Sunday, June 4, 2017

Loss of Spiritual Alignment - the Astrological Cure

I certainly love my central heating and enjoy having air conditioning in the hot Midwestern summer, but I realize that in insulating ourselves from the natural world that we have lost our natural connection.

My wife had a horse that she took care of growing up and she described to me how much she noticed the arrival of Spring because she didn't have to walk several miles in the snow, ice or sleet to get to the pasture. But ensconced inside, driving everywhere, we almost miss the change of seasons and the natural cycles around us.

One area that comes up repeatedly has to do with planetary hours. See More information on planetary hours. Now planetary hours follow the original reckoning of day and night, where day begins at Sunrise and night begins at Sunset. Obviously this is the most natural and fits all of our associations with light during the day and darkness during the night. What this means, if you are not on the Equator, is that days are shorter in the Winter and longer in the Summer and vice versa for nights. Similarly planetary hours since there are 12 in the day and 12 at night, are shorter or longer than 60 minutes depending on the location and time of year.

This was problematic for timekeeping and while it is possible to create clocks that run on these natural hours, in the Middle Ages the use of standardized days and hours of 60 minutes began. They used astronomical timekeeping, so when the Sun is on the cusp of the 10th house in most house systems, the Midheaven, this is 12 pm or noon and when the Sun is on the 4th house, in most house systems the imum coeli "bottom of the sky" this is midnight, and this was chosen as the beginning of the day. It does seem odd to start the day in the middle of the night, but this is why.

What is surprising are the number of people that are learning to work with the planetary hours and e-mail asking, "What is Sunrise?" At first I thought that they were confusing dawn, which is when you first start to see light before the Sun rises and the point at which you can actually see the Sun on the horizon, ie Sunrise. And indeed there are lots of nuances and differences in dawn and Sunrise. But as I probed further what I realized was that there are people that honestly don’t know what Sunrise is.

But living inside, with jobs, timekeeping with clocks and with artificial light why would you need to worry about Sunrise? You could tell day from night, but that's all you really need to know.

Carl Jung in his autobiographical "Memories, Dreams, Reflections" describes his trip to Africa. Far outside the outposts of industrial civilization, he writes,

"The sunrise in these latitudes was a phenomenon that overwhelmed me anew every day…I formed the habit of taking my camp stool and sitting under an umbrella acacia just before dawn…At first, the contrasts between light and darkness would be very sharp. Then objects would assume contour and emerge into the light which seemed to fill the valley with a compact brightness. The horizon became radiantly white…Everything turned to flaming crystal… At such moments I felt as if I were inside a temple. It was the most sacred hour of the day."

Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections

It is an almost commonplace cliché that our technology has isolated us, but still what a contract between Jung's experience of Sunrise in nature and "what is Sunrise?"

Technology has given us the illusion that we can ignore natural cycles, that we can bend them to our will. We can have strawberries in February and ski in August. Climate change and the other results of mass environmental destruction is Nature's riposte to this hubris.

Ultimately astrology is a sacred art insofar as we use it to align ourselves with the underlying spiritual cycles that it reveals. Sunrise = birth = Spring = creation for example. Who we are and what our purpose is, are all revealed in our natal charts. Astrology has the potential to bring us into spiritual alignment. While spiritual alignment brings both wise guidance and reveals meaning.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Devotional Practice at the Solstices and Equinoxes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, February 19, 2017

How Do You Find Electional Charts?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Astrological Talisman Weather for January 28-29, 2017

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

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

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Dangers of Compartmentalization

For protection against flooding, one of the most important safety precautions is to divide a ship into a large number of separate, watertight compartments.

If there is a breach in the hull at one point, the water is contained and the entire ship is not flooded. This is a key precaution to maintain overall integrity and structure of the ship.

Compartmentalization also works well to maintain the structure and integrity of your life structure and worldview. In fact, for many people, keeping the different facets of their life carefully separated is the only way they can maintain the current structure of their lives. We can present one face to our friends, another to our family and a third to our boss and co-workers. We rightly or wrongly fear that if these disparate strands of our life were brought together that problems, conflicts and even a threat to the continuation of the current course of our lives may take place. Often we do not even bring the possible consequences into consciousness, we simply keep all of these different areas separate.

Now, sometimes compartmentalization is wise. Many years ago when we were in DC I had a friend at a large, very conservative lawfirm that I had been fired from. My friend was probably correct not to flaunt in front of his boss his friendship with such an egregious rebel. One of the downsides, however, of compartmentalization is an inevitable fracturing and at least mild schizophrenia. We are never free to be who we are, but must always conform to the requirements of our surroundings.

I've also encountered another very interesting example of compartmentalization which is the significant number of people who are otherwise entirely conventional, with one exception, be it ceremonial magic, or Zen, astrology or some other spiritual or esoteric interest or activity. For example, again, in DC, I met a guy who said, "I'm just a regular, run of the mill programmer, who does Goetic magic in the evenings and on the weekend." Similarly, this is fairly prevalent with Zen, as my experience is that Zen practitioners are otherwise totally ordinary plain vanilla liberal Democrats.

This compartmentalization of spiritual, magical or esoteric practice has several practical uses. It can be seen as a purely practical measure as old aunt Zelda or your boss might react badly. But in fact there is a deeper purpose here as the spiritual or esoteric practice can be partially taken on board without disrupting the existing mental structures and worldview. This is, in fact, another very significant drawback of compartmentalization. For me the practice of first astrology, then astrological magic, then Zen meditation and awakening through Zen & Non-Duality all had an incredibly wide and deep effect on all areas of my life. These combined practices changed my worldview and my reality.

Take horary astrology. In horary we look at the chart of a question and from the position of the planets at the time of the question, we can accurately judge the answer. Not always, but at least 80% or so and sometimes the level of accuracy is amazing. Now we can toddle along with that, unconsciously sticking with the underlying atheistic/materialistic worldview that we are fed by our culture, but just start contemplating the implications. If horary works, which is most definitely does, then there are spiritual cycles that underlie the material world and there is more than simply matter and energy. Existence is not random, the Cosmos is completely patterned and meaningful. Not just in a poetic, vague way, but very practically and concretely, such that a client can ask, "Will I get the job at Y corp?" and I can say "yes" and be right the vast majority of the time.

Compartmentalization allows us to be irrational, for the left to know something that the right can simultaneously deny. It's one thing to not mention you are an astrologer to old Aunt Zelda, it's another to deny the implications of it to yourself. As much as I enjoy predicting the future, in fact the most important thing I've learned from astrology is that the modern worldview is so full of holes as to be almost unusable. The self is quite threatened by this sort of knowledge, which upends its worldview and turns its reality topsy turvy. It sees this knowledge as a danger, a flood that compartmentalization is needed to protect itself from. But if we are to see things as they really are, we have to be willing to be changed. These walls that seem to protect are in fact dividing us and walling us in. Be willing to be other than you are!

Monday, October 31, 2016

Natal Readings and Talismanic Prescriptions

I wanted to talk about Renaissance Astrology natal readings and talisman prescriptions.

When people think of astrology they almost always are thinking of natal (aka birth chart) readings where an astrologer looks at the time of birth of a person. This is because modern astrology focuses almost exclusively on natal readings. Of course, traditional astrology also includes horary readings based on the chart of a question as well as electional astrology, which picks astrologically auspicious times to take action. In addition, mundane astrology looks at long periods of time, whole countries and weather.

Traditional astrologers have really been much more focused on horary astrology, but Robert Zoller helped raise the profile of traditional natal astrology, particularly through Guido Bonatti's medieval Liber Astronomiae. What distinguishes traditional natal readings from modern is more attention to concrete prediction, while modern is more attuned to psychology.

What is somewhat ironic is that while for a long time I considered myself to be a very traditional, traditional astrologer, I have found that I really have a talent for reading psychology in natal charts. Now this is not untraditional just really a change in terminology because traditional astrologers were doing the same thing, just referring to it as character or manners. This is an excellent example of how important it is to give credit where credit is due and acknowledge that the modern astrologers were right, you can learn an incredible amount about the native (person whose natal chart is being read) and their psychology from their chart.

I'll just blow my own horn a bit and relate that it has become almost routine for clients to comment on their natal readings by saying, "Wow! That was incredibly accurate, you've really laid out the key psychological patterns in my life" I guess close to 20 years of practice and hundreds and hundreds of natal readings has paid off with some real insight. I have to say that I think I enjoy most understanding and explaining psychology in natal readings, maybe followed by looking at income and career (predictively not psychologically!).

Of course, this also dovetails with my spiritual work and the increasing amount of spiritual counseling that I am doing. For clients while there is an understandable desire to look at income, career and relationships, among other areas, more and more clients are coming to me looking for insight into themselves, their motivations and psychology. I'm really happy when I can help clients with readings!

Renaissance Astrology offers three different types of natal or birthchart readings

The Astrological Checkup $69.95 this picks 3 major life areas or 3 houses

The Spiritual Path Reading $69.95 this looks at spiritual issues and spiritual path

Full Natal Reading $199.95 this is a complete natal reading

The second thing I wanted to talk about was the talismanic prescription, which is included with all natal readings. Now it is very useful to understand life patterns through the natal chart, but astrological talismans provide a way to actively work with these patterns. Whenever I do a natal reading I look carefully at the patterns that are revealed and explain to the client what possible talismanic or planetary charities might be helpful. Now we cannot simply expect to plunk our money down and overthrow our chart, but we can definitely work with the celestial spirits to enhance the positive energies in our chart and ameliorate the negative patterns that have become clear.

Every natal reading includes the Talismanic Prescription and talisman suggestions, but if you are serious about getting a talisman or talismans I also can do a quick free Talismanic Prescription if you send me your day, month and year of birth Use the Renaissance Astrology Contact Page Remember that this takes time and energy on my part, so the free Talismanic Prescriotion offer is just for people that are serious about actually buying a talisman, not just asking out of idle curiousity.

Remember also that all clients who have had a Renaissance Astrology reading are eligible to be members of the Inner Circle and to purchase Renaissance Astrology talismans.