Vernal Equinox 2020

Aja’ib al-Makhluqat Wonders of Creation) by al-Qazvini; recto Symbol of the Sun

Reading a chart for the Ingresses and Solstices has become a tradition here, following a truly ancient tradition. Because of these points are crucially relevant to the Solar cycle, they have tended to be a time of celebration across cultures and time, virtually universal. The Aries Ingress chart provides us with the Lord of the Year and what we may expect to dominate the year. I’ve had a policy of brevity on these occasions and in any case, the interpretation will differ in many details due to the selected time zone.

Mars is the undisputed Lord of the Year, He’s exalted in Capricorn and with the South Node. This rarely if ever ends well. The most critical situation involves Mars and Saturn besieging Jupiter and the Ascendant. Guido Bonatti tells us that a besieged planet is one that separates from a malefic and applies to another (Con. 6). It shows a situation that is going from bad to worse. Saturn is in his own Domicile but in the Anaretic degree and with Mars as his Altumuten. Using Whole Sign, this nest of vipers squares the Sun.  The Moon in Aquarius is also in a Saturnine domicile.

Both Capricorn and Aquarius oppose the lights – Capricorn the Moon and Aquarius the Sun. Nevertheless, the Sun is strong and exalted in Aries and holds the anchor, as it were. However, it is still in a martian sign and the overall picture is easy to see. We might say that Jupiter is weak by sign, but still a benefic. But considering that Jupiter is under siege from the two malefics and in detriment, he is unable to act effectively,

The results are there for all to see. We have a pandemic with no known antidote that is besieging entire countries. Moreover, the locust seams, the greatest in decades, have spread from Africa to the Middle East and to the Subcontinent. Both are forms of contagion and beyond human control at this point. This won’t be an easy year, although we have opportunities that only such catastrophes can reveal. The greater catastrophe would be to miss them.

An Ethiopian girl attempts to fend off desert locusts as they fly in a farm on the outskirt of Jijiga in Somali region, Ethiopia January 12, 2020 Giulia Paravicini/REUTERS

To put this in perspective, Saturn will form a Grand Conjunction with Jupiter at the end of there year in the Saturnine sign of Aquarius. I have written substantially on this phenomenon on this blog. Essentially this Conjunction will set the stage for the next two decades. The Grand Conjunctions heralds what we may call a mini-age. Saturn will be much stronger than Jupiter. The phase we are well into ay this time is fraught with great challenges to humanity, both existential and ethical in nature.

The Great Year – Plato & the Four Yugas

The Milky Way. Photo from NGC.

The problem of describing the beginning and the end of Astrological ages is notoriously chaotic, yet it is widely assumed that this information is readily available. Nothing could be further from the truth. This article cuts a wide swath across the

A colleague recently questioned my assignment of the current Age to Aquarius), when both the sidereal and tropical Vernal point is in Pisces. The enormity of the differentials in calculations require some history and knowledge of what is referred to as “The Great Year.” There have been concerted efforts to equalize the boundaries of the constellations, but the fact remains that there are massive differences in the number of degrees covered by a given constellation.  The attempts, much of it in the 20th century, has left us with the illusion that each constellation matches a sign of thirty degrees. Yet the constellations such as Leo, Virgo, Pisces and Sagittarius are much larger. Artificially equalizing the constellations causes as many problems as it is meant to solve.

Where the blue circle in the diagram (right), represents the path of the pole in the northern hemisphere over a complete cycle.

Many consider astronomy to settle these kinds of things. Surely, astronomy can provide rational and lucid answers based on science.  Let’s look at “the Age of Aquarius from an astronomical perspective.”

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) – which in the 20th century assumed the duty of officially naming and defining all things astronomical – created official constellation boundaries in 1930. From the perspective of astronomy, then, the beginning of the Age of Aquarius is based upon IAU constellation boundaries, which astrologers or New Age practitioners might or might not choose to use in their computations.:” See Bruce McClure at EarthSky.

I find the term””official constellation boundaries” amusing. In reality, the constellation boundaries are what they are. Making them precisely equal in size in an attempt to tidy up the heavens has no useful purpose, not least because the  “official boundaries.” are merely a convenient substitute and a construct. It doesn’t solve the problems of determining where the boundaries are and muddied the subject, doing nothing regarding the exact placement of the Vernal Equinox.

This entire approach lacks the required self-reflection to address the question as to whether or not the constellation gives us the sign or the sign gives us the name of the constellation, but this is what happens when astronomical busy-bodies try to make elements of the universe official.

So far, we still don’t have a direct relationship between signs and constellations. Of course, for everyday practical use. the questions will be ignored. Nevertheless, this presents a problem if we are attempting to ascertain the beginning or end of an astrological Age.

There is also an Indian version of this. This system is associated with metals and references to India concepts, such as Sattva and the Kali Yuga. There is no attention given to arriving at equal-sized periods., The ages are also incredibly long.

The Mahabharata (which was used by Aryabhatta in his calculations) and the Manu Smriti have the original value of 12,000 years for one half of the Yuga cycle. According to one Puranic astronomical estimate, the four Yuga have the following durations: Satya Yuga equals 1,728,000 human years, Treta Yuga equals 1,296,000 human years, Dvapara Yuga equals 864,000 human years, Kali Yuga equals 432,000 human years

Krishna Stealing the Gopis Clothing, folio of the Isarda Bhagavata Purana, India, Delhi-Agra area, 1560-65

Puranic sources, tell us that Krishna’s departure from the world marks the end of Dvapara Yuga and the start of Kali Yuga, which is dated to 17/18 February 3102 BCE We are also given a precise time of birth for Krishna. However, the detailed qualities of the Yuga largely revolve around Krishna. The Dvapara Yuga follows the Treta Yuga and precedes the Kali Yuga. According to the Puranas, this yuga ended at the moment when Krishna returned to his eternal abode of Vaikuntha There are two main pillars of religion during this age: compassion and truthfulness. The Dvapara Yuga lasts 864,000 years.. Knowledge of the Vedas is specific to the Yugas. The Dvapara Yuga is restricted to two. 

The Kali Yuga is the lowest point of descent. It is a time marked by avarice and ignorance. an Age associated with the demon Kali (not the goddess).

The term has two main meanings. In scientific astronomy, it is defined as one complete cycle of the equinoxes. This translates to a period of about 25,800 years”. A more precise figure of 25,772 years.] The position of the Earth’s axis in the northern night sky currently almost aligns with the star Polaris,

Age of Taurus – Marduk became associated with Jupiter and is sometimes shown with Solar symbols including lions

The Platonic Year also called the Great Year, has a different more ancient and mystical significance. Plato theorized that winding the orbital motions of the Sun, Moon and naked eye planets forward or back in time would arrive at a point where they are in the same positions as they are today. He called this time period the Great Year and suggested that such a unified return would take place about every 36,000 years. There is no evidence that such a realignment has ever or ever will take place. (]Walter Cruttenden, Lost Star of Myth and Time (St. Lynn’s Press, 2006), p.xix–xx. Plato did not have knowledge of the Precession of the EquinoxThe origin of the Platonic Year would appear to have no connection with the precession of the equinoxes because that was unknown in Plato’s time

The crucial knowledge of the Precession of the Equinox came with the Greek astronomer Hipparchus (second century B.C) is credited Ptolemy considered Hipparccus his most important and much of what we know of his work is in the Almagest of Ptolemy.

Claudius Ptolemy has been accused of fraud for giving us the figure of 36,000 years when he had adequate information or a far lesser period. See R.R. Newton  The Authenticity of Ptolemy’s Eclipse and Star Data. (1974)

No study of the Precession in Astrology, as well as the Great Ages, is complete without reference to the work of Nicholas Campion, “The Great Year: Astrology, Millenarianism and History in the Western Tradition” (Arkana/Penguin Books, 1994) Campion. in The Book of World Horoscopes, indicates that he has collected over 90 dates provided by researchers for the start of the Age of Aquarius and these dates have a range of over 2,000 years commencing in the 15th century AD. The range of dates for the possible start of the Aquarian Age range from 1447 to 3621.

The 20th-century British astrologer Charles Carter famously stated that “It is probable that there is no branch of Astrology upon which more nonsense has been poured forth than the doctrine of the precession of the equinoxes.“See ]Nicholas Campion, The Book of World Horoscopes, The Wessex Astrologer, Bournemouth, Great Britain, 1999, p. 485

Lastly, we assign events and ideas to different ages which may bring us important insights or lead us astray. For example, the Age of Aries is associated with the wars and the beginnings of monotheism and not a great deal more We might want to include Solar Cults, for example, but these were strongly represented in the Age of Taurus and the Age of Piscis. The fleeting monotheism in Egypt was soon stamped out. Judaism is touted as full-blown monotheism. Yet the Bible is replete with goddesses. If we put this n context, Judaism was a small tribal entity and monotheism outside of that world was non-existent. If we take a global view, then monotheism will not appear to be dominant in the Age of Aries. The Age of Taurus is perhaps more self eloquent because it’s a sense of beauty attracts us. Every sign will have a specific meaning for us. and it’s likely that similar themes will not be interpreted differently according to our cultural milieu. When all these elements are considered, we can say that the themes of the Ages have more in common that is commonly believed..

That we are still not in agreement on the beginning or end of any Age, may be extraordinary, but is not a failure. Indeed. we have not fallen prey to the demands of astronomical exactitude at the expensive of the visionary. Astrology is not mechanical.

Michael Wood brings a literary sensibility to this piece on The Platonic Year

“The Platonic Year, or the Great Year, is a traditional name for the period in which all the planets and fixed stars complete a cycle and return to a configuration they have occupied before, some 26,000 years according to the calculation Yeats is using — his instructors, he said, meaning the spirits who spoke to him through his wife, ‘have … adopted the twenty-six thousand years of modern astronomy instead of the thirty-six thousand years Spenser [in The Faerie Queene] took from the Platonic Year’. This Year could be divided into twelve ‘months’ that became for Yeats the spells of two thousand plus years between catastrophic historical incarnations. Such a month would, in turn, have its months, and every division, including what we ordinarily call a calendar year, would have its seasons and phases of the moon and would allow us to think, at the most immediate level, of what Yeats calls a ‘symbolical or ideal year’, incredibly long or reasonably short, ‘each month a brightening and a darkening fortnight, and at the same time perhaps a year with its four seasons’. The pattern runs all the way through the different levels and dimensions, and it’s easy to see how the Platonic Year could become for Yeats an emblem of remote but undeniable regularity, and a figure for whatever there is that ultimately, however belatedly and at whatever cost, refutes randomness and asserts the enduring principle of order, or perhaps simply of the possibility of such a principle.”

I believe that the Aquarian Age began in the early decades of the 20th century. In no small part, I’m indebted to W.B. Yeats for his visionary poetry and drama. The Second Coming is particularly notable. I’m also indebted to his A Vision and his theory of the gyres. I also find it impossible to deny the Aquarian nature of modern warfare and the proliferation of secular totalitarian states, the rapid development of technologies and a cooling of human interaction and the extreme distractions brought about by information technology. Yates was himself a Sun sign Aquarian. and close friend Rabindranath Tagore. Yates also provides a bridge, for those that can find it, with the Renaissance through Blake and the Romantics.

The Indian Yugas are not standardized and Swami Sri Yukteswar was convinced that Kali Yuga had already passed at the end on the 19th Century. He also believed in sub-ages. Dwapara Yuga is “known as the age of energy, a time of awakening consciousness and rapid advancements. The ascending Dwapara Yuga started it’s 200 year transition period in 1700 AD and the 2,000-year-long Dwapara Yuga proper period started in 1900 AD.. We have seen electricity discovered, the atomic age and the age of computers begin, in an explosion of new developments. Within this period quantum physics, space travel and digital phone/cameras have become commonplace. The science of psychology is less than 100 years old and we see how it has merged with so many other modalities to expand our awareness. With this understanding, the myriad examples of society’s changes and the surge in energy and complexity that we all feel is seen in a new light.” See Indra Rinzner The Yugas

Swami Sri Yukteswar arrived at the same period that I allocated to the Age of Aquarius, matching the Dwapara Yuga proper period started in 1900 AD. Yet there is no specific astrological reference at all  The agreement where we find it is energetic. The qualities he mentions are compatible with Aquarius, not essential.

 

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). 

Saturn & Jupiter Conjunction in Aquarius

Saturn – Manuscript of the ‘Aja’ib al-makhluqat (Wonders of Creation) of Qazwini, c.1650-1700. Harvard Art Museum/Arthur M. Sackler Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass. Folio 22v

It may seem early to be discussing an event that won’t occur for another year, but the fact is that all cycles and events are interconnected and the events preceding this Grand Conjunction provides substantial information regarding the event itself. I expect to have more to say on this momentous event as we get closer to the moment.

Great conjunctions occur regularly, approximately every 20 years, due to the combined effect of Jupiter’s approximately 12-year orbital period and Saturn’s approximately 30-year orbital period. These Comjunctions have been observed from the earliest times. and considered as portents of a new cycle in everything from political shifts to popular trends over the 20 year period over the upcoming Great Conjunction which will occur in Libra on 31 October 2040. looking back at the period we have experienced since 28 May 2000 in the Earth sign Taurus

The Great Conjunctions exert their influence most potently from one to the next, but it should be understood that it is a continuum, which was no doubt at least one of the reasons that Johannes Kepler mapped the relationship between the Conjunctions over time.

Diagram of great conjunctions (from the book De Stella Nova (1606) by Johannes Kepler)

The upcoming Great Conjunction we will experience about a year from now is particularly significant. The element will change from Earth to Air and with both planets in Saturnine Aquarius. It will occur exactly on the Winter Solstice with the Dragon’s Head exalted in Gemini in the Confines of Mars, who in turn is strong in his Diurnal Domicile and looking rather menacing on the Midheaven. One underestimates Saturn at one’s peril and even more so when Jupiter is with Saturn in Saturn’s domicile. There is really no getting around the harshness here.

Looking more closely, we find Mars in his Diurnal Domicile with the Moon in the same sign. Mars and the Moon never work well together. The Moon in Aries can be rash and reactionary – supplying the emotional fuel to trigger Mars. The other malefic, Saturn is with a saturnine Jupiter in the 8th House, associated with death. The Sun and Mercury are also disposited by Saturn. Mars casts a ray to Venus. The all-important Ascendant is in Cancer which is in opposition to Capricorn.

The most fruitful way to interpret a chart such as this is to keep in mind that it heralds a mini-epoch. The first thing to examine is the change of elements from Fixed Earth to Fixed Air. We can also consider the transition as being from Venus to Saturn. There are those who would have this herald the Aquarian Age, but by my estimation, we are well into that Age already. Nevertheless, this event will add greater potency and relevance to saturnine Aquarius.

Capricorn and Aquarius oppose the lights, the Moon and the Sun respectively. Because the Sun and Moon are the elements of an eclipse, it would be a missed opportunity to examine the Annular Solar Eclipse which will occur on June 21, 2020.  It belongs to Saros cycle series 137 and occurs at the Moon’s Ascending Node, The duration will be 38 secs and the Maximum Eclipse will be seen in the region of New Dehli in Northern India I could have selected an area of extremely high elevation in Tibet but it made more sense to choose a major population and cultural centre which gives us virtually identical information.

I also have concerns about the escalating hostilities regarding Pakistan and India, particularly with respect to Kashmir. Noth nuclear powers have become increasingly bellicose and both counties – one of creation and the other of Independence are  Leo, in direct opposition to the Grand Conjunction. See also the eclipse charts for July 2020.

The following chart is for New Dehli at the point of maximum eclipse. This occurs with the Ascending Node at 00Cancer20 opposing both Jupiter and Saturn. An eclipse in Cardinal signs are relatively brief in terms of effect, but at 38 seconds and a mere six months to the Grand, Conjunction is enough in itself, but there is also the inescapable fact. of the axis marking the Solstice points. Eclipses never occur alone. There will be a  Penumbral Lunar Eclipse on 4–5 July 2020, but there will be no visibility in the areas mentioned.

The effect of this eclipse on the Grand Conjunction will be significant, providing something of a supercharge to the event Ultimately, we are looking at cycles within cycles that go back to the beginning of time into the eternity before us.

In summary, the mini-epoch we can expect beginning with the Great Conjunction of Winter Solstice 2020 will feel more abrupt that in most cases because fixed earth is giving way to fixed air. Aquarius has the reputation of the innovative humanitarian, but we have been greatly misled by the fabrication of the Age of Aquarius and all it promises. Fixed air forges a mind that is not easily changed and technological innovation, accelerating daily, requires high ethics, intuition and a strong sense of benevolence. I recommend reading the great Hellenistic astrologer, Vettius Valens with diligence. Valens offers a great wealth of insight which very often requires careful reflection. Also required is an understanding of the context in which he expresses himself. He is discussing a sign, rather than a person. Also, it would be a mistake to assume “born under a sign” to of necessity mean the Sun sign.

Illustration of Aquarius in Albumasar’s De Magnis Coniunctionibus Annorum Reuolutionibus ac Eorum Profectionibus Octo Continens Tractatus. – Courtesy of the Library of Congress.

“Aquarius is the celestial sign which is masculine, solid, anthropomorphic, somewhat damp, single. It is mute, quite cold, /12K/ free, upward-trending, feminizing, unchanging, base, with few offspring, the cause of troubles arising from athletic training, carrying burdens, or work in hard materials, an artisan, public. Men born under this sign are malicious, haters of their own families, incorrigible, self-willed, deceitful, tricky, concealing everything, misanthropic, godless, accusers, betrayers of reputations and the truth, envious, petty, occasionally generous (because of flow of water), uncontrollable. As a whole this sign is wet. By part it is as follows: the first parts are wet, the upper parts fiery, the lower worthless and useless. It has …stars. According to the Sphaerica the right parts of Andromeda rise in the north with Aquarius, as well as the rest of Pegasus; in the south, the southern one of the Fish, except for the head. Juno, Hercules, Vulcan, Saturn. /12P/ In the north nothing sets. In the south the rest of Centaurus and of Hydra (up to Corvus) set . This sign lies toward the west wind. In addition it faces toward the zone of Egypt and the surrounding cities, i.e. from Egypt’s southern parts up to Pselchos, Dodecaschoinos, and Sykaminos; from its western parts to the oasis of Ammon and the surrounding cities; from its eastern part to the Red Sea which touches Egypt; and from its northern parts to Sebennytos and the Heracleotic mouth of the Nile.” (“Aquarius” – Vettius Valens, Anthologies, Book I)

Horoscope from the Book of the Birth of Iskandar 1411 Aquarius the Water Bearer – Note that complexion of both saturnine signs is dark.