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