Birth of ISCA

This is the chart for the foundation of the International Society of Classical Astrologers (ISCA).


I didn’t construct this chart as an Election. I had time frames in mind and  the project had been simmering for quite a while. This chart is set for the time that an agreement was struck which gave birth to the Society: 11 March 2013 2:14 PM Victoria, British Columbia PDT

To begin with, the event  coincides with the New Moon. You will notice the Pre Natal Lunation @ 21 Pisces 25. The Moon is 21 Pisces 28.  This sets the perfect new beginning. As I’ve said many times before, the perfect election exists only in the mind of God and in this case I didn’t have much control over the time at all.

Yet here we have three planets and both luminaries in the House of God, with Jupiter as Lord . Its’ what you might expect of an International Society with a strong spiritual focus. There are two elements however that might seem problematic: Mars in the Ninth and Mercury Retrograde in the sign of his Fall.

There is also the question of Jupiter in Detriment and in the Twelfth House conjunct Aldebaran, the Eye of God. Mercury appears to square his dispositor, but because Mercury is Retrograde , we can say that he’s separating.

It doesn’t solve the problem but it does take some of the immediate pressure off. Oddly enough, Mercury Retrograde is far more reviled in Modern astrology then it is in Traditional. Turning to Mars and following Bonatti, he is half way through the final Anorectic degree. We can say he’s mostly spent and has already entered the changing room. See Aphorism 30 of Bonatus’ Anima Astrologiae

We do of course have a further dilemm,. If we count all Ninth House planets as Combust or Under the Beams.  We then have Saturn Retrograde in Scorpio and Jupiter in Detriment in the Twelfth House..

Let’s now turn to what Hellenistic astrology refers to as the Helm of the Ship, the Ascendant. It’s in Cancer, the Exaltation of Jupiter; The Daimon (Part of Spirit) is in exactly the same degree. Because it’s a New Moon, Fortuna is very close to both the Ascendant and Daemon.

The First House is also the position of the Hellenistic Basis and Exaltation. If this were a person, we would expect an inspired individual with a strong vital force.  None of the placements in the First House are afflicted. Most remarkable to my mind is the fact that the Ascendant is conjunct Canopus, the Celestial Navigator.

So far we have a very strong Ascendant disposited by the Moon in Pisces. She is the undisputed Hyleg and Almuten of the chart.  Venus is Lady of the Geniture. So we have one of the most important elements taken care of i.e. The Lord of the Ascendant is perfecting a Trine with the Ascendent, the Part of Fortune and Part of Spirit. The Part of Fortune is fortunately placed next to Procyonhellenistic. I’ve added the chart in the Hellenistic form for the Lots and other considerations not shown in the chart above.

At the same time she is separating from her aspect to  Saturn. This doesn’t stop the chart from being exceedingly wet. But with that Ascendant and the Ninth House placements this ties together quite nicely Saturn disposits the Seventh House from a place of weakness.

He has no reception and therefore Peregrine. He is still a killjoy in the House of Pleasure, but how much does that really have to do with Astrology? This leaves us with Jupiter, in Hayz in the Domicile of Mercury, well placed amongst the Fixed stars;;. Of course I would have liked Jupiter to be in a more productive house, but he is conjunct the Greek Lot of Victory.

This is the House of the Evil Spirit, but I wonder if in this case it’s a blessing in disguise? you can see, there has been a number of choices and decisions to make along the way.  Problems such as these are not solved by relying on rigid dogma. This is where discernment comes in.

Someone insisting on the  rules of a  Renaissance astrologer, without consulting  much earlier sources could condemn this chart. I understand there are still Indian astrologers who consider Jupiter in the House of Hidden Enemies to be better than most planets or luminaries In any case, we work with what we have and I’m quite happy to go with this one.,

10 thoughts on “Birth of ISCA

  1. james says:

    the planet uranus on the midheaven seems fitting, even if those classical astrologers would like to continue to ignore it’s presence. or are they doing something different?

  2. James, as I’m sure you’re aware, classical astrologesrs don’t use Uranus or any of the ever increasing outer planets with dreamed up Theosophic attributions, all of which were transfered from the traditional planets. If you are interested, Sue Ward wrote a paper on this a few years back and a fairly large sample of it may be found @

    • james says:

      hi james,

      i don’t really know what the ‘classical’ stands for in connection to astrology. i know there is ‘classical’ music, but then i know there is ‘contemporary’ classical music too. i have interacted with some astrologers who seem receptive to both.. not sure if they need to be given a special label, but perhaps ‘contemporary classical’ astrologers would work.

      i am always interested. unfortunately the 4 page pdf doesn’t cover much, and to read sue wards 80 page booklet comes at a cost. i did go and read a thread on this same issue that sue ward was involved in commenting on from a few years back and didn’t find anything all that rewarding.

      i think astrologers from the classical era – lilly and back may have actually included uranus if they had known it existed, but that is speculation as are many ideas around what was set down in the past. there are a number of bodies being discovered, but not many of them are classified as ‘planets’.. uranus and neptune however are clearly planets..

      i am aware of the desire of some in the ‘trad’ camp to want to quickly trash alan leo and the theosophic society for dreaming up all sorts of things, not to mention there initiation of a renewed interest in indian astrology. look what that has brought the larger astrological community.

      i’m curious.. i don’t hold to a closed attitude on the role of the planets beyond saturn even if those who practiced astrology before the discovery of uranus didn’t include them.. if i wanted to don the wardrobe of what a ‘classical’ astrologer was, i wouldn’t be able to do this, but then i see role playing as restrictive more then liberating.

      of course one will never learn about the role of a planet beyond saturn if they refuse to include it on a chart will they? perhaps this is just as well for some.. to those i suggest reverting back to a time before the use of computers, or astrology software programs to really be classified as ‘classical’ astrologers.. otherwise there isn’t a whole lot ‘classical’ about it, is there?

      • Hi James,

        I agree that nomenclature is often problematic. I chose the term classical many, many years ago because I felt it most closely approximated what I preactise. Terms such as Medieval, Renaissance or Post Modern would be too time specific. They could easily cause thier own confusion as well. Neither the Renaissance nor the Medieval period was a monolithic cultural epoch. They varied from one place to another. This may seem a fine point, but unless we add appropriate adjectives there is still a chance of misunderstnding. Most people know what the Modern era is (or as). If you study the art of the 20th Century you will find works classified as Modern and others as Post Modern. The later isn’t new anymore , so what comes after Post Modern?

        As to your accusations that “some in the trad camp” want to trash Alan Leo and the Theosophical movement, I would first draw your attention to the fact that many of us, including me, were what is called Modern astrologers. The idea that we just ignore the outer planets and have never studied them is patently false. When I had studied “trad camp” astrology, it became clear that the original seven had many of thier attributes transfered to the the outers. Quite simply, we don’t need them. Including them had something to do with trying to make strology look as modern as astronmy I think

        I had the complete works of Mr. Leo and made myself quite familiar with his milieu. When I discovered, for example, that the Sabian Symbols, allegedly translated and published by Dr. Marc Edmund Jones, were essentially a fraud. Dr. Jones had very little to no knowledge of the language he purports to translate. This is the kind of fuzzy or fraudulent activity that characterized much of the work done at that time. Alan Leo had in fact changed the date of his own birth so that he woul *be* a Leo.

        A far as the introduction of Indian astrology to Western culture, this had been in process for a very long time. And if you are insinuating that the “trad camp” denigrates Jyotish you are very far from the truth. In fact, I mentioned my interest in the confluence of Indian, Persian and Greek astrology in Alexandria.

        Because one decides to employ different methods hardly implies that technology is to be disregarded. It’s a living traditional and doesn’t require one to literally return to an earlier age

        I used the the Classical as do others, not to narrow the focus so much as be more inclusive. The term can be used to embrace astroogical practises over a long period of time, unlike say Modern, Medieval, Renaissance, Psychological or Post Modern. The term classical has long been used to refered to the great tradition. The other term which I use also interchangeably with Classical is Traditional. The latter has it’s own limitations if read by someone who asks ‘which tradition?’ so I prefer it also has an appropriate adjcetive to clear up any confusion

  3. james says:

    hi james,

    i feel the same about the use of the terms ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’ with regard to astrology. my impression is in another 20 years they will have less relevance then they appear to now. thanks for trying to clarify your use of the word ‘classical’ here.

    i think it’s easier to comment on recent history then it is on distant history. i read some of alan leo’s books as well before the advent of the release of ‘christian astrology’ by lilly.. this seemed to have marked a watershed moment with the release of many other older astrological texts having continued to come out the past number of years since. these terms ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ have given slightly more meaning in relation to astrology, but also been used in an unfriendly way too as i see it. i would be curious of a source for the question around a false birthdate for alan leo..

    i think the theosophy movement of which numerous people were involved including leo, was an important movement and from my understanding was a good degree responsible for the new age movement which would have included the resurgence of interest in astrology.. this is part of my reason why i think it is unfair to slander or denigrate those who were a part of it. of course this all moves us further away from astrology in some obvious respects. however ideas like karma and reincarnation, just to name a few were a consideration all of these separate movements including astrology.

    as for incorporating the use of uranus in a chart, my feeling is the time has already arrived where many astrologers who are very passionate about traditional astrology will want to incorporate this planet and a few of the others. i did get your point which seems to have been expressed by sue ward about taking terms associated with the traditional planets out to saturn and applying them to the outer planets. here is another way to consider this and the one that i hold to. i make the association based on an understanding of music. for me i have always considered these outer planets – uranus, neptune and pluto as another octave of the inner planets mercury, venus and mars. right or wrong, this is an obvious association that i think has a lot of merit for me personally. of course i am guilty of the criticism ward and you cite, but i maintain it is based on observation and not some theory grounded in something other then observation.

    one idea that sue ward mentioned that was intriguing was her association with ‘light’ and the relevance of planets..she suggests that these outer planets throw off next to no light and thus need to be ignored( my words). i prefer the idea of planets as cyclic vibrations dependent on the many relationships taking place between them as viewed geocentrically. vibrations and or harmonics are other examples of terms used in music that i think have direct application to astrology.

    • Hi James,

      First of all, I hope I didn’t slander or denigrate anyone. I can critique other forms of astrology without getting personal.

      Yes you are quite right. The Theosophists were the precusurors of the New Age movement. For most if not all Traditional astrologer that’s just the point. The New Age movement has been seen to be an attractive diversion which in fact has no sound foundations. Of course there are those who will have differing views of what the New Age actualy is. See my article on the Age of Aquarius. It has some relevance here. Personally, I prefer “original” ancient forms of practises such as Yoga, Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism and so on without being filtered and obten subverted by the Theosophists or contemporary New Age proponents.

      There were and have almost always been many ways for Orinetal / Asian thoughts and practises to enter the West. Actually, the further back you go the more you find them in plain view. I cannot be certain of Plato, but neirther can I imagine how Plotinus wrote the Enneads without knowledge of Hindu metaphysics. Issac Newton, ans astrologer and theologian as well as a mathematician, studied in India.

      I expect a few things will be challenged by modern pratitioners of Traditional. I have one two issues myself. But I would be very surprised to see any more than a handful return to using the outer planets. I know you don’t believe me, but I turned off the outer planests in my software about eight years ago and my practise has only improved. I remember that along time ago I championed the octave theory. It was vert appealing and mad some sense of the fact that core associations were transfered to the outers. First of all, from a purely technical point of view, an octave has a precise definition in music:

      1) A series of eight notes occupying the interval between two notes, one having twice or half the frequency of vibration of the other.
      2) The interval between these two notes.

      The word inteval is the spoiler here, I think. Nevertheless, if the term has personl significance to you, then so be it.

      Let me offer one example of transference from the traditional to the outer planets. Most astrologer’s I’m aware of associate Neptune with high ideals and altruism, addiction, the gutter, drugs etc. Here alone we have (in order) Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and the Moon. The problem here is compunded by the fact that these attributes are no longer associated with the originals.

      I’ll look up the source of the Alan Leo controversy for you. There was a time it was pretty much common knowledge and not denied even by his devotees.

      P.S. It would help me a great deal if you provided something more about your current practise and background.

      • james says:

        hi james,

        i am not sure if you are denigrating others.. if you refer to the new age movement or the theosophy movement as ‘subverting’ teachings, does that mean you are denigrating the movements? it sounds like it to me! i prefer to think of them as introducing a whole new audience to ideas they might not have been exposed to otherwise, such as astrology.. for anyone who wants to dig deeper into any new age or theosophy ideas, there is nothing stopping a person from doing so.. i guess i prefer to look at the glass as half full, rather then half empty.. i would hope that others maintained a realistic but also a positive view on what these movements offered in an introductory sense. for anyone who wants to learn more, obviously they have to commit to a deeper level of study.

        i have no reason to not believe you, and i’m not surprised you work without uranus, neptune or pluto.. you aren’t the first to have taken this approach!

        i don’t see astrology as an objective science, but more as a subjective art. what an artist decides to work with is subjective and/or highly personal. this may be a challenging idea for some, especially those determined to nail down terms in very specific ways. i think the proof is in the pudding.. who is making predictions and how accurate are they with any of it in advance of an event? i don’t see much of this and yet it is what ‘traditional’ astrology likes to lay claim to! i don’t think (as i read sue ward mention somewhere since you mentioned here name the other day) that traditional astrology can lay some special claim to being more predictive then modern astrology. i think it is a feature of astrology, however little one sees of it nowadays.

        you are for more info on me, but in a post i made to you on feb 2nd of this year on this thread
        where i offered more – i didn’t get a response! how would it help? if you are unwilling or uncomfortable e mailing me – fire away here.

        cheers james

      • My apologies. I must hve glossed over that last paragraph you refer to. I actually appreciate your scepticism and have tried to get some debates going myself on issues such as combustion for example. Skeptics make ‘failings’ the focus, even if that failing turns out to be unsubstantiated Your comment regarding a dearth of predictions is very fair. In my open letter to the astrological community I touched on this and highlighted that too often the means by which the prediction was made are extremely vague and somtimes none at all. To me, prediction using astrological methods ought to be massively better than predictins made by journalists. Such is not the case. There are several reasons for this, but my time is a bit limited. The birth of ISCA is a regognition of these sorts of things and specifically the snobbery of brand name astrology. Finally, I don’t think an honest description of one’s point of view need be considered as ‘denigrating.’

  4. james says:

    thanks james,

    i do like playing devils advocate especially if i think i might learn more or get a broader perspective on why a person opts to do astrology a particular way. i really do think astrology is more art then science which is another part of this. i know from being involved most of my life in music that there are many ways to play music and no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way or style. obviously playing a g sharp on a c major chord will create a certain sound and might be better describes as a c major sharp 5 chord, but even these kinds of things do or don’t get worked out in a persons ear based on previous exposure to different styles of music. well, this is how i see it at any rate!! keeping time is an important focus or rule of many styles of music, but i know that this can be interpreted a number of different ways and doesn’t have to be based only off the quarter note pulse.

    back to sue wards description of the difference between traditional and modern astrology which i quote from her website FAQ page “One fundamental difference is that modern astrology cannot be used for prediction, while one of the central aims of traditional astrology is to predict.” this is factually wrong.. i see it as an attempt to drive a wedge between different approaches taken by astrologers to suggest traditional astrology is holding some sort of mantle for astrology more generally. well, i see it as divisive but perhaps it can help to solicit further conversation. as for predictions, perhaps she is making this statement based on her focus of horary, which is one of a few different branches of astrology and the one that many have strongly focused on too!

    a point of view is the most personal part of what we share and what i find the most interesting. i go back to my comment about seeing the glass half full or half empty. i would prefer to see it half full, but accept some will see it half empty! putting it this way, the person who opts to see the glass as half empty isn’t denigrating the subject, but expressing a particular view that i find less attractive! one could say i am doing the same here with these words ‘traditional’ and ‘modern’ but my reason is i see these terms are less meaningful or helpful to the long term interest of astrology in general. it is true that can help define some of it better, but so often i see them being used in an unfriendly manner, much like one might witness a musician describing a style of music they don’t care for or associate directly with.. at a certain point it is all music and it is all astrology beyond the categories that people have different reasons for using..

  5. james says:

    you have probably seen this, but if not, you might find it interesting!

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