Autumnal Equinox

I usually start my readings on the Solstices and Equinoxes with a reminder that the charts are secondary to the occasion itself. It’s crucial to mark these times in a spirit of celebration. The Equinox marks the battle day for the Holly King and the Oak King.

Admittedly, Autumn is my favourite season. It is the point at which the days and nights are equal in the Northern Hemisphere, aptly beginning on the first day of Libra the Scales. It is a time when we and nature begin to turn inwards, the trees withdraw their sap , farmers harvest and animals store food for the cold winter to come.

On this particular occasion, this time of balance has an enormous amount of interest for the UK. I have there drawn up the chart for the ingress of autumn at Greenwich. The Ascendant, Venus, Mercury and Sun are in Libra in the 1st House. The Part of Fortune is in good relation to the Sun and so to the Ist house in general.  The third house has a strong Jupiter.

The drama and the mystery begin with Mars in Mercurial Virgo. holding out in the 12th house of hidden enemies. In this sign and context, it reminds one of paperwork or most interestingly a paper tiger,  Unlike the previous chart  we examined, the Moon is on the Midheaven and the 6th House is in Pisces and disposited by Jupiter in his own domicile

This chart bodes quite well for the people of London on the Autumnal Equinox. The possible sour note is Saturn in his own domicile with both the South Node and the Part of Spirit. The fourth house is the end of the matter in horary and first and foremost this is the place of deep ancestral connections, to the land and the people. Saturn here is highly competent and very aware of his responsibilities.

And all shall be well and
All manner of thing shall be well
When the tongues of flames are in-folded
Into the crowned knot of fire
And the fire and the rose are one.

From Little Gidding , the last of T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets


Dmitry Kitsenko Light from Ancient Stars

For many people in the world, the stars are either difficult or impossible to see, due to light and other forms of pollution. There are thankfully still places where one can be awed by the number and brilliance of the stars. For our ancestors, the stars were a part of life and in most cultures were revered and even personalized. The Egyptians referred to the Milky Way as the true Nile. The Hindus referd to the same as the true Ganges. We are stardust and the stars are part of who we are. pjc

The Case for Sidereal – I

I have been wanting to address this rather thorny issue for some time. There is a great deal of misunderstanding with regards to the tropical in relation to the sidereal, which requires a relatively simple approach. Strictly speaking, whatever that has been employed profitably for millennia requires no defence, but at this time. in the light of so much misinformation, an introductory case needs to be made. I shall begin with a brief explanation of the phenomenon responsible for the split between sidereal and tropical in the first place.

Figure 1 Earth Axis & Procession.

In understanding the nature of the sideral zodiac in relation to the tropical, we need to consider the Precession of the Equinoxes. The motion of the equinoxes along the ecliptic is caused by the cyclic precession of Earth’s axis of rotation.

Upon the compilation of the renowned star catalogue, which he completed in 129 BCE, Hipparchus observed that the positions of the stars had shifted from that recorded in earlier Babylonian (Chaldean) measures. He concluded that it was not the stars that were drifting. but instead the point of terrestrial observation. This apparent drifting backwards from the point of view on Earth is called precession and consists of a cyclic wobbling in the orientation of Earth’s axis of rotation with a period of 25,772 years

Hipparchus discovered another gem in his account of his discovery in On the Displacement of the Solsticial and Equinoctial Points, which Ptolemy subsequently described in his Almagest III.1 and VII.2).

Hipparchus measured the ecliptic longitude of the star Spica during lunar eclipses. He found that Spica was approximately  6° west of the autumnal equinox.  He then compared his own measurements with those of Timocharis of Alexandria, a contemporary of Euclid, who worked with a lesser-known Aristillus early in the 3rd century BC.  He realized that Spica’s longitude had lessened by approximately 2° Unfortunately. precise years are not offered in Almagest.

For many modern astrologers in the West, including contemporary traditionalists, the idea of using a sidereal zodiac is considered either irrelevant or anathema. The single most common reason for rejecting sidereal out of hand is in something that is neither technical or based on the perceived accuracy of outcome per se. It has to do with understandable protestations against changes in natal charts when tropical is converted to.sidereal.

There are other reasons, but this is by far the most common. That is to say, the detractors of sidereal do not act from a scientific or technical point of view. Of course, their position is understandable and not entirely without merit. One would require a very solid reason to switch from one zodiac to another. The better position from my point of view is to embrace both systems and apply either one of them wherever they are the better choice.  I will add here that reading both systems for a Nativity is not without reward.

The Precession of the Equinoxes produces an apparent drift of approximately one degree every 71.6 years. and it does so as if in reverse. A random tropical chart for 05 April 2019 – 3.50 PM GMT gives is the Sun at 16.32 Aries. If we calculate the same chart employing Fagal-Allen (sidereal) we have the Sun @ 21.32 Pisces..

Hipparchus of Nicaea (c.190 – c.120 BC), An image of Hipparchus from the title page of William Cunningham‘s Cosmographicall Glasse (1559)

Kenneth Bowser writes: “Late in the first millennium B.C., probably during the lifetime of Hipparchus of Rhodes (mid-second century B.C.), the Greeks introduced an innovation in zodiac reckoning that had heretofore been sidereal in the Near East and Eastern Mediterranean world for many centuries: they began to reckon the positions of planets and stars from the northern hemispheric vernal equinox. Until that time the equinox had been described in terms of the degree of the zodiac the Sun traversed when it reached the equinox, variously in the Greek world as 15°, 12°, 10°, 8°, 5° and 3° of Aries as precession slowly changed the Sun’s position in the zodiac at the time of the equinox.” The Tropical-Sidereal Debate, Part 2: The Sidereal Point of View

Sidereal comes from the same root as consider- From Latin sīdereusfrom sīdussīder-constellation, star. The Sidereal view is anchored in the stars and not based in reference to the Solstice and Equinoxes in the Northern Hemisphere – the latter is a Greek invention and certainly has its uses, by the word astrology itself refers to the study or wisdom of the stars. Western sidereal astrology is based on the Babylonian sidereal zodiac

A common criticism of sidereal is that the constellations are massively unequal in size, but of course the same is true for tropical observations. In fact, if anything, sidereal ought to be commended for the emphasis it places on the stars themselves. Indeed, the Indian use of nakshatras stresses the importance of individual or small clusters of stars, usually three.

Usually, when the subject of fixed stars comes up with modern astrologers. it soon becomes plain that the stars are of some interest but in the same way that asteroids, outer planets or even hypotheticals. They are seen as one more thing you can add if you so wish, whereas to a traditional astrologer, particularly a sidereal one. the stars are primary and the name of our art tells us this.

figure 1 Spherica Precession Diagram

One of the most vexing issues for Tropical practitioners interested in the stars is the issue of stars being ‘pushed’ out of their constellations, For example, one may have a Sagittarius Ascendant conjunct Antares, the Heart of the Scorpion. What can one do in such a situation? Most obviously, we can pretend it doesn’t matter. But when the Heart of the Scorpion is ripped out only to be artificially re-located to another sign, of a different element and in aversion., one either accepts the contradictions or looks more deeply into what we really mean by signs and constellations, as they

This second-century-BCE wooden plaque from Gansu, China, presents an outline of the Big Dipper, surrounded by constellations.

work in a tropical zodiac.

However, things are not quite so simple in practise. Western astrology has been heavily invested in the tropical view for at least two millennia. Our view of the zodiac has become a brittle one. Even though the Hellenistic methods came to us from astrologers who either used both sidereal and tropical or (less likely) they didn’t know which they were using because at that time the two systems were close to the same. From what I have gleaned, Hellenistic astrologers before Claudius Ptolemy used a sidereal zodiac for at least some purposes.

figure 2

They took this sideral zodiac from the Babylonians. The Indians almost certainly took their system at least in part from Babylon, although many Indian traditionalists claim that Vedic is of greater antiquity. However, the only genuine solution, if one’s aim is to is retain the original positions of stars in relation to sign. – in which case the stars are back where they are in their own signs. Few things illustrate this better than the 27 Indian Nakshatras with four Padas each, arriving at a total of 108 – a sacred number.

I mentioned that the Hellenistic astrologer used sidereal at least some of the time, but there is evidence that even in very early Indian astrology, the tropical zodiac was used. The reason for this seems rather obvious. The tropical zodiac is designed so that the first degree of Aries always falls on the Spring Equinox. In other words, this system measures and marks the seasons as we experience them in the Northern Hemisphere. There were no ancient forms of astrology known in the Southern Hemisphere, that resemble those of the Northern Hemisphere, but astrologers in the South either ignore the distinction or reverse the horoscope so that Spring in the North is Autumn in the South.

Here, we are back to the wold of Hesiod, where stars and asterism mark the times of the year for various agricultural activities, rainy and dry periods and so on.  It seems quite plain that tropical is by far the better Farmer’s Almanac and other forms of astrology such as Mundane would usually operate with the tropical zodiac. see figure 3.

So it is my contention that sidereal works best when used in Indian astrology because the whole system is essentially based on it. For those interested in the stars, as am I.

Fragments of a Babylonian Star Calendar

sidereal is the obvious choice. I would add that Indian astrology – by far the greatest group of siderealists, are also very interested in the

figure 3 – traditional astrological calendar showing the seasons

circumpolar stars. Ursa Major or the Big Dipper has seven stars known to Indian as Rishis or Sages. This constellation is almost certainly the origin of the ancient swastika symbol. See figure 2. The ladle-like arms mark the seasons.

It is my hope that this has served as a decent introduction to the two zodiacs. It’s intended as an introduction that is light on the technical side of the subject. In a forthcoming article, we will look more closely at how the sidereal works seamlessly with Indian astrology,

It is certainly the case that exploring sidereal astrology from an Indian point of view will by no means ultimately interest everyone. Nevertheless, I contend that study in this area will prove to be enriching and time well spent.


House of Lords

This is a brief note to comment on an extraordinary event. The New York Times captured the gist of the crisis “No prime minister has had a more calamitous start. These are the opening battles of a seismic political war. Within five days, Mr. Johnson has lost control of Parliament, lost his party’s majority, lost his ability to leave the European Union at the end of October without a deal” NYT The ‘Political Anarchist’ Behind Britain’s Chaos. 7 /9/2019,

According to the BBC, “the bill, which is set to receive Royal Assent on Monday, was presented by the Labour MP Hilary Benn and backed by opposition parties and the recently expelled Tory MPs. It gives Mr Johnson until 19 October to either pass a deal in Parliament or get MPs to approve a no-deal Brexit. After this deadline, he would have to write to the EU asking for an extension to the UK’s departure date from 31 October to 31 January 2020.”

It doesn’t take a great political mind to see that this in effect a move to further tie the PM, leaving him with the option to resign. Of course, the EU is not required to allow further delays and Macron has stated that there can be no more delays because nothing has changed. The UK has voted to leave the EU and for lack of any agreement struck over the last three years, a hard Brexit was chosen as the default, effective on 31 October 2019.

Let’s look at the chart for the moment the House of Lords passed the bill, requiring only the formality of royal assent. possibly as soon as few hours after writing.’ The chart is extraordinarily Mercurial. Its the  Hour of Mercury and Mercury is the Slmuten, in  Exaltation and is Lord of the 7th House of open enemies.  However, Venus in Mercirual Virgo is in her Fall and Lady of the 6th House, indicating the nature of the results for the common people  The Sun and Mars are power easily abused in the 10th House

a brazen mercury

Saturn is in his own Domicile, but retrograde and with the South, Node does not auger well for the economy. We then have the Moon with Jupiter is his Domicile, Sagittarius. They’re in a square aspect to the authority and power of the planets and luminaries in the 10th. The Moon is also associated with the Common People and with Jupiter there is a serious call to jurisprudence and idealism. The Moon is in the 21st Lunar Mansion named Al Baldah, the “City”, or “District,” It is known as The ClosedDoor – to end a situation

The chart speaks for itself, However the powers that be are in a square relationship with both the Ascendant and Descendant. In brief, the power would favour the challengers of the stays quo, nut it is unlikely to solve the impasse. It will do nothing to help the common people.

The Lion & the Serpent – Tulsi Gabbard II

Aslesha – Artist Unknown

In my previous reading of Tulsi Gabbard’s chart, I used a tropical zodiac, with the tropical;y placed  Nakshatra for the Moon. I agreed with one of the followers of the blog that more could be done. I have therefore chosen to read the entire chart as sidereal. rather than simply read the relevant nakshatra in sidereal, You may find this confusing or even pointless. I only ask that you take the advice of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and exercise a “willing suspension of disbelief.”

The nakshatra I focused on in the previous chart was Magha. Here, I’m drawing and reading a chart for exactly the same place, date and time, This connects the Moon to the ninth Nakshatra or Lunar Mansion

The 9th Lunar Mansion comes in the Zodiac Sign of Cancer.  The name of this nakshatra is Ashlesha, which means “the entwiner” It is also known as the  “the Clinging star” like a desire to embrace. the thing with which it is linked to. deity is Naagraj Vasuki, the Naga or Serpent of Wisdom. The key symbol is readily recognized as the Caduceus, associated with Medicine and Mercury, the latter being the Lord of this Nakshatra.

Further, the image represents both poison and medicine in concert, There is more than one way of interpreting this but they are all related. Like arsenic, the difference between medicinal and poisonous is the dosage and also of intent. This can also be seen as offering to heal one who is poisoned. The nagas are shown as the celestial vehicle and protection of Vishnu, as he dreams Creation into being.

Budha (Mercury)

This is a very intense Nakshatra and how it plays out will be a result of how it is managed or channelled. The embraces [the Serpents) are approaching indirectly [abhyāgacchantaḥ] from above and indirectly dancing towards [abhyānṛtyantaḥ] from below. See the Taittiriya Brahmana which goes unto great depth.

Primary Motivation is dharma. Ashlesha represents the Kundalini or Serpent Fire that is located at the Muladhara or Root Chakra (at the base of the spine).it has mystical powers, electrifying, transformative power., and ultimately serves as a vessel to enlightenment. The Serpent Power is the name given to the Kundalini. Misuse of this can do a great deal of damage, yet skilful and conscious raising of the Kundalini. is something that can be accomplished to great advantage by a skilled yogi

Tulsi Gabbard Nativity – 12/4/1981 – 14:40:00 – Pago Pago, American Samoa – Lahiri Ayanamsa. The chart displays the nakshatras abbreviated text.

Crucially. , the Moon in Gahhad’s chart is further emphasized by Rahu, also in the First House. The nature of the Moon (Chandra) in Indian astrology is “”Abounding in Vata and Kapha and filled with knowledge is the Moon is of round body, O’ Twice Born, auspiciously eyed, of sweet speech, fluctuating and lovesick.”Brihat Parashara Hora Shastra: Nature and Form of the Grahas, 24 The Avatar is Krishna Budha (Mercury) 

We look also to the sign of the Moom -Cancer – Karka” crab” Rasi “Pale red (pATala), moving in water, a Brahmin, vigorous at night, many moving legs, a stout body, endowed with Sattva, watery and Back Rising is thought the Crab Rasi ruled by the Moon.” Brihat Parashara Hora Sastra, 4 – Rasi Characteristics, 10-11

Let’s consider Rahu (North Node) in Gabbard’s first house, in relation to what we have seen in the Moon and Nakshatra. Rahu is the Pushya nakshatra. The auspiciousness [tishya] of bṛhaspati (The Lord of Devotion) is worshipping [juhvataḥ] from above and the worshippers [yajamin ānā] from below. Taittiriya Brahmana The Lord of the Nakshatra is Saturn.

Crucially. , the Moon in Gahhad’s chart is further emphasized by Rahu, also in the First House. The Moon is in her own Domicile in Cancer so in many respects this a better placement than Moon in Leo as we had in the tropical chart. The change from fire to water would mean less sunny charisma and more empathy and intuition. The Node in the same sign as the Moon and in the Ascending position is intense. Simply put, the 1/7 axis may cause a conflict between the needs of self and others. about which Komilla Sutton writes in her book The Lunar Nodes – Crisis & Redemption, In this case, the emphasis is on empathetic power, due to the sign and Moon’s influence.

My experience of using sidereal and tropical is that they tell the same or similar story but in different ways. It is common for people to find a resonance in their sidereal chart, even if they have known only their tropical chart for decades.