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!

New Mercury Anti-Poverty Protection Talisman

I was reading Agrippa and noticed that he says of Mercury talismans that they, "render the bearer thereof gratefull, and fortunate to do what he pleaseth: it bringeth gain, and prevents poverty, conduceth to memory, understanding, and divination, and to the understanding of occult things by dreams:"

Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk II, ch 22.

Bring gain and prevent poverty, eh? That's sounds pretty good just about now!

So I am pleased to present a new Mercury talisman.

These are smaller than the standard Mercury talismans but packed with the same savvy, cunning, clever Mercurial energy, just what you need to negotiate the current financial path, strewn as it is with avalanches and rockslides.

These talismans are 1/2 the price of the standard Mercury talismans, just $99 plus shipping. Shipping is $12.95 for insured US shipping, $29 for insured non-US and while I don't recommend it, you can ship non-insured non-US for $14.95, however this means you bear the risk of loss!

If you are into astrological magic at all, you really owe to yourself to us it and get as much help as you can financially for now and for the foreseeable future. Wade and I specialize in wealth, prosperity and financial talismans! We both have very strong Jupiters and it shows in the results we get personally and for our clients with money talismans.

The new Mercury talismans are a great and affordable way to tap into the power of astrological magic and Mercury himself, who is particularly suited to sales, marketing, stocks, investment, Internet and high tech ventures, as well as writing, communications, occult knowledge, magic and astrology.

Check out the new Mercury talismans here

Friday, October 24, 2008

Who is the Real Malefic?

Traditional astrology is sometimes accused of tarring Saturn & Mars as utterly evil planets, while modern sometimes goes to the opposite extreme and reduces Saturn & Mars to "challenges" that with a positive attitude and proper affirmation, can invariably be overcome.

Part of this difference in attitude towards Saturn & Mars comes from the different purposes to which modern and traditional astrology are put. Modern astrology is predominately natal and psychological in approach. It seeks to understand the patterns of the psyche in the chart and offers a therapeutic approach to dealing with psychological problems. Traditional astrology is oriented towards outward concrete events and making precise, accurate prediction regarding these events.

It therefore makes sense for modern astrology to be very optimistic. After all, a therapist is not going to say to a patient, "1/3 of people don't improve with treatment." They want to give every patient the opportunity to benefit from therapy and encourage them as much as possible to be optimistic about their prospects.

Traditional astrology, on the other hand, is seeking to predict events. It therefore needs to be able to quantify indications in the chart, be it horary, natal, electional or mundane, that range all the way from very good to very bad, with all of the shades of gray in between. The essential dignity system (here is more information on the Essential Dignities ) is one way this is done, for as the planets move through the Zodiac their dignity and strength or debility and affliction can be precisely calibrated.

Another very important indicator of often negative events are the malefics, Saturn, the Greater Malefic and Mars, the Lesser Malefic. These are balanced in the traditional system by Jupiter, the Greater Benefic and Venus, the Lesser Benefic. Indeed, the Renaissance sage Marsilio Ficino advises that, "When you fear Saturn, use Jupiter" Three Books on Life, Bk III, ch 7, Kaske & Clarke trans at 275. Saturn rules all sorts of nasty things, for example, Agrippa says that of places Saturn rules, "all stinking places, dark, underground, religious and mournful places, as churchyards, tombs, and houses not inhabited by men, and old, tottering, obscure, dreadful houses, and solitary dens, caves and pits, also fishponds, standing pools, fens" Three Books of Occult Philosophy Bk I, ch. 47.

As much as we might not like stinking dark places, they do exist in reality and thus as everything is ruled by one or planets, even unpleasant things need a ruler and signifier.

Yet we need to keep in mind that the planets in and of themselves are not evil. The 13th century Spanish philosopher Ramon Lull in his Treatise on Astronomy says,

"No sign or planet does evil with respect to its proper quality. This is because it has goodness and because good and evil are contraries. But through accident, according to the dispositions below, the same planet can do good or evil by its proper quality. "

"As with the Sun, which by its brightness and heat does good to the hunter, who shoots the stag with an arrow, for without brightness, the arrow could not reach the stag. But by the same brightness and day, the Sun does evil to the stag, killed because of the Sun, which gives day and brightness to the archer with which he can see the stag."

Ramon Lull, Treatise on Astronomy, (Hindsight, 1994) Bk I, Page 40.

What Lull is alluding to when he mentions the "dispositions below" is the Neoplatonic/Hermetic view that the higher celestial and spiritual realities manifest imperfectly in material things.

This is our opportunity with Saturn and Mars, first to respect their necessary role and second to cleanse ourselves of the imperfections imposed by matter and work with the essence of the planets themselves. The energy of Saturn and Mars can be difficult to take, less pleasant and enjoyable than Venus and Jupiter, but ultimately it may be Venus, who leads astray through pleasure and Jupiter, who leads astray through wealth, who are the true malefics!

More on the Planets in Renaissance Astrology and Saturn and Mars

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Magic, Fate & Free Will

I have been asked how I can do magic, when it is possible that the magic may interfere with someone else's free will. This often comes up in the area of love magic.

First, I would begin by saying that Renaissance astrologers did not subscribe to the Stoic idea that all things were absolutely fated. They were generally Christians and fairly orthodox and accepted that Free Will existed. However, they saw the body and passions as under the rule of the stars and only the divine part of humans (soul or spirit) as capable of exercising free will. Thus both Fate and Free Will operate simultaneously.

My experience, both astrological and personal, tends to support this. I frankly don't see many people, myself included, exercising free will. Think about it. Free Will is not choosing Coke over Pepsi or a BMW over a Porsche. This is merely choosing to a method to satisfy our passions and desires. One of our modern archetypes, a strongly held belief, is that we are rational, logical individuals, that we can make our own fates. If this were so, then we could not predict even a person's character or psychology from their chart, let alone make the sort of precise prediction that traditional natal and horary are capable of.

So, as a preliminary matter, I question whether people have that much free will in the first place that can be interfered with. Essentially we must go with the flow as astrological magicians. We can make use of the natal chart of the person we wish to affect, but that just tells us what they are fated to do and what sort of lures they are susceptible to.

Now I do not do any form of malefic magic. I will not assist in magic or elections to cause any sort of harm or damage. I will not even do breakup spells. However, if I refused to do any magic that influenced others I could not do any magic at all!

Secondly, I have noted that moderns are extremely squeamish about the idea of using traditional supernatural or spiritual powers to influence others. They are not at all concerned about other methods of influence. I have never been condemned for advertising, marketing or public relations, but these are, in fact, extremely powerful techniques of mass magical mind/consciousness control.

Let's look at mind control and influence on a more personal level. Do we condemn a woman wants to seduce a man and asks his friend about his likes and dislikes, changes her style and clothing to suit him, wears makeup and perfume, makes frequent eye contact, laughs at his jokes, puts her hand on his arm, all with the intent to influence and inflame him? Much of this seduction is taking place on an unconscious level for him, he is only aware that he is enthralled by her.

So while this has been a rather long answer to the question, the bottom line is that there can be no doubt that magic is an attempt to influence and control the will of others. If the potential user does not wish to do this, one should not practice magic. But to be consistent one should not advertise, market or use public relations. One should show up for dates, interviews and public occasions unshaven and unshowered, when asked "am I too fat?" one should honestly answer "Yes!" etc., etc.

Indeed, isn't counseling an attempt to influence and change the will of the patient? Certainly the therapist may have the best intentions, but aren't they trying to change the patient, to influence them to be what the therapist believes to be a better way to think, feel and live?

More on Astrological Magic and Astrological Talismans

Talismans in the Arabian Nights

I was recently reading a complete translation of Alf laylah wa laylah or The Thousand and One Nights, also known as the Arabian Nights. There are many variants, but this is basically a medieval Arabic text.

I came across this interesting discussion of talismans. In this story, "the Wisdom beneath the Severed Heads" a young man is being tested on his knowledge.

"You have escaped death a second time, young man" said the princess, "Now tell me to what [do] talismans own their virtue?"

The young man answered from his horse: "O, princess, they owe their sublime virtues and miraculous effects to the letters which compose them; for there is no letter in the language which is not governed by a spirit, ray or emanation of the virtue of Allah. The spirits of the intellect communicate with those of the soul and the those of the soul with those of the senses. Letters form words and words form sentences; and the sentences written on talismans are nothing but a collection of spirits which, though they may astonish the ordinary man, do not trouble the wise; for the wise know the power of words and are aware that words govern the whole world. Whether they are written or spoken, words can destroy kings and ruin empires. "

Mathers translation, Vol IV, page 85.

More on Al-Biruni & Islamic Astrology.

Hoodoo & Traditional Astrology

Hoodoo (Southern folk magic) seems to mix well with traditional astrological magic. This is partially because this is a traditional mixture! European magic (folk and otherwise) came into hoodoo practice.

Another more basic reason for the harmonious mixture is that hoodoo is basically African magic (with some European magic) practiced against a philosophical and religious background of Christianity. For the most part hoodoo practitioners (at least until very recently with the influx of Wicca and Neopagans) were Southern Christians, usually African-American (though many of their customers were white!).

Hoodoo does make a limited use of astrology. The most noteworthy is the use of the phases of the Moon for timing, which is not infrequent. Occasionally we get a more involved use of astrology. In Hyatt's Hoodoo Conjuration Witchcraft and Rootwork "HCWR" at pp. 1914-1930 is an interesting interview with informant 1445 from Fayetteville, North Carolina, entitled "She Observes the Astro'mical Signs".

"If yo' wanta use a man's photograph, as well as ah kin undahstan', yo' take dis photograph. Fust find de signs, astro'mical signs. Yo know we have twelve signs an' dose signs have sevens days in de month-yo's a man, see. Yo ketch dis sign whilst it in dis man's brain, if yo' want to change his mind fo' any purpose. If de sign is on de han' today, well yo cain't do no business -not until dat sign come back nex' week till de nex one come..."

The informant then goes on to say,

"Well yo' couldn't take no day tuh work it on no man except de sign was on dat day."

Hyatt then asks "The day you work it, you have to have the sign for that day? You have to have the sign for that day and you draw that sign on the photograph?"

The informant answers, "Dat's right"

Throughout the rest of her interview the informant uses this astrological method to time her work. The reference to 12 signs having 7 days in a month is confusing, as each sign could only have about 2.5 days. Nevertheless the informant seems to be using an ancient astrological method called the Zodiacal Man. As each astrological sign rules a different part of the body, Aries the head, Taurus, neck, Gemini, arms, Cancer, chest, Leo, the heart, Virgo, the bowels, Libra, kidneys, Scorpio, the genitals, Sagitarius, the thighs, Capricorn, knees, Aquarius, ankles and Pisces the feet. The Zodiacal Man is a picture of a person with the signs superimposed on the appropriate part of the body and a typical illustration of a medieval book of hours.

In D. Michael Quinns' Early Mormonism and the Magic World View at Figures 21-22, some examples of 19th century almanacs are provided with a listing of the signs that correspond to the various parts of the body and a listing of what days each month the Moon was in each sign. So while this is less complex than a full scale traditional astrological election, it is typical of how astrological information was used in the 19th and 20th century America.

It does appear that informant 1445 was using this method of magical timing, showing a link between ancient astrology and modern hoodoo. Thus while astrology is rare in hoodoo, this example is the best yet of the use of astrology by rootworkers. In addition, it is particularly noteworthy that the informant writes the astrological sign on the photograph. This is truly traditional astrological magic, right out of the pages of Cornelius Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy (1530).

So, I use hoodoo and traditional astrology because they work well together. I even have a Astrology for Rootworkers Course.

More on Hoodoo & Traditional Astrology; Hoodoo & Silver Procyon Anti-Curse talisman

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Traditional World View/Traditional Astrology

If you are thinking like a traditional astrologer, if you have a traditional world view, then you are going accept and agree with 99% of traditional technique. You are not going to want to change it just for change's sake because that isn't a traditional approach. You are going to respect tradition and stick with it!

The initial problem we have as traditional astrologers is just getting moderns weaned off of modern technique. On Spiritus Mundi, my personal discussion group one method we use to ensure that we stay on track is to require only that traditional technique be used. How do we define traditional technique? We can find it in a source published between 1200-1700 in Europe and actually used between 1200-1700 in Europe.

However, there is a higher level problem which is once these techniques are learned some practitioners can start to treat the sources almost idolatrously. The Holy Writ According to the Sacred Lilly and such! This ignores the fact that there was a certain amount of individualized technique then and as well as now and it also has
the effect of freezing all traditional astrology permanently as written in 1647.

Definitely the student of traditional and the learner needs to stick strictly to what our sources say. But at some point those who have mastered traditional astrology need to be able to develop their own individualized technique.

Let's break this down,

(1) This individualized technique is just for those with mastery. Perhaps we can provisionally place mastery as having judged over 1,000 actual horary questions by posed by others using just traditional methods. This limits it to a pretty small group!

(2) The individualized technique cannot violate the key tenets, the framework of the traditional astrological system.

Let's give an example, probably the only technique I use that it is not strictly traditional, which is the use of the outer planets in a manner comparable to fixed stars. Thus in a relationship horary if someone asks, "Will I divorce X?" and Uranus, which seems to be associated with divorce and separation, is conjunct the cusp of the
Ascendant or 7th house, this is a secondary indicator of divorce. Of course I would not judge divorce solely on that indication!

Now the use of the outer planets in this fashion is very limited. I use a very small orb and only conjunctions and only consider them if they are germane to the question and conjunct a significator. They do seem, however, to be sensitive points, analogous to a fixed star and useful secondary indications.

This novel technique, not found in traditional sources, is therefore not a traditional technique. Does it do violence to framework of traditional astrology? Provisionally my answer is no, especially when we compare it to the use of the outer planets as sign rulers. This modern technique, Uranus ruling Aquarius and so on, is destructive of the traditional astrological framework since it destroys the symmetry
of the traditional planetary rulerships. Also it interrupts the planetary hour and the sequence of the days of the week. Are we going to have Uranusday now?

Finally, philosophically the basis for using the outer planets seems to be that "well they physically exist so you must use them" In other words, the physical planets are paramount. Whereas the traditional, at least Neoplatonic/Hermetic view would be that the physical planets are an imperfect reflection of deeper, underlying spiritual order. The traditional planetary rulership system is more perfect, more symmetrical and thus more reflective of the underlying spiritual order which is paramount over the material in stark contrast to the modern view.

What I am trying to do is work through how the small group of masters of traditional astrology can stay within the tradition and yet not be stuck doing nothing that is not found in Lilly or other traditional sources. I have no personal desire to innovate, and indeed I have never come up with a single new technique myself. I don't however, want to freeze the practice of traditional astrology permanently. There are ways to add to the practice, to develop our own individualized technique while still remaining within the tradition.

But remember kids, don't try this at home, wait until you have done 1,000 charts and you will find your desire to innovate almost non-existent.

More on Horary Astrology

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Modern vs. Traditional Approach to Astrology

I received insight into a major difference between the modern and traditional approach at a lecture I attended by a fairly well known astrologer who uses some traditional techniques. The astrologer mentioned the question of reception. Now by Lilly's day reception meant mutual reception, that is where one planet is in the sign (and sometimes exaltation) of another, e.g. Sun in Scorpio, Mars in Leo (sign/sign) or Sun in Aries, Mars in Aries (sign, exaltation).

However, the astrologer neglected to mention that Bonatti in the 13th century and earlier medieval Arabic astrologers did not limit reception to mutual reception, though this was a particular strong form of it. For Bonatti to be in reception planets had to be making an applying aspect and one planet had to be in the dignity of the other. This was further restricted by the fact that the dignity was either sign or exaltation, or any two of triplicity, term and face. Also if either of the planets was in each other's detriment or fall, reception was ineffective. We can see that this definition includes mutual reception, but is broader.

The astrologer then went on to mention Ivy Goldstein-Jacobson's "theory" that planets in mutual reception "change places" Now this is something she invented herself and traditional astrologers have spent the last 20 years trying to stamp out in traditional horary.

The astrologer then "proved" that this technique works using celebrity charts and a horary. The horary question was, "Should we accept the offer for the house?" Now these are fairly straightforward questions in traditional horary. We use the 1st house and ruler for the querent, here the seller, the 7th house and ruler for the buyer (in this question) the 4th for the property and the 10th for the price. As first ruler was applying to an opposition of 7th ruler , clearly the answer was, "no, do take the offer", or alternatively "you won't take the offer" Same difference.

Rather than this simple exposition, the astrologer launched into a complex and confusing digression about the proper method to evict the tenant then residing in the property and the outcome of that effort. This prediction was correct, but I couldn't follow the explanation or replicate the result myself.

What I realized was that this astrologer was basically using a modern approach with a few traditional elements added. What this means is that the chart is basically equivalent to a crystal ball, tarot cards, or the entrails of animal. They are methods for accessing the psychic powers of the soothsayer. All quite effective divination techniques in the hands of the proper person, but not really a system that can be taught.

Now I have been asked if I am a psychic. My usual response was, "no, astrology is a science" I realize that this is not quite true. I do use intuition, but only after casting a chart and letting the chart lay out the parameters of the answer. Once the chart gives me a number of possibilities, then I can use my intuition and judgment to decide on the correct one. For example, was the answer to the astrologer's question, "Don't take the offer" or "You won't end up taking the offer (perhaps it will be withdrawn or there will be problems with the buyer)?

I think this points up a fundamental difference between traditional and modern astrology. Traditional lays out an answer systematically and then applies intuition to the possibilities set out in the chart. Modern jumps right to intuition, but thinks it is a science. The other insight is being a little bit of a modern astrology is like being a little bit pregnant. Even if you use some traditional techniques, if your approach is modern, you are a modern astrologer.

More information here on Traditional Astrology

Saturn & Mercury

The Liber Fructus or Centiloquim attributed to Ptolemy says, "One skillful in this Science may evade many effects of the Stars, when he knows their Natures and diligently prepares himself to receive their effects." Aphorism 5.

Thus it is not so much a question of getting whatever we want, but adjusting ourselves to the cycles of the Heavens, particularly by being psychologically prepared for their effects.

Another aphorism from the Liber Fructus, "In the election of day and hour, the two Infortunes are very useful and thou must use them as the Physician doth poison, skillfully for the cure of man." Aphorism 10. Thus we do not simply flee from Saturn and Mars, but we must understand them and make use of them when appropriate.

Finally a passage from Montulmo's On the Judgment of Nativities,

"If Saturn is fortunate and the dispositor of the soul and joined
together with a fortunate Mercury...the native will be of subtle and
acute intellect, an inquirer, an investigator of subtle matters, and he
will delight very much in these things...he will be a learned man, and
he will attempt everything which is subtle especially in which there is
immense difficulty...If both planets are unfortunate, the native will be
unhappy, envious, a deceiver and a robber...he will be solitary and will
perform the incantations of demons and always seek after diabolical

Part 2 (Arhat ed.) page 55. The benefic and malefic qualities are mixed in each planet though the benefic tends to manifest more when the planet is dignified and the malefic when it is debilitated.

So we must pay a price for knowledge of these occult and esoteric matters and that price is a certain amount of isolation and melancholy. As Ficino notes in the first book of his Three Books on Life, both Mercury and Saturn, which rule this sort of contemplative thought and study, are cold and dry, which is the nature of melancholy.

More on Saturn and Mercury

Roots of Magical Practice From Picatrix

"Suffumigacions plurimas facias, perfecte credas, ieiunabis sepe, multas fundas oracions, loca operibus digna elige, aspectus planetarum aspice. He autem operum magice sunt radice."

"Plentiful suffumigations, complete confidence, frequent fasting, many prayers, picking a worthy place for the work, considering the aspects of the planets. These are the root of magical operations."

Picatrix Book IV, Chapter 4, page 191, Aphorism 8 (Translation by Christopher Warnock, Esq.)

More here on Picatrix and Astrological Magic.

Ficino on Beauty, Love and Magic

An excellent in depth answer to the question of what Ficino's theory of beauty was can be found in Speech V of his Commentary on Plato's Symposium on Love, translated by Sears Jayne (Spring Publications, 1985) beginning on page 83.

Briefly, however, Ficino says that the Face of God can be glimpsed in three mirrors, the three worlds of the Angels and Archetypes, the Anima Mundi or Soul of the World, and in the Material World. "The grace of that divine face" says Ficino, "we call beauty" and the desire and longing produced by that beauty is love.

Ficino goes on later to link love and magic,

"But why do we think that Love is a magician? Because the whole power of magic consists in love. The work of magic is the attraction of one thing by another because of a certain affinity of nature. But the parts of this world, like the parts of a single animal, all deriving from a single author, are joined to each other by the communion of single nature...From this common relationship is born a common love; from love, a common attraction. And this is the true magic."

Commentary on Plato's Symposium on Love, page 127.

More on Marsilio Ficino and Astrological Magic.

Chaucer on Astrological Medicine

Here is part of the Physician's Portrait from the General Prologue of Geoffrey Chaucer's 14th century Canterbury Tales.

The Physician's Portrait

411: With us ther was a doctour of phisik [medicine];
412: In al this world ne was the noon hym lik,
413: To speke of phisik and of surgerye
414: For he was grounded in astronomye.
415: He kepte his pacient a ful greet deel
416: In houres by his magyk natureel.
417: Wel koude he fortunen the ascendent
418: Of his ymages for his pacient.
419: He knew the cause of everich maladye,
420: Were it of hoot, or coold, or moyste, or drye,
421: And where they engendred, and of what humour.
422: He was a verray, parfit praktisour:
423: The cause yknowe, and of his harm the roote,
424: Anon he yaf the sike man his boote [cure].

Planetary Modes and Music

The modes associated in the Renaissance with each planet are listed with the final or note upon which each mode cadences listed in parentheses. The characterization of the music of each planet by the Renaissance philosopher and astrologer Marsilio Ficino are also given.


Mixolydian Mode

(G) A B C D E F G

“voices that are slow, deep, harsh and plaintive” Marsilio Ficino, Three Books on Life, Bk. III, Chapter 21 (Kaske & Clarke) page 361.


Lydian Mode

(F) G A B C D E F

“The music...of Jupiter is deep, earnest, sweet and joyful with stability.” Three Books on Life, page 361.


Phrygian Mode

(E) F G A B C D E

“...voices that are...quick, sharp, fierce and menacing...” Three Books on Life, page 361.

The Sun

Dorian Mode

(D) E F G A B C D

“...if [the songs] with their grace and smoothness they are reverential, simple and earnest, the songs are judged to be Apollo’s [the Sun’s].” Three Books on Life, page 361.


Hypolydian Mode

C D E (F) G A B C

“To Venus...we ascribe songs voluptuous with wantonness and softness.” Three Books on Life, page 361.


Hypophrygian Mode

B C D (E) F G A B

“[if the songs]...are somewhat more relaxed along with their gaiety, but vigorous and complex, they are Mercury’s.” Three Books on Life, page

The Moon

A B C (D) E F G A

Hypodorian Mode

Ficino says that the voice of the Moon is in between that of Saturn and Mars. Three Books on Life, page 361.

The Planets & the Chains of Cosmic Correspondence

Traditional astrology, the astrology practiced before 1700, used the seven ancient planets, visible to the eye: Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon. The word planet comes from the Greek, planetos, wanderer, and comes from the fact that the planets moved in their own distinct orbits against the backdrop of the fixed stars and constellations.

Each planet was associated with a Greek or Roman god and the qualities of a planet had a great deal to do with the god it corresponded to. While this is taken for granted by many astrologers it does appear somewhat puzzling. Why would a ball of rock or gas, seemingly randomly placed, have anything to do with pagan gods?

The answer is the key to traditional astrology and the philosophies that explain it. Traditional astrologers lived in a world of Divine order created by God with a web of sympathies and correspondences that connected everything in the Cosmos. The Renaissance philosopher and astrologer Marsilio Ficino says, "Most important, the cosmos is itself an animal more unified than any other animal, the most perfect animal..." Marsilio Ficino, Three Books on Life, trans. Kaske & Clarke (MRTS, 1998) p. 251. As the Great Man the Cosmos as Macrocosm corresponded to the individual man, the Microcosm. Each person is a Universe complete unto themselves perfectly ordered and connected to the whole of Reality.

For Renaissance philosophers and astrologers the planets were a key part of the Celestial World, itself the essential link between the Divine World of Angels and Intelligences and the Material World. Each of the planets rules a myriad of things here in the Material World. The famous English astrologer William Lilly states, for example, that Saturn rules old men, brick makers, the spleen, hemp, crows and lead. Christian Astrology, pages 57-60.

What this means is that each of the things ruled by a particular planet share certain qualities, powers and virtues embodied in a celestial form exemplified by their planetary ruler. The planet, in turn, is the instantiation of one or more Divine Forms or Ideas. Thus everything in the Material World has its origin in the Divine World through the mediation of the celestials.

It is the characteristic of matter that it resists the imposition of Forms and Ideas. This quality of matter means that all material things will lose their forms through decay and death. In addition, the Heavens are constantly pursuing their ordered orbits, endlessly imposing change on material things. Thus birth, corruption, death and rebirth endlesslycycle in the Material World in unceasing obedience to the Celestial and ultimately to the Divine Worlds.

The mechanism that connects the Divine to the Celestial World and then the Celestial to the Material World is an intricate web of correspondences. Ficino says,

"I have said elsewhere that down from every single star (so to speak
Platonically) there hangs its own series of things down to the
lowest...Under the celestial Serpent or the entire constellation of the
Serpent-bearer, they place Saturn and sometimes Jupiter, afterwards
daemons who often take on serpent's form, in addition men of this kind,
serpents (the animals), the snake-weed, the stone draconite which
originates in the head of a dragon, and the stone commonly called
serpentine...By a similar system they think a chain of beings descends
by levels from any star of the firmament through any planet under its

Marsilio Ficino, Three Books on Life, Bk. III, Chap. 14, p. 311.

To make use of the these chains of correspondence we must identify the qualities we wish to intensify or avoid, the material items that embody these qualities and the planets that rule them.

Saturn Talisman Pre-Orders Available

I am going to start taking pre-orders for the sterling silver talismans of the Saturn that Wade will be casting November 24, 2008.

Saturn Talisman Pre-Order Link

These could almost be described as historic since we have not been able to make Saturn talismans for years with Saturn in detriment in Cancer and Leo for soooo long! We have actually never made Saturn talismans before since he has been afflicted as long as we have been making talismans.

You can see Nigel's design for the front of the talisman, plus the election here

Saturn Talisman Election & Chart

On the back will be the planetary table of Saturn.

Saturn talismans are good for power, growth, particularly in agriculture, building, discipline, control, (weight loss!) health, long life, occult knowledge, esoteric wisdom, philosophy, astrology and magic! This will complete the entire set of planetary talismans here at Renaissance Astrology and how fitting it is to end with Saturn, whose sphere is highest and whose wisdom deepest.

If Saturn is in Aquarius or Capricorn (his signs) or Libra (his exaltation) in your chart, not retrograde or combust (within 8.5 degrees of the Sun) then Saturn should be excellent for you. If Saturn is in Gemini or Sagittarius he is dignified by triplicity, not retrograde or combust (within 8.5 degrees of the Sun) he is nicely dignified by triplicity and again would be a good talisman for you.

If Saturn is in Cancer or Leo (his detriments) or in Aries (his fall) or retrograde or combust (within 8.5 degrees of the Sun) Saturn is not for you.

If you are seriously interested in getting a Saturn talisman you can send me your time, date and place of birth and I can check it quickly for you. Don't ask just for fun, though! This takes me time and energy and I need to reserve this check for actual clients.

If you want one of the beautiful Saturn talismans they are available
for pre-order here

Saturn Talisman Pre-Order Link

The cost is $199.95 plus shipping.

With Saturn in Aquarius rising you can bet that I am going to get one of the first of these talismans! I attribute much of my success as a lawyer, astrologer and mage to this Saturn placement.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pleiades Ritual

One of the oddest things about magic is that it does not obey the usual rules associated with material causality, like cause A happening before effect B.

In this case, having decided to make the Pleaides talisman and in particular in the form of acid etched mirrors, I have already started to experience its effects with regard to invocation and finding hidden knowledge.

I'm not sure exactly why, I think it was Mike's reference to the Greek Magical Papyri, I started flipping through Betz' translation.
On page 140, PGM VII 795-845 at 830, I came across ancient invocation of the angel of the Pleaides! This was followed shortly after by stumbling on the listing, in Curse Tablets and Binding Spells of the Ancient World, by John Gager,
of a listing of the sigils of the 36 decan/faces! Wow! Very useful, very appropriate to my current tasks and what a strange "coincidence"

I have decided that my new definition of magic, at least so far as it acts on the material plane, is as the "art of consciously causing coincidences" !

And here, for your use in consecrating your Pleiades talismans is an adaptation of the Greek Magical Papyri Pleaides angel invocation:

Oh, star cluster of the Pleiades, O, Seven Sisters, I call upon thee, in your names of Alcyone, Maia, Taygete, Electra, Celoeno, Sterope and Merope, that you infuse this talisman with your power, pneuma and spirit.

I call upon you, holy angel ZIZAUBIO, from the company of the Pleiades to whom you are subordinate and serve for all things, for whatever she may command you, you great, indestructible, fire breathing one, who cast the rope of heaven, through which rope all things turn upon earth. And also I call upon you yourselves who are angels who have been stationed beneath [ZIZAUBIO's] power. Hence I call upon you all that you come quickly in this night and reveal to me clearly and firmly, concerning all matters I desire and that you infuse this
talisman with your power, pneuma and spirit. I conjure you O lord, who rise above the earth of the whole cosmic region, by the one ruling the whole inhabited world and the benefactor of all. Hence I call upon in this night and ask that you infuse this talisman with your power, pneuma and spirit, O angel ZIZAUBIO.

May this talisman protect the light of the eyes, gather daimons and spirits of the dead to come and speak and make [the wearer] to know of secret and hidden things. I ask this in the name of the Seven Sisters of the Pleiades, Alcyone, Maia, Taygete, Electra, Celoeno, Sterope and Merope and in the name of the angel of the Pleiades, ZIZAUBIO and all of the spirits of the Pleiades.

Casting the Pleiades Talisman

I got this e-mail from Wade, our mage/jeweler, regarding his casting of the Pleiades talismans. A fascinating look at actual casting and the consecration process for talismans! Note that ritual is flexible and needs to fit what inspires you. You can see the final results here

19 September 2008

About 40 minutes before the casting window opened I turned on the electro melt (melts the sterling silver). I gathered up the frankincense and fennel for the casting. I printed out the invocation to the Pleiades that Chris emailed to the group.

I always start all castings with an invocation to God. Since the Pleiades is not associated with a planet or Sephiroth. I invoked the names of God on the middle pillar of the Tree of Life. That is, Eyeyh (Kether), Yod-Heh-Vav-Heh (IHVH, Tiphareth), and Adonai (Malkuth). The intention was to open a channel from the Heavens (Kether) to the Earth (Malkuth).

Once the metal was molten I took the flasks out of the oven and poured the metal. The first pour was completed 5 minutes after the casting window opened. The second pour was completed 10 minutes later.

I placed the flasks on bricks (they are still well over 1000 degrees┬║ F). I placed the incense on the glowing buttons and profuse smoke rose into the air. I began the Invocation to the Pleiades. But not too loud. I do have neighbors and did not want to attract attention chanting at 10:00 PM.

Once the flask have cooled, I quenched them. I put more incense on a glowing charcoal and fumigated the crystallized silver for over 20 minutes. I repeated the Divine names and Invocation to the Pleiades again for each flask.

It was a beautiful night. But I did not have the luxury to enjoy and sit in quiet meditation. Sterling melts at approximately 1,800┬║ F. And the flask when they are sitting on the brick are very hot. One mistake and you are in trouble.

There is an old saying, Temple conditions prevail. It is good practice to perform you ritual even when conditions are not optimal. It helps to develop your focus and poise.


Mansions of the Moon Mini-Course

I have been really blown away by the power and incredible reliability of the Mansions talismans I have been working with recently. My Third Mansion talisman has been amazing, last month and this month the day of the Third Mansion was the biggest business day for me all month.
Plus I had some pretty incredible results from my 13th Mansion talisman. I wish could tell you in detail, but you are just going to have to take my word on the awesome results. Mansion talismans rock!

This means that I am very pleased to be able to share this amazing esoteric knowledge and occult power with you as I announce the revamp and relaunch of my Mansions of the Moon Mini-Course, now on CD!

The Mansions Mini-Course now includes the Mansions of the Moon book
a $25 value! The readings in the book are now carefully integrated into the Course CD and lessons.

The Mansions Mini-Course also includes Mansion Tracker, Mansions of the Moon software also a $25 value, that's a total of $50 worth with the free book and free software! Mansion Tracker is very cool and makes finding the Mansions quick, easy and simple.

The Mini-Course has an unparalleled and comprehensive selection of traditional Mansion sources including Picatrix Bk I, chapter 4 & Picatrix Bk IV, chapter 9. What's really special and unusual is the inclusion of the Astromagia Mansions. Astromagia is a medieval Arabic text like Picatrix also translated in the mid 13th century, but available nowhere else but in the Mansions Mini-Course! Seriously, nobody has this, and these Mansion talismans in Astromagia are wild, some completely different from Picatrix. Finally to cap it all of the Mini-Course includes Ibn Hatim's Arabic Mansion with Arabic names of Mansions lords. Wow! Truly complete!

But that's not all! The Mansions Mini-Course now includes 28 black and white and 28 full color images of each of the Mansions by our Nigel Jackson. Even better the color images are available in large size, high resolution format, easy to download, easy to print, perfect for making your own Mansion talismans!

More, could there be more? You bet! The Mansions Mini-Course now comes with 3 step by step lessons to walk you through the sources, origins, location, elections and talismans of the Mansions clearly and straightforwardly. You can even work through homework, make your own Masterpiece Mansion talisman and earn a certificate as a Qualified Lunar Magician!

Once you have registered for the Mansions Mini-Course you get an automatic discount on the full Astrological Magic Course. You don't need to graduate to go on to the full course.

So, a very serious revamp and upgrade, the Mansions of the Moon Mini-Course on CD, with free Mansions of the Moon book, Mansion Tracker software, new translations, color images, homework and certificate, makes a great package!

The Mansions of the Moon Mini-Course is $79.95 plus $12.95 US priority
mail or $14.95 non-US shipping. Register here

If you are already a student of the online Mansions of the Moon Mini-Course you can upgrade to the Mansions Course on CD + Mansions Book + Mansion Tracker for just $39.95 plus shipping. E-mail me at for details.

I will be issuing a comprehensive upgrade for full Astrological Magic Course students including the Mansions Mini-Course upgrade in the not too distant future.

Saturn Extravaganza

I am very pleased to announce the beginning of the Saturn Extravaganza!

We start with a current chart for a Saturn talisman with plenty of advance notice, in late November 2008

Saturn has the highest sphere of the planets and is appropriately the last of the planets that we will cast a talisman for. He has been in detriment in Cancer, then in Leo for years. He went into Virgo where he is peregrine and then went retrograde. Finally, after long last, we will be able to make a decent Saturn talisman!

This is certainly a very special talisman. Saturn is the Greater Malefic and author of melancholy, yet the co-ruler of magic (with Mercury) and of the esoteric philosophy and deeper wisdom.

When dignified, Lilly says, Saturn signifies one, "profound in Imagination, in his Acts severe, in words reserved, in speaking and giving very spare, in labour patient, in arguing or disputing grave, in obtaining the goods of this life studious and solicitous, in all manner of actions austere." CA 58.

When afflicted, on the other hand, Saturn signifies one, "envious, covetous, jealous and mistrustfull, timorus, sordid, outwardly dissembling, sluggish, suspicious, stubborn, a contemner of women, a close lyar, malicious, murmuring, never contented, ever repining." CA 58.

Ficino says that Saturn has a dual nature, "he signifies an individual set apart from others, divine or brutish, blessed or bowed down with the extreme of misery" Three Books on Life, Bk III, ch II Kaske & Clarke trans at 251.

Ficino says, "Hence, by withdrawal from human affairs, by leisure, solitude, constancy, by theology, the more esoteric philosophy, superstition, magic, agriculture and by sorrow, we come under the influence of Saturn." Three Books on Life, Bk III, ch II Kaske & Clarke trans at 253.

There are a number of possible variations on this election which we will explore in the coming weeks. We will be discussing how to adjust this election for your location and how to determine whether or not Saturn is compatible with your natal chart.

We are going to have a new Nigel Jackson image for this election! Wade will be casting Saturn talismans and I am going to be etching Saturn mirrors. Nigel and his talented wife Patti are working on Saturn music! Wow!

All hail lord Saturn!!! We look forward to a long meditation on your works, your essence and your spirit!

Traditional Mundane Astrology

There are four types of traditional astrology, (1) natal astrology, which looks at birth charts (2) horary astrology, which looks at the charts of the time questions are asked, (3) electional astrology, which choses astrologically auspicious times to take action and (4) mundane astrology, which uses a variety of techniques to look at weather, countries, dynasties and other "big picture" events.

Traditional horary astrology has was revived through the efforts of people like Olivia Barclay beginning in the 1980s and we have a goodly number of practitioners with lots of experience.

Traditional electional astrology has many similarities to horary, but is not quite as widely practiced.

Traditional natal astrology was revived primarily by Robert Zoller, also beginning in the 1980s. Through his efforts and the efforts of his students, plus the fact that modern astrology is mostly natal, we also have a reasonable grasp on traditional natal.

Traditional mundane, however, we have only just scratched the surface of. Learning traditional mundane techniques like Great and Lesser Conjunctions, eclipses and solar revolutions has only just begun. In my opinion no one has yet mastered traditional mundane. But traditional mundane is what we need to answer things like "what's going on with the financial crisis?"

Since the theory behind horary, electional and natal is that the Cosmos is one great unified Being bound together by bonds of spiritual sympathy and correspondence, looking at large scale events should work too. One problem is that as you move from horary to natal, from a very tightly focused question to an entire life, the precision decreases significantly. Going from natal to mundane will likely involve a further loss of precision.

Ok, now let me say a bit about how people have been trying to do mundane without
mundane techniques. The predominant method has been to say "Well, Jupiter is the natural ruler of wealth, and is now afflicted, so wealth will be afflicted" This has been more or less true, as Jupiter passed out of his sign Sagittarius in 2007 and into his fall Capricorn in 2008. But that means that we should see an improvement in 2009 when Jupiter goes into Aquarius and I'll bet that the recession is not going to go away in January 2009.

I probably shouldn't mention another example, but fools rush in where angels
fear to tread, so I will give another nod to the Holy, the Sacred, the Invincibly MALEFIC Mercury retrograde. This has been the nuclear holocaust, arrival of the Anti-Christ, Armageddon all wrapped up in one. What started as "don't sign a contract" under Mercury retrograde has morphed into "don't do anything" under Mercury retrograde. I have people worrying about surgery under Mercury retrograde. What does Mercury have to do with surgery any way? Granted Mercury retrograde is an affliction, but so is Mercury conjunct, square, opposed, Mars or Saturn, Mercury combust, Mercury in Pisces and Sagittarius,
etc, etc.

The obvious fact is the even the things Mercury is the natural ruler of, like contracts, sales, communications, Internet, we don't have a complete shutdown for all 6 billion people on the planet when Mercury goes retrograde. In fact some people have best contracts, best sales, etc. of their lives under Mercury retrograde.

Ah, but "I always have problems under Mercury retrograde" "I can feel it!" Odd, that people don't feel Mercury combust or Mercury in detriment. The bottom line is that even those that "believe" in Mercury retrograde acknowledge that they cannot predict what will happen under it. Being unable to accurate predict means that one does not really understand what is happening. Clearly one of the problems is the extreme simplicity of Mercury afflicted = Mercury ruled things are all afflicted. Traditional technique, be it mundane or other areas is always much more complex, as befits an attempt to actually predict reality.