Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I'm a Genius??? The Path of Traditional Astrology

I get e-mails asking me about, "my system" or "my astrological methods" and I laugh! As much of an ego boost as I might get from thinking of myself as "the great genius inventor" I certainly didn't invent traditional astrological magic or traditional astrology.

I once said that when it comes to astrology that I had never come up with anything original. Someone commented that this was sad. But not being original is hardly an admission of failure except to a modern who would prefer mediocre individuality to being part of something glorius, but not self created.

In the movie, "Amadeus" the mediocre composer Salieri is the only one to recognize Mozart's genius. Salieri curses God for giving him the insight to see (& hear) how sublime Mozart's music is, but not create similar music himself. My reaction was that Salieri was a fool! I feel incredibly blessed to have recognized the importance and brilliance of Hermetic philosophy and the Hermetic arts of astrology, alchemy and magic, in their transcendent traditional forms. To be able to accurately predict the future, to do great feats of magic is enough for me, I needn't create some new "CHRISMAGIC"TM

The advantage is that traditional astrology and magic, therefore, doesn't rest on some particular individual quality of mine, it is teachable! Yes, it takes actually sitting down and working through the learning process, but it is definitely doable. In terms of my ability to use traditional astrology and magic, yes I'm good at it, but I just got there first. If you are lurking or actually started studying, you can go down the same path.

And I've got a perfect example in our new Fountain of Wealth talismans. Great election and for the most powerful, but most difficult type, the house based talisman. This election was found and brought to my attention by one of my Astrological Magic Course students, Quero Lux! Thanks so much! A perfect example of how once you learn the methodology, these great elections start popping out at you. I'm finding that my advanced students find just the same great planetary elections that I do, once they learn how.

This confusion of the sublime material and the current often mediocre presenter of the material is one that has plagued traditional astrology. We've had a succession of translators and popularizers lose sight of the fact that they didn't invent the stuff. We have a crop of astrologers who claim the label of "traditional" I guess for the cachet, and then using modern or their own invented methods, without making this clear. Nothing wrong with innovation, but sailing under false colors does a disservice to everyone. If they'd just lose the overwhelming ego involvement all would be well!

What's great about traditional astrology and astrological magic is that you too can learn the ancient methods and duplicate the ancient results! You don't have to be a genius to do astrology and magic like one, you can just use their methodology. I fully expect that I will eventually be surpassed by my students and this is not a disaster, but very heartening. To be a link in the Golden Chain is glory enough for me!

Friday, December 25, 2009

True Prediction

Thought I would provide a very interesting natal chart to ponder. Chart is for one of Victorian England’s worst serial killers, said to be the model for Jack the Ripper. Chart data is 9 am GMT, October 2, 1869 for London, England. 9 Scorpio rises.

We can immediately see the heavy emphasis on sex and death as Scorpio, a sign of obsession, jealousy, secrecy, lust and death rises. Mercury, ruler of the 8th of death is in Scorpio and conjunct the Ascendant. Venus, natural ruler of love is in her detriment, again in the nasty sign of Scorpio and also conjunct the Ascendant. Finally the Scorpio triumvirate is complete by Mars, ruler of violence and a natural significator of violent death, in Scorpio, conjunct Venus and rising.

Can there be any doubt why this is the natal chart of a depraved serial killer? Whoops! Actually this is the chart of Mahatma Gandhi, adjusted for London.

“Scorpio rising with Mercury, Venus, and Mars gives Mahatma Gandhi his small compact features and intense focus and determination. Midheaven in Leo conjunct India's stellium in that sign binds their destinies together. Sun in Libra(Midheaven ruler) wants peaceful and harmonious co-existence with others. Moon in Leo near the MC is proud and fierce and gets public recognition and support. Mercury in Scorpio is shrewd and penetrating and thinks deep and passionate thoughts. Venus in Scorpio is passionate, possessive, intense and a shrewd dealer. Venus conjunct Mars is amorous and popular with the opposite sex. Mars in Scorpio can sink to depravity and destruction or rise to regeneration or rebirth. They are intensely passionate and emotional and fearless in the face of danger or death.”


Hmmm…the point is if you know the outcome, you can make any chart fit it! True prediction requires that you work from the chart itself without knowing the outcome of the horary or the person for whom a chart is read.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Timing Using Natal Charts

Modern astrologers tend to just use transits to the natal chart and attempt to predict based on that. Traditional astrologers would have looked at primary directions, then added solar revolutions and then used transits as the triggering points if a primary direction and/or solar revolution was in effect.

Even then I have to wonder about the accuracy of this timing! At the moment, we have not gotten the software implemented for primary directions, plus we haven't used them enough to actually predict in advance without knowing the outcome.

Personally, I am more and more taken with horary as my main technique for accurate and precise prediction and timing. Natal charts, of necessity are loose and vague. You have the same natal chart when you are 3 as when you are 90, but of course there are huge differences in you and your life. Every single relationship you have is in your natal chart, so think how difficult it is going to be untie the knot and find the single strand that relates to whether or not you will marry Jane X?

Trying to take the vague and imprecise natal chart and get precise timing out of it by applying various techniques is like taking a messed up, sideways scan at lo-res and clean it up with Photoshop. No matter what you do to it, the original lacks detail.

No, the absolute completion and total insistence on using natal comes, IMHO, not from its efficacy and accuracy, but just because modern astrologers have no awareness that any other method exists.

Let me mention another problem. I had client recently with a horary regarding a court case. It was clear to me that the chart was very negative and I said that they would lose their case. They came back to me and told me, yes they lost their case, but that a psychic and 2 other astrologers had said they would win!

The vagueness of natal astrology and the overwhelming positive and upbeat stance of modern astrology all tend toward giving universally positive results to clients. But an even more powerful influence is the fact that many clients, whatever they might say, are unconsciously looking, not for an accurate prediction, but for a prediction that things will go their way.

The great advantage of using natal timing techniques, in particular, for marriage and relationships, is that you can tell the client that yes, in March of 2014 you will find the love of your life. The client is happy, you get your fee and when March 2014 runs around and no marriage ensues the client will likely have forgotten the inaccurate prediction. In addition, the astrologer need never be confronted with the failure of their methodology.

When I do a Soul Mate Reading, I do a horary, looking at romance in general for the next 6-12 months and then general trends, without timing, looking at the natal chart.

Frankly I get a good amount of @#$& from clients when I say that I can't accurately predict timing other than through a horary. Even horary timing is about 50-50 or 60-40 accurate.

Personally and this will not make me very popular, I have not seen consistent, accurate and precise results from timing using the natal chart, when the outcome is unknown. Timing using Hitler's chart or other celebrities, doesn't count. Getting it right once or twice when the outcome is unknown, doesn't count either. I've done about 2500 horary charts for clients. I've kept a written record of each one. I record any feedback I get regarding accuracy. I can say that horary works! Unless we can get that large a sample of accurate natal timing, I think the jury is still out, as much as we or our clients might want to believe in it.

I'm not saying that we will never be able to do natal timing, but we aren't there yet.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

2 Riffs on Retrogradation & Single Planet Mundane Prediction

Riff #212-B "What is the Obsession with Retrogradation?"

From a traditional perspective the complete and total modern obsession with retrogradation as the APOCALYPTIC END OF ALL CIVILIZATION!!!! is rather odd.

Granted retrogradation is an affliction, but combustion is probably worse, as are being in detriment and fall. Plus we have about 20 other things that can go wrong with a planet.

Yet, I never have clients calling me up saying, "Oh, dear, Mercury is in Pisces and is both in detriment and fall, help, help, HELP!" or "I could really feel the effects when Venus went into combustion this time, it was awful"

So what's up here? First of all, everybody does modern psychological astrology, particularly if they have no idea they are doing it. Ask an astrologer what type of astrology they practice and if they say, "astrology" rather than Vedic, traditional, etc., then they are a modern astrologer.

Modern astrology is psychological and has social work and therapy as its template. You don't go into a therapist and have them say, "Oh man, only 30% of my patients recover" The therapist is upbeat and gives you a chance to benefit from the therapy, even if statistically the chances are against you.

In addition, modern astrology is very New Age, in other words, set up to always put on a happy face. After all there is no fate, we can have anything we want and all we have to do is think good thoughts and all our dreams and desires will be fulfilled.

So, for a modern astrologer nothing in the chart is bad, Venus in Pisces, means sensitive and loving, Venus in Aries, straightforward in love. Whereas a traditional astrologer is going to say Venus in Pisces is exalted and very strong and positive, while Venus in Aries is afflicted by being in detriment and negative.

So everything is positive in the modern system, but clearly negative stuff happens out in reality, so there was a hole in modern astrology. A hole filled by two imports from traditional astrology, the void of course Moon and retrograde Mercury. Since these are the only negative things in all of modern astrology, they have to carry the weight of all existing negativity and now in common parlance have become catastrophically disastrous and the END OF ALL EXISTENCE!!!!

Retrogradation has begun a relentless creep as well. We now have "shadow" periods before and after retrogradation that are VERY, VERY BAD! Where originally retrograde Mercury meant "don't sign any contracts" it now means "DON'T DO A BLESSED THING!" Where only retrograde Mercury was of concern, now any planet retrograde is EXTREMELY WORRISOME.

Which brings us to the second point

Riff #446-C/77 "The Affliction or Fortunation of the Natural Planetary Ruler Has an Unpredictable Effect on the Things Ruled"

Ok, so what if Mercury (or another planet) is retrograde or otherwise afflicted, what does this mean?

The standard modern answer is "RUN FOR THE FRIGGIN HILLS!!"

A more nuanced modern response would be that since Mercury rules contracts or travel or all the other stuff he rules then you should avoid doing them when Mercury is retrograde. Logically this would apply to all afflictions of Mercury, but modern astrologers aren't aware of any other afflictions.

Now let's think about this. Mercury rules communications, for example. Does this mean when Mercury is retrograde that the whole Internet shuts down? No, I guess not!

"But my car, computer, travel plans, always have problems with Mercury retrograde!"

Ok, anecdotal evidence, fine. But what specifically is going to go wrong when Mercury is retrograde?

"I don't know"

Hmmmm, that's odd, since when I do a horary I can predict pretty clearly what's going to happen.

Bottom line, if you can't predict with it, you don't know what's really going on.

And to oppose that anecdotal evidence, plenty of the 6 billion people in the world have no communication, travel, contract problems with Mercury retrograde. Plenty have the best contracts, travel, communications of their lives when Mercury is retrograde.

Traditional astrology has to take a more nuanced view because we are focused on accurate prediction. Certainly if Mercury rules a significant area of your chart, or ends up in a horary or other chart, when he is afflicted, then yes, that will affect you personally, but there has to be more than simply being afflicted since that's the same for all 6 billion people on the planet!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Another Great Astrology Job?

Currently I earn my living as an astrologer and astrological magician. While I am still in the bar, much of the legal advice that I give is in the context of working with astrological clients.

Having graduated from a top ten law school and worked for the Bush family law firm in Washington, DC and for the Chief Counsel/International Tax for the IRS also in DC, I think I have some knowledge of how things work at the higher echelons of business and government. These people are pretty dyed in the wool atheistic/materialists. Plus after Nancy Reagan got absolutely lambasted for consulting an astrologer, politicians simply don't dare. I was in DC as an astrologer for 10 years and never got any inquiries from any senators or congressmen, etc., despite the fact that as an attorney everything would have
been totally confidential.

Yes, the powers that be in the US could be massively into the black arts, but there is as much evidence of this as there is that they are all reptilian uber lords, ie purely speculative.

On the other hand I know from a friend and member of Spiritus that politicians and powerful government figures in Puerto Rico are, in fact, doing tons of magic and using astrology. He's been hired by some of the top government figures there! Different environment.

In terms of employment as a magician/astrologer this reminds me of my post on my blog about getting "A GREAT ASTROLOGY JOB!!!"

Personally I've been fired or laid off from every job I ever had so I have no desire to be "employed". As much of a security freak as I am, I really prefer to be on my own. I'm my own boss and I'm in complete control of my working hours, conditions, what work I do, prices, etc.

I also like calling a spade a spade. I flat out say that I am an astrologer and magician. I don't have disclaimers saying "this is for entertainment purposes" because the @#$@#% is real! I have no problem putting my real name and contact info right on my website because I believe strongly in what I am doing.

Now we are lucky to live in a time where we are not persecuted. I was reading a book about rootworkers and they were routinely prosecuted by the Postal inspectors and local authorities because magic was per se fraudulent. Since we don't have to hide, I'm not going to!

My template for what I am doing is my previous work as an attorney. I have expert knowledge and practical experience I use to assist my clients. I like horary questions because like a legal problem, they are focused and discrete and I am not expected, like a social worker, to solve all my client's problems.

Frankly, there are plenty of traditional role models for magicians and astrologers. You learn, you set up shop, you charge! Perfectly normal in classical Rome, 17th century England or even early 20th century Southern America (ala rootworkers).

The last thing I would want to see personally, is corporate magicians, with degrees, certifications and licensing, working for the 401(k) and year end bonus for Megacorp. Must every friggin' thing be chewed, masticated and devoured by corporate post-capitalism?

I, mean sheesh! Here we are doing magic, which is utterly and totally nuts when judged by science. Science, since the 17th century, has had as one of its primary missions, the destruction of "superstition" ie any recognition of the spiritual and the advancement of "reason" ie atheistic/materialism. Why put one foot in the water by doing magic and then buy into the rest of the atheistic/materialist agenda?

Free your mind and the rest will, sure as #@%@# follow!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Talismans and the Guardian Angel/Daimon

I had an interesting question recently on my discussion group Spiritus Mundi regarding the use of astrological talismans and your guardian angel/daimon.

The 4th Century Neoplatonic philosopher Iamblichus says, "...the invocation of daemons is made in the name of the single god who is their ruler, who from the beginning has apportioned a personal daimon to each individual and who in the theurgic rite reveals...their personal daimon to the case of daimons, the single common leader of the cosmocraters [planetary gods] in the realm of generation sends down to the individual recipients their personal daimon."

De Mysteriis, Bk X, sec, 9.

That individual guardian angel/daimons are under the rulership of various planets is a fairly common formulation in later Neoplatonic and Hermetic thought, though Iamblichus makes the point that the entire cosmos is present in each individual and that simply identifying the almuten of the chart doesn't tell the whole story.

Picatrix discusses our individual Perfect Nature which functions similarly to the guardian angel/daimon,

"Aristotle said furthermore that each sage had his proper virtue infused into him by exalted spirits, by whose powers their senses were closed, their intellects opened, and sciences were revealed to them. This virtue was conjoined with the virtue of the planet ruling the radix of the nativity, so that the virtue thus co-created in them strengthened them and gave intelligence to them."

Picatrix Bk III, ch 6.

Thus it does appear that the guardian angel/daimon/Perfect Nature can be identified in each person with a particular planet. Robert Zoller used Ibn Ezra's almuten figuris calculation for this purpose and identified the almuten figuris as the planet linking each person to the divine. Almuten Figuris Calculation Method

I provide the almuten figuris as part of all of my natal readings
Astrological Checkup
Spiritual Path Reading
Full Natal Reading

Once identified it certainly would make sense to work with the planet that is your almuten figuris. This can be done through ritual, meditation and the use of talismans since these are ways to contact and connect to your guardian angel/daimon/Perfect Nature

"Socrates said that the perfect nature is the Sun of the wise one and his root is that of the Light. One interrogated the sage Hermes and asked him "With what are joined science and philosophy?" He replied "With the perfect nature." He was asked again "What is the root of science and philosophy?" "The perfect nature," he said. He was asked them more precisely "What is the key work of science and philosophy?" "The perfect nature" he answered. He was asked again "What is the perfect nature?" He answered "The perfect nature is the spirit of the philosopher or of the wise one bound to the planet that governs him. It is he that opens the doors of apprehension, and it is by he that one understands what cannot be understood otherwise, and it is from him that proceeds the workings of nature, directly, as much in dreams as in the state of wakefulness."

Picatrix Bk III, ch 6.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Review of Roos 'Magic Coins' and 'Magic Squares'

Review of ‘MAGIC COINS’AND‘MAGIC SQUARES’:The Discovery of Astrological Sigils in the Oldenburg Letters, ANNA MARIE ROOS, Notes Rec. R. Soc. 20 September 2008 vol. 62 no. 3 271-288

Roos Article in pdf

Dr Roos is a scholar specializing in English astrological magic and talismans in their terminal phase, the late 17th century. Her article, "Magic Coins and Magic Squares" contains an interesting series of drawings of astrological talismans from a late 17th century letter. It is always useful to see actual examples of talismanic design.

The result of this ultra-specialization in such a late period of astrological magic and a focus on printed works, clear from the article's footnotes, are some significant errors. Firstly most works on astrological magic circulated only in manuscript. Frank Klassen lists several hundred manuscripts of astrological magic, while only a few books on astrological magic were ever printed before the modern era. A focus on printed material misses most of the extant corpus on astrological magic.

Secondly, errors detectable by a careful perusal of even printed sources have crept into the article. For example on page 276 figure 3(b) Roos states, "On the reverse we see the Verchiel angelic symbol, followed by the sign for Regulus,and the cabala symbol for Leo."

In fact, what Roos describes as the sign of Regulus is the standard symbol for Leo, a fact which is made obvious by examining figure 5, also described as the sign of Regulus, again clearly the standard Leo symbol. What Roos describes as the "cabala symbol of Leo" is, in fact, the standard symbol of Regulus. See Agrippa, Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk II, ch 52.

The symbol of Regulus is also not a symbol derived from cabala or planetary squares. Agrippa's source was the manuscript Hermes on the 15 Fixed Stars which circulated widely in the Middle Ages and Renaissance and thus is Hermetic, not Cabbalistic in origin. See the Latin critical edition of Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy (Brill, 1992) at 377 for Agrippa's source and on my website for a translation of Hermes on the 15 Fixed Stars.

In fact the origin of the fixed star symbols is most likely in Greek and Latin charakteres used on defixiones, standard classical magical objects consisting of writing on lead tablets. See eg, Gager, Curse Tablets and Binding Spells, (Oxford, 1992) at 8, specifically citing Picatrix.

But the most egregious error is the statement that, "the concept of having astrological images on sigils is exclusive to the Christian Latin West." Roos at 274. This is simply wrong. Roos even cites Picatrix, the leading astrological text in the Middle Ages and Renaissance, see footnote 29, but apparently has little idea of its significance or provenance. Picatrix, known in Arabic as the Ghayat al Hikam, the Goal of the Wise, was composed in Arabic circa AD 1000 and represents one of many scientific, philosophical, astrological and magical works translated into Latin so that the developing European civilization of the Middle Ages could learn from the advanced Islamic civilization of the Middle East.

The Islamic civilization in turn drew on many sources for astrological magic in particular from the Sabians of Harran, who were renowned as scientists, astrologers, magicians, mathematicians and makers of precision instruments. The most famous work of astrological magic of the Harranian Sabians was De Imaginibus "On Images" written by Thabit Ibn Qurra. Both Picatrix and De Imaginibus while widely circulated in Europe were never published. It is clear from a careful review of all sources that European astrological magic and astrology was almost exclusively externally derived.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Not Just Good/Bad: The Nodes & Retrogradation

One of the trends that is very clear in traditional astrology and Western astrology, which incidentally is contrary to the myth of "progress" is the tendency towards loss of nuance and loss of technique beginning in the Middle Ages, accelerating into the Renaissance and reaching almost catastrophic proportions with modern astrology.

One way in which this loss of nuance expresses itself is in the tendency to use the simple classification of every astrological factor as simply "good" or "bad". One of the canards flung at traditional astrology by modern is that it calls certain planets, fixed stars, etc., malefic. Perish the thought! Yet despite this criticism modern astrology regards void of course Moon or retrograde Mercury in the starkest and wholly negative terms.

Even when it comes to the malefics, traditional astrology has a more nuanced view. As the Centiloquium, the 100 Aphorisms attributed to Ptolemy says,

"In election of days and hours, make use of the two malevolent planets Saturn and Mars; for even so doth the expert physician use poison moderately for cure of man."

Aphorism 10.

Thus even the malefics have their uses. Being too close to the Sun, known as combustion, for example, is considered in general to be a severe affliction. However, the medieval Italian astrologer Guido Bonatti says,

"And when [the Moon] is under the rays of the Sun she signified secrets and things that have been hidden, and also she signifies matters that must be hidden; wherefore, at that time it is good to manage things that must be hidden and do those things which we wish to conceal from people before the Moon should be separated from the the Sun, but to be sure, at the time after she is separated from the Sun, [we must do] those things which we want to be hidden before she goes out from the Sun's rays."

Liber Astronomiae, Book III (Arhat ed.) page 38.

So even dealing with malefic/benefic qualities, traditional astrology uses a nuanced approach. But this simple good/bad distinction is only one tool in the fully stocked traditional kit.

The Nodes of the Moon and retrogradation provide another interesting comparison using the increase/decrease comparison. The 10th century Arabic astrologer Al-Qabisi, known to Europeans as Alcabitius, writes in his Introduction to Astrology that the North Node of the Moon, known as the Head of the Dragon, is considered benefic, but that some say it has the nature of increase, so it increased the positive qualities of benefics and the negative qualities of malefics.

Similarly he says that the South Node or Tail of the Dragon is a malefic, but that some say it has the quality of decrease, decreasing the positive qualities of benefics, but also decreasing the negative qualities of malefics,

"Thus it is said that the Head is a benefic with the benefics and malefic with the malefics; the Tail is a malefic with the benefics and a benefic with the malefics."

Introduction to Astrology, (Warburg 2004) ch 2, sections 45-48, p 88-9.

Similarly with retrogradation, normally considered an affliction, but the astrological magic grimoire the Picatrix says,

"When [Saturn] is retrograde, however, he signifies misfortune, debilities or infirmities, prisons and evils suffered in all things, and if he enters into aspect with any other planet, he weakens it and damages all the qualities of the other planet. If he is retrograde and you ask him for something, what you seek will come about with delays and miseries and great labor. If he is retrograde in any of his dignities, his maledictions are augmented and increased; while if he rises in his powers and dignities, then he will be easier and gentler."

Picatrix, Bk III, ch. 7, quoted in Secrets of Planetary Ritual

So following the logic of Picatrix, being retrograde and afflicted would lessen the severity of the affliction. Interesting!

Traditional astrology ultimately is about synthesis, using all of the chart factors in relation to each other to see through the chart and find the unified pattern of the situation that the Heavens reveal. Just as reality is complex and nuanced, so too must be any system that attempts to make accurate and precise prediction.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Talismans for Planets Afflicted in the Natal Chart

I wanted to talk about the issue of using planetary talismans when the chosen planet is seriously afflicted in your natal chart. Seriously afflicted means basically being in fall or detriment, or combust or retrograde without significant dignity.

Picatrix says that if planet is strong in your natal chart that you will have a stronger effect if you invoke it or make its talisman.
Picatrix Bk I ch 5, page 42 Greer & Warnock translation

Similarly Picatrix indicates that if a planet is strong in the chart of the creation of a talisman,

The most important point (of which you should take diligent care) is that you should see that the planet is in good condition and quality, and remote from infortunes, because when he is like this, he is like a man of good will and a lively heart and a great and ample mind, and if another person seeks something from him, he cannot find it in himself to deny the petitioner. When the same planet is retrograde in his course or cadent from the angles, he is like a man full of anger and ill will, who is most ready to deny a petition.

Picatrix, Bk III ch 7, from Secrets of Planetary Ritual, page 12

Looking at general electional practice in traditional astrology, the dignity or debility of planets in the natal chart affects elections. William Ramesey in Astrology Restored/Astrologia Restaurata says,

But note (as aforesayd) that if a malevolent Planet be significator in any thing in the Radix [literally root, ie natal chart], you must fortify it, and not think the making a fortune: viz. Jupiter or Venus (which are but generally so) significators, will be beneficial: for it will often prove contrary : for all men are not ruled by Jupiter and Venus; neither (as I say) are they always fortunes: for accidentally they may be infortunes: and when they are Lords of the eighth, twelfth and sixth, they are occasions of sickness, poverty, imprisonment, mischief and death as effectually as Saturn or Mars;

For every Planet must doe the office whereunto it is ordained: and so by the same rule may Saturn and Mars be fortunes, and so they are to those they chiefly rule, and to such things as are properly under their dominion either naturally or accidentally;

Astrology Restored 123-4.

On the other hand, I have seen people with afflicted planets in their natal charts get good results from the talismans of these planets. So what I would say is that if a planet is afflicted in your natal chart, that this is a red flag. You need to do some additional divination and perhaps experiment with a paper talisman before trying anything more powerful. This is even more important with Saturn & Mars talismans since the energy of the malefics can be hard to take even when dignified.

However, just because you decide not to work with the talismans of the planets doesn't mean you can't work with their energy. You can do meditation and invocation at astrologically appropriate times and you can do planetary charity. Planetary charity involves making an oath to a planet to give their charity and then giving a person or charity ruled by the planet a donation on the planetary hour and day of the planet. For Saturn, give a homeless person a donation on Saturday at Saturn hour. Whatever you do however, make the oath your first priority. Don't vow and then blow off the charity!

More on Astrological Talismans

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Modern versus Traditional Magical Symbols

I had a recent post on my discussion group which began, ""Treat all symbolism that you do not understand as gibberish." The post then went on to opine that since moderns have cars they were obviously in all ways superior to the past when they only had horses.

I really could not have expressed the modern world view any better, and thus I really appreciated! The absolute faith in Progress and dismissal of the past is exactly in line with modern beliefs. In particular the idea that an increase in technological sophistication means that moderns are in all ways superior to past is also very characteristic.

It is also certainly characteristic of modern esotericism to insist that the conscious understanding of the mage is the key to magic. This is not simply a modern view, however, as the ancient philosopher Porphyry expresses it and is answered by the traditional theurgist Iamblichos in his "On the Mysteries."

Porphyry accuses theurgists of using meaningless names in their ritual. Iamblichos says that these names are not meaningless to the Gods because they are unknown to us.

"It is necessary to remove all conceptions and logical deductions from divine names...rather it is the symbolic character of divine resemblance, intellectual and divine that must be accepted in the case of divine names...even if it is unknowable to us, this very thing is its most venerable aspect" On the Mysteries, cited in
Gregory Shaw, "Theurgy and the Soul: the Neoplatonism of Iamblichos" at 179,

Shaw goes on to say, "If divine names, like other names, were conceptually knowable they would possess the same properties as human thoughts; Porphyry's interest in their "meaning" therefore, was characteristically anthropocentric and misguided...for Iamblichos, however, their ineffability was their "most venerable" aspect because it awakened the ineffable presence of the divine in the soul. Thinking, by itself, could not achieve this."

Shaw at 180.

Ultimately the traditional view was that we are the product of the forces and being external to the ego self, that while we are microcosms (little universes) that replicate the Macrocosm (the universe) there are "higher powers".

When we examine the modern world view carefully what we discover is non-religion religions like science or communism that are just as faith based as conventional religion, but deny that they are. Ultimately the real religion of the modern is the worship and deification of the ego self. Thus it makes complete sense that without the true god of the ego comprehending an image, sigil or symbol, that it would entirely lack utility and power.

For Iamblichos and the theurgists, to conform the ego to higher spiritual forces was key; for the modern, the ego is the highest spiritual force.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Talismans: Charged or Ensouled or Both?

I had a recent post on my discussion group, Spiritus Mundi explaining the creation of talismans as, if I can characterize the post, charging them like a battery.

Certainly the creation of talismans can be conceptualized as "charging" them with impersonal forces. The analogy of the magnet was a common metaphor among Renaissance astrologers and magicians who termed their practice as natural magic, ie not using invocation and in fact not involving spirits and spiritual beings at all.

While this is certainly a valid conceptualization, there were two forces at work that also impelled the use of the terminology and ideology of natural magic, that is magic without spiritual beings. First, was the concern from, in Catholic countries, the Inquisition and in Protestant countries from church and other authorities concerned about witchcraft, heresy and the conjuration of evil spirits.

Secondly, by the 17th century, was the influence of the mechanistic philosophy, believed to be epitomized by scientists like Newton and Copernicus. In fact, Newton was a practicing alchemist and Copernicus cited Hermes Trismegistus in support of his heliocentric thesis. Nevertheless, the move towards atheistic materialism pushed talisman makers to conceive of the operation of talismans as the operation of impersonal forces rather than spiritual personalities.

In fact, traditional astrology has always been characterized by two strands of thought, the first "scientific" because it saw the casual links involved in astrology as consisting of impersonal forces, and the second the "magical" strand, which saw astrology and magic as involving spiritual beings and personalities. These strands co-existed as the "scientific" astrologers never denied the existence of the spiritual and the "magical" astrologers were happy to make use of the science of astronomy as the basis of their practice.

So, the natural magic/"scientific" school of astrology dovetails very nicely with modern New Age thinking, based as it is unconsciously, but ultimately, in the modern materialistic/atheistic world view.

However, as we can see from Picatrix, the "magical" school predominates in traditional astrological magic. Picatrix says that the creation of talismans involves the action of spirit on body, that is to say, the talismans involve the ensoulment of the material body of the talisman. Picatrix, Bk I, ch 13, (slightly different translation in Greer and Warnock at 13). The discussions of the creation of living, talismanic statues in Asclepius in the Corpus Hermeticum are a similar, early discussion of the primacy of spritual beings in talismanic magic.

My experience has been that the spiritual is like light. Light has the paradoxical quality of displaying both particle and wave characteristics simultaneously. The spiritual appears to be both impersonal forces and spiritual personalities simultaneously.

Charging talismans like a battery is an easier way to explain the process to moderns, but in my personal practice I have found that approaching the astrological spirits as persons with distinct personalities is a very powerful approach.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Clearly, Step by Step! Starting Astrology & Astrological Magic

One of the things I realized about my recent course upgrade was that there were so many features, so much new software, images, lessons, readings, etc., that it really got overwhelming. But, then I realized that this was true of traditional astrology and astrological magic in general!

They are really huge, sprawling subjects. But this makes sense. Quick and simple is going to be weak and ineffective. With traditional astrology you can actually PREDICT THE FUTURE!!! No seriously, think about that. What we can do is officially impossible. Just check out this recent Washington Post article

"I don't think it's strange for us to have laws that protect against fraud," said Clifford Royalty, zoning division chief in the Montgomery County attorney's office, adding that "religion has nothing to do with it. He's not made that allegation in the lawsuit." "The practice is fraudulent," Royalty said, "because no one can forecast the future."

There you have it folks! But amazingly enough that's what traditional astrologers do, day in and day out. No, it's not 100% but I can tell you that we do far better than economists for example, in our predictive accuracy. But to be as accurate and comprehensive as it is, traditional astrology needs to be complex to model the complexity of real life.

Think about astrological magic. Here is a system that allows you to pick the absolute best times and to capture the energy and spirit of those times in physical objects. Here the complexities of reality also manifest in the complexities of traditional astrological magic and bring great influence and power.

Oh, man, though, all this can seem overwhelming! If you are new to Spiritus or have been lurking for awhile, the jargon and technical content can be daunting. "How could I ever do this?" But remember folks, little more than a decade ago, I was in the same boat. I knew nothing about traditional astrology and even less about astrological magic. I had a teacher for horary, but then I had to laboriously learn astrological magic by myself. There was no one to turn to, no one to ask questions of, no one to help me put the pieces together. I knew that astrological magic had incredible potential and it fascinated me, but I had no choice but to slowly, painstakingly and even agonizingly at times, parse its mysteries.

Folks, you've been saved from all this. Don't get discouraged because after my ordeal I swore no one else would have to make a similar effort. Yes, there is a lot to master, but you CAN do it, because I have gone through in my courses and made learning traditional astrology and magic, clearly, straightforward and simply step by step!

For example, astrological magic. Start with my book Secrets of Planetary Magic which explains the theory of planetary magic and how to use the planets to make talismans. Quickly figure the planetary hours with TPHP, our own astrological software

But why not make it really easy on yourself? Get the Planetary Magic
It's all here, lessons, beautiful Nigel Jackson talisman images, and all the software you need. But most importantly, it's all laid out clearly for you. All you have to do is read the material and follow the steps.

It's easy to feel blown away, intimidated by the technicalities when you first approach traditional astrological magic. I remember feeling like I could never get this stuff! The trick is you don't have to learn it all at once. You can do it, just like my students do, and way, way, way easier than I had it. That old proverb of a journey of a thousand miles starting with a single step only had part of it, the whole process of learning traditional astrology and astrological magic is just baby step after baby step. Even though my Astrological Magic full course covers the whole range of astrological magic all you have to do is one little step at a time!

Plus I teach all of my courses personally. If you have a question about the current lesson, I am right here, by phone or e-mail to answer it.

So don't be overwhelmed by the choices or thinking about all of the material at once! Check out the courses I offer and be confident that even though in the end you will be able to predict the future and create powerful talismans, that the process itself is clear and step by step.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

When are we getting those Hermetic holidays off?

I got an amusing e-mail the other day and I couldn't figure out if the sender was serious or kidding around, but they said that they were very interested in Hermeticism and wanted to join my religion so they needed to find out what they should believe and what the holidays were!

Of course this is doesn't have anything to do with Hermeticism. There isn't now and there wasn't ever an organized Hermetic religion, it appears to have been propagated by loose circles of disciples guided by a master. It never had mass appeal or any official representatives. Instead it appears to have had practical preparatory studies like alchemy, astrology and magic that applied the philosophy and practical spiritual insights of Hermeticism as well as being a path for a few individuals seeking mystic union with the divine.

What's amusing about the e-mail seeking Hermetic holidays (Hermes birthday? Hermes cards, "Happy Hermes Day!" Hermes Day Sale, one day only, New federal holiday, the mind reels) is that it uses a very common mental template for organizing anything spiritual. If one encounters a new "religion" which is basically anything spiritually oriented, one expects that it will provide a complete and standardized, off the rack set of practices and beliefs. It will be organized, it will need staff, buildings and income. But even more importantly it will be exclusive. One is either a member or not, it is not possible to follow more than one religion.

I remember meeting an American "Buddhist" that regaled me with tales of their difficulties in the rural South since they refused to celebrate Christmas being Buddhist. Except that, as a rule, Buddhists don't have any problem with Christmas! It's typical in Japan, for example, to go to both Buddhist and Shinto temples without any sense of contradiction. Certainly this open and easy blending of various spiritual paths was common in the pre-Christian pagan West as well.

But as you can see from my American Buddhist example this is not simply a matter of the evils of "monotheistic religion" It has more to do with the unconscious acceptance of religion as a matter of belief, rather than experience, of exclusivity and external authority over the individual. But perhaps more importantly, the purpose of religion is seen as a collective identity and primarily as a source of ethical rules.

I wouldn't want to deny the importance of being part of a spiritual community or having a source for ethical advice and instruction, but this is not all that a spiritual practice can consist of. As much as modern pagans, etc., may condemn Christianity and in particular the Catholic Church, it has managed to preserve the monastic tradition of contemplation and mystic union with the divine.

Hermeticism never organized itself and never really had a mass or collective identity. It never focused on ethics, though ethical behavior was certainly important in and of itself and as a means to purification for mystic union. At the moment, there are not many that really practices Hermetic mystic union, though I'm certainly working on it. Thank goodness, though since that means I don't have to worry about getting the Pentagon to put the caduceus of Hermes on the gravestones of dead Hermetic soldiers or fight for Hermetic chaplains in prisons. I don't need to do any fundraising for the new Hermetic church building, or Hermetic charity work or go door to door soliciting for new converts to Hermes.

Hermeticism can continue as the underground stream of Western esotericism and I can play my small role in its current revival.

More on Hermes Trismegistus and Hermetic Gnosis

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Moon Phases in Traditional Astrology & Talismans

It's important to take various systems on their own terms and not apply a "this is the only way to do X" attitude at the same time realizing that not all methods are equally valid.

I had an amusing conversation with a client who had consulted a Vedic astrologer and was told that she was "actually" a Pisces [ie Sun in Pisces] not an Aries [or vice versa, I can't remember]. I replied that that was like when I was in Europe and they told me I was "actually" a shoe size 30!

Modern magic will often suggest that the New Moon and Full Moon be used for benefic ritual. When, however, we switch to traditional astrology, we need to recognize that our approach is different.

The waxing and waning of the Moon also includes the aspects of the Moon to the Sun. The New Moon is the Moon conjunct the Sun, and thus a period of approximately 17 degrees before and after the conjunction where the Moon is under the Sun's beams, a minor affliction. Plus an approximately 8.5 degrees before and after the conjunction where the Moon is combust, a major affliction. See Lilly on Accidental Dignity

Thus right before or right on a New Moon is not a good time for benefic ritual or talismans.

Similarly, a Full Moon is the opposition of the Moon and the Sun. Again, this is considered to be an affliction. "...consider, how many ways the Moon comes to be so ill-affected...The 3rd is when she is posited in any of the combust degrees, of which the worst are: those 12 degrees which are before the degree which is directly opposite to the degree in which the Sun is, wherever she shall happen to be..." Guido Bonatti, 5th Aphorism, Book of Astronomy

Again, since the Moon is afflicted, this is not appropriate for benefic ritual.

Of course, traditional astrology does consider the waxing and waning of the Moon. Picatrix says,

"Wherefore draw your attention to that which we have said before concerning her being] fortunate and infortunate, increasing [waxing] and diminishing [waning]in light, because after separating from the Sun she secures his strength then she moves to be in a sextile, square, trine and opposition aspect. And she receives strength from the stars and planets when she is connected by the aspects we have mentioned before.

And if you find the Moon increasing in light then her strength and power is good and useful in all works to bring about increase and if you find the light [of the Moon] diminishing it is suitable and harmonious for all works in which you wish diminution.

And after the Moon separates from the conjunction of the Sun [New Moon] all the way up to a sinister [against the direction of the signs] square until it arrives at an opposition [Full Moon] it is always good and harmonious for buying and selling, trials and asking for the repayment of debts, debates and councils for everything you require.

And after separating from the opposition of the Sun and crossing to the dexter square all the way to the conjunction of the Sun it is good and appropriate to [pay] for debts that you owe and for those who keep possessions to return them to others and for wisdom and for asking and inquiring into truth. "

Picatrix, Bk II, ch 3.

Traditional astrology does take into consideration the Moon's phases, but integrates their use along with a variety of other considerations.

So, it is important not to assume that what one has learned in one system can be simply imported into another. This is true of modern astrological technique and magical timing methods, both of which differ from traditional astrology.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Rolling Down the Myway

I had someone ask about whether if they wanted multiple things done from one astrological spirit, whether they needed multiple talismans.

Ummm...I was going to launch into a "THIS is astrological magic" riff and then had the sudden realization that I was falling into the my way or the highway trap.

What's hard to realize and I think that this is partly due to "scientific" thinking and partly due to the basic binary approach of American/contemporary culture but when it comes to spiritual or magical topics it appears to me that there isn't one right way to do it, but then neither does every approach work.

Science takes the one right answer approach. The problem is that that answer is always changing. "Salt is deadly" "No, a new study shows that salt is necessary for life itself" "No, hold that, a newer study..."

The New Age approach is of total equality, everybody has something to say and everybody's opinion is equally valid. Except that that is blatantly and obviously not true!

My model of reality has started to coalesce around the view that there seem to be lots of interpenetrating realities. Not an infinite number and they don't necessarily correspond to everyone's ego desires. Find a fairly valid one that fits you, and a good way to check that is to check your birthchart and if you work with it and live it you basically get sucked into it.

I've been doing the traditional Hermetic astrology and magic thing now for awhile and PHEW! It works with a vengeance, I've got magic up the #$%@

But not everyone is going to groove on the Hermetic thang, some might be Zen Buddhist, some mystic Catholic, some GD lodge freaks, and the list goes on, though not infinitely.

Any hoo, after that long tangent, my approach to astrological magic is pretty devotional. I like to hang with the planets, fixed stars, Mansions, etc. I burn some candles and incense, do some devotional invocation and the spirits show their appreciation in their own personal way, Jupiter gives wealth, Saturn, wisdom, 13th Mansion, love 'n' stuff. But exactly what I'm going to get, I don't know, I just know it will be appropriate to the planet, fixed star, Mansion etc.

That being said, a more task oriented approach is certainly possible. Check out, for example, the Picatrix planetary invocations of the Harranian Sabians found in Bk III, ch 7 in the Secrets of Planetary Ritual Do your invocation and then ask for what you want.

Still, I don't think you really need multiple talismans for multiple tasks if you are asking the same spirit. Just list what you are seeking on the talisman or in the invocation.

So, rather than the my way/highway, you can take one of the branching byways, and to further stretch both the metaphor and credulity, just don't roll off the street system altogether and start wandering around in in the weeds.

Friday, July 24, 2009

New!!! PMP: The Planetary Magic Program

First in a whole bunch of new books, software and courses is PMP, the Planetary Magic Program.

You know when I post monthly examples of elections for talismans it looks pretty complicated with the chart, figuring out when a planet is rising or culminating, in sign or exaltation, the planetary day and hour, the Moon unafflicted, doesn't it? I took me years to figure out how to do this.

PMP does it all instantly! Boom right out of the box (or rather off the CD, if you get it free with a course) you don't need to know a thing about astrological charts or traditional astrology and you can do powerful advanced full chart elections. Now granted it's a good idea to check PMP's results because there are still nuances, but PMP is doing 80-90% of the job in 2 seconds.

Whatever your knowledge level, you are going to want PMP if you are at all serious about astrological magic or making talismans because this is the first program specifically designed to do fast, quick, easy traditional planetary elections.

All that for $39.95 as a stand alone program
PMP: the planetary magic program

or free with the new Planetary Magic Mini-Course

or Astrological Magic Course

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Astrology & Spiritual Alignment

I was recently asked about how one would time an astrological painting. The question appeared to be a reference to Marsilio Ficino's discussion of creating an image of the Cosmos or universal image in Three Books on Life, Bk III, ch 19. This image, says Ficino, should be done when the Sun enters the first minute of Aries as this is the moment of the rebirth of the world.

Now how would we go about this in practical terms? Ficino speaks of sculpting an archetypal form of the world in bronze or imprinting the image on a thin gilded plate of silver. TBOL, Bk III, ch 19. Thus this could be done with a stamp, which is what Hiebner recommends in Mysterium Sigillorum, at 163-4.

We also use the casting process or acid etching glass, both of which can be done in a relatively short time, thus allowing for the actual image to be created and for the talisman to take on its definitive form at the elected time.

Now when we are dealing with slower methods we have to adapt somewhat. We can, for example, begin a painting at an elected time. We can, using modern giclee printing technology, print out the finished painting on canvas or just on paper using a standard printer at an elected time.

We can also work only in particular planetary hours. Simon Forman, the 17th century astrological magician, describes how a jeweler engraved a Jupiter talisman for him in just this fashion, working only in the hours of Jupiter. Notorious Astrological Physician of London, Traister at 100-1.

These are all practical considerations having to do with astrological timing. What is useful to realize, however, is the deeper process that we are engaged in. Traditional astrology is a way to bring ourselves into alignment with the cycles of the Heavens, and thus with the Cosmos and ultimately with the One. It has a significant temporal focus, but is also a universal language, capable of describing and classifying everything in the Cosmos.

Take, for example, planetary rulership. Every material thing is ruled by one or more planets, which is to say that we consider a particular Divine Idea mediated through a planet to predominate in that thing. For example, Venus rules roses when we consider that beauty and a beautiful aroma is the main quality of the rose. Of course, all planets are in all things in differing quantities. In the rose, the thorns are ruled by Mars, for example.

Thus while we can see how timing comes to the fore, traditional astrology points us to a much more comprehensive alignment which has both material and spiritual significance.

An astrological painting, therefore, could also be one that is based on astrological themes and is used as part of ritual, one that graces a building sited and designed astrologically, in a city, as Hermes was reputed to have done,

"It was he who in the east of Egypt constructed a City 12 miles long within which he constructed a castle which had four gates in each of its four parts. On the eastern gate he placed the form of an Eagle; on the western gate, the form of a Bull; on the southern gate, the form of a Lion, and on the northern gate, the form of a Dog. Into these images he introduced spirits that spoke with voices, nor could anyone enter the gates of the City except by their permission.

There he planted trees in the midst of which was a great tree which bore the fruit of all generation. On the summit of the Castle he caused to be built a tower 30 cubits high on the top of which he ordered to be placed a lighthouse the color of which changed every 7th day...Around the circumference of the City he placed engraved images and ordered them in such a manner that by their virtue the inhabitants were made virtuous and withdrawn from all wickedness and harm. And the name of the City was Adocentyn."

Picatrix, Bk IV, ch.3

Christopher Warnock

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Natal is not Horary is not Astrological Magic

One of the things that is hard, even for experienced traditional astrologers to recognize, is that different areas of astrology apply significantly different rules and methodologies. I have seen traditional natal astrologers denigrate horary as simplistic, as the technique is not as complex as traditional natal, but then utterly fail to make accurate horary predictions because they tried to judge the horary using natal techniques. Horary may have simpler technique, but the level of precision and accuracy required is much higher.

We need to understand that every area of astrology has its own methods and even its own underlying principles.

This is true with regard to astrological magic. It is somewhat confusing, I realize, but in a fixed star talisman election, everything other than than the fixed star being well placed and unafflicted and the Moon applying to the fixed star and being unafflicted is basically irrelevant to the election. In other words, if they are not aspecting or otherwise actively interacting with the Moon or the fixed star, the other planets, house rulers, houses, etc., need not be considered. The focus really is on getting the fixed star powerfully positioned and aspected by the Moon.

The problem comes from porting over the standard natal approach in which the entire chart is important. In a birth chart every house and every planet is meaningful since it relates to a different facet of the life of the native (person whose natal chart is being examined).

Contrast this with horary astrology, looking at the chart of a question, in which only a limited number of houses, house rulers and astrological factors are relevant to the analysis.

Similarly, in horary's sister science, electional astrology, which is used to choose astrologically auspicious times, only a limited portion of the chart is relevant.

Our focus narrows even further in astrological magic with non-house based talismans, i.e. planetary, fixed star and Mansion talismans. With regard to fixed star talismans Agrippa says,

"...when any star ascends fortunately, with the fortunate aspect or conjunction of the Moon, we must take a stone, and herb that is under that star, and make a ring of that metal that is suitable to this star and fasten the stone, putting the herb, or root under it; not omitting the inscriptions of images, names and characters, also the proper suffumigations..."

Three Books of Occult Philosophy Bk. I, Chapter 47

Since culminating is almost as powerful as rising, we also use culminating for fixed stars. What we are doing is putting the fixed star in the most powerful position, ie either rising or culminating.

We then make sure the Moon is applying to a sextile or trine, or best yet a conjunction of the fixed star. As Picatrix 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, Bk II, ch 3.

Thus the Moon gathers the power of the fixed star and brings it from the 8th sphere to the sublunary realm and to the user of the talisman. We focus on the placement of the fixed star, the applying positive aspect of the Moon and finally making sure neither the Moon nor the fixed star are afflicted. We do not, however, start roaming all over the chart, worrying about the Sun in the 8th house, the affliction of Saturn by the South Node and mostly certainly not the progressed Black Lilith conjunct the Galactic Vertex! We have our electional methodology as explained in our traditional sources and this is what we apply. If we use the methods of our illustrious predecessors applied using their philosophy and world view, then we can achieve their amazing results!

So, it is important to take each area of astrology, even traditional astrology, on its own terms and not apply techniques and principles willy nilly from one area to another.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Using a Natal Chart to Pick Talismans

I've had a number of e-mails following on the latest set of e-mails asking how talismans relate to the birth chart.

First of all it appears that in traditional Western astrologer the choice of talismans was more task than natal chart oriented. In other words clients or the mage themselves were thinking more about what they wanted to accomplish, eg wealth, love, success, rather than starting with their birth chart. That being said, Picatrix says that planetary invocations and by extension, planetary talismans are stronger when the planet itself is strong in the birth chart of the user. Picatrix, Bk I, ch 5, trans Greer & Warnock at 42.

So it makes sense to take a look at the natal chart of the user and see what planets are strong, weak and afflicted and use that as an aid in choosing talismans. Let's look at a specific chart as an example. Here's a chart from my
example Full Natal Reading
for 11:51 am MST September 17, 1936 Boise, Idaho

Jupiter, the natural ruler of wealth, is quite strong in this chart being dignified by sign and triplicity

Venus, natural ruler of love, is also well dignified by sign

Mars, natural ruler of strength, determination and success, is dignified by face

The Sun, natural ruler of health, fame and promotion & the Moon, natural ruler of growth, safety and prophecy, are peregrine and thus weak

Mercury, natural ruler of memory, intelligence, communications and business, is dignified by triplicity, but retrograde.

Saturn, natural ruler of discipline and occult wisdom, is peregrine and retrograde.

This native (person whose natal chart is being examined) would get a strong effect from Jupiter and Venus. Mars, the Sun and the Moon would all benefit from talismans, though the effect would not be as noticeable as Jupiter and Venus. Mercury is mixed in dignity and debility and could benefit from a talisman. Saturn, being a malefic and retrograde without dignity, is probably best avoided.

Now this chart has an interesting feature. Normally fixed stars or Mansions are compatible with everyone, unless they are afflicted or negatively affected in the natal chart which is unusual. In this chart, Spica, the most benefic of fixed stars, is conjunct the Moon! This makes Spica a good choice for a talisman for this native.

So, interesting example. I include a full Talismanic Prescription
with all my natal readings including
the Astrological Checkup
Spiritual Path Reading
and Full Natal Reading .

Also if you are seriously interested in buying a talisman, I am happy to see if it is compatible with your birth chart. Just e-mail me at with the talisman or talismans you are interested and your date and place of birth, plus time if you know it, though time is necessary for testing talisman compatibility.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Astrology & the Fractal Nature of Reality

I recently had a series of posts on my discussion group Spiritus Mundi regarding the question of timing in horary questions.

I agree that philosophically "As Above, So Below" that the timing SHOULD be in the chart, but my experience is that it is clearly there maybe 40%-60% of the time. Clear enough that is, that you can see it and predict it in advance, not look back and twist the chart around to fit the known results.

Part of the problem is some confusion, I think, over what it is we are doing when we look at a chart. The standard way to approach the chart is an analytical method: we break the chart down into its component parts and try to determine what each component means. "Moon in the 1st means X" "Part of Fortune conjunct the Ascendant means Y"

Analytical chart delineation basically involves the application of more or less strict and invariant rules to the chart at hand. Meaning comes from the individual factors in the chart and eventually one could create a expert software program to replicate this type of analysis.

However, my view is that the process of chart delineation is synthetic, not analytic, which is to say that ultimately we try to see through the chart to grasp the underlying holistic pattern that it is expressing.

Ok, what do I mean by synthetic? This is a process, not of breaking down, but of observing all of the relevant factors in the chart and seeing how they fit together. The meaning derives from the interaction of all of the parts, not from each part having its own invariant meaning. The Moon in the 1st, for example, can mean 15 different things, depending on the context, that is to say depending on the other factors in the chart. This is one of trickier parts of traditional astrology to master, for example being retrograde is considered an affliction, except in a lost item question if the quesited significantor (significator of the lost item) is retrograde this is positive because it is an indication that the item will be returned.

This synthetic process is why we look at multiple chart factors, why we do not rely on a single factor for our prediction. Each chart reflects a situation and each situation as we know from Hermetic philosophy is a ordered patterning. It is this connected pattern that we seek, that we try to glimpse through the chart.

Our search for timing rules that are invariably applicable to every chart, therefore, may well be fruitless. It may simply be that the factors that combine to produce the exact timing are so complex that they are frequently unpredictable as a practical matter. This may be a result of the dual existence of Fate and Free Will. It is indeed odd that the overall patterning or patterning at certain levels is highly obvious and predictable, but the patterning at intermediate levels is so complex as to defy exact prediction. This is reminiscent of fractal patterning as you zoom in or out on a particular part. Ultimately this combination of highly patterned events and unpredictability plus Fate and Free Will is the nature of Reality. Trippy indeed!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Picatrix on the Decans or Faces

One of the more intriguing parts of the ancient astrological magic grimoire Picatrix are the sections on the talismans of the faces/decans. These are ancient 10 degree subdivision of the signs, with 3 decan/faces in each sign and 36 total. We have a variety of different traditional sources that list talisman image descriptions for each face. Agrippa, for example, lists his face images at Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk II, ch. 37. Very odd and interesting they are, too!

I decided to take a closer look at what the Picatrix had to say about the faces in Book II, chapter 11. After listing the images of the faces (clearly Agrippa's list derives from these) Picatrix says,

"And know that what has been said before [concerning] the faces of the signs is a great secret of great benefit that cannot be understood by many students of astronomy unless they are intelligent, acute and subtle at extracting the root of [what is] profound.

And this is because one planet has the power to impede the effects of another planet, and the power of a term is more powerful than the power of a face and the power of a face is more powerful than the power of a sign."

Picatrix Bk II, ch. 11

This seems rather odd. The usual ranking of essential dignities in traditional astrology is sign (+5), then exaltation (+4), triplicity (+3), term (+2) and then face (+1). One of my favorite essential dignity cites is from Lilly on the face which he says, " almost like a man ready to be turned out of doors, having much adoe to maintaine himself in credit and reputation: and in Genealogies it represents a Family at the last gasp, even as good as quite decayed, barely able to support it self." Christian Astrology, 103.

However, when we look at Al-Biruni, the 10th century Islamic astrologer he notes the usual arrangement, but says,

"It is related than an authority in this subject assigns 30 to the lordship of the ascendant, 20 to exaltation, 10 to lordship of face, 5 to that of term, 3 1/2 to that of triplicity, 4 1/2 to that of the hour, and finally to the Sun or Moon whichever is the lord of time, as much as the lord of the ascendant...This is the practice of the Astrologers of Babylon and Persia, who regard the lordship of the face as very important."

Book of Instruction, section 494.

Picatrix continues,

"And this is because it is natural for one to advance over another, as water extinguishes the heat of fire, and fire carries off the coldness of water, and water moistens the dryness of earth, and earth dries up the moistness of air.

And this is, because of their qualities when they in turn unite and are pure, the strongest will conquer and prevail, and if many qualities join in turn, the strongest will be able to conquer entirely. And if they are equal in their powers and effects, their work and effect will have a mixed nature.

And if there is one quality that is very abundant in its own remote place, its perfection is diminished and consumed in the same way that that health, after it is most strong, produces illness, and at the time when fruits are ripe and ready to be harvested they fall off of the tree, and the little snake destroys and kills the great snakes, and small and tiny worms when they join together kill a serpent, and the powerful is weakened by the weak according to his nature. You should carefully consider what we have said."

Picatrix Bk II, ch. 11.

Now this passage is even more intriguing. One chain of thought that it sets off in me is that of the rhythm of the cycles that are constantly occurring in the Heavens. We can see these patterns in the stars fairly clearly if we cast off the modern world view that looks upon astrology as illogical and irrelevant. It is harder to see the reflection of the Heavens in earthly events because Matter resists the imposition of the Divine and Celestial forms and because, if the cycles are unfolding in our own lives, they often go in patterns that our ego dislikes. It seems unfair, it shouldn't be this way, how can this be happening to me? But as Seneca puts it, Ducunt volentem Fata, nolentem trahunt. "Fate guides the willing and drags the unwilling."

So our task is first to see the cycles occuring, then to go with them.

The passages about the weak weakening the strong are even more intriguing. It sounds very Taoist to me.

"Nothing in the world is softer and weaker than water; But for attacking the hard and strong, there is nothing like it! For nothing can take its place. That the weak overcomes the strong, and the soft overcomes the hard, This is something known by all, but practiced by few"

Tao teh ching, Stanza 78

This next Picatrix series seems to me to give us a way to work with
the cycles, while still accepting them. We do not oppose the strong as it strengthens, but wait until the strong exhausts itself. We exhaust the strong with the weak.

"What is in the end to be shrunken, begins by first being stretched out. What is in the end to be weakened, begins by first being made strong. What is in the end to be thrown down, begins by first being set on high. What is in the end to be despoiled, begins by first being richly endowed. Herein is the subtle wisdom of life: the soft and weak overcomes the hard and strong."

Tao teh ching, Stanza 36.

More on Picatrix

Friday, May 15, 2009

Primary versus Zodiacal Motion: An Example

I recently had a question from a student that I wanted to post since I thought it touched on some useful astronomical/astrological concepts.

The question had to do with the upcoming election for the fixed star Alkaid, which is at 27 Virgo.

At the student's location the Moon on May 31, 2009 at at 17 Virgo and on June 1, 2009 at around 1 Libra. They knew that the Moon needed to apply to Alkaid and Alkaid had to be rising, ie on the Ascendant. They felt that because the Moon was rising in June 1 and would pass over the Ascendant as she rose that this was applying.

However, in fact, the May 31 election was the proper one! Why is this?

What we need to keep in mind is that there are two types of motion involved here, primary motion and Zodiacal motion.

The primary motion of the whole Heavens which causes the Sun and Moon to rise and the fixed stars to move, making a complete rotation in 24 hours. This is caused by the rotation of the Earth, from a heliocentric perspective and by the motion of the sphere of the fixed stars in the geocentric perspective. This makes the Moon move in a clockwise motion on the chart. Primary motion changes the location of planets, stars, etc., in terms of their house position because the house position is based on local space, that is looking from the position of the observer, wherever they may be located on Earth.

At the same time the Moon is orbiting the Earth and moving through the Zodiac, so while she has risen into the 12th house due to primary motion, she is also moving counterclockwise, in the order of the signs. Thus she is also moving from 17 Virgo where she is now towards 27 Virgo where Alkaid is. Zodiacal motion does not depend local space and is the same for all observers, no matter what their location. We do not measure aspects by primary motion, the motion produced by the Earth's rotation, but by the motion of the planets in their orbit, their motion through the Zodiac.

The Moon will not reach the Ascendant and perfect her conjunction with Alkaid with Alkaid on the Ascendant. But that is not necessary! The power of the conjunction is effective so long as she is within orb of an applying aspect. She aspects, literally beholds or sees the Ascendant and Alkaid, because she is within orb and therefore has an effect on them.

Again, think of the requirements of the election at one particular time or time range we have:

1. Alkaid rising, ie conjunct the Ascendant, so 27 Virgo is on the Ascendant.

2. The Moon is at 17 Virgo, applying to a conjunction of the Ascendant
and Alkaid.

We need not have the Moon at 27 Virgo and 27 Virgo rising! All we need is 27 Virgo rising and the Moon within her orb, say about 12 degrees. She could be at 15 Virgo and it would be usable.

More on Fixed Stars

Friday, May 1, 2009

Cazimi Moon Protection Talismans

Just today I stopped by the post office and picked up Wade's newest shipment, the Cazimi Moon talisman for invisibility and protection against enemies, the government and those in authority.

This is a very cool combination of a Cazimi Moon and house based protection talisman. The Moon is exalted and cazimi, within 17 minutes of the Sun, in fact for these talismans the Moon is exactly, to the minute conjunct the Sun! This dramatically punches up the power of the Moon and since the Moon is united with the Sun, is perfect for invisibility.

Then we have a very nice election to strengthen the user of the talisman and weaken their enemies and the government. Scorpio rises and Mars rules the 1st house, signifying the user of the talisman. Mars is well dignified by sign and face. The 2nd house of money is ruled by the natural ruler of wealth, Jupiter, who is dignified by term. The 7th house of open enemies is ruled by Venus, who is afflicted by being in detriment. Mercury, ruler of the 10th house of government is peregrine (also pretty close to nasty Algol) and thus weak and Saturn, the Greater Malefic, retrograde, afflicts the 10th house. Nice, very nice!

The design is inspired by an invisibility talisman from the Black Pullet, an 18th century grimoire. Nice looking designs, but so late and decadent that the symbols don't even mean anything anymore. We used the symbols of the planets involved as recommended by Agrippa and Thabit Ibn Qurra and changed the nonsensical squiggles for an appropriate Psalm in Hebrew.

This is a very special talisman since while it is entirely inspired by traditional methods, for the first time both the design and election are by the Renaissance Astrology team and not directly from a traditional source. We are not departing from traditional methods, we are not changing to fit the times, but we are also not afraid to create new talismans within the tradition!

The cost of the Cazimi Moon protection talisman is just $199.95 plus $12.95 US priority mail shipping or $35.95 insured non-US global express mail or US express mail shipping. Here is order and further info.