Yuletide 2019

The four Cardinal Ingress charts are drawn up for the Solstice and Equinox points. Many traditional astrologers, such as William Ramesey are almost entirely concerned with the Aries Ingress, also known as the Spring Equinox, for sound reasons. It is how we derive the Lord or Lady of the Year.

Nevertheless, the Equinox and Solstice charts are also valuable and for that reason, I publish and read all four each year. The Capricorn Ingress has great significance in various cultures around the world. For most of us, the Winter Solstice coincides with Christmas, but also with Yule, St. Lucia’s Day, a festival of lights celebrated in Scandinavia, the Persian festival Yalda, or Shab-e Yalda, as well as lesser-known celebrations such as Alban Arthan (Welsh). Saturnalia, Dongzhi Festival (East Asia) and the Slavic Korochun festival.

What they all have in common is the theme of the rebirth of the Sun. However, the Four Quarters are equally important and moreover,  they are connected to each other on the Wheel of the Year. This has clearly been of great concern since Neolithic times.

This particular chart is drawn up for GMT, in part because of the momentous events occurring in the UK very recently. It’s something of a sombre chart at first lance, on the Day and Hour of Saturn and with a Martian Almuten. Mars is also Lord of the Geniture. The chart is essentially divided between the string of Capricorn / Saturn and Scorpio. A Mundane chart with the angles in Fixed Signs has a farther reach than one with even Cardinal angles would have. There are no retrograde planets.

Caduceus – The Staff of Hermes Johann Froben’s printer’s symbol

The First House carries the Moon, Mars and Ascendant. In a Mundane chart, the First House signifies the nation and the people as a whole, its general condition of prosperity and health or the reverse. The Moon also denotes the common people, women generally, crowds, and all matters of a common or public nature. It shows where the focus is for the people of the country. It is noteworthy that the Moon and Mars is a volatile mix and this will be part of the picture, as we experience social unrest.,

However, Ramesey suggests that “If the planet to which the Lord of the Ascendant or the Moon does apply or is in aspect with, be Jupiter, they shall be safe and secure that year, shall enjoy their liberties, shall be free from all manner of molestation, shall have justice and good laws executed and shall be in credit and honour.” (Book IV – Astrologia Munda Section II – Chapter III 46) The aspect, in this case, is a sextile to Jupiter. The results will be dampened but perhaps not entirely negated by his unfortunate placement. Jupiter in the sign of Saturn’s domicile is hard-pressed to be truly jovial. He is in his fall. The close conjunction to the Sun is also a main consideration.

If we also consider the Lunar Mansion. number 18.  al Biruni, tells us that “Al qalb, i.e. qalb al aqrab, the heart of Scorpius, Antares, is a red and trembling star which astrologers describe as having the nature of Mars; in front of it is another star, and behind it is a third, the three being disposed in a curve.:

The names for the Mansion is The Caduceus.  Al Kalb (The Heart) 8°34’17″ Scorpio to 21°25’40″ Scorpio. This is a time to heal and prevent illness in all its forms.

Venus governs women’s issues, national birth rate, social factors connected to marriage and children. Artists, musicians and the arts. Facilities for sport and entertainment. Peace and diplomatic resolutions. She is in the Fourth House, which is the place of the Ancestors, the land. This brings a more celebratory tone, a sense of connectedness with kin,

Mercury in the Second House augers well for trade, merchants and the collective national wealth, the exchequer, revenue, banks, the Stock Exchange and so on. It is indicative also of trade deals.

Saturns thrives and Jupiter flounders in Capricorn. We are witnessing the end of a 20-year dance between the two social planets and they approach a Grand Conjunction in a year from now.,

Ramsay writes that “Saturn in the third if he is well dignified, shall generally denote mirth and jollity to the people, that they shall delight and associate themselves one with another, and all heart-burning and differences between them shall be forgotten and laid aside. ” (Book IV – Astrologia Munda Section II – Chapter VI p.64)

Japanese Sun Goddess (660 Bc) – Amaterasu

All references to William Ramesey’s Astrologia Munda are taken from Steven Birchfield’s Revised English Ed. (2006). 

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.

Annular Solar Eclipse of 26 Dec, 2019 AD

I became aware of this upcoming eclipse quite some time ago. It caught my attention because the point of greatest eclipse is over Singapore, within a nexus of volcanoes and frequent seismic activity and of course the date echoes that of the massive tsunami in the Indian Ocean on Boxing Day, 2004 believed to be the deadliest tsunami in history, with a death toll in excess of 230,000 people in 14 countries.

It began at 7:59am local time on December 26, 2004, when a 9.1-magnitude quake struck off the northern tip of Sumatra in Indonesia, reminding us all that this region is extremely volatile. In fact, it was at the site of present-day Lake Toba in Sumatra, Indonesia. that the extinction level super volcano killed off all but about 10,000 human beings about 70,00 years ago.

The upcoming eclipse is .3 minutes and 40 seconds in duration, affording a window of more than two and a half years of influence, but that doesn’t mean that we would have to wait that long for results, particularly considering. the larger pallet of celestial events, not least of which is the momentous Superior Conjunction of 2020 12 Dec 2020.

The chart for the eclipse is, of course, diurnal, the Planetary Day is Jupiter, the Hour belongs to Saturn who is also the Almuten.  Mercury is Matutine Waning, Venus is Vespertine Waxing. No planets are in their Joy. Significantly, the Hyleg is the Sun – this evokes an image of the life force being diminished at the time of the eclipse.  Five planets and luminary are deposited by Saturn and Saturn’s reach extends to Mars in his own domicile with his exaltation in Capricorn. Importantly, the Sun in Capricorn is in aversion to his domicile. The N. Node in the fourth house.gives us the image of the ‘end of things’ as well as earth and its roots.

The Greater Malefic is unleashed. Saturn is the key player for this eclipse and even more so for the upcoming Conjunction.

There is a crucial element that might be missed by many astrologers using the tropical zodiac exclusively. The Eclipse occurs in the Moola (Mula. )nakshatra, which is the 19th nakshatra or Lunar Mansion.

Each of 27 (or, according to some texts, 28) equal divisions of the ecliptic through which the moon passes during the course of a sidereal month; a lunar mansion; the period of time with which each of these corresponds. In Sanskrit, nakṣatra means star, lunar mansion (lit. ‘with dominion overnight’) from nak, nakt- + kṣatra dominion See (OUP)

The significance of ‘Moola’ is root and its symbol is a bundled bunch of roots tied together. Moola nakshatra is ruled by the Goddess of destruction, i.e. Goddess Maha Kali. – sharp or dreadful.  Ketu is also attributed to the nakshatra.;  Michael Conneely  writes: “The planets and luminaries Mula Nakshatra is the first Nakshatra of the third (and final) Sattva group of nine Nakshatras, and it arises out of the very difficult Abhukta Mula Gandanta Zone: 2 deg either side of the transition from the sign before: Jyestha, to this Nakshatra: Mula.” See https://blog.starwheelastrology.com/

mahavidya goddess with a pair of scissor_

This is an obvious potential pitfall of using the Tropical zodiac which is oriented to the Solstices and Equinoxes  The sidereal zodiac is fixed and based on the position of stars and the Moon. So, when we draw up a chart using Tropical, the nakshatras will, of course, remain in the same place, but do not appear to belong to the signs and asterisms from which they were derived. So, we have the odd situation of a planet in the early degrees of tropical Capricorn, whilst the sidereal charts place it in the early degrees of Sagittarius. This is the case in this chart. Moola is the galactic centre in Sagittarius ad to miss this is to lose much valuable information. In my own view, the nakshatras are too important to ignore.

Saturn itself, however, is in the 22nd nakshatra, Shiravan Chandra (Moon) owns this Nakshatra. This constellation spans from 10°00′ to 23°20′ in Makara, owned by the Shani (Saturn).

See the chart below, calculated using the Fagen-Allan zodiac.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that astrologers such as Vettius Valens and those before him used a sidereal (Babylonian) zodiac and sometimes in concert with a Tropical zodiac. Of course, for some time, the two systems would have yielded similar results. It would see that the exclusive use of the tropical zodiac came into being either by or through Ptolemy.  We are now seeing more clearly how the Indian, Persian and Hellenistic astrological traditions influenced each other. An increasing number of contemporary traditional astrologers have taken it upon themselves to discover what can be gained by knowledge of Indian and Persian astrology.

Having said that, the reading of the tropical chart for this event provides a great deal of information and could be used as a stand-alone chart. However, we would miss some extremely important elements in the process.

There is no denying that this a difficult configuration for the eclipse. We also find a strong Mars in the House of Death. Volcanoes and seismic shifts are notoriously difficult to predict, but with this chart, I think it would be wise to take careful note and do whatever needs to be done to minimize the loss of life The magnitude is uncertain, but it will be a highly significant impact that by no means will go unnoticed. By including recognition and analysis of the nakshatra, we are given deeper insight into the nature of the event.

The following video of the last eruption of Krakatoa was taken by Martin Rietze, who retains Full Credits.



Vernal Equinox – Nowroz 2019

I try to avoid political commentaries at the time of the Solstices and the Equinoxes. However, the issue if Brexit is of far-reaching consequences.

This  Vernal Equinox Chart is set for Greenwich Mean Time, in part due to to the proximity of the triggering Brexit Article 50,, set for March 29. 2019. The Moon is in the14th Lunar Mansion, Al Simak (The Harvest)-Interestingly Theresa (May) means harvester. In any case, I take her to be the Moon. May is considered by many to be among the very worst PMs in British history.  Her indecisiveness has caused one crisis after another and Brexit has been at the centre of this. Now, it seems that the situation changes by the hour as the PM tries to pass one unpopular and ill-conceived motion after another. The Speaker of the House, John Bercow, has stated that no further votes can be made for an agreement that is not significantly different than the ones already rejected. This adds up to a Constitutional crisis that could be avoided by simply following the pas already made.

May was a “Remainer” who said she would lead the UK out of the EU in any case and won an election on that premise. One would prefer a more constant leader at the helm during such a momentous transition. Her method has largely relied on postponing until she gets the answer she wants, which never happens.. The Moon is the Hyleg of the chart and well situated in the 11th house. and in a Nocturnal chart.  She is in Hayz. Luna is the Lady of the Geniture, thus of the Year. She also disposits the Node in the 9th House, the house, among other things of Foreign Affairs, which in turn will influence what happens in the Tenth House and MC in Leo.

This is important because of the relationship between the King or Queen of the people is part and parcel of what has been negotiated. The Sun is in his Exaltation in the House of the ‘common people” and poised to oppose the Moon when she enters tropical Libra. See the video feed of this phenomenon below.

Mars is the chart Almuten and Lord of the Ascendant. The opposition reflects the chafing and divisiveness of this political process.  However, Mars is also Lord of the Ascendant. Mercury is responsible for communication and particularly legal and diplomatic agreements or disagreements. In this chart, he languishes in the Fifth House, in his Fall and Rx.

The many conflicting elements make this a difficult prediction and not least because of the many versions of Brexit on the table. I believe that May will procrastinate and look for extensions to the exit date by lobbying the EU. However, all members of the EU would have to agree on an extension before the deadline of March 29. If that date is reached without an acceptable agreement and/or an extension, then the UK will leave the EU on that date and revert to the WTO protocols.

BBC states that “A no-deal Brexit would mean the UK leaving the European Union and cutting ties immediately, with no agreement at all in place. If MPs do not approve Theresa May’s deal, and there is no alternative deal or move to delay or stop Brexit, the UK will leave with no deal on 29 March. The UK would follow World Trade Organization rules to trade with the EU and other countries while trying to negotiate free-trade deals. ”  See Brexit.

Returning to Lady Luna in the 14th Mansion of the Moon, this has to do with separating the wheat from the chaff. This is recognized as a good time to end relationships and a very bad time to cling to situations for fear of change. In this particular instance that encapsulates what Theresa May needs to do.  Her position is highly compromised, considering the dire condition of Mercury which deposits the Moon. .

Finally, we have a highly dignified Jupiter in the 2nd House. In Mundane Astrology, the 2nd House is like the collective pocket – what one owns – ruling finances. The 2nd house rules wealth, possessions and property of the people as a whole. Moreover, it rules our collective values. The UK is strong in all these areas.

There are no overwhelming factors in this chart that would prevent Brexit from occurring. As in all great political and public events, decisions are made by any number of people, even in non-democratic nations. The causes and conditions are favourable for a ‘hard Brexit’ and most are wary of the endless machinations, dissembling and indecisiveness which is undermining many elements of the UK.  George Galloway has shrewdly stated that “17.4 million people voted for Brexit and are being denied it. That sounds like a recipe for civil war to me and the British rulers should remember what happened as a result of the last one. ” See RT Article.

In sum, I would say that delaying the hard Brexit deadline will be dismissed at considerable cost to the PM and the Government at large. All indications show that this is exactly what they will do. Considering the potency of open enemies as described in the Seventh House, combined with May’s weak support, could very well trigger a vote of non-confidence.


This Spring Equinox is cause for celebration all over the world in many different ways, but the themes are always around new life and fertility. Take some time to savour this time and enjoy the spectacle of the Equinox Supermoon.

The Zodiacal Riddle of Vettius Valens

The phases of the moon, Liber Floridus, 1460, The Hague KB 72 A 23, f.16gr

The works of major Hellenistic astrologers have become available over the last few decades. Of course, Claudius Ptolemy has been part of the canon for centuries. His works have been helpful in many ways, but we can’t say he is the last word. Indeed, the reading of Ptolemy has lead to many preconceptions, particularly with regard to which zodiac is to be used.  He leaves us with the strong impression that the Tropical zodiac is the only one to use.

When I first Vettius Valens I was aware that there were enormous problems with the transmission, Rober Hand makes note of several of them. I have come to the conclusion that Valens was using more than one system and that it was never certain even which zodiac he used. Returning to the text of the Anthology I was taken by parallels, by no means perfect, between recognizable colloquial Greek methods and particularly Indian and Babylonian astrology. I have needed to to be selective due to the sheer volume of material.

There is still a persistent perception that Hellenistic Astrology is a particularly Greek development, no doubt because of the fact that it’s assumed that the Hellenists were all Greek. We know that Philo was a Hellenized Jew but nobody thinks he was born in Athens. I’m assuming here that the reader is familiar with the term is also aware of the extent of reciprocal influence across the known world. With this in mind, I believe that Hellenistic Astrology can be better understood.

For example, on first reading The Anthology of Vettius Valens, one may be bewildered about many things, but for the most perplexing element of all is his explanation of the nature of the signs and planets. For example, he tells us that Aries is watery: Surely this requires further explanation. How can a blazing Fire sign be watery It occurred o me that what he actually doing was describing the season in the Northern hemisphere. Rather than looking at the influence of Mars, he may as well be talking about April showers.

Autumnal Sky

“Aries is by nature watery, with thunder and hail. From its first degree to the equinox, it is stormy, full of hail, windy, destructive. The middle degrees up to 15° are mild and fruitful; the following degrees are hot and cause plagues> of animals. This sign has 19 bright stars. On the belt are 14 bright stars, 27 dim, 28 somewhat bright, and 48 faint. The constellations that rise at the same time as Aries are (in the north) the first part of Perseus, and the rear and the left parts of Auriga, and (in the south) the fin and tail of Cetus. When Aries is rising,> the feet of Bootes (in the north) and the hind parts of Lupus (in the south) are setting. Vettius Valens, Anthologies,”  Book I.3

Let’s turn to his thoughts on Taurus: “Taurus is feminine, solid, lying in the sun’s spring tropic, full of bones, with some limbs missing, rising backwards, setting straight down. This sign lies for the most part in the invisible sky. It is calm. From its first degree to 6° (the section of the Pleiades) it is worthless, even destructive, disease-producing, thundering, causing earthquakes and lightning flashes.

What are we to make of this? It doesn’t describe the sign, Taurus under Venus, the Exaltation 0f Pisces. Neither does it begin at the first degree. In the Northern Hemisphere and May is usually mostly blessed with clement weather. I’m at a loss unless he is referring to the constellation itself without associating it with the sign Taurus. How could we use such information in astrological interpretations?

This passage tells us several things about how Valens interpreted the heavens. Aries doesn’t line up with the Equinox, but he doesn’t say here exactly how many degrees it differs from 0° Aries and the Tropical Vernal Equinox. The first part of Aries, in the Decan of Mars, is watery by nature, producing hail and high winds. The second Decan of Aries is the Sun and according to Valens, is “mild and fruitful.” The final Decan of Aries is Jupiter, the greater benefic, which is hot and causes plagues.

Further, Valens tells us that “Taurus is feminine, solid, lying in the sun’s spring tropic, full of bones, with some limbs missing, rising backwards, setting straight down. This sign lies for the most part in the invisible sky. It is calm. From its first degree to 6° (the section of the Pleiades) it is worthless, even destructive, disease-producing, thundering, causing earthquakes and lightning flashes.The next two degrees are fiery and smokey. The right part (toward Auriga) is temperate and cool. The left parts are worthless and changeable, sometimes chilling, at other times heating. The head (to 23°) is in a temperate atmosphere, but it causes disease and death for living things. The rest is destructive, worthless, disease-ridden.”” It is unclear as to why he would refer to Taurus as “; lying in the sun’s spring tropic” or why a Venusian sign is so destructive. Nevertheless, he goes on to mention 27 stars.

Throughout the Anthology, Valens is meticulous when regarding the stars, noting not only the constellation but groups of asterisms, seen to be part of a divine play. It recalls Hesiod’s Works and Days, wherein, for example, Hesiod’s associates of the rise of the “rainy” Pleiades with wet weather and Sirius with very hot weather, just as the Egyptians did, If he is referring to the sign as it has been known, it makes precious little sense.

As one progresses through the work of Valens it becomes increasingly apparent that his work, among many other things, might be used as a kind of almanack, bit with due caution.. Hesiod was better skilled at that.

Valens is thought by many to have used a sidereal zodiac which plausibly accounts for his notion that the Vernal Equinox is not the same as °Aries.  The fact is, he may not have known the difference because the two zodiacs at that time would yield very similar results. I heartily recommend Chris Brennen’s chapter on Tropical Versus Sidereal Zodiacs in his Hellenistic Astrology pp. 216-222. Let’s try to sort out the background.

Nearly 1800  years ago the Battle of Hormozdgan decided the fate of the Parthian Empire and led to the rise of the Sasanian Empire that would rule unchallenged over the Middle East for 400 years.. Yet the culture itself went back millennia. The tropical Zodiac was being used by some as early as the 2nd century BCE Others used the Sidereal Zodiac.

The difference between signs and constellations

Since Pythagoras’s expedition in 570 B.C., the strategic body of water that finds its way into the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean.,has been called the Persian Gulf. Compared to the focus on Greece and Rome, Persia hasn’t enjoyed anything like the scholarly attention it so obviously deserves, and this is certainly true with respect to astronomy and astrology in the 20th century., including the creation myth that informs them. There have however been notable exceptions. Theirs was a rich tradition of the Magi, esteemed throughout the known world. It was also a culture that venerated the stars.

Yet they were one of several highly advanced societies with regard to astronomy and astrology. As I have written elsewhere,, even the most unjustly founded empires do in fact have some advantages and this is very much the case in the transmission of knowledge. The Hellenistic world united Greece with Egypt and  Persia with both. The School of Alexandria was among the greatest venues for shared knowledge, from Hindu astronomers and astrologers, Buddhists, Pythagoreans, numerous Solar religions, Neo-Platonists, devotees of Isis, Christians, Jews, Babylonian and Zoroastrians.

The 28 “western” Lunar Mansions

It’s a Persian, Indian, Babylonian, Egyptian and Greek alchemy that produced what we now call Hellenistic astrology and to practise this, one requires a great deal of knowledge,  Recreating that astrology depends on a number of things, not least of which is being certain of which zodiac was being used.. In a recent article, I suggested that that Mashallah used the sidereal Sassanid zodiac on at least one occasion. Yet astrologers have been content to assume that he always used a Tropical Zodiac,

Nakshatras and Padas Nakshatra (Sanskrit: नक्षत्र, IAST: Nakṣatra) is the term for lunar mansion in Hindu astrology and Indian Astronomy. A Nakshatra is one of 27 sectors of the heavens.. Their names are related to the most prominent stars and asterisms in the respective sectors.

As previously indicated, during the time when many of these records were penned, the tropical and sidereal zodiac would have yielded similar results. Moreover, we now know that Indian Astrology had a significant and reciprocal impact on Hellenistic astrology.

The assumption of a universal Hellenistic Tropical Zodiac is fiction. However, this perception might explain why some of the Hellenist material we have is so perplexing, resulting in the illusion that there might be a need for two zodiacs for different purposes. The sidereal zodiac, as the name suggests, is anchored in the stars. The Tropical zodiac is oriented to the Equinox and Solstice points. The fact that the constellations precess at a rate of one degree every 70 years is for all intents and purposes, ignored. This naturally of much concern with those work with Fixed Stars and to be in a position to integrate nakshatras into interpretations.

Theodoros Karasavvas, J.D.-M.A has provided an enviably brief but accurate account of the origins of Greek astrology: “The Babylonians were the first people to systematically apply myths to constellations and astrology and describe the twelve signs of the zodiac. The Egyptians followed shortly after by refining the Babylonian system of astrology, but it was the Greeks who shaped it into its modern form. The Greeks borrowed some of their myths from the Babylonians and came up with their own. For that matter, even the word astrology – as well as the science of astronomy – is derived from the Greek word for star, “asteri.”

Dendera astrological calendar 12 constellations, each made of 3 decans10 days Each decan represents a major star. 1st Century ACE Roman period

The Babylonian, Egyptian and Indian zodiacs were sidereal. The Tropical and Sidereal Zodiac were the same when the precession of the equinox reached 0º ARIES in the year 221 A.D. in the heyday of Hellenistic astrology. In the last century,  the celebrated Egyptologist, Cyril Fagan, proved beyond any reasonable doubt that the original Egyptian zodiac was Sidereal. The practise of dividing each sign into three decanates was an integral element.

Decanal stars on boats in Hathor Temple at Dendera.’Starry gods are sailing on boats across the firmament on the astronomical ceiling in the outer hypostyle hall of the Hathor Temple at DenderaIt.

I=, not alone, but definitely among a tiny minority, who suspect that Valens and presumably other Hellenistic astrologers used a sidereal zodiac. This shouldn’t be seen as a problem because the Sidereal and Tropical zodiac have different uses. The tropical zodiac takes as its anchors the Solstice and Equinox points. It is the zodiac of choice for terrestrial timekeeping. Zero degrees Aries always marks the Spring Equinox and zero degrees of Libra will always mary the onset of Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. The Tropical zodiac is the clear choice for calendrical, mundane purposes Precession has no consideration. We know that the rate of precession is approximately one degree every 70 years, so the stars are no longer necessary in the same sign. For example, The Heart of the Scorpios is now well into Tropical Sagittarius. Regulus, The Heart of the Lion isn’t even in Tropical Leo anymore, just as Fomalhaut is no longer in Aquarius.

If you are concerned with the position of the stars over time, the Sidereal Zodiac wins hands down, There are several bright and not so bright stars in the firmament that have ancient and consistent significance and the Tropical zodiac distorts this badly. It is clear that Valens was interested in asterisms, including circumpolar and other asterisms that did not fall on the ecliptic. Ursa Major, for example, is considered to be the three rishis and the seasonal turning of the constellation draws a swastika in the heavens, one of the most ancient sacred symbols. He was clearly very interested in the Fixed Stars.

Robert Hand, in his brilliant commentary on Valen,s makes some fascinating points regarding the close parallels of Indian astrology apropos of Valens. This would explain many things.

Anthology p. XII

The Nakshatras are 27 in number and are each specifically oriented to set asterisms. Each Nakshatra is divided into four Padas. Each pada is allocated to a sign. This gives us the sacred number or 108. The zodiac used in India is sidereal and there is no attempt made to pretend that the constellations associated with signs on the ecliptic are equal, which they most certainly are not. This isn’t the place to delve into the intricacies of Indian astrology, but I hope to have at least piqued an interest in expanding what we mean by Classica or Hellenistic for that matter. I believe this also opens to door to the possibility of modern astrologers using a sidereal for some purposes and to still remain “Classical.”.

I give the last word to Robert Hand whose introduction to Schmidt’s translation is masterful and he makes i very clear that the text is riddled with problems that show no sign of relenting any time soon. There have been additions made by later authors and contradictions abound. When faced with the signs beginning at 8 or ten degrees and aware of the urgent need to decide which zodiac he actually used. Hand concludes:

“The lunar mansion or nakshatra is 13°20’ long. This is very close to the average daily motion of the Moon in the zodiac, and it is well known that this is the derivation. The navamsa is exactly one-quarter of that and therefore resonates to the passage of the Moon through the quadrants of the chart. On average the Moon moves very close to 3°20′ of arc while it is rising from the Ascendant to the M.C., from the М.С. to the Descendant and so forth. ” Moreover, he uses two methods to establish the Ascendant in a horoscope, now known as A and B. They are closely allied with Babylonian astrology.

Once the text is finally sorted out, I believe that close reference to Indian astrology may be very helpful. I suspect that the model of Nakshatras will shed light on the often perplexing  astrology of Vettius Valens

Church of the Nativity in the village of Arbanasi, in Veliko Tarnovo, north-central Bulgaria, there is a similar zodiac fresco image — a “Wheel of Time” in which the cycle of human life is represented:

The State of the Art

“When Jupiter burns in Cancer and Mercury is with it, the conditions of people will improve.”

This article isn’t for everyone. I’m assessing the state of astrology in the present. Much of what I have to say I have already expressed in other contexts. It is virtually impossible to write an article of this sought without offending anyone at all, but that is not my intent. I would be encouraged if the article were the impetus for a debate and self-examination in the astrological community regarding the state of the art of astrology. Realistically, though, those who are most likely to feel the need for that examination are not likely to read this article. I do hope that anyone looking to find authentic and professional services will find a compendium of what to look for and what to avoid,

Something I have tried to do consistently on this site is to elucidate classical and ancient astrology and its place in modernity. The reputation of authentic astrology is largely in tatters. There are however signs of resurgence not only of astrology but the spirituality, and mysticism, to which it has always been yoked. This is occurring in the renaissance of traditional western astrology, but I believe we still have much to learn from Persian and Indian astrology. This has become my current area of research.

We cannot ignore the larger context of the Age in which live. Robert Zoller describes it as well as anyone:


“During the Piscean Age, the benefic Jupiter ruled the angles. Jupiter ruled both Pisces on the 1st and Sagittarius on the 10th, and thus, while there was confusion of hierarchical religious institutions and political institutions and while this inevitably led to hypocrisy, the Age was nevertheless one in which truth and philosophy mattered to men. The Piscean Age will, as this Aquarian Age unfolds, be seen as a halcyon period of semi-respite from the essentially malefic and spiritually destructive nature of life. In the Aquarian Age, the malefics once again rule the angles and with them returns the natural severity of worldly life.

The Novus Ordo Saeculorum, the New Order of the Ages, will rule through the power of life and death (Scorpio, which is on the 10th), through behaviour modification, cloning, genetic engineering, mind control and the occult. Might makes right in this New Age. If the preceding Age produced metaphysical materialists, who duped the people through the opiate of religion, the New Age will produce materialist metaphysicians who will make the preceding political power elites look like inept apprentices.

In the Age of Aquarius, religion will be humanistic love of fairness and justice. While feeding the people with Libran platitudes, the Scorpionic rulers will work tirelessly toward the realization of their goal – absolute power over others, as Leo is seen in position on the 7th house. The will of the people will be towards freedom of expression (Aquarius), and they will be encouraged to do their own thing so that they keep their minds off what their rulers do.”

The modernity we know is the result of accelerated scientific advances and, extreme, fanatical forms of collective political movements, sometimes in the guise of liberalism. I have argued elsewhere that the China of Mao or Stalin’s USSR are akin to Nazi Party when it was rolled out as the National Socialist German Workers’ Party,  The power comes like an iron fist from a single leader who promises food, jobs, stability, equality, sometimes cars, reason to replace religion, an overweening sense of being the only possible path one should take.

The first thing these superstates do is to arrest and kill anyone considered an intellectual. Even possession of a typewriter and a few books meant a one way trip to the Gulag. This is because intellectuals are not only dangerous in undermining the State but are a category of the perceived “elite.” In Communism, they were called reactionaries. There can be no possibility of an opposing view. We like to think that we live in an age of freedom, but these freedoms are being not so slowly dismantled. These demonstrate a quintessentially Aquarian series of phenomena. We quickly learn the limits of free speech if we question the contemporary liberalism in the West, even though this secular liberalism is uncomfortably close to the extreme versions that we fought for most of the 20th Century. To survive in such a milieu, astrology must state its case clearly at the same time that it is seen to open other doors of perception to counter the scientific materialism that surrounds us and would define us. Considering all this, it’s amazing that it has survived at all. The fact that some of these states are now defunct, and have been for some time, doesn’t mean that the inherent ideologies have no effect on us. The so-called collectives we have in the 21st Century are mostly impersonal Corporate entities, devoid of ethics and in many cases even essential decency,

Hindu Calendar 1871-72.

The collective movements most famously of the 20th Century during the incursion of the Aquarian Age have for the most part been responsible for reducing the status of human beings to brainwashed drones, while the top of the pyramid or the center of the parties lives in opulence. This is essentially the global corporate model where impoverished people work in sweatshops to produces good that they could never afford. Aquarian Age collectivism is almost always fanatical.  The state of the art in astrology is not unconnected to the illusions of the Aquarian Age – things often look good even when they are the complete opposite. It has often interested me that those who don’t like my dystopian views of the Age are perfectly happy to call it the Kali Yuga. I would go further to say that not noting the character of different ages is spectacularly unscientific. The opposing axis is Leo, affirming the sense of self beyond the collective, but adding an essential egoism. This concords with Zoller’s description of the Age.

This contextual and practical examination is to a large extent a follow up from my recent article “On Earth, As It Is In Heaven.” The events, sensibilities, and zeitgeist of our times are underscored by what Robert Zoller referred to as The Novus Ordo SaeculorumAstrological practise cannot be entirely separated from how one views the world. Capitalism, for example, is much more than business. It is an entire matrix of consciousness. It includes virtual slave labour in sweatshops in the third world. Capitalism writ large is a boot in the face of the most vulnerable people on earth. That is a kind of evil in my view. The Lord of the Age is Saturn. There are New Age people who believe that light can and does exist without darkness, that things must always be sweet, even though they clearly are not. Scientific materialists are not likely to care much for astrology at all, but who has not been touched by it? Those who put a high value on ancient and traditional sources will take yet another view of the subject, and so it goes. The astrological category of prediction is a good case in point.

The question of prediction was raised in the previous article, in considering how the subject may best be explained and the work executed.  To clarify, it is fair to say that all forms of astrology are indeed to one extent or another predictive. It should be clear that predictions are made with a combination of specialized skill on the subject on the part of the astrologer and by techniques developed over the millennia, always separating the wheat from the chafe. The Nativity, for example, studies the chart as if it were a seed. Other forms are more obviously so, although there is no great qualitative difference. The song remains the same.

The astrologer must know many things before an accurate reading is realized. These include, in varying degrees, the physical, mental and spiritual elements that make up the native, For example, a knowledge of the humours allows for a reading that understands that a person with a strong melancholic humour will not react the same way as someone with a choleric one. There may be (and usually are) indications of potential health issues along the way. These and many other considerations help to give us a sound understanding of the vehicle in which the native is traveling in to navigate his or her world.

Mental states likely to manifest are equally important, not only for their own sake but for how they will likely affect how the world is seen and, in some cases, point to potentially serious problems such as depression. The spiritual element is far more subtle and should be approached with a feeling for what may be of the greatest assistance. The situation is substantially imptoved if the astrologer is able to know the native’s spiritual orientation. This is virtually impossible without some contact with the native, but New Age entrepreneurs claim to be able to do this by having you will fill out a short form online. Some claim to be able to determine your last incarnation. This is not even close to sound astrology and is really for entertainment purposes only. If that was the understanding, perhaps that wouldn’t be so bad. However, the querent is led to believe that they are getting the real thing

When we consider Mundane Astrology, we have a host of techniques; but frankly, one needs to know history, and usually geography and political movements.  Mundane is, of course, best known as a predictive branch of astrology, but just as families of Saros cycles have meaning to us in the present, so too do cultures work on a continuum.  In this respect, the prediction is Janus faced – looking backward as well as forward..Mundane astrology is challenging, but it doesn’t require multiple charts in bi-wheels, tri-wheels, Solar Returns compared to other progressions until one has a mass of data and no clarity.  This is particularly noticeable in political mundane astrology For reasons that remain partly mysterious to me, predictions on who will win a given election are wildly popular. You will also notice that it is the norm for there to be as many wrong predictions as accurate ones. This tells us that the flipping of a coin would be equally useful if our question is simply “who will win.”This fact offends hubris and so it should Humility is a crucial cohabitant of wisdom. One of the main culprits here is the speed at which we are expected to work during this age of massively accelerated technology. Nevertheless, that cannot excuse a self-interest that makes the clear reading of a chart an impossibility.

Make no mistake, we now live in an age where far more astrological charts are cast by the inept than the adept. This is almost entirely due to the incredible ease of using modern, sophisticated software programs, including free astrological calculation services available online.  It is not so long ago, that every chart was painstakingly calculated by hand. Nevertheless, having drawn up the chart, no matter how one does it, it requires interpretation and to do that effectively takes many years to develop. Learning the essential significance of a given planet, luminary or sign is the beginning. Learning how these interact with each other in a whole chart is perhaps the second step. Beyond that is how humankind and all of creation is interconnected, A neo-platonist would call us monads.

In my estimation, neither of these steps will be complete without a deep knowledge of the origins of this knowledge. Hermeneutics – A method or theory of interpretation – is an apt term in relation to the Art of Hermes. Hindus will say that the science of the stars was given at the time of creation and I’m not going to argue against that. Because most of human history has been transmitted orally, we cannot say with certainty when it began, or if in fact it always existed as part of being human – we do after all come from the stars – we are made of stardust. The oldest written work in the Indo European history is the Rig Veda, written in Sanskrit. The dates given for the creation of the text vary wildly. Some scholars suggest it was written circa 1500 BC.  Others have claimed that it likely dates back to the 8th C. BC, based on astronomical configurations recorded in the text. There is no doubt that the first sections of the Rig Veda are very old indeed, consisting or oral transmissions. from sage to sage. Today, there are many people calling themselves astrologers who have no interest whatsoever in where the science came from or what are the underlying principles.

Lunar phases in ‘Treatise of astronomy and computation’, in Turkish_translated from Persian, 1586-1600

The ancient world was far more connected than most people realize, As always, trade was the first cause of this. This brings China and the Silk Route into the fray very early on. However, the astrological tradition as we have known it benefitted from the close proximity of Persia to India. Persia, in turn, acts as a bridge to Babylon and Hellenistic world. Platonism and Neo-Platonism were crucial to the understanding of the metaphysics underpinning astrology. All of these cultures mixed freely in Alexandria. It is interesting to read Plotinus and see both Platonic thought and what looks like Hindu metaphysics. It is impossible to ignore the extraordinary similarities between Shiva and Dyonysis. The presence at the School of Alexandria was a crucible for numerous philosophical schools from throughout the Mediterranean, North Africa, Persia, India, Babylon, and the entire Middle East. There were Hellenized Jews, Stoics, Pythagoreans and all of these cultures had an intense interest in the Heaven and how they may be interpreted, Last but not least was the tradition of the Hermetica, also quite seamlessly a part of this nexus.

There is a healthy spirit of research into the earliest mentionings of the language of the stars. I believe that we are on the verge of new and powerful techniques that are also ancient. Much earlier than these philosophical systems we have the henge cultures of the Celts and cave drawings of Lascaux showing us that our earliest known ancestors watched the movement of the Heavens and organized their lives around constellations, the Lunar cycle and to a large extent, the cycle of Venus.

It is, therefore troubling that people calling themselves astrologers, more often than not. have very little skill and almost no understanding or interest in the underlying structure and philosophical underpinnings of the art.  The problem arises when the client is offered a vision of themselves that is divorced from the deeper wisdom potentially available in traditional readings. Again, we have a case of “I’m free to do whatever I want” with no real concern for the consequences. Considering the laws of nature is an antidote to that falsehood if observed.

All of the essential elements of authentic astrology are alive and derived from ancient sources – some say from the beginning of creation. Philosophies, such as Platonism and the Hermetica provide a special, sacred language to convey the subtleties and profundities that ordinary language may be found inadequate, For this and many other reasons, the underpinnings of astrology need to be studied in earnest

In the Aquarian Age, any mention of someone lacking adequate skill in anything might be cause for accusations of elitism. By the same logic, anyone with an avid interest in anatomy shouldn’t be prevented from performing any kind of surgery that strikes their fancy. Largely due to the internet, many people now claim to be astrologers who haven’t the faintest idea of on what astrology is based. Astrology has for the most part been reduced to the status of a parlor game. of essentially the same nature as newspaper Sun sign columns. If your chart isn’t saying what you want it to say, you can keep adding planets, asteroids, hypotheticals, centaurs, Priapus, the Black Sun, three Black Moons and a partridge in a pear tree. This is precisely what many modern astrologers do.

A King and a Monk (recto) Text (verso) Folio from the Uttaradhyayana Sutra said to be one of the final set of lectures given by Lord Mahavira before his liberation.

Astrology has also been weaponized by people who are willing to use every last asteroid to make their political case. The central issue is there for all to see. For every competent,  objective chart read, there are thousands that are neither competent nor even slightly objective. When one is in the position of assuming that anything can be anything in astrology, the art is easily abused and manipulated, becoming like a ventriloquist dummy, explaining every event as if in one’s own image. If one’s favored political choice lost, then the chart is portrayed as a trainwreck of malefic influences. If your candidate wins, the same chart might well be interpreted as the beginning of a golden age. It is true that some court astrologers in the past were subject to execution if they provided information the monarch wished not to hear, but these days incompetence. and political bias are among the usual culprits.

Jain Cosmic Diagram. Gujarat. Circa 1500.

The beginnings of astrology were focussed on timekeeping and providing a powerful means to wed heaven to earth, in the words of Pico della Mirandola. This is the core of “on earth as it is in heaven.” In other words, the primary purpose and nature of astrology is that of a celestial dialogue. But we look through a glass darkly and perfect knowledge is forever elusive. The most engaging astrologers in my view are the ones with a strong sense of divine spirit at work. It is as if the entire soul is brought into play.

The nature of modern prediction has also fallen prey to the sensibility, depredation, and demands of the modern news cycle, an entity purchased by global corporations who control the news to favour the needs of shareholders Massive artificial catastrophes, even presidential peccadilloes, are stoked by nothing more than sound bites and questionable sources – often by out and out prevarication and dissembling.  Petty scandals steal the journalistic spotlight, while thousands of children are being slaughtered in a shadow war.

Weather predictions or a medical prognosis, whether achieved through astrological techniques or by medical and meteorological means., are useful because they provide us with a chance to prepare for inclement weather or alert us to minor or serious health issues, for which we may find effective remedies or other means to avert a health crisis.  Knowing who will be elected has rather vague uses when one considers how rarely political promises are made good. I do not denounce the practice for one minute, but I do think that context and relative worth are elements to be considered. It’s more like predicting the outcome of a horserace. Many people enjoy and use these methods and pursue these goals and there is nothing inherently wrong with them. From my point of view, however, they miss the point.

The Sky Goddess Nut body representing the Milky Way arching across the night sky.

Part of my distaste for many election predictions is that they imply that it doesn’t matter if anyone votes because the winner has already been selected by fate. I have no particular problem with fate, but it would make a mockery out of democracy if taken to this level. Certainly, one can argue that fate can work through elections, but it does feel a bit like playing with loaded dice, To me, the subject of political elections is sometimes handled just as well by skilled journalists and even historians than by competitive astrologers with an ax to grind. Objectivity is better-called disinterestedness in this case. It is a state of mind that, as far as is possible, lacks either attachment or aversion, The stars guide us. We do not bend them to our will.

It’s my contention, based on experience, that the greatest guardian of astrology is a strong desire to be a channel of a divine spirit. Divine Spirit is the quintessence of creation. You are right to feel uneasy about an astrologer who is glib, arrogant or professes no faith in the mystical essence of the art. A colleague once told me that he had no interest in the cultural and spiritual background of astrology and that it was “just like mathematics.” I completely disagree with that. When we say such things, we are rather too close to what I call the “slot machine mentality.” Ideally, astrology is at its best when it can develop a conscious relationship with divine intelligence, one that assists realization of the soul’s purpose and consequent destiny, rather than frittering away the power available by over attachment to questions of desire or acquisition. Two examples of the latter would be “when will Bobby love me” or “when will I be rich.”

To be fair, many clients come to us with specific questions. When the answer is not what they wanted to hear, they will keep asking the same question, as if at some point they will hit the jackpot. They cannot be blamed. The society we live in encourages such things. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, we either treat astrology with the reverence it deserves or we are complicit in its misuse. This is not primarily a moral issue. It is all about a consciousness and reverence of divine spirit, used for good vs corruption, in one degree or another, In short, the inspired astrologer is forever conscious of the weight of responsibility. This is not a burden, but a joy.

Ancient Hindu Astrology Symbols Wall Jaisalmer– Rajasthan