Saturday, 28 November 2009

Tragic death of astrologer - Fate and free will

A fellow astrologer died recently, someone I knew and worked with, even though we'd had very few personal contacts. Her death was so unexpected and sudden, that the news practically shocked all her acquaintances. She died after having undergone - supposedly- minor surgery, a surgery she chose to have and not for health reasons. After the initial shock, I naturally ran through her charts trying to find some sort of explanation, some sort of indication that this was about to happen. I know that some people prefer not to deal with this sort of questions, but death is a part of life and if astrology deals with all the aspects of life, then perhaps it has something to say about death as well.
I must say beforehand, however, that it has not yet been determined whether the time of death can be safely predicted or not from a natal chart. It is a very difficult matter and it raises all sorts of questions about fate and free will. John Frawley in his forthcoming book on natal astrology says that the natal chart is about the body, but we also have souls. Does that mean that there is a limit to what the natal chart can tell us and that sometimes the soul intervenes and alters the pattern? I'm not sure. The book isn't out yet, so I can't say for certain what he means by that.
But the question still stands. The fact that we seem to be unable to predict a lot of things with any scientifically valid amount of accuracy, is it because the soul steps in or is it because our astrology is still in an infantile stage? And more importantly, why should the soul intervene? If the soul is using the body to experience every possible aspect of life, why would it change anything? The soul doesn't care whether a particular experience is pleasant to the body or not, it just wants to find out what it feels like. If we had unlimited free will, wouldn't our choices be severely restricted? Who would choose to die young, who would choose poverty, who would choose poor health, who would choose the loss of loved ones, who would choose unemployment, who would choose alcoholism, who would choose abuse and so on. The questions are endless. Shouldn't we co-operate with our fate and try to find out exactly what that is? Because only then will we have a chance of actually controlling it and perhaps change something in the process, should we feel the need to do so. So, instead of secretly "rejoicing" when a prediction goes wrong and declare the triumph of free will, I think we must strive to achieve scientific accuracy in our predictions.
Thankfully, horary astrology is much simpler than natal astrology in this regard. It concerns only a limited amount of time and the events it describes have already started taking their course, whether by choice or fate, so we don't have to worry about ethical objections and our personal ideology concerning astrology. Still, how do we use it? Do we actually read a horary chart or do we see only what we want to see? The astrologer I mentioned in the beginning of this post, cast this horary chart before her operation, asking if her doctor is the best possible one. This is the chart:

Of course she had decided to go for the operation regardless of this chart and that raises another question whether we ourselves believe in the validity of astrology. What's the use of erecting charts if we have already decided on our course of action? Anyway, on the face of it, this chart seems to give a positive answer. The doctor (Mercury) is in the 10th house and therefore accidentally strong and about to trine Jupiter, her significator. She did say that she liked the doctor and had confidence in him. So, that was that and she went ahead. That was the answer she wanted and she didn't look any further perhaps. But what is the actual condition of this Mercury? It is under the sun beams, which is not such a severe affliction as being combust, but it is also about to go combust. Which means, that his condition was increasingly worsening. She may have thought that the trine with Jupiter was going to happen first, so she didn't pay any attention to combustion. But this chart also has Mars, the natural ruler of surgery in the 8th house of death. She may have thought that this is not so bad, as Mars has recently left Cancer, the sign of its fall, and so it is not so threatening. But in this chart, Mars' condition actually got worse if we take receptions into account. From Cancer, Mars liked Jupiter (herself) and was ruled by the Moon (her second significator). So Mars had no power over her, but instead she had power over the surgery. From Leo however and still in the 8th house, Mars got stronger and her power was lost. Even more importantly, the Moon was about to enter the sign of its fall (Scorpio), from where it would square Mars. Mars is also the ruler of the 4th house, which signifies the end of matter. So, in this case "end of matter" equals 8th house, the house of death. When would that happen? In approximately 4 time units. It couldn't be hours or days, because the operation would take place at a later date and of course it couldn't be months or years, because the operation was imminent. So, this leaves weeks, as the only logical time unit. She died four weeks exactly after having asked this horary question.
Naturally, it's easy to be wise in retrospect. What would I have said had I seen this horary chart (I found out about this chart after her death) when it was asked? Would I have said "No, don't have the operation, because you are going to die?" No, probably not. This was not a life-threatening operation, more like a run-of-the-mill one. Perhaps I would have simply urged caution, but, not expecting any real danger, I might have interpreted the chart quite differently. And this is another serious problem with our interpretations. How much of what we say is actually based on the chart and how much comes out of our personal views and limitations?

Monday, 16 November 2009

The destructive face of Uranus

I've already mentioned in another entry how important it is to have a healthy Saturn to counterbalance the effects of the outer planets. Saturn may be responsible for a lot of our problems, but it defines who we are at the most basic level and it keeps our different parts glued together. Without Saturn we wouldn't be able to function at an everyday level and we would be prey to every passing "demonic" influence, to use a Christian term. We need to understand that no matter how fond we are of the outer planets, no matter how much we are addicted to the glamour they are surrounded in by modern astrology, they can be exactly that. Demonic.
Why is that? Because the outer planets don't care about who you are, what matters to you, why you have the daily routines that you have. They don't realize how important and necessary your structures are, all you have to do is invite them in and then all hell breaks loose. The outer planets are like small children who just want to play. They don't care about your expensive vase and they don't care about your efforts to keep your house in order. So, in that sense they can be extremely destructive, unless you have someone to watch over them. And that someone is Saturn.
Can Uranus be destructive? Yes. Uranus may be all about new knowledge, new ideas, that light bulb in your head that suddenly hits upon something, that urge for change, for eliminating old and obsolete elements of your environment that stand in the way of progress, but... But it doesn't build. It hates form and establishment and simply wants to bring it down. In a sense, this is very useful, because it is uranian people who always seem to be the bringers of light and it is thanks to them that society has evolved. But you can't put them in charge, because they will wreak havoc. They have no idea how to implement any of that new knowledge that seems to come automatically in their heads. After they have offered their gifts to humanity, they have to be chained to a rock, like Prometheus. They are completely incapable of doing anything practical and useful with all that knowledge they have been blessed with. They just put it out there and it is saturnian people who will take on the task to clean up the mess they have left behind and try to make the best use of the valuable things hidden somewhere inside this mess.
So, what happens when Uranus runs amok? How do heavily uranian people behave sometimes? Like a virus. They don't have their own body, their own form, and search for someone else's body, someone else's form. They infiltrate a foreign body and get down to business. At first, they are welcomed because they offer something new and exciting, the foreign body doesn't perceive them as a threat and they themselves are happy to have found a base from which they can launch their missiles. But pretty soon, they suffocate, they start hating they body which was kind enough to offer them hospitality and realize that they have to leave, otherwise they will die. Why? Because the body has tried to enforce some rules on them. It tried to make them understand that they are incredibly useful, but so are the other cells. All the cells need to work harmoniously if the body is to survive. But Uranus can't understand that, because it has no affection for the other cells and the survival of the body is not its' main concern. It will eventually find another body to infiltrate. So, it doesn't leave peacefully. Instead, it declares war on the body and tries to take it over completely. In that case, you need to have your immune system (Saturn) in perfect working order.
Uranian people need to learn respect. Respect for the existence of rules. They can and should try to change their contents and that is of great value to humanity, but they need to understand the necessity of having rules. Or, at least, suggest a practical and viable model of how to live without rules. Until then, they must learn to control themselves.

Friday, 13 November 2009

The battle continues: Traditional vs modern astrology and Venus in detriment or fall

In modern astrology, concepts like detriment and fall have been left behind. A planet in a sign is simply a planet that functions according to the nature of that sign, so it's not a question of "good" or "bad". In traditional astrology, however, essential dignities are extremely important. If we manage to do away with the old-fashioned interpretations, which, it's true, have little validity in the modern world, we must try to understand why the planets behave better in certain signs than others and phrase our findings in modern terms.
Take Venus, for example. Venus rules Taurus and Libra, it is exalted in Pisces, in detriment in Aries and Scorpio and in fall in Virgo. What does that tell us about love, in general? Remember, we must use astrology to understand life, not impose our own views on astrology. Venus rules Taurus, because being in love feels great and you fall in love because you want to have a great time, you don't want sadness and sorrow. You want to enjoy yourself and relax in the arms of another person. But Scorpio can't do that. Its' purpose in life is not to relax but be on alert. Because for Scorpio, life is all about loss and betrayal and it is this part of life that they have come to experience. Love, however, is something that you want to keep, not lose. Yes, it is the sign of grand passion, but what is grand passion really? First of all, it has a sell-by date. You can't live your whole life in such a state, because living a grand passion means that you can do little else. Your mind is constantly on your significant other, you feel jealousy, possessiveness, suspicion... Everything revolves around another person and you act like possessed. This is not what Venus wants. If you can't enjoy your relationship and relax in the company of your loved one, then why the hell did you get involved in the first place? Granted, love affairs of a Scorpio kind can teach you many things about yourself and others and here is where modern astrology can be extremely helpful, but this is not LOVE. Because when all the passion is spent, you usually can't understand why you picked that particular person. He/she ceases to matter and you realize that you simply used them for your self-improvement.
Venus rules Libra because love means harmony and compromise. Two different people get together and they must find what they have in common and try to co-exist with the things that separate them. Aries, however, is extremely self-centered and I mean that in the best possible sense. Aries and Leo are the two signs of self-consciousness par excellence. When you are on the path for consciousness, you don't have the time nor the willingness to occupy yourself with another person. Yes, you form relationships, but these people have to know their place and never become obstacles and make you deviate from your course. If they do, you just brush them aside. But that's not LOVE. When your own self is your main concern, and quite rightly so, then you can't experience love in its' full glory.
Venus is exalted in Pisces, because love is not only the coming together of two bodies, but also a deep connection between two souls. In order to do this, you have to set aside what differentiates you from the other and realize that at some point we are all connected. Love, in the piscean sense, opens your eyes to the ultimate truth that you are a God and you fell in love with a God. This kind of love is rumoured to be fake. Far from it. You are able to see a person in such a light, that you and only you can see the truth. That he/she is a God. And only in your presence do they show their god-like nature, while other people are oblivious to this. Their faults and weaknesses don't matter, because you are given the chance to go far beyond a superficial level of relating. Unfortunately, this doesn't last very long and that's why Venus is exalted in Pisces and doesn't rule that sign. At some point you have to return to the earthly plane, because there is a lot of work to do here. But Virgo is the sign that can't abandon the earthly plane at all, not even if its' life depended on it. Virgo's purpose is discrimination. Therefore, the faults and weaknesses of others and your own, need to be constantly in mind, because if you ignore them, you don't get the full picture, you will never know the other person completely. Loving like a Pisces can only bring chaos, because you will live in a dream-like world, where you won't know what's true and what isn't.
On the whole, I think that traditional techniques are very useful and can help you grasp astrological concepts more fully. Naturally, every age has its' own language, its' own code and the interpretations of astrologers need to be in tune with the current one. But the essence remains the same.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Mars in Leo and fixed sign predictions

Mars is a hot and dry planet and Leo is a hot and dry sign, which means that Leo is a comfortable place for Mars and a sign where it can easily display its natural qualities. The problem is that Leo is VERY hot and VERY dry. No matter how psychologically-oriented we may be in our astrology and no matter how much we talk about assertiveness and standing up for our rights, we must never forget that in traditional astrology Mars is the lesser malefic and that's the reason why Mars was assigned rulership over the water triplicity - even if only for nocturnal charts, depending on the school of thought you follow. Because Mars in water COOLS down. You don't want Mars running rampant, because where Mars is, trouble soon follows.
Of course, what modern astrology says about Mars is true. And it does mention Mars's fighting spirit and it does call Mars a warrior. But, I think it plays down the ugly face of Mars, however necessary it may be. If Saturn is responsible for building the walls around your body and soul in order to protect you, Mars is the ferocious dog you get in order to keep the predators away. And predators exist. No wonder in astrocartography they say that there have been instances of people getting robbed when they visited a place where their natal Mars becomes angular. The fighting spirit I mentioned earlier gets stoked up because there is someone or something out there coming to get you.
So, when you have a Mars transit, yes, this is a perfect time to fight for your rights, claim what's your own and show your gritted teeth. But you need to have your dog trained so that it's able to recognize who are the true predators and who are the fake ones. You don't want it unleashed, attacking everyone in sight. This dog needs to have a cause, be it your property, your belief system, your integrity, whatever. But a cause nonetheless.
For Leos especially, this is a time for action and fighting. This is a time where you need to make clear where you stand. Which also means that you may have to alienate people. Leos love an audience, but now, I fear, is not a time to expand it, but pick which members of your personal audience meet your criteria. You may gain some new followers, but these followers will join you because you've made your intentions perfectly clear and expressed your views with clarity and honesty. However, you may have to be constantly on alert, because your personal territory may be challenged. This can range from a threat to your property to a threat to your personal philosophy. What do you believe in? Are your ideas worth fighting for? If not, make the necessary changes. Don't bark at everybody who just happens not to share your opinions. But if they just want to pick a fight and have no arguments to support their views, annihilate them.
The other signs that will receive a hard aspect from this Mars are, of course, Taurus, Scorpio and Aquarius. Taurus is a sign that doesn't like Mars, since it is ruled by Venus. Taureans love to conserve energy and not spend it. This may be a time of great irritability and they may show a side of them that they are not accustomed to or other people are likely to appreciate. They may feel unable to guard their usual relaxed manner and enjoy life to the full because someone or something prevents them from doing so. Taureans don't like fighting for what they have, because this makes them feel unsafe and insecure. What if they lose the fight? What then? This is NOT a sign that can easily say: "OK, I've lost everything, but I gave a hell of a fight. Time to rebuild what I've lost".
For Scorpios I think this is potentially a helpful transit. Mars is their ruler and it's in mutual reception with their Sun. The dryness, in other terms separateness, of Mars in Leo can help them to distance themselves from their tumultuous emotional life. Scorpio is a water sign, and like all water signs, it wants above all to connect. The connections Scorpios make may be very specific, calculated even, because they are deeply afraid of getting hurt. Which means that they don't give their heart out to the first passer-by that comes along. That's why betrayal comes as a shock to them, because they can't believe how careless they have been. With their ruler in a hot and dry sign for more than eight months, this can be a good time to gain some objectivity and leave the deep and dark waters they generally dwell in and come to the surface to have a look. Scorpio ascendants need to be extremely careful in their work environment. There may be some extreme tension there in the next months, even if they are not directly involved, and if the rest of their chart doesn't excel in tension, this can be a very exhausting time.
For Aquarians, I don't think that this is going to be an easy transit. They may watch their ideals get shattered because they may start to feel that people are deeply individualistic and they care only for their personal, petty little needs. That there is a lot of selfishness around without any interest in the welfare of all. Their partners can start to behave in an uncontrollable manner, demanding that their needs are met. However, from the point of view of psychological astrology, this can be a perfect time for them to realize that society is not an abstract idea, but it is comprised of individuals. That society is as advanced as are the individuals that form it. That a lot of work needs to be done at an individual level, before society can move on.

Monday, 2 November 2009

k.d. lang and Ellen Degeneres

It's k.d. lang's birthday today, so let's have a look at her chart.

What seems interesting at first is that, regarding her homosexuality, she has both Venus and Mars in the signs that they rule. If we are to believe Bernadette Brady, when she was trying to explain in modern terms what rulership, exaltation, detriment and fall mean and said that planets in rulership or exaltation act in a "normal" way, that is in a socially acceptable manner, and planets in detriment or fall in a more "uranian" and outcast way, then k.d. lang's chart apparently contradicts her. We are not living in the Middle Ages anymore and it may be OK to be gay, but, still, we can't honestly say that we've done away with prejudice completely. So, how can we explain this chart?
One possible explanation is that we shouldn't pay any attention to rulerships, detriments and the suchlike and be completely modern about this and say that planets are not weakened or strengthened depending on the sign they reside, but, simply, work differently, according to the nature of that sign.
Traditionally, what can we say? Both Mars and Venus are strong essentially but not accidentally. Mars fares a little better, even though it's in a cadent house, because it aspects the Ascendant and therefore more able to express itself, while Venus doesn't. However, she (Mercury) identifies more with Venus (Mercury conjunct Venus, separating though) than Mars. But both Mercury and Venus, especially Mercury, are square a very strong Saturn in Capricorn, situated in a better house than Venus and Mars. Mercury leaves Venus and will square Saturn next. Venus and Mercury may like Saturn by being in Libra, but Saturn doesn't return their feelings, feeling much closer to Mars. Confusing isn't it?
Let's just say that both the female and the male principles are strong in her chart. We may leave it at that, saying that's why she has this androgynous look, but let's look further. Her 5th house (sex) is ruled by Saturn and Saturn is there. Very strong. But her significator for relationships (Jupiter) is in the house of sex, but in the sign of it's fall. Hmm...
Back to modern. Her Moon (traditionally the light in sect, since her chart is nocturnal) is conjunct Uranus, opposite Chiron and loosely conjunct the Ascendant. Uranus has been accused of bringing homosexual tendencies, but this has not always proven to be the case. However, we cannot deny that Uranus and Chiron bring an element of eccentricity, of a sort of behaviour that stands at the margins of society and a wound inflicted by this marginalization.
My conclusion, combining the two astrological schools, is: Yes, there is an innate need to deviate from the "norm" in some way and this need is evident and must be expressed (Moon/Uranus conjunct the Ascendant). But, since she has Mars, Venus and Saturn very strong essentially, she will deal with this eccentricity in a very "sane" way. She will come to accept it easily, tell the whole world about it and not tear herself to pieces just because she is different.
In contrast, in Ellen Degeneres chart, Saturn is in the 1st house (we don't have an accurate birth time, but she said she has an Sagittarius Ascendant). Which means, that she is probably more shy than k.d. and that she cares more about what other people think. Yes, she did eventually come out and she's dealt that Saturn a heavy blow, but I suspect she had spent years wondering "Why can't I be normal?" and that it's still difficult for her to smile off any nasty comments on her sexuality. She may have done a very brave thing and accepted it, but I fear deep inside, it still hurts sometimes. If you've seen the coming out episode of Ellen, you can see how painful it is for her: "Why can't I say it, why can't I even say the word?"
On a final note: k.d lang's most popular song is "Constant Craving" What else would you expect from a Sun/Neptune person? It's things like that that keep you going in astrology, when all techniques seem to fail and you want to abandon it completely.