Spring Equinox / Nouruz – 2017

Wishing Everyone a Great Spring Equinox / Nouruz The Chart is Set for GMT.

The celebration of the New Year in one way or another is virtually universal, although what is recognized as the new year differs. In the Western world, including that of the Eastern Orthodox tradition, the Winter Solstice is central in the Northern Hemisphere. Some forms of European Paganism take Samhain or All Saint’s Day as the marker for the New Year.  In Mithraism, the Winter Solstice, while Zoroastrianism, often conflated with Mithraism, takes the Spring Solstice and Entrance of the Sun into Aries, the Sun’s place of Exaltation

In Mithraism, the Winter Solstice, while Zoroastrianism, often conflated with Mithraism, takes the Spring Solstice and Entrance of the Sun into Aries, the Sun’s place of Exaltation

Reporter Shuka Kalantari records the sounds of a Persian New Year’s celebration at her friend’s home. Jumping over the fire is a symbolic gesture to start a fresh new yea

Traditional Astrologers always use 00°Aries. This calculation holds a very important place because it’s considered the Chart of the Year. The planet or luminary with the greatest Essential and Accidental Dignity is the Lord of the Year (LOY).  This year, the Sun is overwhelmingly the LOY! If the chart were cast elsewhere, where the Sun were below the horizon, and perhaps in a cadent house, it would not be surprising to find another body take his place as LOY.

Because this chart is of greatest use in the GMT Time Zone and with a northerly latitude, it speaks most obviously to the UK. I invite you to reproduce this chart for different regions. However, no matter where it is, that tight conjunction of the Moon and Saturn by itself doesn’t bode well.

Apadana relief depicting Armenians bringing wine to Nouruz in Persepolis

Nevertheless, this is no time to be worrying.  Nouruz has things in common with Easter, such as fertility (including eggs) and the theme of resurrection – the triumphant return of the Sun is all its blazing glory. These are metaphors to be sure.

Zoroastrianism is almost certainly the oldest monotheistic religions, with roots in  Sumer, Babylon, Assyria,  Persia, India and Central Asia.   Today, it is also celebrated in Afghanistan Azerbaijan, Russian Federation Kazakhstan Uzbekistan Pakistan and Turkey.

That Nouruz survives after thousands of years and calculated at the same time of year, testifies to its extraordinary power. Zoroastrianism is famously optimistic and the eternal flames are kept in her temples. This fire festival is one of sheer exuberance, joy, and gratitude. The Sun is the bringer and origin of life

Revelers jump bonfires and eat ashes to celebrate the first day of Spring and the Sun in his Exaltation.

“All evil vanishes from he who keeps the Sun in his heart.” – Indian proverb

A Time for Kali – The Indian Rebellion of 1857

Kali and Bhairava - terrible form of Shiva -  in_Union 18th C. Nepal

Kali and Bhairava – terrible form of Shiva – in_Union 18th C. Nepal

This has been a difficult article to write for many reasons. First of all, there is the scope and length of the subject matter. One can hardly do justice to a war by reading a single chart.. However, the beginning of a war, the initial attack can be read which will, in the process, give us the essence of the larger conflict. I have therefore elected to read the chart for the time of the beginning of the fomenting hostilities in Meerut The explosions occurred later in the day, but we cannot call that the beginning hardly’ There had, after all, been 20 acts of arson and the bazar had become frenzied – full of passionate intensity.

Secondly, the subject matter is particularly gruesome. It is as if Kali were unleashed to kill all indiscriminately. The was no mercy and in fact when a group of survivors were offered safe passage by what were believed to be sympathetic Indians, it turned out to be a trap. The survivors were set afloat and the boats set on fire.

Kali is a goddess of some complexity, but I doubt she has ever been accused of rationality or peaceful resolutions. Hers are primal and chthonic powers. She is known as the goddess of empowerment. She is the consort of the wrathful form of Shiva, who has been fairly compared to Dionysus by A. Danielou in Shiva and Dionysus (1984) The Hindu texts tell us that when she first entered the world, she killed everyone,  driven by blood lust and revenge, unable to stop the slaughter once it had begun. To suggest that she represents the Indians alone in the uprising would be too simplistic, but we can certainly say it was a time for Kali.

Jahangir_investing_a_courtier_with_a_robe_of_honour_watched_by_Sir_Thomas_Roe,_English_ambassador_to_the_court_of_Jahangir_at_Agra_from_1615-18,_

Jahangir investing a courtier with a robe o honour watched by Sir Thomas Roe English ambassador to the court of Jahangir at Agra from 1615-18,_

The British East India Company had been chartered by Elizabeth I in 1600 and formed a treaty with the Mughuls under Nuruddin Salim Jahangir (r. 1605–1627. India was not yet part of the British Empire and wouldn’t be for centuries. However, the company required an armed force, 80% of which was made up of native Indians

In some respects the essence of the conflicts seem modern – human versus religious rights imposed by an occupying force. The hegemony of the British was at the very heart of the matter At the centre of indigenous fears were the rights of women, It is not unlike the attempts of western groups to stamp out female circumcision, child marriages and the privation of an education. The British had banned Sati, where a Hindu wife is burned alive in the husbands funeral pyre. They had outlawed female

Family group of Thugees  (Robbers). The Indian thugs kill people by strangling them with their long kerchiefs which they carry on their shoulders.

Family group of Thugees (Robbers). The Indian thugs kill people by strangling them with their long kerchiefs which they carry on their shoulders.

infanticide and passed laws enabling Indian women to own property or get a divorce.  Even today, there are countries which will not permit a woman to drive a car.  In some instances,  it is virtually impossible not to have sympathies for both sides of a conflict; but today we have Boku Haram and the Taliban, both violently opposed to education for women and enforcing their brutal mentality through slavery and massacres while insisting they are acting in conformity with their religion.

For most of us this goes far beyond any concerns for religious freedom. Violent denial of the most basic rights isn’t something we can simply accept, even if we know we are powerless to change things in the short run. However we decide to act, it is imperative to understand that for many people the attempt to better the lives of women is seen as a religious attack.

The British had also brought 400 years of Moghul rule to an end. Orthodox Hindus or Muslims thought the traditional ways were being seriously challenged. William Wilberforce had pressed for a particular system of ethics which was alien to the Indians.

The Company had been rapacious in Bengal. Lands for which there was no legitimate heir could be subsumed into British India. There were unpopular revenue policies. Of course the humiliation of being governed by a foreign power contributed to the Rebellion. Indian aristocracy more than anyone else feared the changing society.

Bahadur_Shah_II_of_India - "the last Moghul"

Bahadur_Shah_II_of_India – “the last Moghul”

“The pretext for revolt was the introduction of the new Enfield rifle. To load it, the sepoys had to bite off the ends of lubricated cartridges. A rumour spread among the sepoys that the grease used to lubricate the cartridges was a mixture of lard and beef tallow.; thus, to have oral contact with it was an insult to both Muslims and Hindus. There is no conclusive evidence that either of these materials was actually used on any of the cartridges in question. ” (Indian Mutinee. Encyclopaedia Britannica).

There were also far more wide sweeping issues that had brought about the Rebellion Some Hindus were concerned that he British were undermining the caste system and one could in fact lose caste if their lips touched the flesh of the sacred cow, even if done in ignorance.  If the rumour had been correct both Hindu and Muslim would  expect retribution in this life and the next. The Sepoys were soon offered the older cartridge design for their rifles to allay their fears, but only a tiny fraction of them accepted them. It was so much more than cartridges. In the final analysis, the greatest concern was the fear of a Christianized and Anglicization India. We can say this was a religious war in that sense.

Sepoy C, 1857

Sepoy C, 1857

There are many excellent sources for the background of this nightmare. I particularly recommend The Last Moghul by William Dalrymple (Bloomsbury 2006) and Heaven’s Command by James Morris (Folio 1992) I have also added two videos below, that give a reasonable overview of an epically complex scenario.

Although the event has been called a mutinee, it was so much more than that. First of all, it was one of several mutinees, ignited for a variety of reasons and characterized by extreme brutality of mythic proportions. When all had settled down, there was a new social order and power structure and ironically, the mutinee lead to India becoming a part of the British Empire – The jewel in the crown. The last Moghul was pensioned off by the British and sent to Burma, where he died shortly thereafter.

The mutiny soon escalated into other mutinies and civilian rebellions largely in the upper Gangetic plain and central India, with the major hostilities confined to present-day Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, northern Madhya Pradesh, and the Delhi region

indianmutinymap

After Sunday Church services on 10 May 1857 in the cantonment of the town of Meerut, the inhabitants could not have imagined the horror to come. Meerut was not a military outpost per se.  It had minimal defences and there were women and children living there wh0 had been thought secure. It was like a barracks with family quarters.

There is no source fir the exact time for the beginning of hostilities , but by referring to other events I feel confident with this chart for 10.40 am. I f we turn to the chart, we find that it is at once quite literal and richly mythological at the same time .Picture2

The Lord of the Geniture is the Sun, the Lord of the Ascendant  Jupiter in Aries in the Ninth House is Almuten Figuris, ,Lord of the Eighth and in a Martian Sign. Jupiter is Peregrine. That could very well indicate many deaths with a religious causation, If we take the Leo Ascendant to be the British, the Solar Lord of the Ascendant is bringing the force of Algol or in this case Kali to bear on their lives.

The Ninth House informs the Tenth and the Eleventh House provides the support, What we find in the Tenth is truly extraordinary. The Lord of the Tenth is a strong Mercury in Gemini. The planets and luminary are all in Taurus, but Venus is Cazimi and both she and the Sun are conjunct Algol. The Sun is also Peregrine. Moreover, Venus is retrograde and transferring her light to Mars. It is just past Full Moon and the last Planetary Aspects made by the Moon is an opposition to Mars, she is also parallel the Fixed Star Facies, denoting ruthlessness.

Perseus from al-Sufi

Perseus from al-Sufi

Algol has the most malicious reputation and always seems to deliver what is promised – losing one’s head, often literally and significant of piled up corpses according to the Chinese. This is the eye of Medusa, the ultimate demonic star. More often than not, we will find Algol in the charts of extreme disasters. The hidden enemy is represented by Saturn in the Twelfth House, disposited by the Moon and conjunct the Fixed Star, Sirius — indicating searing heat.  Saturn is Lord of the Seventh House of open enemies. The attack was in the form of explosions and fires everywhere

The S. Node is in the House of the Goddess in Venusian Libra and the N. Node in the same sign as Jupiter. This is a volatile and violent chart and also one in which the power of the Feminine is overwhelming.

Perhaps in a later article, we might explore other charts for the myriad of events of the great rebellion , but for now we have what I would call the chart of its essence

Thema Mundi & the Aquarian Age

The Thema Mundi can strike one as a rather strange beast at first. Thema Mundi literally means “World Theme”, with ‘the word theme also meaning chart.  What we have is perhaps best described as a mythical horoscope, of particular interest to Hellenistic Astrology, showing the ideal position of the planets and luminaries. I use the term ‘ideal’ in the Platonic sense of the Forms.

r_thema_mundi

The chart shows the supposed positions of the five visible planets and the two luminaries, the Sun and Moon, demonstrating the logic behind the rulership of signs, planetary exaltations and so on. It is regarded as the placement of all bodies at the time of Creation.  It is clearly not intended to correlate to an actual astronomical event. because Venus and Mercury are at impossible distances from the Sun. Venus is 60° from the Sun and Mercury is 30° Astronomically, the angular distance of Venus is never more than 47.8° and Mercury not more than 27.8° from the Sun.

All planets and luminaries are positioned in a sign they rule and at 15 degrees of the sign. Below we has the same Thema Mundi illustrating the ways in which a planet may aspect another : conjunction, opposition, trine, square and sextile. These are what have become known as the Ptolemaic aspects, but it’s clear that they long proceeded Ptolemy. It is estimated that the Thema came into being circa 322 B.C. One could very well write a book on this, but for the time being think of this as something of a universal key to Hellenistic astrology and beyond.

mundif

There is another term used to describe how signs or planets can relate. Ptolemy referred to it as an aversion, But strictly speaking it isn’t an aspect for the simple reason that it doesn’t aspect anything.  This is very important in Hellenistic Astrology because the Ascendant is as the life force and also what ‘steers’ the owner of the chart. The Sixth, Eight and Twelfth House are unfortunate houses because they are in aversion to the Ascendant. They cannot ‘see’ it.  It is not nearly as important with an aversion between signs, such as Aries and Virgo, but a matter of great concern between the Eighth House and the Ascendant.

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

I have stated elsewhere that I believe the Aquarian Age began in earnest at the beginning of the 20th Century, with sea power giving way to domination of the skies, including space. I have also raised the issue of what I’ve called “velvet fascism.’ This first century of the Aquarian Age and now the second is extremely destructive with 60 million killed in WWII and 40 million Chinese under Mao Zedong. alone Most strikingly the greatest conflicts were over secular ideology. The Communist Revolution in China promised a world of equality and plenty – a worker’s paradise. That sounds very Aquarian.

mao01

Once in power, Mao was so fixed in his ideology that he became a great tyrant, tens of millions of people starved, he set his mind on destroying anything traditional or old. Long before the Cultural Revolution, the bloody invasion of Tibet took place, with ensuing physical and cultural Genocide.

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

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

Indians think in much longer succession of Ages The length of Ages are not always consistent. Depending of which school of Hinduism you ask, there can be a massi9ve discrepancy. Some sources say  the Kali Yuga lasts for 432,00o years only 5,000 years of which have elapsed.  The Kali Yuga is considered the worst Age of all, yet the symbolism is not so out of place in our own age.  The imagery is comparable to Rubin’s painting of Saturn devouring his children.  Saturn, is, after all, a malefic. and the Eighth House is the place of death.

Kali

The Platonic system gives us much shorter ages, but even so, it would be very far from the truth to say that someone can’t do good things in difficult times. They always have. However, the Age of Aquarius has been consistently portrayed as a Golden Age when people will attune to higher frequencies and love each other, as nobody could have loved each other in any other age. The most insidious aspect of velvet fascism is that it promises freedom, while globalisation, a very Aquarian idea, makes slaves of some and consumers of others. As always, to have knowledge is to be forewarned..

Venus & the Temple of the Sun

Konark Temple of the Sun

Konark Temple of the Sun

This is really not much more than a brief note and inquiry into the nature of the Sun and Venus when they are very closely associated. – in this case in a very beautiful and enigmatic work of art

It’s been my contention for most of my life as an astrologer that Aphrodite is a charming but inadequate personification of the celestial Venus. It is necessary, I think, to broaden one’s view by examining various associations , not just Hellenistic ones, to get a glimpse of the many layers of meaning and variety of expressions to fully understand the significance of the planetary archetype.

There are few better opportunities for this study outside of the Western tradition than that afforded by the temple of Konark , a 13th century Sun Temple, imagessat Konark, in Odisha, India.  It was apparently built by king Narasimhadeva I of the Eastern Ganga Dynasty around 1250. This temple to the Sun god Surya is built in the form of a Solar chariot, drawn by seven spirited horses.

The motif of the Sun in a chariot drawn by horses is ubiquitous in the ancient world, although the details do differ. Here we have time represented by the months of the year, seven days of the week and the number of hours in a day. The chariot wheels themselves are decidedly Solar, but there is also poetry, music and dancers described among the erotic figures and hence we find ourselves very much in the fuller spectrum of all things Venusian. In fact, this is very much the realm of the Fifth House where Venus finds her joy

Sarasvatī - Hindu goddesss of Music, Poetry , Nature

Sarasvatī – Hindu goddess of Music, Poetry , Nature

Venus is known as Shukra in Indian mythology and is male. Shukra means semen, so the associations of fertility and creativity only strengthen the fifth house associations.

Shukra is however also represented by a female deity, most commonly, Lakshima, but there are obvious and close associations with Sarsawati, the patron of music, poetry and learning. The temple appears to embrace the Venusian within the larger Solar context.

This may seem confusing, but is much less so if you consider the Fifth House. First and foremost the house is the realm of all that is creative, including offspring and pleasure in music, poetry and sex. This is the house of Good Fortune in Hellenistic astrology and the parallels between the European and Indian conceptions becomes apparent, as do their differences .konark2

Consider firstly the relationship between the Sun and Venus in the symbolism of this temple’s construction. Its more than proximity of deities. It expresses a deeply intimate relationship to the Sun and Venus. Like all great art, it leaves us with many questions, but the study is time well spent

Kashmir Accession – Part One

Maharaja Hari Singh

Maharaja Hari Singh

We’ve discussed the charts of Pakistan and the Independence of India. It makes sense to look at the chart for the accession of Kashmir, cause for the single greatest conflict between the two countries, both of which are nuclear power. It has been generally regarded that the onset of a nuclear war is most likely between these two countries. Once a single nation stretching to Iran and Afghanistan, the two neighbours have seen virtually endless sectarian aggression

At the centre of the crisis was Mararaja Hari Singh, “one of the renowned rulers of British India as well as the Indian Union as king of the geographically largest and strategically most important empire of Jammu & Kashmir. He gained acclamation for being the last ruling king of Independent India since he continued to rule the state till November 5, 1952 while all other rulers of princely states had seized to be kings by 1948” (JP Singh.  Sept. 22, 2010, Chandigarh, India  Tribune)

The ten week period between Independence and Partition and the Pakistani aggression has been referred to as the interregnum.  On the 25 October 1947 the Maharaj of Kashmir declared accession to India. He was Hindu in a Muslim majority region. The British had made arrangements for dozens of Princely states to be virtually autonomous , mostly in exchange for trade.kashmir1

This isn’t discussed much, but the British had a tiny armed presence in India which would soon have been overwhelmed without these kinds of agreements. The Maharajahs were mostly very happy with the arrangements and expected that they would remain as independent states after partition. The new Indian government would have nothing of it.

Kashmir had no sense of urgency and failed to respond to all initial calls for a decision; Kashmir could be part of India or Pakistan. This is the chart for the time the Maharaja declared accession. It was in effect made in a state of panic. Pakistan was invading and he was willing to accede Kashmir to India in exchange for protection.

It is therefore difficult to see this event as a birth of any kind, but rather a necessary surrender of sovereignty. In somewhat the same way as the Independence chart for India it is an act of dissolution in reaction to violence from the new state of Pakistan.

However Nehru, as starry eyed and incompetent as ever, elected to make the conflict a world issue by effectively turning it over to the UN.  If he had been more decisive, the story of Kashmir might have been different.

The chart mostly speaks for itself. There are however some particularly striking elements in this chart that have played out to this day.Kashmir_region_2004

It’s a tight contest for Lord / Lady of the Geniture, but at the end of the day I will take an unafflicted luminary over a Twelfth House Jupiter in this case, even if the Moon is not in sect. The Day and Hour Belong to Saturn and Mars in both the Almuten and the Killing Planet.

We are immediately drawn to the string of Scorpio planets with Ketu and Mercury, all on the Midheaven  and in the Eleventh House. Both malefics are in the House of Death: Saturn disposits the Ascendant in Capricorn. Sun and Mars are in Mutual Reception, with the latter dispositing everything in the  Eleventh House. It’s very difficult not to see the assistance from the Eleventh House as overwhelmingly military, but it fails to give much comfort with the two malefics working together in such a violent manner. To top it off, Algol is conjunct (and parallel) the North Node

parts

Jupiter in Sagittarius is in the Exaltation of the South Node, but the effects are ameliorated  due to house placement. Jupiter can only expand the trials and misfortunes otherwise indicated.

The South Node is in Scorpio. Jupiter does however oppose the Part of Fortune on the Twelfth / Sixth House Axis.  The PoF is disposited by Gemini which takes us back to Mercury in Scorpio. The Eleventh House is shadowed by the Planetary Parts of Mars and Saturn

The Moon in Pisces is applying to a Martial Venus. As we have already noted, Venus is the significator of Islam, so I see her as an emissary of Peace, particularly since she is the Lady of the Geniture – rather like a diplomat.

However, she also disposits the Seventh House of partnership and open enemies. The Moon in Mundane usually refers to the people, and with the Part of Forth in the Sixth, this makes an even stronger case. It is, after all, the people who will ultimately make the difference between war and peace in Kashmir, as long as it remains majority Muslim it is exceedingly difficult to see how peace can become a reality for this very troubled and strategically significant region. It also suggested a country that would be exceedingly difficult to govern in any way

……………………………….

Kashmir Accession – Part Two

Srinagar, India - Jammu Kashmire Libertion Front - Killed mostly civilians since thier inception in 1989

Srinagar, India – Jammu Kashmire Libertion Front – Killed mostly civilians since thier inception in 1989

  • Mountbatten’s conditional acceptance of accession is dated 27 October, 1947 to signify his acceptance of the Instrument of Accession signed by the Kashmir Maharaja.
  • The letter reads, in part : ” In the special circumstances mentioned by your Highness my Government have decided to accept the accession of Kashmir State to the Dominion of India. Consistently with their policy that in the case of any State where the issue of accession has been the subject of dispute, the question of accession should be decided in accordance with the wishes of the people of the State, it is my Government’s wish that as soon as law and order have been restored in Kashmir and her soil cleared of the invader the question of the State’s accession should be settled by a reference to the people.

    Bichitr - Jahangir Preferring a Sufi Sheikh to Kings, with James I lower left

    Bichitr – Jahangir Preferring a Sufi Sheikh to Kings, with James I lower left

  • Meanwhile in response to your Highness’ appeal for military aid action has been taken today to send troops of the Indian Army to Kashmir to help your own forces to defend your territory and to  protect the lives, property and honour of your people.”

It wasn’t intended to be the final word on the matter, but Mountbatten couldn’t have imagined that Kashmir would be tortured and destabilized by violence sixty years into the future, with no end in sight. It was essentially a stop-gap measure, meant to protect Kashmir against invasion. Mountbatten notes with pleasure that Sheikh Abdullah, a Muslim was invited by the the Maharaja to form an interim Government to work with the Kashmiri Prime Minister. This follows comparable attempts made by the Indian Congress and those associated with it even before Partition.

In spite of efforts made, violence has continued to this day. The Mumbai bombers were said to have been radicalized over the status of Kashmir. It is therefor difficult to know which dates to choose, but let’s look at the war of 1965. Kashmir itself is like a Paradise on Earth, as Shah had said four hundred centuries  before Partition.

Noname2

The second Indo-Pakistani conflict (1965) was also fought over Kashmir and started without a formal declaration of war. The war began in August 5, 1965 and was ended Sept 22, 1965. Let’s look at the Solar Revolution for 1965, employing the  Accession chart as point of reference.

The war is over Kashmir, fought between Pakistan and India. So we have what Arif Jamal calls a Shadow War.

The Lord of the Year is Saturn, Day is Saturn, Hour is Venus. Mars is the Almuten and Retrograde.

The Moon is in Via Combusta in her Fall in Scorpio, but she applying to a trine with Venus in her Exaltation in the Fourth House.

The Ascendant isn’t very strong with Jupiter Cadent in the Sixth and conjunct Algol. Other than that there are no extraordinary afflictions. The relative dominance of both malefics isn’t as strong as in the 1947 chart, but they do play into excessive violence

The Seventh House of open enemies is disposited by Mercury in Leo. This isn’t strong either. The North Node is exalted in Gemini. We wouldn’t expect this particular conflict to last lang and it didn’t.

This all points to heavy losses on the parts of India and Pakistan over Kashmir. That was in fact the case, but the Indian Kashmiris took the upper hand and made significant long term tactical advantages