Eclipse – Battle of Isandlewana

Battle of Islanhlwan by Charles Edwin Fripp

Battle of Islanhlwan by Charles Edwin Fripp

The Battle of Islandlwana on January 22, 1879, was the most dire defeat of the British Army against any indigenous people in the Empire and it occurred at what might be considered the zenith of British power during what has become known as the Zulu Wars. This battle have been of great interest to military strategists and historians. I’ll be looking at this through the eyes of an astrologer.

Although they eventually realized that they were massively outnumbered, the British forces were confident. The battle had not been expected and in fact the British also had 1500 oxen with them, presumably for settlers – certainly not what one takes to war. British forces had never encountered what was now bearing down upon them with unimaginable force.

They were well trained and seasoned soldiers, numbering 1800, including British, colonial and native forces. They also had approximately 400 civilians with them. They were using state of the art weapons and under the able command of Lt. Gen. Lord Chelmsford.

Of primary interest were the much prized Martini – Henry rifle, equipped with bayonets. This was the first time it had been used in combat and it turned out that it had a flaw when used repeatedly for long periods of time. They tended to overheat, making reloading more difficult. It is unlikely that this would have been a problem in other battles. As well, the rocket battery was not mounted and became increasingly useless as the battle unfolded


The effective firing range of the Martini – Henry rifle was 400 yds or 370 m. I emphasize this because the range of sight needed to allow for this ability. The may seem obvioius, but at the time the soldiers had no real doubts of being able to hold back the massive Zulu assault.

The army of 20,000 Zulus had no bows, horses or wheels for that matter. What they had were spears and clubs. According to the grandson of the Zulu chief, the warriors were given a variety of drugs that made them fearless, bloodthirsty and in fact visionary. At one point in the battle the Zulus saw “strange birds” coming for them which they believed were evil spirits conjured by the British.


I have not found an exact, reliable time for the beginning of the battle, but it was close to Noon. The real problem came a couple of hours later. We do know there was a Solar Eclipse that sealed the fate of the British. From the blinding early afternoon Sun, there was a darkness, made worse by the excessive smoke and dust . This was at 2.00 PM LMT

The approaching Zulus became invisible long enough to advance well within the rifle’s range and therefore too close for the army to have the advantage of being able to shoot the approaching Zulus before they were close enough for arm to arm combat, an enormous disadvantage to the British. The fact that the Zulus were unflinching suggests their shaman had predicted the eclipse. I have not found any evidence that this particular eclipse was know to the British soldiers in advance of the event.

The Zulu soon breached the perimeters and were virtually face to face with the British before they could see what was coming at them.. The Zulu used a traditional formation known as the “horns of the bull.” The idea was to encircle and destroy the enemy. The motif of the bull and cattle is quite evident and it’s difficult to ignore the relationship to the Ascendant,

These were the days when armies wore brilliant colours proudly, rather than using camouflage. Yes, there were ambushes, but we cannot call this the age of stealth. Yet non – visibility is what won the day.

The Ascendant is the life force and this chart gives us a highly afflicted Taurus Ascendant. Along with the Part of Fortune, it is in tight conjunction with the highly malefic Fixed Star know as Algol. It has a reputation for making one lose their head, either figuratively or literally and is associated with piled up corpses.  The Ascendant is disposited by Venus, in turn disposited by Saturn, She is Peregrine and Under the Beams. Saturn is in a weak sign in the Eleventh House, denying help from military associates and friends in general. Moreover, Saturn is Almuten of the chart and Venus is the Killing Planet.

Saturn in Halb can also be said to be Lord of the Eclipse, as he disposits both luminaries and both benefics. It doesn’t seem too much of a stretch to suggest the Zulu association with the Tenth House Sun, as they are in effect eclipsed and maintain the high ground, retaining their sovereignty,serpens

The *enemy* is in the martial and stealthy sign of Scorpio, ruled by Mars, out of sect in the Eighth House of Death and dispositing the Twelfth House – all in all, a nasty piece of work in the context of the chart as a whole.  The Lord of the Eighth House is Jupiter, suggesting many dead.  Mars is conjunct Ras Alhague, the star in the head of the Serpent-charmer (Orphiucus), the Moorish El Hauwe.

Pliny said that it occasioned much mortality by poisoning. This constellation has also been called Aesculapius and held to rule medicines. By the Kabalists it is associated with the Hebrew letter Oin and the 16th Tarot Trump “The Lightning Struck Tower”. [Robson*, p.54.] It also has another role – that of Shamanic healer. The considerable participation of the shamanic priests shouldn’t be underestimated. From the concoctions given to the warriors to the healings during the battle. They evoked a powerful force that made the Zulus fight as one and without fear.

Given the inescapable association of the British with the Lion, I cannot but associate the Leo S. Node as the ‘end of the matter’ in the Fourth House. This can be taken as both the Lion defeated as well as resurgent. The Zulus won the battle, but decidedly lost the war





Thema Mundi & the Aquarian Age

The Thema Mundi can strike one as a rather strange beast at first. Thema Mundi literally means “World Theme”, with ‘the word theme also meaning chart.  What we have is perhaps best described as a mythical horoscope, of particular interest to Hellenistic Astrology, showing the ideal position of the planets and luminaries. I use the term ‘ideal’ in the Platonic sense of the Forms. r_thema_mundi The chart shows the supposed positions of the seven visible planets, Sun and Moon, demonstrating the logic behind the rulership of signs, planetary exaltations and so on. It is regarded as the placement of all bodies at the time of Creation.  It is clearly not intended to correlate to an actual astronomical event. because Venus and Mercury are at impossible distances from the Sun. Venus is 60° from the Sun and Mercury is 30° Astronomically, the angular distance of Venus is never more than 47.8° and Mercury not more than 27.8° from the Sun.

All planets and luminaries are positioned in a sign they rule and at 15 degrees of the sign. Below we has the same Thema Mundi illustrating the ways in which a planet may aspect another : conjunction, opposition, trine, square and sextile. These are what have become known as the Ptolemaic aspects, but it’s clear that they long proceeded Ptolemy. It is estimated that the Thema came into being circa 322 B.C. One could very well write a book on this, but for the time being think of this as something of a universal key to Hellenistic astrology and beyond. mundif There is another term used to describe how signs or planets can relate. Ptolemy referred to it as an aversion, But strictly speaking it isn’t an aspect for the simple reason that it doesn’t aspect anything.  This is very important in Hellenistic Astrology because the Ascendant is as the life force and also what ‘steers’ the owner of the chart. The Sixth, Eight and Twelfth House are unfortunate houses because they are in aversion to the Ascendant. They cannot ‘see’ it.  It is not nearly as important with an aversion between signs, such as Aries and Virgo, but a matter of great concern between the Eighth House and the Ascendant.

If you believe that any of this has any credibility whatsoever, there is no getting around the fact that Aquarius is in the House of Death on the Axis of Hades. Once again, we can see that utopian views of the Aquarian Age are delusional. There isn’t ant other way to interpret this Thema with respect to the Eighth House.

I have stated elsewhere that I believe the Aquarian Age began in earnest at the beginning of the 20th Century, with sea power giving way to domination of the skies, including space. I have also raised the issue of what I’ve called “velvet fascism.’ This first century of the Aquarian Age and now the second is extremely destructive with 60 million killed in WWII and 40 million Chinese under Mao Zedong. alone Most strikingly the greatest conflicts were over secular ideology. The Communist Revolution in China promised a world of equality and plenty – a worker’s paradise. That sounds very Aquarian. mao01Once in power, Mao was so fixed in his ideology that he became a great tyrant, tens of millions of people starved, he set his mind on destroying anything traditional or old. Long before the Cultural Revolution, the bloody invasion of Tibet took place, with ensuing physical and cultural Genocide.

Mao famously told the Dalai Lama that religion is poison. But he has in effect formed a secular religion that was not to be questioned. As a plethora of images show us, he liked to be portrayed as a demi-god and the people were mostly acquiescent. Is it really a true revolution to replace an Emperor with a dictator? The Bolshevik Revolution promised similar benefits, but again we have a case of ideology that resulted in untold tragedies and death.

It is estimated that 100 million Russians died under Stalin ,What has made the wars and revolution so much more horrible if the rapid advancement of technologies with which Aquarius is commonly associated.  From mustard gas to atomic bombs, we have seen unprecedented destruction. None of this seems out of place with what we saw in the Thema Mundi and in previous articles on the Aquarian Age.

Indians think in much longer succession of Ages, the length of Ages are not always consistent. Depending of which school of Hinduism you ask, there can be massi9ve discrepancy. Some sources say  the Kali Yuga lasts for 432,00o years only 5,000 years of which have elapsed.  The Kali Yuga is considered the worst Age of all, yet the symbolism is not so out of place in our own age.  The imagery is comparable to Rubin’s painting of Saturn devouring his children.  Saturn, is, after all, a malefic. and the Eighth House is the place of death.Kali The Platonic system gives us much shorter ages, but even so, it would be very far from the truth to say that someone can’t do good things in difficult times. They always have. However, the Age of Aquarius has been consistently portrayed as a Golden Age when people will attune to higher frequencies and love each other, as nobody could have loved each other in any other age. The most insidious aspect of velvet fascism is that it promises freedom, while globalisation, a very Aquarian idea, makes slaves of some and consumers of others. As always, to have knowledge is to be forewarned..

Deciphering the Voynich Manuscript

68rMy original intent was to write a lengthy article on the astronomical / astrological findings used in the ongoing project of decoding the 600 year old Voynich manuscript by Professor Baxter at the University of Bedfordshire.

That now seems somewhat redundant since Professor Baxter gives us two lectures of a little less than two hours and has posted the full 500 page article of his findings on his homepage. I’m therefore opting for an introduction and an opportunity to congratulate Baxter for his achievement. I would also encourage traditional astrologers and students of cultural astronomy to take an active interest in this project

Baxter is a linguist who has gone a long way towards cracking the code of this artifact which has remained largely unintelligible until recently . There has been extensive inter-disciplinary sharing of information on this project

In keeping with the focus of this site, the astrological elements that helped to decipher this manuscript are paramount. Baxter tell us that ““The manuscript has a lot of illustrations of stars and plants. I voynich_dreams_vi_by_dantesangreal-d5c19ffwas able to identify some of these, with their names, by looking at mediaeval herbal manuscripts in Arabic and other languages, and I then made a start on a decoding, with some exciting results.”

He recognized Taurus, close to a picture of what could very well be the Pleiades, Pictures of known herbs were also useful. Baxter refers to seven ladies in water, but I’m inclined to think they represent the Pleiades themselves. However, this can be little more than an educated guess without seeing the context of the image to other images and text.

In the second video, Baxter discusses the Lunar Mansions, among other things as a calendar and seasonal indicator, This is in turn reveals the four elements and the humours.

He questions why Taurus would be where it is on the circle without mentioning the chart is an Octotopos, as is the image @ 11:08 in the first video. The Octotopos was a Hellenistic form using only eight houses. It is said that four mundane elements were divided by the four celestial points.

This would be supported by the fact that four of the houses are filled with stars. The other places four show lines connected to stars, each of the four houses contains a different number, from one to four as far as I can determine.

I make no claims to being an expert on that system. In the Octotopos, however, Taurus appears to be rising, depending on how it is viewed. Baxter ultimately refers back to the Lunar Mansions which divide the circle into 28 sections and puts weight on the position of Taurus indicated by the Mansion. 68r_gallica_1b

Again, we have more cultural context and linguistic information as the work of deciphering this fascinating artifact unfolds    Please refer to the previous article regarding Al Buni and the Lunar Mansions for a deeper understanding. There are also pages on this site which discuss the Mansions directly.

……   …..

Magic and the Occult in Islam: Ahmad al-Buni

What follows is a very fine lecture by Saiyad Nizamuddin Ahmad (Department of Arabic and Islamic Civilizations, American University in Cairo) delivered at the Warburg Institute, University of London, May 2003.

This is an important lecture in it’s own right, but I’m also posting this as an introduction or leading to my next post, regarding the decoding of a manuscript using astrological elements such as Lunar Mansions, Constellations and significant stars; while making reference to the Picatrix. I’m delighted to see so much research and scholarship brought to bear on the astrological tradition and it’s association with Alchemy, Geomancy. & Theurgy.

The Flight of the Hindenburg

hind1xThere are some events that become etched in the collective psyche, taking on almost mythical dimensions. Certainly, the explosion of the Hindenburg falls into that category as does the sinking of the Titanic – “the ship that even God couldn’t sink.”

A zeppelin requires enormous amounts of flammable gas to operate, The fact that they flew in electrical storms and on bombing missions in WWI seems counter-intuitive. The fact is they were a marvel of  engineering and considered very safe and efficient.

Most are unaware of the long time success of the airships and the fact that this single event put an end to it all. For almost three decades, travel on German commercial zeppelins saw tens of thousands of passengers flying over a million miles on more than 2,000 flights without a single injury.

What was it about the conditions of this last flight that caused the catastrophe?  Technicians are still not in total agreement about  why this particular zeppelin failed so spectacularly.


From a traditional astrological point of view there are several elements of interest, many of which appear to be errily literal, insofar as anything can be truly literal.  I’ll be looking at the charts for the departure from Frankfurt and the explosion in Lakehurst, NJ.The times and dates are 03 May 1937, 7:16 PM (CET – 1) and 06 May 1937, 7:25 PM (EDT = 4) respectively.

In the chart of departure, the first element of interest in the Scorpio Ascendant in Via Combusta  The Pre Natal Lunation is within 3.5° of the Ascendant. In fact, the Ascendants of the departure and combustion chart are a mere 2° apart.  This provides us with a rich study of the seed and fruition of the event.

This gives us a chart with fixed angles. If this were a horary chart, it would indicate ,misfortune on the part of the querent. ‘The term translates as Fiery Road’ or ‘Combust Way’.e

Perseus with head of Algol

The constellation Perseus and Algol, the Bright Star in the Gorgon’s head – Johannes Hevelius, Uranographia, 1690

The Ascendant is the place of the helmsman in Hellenistic astrology.  In this case the Helmsman is a retrograde Mars in aversion to  the Ascendant.

The Helmsman has no direct control of the ship. This gives us the image of the zeppelin taking off and exploding in the way of fire. Mars and the Nodal Axis are in the axis known as the Gates of Hades. Mars is also in opposition to the South Node in the opposite sign of it’s Exaltation. In spite of its condition, Mars is the Almuten Figuris of the chart. He is however in no position to steer the ship.

The scenario is already looking quite deadly. We find a Martial Venus in an unfortunate house and retrograde. The sixth house is the house of sickness and of the people, as in subjects or citizens of the realm, but in this case could just as well be the passengers According to the rules of Guido Bonatti Venus is the “killing planet” and Lord of the Twelfth House

We find Mercury in Taurus Rx in the house of open enemies, disposited by a debilitated Venus and conjunct the very unfortunate star, Algol meaning to lose one’s head. In many photos of the event, the Hindenburg appears to be having it’s “head” snapped off.

Mercury is also parallel Canopus, known to the Greeks as the rudder of the Celestial Ship. As if to underscore the danger here, we also find Mercury contrary to Sect and not in his chariot, according to Hellenistic thought. He is incapable of competence, but is nevertheless goaded into action.  In the house of the open enemy, his actions cannot be benign. They are in effect malevolent.


When we focus on the chart for the explosion during attempts to land in Lakehurst, the first thing of significance is the near exact degree of the Ascendant. This had not been planned. As mentioned, the zeppelin was several hours behind schedule.

It is also intriguing that the planetary Hour belongs to Mercury. On departure it had been in the Hour of the Sun. The appalling condition of Mercury conjunct Algol is Lord of the Eighth House of Death. The Eighth is in the Mutable Air Sign of Gemini, the placement of the S. Node and opposed by Retrograde Mars, in term disposited by a weak Jupiter in the domicile of Saturn. Jupiter is for all intents and purposes Peregrine, possessing a Ruler / Term reception with Saturn and exaltation / term and term with Mars

Not a great deal has changed from the departure chart, except of course the Moon has passed from Aquarius to Pisces. In and of itself, I don’t see this as being central to the disaster, but with a change of Moon comes a change in the Part of Fortune, the Lord of which is Mercury. Mercury is essentially conducting the events by default

The Hindenburg was several hours behind schedule due to a number of elements, not least the wind and a minor electrical storm. We could say the airship reached the destiny promised by the chart for departure. As mentioned above, this is all rather eerily literal, but impossible to ignore.

Sacred Science & Materialistic Literalism

Pythagoras - Detail from Raphael's "School of Athens"

Pythagoras – Detail from Raphael’s “School of Athens”

Considering the extreme distaste modern scientists have for dogma, they can be surprisingly dogmatic. Of course the greatest minds realize there is not a single means of perception and the same phenomena can be seen and understood in different ways without being wrong. For example, The Vedas show a remarkable wisdom and understanding which may fairly be called sacred science. Yet the hubris of modern scientists often finds the term sacred science to be oxymoronic.

There is a persistent and pernicious belief that real intelligence began with the Enlightenment . Whether of not this is wilful ignorance, it is blind to the extraordinary wisdom and what I would call sacred science which is older by thousands of years. Much of it is only now being understood by modern people.

However, much of the common parlance of scientists suggests a teleological sensibility, For example, I recently watched a wonderful documentary on marine life at 15,000 feet below the surface of the Pacific Ocean off the coast of the Philippines. .

Essentially all life forms at that depth have a luminescence comparable to the terrestrial firefly. Then the marine biologist in charge stated that a jelly fish like creature had a red stomach so that other life forms couldn’t see luminescence in the stomach.

That statement is in fact teleological. It is telling us that this trait exists for a reason and is therefore not the result of random mutation. The Oxford English Dictionary defines teleological as an “explanation of phenomena by the purpose they serve rather than by postulated causes.” The sense that there is meaning and purpose in the universe beyond what is virtually blind chance has been ridiculed by the term “Intelligent Design.”untitled

While the vast majority of astrologers would want to distance themselves from biblical literalism with a fear of science, the term itself is well conceived. Every time a scientist finds herself explaining creation by the purpose they serve, she betrays a split in consciousness.

There has been a hoax circulating for many years suggesting that Einstein was supportive, even admiring, of astrology. It’s a moot point in any case as there is no evidence that Einstein ever studied astrology. I cannot think why he would. However, for those of us who dostudy astrology, his scientific and philosophical views seem familiar and harmonious.

In an interview with Alfred Stern in the Contemporary Jewish Record 8  (June 1945 pp. 245-249,  Einstein tells us that he is “not a positivist. Positivism states that what cannot be observed does not exist. This conception is scientifically indefensible, for it is impossible to make valid affirmations of what people ‘can’ or ‘cannot’ observe. One would have to say ‘only what we observe exists’, which is obviously false.” ~

This video addresses these issues in an intelligent and respectful way.*


Modern materialist thought tends to be childishly literal, finding ancient systems of though such as astrology to be mere superstition or worse. Ironically, the greatest minds who lay the basis and furthered the cause of science were also serious astrologers. These include Galileo, Nicolas Copernicus and Sir Isaac Newton to name but a few. Wisdom and science were never so much at war as they have been since the European 18th Century

*I would like to give credit for the creator of this video, but have regrettably been unable to establish provenance beyond the VideoPress stamp. If you have this information, please contact me.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

Image showing ships- from different-countries searching for the debris of flight-mh370. – Associated Press

I have been hesitant to write on this topic for more than one reason. First and foremost I have no love of sensationalism,  I do have a  concern for all who have been hurt and  also needed to meditate on how Hellenistic astrology can best address this kind of event. What follows is a few thoughts on the incident.

Before I begin, I would like to convey my most sincere condolences to the families and friends of passengers of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. This has been one of the most bizarre stories I’ve heard in recent times.

We have a state of the art plane, from a highly reputable airline, with an experienced pilot and co-pilot, vanishing while the world employs every imaginable form of surveillance, from satellites, radar and ship and planes from several countries. The depth of the water was less than the length of the plane

The weather was clement and the pilot gave the customary “good night” to Air Traffic Control as it flew towards Vietnam The perimeters of the search have been extended as far as the southern Indian Ocean, thousands of miles and in the opposite direction of the scheduled flight.

A woman holds a candle as she takes part in a candlelight vigil held by Malaysian ethnic Chinese for the passengers of Malaysia Airlines MH370 near Independence Square in Kuala Lumpur March 10, 2014.

A woman holds a candle as she takes part in a candlelight vigil held by Malaysian ethnic Chinese for the passengers of Malaysia Airlines MH370 near Independence Square in Kuala Lumpur March 10, 2014.

The flight departed at 0:41 am – 8 AWST (local time) on 08 March 2004 from Kuala Lumpur. The destination was Beijing and the majority of passengers were Chinese nationals. This happened three weeks ago and the media is claiming that all resources employed have yielded no results. The official line is that the plane lost contact as it flew towards the South China Sea

There have been reports from fishermen that a  ball of fire fell into the ocean which they identified as an airplane. This occurred at the time the plane would be expected to be in that location. Considering that oil slicks were also seen and documented in that area, it seems very odd that this area was not given top priority as a search site. Indeed, several vessels were deployed on the other coast of Malaysia.


The charts is, at first glance, somewhat unremarkable.  An exalted Jupiter in Cancer is Lord of the Ascendant. In Hellenistic astrology, the Ascendant is considered as the bow of a ship, but the metaphor works for aeroplanes.

If this looks relatively benign, we need to look closer. Jupiter is the helmsman, but he make no actual contact or attachment to the Ascendant.  He is also out of Sect and in the house of Death.

Jupiter’s connection to Fixed Stars included Sirius, meaning searing heat as well as Canopus, the Celestial Navigator.Malaysia-Airline-crash-3219392

There is a fundamental conflict between Jupiter and Mars which would go unnoticed by modern astrologers. The two planets are in hard aspect to each other and Mars is in his Detriment in Libra and Retrograde. He is conflicted and therefore his Conjunction to the North Node only magnifies this.

Saturn also play a role here. He is in hard aspect to a saturnine Venus that would represent the co-pilot in this case. The Moon is separating from Venus, indicating a loss of light and communication.

The Lord of the Tenth and Part of Fortune is Mercury, who plays the role of Sail Master. This would not be particularly problematic if Mercury were not in the bounds of Mars, disposited by Saturn in Scorpio and with the Part of Nemesis.

It is intriguing to note also that Mercury is in the 25th Arabian Lunar Mansion Al Fargh al Thani. This is the “Second, or Lower Spout” of the Water-bucket. This Increases harvests, revenues, gain, heals infirmities, hinders building, upholds prisons, causes danger to seamen. Saturn is the ancient Lord of seafaring and ship wrecks. I don’t think it unreasonable to extend this to include flights over the ocean  

 I do not pretend to know exactly what happened to Flight MH370, but it does seem plain that the cause of system failure was dramatic and fiery. With the intensity of Sirius’ heat, the plane may well have exploded as the fishermen said it did. That would also explain the oil slick in that area of the China Sea