Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Astrology + Magic = Another Hermetic Mashup

Being an astrological magician is something of an odd combination since it often seems to me that with astrologers and magicians, never the twain shall meet.

I was amused the other day to stumble across the blog of a ceremonial magician who "don't know much 'bout astrology", but still had very strong opinions on the subject! They didn't like planetary days and hours, they liked modern planetary rulerships and had even invented some of their own! Their key point, however, was that they wanted to do magic when they wanted to and found worrying about astrological timing irksome. Still, they had astrology on their to learn list. I found it heartening that a modern magician had any familiarity with Renaissance magic at all and in particular that despite their manifest and manifold criticisms, that they were willing to learn astrology.

What was entertaining about the post was the lack of awareness that these views and opinions were not their own special creation and the expression of their unique individuality. "A little knowledge is a dangerous thing" is of course a perennial problem and who of us has not fallen into the trap of having stronger opinions on a subject than our depth or rather shallowness of knowledge makes prudent? What is utterly typical however, are magicians resenting the idea that they can't simply do astrological magic whenever they wish.

Magic, is after all, about will and about the exertion of power and influence. The magician sees the interconnection of all things in the Cosmos through spiritual bonds of sympathy and says, "Hey, what can I do with with this?" The magician needs to exercise their will, needs to feel that they are the fulcrum of the magical operation. Without will, no power and no magic. Will is therefore a professional requirement so to speak. It is also the reason that magicians tend to be self absorbed, argumentative, self centered, ego-maniacs. A magician saying, "I don't like astrological timing because I want to do magic when I want to" is about as individualistic as a frat boy that says, "I don't like the 21 year drinking age". One is about as likely to be a magician who doesn't mind external restriction as a frat boy who isn't a binge drinker.

Still, it is actually easier to teach astrology to a magician than magic to an astrologer. Again, I think much of this "comes with the territory" because of the astrologer's basic outlook. Of course a modern astrologer is going to be freaked by the idea of magic because their astrology is "scientific" gravity or magnetism or something. The association of magic and astrology is merely an embarrassing anachronism and soon astrology will be taking its rightful place along with chemistry and biology.

What's somewhat more odd is the fairly widespread rejection of magic by traditional astrologers. They generally acknowledge the spiritual basis of astrology shared by magic, but have no desire to do magic and frequently have an almost instinctive aversion to it. Part of this, of course is the deep Judeo-Christian programming that is unconsciously hardwired into modern society, even for the consciously pagan, that looks upon magic with great suspicion. Still the basic astrological outlook is the key force.

Again if we consider that the Cosmos is one great spiritual being bound together by spiritual sympathy and correspondence then the astrologer looks at this pattern in a passive way, unlike the active method of the magician, and sees the cycles of Heaven reflecting the cycles on Earth. They're really not set up to do much about it, though! Using electional and choosing times to take action is about as far as an astrologer is comfortable going. Again, it's funny to watch astrologers insisting that they have solid, individualistic reasons for not doing magic when in fact, for the most part they are simply doing what astrologers do.

This makes the astrological magician a odd duck since they combine the two somewhat disparate approaches of astrology and magic. In fact, a duck is an excellent metaphor being aquatic and airborne and waddlingly terrestial. The astrological magician needs to use will, but then needs to be patient and and apply that will at the astrologically appropriate moment. This combination of opposites is very Hermetic, in fact. Hermes being a liminal god, literally a god of doorways, which are neither in nor out of the building, crossroads, neither of one road nor the other and other borderlands. Personally I've always loved having it both ways and being neither exactly fish nor fowl, which is, I suppose an excellent example of my devotion to my patron Hermes Trismegistus.

In the end, I too, must realize that my drives, desires and talents are not my own unique, special creation, but an expression the forces that combined in me. This is apparent from meditation and contemplation of self and from one's birth chart. Still, for those that wish to follow a true Hermetic path, in the tradition of the Corpus Hermeticum, than astrological magic has its attractions. This is not to say that there are not plenty of other paths to follow, the key is finding a path with heart that is appropriate for you.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Astrology & the Name of Your Holy Guardian Angel

By examining your natal chart, based on the time, date and place of your birth, traditional astrology provides a way to determine the name of your Holy Guardian Angel, aka personal guardian angel, genius or ruling spirit.

There are a number of methods that the Renaissance mage Cornelius Agrippa mentions in Three Books of Occult Philosophy, Bk III ch 26.

Of the method I use, Agrippa says, "There are also the Arabians, and many others, and some Hebrews, who finde out the name of a Genius by the places of the five Hylegians, and making projection alwayes from the beginning of Aries, and the letters being found out according to the order of Hylegians with the astrologers, being reduced into a known order, and being joyned together, make the name of a good Genius:"

So we take the 5 Hylegical places in the chart that is the degree of the Sun, the Moon, the Ascendant, the Part of Fortune and the Prenatal Syzygy, that is the degree either the Full or New Moon previous to birth. Starting with 0 Aries as Aleph we give a Hebrew letter in alphabetical order to the 360 degrees of the Zodiac, then match up the 5 Hylegical place degrees with the appropriate Hebrew letter.

Here is an example of how to determine the name of your personal guardian angel/spirit from Cornelius Agrippa's Three Books of Occult Philosophy, book III, chapter 26.

First of all, as for all natal chart questions, you need the accurate time, date and place of birth. For our example, I will be using the birth chart of King Henry VIII as provided in John Gadbury's Collection of Nativities at page 8.

Gadbury lists Henry as being born at 10:40 am on June 28, 1491 (Old Style) at Greenwich, England, giving him an Ascendant of 27 Virgo. Using modern astrological software, 27 Virgo gives a time of 10:42 am. Close enough! For convenience sake I am going to use the modern software for the calculations which are close, but not exactly the same as given in Gadbury.

Agrippa gives several methods for finding the name of the spirit or genius associated with a particular chart. We will use the method described as being that of the Arabians. For this we use the 5 hylegical places, which are the Sun, Moon, Ascendant, Part of Fortune and the prenatal sygygy (the Full or New Moon immediately previous to the birth). We then determine the degrees that these places fall on in the natal chart.

We use a table of the Hebrew alphabet, starting with aleph at 0 Aries and proceeding in alphabetical order throughout the degrees of the Zodiac. We consult this table and note the letter corresponding to the degree of each of the hylegical places.

Let's look at Henry VIII's chart. Sun 14 Cancer, Moon 11 Aries, Ascendant 27 Virgo, Part of Fortune 24 Gemini, Full Moon 8 Capricorn.

These degrees correspond to Hebrew letters as follows:

14 Cancer Peh
11 Aries Lamed
27 Virgo Beit
24 Gemini Qoph
8 Capricorn Samekh

Agrippa advises that we should then add El or Iah which are divine names.

So the guardian angel of Henry VIII is PeLaBeQaSiel

If you find these instructions difficult I provide the name of your personal genius/guardian angel/spirit with all of my natal readings, including:

the Astrological Checkup
Spiritual Path Reading
Full Natal Reading.

Of interest to astrological magicians, in my natal readings I also provide the Almuten Figuris or chart ruler according to the rather complex calculation of Ibn Ezra, plus a description of individual image for your rising degree from Johannes Angelus.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Short Lesson in Electional Astrology: Friendship

I had a recent election request that was a bit unusual, but it is good example of something that the traditional sources don't teach: how to actually FIND an election!

I was asked to find a time to reconcile with a friend, a very noble pursuit and a departure from the more usual marriage, business or legal election.

In this case the key houses are the 1st for the elector (person using the election) and the 11th house for the friend. Christian Astrology, page 56

Venus is the natural ruler of love and friendship. Al-Biruni

Ramesey in his Astrology Restored/Astrologia Restaurata at 199 gives similar instructions, noting that we should have the 1st and 11th houses and their rulers dignified and unafflicted and making an applying positive aspect.

[Note that as of today, I have a brand new 3rd Revision of the
Renaissance Electional Astrology Compilation
! This includes Ramesey and every other traditional electional astrology text in English with approximately 50 pages of new material]

So, the key will be looking at the 1st and 11th houses and their rulers. What I recognize immediately is that this means we have a lot of possible planetary pairs. For example, if Aries rises then generally Aquarius will be on the 11th, if Taurus rises then Pisces will be on the 11th and so on. Watch out for variations based on particular locations! Here are the basic planetary pairs for the 1st and 11th house rulers

Mars Saturn
Venus Jupiter
Mercury Mars
Moon Venus
Sun Mercury
Mercury Moon
Venus Sun
Mars Mercury
Jupiter Venus
Saturn Mars
Jupiter Saturn

or eliminating the double pairings

Mars Saturn
Venus Jupiter
Mercury Mars
Moon Venus
Sun Mercury
Mercury Moon
Venus Sun
Jupiter Saturn

This is very helpful, since it means we can then look at our ephemeris and see if these planets are dignified or at least unafflicted and making a positive applying aspect.

We note that Mercury is in Aquarius later in February and that at night he is the night triplicity ruler of air, so nicely dignified.

We can do Mercury/Moon with Virgo rising and the Moon ruling the 11th on February 22, 2009 as the Moon conjoins Mercury

For the client's location then on February 23, 2009 with Sagittarius rising and Virgo on the 11th, this is not the normal sequence, but due to the client's location and using Regiomontanus houses it worked! Be aware of these subtle variations which can be used to your advantage. Mercury conjoins Jupiter on the 23rd, so again we have a positive aspect between 1st and 11th house rulers

Then on February 24, 2009 we have Scorpio rising and Virgo on the 11th house and Mercury conjoins Mars. Now the problem with the 24th is that the Moon is combust, so usable only in a pinch!

These are ok, but only one of the rulers is dignified. How long do we have to wait until a really good election?

Well, on August 13th, 2009 we can get Libra rising so that the elector is Venus, dignified by triplicity and the Moon rules the 11th and is exalted and sextiles Venus with reception! Nice! Only hitch is after sextiling Venus and trining Mercury, the Moon is in orb though fairly widely of a square of the Sun. Still pretty good.

So, good example of how to work with a new house and the sort of you learn in my Electional Course, but isn't taught in the traditional texts. I am currently right in the middle of an upgrade to the Electional Course, putting it on CD, making the 3rd edition of the Renaissance Electional Astrology Compilation free with the course and adding a new lesson on ritual and ceremonial magic elections.

More information on Electional Astrology and the Electional Astrology Course