astrology. For example, Hellenistic astrology, the astrology of classical Greece and Rome; traditional astrology, the astrology of the European Middle Ages and Renaissance; Vedic astrology, the traditional astrology of India, and modern Western astrology, which is the predominate type in the contemporary West. Each of these schools has different methods, different techniques and in the case of modern astrology, a different philosophical approach. If you ask someone what type of astrology they practice and they answer "astrology" then they are modern astrologers.

In my view the schools of astrology are like languages, indeed astrology literally means the language of the stars. This means that if we are to practice astrology intelligibly we need to stick to one school. Otherwise we would be like someone who felt that German had the best verbs, Spanish the best nouns, English the best adjectives, etc., Their speech would be impossible to understand. At certain points genius astrologers have indeed invented or been part of the creation of new schools, for example the brilliant Arabic speaking astrologers like Abu Mashar or Mashallah, who created the incredible synthesis of Hellenistic, Vedic and Persian astrology that is traditional astrology. Personally I know I am not a genius and I cannot see that I am capable of creating a new astrological language. I am happy to be able to practice such a supple and complex system as traditional astrology.

This may seem like a digression, but it is, in fact, the basic explanation of why traditional astrology uses certain techniques, like the Tropical Zodiac. I would not maintain that this is the "best" Zodiac because this is like arguing Spanish has the best verbs. Individual techniques really cannot, in my view, be individually evaluated. It is the overall accuracy of the methodology in prediction that is key and for this I have personally been able to verify that traditional astrology is highly, though not 100%, accurate in prediction. Thus the reason for not using techniques that are modern or used in a modern way is almost tautological. Traditional astrology uses only traditional astrological techniques because otherwise it would not be traditional astrology. As a practical matter, over 1000 years of use by our predecessors and 15 years of personal use as a professional astrologer, it seems apparent that traditional astrological techniques used in the overarching traditional school, do work very well.

I have previously provided detailed explanations of traditional astrology and the outer planets plus Mercury retrograde and the 13th sign and Constellational Zodiac. I have mentioned Void of Course Moon in the context of fixed star elections but I have not discussed the issue of void of course Moon in general in traditional astrology.

Ok, the void of course Moon in traditional astrology. The famous astrology William Lilly in his magnum opus Christian Astrology says, "A Planet is void of course, when he is separated from a Planet, nor doth forthwith, during his being in that Sign, apply to any other: This is most usually in the Moon; in judgments doe you carefully observe whether she be void of course yea or no; you shall seldom see a businesse goe handsomely forward when she is so." Christian Astrology, page 112.

Lilly also says, "All manner of matters go hardly on (except the principal significators be very strong) when the Moon is void of course, yet somewhat she performs if void of course and be either in Taurus, Cancer, Sagittarius or Pisces." Christian Astrology, page 122.

So first the definition of void of course Moon is vexed and traditional astrologers go back and forth on how to define it. What I use and again this is not necessarily the "best" definition, just what I was taught and seems to work, that the Moon is void of course when she doesn't perfect any more aspects in the sign she is currently in. She may, however, be in orb of an aspect, but is still void of course if she has to leave the sign she is in to perfect the aspect.

Note that Lilly doesn't exactly say that void of course Moon is a total disaster, just that things seldom go handsomely forward. Even that is riddled with exceptions. In my view, as a traditional astrologer, the void of course Moon is just one of many possible afflictions of the Moon, some major, some minor, some not even typically used. The famous medieval Italian astrologer Guido Bonatti lists 17 different afflictions of the Moon, aphorism 5 of his 146 Considerations. He mentions void of course, but also pitted, azimene and dark degrees, which, to my knowledge, weren't even used by most 17th century English traditional astrologers, let alone contemporary ones.

So in my view, void of course Moon is not a major affliction, certainly not compared to Moon in detriment or fall or combust or applying to square or oppose an afflicted planet. I do not consider void of course Moon to be a significant affliction even in a Moon talisman chart. In a horary chart, void of course Moon is a very useful indication of a lack of significant contact or action, but of course just a single indication that needs to be considered in the context of the complete chart and the situation at hand.

So that's the traditional astrologer speaking. What does the student of mass magic, of fads and memes see?

The attitudes and philosophy of modern astrology and the techniques that pass muster under that attitude and philosophy are not surprisingly dominant in any contemporary discussion of astrology. Modern astrology is predominately psychological, natal astrology which arose around the end of the 19th century and melded very well with Jungian archetypal psychology. Modern astrology therefore focuses on birth charts and predicts a person's psychology based on their birth chart. In fact, it does this very well and I myself predict psychology in natal charts, as this was done by traditional astrologers, though they would term this character.

First, modern astrology, following modern thought in general, is very skeptical of fate or destiny and believes that individuals can freely choose almost any area of their lives. Secondly, since modern astrology is so based on psychology, it imports the attitude of psychologists to patients which is going to be fairly upbeat and optimistic, encouraging to all as an aid to treatment and therapy, though all will not necessarily improve significantly from psychological treatment. What this means is that modern astrology is extremely positive and upbeat about almost every astrological factor. There are almost no negative factors in pure modern psychological astrology.

This is in distinction to traditional astrology, which attempts to accurately model reality for prediction, which is a different purpose than modern astrology's therapeutic goals. Thus the astrological factors in traditional astrology range all the way from terrible to wonderful with every shade of gray in between, in order to be able to provide accurate predictions since as a practical matter the concrete outcomes of events also range all the way from terrible to wonderful and everything in between.

Again, this is not to say that these basic philosophical stances are "right" or "wrong" Both of these schools work well within their area of expertise, traditional for prediction of concrete events and modern natal for understanding the psyche of the native (person whose natal chart is being examined).

Just from a practical standpoint, the lack of negative factors in modern astrology is problematic for electional astrology because if every factor is good, how do you choose a particular time and date astrologically? What factors should be avoided?

But, what also I notice is that the predominately positive approach of modern astrology creates a psychological vacuum, that the necessary psychic balance of negativity is lacking for practitioners. As much as we like good things and good feelings, we seem to also need bad things and bad feelings.

In modern astrology these negative astrological factors are provided by a selective adoption of a few techniques from the plethora of traditional malefic factors. As I noted Bonatti lists 17 traditional afflictions of the Moon. Modern astrology recognizes just one, the void of course Moon. This minimal adoption of malefic factors is logical, first to adopt all of the traditional malefic factors would be too obvious a compromise of the basic tenet of optimism of modern astrology. In addition, the factor needs to be simple to explain and simple to determine if it is going to be adopted on a mass scale. Traditional astrology is extremely complex, which militates against its mass adoption.

Finally, there does appear to be a desire to be frightened, or rather to be able to focus and localize fear and thereby gain some control over it. If we "know" that void of course Moon is dangerous, we can avoid danger by avoiding the void of course Moon. It is can be pleasant to point out the mistakes and shortcomings of others, with a corresponding sense of our own superiority in not using such an obviously incorrect factor as void of course Moon in an election or other chart. In addition, it can be difficult to accept that there are other methods and other approaches from the one we are most familiar with, particularly if we are of the view that there is one "astrology" and one "right" way to do it.

So these are the factors that I think help explain the popularity of void of course Moon and retrograde Mercury. Based on these factors I think we will continue to see regular periodic adoptions of singular easily understood and applied factors from traditional astrology or possibly other sources, in modern astrology and in the wider esoteric community's basic understanding of "astrology".

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

What Does It Mean if a Chart is Not Radical?

The question of whether or not a horary is radical is one of the more confusing aspects of traditional horary practice for clients. Clients often ask me "what does it mean if a horary is not radical?" and it is not easy to even explain what radicality is, let alone its significance.

First, let's explain what radicality is and in fact, this will illuminate some important issues about horary astrology. Horary astrology is itself somewhat confusing to many people because rather than looking at a person's birth chart, in horary we look at the birth of a question. By looking at the chart of a question, we can determine the answer. This works because everything in the Cosmos is connected through chains of spiritual sympathy and correspondence. The connection of the cycles of the Heavens to the time of your birth allows for prediction of your entire life, while their connection of the time of a question, allows the astrologer to accurately and precisely answer a horary question.

While there are issues with timing a person's birth (where's my birth certificate, did my mother remember the time accurately, is the birth certificate accurate?) timing a horary is more complex. Because of the ease of asking questions, as horary astrologers we try to make sure we have charts that are likely to accurate reflect the situation we are trying to predict. An accurate chart, in other words, is a radical chart, in the most general sense of the word.

The word radical nowadays is treated as meaning "extreme" as in radical left. Radical comes from the Latin radix or root. So in the original meaning a radical change would be one that went to the root of a problem. A radical chart, in the general sense, is therefore a chart that is rooted in the actual situation, that accurately reflects that situation.

However, when we consider radicality in the general sense, that is, as accuracy, we have a problem. The only way to know if a chart is accurate is to know the outcome of the question and if we know that, then we don't need a chart.

This is where technical radicality comes in. This is a more restricted sense of radicality and is what we are generally talking about as horary astrologers when we speak of a radical chart. Technical radicality is a term that I use because I find it useful, it is not in common use among astrologers. To determine technical radicality, we look at certain indicators in a chart. If these indicators are present, they are an indication, but not an absolute guarantee that the chart is accurate. Technical radicality is like an internal calibration.

So what is technical radicality? Lilly, in his 1647 magnum opus Christian Astrology says, "The question then shall be taken for radical, or fit to be judged, when the lord of the hour at the time of proposing the question, and erecting the figure, and the lord of the ascendant or first house, are of one triplicity, or be one, or of the same nature.” CA, page 121.

So we do a comparison between the planetary hour ruler and the lord of the Ascendant, ie the planet ruling rising sign. We find the planet that rules the hour and apply three tests to it:

1. Does the planetary hour ruler rule sign on the Ascendant?
2. Does the planetary hour ruler rule the triplicity that the sign on the Ascendant belongs to?
3. Is the planetary hour ruler of the same elemental nature as the planet that rules the Ascendant?

If it passes any one of these three tests, the chart is technically radical. The first rule is fairly easy, for example, if Mars rules the planetary hour and Aries rises, the chart is technically radical since Mars rules Aries.

For triplicity my method is to (1) use the Dorothean triplicity rulerships and look to the planetary hour ruler and see if it rules the triplicity of the sign on the Ascendant. (2) I also don't worry if the planetary hour ruler is the day, night or mixed ruler as any of the three will do for radicality purposes. So using my method if Sagittarius rises and it is the planetary hour of Saturn, then the chart is technically radical since Saturn is the mixed ruler of fire.

Other traditional astrologers may use different triplicity rulerships and may require the day triplicity ruler by day or night triplicity ruler by night. They are not "wrong" just using different variations.

Finally, if none of these tests apply, then we look to see if the planetary hour ruler and the planet that rules the sign on the Ascendant have the same elemental nature. For example, if Leo rises, the Sun is the ruler of the Ascendant. The Sun is hot and dry. Mars is also hot and dry, so if he rules the hour when Leo rises the chart is technically radical. Note that we compare the planetary hour ruler and the Ascendant ruler, not the planetary hour ruler and the elemental nature of the rising sign.

Let's give an example of each. If Aries rises and it is the planetary hour of Mars, the chart is technically radical because Mars rules Aries. If Cancer rises, and it is the planetary hour of Mars, then the chart is technically radical because Mars rules water signs by night. If Leo rises and it is Mars hour, then because the Sun, the ruler of Leo is hot and dry and Mars is hot and dry, then the chart is technically radical.

Ok, so what does it mean if a chart is radical or if it is not radical? Generally when this is asked the question refers to technical radicality, whether the chart has the internal indications of accuracy noted by Lilly. It sounds like from Lilly that if a chart is technically radical that it is "fit to be judged" Logically it would follow that a non-radical chart should not be judged. I have not found this to be true. I have found many non-technically radical horary charts give perfectly accurate answers.

In fact, I am supported in this by a traditional source. Nicholas Culpepper in his 1656 Opus Astrologicum at horary aphorism 21, gives the same tests for radicality as Lilly and even uses the "fit to be judged" language. However, in a side comment he says, "I have found many Questions true wherein this hath not been so." In other words Culpepper says in his experience a chart does not need technical radicality to be accurate. v So, in my experience, backed up by an impeccable traditional source, you can judge a non-technically radical chart and still get an accurate answer. Technical radicality, in my view, is a bonus and nice to have, but it is not required. Not being radical, does not stop a horary chart from being judged.

So when I do a horary the first thing I note is whether or not the chart is technically radical, though I refer to this simply as being "radical" If the chart is not radical, I note it and say, "nevertheless we can still get an accurate answer from the chart." This is, unfortunately and understandably, confusing clients, which is why I decided to write a complete explanation! Given that radicality is confusing, should horary astrologers continue to note it? I think so. It is a nice bonus to have a radical chart and it was a feature that our illustrious predecessors themselves noted.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Astrological Monsters

Yesterday I had an experience that doesn't happen very often, but is painful nonetheless. I had a horary client write me, upset that my prediction had been incorrect, for a legal horary no less! I checked and yes, it was wrong, no wriggle room.

Now there's a couple of things, first, there may be an appeal, so it is possible that the case gets overturned on appeal. Also the chart was not entirely positive so I could have played it a bit safer and hedged a bit. Finally, I think this was one of those situations where I was influenced a bit by sympathy for the client and a sense they were not being treated fairly.

Not much though! Here's a legal chart with the querent highly dignified, if a bit afflicted, much more dignified than the severely afflicted significator of the prosecutor in the 1st of the querent, a classic sign of loss. Plus the judge/jury were highly dignified and the querent's significator dignified in the 10th. One could definitely selectively focus on negative factors to fit a know result, but getting such a strong negative out of that chart really would be fudging.

Now there's two levels here. Obviously one is going to want to personally be operating at the top of one's game and not personally making mistakes. Getting it wrong doesn't automatically mean you made a mistake. Doctors can may misdiagnoses for example, without necessarily committing malpractice.

What doctors face less, however, is the second level, which is doubt about the whole enterprise of medicine. This is always a concern for astrologers. After all, the most prestigious contemporary institutions, the official modern arbiters of reality, reject the reality and efficacy of astrology. There is a sense that not only are you putting your own skill on the line with each reading, but that astrology itself hangs in the balance. If you get it wrong, clients may not only condemn you, but say, "oh, I tried astrology once and it was a bunch of @#$!$!"

I got a twinge of that with this client's e-mail. I wasn't happy personally not getting the prediction right and I was perturbed to look at the chart and confirm that the chart really didn't seem to fit. I'd really rather have made an obvious mistake myself, in a way.

In thinking about this I remembered a quote from an aphorism by Jerome Cardan. This is from Lilly and Coley's Animae Astrologiae, "18 When true genitures exactly taken in accidents prove false or absurd, and not agreeable to the things signified, they are to be accounted monstrous are to be avoided as anatomists do monstrous bodies in their dissections for they overthrow Art."

Choice Aphorisms from the Seven Segments of Cardan, trans. William Lilly.

This is very profound. We tend to judge everything by the material world, this is Reality as far as we are concerned. But the Hermetic/Neoplatonic philosophy that undergirds astrology and magic sees the spiritual as primary and the material as a less perfect manifestation of underlying spiritual patterns and reality. Hyle, or matter without spiritual form, tends to resist the imposition of form. This is easy to see, how many times have we had a perfect idea in our minds, say a deck or dog house, and then found that the physicality of the wood, nails, concrete, etc, resulted in a less than perfect instantiation of our original idea?

That the material world or even that that material cycles of the Heavens did not conform to the underlying spiritual reality does not invalidate that underlying spiritual reality or the methodology of astrology in predicting through grasping these spiritual cycles.

Having done over 4,000 horaries for clients, the charts have overwhelmingly fit the situation. Even though I don't blindly accept the efficacy of traditional astrology, I'm not going to reject it even if the occasional chart doesn't seem to fit.