Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Traditional Astrologer = Fortuneteller - You got a problem with that?

One of the factors that has influenced modern astrology is the prejudice against predicting the future, often expressed as "fortunetelling".

This prejudice is so strong that predicting the future is often illegal, for example in New York. NY Penal Law 165.35 – Fortune telling, states "a person is guilty of fortune telling when, for a fee or compensation which he directly or indirectly solicits or receives, he claims or pretends to tell fortunes, or holds himself out as being able, by claimed or pretended use of occult powers, to answer questions or give advice on personal matters or to exorcise, influence or affect evil spirits or curses; except that this section does not apply to a person who engages in the aforedescribed conduct as part of a show or exhibition solely for the purpose of entertainment or amusement."

So it is fine to predict the future if you admit that you are fake, but if you actually believe in it or don't admit that you are fake, then it is a criminal offense in New York. This is the standard post-Enlightenment approach, as we can see from Blackstone's Commentaries on the Laws of England Bk IV, ch. 4, published in 1765-9, summarizing 18th century English common law which characterized astrology and magic as inherently fraudulent.

While these anti-fortunetelling statutes were adopted by many cities and states, they have been increasingly struck down as violating the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of speech and thought. In Argello v. City of Lincoln, 143 F.3d 1152 (8th Cir. 1998) the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held,

"If the citizens of Lincoln wish to have their fortunes told, or to believe in palm-reading or phrenology, they are free to do so under our system of government, and to patronize establishments or "professionals" who purport to be versed in such arts. Government is not free to declare certain beliefs--for example, that someone can see into the future--forbidden. Citizens are at liberty to believe that the earth is flat, that magic is real, and that some people are prophets."

Still, the underlying materialist view that it is impossible to predict the future through spiritual means still has force.

Modern astrologers have definitely had to deal with anti-fortunetelling prejudice and the possibility of arrest or other governmental action. Evangeline Adams is an excellent example, repeatedly prosecuted in NY for fortunetelling. Check out the Wikipedia article What I find most interesting about this article is that Adams was able to get herself acquitted by the judge in her case by accurately delineating the character of the judge's son, but that she wasn't that accurate at predicting the stock market. Exactly what we would expect from modern astrology which is excellent at natal psychological readings, but not good for prediction!

There are many reasons that modern astrologers reject the label of "fortuneteller" As noted, modern natal astrology is excellent for psychological delineation, not so good for prediction, in part because the methodology is so relentlessly upbeat, while reality itself ranges all the way from very good to very bad with all the nuances in between. Traditional astrology with its extensive essential and accidental dignities and debilities is much more suited to expressing both negative, indifferent and positive outcomes than modern. So there is some wisdom in modern astrologers refusing to predict. Where they can go off the rails is insisting that because they can't predict that no one can.

But a key underlying reason that modern astrologers refuse to accept prediction is that they, like moderns in general, believe strongly in Free Will and often disbelieve or are even actively hostile to Fate. Much of the underlying belief system of moderns, like the adherence to democracy and civil and human rights, is based on the preeminent importance of individual liberty. To the individual ego-self Fate appears as an almost evil force, impeding the desires of the individual. Instead modern astrology is presented as preserving Free Will, of not making predictions because prediction is either impossible or violative of individual freedom.

The modern astrological view exists in very stark contrasts to that of all other schools of astrology, whether Hellenistic, traditional or Vedic, all of which saw themselves as expositors of Fate, capable of making accurate predictions because Fate did indeed exist. Nevertheless, traditional astrologers appear to have had a nuanced view and did not insist that Fate along determined all events, rather that Fate and Free Will both existed simultaneously. Nevertheless, determinism played a major role in reality. The astrological proof of the existence of Fate is a practical one: traditional astrology makes accurate predictions. Without some form of determinism and Fate, accurate prediction is impossible.

This applies to modern astrology as well. I once caused a major ruckus in an online modern astrology school over this very issue. I was teaching the sole traditional astrology course in the curriculum and I asked the students what their views on Fate were. They said that there was no Fate, just possibilities. I said, "well think about this. I have Mars opposed to Mercury in my natal chart. This can express itself positively as being good at debate, and negatively as making verbal attacks, but I will never be a passive wallflower. Isn't this a form of Fate?" One student got so upset that she denounced me to the head of the school! Modern astrology can make very accurate assessments of people's personalities from their natal charts, only because their personalities are, to a great degree, determined. Change is certainly possible, but change generally takes place within predictable limits, again determined by the birth chart.

The label "fortuneteller" has taken on a strong pejorative sense, from the attitudes of materialists who reject the existence of the spiritual and from modern astrologers who reject Fate. It is not surprising that even traditional astrologers are reluctant to embrace it. But, in point of fact, telling fortunes is simply predicting the future and predicting the future has been for 2000 years the very purpose of astrology.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Devotional Practice at the Solstices and Equinoxes

I had a student ask me about doing devotional practice at the Solstices and Equinoxes. This is important, as I understand it, in Wiccan and Neo-pagan practice. (Please forgive my lack of knowledge!)

The equinoxes and solstices are significant in traditional astrology because they show how our tropical Zodiac is aligned to the seasons.

The Sun goes into Aries a the Spring Equinox, the Sun goes into Cancer at the Summer Solstice, the Sun goes into Libra at the Autumnal Equinox and the Sun goes into Capricorn at the Winter Solstice. These are the moveable or cardinal signs, and their meaning, showing change and movement, comes from their seasonal attribution.

This orientation to the seasons is one of the key attributes of the Tropical Zodiac

With our heating and cooling, cars and artificial lighting, we are very insulated from the seasons. My wife tells the story of how, when she was young, she had to daily feed and take care of her horse by walking several miles to the pasture. This was tough in the Midwestern Winter and she really noticed when Spring came. We can fool ourselves with our technology only for so long, however, as we are utterly dependent on the natural world and its cycles.

As far as a devotional celestial practice, however, I have a couple of comments. First, we are basically reverse engineering Picatrix Bk III chapter 7 and other sections of Picatrix and sources, which are written to be used for astrological magic, back to their earlier use as celestial devotional ritual. A lot of information is unavailable to us and some practices, like animal sacrifice, we do not wish to emulate. So we have some broad guidance, and lots of individual methods, but a great deal of possible devotional practices we could revamp or even invent (really discover!) Certainly, there is no reason why we could not do devotional practice using the solstices and equinoxes.

Ok, so what would those practices be? Basically, from an astrological standpoint, we are looking at Solar devotions. While Agrippa, for example, identifies spirits of the signs, Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk III, ch 24, and there can be no doubt that there are spirits for all celestial factors, planets, fixed stars, Mansions of the Moon, decans, etc., as between the planets and the signs, it really is the planets that are significantly more prominent and more active. Still, my sense after thinking and writing about this is that one would definitely invoke the Sun and likely also the spirit of the sign. I also am getting a sense that there is a spirit for each of the solstices and equinoxes, though who and what these spirits are, and how to invoke them, I do not know.

A key part of astrological magic and celestial devotion is appropriate astrological timing, and clearly the appropriate time for a solstice/equinox ritual is immediately when the Sun enters the appropriate sign. So, when the Sun enters Aries, for example, we would invoke the Sun and the spirit of Aries, Malchidael according to Agrippa.

As and perhaps more cautiously, if this strand of spirituality develops, guided by our illustrious predecessors and the celestial spirits, the practice of celestial devotions will organically grow and develop.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

How Do You Find Electional Charts?

I had a post complimenting me on a video I did awhile ago on how to use Solar Fire and my traditional page to do a Sun talisman election. Here is the link to the video. I watched it again and I thought, "this is pretty good!"

I wish I could do more, but this ten minute video, however, took probably 4-5 hours to make. It's an excellent resource, though, for advanced traditional students, particularly those interested in electional astrology.

Electional is the most difficult of all the types of astrology, both in terms of technique and in dealing with clients. In horary practice our traditional sources really lay out in detail how to judge a chart and give many examples for us to work from. Electional is different. We have lots and lots and lots of rules for the final chart, all of which cannot be followed, which Ramesey and other traditional electional sources acknowledge. "If you can't do X, Y and Z, at least do A" is typical. We have almost no examples of electional charts, Gadbury's Nauticum Astrologicum is about the only traditional sources with actual charts, I can think of.

So I had to basically invent a methodology to find elections, which you can see in the video. The first step, which seems basic, is to determine what factors you are electing for and decide whether they are vital for the election or just a bonus. This seems basic, but when I look at how many amateur astrologers operate they don't seem to have any set factors they are looking for. Instead they seem to just look at random charts and riff on the charts.

We determine the factors to be elected from our traditional sources and from practice. Agrippa, Picatrix and other sources give basic recipes. For example, the Agrippa Sun talisman in the video needed to be Sun exalted, Sun rising and Sun hour. We added that the Sun & Moon not be afflicted, which seems rather common sense, but is not mentioned in the source. You could also make this talisman with the Sun culminating, again based on traditional source and practice which tell us that culminating is almost as strong a position as rising.

The next step in my methodology, which you can see in the video, but I didn't explicitly point out, is that you arrange the required electional factors in order of slowest changing to fastest changing.

So in this case, 1. Sun in Aries is the slowest changing and happens only only 30 days or so a year. 2. Sun rising happens once a day 3. Sun hour happens about 3 times a day. 4. Sun & Moon unafflicted, which is going to be variable. So we start looking at the approximately 30 day range when the Sun is in Aries starting around March 21.

Then as noted, the Sun rises on Sunday at Sun hour, so we start looking at Sundays, since having the planetary day is a plus, though not required for this election. As a rule planetary hour is more important than planetary day. You can see the rest of the process on the video.

This is a process that requires the raw computing power of astrological software, it just wouldn't be possible if you had to hand calculate charts, so this is not how traditional electional astrologers worked. In fact, how they did it is a bit mysterious, since as noted, they don't give details of their finding techniques in traditional sources.

Some insight into their methods can be gleaned, however, from Robert Zoller's traditional natal astrology course. Zoller was a pre-astrological software traditional astrologer and throughout his course he gives short cuts and rules of thumb for understanding planetary cycles. This is likely how traditional astrologers operated. Modern astrologers are very chart focused and with software we can look at hundreds of different charts to find elections. These charts are like snapshots, however, and we don't have the deeper understanding of planetary cycles that our predecessors had. As is typical of technology, while our elections are likely more precise and thus more powerful than what our traditional predecessors could do, we've lost the deeper understanding of celestial cycles and the deeper connection that they had.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Astrological Talisman Weather for January 28-29, 2017

Note that this only looks at basic essential & accidental dignity! Other factors may come into play.
Saturn dignified by term and face (fine for talisman)
Jupiter dignified by face slow (avoid for talisman)
Mars dignified by sign and face (great for talisman)
Sun in detriment (avoid for talisman)
Venus exalted dignified by triplicity (great for talisman)
Mercury peregrine (avoid for talisman)
Moon peregrine (avoid except for Mansion talisman)

Mars in the 1st face of Aries, "The form of a black man, restless and great in body having red eyes and holding a cutting axe in his hand, girded about with white garment; and there is great worth in this face. And this is a face of strength, high rank, and wealth without difference." Picatrix