Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Modern World View

Moderns, even when they are consciously theistic, their unconscious base is the Modern World View. All of their automatic assumptions, their habits of thought and their picture of Reality rests on the post "Enlightenment" World View or World Picture which is materialistic and atheistic. This is the dilemma for all moderns that wish to follow a spiritual path or work in the spiritual arena, but do so with an essentially modern view of Reality.

We are so surrounded by the Modern World View that we cannot even see it as one way among a variety of possible views, for us it is simply Reality! Even if we reject portions of it it still exerts an incredible unconscious hold on us. Let me give a short summary of it.

The Modern World View

"God is Dead." Nietzsche

Atheistic, thus by necessity Materialistic and vice versa.

A. Change from Renaissance to Modern World Views:

Methodology is recognition of only obvious and regular effects seen from a linear perspective that can be consistently obtained by anyone with a dismissal of subtle, irregular and non-linear causality that cannot be universally obtained.

Long process which begins with outward elimination of magical elements in religious rites and philosophical rejection of magic. Rejection of spiritual entities.

"Those who dare not say, 'There is no GOD', content themselves (for a fair step and Introduction) to deny that there are Spirits and Witches."

Joseph Glanvill, Saducismus triumphatus; or, Full and plain evidence concerning witches and appar[i]tions (1689)

Protestantism, with minor exceptions, is the Royal Road to Atheism.

B. Modern World View

Nothing exists except Matter and Energy and they are equivalent (E=Mc2).

Mind, consciousness and emotions are a epiphenomenon, i.e. a byproduct, of Matter.

There is no spiritual realm, no spiritual beings, no spiritual connections between things, no Soul and no God.

Except as they are determined by the physical attributes of things, events are random.

All events are meaningless except for the artificial and conventional meanings placed upon them by humans.

C. Myths of the Modern World View

Myths in this context are not fables or fictions, but organizing principles of thought or archetypes. These myths are basic premises, held to be self evident.

1. Progress, Reason and Technological Utopia

Progress is the belief that the further one goes back in the past the worse the state of knowledge and thus the state of Man was. The method of improvement is Reason and thus the further in the Past one goes the more irrational Man was, while the further into the Future, the more rational Man will be. The ultimate goal of Progress is Technological Utopia, where advanced science and technology, created by Reason will allow all material wants and desires to be fulfilled.

2. Individuality, Equality, Free Will & Liberty, Democracy

The basic unit of the Modern World View is taken to be the individual. Each individual is considered to be equal to every other individual. The more Progress has taken place the more each individual exercises Free Will and individual Liberty using his Reason. The only legitimate mode of government is Democracy in which each free and rational individual has the maximum Liberty.

3. Physical Determination & Meaninglessness, The Higher Results from the Lower

The theory of Evolution, which is the general myth of Progress as it relates to Nature (?) posits that after the initial production of very simple life forms from non-living Matter, that all more specialized and complex plants and animals, including Man, came about through random mutation and natural selection. The physical makeup of an organism either corresponds to the physical makeup of its environment, in which case it survives or if it does not correspond, the organism dies and eventually the species becomes extinct. Thus there is no Fate or overriding plan, merely the unpredictable interaction of the organism, determined by its physical makeup, itself determined by its genes, and its physical environment.

Furthermore, just as all "higher" animals resulted from the Evolution of "lower", i.e. less complex animals, so morality, love, justice and other higher qualities are nothing but sex (Freud) the will to power (Adler) or the result of physical factors in Evolution.

D. The Successes of the Modern World View

Advanced Science, Technology and Medicine which allows for a high material standard of living and the maintenance of a huge and relatively long-lived population.

E. Failures of the Modern World View

Mass environmental degradation, largest mass extinction in 65 million years.

Meaninglessness, loss of ethical and moral basis, God is Dead.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Several Varieties of Decan Face Talismans

I received an e-mail from an astrological magician who was preparing to make the Venus in the first face of Pisces talisman from Picatrix Book II chapter 10,

"Of Venus. In the hour of Venus, Venus rising in the first face of Pisces, make an image to heal women from infirmities of the genitals and to gladden the sadness of men, and cure melancholy, and to take away bad thoughts and to have vigor and strengthen in sex, and in the first face of Taurus are made images to powerfully and miraculously bring about love and to have the good will of men."

Picatrix, Greer & Warnock translation, Bk II, ch 10 at page 116
Picatrix Paperback
Picatrix Hardcover

Since no image was specified they asked whether to use a general image of Venus, eg

"...the form of a woman, holding an apple in her right hand and a comb in her left hand"

Picatrix, Greer & Warnock translation, Bk II, ch 10 at page 111

or the image of the first face/decan of Pisces

"There rises in the first face of Pisces a man with two bodies, who looks as though he is giving a gesture of greetings with his hands. This is a face of peace and humility, debility, many journeys, misery, seeking wealth, miserable life. This is its form."

Picatrix, Bk II, ch 11 at page 122.

Ok, very interesting question! Currently I am working on a decan/face mini-course so I have been rather absorbed in decan/face talismans. My first reaction to the question was that the images listed in Picatrix Bk II, ch. 10 are not really decan/face talismans as listed in Picatrix Bk II, ch 11 (Arabic/Western decans/faces) or Bk II, ch 12 faces/decans (Indian faces/decans) in the sense that there are specific planets that are given as ruling each face, in Arabic/Western traditional astrology, the rulership follows the Chaldean Order. Thus the first face of Taurus is ruled by Mercury and the first face of Pisces by Saturn.

The Indian decans/faces follow what we might term the triplicity method which makes the ruler of the first decan of a sign the planet that rules the sign. The next decan is ruled by the ruler of the next sign in the triplicity of the sign. Thus the first decan of Aries is ruled by Mars. Since Aries is a fire sign, the next fire sign is Leo and thus the second decan of Aries is ruled by the Sun. The next fire sign is Sagittarius and thus the third decan of Aries is ruled by Jupiter

The Picatrix Bk II, ch 10 talismans, on the other hand when they use faces, always seem to pick faces whose sign is ruled by or is the exaltation of the planet in question, for example,

"If, under the influence of Venus, you make the form of a woman, holding an apple in her right hand and a comb in her left hand, in white stone, the first face of Libra ascending, whoever has or carries the above image will always laugh and be cheerful."

Picatrix, Greer & Warnock translation, Bk II, ch 10 at page 111

In this case Venus rules Libra, though not the first face/decan of Libra, which is ruled by the Moon in the Arabic/Western decan/face system.

Also these talismans in Bk II ch 10 have purposes that fit the planet that rules or is exalted in the sign, but do not fit the face descriptions for that face. For example, 1st face of Taurus, says Picatrix,

"this is a face of plowing and working the earth, of sciences, geometry, of sowing seed, and making things. "

Picatrix, Bk II, ch 11 at page 119. This fits the face ruler Mercury, not the sign ruler Venus.

Similarly the first face of Pisces, ruled by Saturn,

"A man who has two bodies and is like he is going to salute with both hands. And this
is a face of peace and humility, of weakness, of many journeys, of misery, of seeking wealth, and the lamenting of one's manner of living."

Picatrix, Bk II, ch 11 at page 122.

So my first impression is that the general image of the sign ruler or exaltation ruler is appropriate for these Bk II, ch 10 talismans, rather than the face image.

However, I do note that Ficino says,

"For example, if anyone looks for a special benefit from Mercury, he ought to locate him in Virgo, or at least locate the Moon there in an aspect with Mercury, and there make an image out of tin or silver; he should put on it the whole sign of Virgo and its character and the character of Mercury. And if you are going to use the first face of Virgo, add in the figure which we have said has been observed in the first face..."

Three Books on Life, ch 18, Kaske & Clarke trans at 335.

Thus Ficino clearly says to use the face image even though the first face is ruled by the Sun, not by Mercury.

I think now I would be more inclined to separate the sign and exaltation talismans that just happen to require face placement, ie Picatrix Bk II, ch. 10, from what I would characterize as the "true" decan/face talismans, ie Picatrix Bk II, ch 11 & 12. Still, given Ficino's example, I think therefore, that while I prefer using the general image for the bk II, ch 10 talismans, that the face images are a possible alternative.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

She Blinded Me With Science!

Maybe I am somewhat perverse, obsessive or simply like butting my head against a concrete wall, but I just can't seem to just keep my mouth shut and walk away when people insist that astrology is scientifically provable, ala Gauquelin, and that someday, soon, science will finally accept astrology.

For example here is an article, entitled ASTROLOGY AND MODERN SCIENCE: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS by Lawrence E. Jerome, from Leonardo, Vol. 6, pp. 121-130. Pergamon Press 1973.

The author states,

"...many recent authors have attempted to ascribe a scientific basis to astrology in light of modern scientific discoveries. All such attempts in the end are futile for, as we shall see, astrology is neither a science nor an art but rather a system of magic divination based on ancient superstitions and the principle of correspondences. There can be no scientific validity in the methods, predictions or supposed 'influences' of astrology, almost by definition. It originated as a magical system and the passage of some 6000 years has not altered its status."

Astrology and Modern Science at 121.

"Astrology, as we have seen, is based on magical correspondences and not on any possible physical influences by celestial bodies. Astrology can never be made 'scientific', essentially by definition; it belongs to the superstitious past and there it should remain."

Astrology and Modern Science at 121.

Hmmm....doesn't this sound familiar?

There is tremendous social pressure to accept Science, after all don't you want to be on the winning team? The technological prowess that is associated with Science has been very convincing, in addition to its ideological attractions, ala Progress & the promise of Technological Utopia. Tremendous prestige accrues to Science and to be unscientific is to be false or at the least, extremely suspect.

But Science is officially materialistic. We therefore cannot obtain scientific validation and the imprimatur of scientific approval for anything spiritual.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

"Secrets" of Astrological Magic?

When I started studying magic with Robert Zoller, one of the few who have been privileged to do so, he mentioned the Picatrix in one of his early letters to me. I immediately asked him for a translation as I could not read Latin. He told me, "Don't worry about the Picatrix, right now" and we spent our time on preparatory matters.

I tried on several occasions to do the usual Latin study, learning grammar and declensions, but I just couldn't do it. What I really wanted was to read Picatrix. I started to pick away at it with a Latin dictionary. By sheer force of will I now have a rough and rather half a$@ed ability to read Latin, sufficient to translate short magical and astrological passages.

Had Zoller immediately bestowed upon me a complete English translation (which he doesn't have as far as I know) I would have skimmed through it and passed on to something else in my frantic search for the "secrets of magic" Instead, by not having it I ended up better off.

I have had problems with students who were under the impression that I was somehow withholding "secrets" from them, texts or images, who knows? that would somehow make it all clear and easy and make their study effortless. What they are missing is that the secret is the work itself, the process of studying the material and working with it.

One could do very well with nothing but a copy of
Three Books of Occult Philosophy
and a copy of Christian Astrology, if one was prepared to dive deeply into these texts.

Still the illusion persists that if only a complete (& usable) English translation of Picatrix existed that all would be revealed. What will happen is that when (& if) such a volume appears people will swarm to buy it, skim it for 15 minutes and then it will get stuck on the shelf as they scramble for the next text with the "secrets of magic"

So, I certainly don't want to discourage people from buying books. Goodness, no, why not expend your buying desires on with John and my translations of Picatrix Books I & II in paperback and hardcover.

But so far, I have not seen any examples of talismans made using either our translation or the Ouroboros "translation". The true test will be when this knowledge is actually absorbed and applied!

Time Keeping and Astrology

I always try to pay attention to patterns in events and recently I have been getting questions about timekeeping so I thought it was an opportune moment to discuss the topic.

Clearly for astrologers, timekeeping is key! In terms of philosophy and astrological theory, each moment and in fact, each moment at every different location, has a different quality which we can discern, sometimes clearly and sometimes vaguely, through the astrological chart of that moment that tells us the location, strength and interaction of the planets and other astrological factors, as well as the house rulerships and interactions of the house rulers.

In practical terms time keeping is extremely important because if we don't have the right time we can't get an accurate astrological chart.

Let's talk about some basics. First off, there are three basic fundamental measurements of time. This is unlike, say money, where 1 dollar is equal to 100 dollars, there is only one fundamental measurement, the dollar. When it comes to time we generally deal with the day, the month and the year. Other measurements are derived from these three fundamental measures which are celestial in origin.

The day is the amount of time it takes for the earth to spin on its axis in modern heliocentric astronomy or in traditional Ptolemaic geocentric astronomy, the amount of time it takes for the planetary spheres and the sphere of the fixed stars to rotate completely around the earth. The hour is simply a subdivision of the day and the week is a set of 7 days, each ruled by a planet.

The original month is the amount of time it takes for the Moon to orbit the earth. This is around 27.3 days. Alternatively the month can be measured from New Moon to New Moon, the synodical cycle, which is around 29 days. This is a longer time period because the waxing and waning of the Moon depends on the location of the Sun and the Sun is continually moving making the Moon go a bit further to catch up.

The year is, in modern heliocentric astronomy, the amount of time it takes for the Earth to orbit the Sun. In traditional Ptolemaic geocentric astronomy, this is the amount of time it takes for the Sun to orbit the Earth and pass through all 12 Zodiacal signs. This is around 365 1/4 days.

Note that none of these time measurements can be evenly divided into another. This means that as the cycles of time progress they never exactly coincide and thus are never exactly the same.

In attempting to work with these cycles and create a unified system, generally with calenders, many different approaches have been taken. The earliest was likely a Moon based calendar, since the waxing and waning of the Moon is very obvious.

However, since the Moon and Sun cycles don't coincide if you use a Moon calendar you get out of whack with the Seasons, which are governed by the Sun. Thus we get the 28, 29, 30 and 31 day months of the Gregorian calender which are an approximation of the original 27.3 day orbit of the Moon or 29 synodical cycle, used to fit the month into the Solar year.

The Gregorian calender, which we use today, is still oriented to the Solar year. By using leap years and adding an extra day and like this year, occasionally adding leap seconds, the time keeping year stays in step with the actual Solar year.

However, otherwise much of time keeping has been conventionalized and abstracted. The original cycles are not used, rather a regularized version of them has been put in place. The conventional month, which we have already mentioned, is a good example.

The standard day is made up of 24 hours, each hour has 60 minutes and the day starts at midnight. Clearly this has been regularized since the day starts at dawn, Sunrise and ends at Sunset. The planetary hours are an example of using the original cycle of the day.

The planetary hours begin at dawn and the day portion of the planetary day extends from Sunrise to Sunset. This time is divided by 12 to get the length of each planetary day hour. Then Sunset to Sunrise of the next day comprises the night portion of the planetary day. This time is also divided by 12 to get the length of each planetary hour of the planetary night. So while there are 24 hours in the planetary day, including day and night, just like a standard day, except on the equinoxes, the length of each hour varies. Each location also varies compared to every other location.

Now even standard time used to have more variation. Each location used to have its own time, which while each hour had 60 minutes and the day started at midnight, they oriented their timekeeping by having noon when the Sun was directly overhead. This is called Local Mean Time. This caused problems, in particular for the railroads, and it was decided to conventionalize timekeeping by using timezones. Now everyone in a timezone is on the same time, regardless of when the Sun is directly overhead.

The next variation was Daylight Saving Time. My personal view is that the benefits are way overstated and that it is a mistake to mess with fundamental measurements. However, Congress and state legislatures, in their infinite wisdom, make us switch our timekeeping twice a year, "Spring forward and fall back" being the operative method.

We have reached a point where timekeeping has become so conventionalized, in addition to the fact that we have artificial lighting and temperature control, that we often feel independent of the original cycles of time. There is a tendency to see timekeeping as almost wholly conventional and artificial, something that can be manipulated or tinkered with, ala DST!

This is completely antithetical to traditional astrology. We need to understand and use conventional timekeeping because it is an excellent way to synchronize and precisely time our charts and our actions based on charts. However, we need to understand how conventional time works and also what the original cycles of time are. We must not lose sight of the infinite patterning and thus infinite meaning of the Heavenly cycles which are the basis of our art.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Love & Wealth House Talismans

My new current chart is for the FABULOUS Love & Wealth talismans on January 5, 2009!

These are pretty incredible, since they are house based talismans and combine the strength of exalted Venus, exalted Mars and the exalted Moon, serious talismanic power!

I often get clients who want one talisman that will do everything, and I have to explain that normally each talisman is pretty specialized for one purpose. In this case, though we are able to do a combo talisman for both Love and Wealth!

How does this work? Thabit Ibn Qurra's De Imaginibus which explains how to create house based talismans. These are the height of the art of astrological magic and are very difficult to elect for. We feel pretty good when we can get 3 or 4 conditions for a regular planetary and this talisman has 9 or even more depending on how you tote them up.

Let's look at them:

* Ruler of the Ascendant, Venus exalted
* Ruler of the 2nd house of money, Mars exalted
* Ruler of the 7th house of love and marriage, Mars exalted
* Ascendant strong
* 2nd house strong
* 7th house strong
* 8th house strong
* Ruler of the Ascendant, Venus making a an applying sextile with
reception to the ruler of the 2nd, Mars and the ruler of the 7th, Mars
* Moon exalted

What this talisman does is to make the user of the talisman, signified by Lesser Benefic Venus, exalted, very strong and powerful and then proceed to connect the user of the talisman to love, signified by exalted Mars, ruler of the 7th house of love and the 2nd house of money, with an applying sextile with reception. Add in the Moon exalted and ruling the 10th house, plus the 8th house ruled by Venus and you have a talisman that combines the power of three exalted planets for love & wealth and even success and fame (10th house).

What I do want to do is draw everyone's attention to this amazing election, either to make your own talisman or to pre-order a silver Love/Wealth talisman! You can see what these talismans will look like on the
current chart page .

Like the Great Wealth talismans, I think these are going to be very popular and the price is going to escalate rapidly as I sell out. Great Wealth talismans are currently $399.95 because I have hardly any left. Cazmi Moon talismans are $499.95!!

The pre-order price of the Love/Wealth talismans is just $199.95 plus shipping. Pre-order Order page

As soon as the talismans are cast and I offer them on the website the price goes up to $249.95 plus shipping and then rapidly the cost will rise and rise as they sell out just like the Great Wealth and Cazimi Moon talismans. We can't make many and they will definitely all be gone soon.

$199.95? What a deal! This are very powerful talismans and you get double the effect of the usual talisman. Plus we literally are never going to be able to make these again in our lifetime. I checked all the way out to 2050 and no more can be made after these on January 5, 2009! This is it, folks, truly unique, once in a lifetime!

Right now, really is the time to be focusing on wealth. I can't think of anybody that couldn't use a boost in this area, couldn't use a bit of security to help you find or keep a job or simply keep the cash flowing in! And love, again there isn't anybody that doesn't need either to find love or wouldn't mind a boost in their current love life. This stuff works folks!

Seriously, if you let this pass by and don't pre-order you are going to be kicking yourself. $199.95 plus shipping is a great deal! Here is a special
pre-order page

Now is not the time to be choking off either money or love!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

One True Astrological Reality?

I have been asked how it can be that the 27 Mansions of Vedic astrology and the 28 Mansions are so different. For example, the Vedic Mansions have a set of planetary rulers that correlate to a particular repeating sequence of planets rather than the qualities of the mansions themselves.

I think one of the basic tenets of the modern world view is that there is "one reality" Scientists insist that they can prove a fact or proposition definitively right or wrong, or it simply isn't worth considering. Fundamentalists are sure they have the one true faith and that everybody else is going straight to hell. Alternatively we have a sort of wishy-washy ecumenical cultural relativism that can't judge anything.

The Arabic Mansions (which we use) and the Vedic Mansions are simply different systems. I am no more worried about them having differences than I am about the fact that Western music uses different scales than Indian ragas.

Another problem with the "one true reality" filter is it tends to induce the idea that since the planets are the planets, the signs are the signs, and the Mansions are the Mansions that we can simply mix together elements from a variety of systems together. The problem is that the meaning of the elements of the systems derives, to a great extent, from their relationship to other elements in the system. Middle C means nothing on its own, but the octave or 7th or 5th intervals are key! We are much more accustomed to analysis, which involves individual elements, than synthesis, which is a more systemic approach, yet it is synthesis that is the key to astrological prediction.

Thus mixing astrological systems, like mixing musical systems, is likely to produce cacophony, unless one has mastered both systems on a deep level. There is no one that I am aware of, who is a master of Western traditional and Vedic astrology, and thus capable of this task.

Here is more on The Mansions of the Moon

Monday, December 1, 2008

Picatrix Review

I just wanted to mention that Nina Gryphon, a highly regarded traditional astrologer, has just reviewed John and my translation of Picatrix Books I & II

Here's the review
and here is a
link to information on our translation

Nina is a student of John Frawley's, an attorney and practicing member of the Society of Astrologers, the elite of traditional astrology. I am very pleased that she speaks so highly of our efforts!

More on Society of Astrologers network and the Society of Astrologers website

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mansions of the Moon Video

I wanted to mention that I had just uploaded a NEW video to youtube, this time on the Mansions of the Moon! Mansions Video

I have really enjoyed making videos though each second of video takes about a minute of work. This translates into about 9 hours of work for a 9 minute video!

Truly though, these are an excellent example of mass media magic ala Giordano Bruno with sounds, images and movement all combined. I'm thinking of adding video making as a lesson in my Mass Media Magic Course .

The Mansions are a great subject for a video since the more I work with them, the more I learn. They seem to work well in paper talismans for a one off or short term effect, and even stronger when done in a precious metal, mirror or gemstone and especially when the consecration is repeated monthly each time the Moon appears in the proper mansion.

Most recently I have been working with the 13th Mansion and while I can't go into the details, the results have been quite noticeable and significant. Add that into the repeated success of the 3rd Mansion for business and profit and my interest in the Mansions keeps growing.

Watch the video here

More Mansion info here

Mansions Book

Mansions Mini-Course on CD with free Mansions Book

Astrological Magic Course with free Mansions Mini-Course & Books

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Saturn Mirrors

Well, I for one was not looking forward to getting up in the dark and cold at 1:20 am to make Saturn mirror talismans. I realized, however, that Saturn wouldn't appreciate being blown off and then as I started my preparations, I got more and more into the ritual and the mirrors.

Everything went very well! I used black candles, pine resin for incense and had Nigel's amazing Saturn image for invocation and consecration of the mirrors. I etched the mirrors right on time using my new precise stencil process and they came out great! Saturn Mirror

A new wrinkle to the ritual was that I played Nigel's wonderful Saturn invocation music! More on this later.

The more I work with mirrors as talismans, the more rewarding I find them. When I was a child we had a thick glass table. I used to sit and look into the edge of it. It was like peering into a deep and enigmatic blue/green ocean. Light seemed to pause and refract unexpectedly and I could see into a strange and eerie world.

I had the same feeling with these Saturn mirrors today. I was used to looking at them face on, but then I laid them on their edge and the sunlight made the etched design float on the refracted green edges, putting me in a dreamlike reverie.

Yes, the mirrors are beautiful and look great on the wall or on your altar. But working with them as doors and windows into the realms of the spirits whose tables, characters and sigils they contain is even more rewarding. I have been completely entranced and swept away with the mirrors and mirror work that I have done since beginning the creation of etched mirror talismans.

Saturn in particular promises to be particularly useful and exciting. Saturn is, par excellence, the planet of "the more occult philosophy" His sphere is the highest, he is closest to the fixed stars and to the Empyrean, the source of all knowledge and power. Saturn jealously guards his secrets, releasing them only to his acolytes, the children of Saturn. But his are the secrets of astrology, magic, sorcery and occult philosophy. To know Saturn, is to delve deeply into the hidden roots of all esoteric practice.

I am, myself, greatly looking forward to my Saturnine mirror work. I am offering just 3 Saturn mirror talismans, in a beveled 3 x 3 mirror, with the Saturn table from Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy. Saturn Mirror

They are $59.95 plus shipping and include a special Nigel Jackson Saturn image from Picatrix and consecration instructions.

But that's not all! If you order a Saturn mirror ask me and I will include a free CD sampler of Nigel's incredible Saturn invocation music composed with his wife Patti. This music is incredible, I literally got high the first time I listened to it. Now
granted I am Saturn ruled, but hey! This stuff is great! Nigel is a leading traditional ceremonial musician and this music was composed specifically for the Picatrix Saturn invocation as lyrics and to use for Saturn invocation. This is perfect for putting you in the proper frame of mind and invoking Saturn. This is a smaller CD sampler of the forthcoming full Saturn CD which will not be available till later in 2009.

I am going charge $14.95 for this CD sampler, but if you order the Saturn mirror you can have it for free!

Hurry! As everyone knows Renaissance Astrology items tend to sell out immediately!
Order and more info here

More on Saturn

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Venus Fly Image from Picatrix

Venus Image

Here is a translation of the Latin Picatrix, Bk II, ch. 10

If, under the influence of Venus, you make in granite the image of the head of a zebra, and above it the head of a fly, and make the head of the fly a little smaller, that is, so it is a little smaller than the head of the zebra; do this in the hour of Venus, with Venus rising, and if you make a wax seal with this image it is good for all infirmities of the stomach.

Latin Picatrix Books I & II, Bk II, ch 10, trans. Greer & Warnock at 112-3
Paperback version of Picatrix Books I & II
Hardcover version of Picatrix Books I & II

Here is the corresponding image from the Ouroboros Picatrix,

Furthermore, carve a picture of the head of a zebra with the head of a fly
on it on a granite stone. The head should be a little oversized. This
ought to be done in the hour and Venus is ascendant. The stone is used to
stamp wax for increased productions. This has been successfully
experimented in labyrinths[????].

Ouroboros Picatrix, vol I, Bk II, ch 10 at 132.

Several notes:

(1) the stone alaquech does appear to be carnelian. The Lapidary of King Alfonso X the Wise, ed. Bahler & Gatto (UPressSouth, 1997) at 187 talks of the stone called in Greek alaaquic and in Latin cornelina and identifies this as carnelian.

(2) azeberi, Ouroboros identifies this as a zebra, which is certainly possible. However, I note that one etyomology of zebra indicates that the word comes from zevra or zervo, Old Portuguese for wild ass. Given that Picatrix was written in A.D. 1000 I think that wild ass is probably more plausible.

(3) Some of the problems with the Ouroboros translation are evident from the passage quoted above. Clearly the election calls for the hour of Venus and Venus rising, yet this is not clear from the translation. The section about increased productions is obscure and the one about experimentation in labyrinths makes no sense at all! Perhaps there is a connection in Arabic between labyrinth and the labyrinthine twists of the intestines?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Contemplating the Spiritual Heavens

I was asked recently if the discovery of the outer planets, new stars and even planets revolving around stars did not pose serious problems for traditional astrology, based as it was on 7 planets and the sphere of the fixed stars?

Many of the ancients did see the geocentric Ptolematic astronomy with the Earth at the center and the 7 planetary spheres extending out with the 8 sphere of the fixed stars as the outer reach of the Cosmos as an accurate depiction of the physical universe.

However, we need to be careful not to fall into seeing history through the distorting lens of the archetype of Progress, in which the further we go back into the past, the less advanced people were and the further we go into the future the more advanced, knowledgeable and evolved we are, until we reach 21st humanity, clearly the height, the peak of perfection!

There was a rather materialistic, what might be termed "scientific" strand of astrology which focused on natural magic and was epitomized the Al-Kindi's On the Stellar Rays.

On the other hand, there also existed a second path which attempted to glimpse through the veil of the Material into the comprehensive patterns and Divine Ideas that underlie it. This path followed the invitation of the Ihkwan al Safa, the mystic Islamic brotherhood,

Will you not choose, oh my brother, to enter the Temple of [Hermes Trismegistus], in order to contemplate the heavens of which Plato spoke, spiritual Heavens, not the visible heavens shown by the astronomers?

Encyclopedia of the Ihkwan al Safa, cited in cited in Henry Corbin, "Sabian Temple and Ismailism" Temple and Contemplation (1986) at 137.

If we think of Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy which mirrored the three worlds of the Divine Ideas/Archetypes, the Material World and the Intermediate World, the Intermediate is often termed the Celestial World. Again there certain was the belief that the stars and planets were not made of the same matter as the Earth, in the "scientific" strand of astrology. But the spiritual path was never particularly concerned with matter, for this strand, the Intermediate World was perhaps best exemplified by the Alam al-Mithal, the World of Images, where the Divine Ideas took on form and matter lost its materiality and became only form. We visit this realm in dreams, at least those dreams that do not arise solely from our personal unconscious.

That the material Universe extends far beyond the vision of earlier astronomers, is less of a problem when one's concern is not with the physical bodies of the stars and planets, but with their souls, the planetary Intelligences and the reflection of Divine Ideas in material manifestation. As Plotinus says, "Let us suppose that the stars are like characters always being written on the heavens or written once for all and moving as they perform their task..." Ennead II, 3.

Learning that there are more fixed stars or planets then could be seen by the ancients is like learning that there are other languages than English and that there are more than 26 letters. Does this mean that we must therefore begin to write using the Greek or Cyrillic or every other alphabet? Isn't the English alphabet sufficient to express whatever we wish to say?

In the 21st century we may know a great deal about stars 1,000 of light years away, but we know almost nothing about our own souls. Surely our predecessors would feel that we have made a poor bargain.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Saturn Magical Rings Pre-Orders!

I have had such a strong response to the Saturn magical rings that I am going to start taking pre-orders!

This is how we are making them. Wade will cast signets, the flat top part of a ring with the design, in this case the standard symbol of Saturn, along with the other Saturn talismans on November 24, 2008. Saturn Talisman & Ring Election

Then Wade will custom make the ring, either in sterling or 14k gold for each client. At Saturn day, Saturn hour, Wade will mount the signet on the magical Saturn ring, placing a small amount of pine, ruled by Saturn, Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk I, ch 25 & Christian Astrology, page 59 and harvested Saturn day, Saturn hour, under the signet. The ring will thus be doubly consecrated, at the creation of the signet and then at the mounting of the signet on the custom ring.

We have a number of different versions. Sterling silver ring and sterling silver signet are $300 plus shipping in ring sizes, 7, 8, 9, 10, 12; $350 plus shipping in ring sizes 6, 6.5, 7.5, 8.5, 9.5, 10.5, 11, 11.5, 12.5, $600 plus shipping in any other ring sizes.

Sterling silver ring and 14k gold signet, add $300 to above prices, pre-order before November 15, 2008 only.

14k gold ring and sterling silver signet, $2000 plus shipping

14k gold ring and 14k gold signet, $2500 plus shipping, pre-order before November 15, 2008 only.

Shipping is $14.95 priority insured in the US, $34 non-US global express insured mail for rings costing $600 or less. Contact me for the non-US shipping for rings costing over $600.

Anyone who is interested in pre-ordering a Saturn ring which is the only way to have the 14k gold signet versions, please e-mail me at chriswarnock@renaissanceastrology.com for an order page and further details.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Example of Astrological Checkup

This is an example of my Astrological Checkup. The client choses three life areas or three chart areas (or a combination of three of each) which I then examine using traditional natal analysis and suggest talismans. I also include the image description for the degree of their Ascendant from Johannes Angelus' Astrological Optics as well as giving the name of the Guardian Angel/Daimon from Cornelius Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Book III, chapter 26.

Note that the analysis is quite concrete and not psychological. I have cited the sources used. Note that client did not give any information other than birthdata and areas of interest.

11:54 pm, (+4) Monday 2 November, 1936.

St George's Grenada, West Indies. Latitude 12N07; Longitude 61W37

10 Leo 25 rises, the 11th degree of Leo, "A woman raises her skirt"

Five Hylegical Places

Sun = 10 Scorpio = Aleph

Moon = 4 Cancer = Zayin

Ascendant = 10 Leo = Shin

Part of Fortune = 16 Sagittarius = Samech

Prenatal Syzygy (Full Moon) = 6 Taurus = Samech

Guardian Angel/Daimon Name = Ahzashsasiel

Finances & Income

Astrological Factors Considered

Lord of the 2nd house = Mercury peregrine and going to combustion in a
cadent house, thus afflicted.

Jupiter, natural significator of wealth, is strong by sign and triplicity in succedent house.

Part of Fortune, ruled by Jupiter and in succedent house,

Mars, peregrine in 2nd house

[Financial significators from Christian Astrology,pages 167-9, 552]

Jupiter separates from Part of Fortune and applies to benefic North Node of the Moon.


Mixed significations of wealth, native (person whose natal chart is being examined) has considerable variations in wealth.

Note that Mars is the key problem. He is in the 2nd house as well as applying to a partile (almost exact) square of Jupiter, natural significator of wealth. Mars rules the 4th, so this indicates financial problems (with Mars probably arguments and disputes) with family, particularly father or father's side of the family or problems with real estate or inheritance. Mars also rules 9th of long distance travel, religion and higher education, so possible financial problems relating to these areas.

I note also that Venus, ruler of the 10th of career and employers is applying to a square of Mars as well, showing financial problems (again probably arguments and disputes given that it is a square and involves Mars) associated with work and bosses. Mars is really the center of the financial problems.

(2) Health

Astrological Factors Considered

Ruler of the 1st shows the body of the native: Leo rises so Sun is ruler of 1st. Sun is dignified by face, a weak dignity, in the 3rd, a cadent house.

Sun and Moon naturally signify health. Moon is strong, in her sign Cancer, in the 11th house. Moon trines Sun.

Ruler of the sixth of illness is Saturn. Saturn is peregrine, but retrograde in the 8th house.

Christian Astrology pages, 576-80.

We note that Saturn is in Cancer which signifies the liver, Christian Astrology, page 580 and afflicts Venus in the 5th house and the 5th house also signifies the liver Christian Astrology, page 245. Saturn in Cancer is also associated with the bladder and spleen, while the 5th house signifies the middle of the body. With Saturn retrograde in a water sign (the Sun and Moon are also in water signs) we might expect problems with fluid retention. Liver. bladder and circulatory problems seem indicated.

Sun, ruler of the body, is somewhat stronger than Saturn, the ruler of disease, so the native is able to overcome health problems. Weakness of the Sun indicates some bodily weakness as well so native has health problems of the nature indicated.

(3) Friendship

Astrological Factors Considered

Ruler of the 11th house of friends is Mercury who is peregrine in Scorpio and going to combustion.

Venus makes partile (almost exact) though separating opposition to cusp of 11th house.

Moon in Cancer, in 11th

South Node is in 11th afflicting it.

Mars applies to a square of South Node.

Christian Astrology, pages 634-9.


While the native has some good friends who are likely women, sailors, fisherman and common people, they are likely to be somewhat inconstant (Moon in 11th,
Christian Astrology, pages 634-9. 636). As the ruler of the 11th is Mercury who is afflicted and in Scorpio, he is also likely to have friends who are tricky, engaging in power struggles and underhandedness, perhaps clerks, merchants, etc. The presence of the South Node in the 11th shows that the native has problems and difficulties with friends.

Talismanic and Ritual Prescription:

Mars seems to be involved in many of the areas mentioned. He afflicts the finances, the career and friends.

Because he is a malefic and weak, we do not wish to add any more Martial energy to the situation so I do not advise a Mars talisman. A Venus talisman is a possibility, since she is his natural opposite.

I would suggest Mars charity, however. This is a way to propitiate and soothe Mars so he will go somewhat easier on you.

What you do is give a Mars ruled thing to a Mars ruled person or organization on Mars day (Tuesday) ideally at Mars hour. You can see a list of at Mars ruled things and people. Perhaps a charity for veterans would be appropriate. Dawn is always the hour of the planet that rules the day, so dawn on a Tuesday is Mars hour, Mars day.

My suggestion for health and finances is Jupiter. The strongest planet in your chart is Jupiter and he is the natural ruler of wealth as well as being the best planet for prosperity and good fortune. Jupiter is also the natural antidote to Saturn, who is your significator of illness as ruler of the 6th house. A Jupiter talisman would work very well!

Response to Astrological checkup:

Client described checkup as "amazingly spot on"

More on Astrological Checkups and Traditional Astrological Readings

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Election Using Horary

Here is an example of an election using the methods set forth in
John Gadbury's 1691 Nauticum Astrologicum, which is a book of horary and electional astrology for ships. He discusses the three methods of doing elections and gives examples. This chapter is included in my

Renaissance Electional Compilation

Anyhow, Gadbury says start with the natal chart of the ship or for an election for a person, their natal chart. Try to use the Ascendant of the nativity as the Ascendant of the election or the sextile or trine of the natal Ascendant as the electional Ascendant. Or the location of the Sun, the Moon, Jupiter and/or Venus or the trine or sextile of these locations as the location of the electional Ascendant, MC, Sun, Moon or Part of Fortune. Avoid in the election the place of Saturn, Mars or the South Node and the places of their square or opposition. Nauticum Astrologicum, p. 18.

Here we would use the natal chart of the mare, but this information is not available. Since we don't have a natal chart we proceed to the next method which is to use a horary question. Use the same procedure as above if the horary is favorable. If the horary is unfavorable make fortunate the factors that were unfavorable. Nauticum Astrologicum, p. 23-4. If we didn't have either a natal chart or horary, we would try get the most favorable electional chart. Nauticum Astrologicum, p. 30-1.

Here is the horary:

Question: Will we be able to successful mate our mare, to a stallion and have a safe delivery for mare and foal?"
Time Question Received & Understood: 11:26 am EST December 2, 2003
Place Question Received & Understood: Washington, D.C. 77 W 55 38 N 55

In this chart Aquarius rises and it is Saturn hour. As Saturn is the ruler of Aquarius the chart is radical and has initial signs of accuracy.

As Aquarius rises, Saturn is the significator of the querent. Saturn is in detriment and retrograde in the 5th house.

As this is a question regarding a mare the 12th house and its ruler signify her. Lilly, Christian Astrology, page 56. Saturn is ruler of the 12th. Saturn is appropriate for an older mare. Saturn is in Cancer, fruitful sign. Christian Astrology, 566.

Now since we are asking about the pregnancy of the mare and not the querent, we turn the chart, the 5th (offspring) of the 12th (mare) is the 4th house.

The ruler of the 4th is Mercury who is in the last degree of Sagittarius and about to go from being in detriment to being peregrine. The Part of Fortune is in the 4th. Mercury applies to conjoin Venus.

The sign on the turned 5th is Gemini, a barren sign. Christian Astrology 565. The ruler of the turned 5th Mercury is barren and in Sagittarius a more fruitful than barren sign, though about to go into Capricorn, a more barren than fruitful sign. Christian Astrology 566. The sign on the 12th, the Ascendant of the mare, is Capricorn, a more barren than fruitful sign. We also note that Venus, dignified by triplicity is conjunct the 12th Ascendant of the mare. Christian Astrology 225. Lilly says that if there is a good planet in the Ascendant that conception will take place, but if good and bad planets be mixed together there may be conception, but the offspring will not live. Christian Astrology, 223.

My sense of this chart is that it is indicating that conception is possible, but that a miscarriage would then ensue. Also possible, due to the afflicted state of the mare is no conception.

Here is the election for breeding the mare, based on the previous horary.

Election: time breeding mare, probably for contract or sending mare to stallion

Date: 12:16 am January 24, 2004
Location: Washington, D.C. 77 W 55 38 N 55

As I don't have the proper location I have used Washington, D.C. as an example.

In this chart, since this election is for the mare, the mare is signified by the first house and it's ruler Venus. Venus is exalted in the 5th house of offspring. This is, "a strong argument of...issue" Lilly, Christian Astrology 222. Venus is in Pisces, a fertile sign. The Moon is also in Pisces and conjunct the 5th house cusp, similarly a positive sign.

Now the cusp of the 5th is sextile the mare's Ascendant (the radix 12th) in the horary chart. The Moon and Venus in the election are also sextile the place of Venus in the horary chart. Venus is the Lesser Benefic, fruitful and dignified by triplicity in the horary.

The South Node, while in the 1st, is close enough to the 2nd to be conjunct it, so this assists the mare as well, getting the Node out of the 1st house.

Whew! That was difficult! I looked at over a hundred charts to get this one. Really shows the absolute necessity of having a computer to really be to look at the full range of electional choices.

Not a bad election, and I managed to include some factors from the horary in it! I was going to go on and do a pure election just based on getting good factors, but this one is pretty good.

More on Traditional Electional Astrology

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Properly Applying the Tradition: House Meanings

One of the major differences between modern and traditional astrology lies in the meanings applied to various houses. In modern astrology, the 6th house is the house of service, the 8th, the house of sex and the 12th the house of "how you sacrifice your self-interest to serve the needs of others: social work, charity work, volunteer work" In traditional astrology, the 6th is the house of servants, that is to say your servants or people that work for you or that you supervise, the 8th is the house of death and the 12th is the house of curses, witchcraft and secret enemies. Interesting how modern has dropped out all the negative meanings! Of course this makes sense when you are working in a psychological/therapeutic setting since you don't want to bum out the patient. For prediction, though not surprisingly, dropping all the negative areas means highly inaccurate predictions as negative stuff happens to people all the time.

Ok, so we decide to stick with the traditional house meanings, but we need to understand the basic patterns and relationships of the houses so we can accurately apply them. For the most part this is not a problem, people still fall in love and get married, 7th house, lend and borrow money, 2nd house and have careers, 10th house. However, in some cases relationships have changed between the 17th and 21st century (no, not because we are spiritually evolved!).

In Christian Astrology, originally published in 1647 William Lilly says that tenants are ruled by the 6th house. Is this the appropriate house for a modern question regarding landlords and tenants, however?

I would just say that I agree entirely with the contemporary traditional astrologer John Frawley's discussion of modern tenants as 7th house in Real Astrology, page 180. I think that there is a tendency for traditional astrologers to follow 17th century practice blindly. Clearly this is less of a problem than trying to mix in modern astrology which is truly the bane of traditional practice.

However, the key is to catch the spirit or the essence, if you will, of the traditional practice rather than thoughtlessly following every jot and tittle of Christian Astrology. Be particularly careful of situations where the name is the same, but the underlying reality or relationship has changed. "But this means knowing all about 17th century England", the student exclaims. Well, to fully utilize the precision and accuracy of traditional practice requires real work on the part of the practitioner. Sadly, traditional horary just isn't "plain and simple"

The 6th house is the house of servants, Christian Astrology 6th house and as JF notes in the 17th century one's tenants would be one's social inferiors as a landowner was a fairly superior sort of person. To this day in England and Scotland much land is not freehold and owned by the occupant, but held on 99 year or other long term leases leases. In London, for example, the Duke of Westminster still owns large and hugely valuable sections of the West End of London.

In the U.S., nowadays and most non-aristocratic types in the the U.K., who are renting out a room or apartment, are not in this position with their tenants. In fact, in Washington, D.C. the courts have found that this relationship is basically contractual, the landlord must provide a unit that passes muster under the housing code and the tenant must pay the rent. So this modern form of tenancy, despite having the same name as 17th century tenancy, is of a different form, one that much more properly fits in the 7th house.

More on Houses in Traditional Astrology

How to be an Amateur Horary Astrologer

1. Read "a book" on horary astrology

Why waste your time taking a course or spending a lot of time studying, you can pick up everything you know to be an amateur horary astrologer with one book or even better just by hanging out for a week or so on a discussion group or surfing a few web sites. After all, you learned everything else you know about "astrology" (modern natal that is) that way.

2. Never be afraid to have an opinion

Even if you haven't read that book yet on horary, don't be afraid to speak up, express yourself and particularly to point out the mistakes of others. Everyone is equal, we all have something to say, so don't let even the complete lack of knowledge of or experience with horary stop you from making ex cathedra pronouncements or castigating even a leading astrologer like Lee Lehman or John Frawley. After all everyone is ultimately on the same amateur level that you are.

3. Mix and match systems, switch techniques frequently

Make sure that when you look at a chart that you use a combination of horary and natal techniques, plus modern, Vedic and traditional astrology. The more methods you can throw at a chart, the more amateur results you get. Also don't stick to one house system or one Zodiac, if you use a helicentric tropical Zodiac on one chart, use a geocentric sidereal on the other. The more information you can get from a chart, from a widely changing grab bag of methods, the more of an amateur astrologer you will be.

4. If a technique worked once, it works all the time

If you had, for example, a horary where the sixth house signified computers then feel free to use the sixth house for computers in any chart thereafter. Don't worry if some fuddy duddy old fools have been doing something differently for 2,000 years, your single example proves them wrong!

5. "Everything I need to know about astrology I learned at the kindergarten level"

Always stick closely to the first things you learned. Whatever you read first in a discussion group or had someone show you on your first chart should be permanently set in stone and should be followed religiously thereafter. Don't be confused or diverted from your initial methods by some smarty pants quoting Lilly!

6. Apply the considerations strictly, refuse to judge charts

Treat the Considerations before Judgment (these are set forth by William Lilly in Christian Astrology in Christian Astrology page 121-3, but an amateur astrologer either has never heard of Lilly or downloaded a free pdf of half of Christian Astrology but can't read it because it is in "Old English") as death sentences for horaries. If a chart is not radical, or has late or early degrees rising, void of course Moon in any sign (pay no attention to Lilly!) or any other consideration, drop it like a hot potato! This allows you to exhibit your mastery of the intricacies of horary and as an added bonus avoid having to judge negative charts or even judge the chart at all. Too much chance of getting it wrong anyhow!

7. Focus on hindsight

One of the best methods for staying an amateur astrologer and avoiding the risk of an inaccurate prediction is to never make predictions. Hindsight is always 20/20! Wait until the results are known before looking at the chart. Better yet lurk on discussion groups and pick apart other people's predictions with your uncanny insights after the fact. The foolish mistakes of others and your own brilliance become so much more obvious if you wait to judge the chart until after the result is known.

8. Stay abstract and focus on debate

Another excellent amateur astrologer method is to shy away from looking at actual charts entirely. You can argue about technique endlessly in the abstract without any fear of actual evidence to the contrary. "I think X" does perfectly well for discussion group debates and provides endless hours of amateur enjoyment.

9. Always look for a positive answer

Don't let a plethora of negative factors in the chart get you down, besides from your 5 minutes of study of modern astrology you know that nothing is really bad and everything is a challenge. Besides who wants bad news? If you look hard enough you can always find something positive. Relationship horary with rulers of the 1st and 7th in detriment separating from an opposition, Moon conjunct Algol, square Saturn? Yes, but look the Part of Fortune is in the 7th, hurrah all is well!

10. Spend most of your time judging your own questions

After all isn't this why you decided to become an amateur horary astrologer anyway? Your own questions are the most interesting after all, you really, really want to know if X is going to leave his wife of 25 years and 4 kids and marry you like he said he would. Besides all of this emotional involvement helps you judge the chart in a relentlessly positive and thus amateur way. For extra bonus points ask your own personal question several times in quick succession.

11. Never charge for astrology & condemn those that do

Once you do charge, you may be amateurish, but by definition, not an amateur. The amateur doesn't charge for a variety of reasons. To do so would besmirch the sacred art of astrology, which is necessary for life itself, unlike medicine, rent, utilities or food, which the amateur has no objection to anyone charging for. The amateur knows that it is far better to pursue astrology as a hobby and thus remain pure of commercial stain, while either being parasitic on their spouse or society at large or working as a telemarketer, subprime mortgage broker, Humvee salesman or other socially elevating profession. Besides being a professional astrologer would entail answering other people's questions, actually making predictions, and judging a large volume of real charts before the outcome was known all of which is antithetical to the true amateur spirit.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Nuance versus Number

Lilly and other 17th century English astrologers have been the key sources for the 20th and 21st century revival of traditional astrology in great measure because they are available in English, albeit early modern English. We should remember, however, that the 17th century astrologers represent the very tail end of the tradition and were already coming under the influence of "Enlightenment" ie, mechanistic/atheistic thinking.

One of the key tools of mechanistic/atheistic Science is linear, analytical logic which dovetails well with reductionist, analytical thinking. This entails breaking things down to their most basic constituents and then finding invariant relationships between these parts. Chemistry is a good example. You can analyze a rock and find out what chemical compounds it consists of, then what molecules make up the compounds and what atoms make up the molecules. You can then set out the chemical composition of the rock in detail and establish the chemical reactions if the rock were placed in acid.

As useful as this thinking is with regard to some areas, it is not so useful in other areas. In logic you cannot say A = not A, yet how often have we personally been in a situation where we loved and hated someone simultaneously? Traditional astrology is actually quite good at predicting questions of love and in fact, a very typical configuration expressing just this simultaneous love/hate can be found with Venus as the significator of the quesited in a horary in Scorpio, where she is both in detriment and at various times, dignified by triplicity, term and face.

This "points" us toward a frequent cul-de-sac for modern practitioners of traditional astrology, the points system. Older traditional traditional sources do express the essential dignities in terms of points, a planet in sign (+5) in exaltation (+4) in triplicity (+3) in term (+2) in face (+1). Lilly then takes this and expands it dramatically in his 1647 Christian Astrology. At page 115 he lists not only essential dignity points, but essential debility minuses (detriment, fall) and then goes ahead and gives points for accidental dignities and debilities, like being direct, or combust.

Contemporary astrologers and in particular contemporary astrological software designers are all over this and you have software that automatically calculates the points and tells you that Jupiter is +16 or Venus is -22.

My view is that popularity of these point scales comes from the modern prestige of the analytic/reductionist methods of modern atheistic/materialist Science. The nuance of each dignity and debility are eliminated and these conditions are reduced to nothing more than different ways to increase or decrease the planet's strength. Unfortunately, Jupiter being +16 doesn't tell me much, certainly a lot less than Jupiter is rising, combust in Sagittarius. (no, the points don't add up, this is just an example!)

Our older sources and Lilly, too, for that matter, if you can drag yourself away from that darn points table, prefer to express the dignities and debilities in terms of nuance. For example see Bethem's Centiloquim Aphorism 15: A Planet in his House or Exaltation, is as one in his Castle or strong hold. Aphorism 19: Fortunate Planets Retrograde are unfortunate; if Cadent from Angles or their Houses, &c. as one hoping for good, but misses it.

One of the less well known contemporaries of Lilly was William Thrasher who wrote Jubar Astrologicum, The Light of Astrology. Thrasher says in Chapter 17,

"A Planet Retrograde in his own House, denotes to outward appearances, he is a man plentifully endued with the Good of this World, as in time past, and the Person seemeth to be in a very happy condition; but nevertheless, in reality, all things go contrary to him, his Trading decays, and he goeth down the wind. If the Significator go Retrograde out of his House, his state is doubtful, he is in a moving condition.

If a Planet be in his Exaltation, it personates one of haughty condition, arrogant, assuming to himself more than his due; If the Planet be Retrograde and in his Exaltation, he then wastes and consumes his Estate prodigally."

Each dignity and debility and the combinations of dignities and debilities provide a very subtle, nuanced way to interpret the chart, be it horary, natal, electional or mundane. Reducing everything to a numerical score appeals because it is easy, but also because our cultural conditioning by reductionist Science is so strong. We increase the efficacy and accuracy of our astrological prediction by refusing the siren call of linear logic, while at the same time recognizing philosophically that linear logic is inadequate as a model for significant portions of reality.

Electional Advice from Ali Aben Ragel

I have just received some very interesting material, several books from Ali Aben Ragel's Complete Book of the Judgment of the Stars. This is fascinating material, but it is in Spanish. This is one of many books of astrology translated from Arabic in the court of the Castilian king Alfonso X, known as El Sabio, "The Wise" Just like Picatrix!

People often ask if they can alter their fate with elections. The traditional answer seems to be that you must start with the natal chart, but that it can be worked with.

Here is an interesting section from Ali Aben Ragel's Complete Book of the Judgment of the Stars, Book VII, on Elections, chapter one,

For example, a man who in his nativity has manifest indications, firm and true, that he will not engender children, or if he has them they will not live or will not be able to feed, as [the nativity] has the astrological significations harming the children, or having in his nativity malefic significators for spouses, that is Venus and some other significator combust, or in its fall [usually includes detriment as well] or badly placed, with aspects to the significators of the nativity, or because infortunes dominate in the trajectory [?] of the house of birth in the radix and because the significators of an unfortunate house are the significators of the native.

If these significations are [found to be] malefic in the radix of the nativity, then elections for children or marriage or for a trip and or an election to generate children will not be successful or the election will not be of as much power [or will] be delayed, but you can hope that [the election] changes the signification of the planets in the radix of the nativity and indicates good fortune.

However the elections appear clear and are opportune if in the natal significations indicate that it is possible to have children, or if the significations are moderate or good, because if the election were good and the significations of the radix were medium or not very detrimental the election makes them good. Also, if the significations are good a good election will make them even better because the benefic effect of the elections helps the radical [i.e. natal] significations.

It is interesting to compare this to Ramesey's Astrologia Restaurata, page 122.

I like Aben Ragel's statement that if the natal indications are bad, well you can hope to make them better with an election and that a good elections increases even benefic natal indications.

More on Electional Astrology

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Is Traditional Astrology Just Cold Reading?

One of the arguments that professional "skeptics" use against astrology is that it is cold reading.

Let me step back and say that these skeptics are moderns and thus atheistic materialists. Knowing that there is only matter and energy (they are the same E=mc2) they "know" without any investigation that a spiritual science like astrology must be completely bogus. They therefore explain the public's belief in it as foolish credulousness and the astrologer as the conniving conman relying on the technique of cold reading.

Cold reading is a method where the reader uses statements that appear to be specific to the individual being read, but are actually generally applicable. It actually takes a good deal of skill to do well. The cold reader carefully observes the gender, age, social class, clothing, demeanor, etc, of the subject and then gets the subject to provide the reader with information which can be woven into a very convincing reading.

Here are some examples of cold reading statements from a Psychic Hotline page for psychic readers:

(Career) You wonder if your career is going in the right direction. You feel restless and unfulfilled. I do see many changes in the next few months. Be on the look-out for new opportunities outside your field, or a chance for
advancement within it.

(Death) Death is not a stranger to you. It has knocked on your door more than once. You have feared for your own life, or the life of someone you love. Basically, you are a strong person who is able to endure.

(Money) I see dollar signs. Money is in your future, but you'll have to work to get it.

(Luck) People may talk about how lucky you are, but you know the truth. Your success is due more to hard work than good fortune.

(Marriage) Marriage has not always been a blissful state of affairs. I see a marriage that at one time was missing any things that bring security and joy. In the future, I do see a happy marriage full of promise and financial security.

Note how these questions apply to you individually!!!! Of course, everyone has that reaction because they are pretty generally applicable.

Note also how the reader puts a positive spin on things, always promising good results, in the future, of course. I have noticed that people usually do a reading because they consciously say that they want to accurate get their question answered, but in fact, they are really looking for a positive and reassuring answer. Here is another quote from a different page on the psychic section,

"If something comes up negative in a reading you should always look for what can be done to change it, like "The cards show this could be a problem but they also show what can be done about it". Get the idea, it's easy to do, and it's why they called."

Another technique used in cold reading is call self serving bias. People will generally agree with any positive statement made regarding them. This accounts for the fact that 80% of people agree that they are above average drivers, clearly statistically impossible!

So, now that we know what cold reading is, can we attribute the predictive ability of traditional astrology to it?

Well, cold reading certainly might have a hand in modern astrology. It is obviously the basis of all Sun sign columns since each signs prediction could be switched around and still be just as appropriate. Modern psychological astrology also tends to be rather vague and all inclusive, so while it is more individual, cold reading could still play a part.

Traditional astrology is quite concrete and precise. If I predict that someone will not get married to X, and they do then I am clearly wrong, so we have a good testing mechanism. However, it is still possible that predictions are driven,at least partially, by the additional personal information provided.

I have been somewhat paranoid about doing a cold reading rather than an actual astrological prediction so I have been aware of the issue for a while. I have sometimes erred on the side of getting too little additional information beyond the question, information that could be useful for the question. Typically I asked for the question in a sentence plus a paragraph or two of background.

I don't always get this much information however. Here is an excellent example and one that I think shows that traditional astrology is not dependent on cold reading.

I received an e-mail that said simply, "Will X and I make up and be friends again?" No background, no additional information and from a new client that I knew nothing about other than her name.

Question: Will X and I make up and become friends again?
Time Question Received & Understood: 4:15 pm EST, November 18, 2003

Place Question Received & Understood: Washington, D.C. 77 W 55 38 N 55

In this chart Taurus rises and it is Moon hour. As the Moon rules earth signs by night, the chart is radical and has indications of accuracy.

As Taurus rises, Venus is the significator of the querent (person asking the question). Venus is peregrine and in the malefic 8th house. Venus has just separated from Pluto.

When considering X as a friend, we look to the 11th house and its ruler Saturn. Saturn is in detriment, retrograde and in the cadent 3rd house. We also look at Mars who is in the 11th house as a co-significator of X. Mars is peregrine. Mars is also the ruler of the 7th house of marriage and romantic relationships.

The Moon shows action. The Moon is peregrine in the 5th house. The Moon has separated from an opposition of Mars, co-significator of X. The Moon applies to a square of Venus, significator of the querent, without reception.

Venus, significator of the querent, has no contact with Saturn, the ruler of the house of friendship, which is probably a good thing since Saturn is so afflicted. Venus does separate from a square of Mars, co-significator of X.

All the action in this chart is going on between Venus and Mars. But Mars really is M considered as a romantic relationship as well as friend. Certainly the 7th house of romance is afflicted by the presence of the South Node. The extreme affliction of Saturn seems to be indicating that X would not be a good prospect for friendship. I suspect that the querent would really prefer X as a romantic interest.

So the chart tells us that the X is unlikely to be the querent's friend. Saturn, ruler of the 11th is afflicted and there is no contact between him and Venus, significator of the querent. Venus separates from a square of Mars, co-significator of X as friend, indicating, not a reconciliation in the future, but a past argument. The Moon, significator of action also separates from an opposition of Mars, and then applies to a square of Venus showing past problems and events going against the querent, so far as this question is concerned, in the future.

While this may be off base, I note that Venus eventually is conjoined by Mercury, who is in the 7th. This may indicate that X pursues the querent in a romantic way. However, with Mercury only dignified by face and afflicted by being in detriment, this is unlikely to work out long term. As I said, however, this is getting off of the question and may not be relevant.

Here is the client's response,

Damn you're good! That was one unbelievable read on my subconscious.

So, with nothing more than the chart and my judgment I gave a very accurate delineation of the situation, which was not as it immediately appeared from the question.

Verdict: Not cold reading!

Here is more information on Horary Astrology and
Traditional Astrology

Top 10 Reasons I Don't Use the Outer Planets

Not a week goes without someone, by e-mail, on discussion groups or by phone, asking me why I don't use the outer planets. Here's my top ten list why I do not use the modern planets.

1. I don't like saying Uranus. Your anus? Urinous?

2. It irritates Glenn Perry

3. I am stuck in a time warp.

4. I fell on my head as an infant and damaged the section of the brain that governs channeling, crystal healing and chakra cleansing.

5. What was good enough for Lilly is good enough for me.

6. I can't count past 7.

7. I am possessed by the spirit of a cranky old man.

8. What outer planets?

9. I am an idiot.

10. Pluto is a dog.

The Wisdom of "I Don't Know"

I've been thinking recently about what might termed the wisdom of "I don't know"

If you go to an astrology conference you will find that modern astrologers (there aren't enough traditional ones to get a decent sample) have a habit of explaining everything astrologically. The weather was caused by Pluto, the late start time of the conference by Uranus sesquiqadrate the asteroid Ceres and the spate of food poisoning by Neptune progressed to the Sun. What I always found confusing was how absolutely confident they were in their diagnoses. I had an astrologer at a conference try to analyze me based on progressions in my chart. He was similarly confident, but way off. I was too polite to mention that he was incorrect, but I did enjoy having the focus on me.

I wonder how much astrology consists of this misplaced overconfidence on the part of the astrologer and clients who are too polite and too entranced with being paid attention to to mention that the astrologer is flat wrong? I get a lot of people asking me about the effects on the country or world of things like planets changing signs or transits, etc, or the astrological cause of mundane events. I always say, "I don't know, as I have not studied mundane astrology" They always seem rather disappointed.

Plato in his Apology quotes Socrates that the only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing. Since I am not a wise man, I must content myself with a careful and searching analysis to know what I really know.

So I will continue to say, despite the blow to my image as omniscient sage, "I don't know" Thus I will be deluding neither myself nor my clients and I will be spurred on to learn more rather than rest satisfied in my ignorance.

Planetary Rings from The Book of Treasure of Alexander

The planetary rings from
The Book of the Treasure of Alexander are very interesting and quite characteristic of astrological magic. We note that they are created when the planets are in the degrees of their exaltations, translated here as the degree of their honor.

The tenth century Islamic astrologer Al-Biruni notes that there is some controversy as to whether the planets are only exalted in their particular degrees or in the whole sign. In traditional astrological practice we use the entire sign, however, the degree of exaltation is considered to be particularly powerful.

Here are the exaltations of the planets:


The Book of the Treasure of Alexander has some variations from both Al-Biruni and the medieval Jewish astrologer Abraham Ibn Ezra as far as the degrees of exaltation:

Saturn-all sources say 21 Libra
Jupiter-all sources say 15 Libra
Mars-Al-Biruni & Ibn Ezra say 28 Capricorn, TA says 21 Capricorn
Sun-all sources say 19 Aries
Venus-Al-Biruni & Ibn Ezra 27Pisces, TA says 28 Pisces
Mercury-all sources say 15 Virgo
Moon-all sources say 3 Taurus

A very interesting point is the instructions given for construction of the rings. Here is the Sun ring, "You need to labor to make sure that the beginning of your effort is when the Sun enters this degree, and so is completion of the etching and the construction so that all your work is completed within that degree. If it isn't completed then stop the work until the Sun enters this degree again." I have always felt that this was implicit in the construction of talismans and that they should not only be started, but also completed while the selected astrological factor was in operation. The suggestion to finish when the factor occurs again is logical and perhaps some opportunities for recharging talismans are possible.

Also very interesting are the "activation" instructions. For example, after making the Jupiter ring one is advised, "You keep the ring until Jupiter is conjunct the Moon in Cancer is the fifteenth degree or somewhere close to it then wear and what was mentioned will occur." After making the rings under particular conditions, then we must wait until the happening of another astrological condition for it to be fully activated. Generally this second condition involves the Moon.

This is also quite logical since Picatrix, the premiere grimoire of astrological magic says,

"And draw your attention to the Moon in all works [of magic] as if it were the chief of all the other planets because it brings about evident manifestations and judgments in all things in the world and it pertains to the power of generation and corruption and she is the mediatrix [female intermediary] in the advance of your work, receiving the influences and impressions of the stars and planets and pouring them out to the inferiors of this world. "

Picatrix Book II, ch. 3

Again, I have felt that the importance of the Moon was implicit in all elections and have attempted, whenever possible, to have the Moon aspecting the planet or fixed star in question.

The metals are what we would expect, with interesting example of the ring of Mercury which is made of mixed iron, gold and silver. Mercury as signifying mixed things is typical of traditional sources, Cornelius Agripa noting that Mercury rules "divers" and mixed colors. Three Books of Occult Philosophy Bk I, ch 29.

The effects of the rings are quite in line with the traditional planetary attributions. All in all, very interesting and clearly in the tradition.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Saturn Rings from Magia Astrologica

I just discovered and translated an interesting section on the rings of Saturn from Magia Astrologica by P. Constantius Albinius, whom I had not previously even heard of!

Saturn Rings from Magia Astrologica

He merits a mention in the magisterial "History of Magic & Experimental Science" by Lynn Thorndike and the passage is of some interest to us as practitioners.

Written in 1611 we might well term this part of the late flowering of Renaissance astrological magic, but the theory and practice are still very recognizably in the tradition of Picatrix, written 600 years early and itself the product of a millennium of Neoplatonic/Hermetic theory and practice.

There are several things I find interesting about this section on the creation of the rings, sigils and talismans of Saturn. First, the author gives us some timing for the preparation of the materials similar to what we see in De Imaginibus of Thabit Ibn Qurra at chapter 10.

Next and I think most salient is the focus on the uniting the intent and acts of the mage in making the talisman. The author makes this point several times and mentions that if you use an artist or artisan to make the talisman, that you must ensure that they, too, have the proper intention to create the talisman.

This parallels what Picatrix says,

What is necessary in these workings, and cannot be dispensed with, is the union of your whole will and belief in the work, so that the power of your spirit is united with the power of the heavens; then all things will be accomplished effectively. Plato says in his book of aphorisms that when someone speaks a word with intention, and belief concords with it, whoever hears it is moved; and the converse, if you wish to do the contrary. This is the root of uniting the will with belief in prayer, and this first of all in asking that which you wish to ask from that Lord to whom you ought to pray.

Picatrix, Bk I, ch 5 Greer & Warnock trans at 39.
Note that I have one paperback and two hardcover editions of our translation of Picatrix book I & II available at the moment.

The union of the proper materials, characters, and timing along with the focus magical intent of the mage is key for the production of talismans. This is one of the reasons that I am so pleased to have Wade, who is a very experienced ceremonial magician, as the jeweler who is producing talismans for Renaissance Astrology!