Archive for April 2008
I’m just the writer. The cat does all the astrological stuff.
And she’s thrilled to see we’ve had over 1,000 page views in the (almost) month since we started. For a random, obscure astrology blog – that doesn’t even have horoscopes - this is pretty neat. Thanks, everyone!
I’d love to know what you think of askchristine.wordpress.com so far and what you might like to read about in the future. More horary examples? More notes on how to read your own horary charts? More of my random musings? Or tell me who else’s blog I should be reading. Or just say hi. Thanks!
Pick up a pen, post to your blog, phone a friend! Now until about 8:30am EDT (1:30pm BST) on Wednesday, April 16th, Mercury is cazimi. In other words, it is now transiting within 17 minutes of arc of the Sun, where any planet gains incredible accidental dignity. The natural ruler of communication is honored here for just a few hours as it swiftly overtakes the Sun. Use it well!
A new client put a surprising spin on her question to me today. “Have I already met the man I will marry,” she wondered, “and if so, what is his name?” I put on the brakes instantly and explained that was probably not something I could wring from the stars. (I’m an astrologer, not a psychic.) I convinced her to rephrase her question, which I’ll work on later tonight, but now I’m paging through William Lilly’s Christian Astrology for the one section where he mentions finding names in a chart.
It shows up in Chapter 50, “Of Servants fled, Beasts strayed, and things lost,” as one of many bits and clues for locating and identifying a thief. After a paragraph or two that describe “the Clothes of the Thief,” there is a short section entitled, “For Names.”
It’s a hodgepodge of ideas that Lilly admits he’s never really road-tested. The most interesting feature is a list of names, men’s and women’s, with planetary significators written alongside them. (Henry Coley, his secretary, must have loved transcribing it.) He says we can figure out a name by the ruler of the seventh, or a planet in the seventh, or a planet joined to one of these. As you’d expect from a 17th century Englishman, these are very English first names.
Moon: Nell, Eleanor
Great, what do we do with this? Lilly reports, “Some modern Professors, have endeavoured to give a probable conjecture what Christian name the Thief is of, or party inquired after, whether man or woman.” The steps he provides are these:
- Consider if the quesited’s significator is angular or not.
- See if it aspects any other planet(s).
- If no aspect, see whose dignities it’s in.
- Check the table for that planetary combination (significator + influencing planet).
He gives an example. Say Mercury is Lord 7, signifies a man, and is in aspect to Mars or in Mars dignities. Consult the Men’s Names table for Mercury/Mars: there you find the name Matthew. “I shall then say the man’s name is Matthew, or of a name equivalent in length, or same number of letters,” Lilly explains, only somewhat helpfully.
“For my part,” finishes the English Merlin, “I never use this way, nor yet have much credited it.” (Oh, well, thanks just the same, Bill.) But further research, he believes, ought to bring forth “some pretty conclusions.”
Friends, do try this at home. Does it work? Does it serve any purpose? Is it best left to the quirky, dusty back corners of time?
Some people claim that Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the US and principal author of our Declaration of Independence, used astrology or employed an astrologer in some way. In honor of his birthday today, I’ve spent part of my weekend digging through libraries to find some evidence of it.
First I stopped by the National Heritage Museum in Lexington, Massachusetts, a fine town for history, battlefields, and Americana. The museum was founded by Freemasons who take great pride in claiming George Washington as one of their own. Jefferson, though, they can’t quite add to their roster; there’s some evidence that he spent time with Freemasons, but none that confirms he was a member himself.
Their librarian pulled a stack of Jefferson biographies for me to pore over. When she heard what my quest was about, she mused, “Well, they were all farmers, so maybe they consulted almanacs.” That was about the only reasonable explanation I found all afternoon. Any farmer worth his salt would have kept an annual almanac on hand to consult for both cosmic and mundane weather, and planetary advice on when to sow and when to reap. If I couldn’t find any reference to astrology or almanacs in Jefferson’s story, perhaps it was because, as landed gentry, he wasn’t quite the type to pick up a shovel and do his own digging.
My second stop was the library at Wellesley College. They’ve got the complete edition of The Writings of Thomas Jefferson on their shelves, so I sat on the floor and paged through its index in search of likely keywords. Astrology. Astronomy. Almanacs. Stars. Planetarium. Books (to see if he mentions astrology in his enormous library). Ptolemy (in case the Almagest or Tetrabiblos was in his collection).
I came up with some interesting tidbits. Jefferson mentions some astronomical discoveries of the day in his correspondence, including the planet Herschel (which the British called Georgium Sidus, George’s Star, and we now call Uranus), and the periodical variations of stars like Algol (which we now know is a binary star that “blinks” periodically as one star eclipses the other). Nothing I could find, though, makes any reference to a connection between cosmic activity and life on Earth, which, after all, is how we distinguish astrology from astronomy.
A quick Google search at the library led to an oft-quoted chestnut that Jefferson worked with Benjamin Franklin to delay the signing of the Declaration of Independence for a more astrologically favorable moment. So back to the shelves I went, pulling out biographies of Franklin. My friends, I tell you now: nobody mentions astrology. I’d love for the people who claim this to cite their sources, because in a way I’d really like this to be true.
With or without astrology, Jefferson’s a fantastically interesting figure. A polymath who read voraciously and developed a fine private library for himself, twice. A copious writer of letters (some 18,000 in his lifetime; think on that, bloggers, and get back to work). And, delightfully, a man who seemed always to be humming some little tune. Jefferson biographer Joseph Ellis writes in American Sphinx, “His two most distinctive characteristics were his [sandy red] hair and his incessant singing.”
As a reward for anyone still reading, I’ll leave you with some of my favorite Jeffersonian Rules of Conduct.
- We seldom repent for having eaten too little.
- How much pain never-occurred evils cost us.
- Take things all the time by their smooth handle.
- Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.
- When annoyed count 10 before you speak; if very annoyed, count 100.
Just reviewing this chart I wrote up on April 8th to improve my own understanding. Lord 4, Saturn, representing the mislaid check stub, is in the 10th. I assumed, since our home office has piles of papers I need to file, that the check stub was buried among them. But the 10th doesn’t only (nor even primarily) stand for the home office. According to Lilly, it is the “Hall, or Dining-room.” That’s a capital-H “Hall”: the formal room where one receives and entertains guests. We’d call it the living room.
This chart’s 10th house includes some Leo and some Virgo. In our house, our “great hall” is a living room/dining room area with no wall between the two. A sofa and a table serve as space separators. Saturn is in very early Virgo, so it’s not unreasonable to say the missing object is on the borderline between the two functions of the space.
Lately I’ve heard that mutable signs can indicate that the lost object is inside another object. I need to find a citation for that. Saturn is in mutable Virgo; the check stub was in my checkbook, inside my handbag.
A gray checkbook; a red handbag. Could that level of detail be seen? I want to make some lists of which colors are associated with various planets, signs, and houses. Might help to have that listed two ways: a color wheel annotated with astrological notes, and an astrological list annotated with colors, so you can look it up either way.
It’s just this side of too-early-to-be-awake, but I got out of bed just to get a good look at Jupiter before the Sun comes up. It’s at about 21 Capricorn, just about square the Sun now at about 21 Aries, so I can see it high in the southern sky, a bit east of south, as the dawn approaches.
Jupiter’s not happy in Capricorn, in plain terms. Consult a Ptolemaic table of essential dignities and you’ll see that Jupiter is in its fall in Capricorn. The Greater Benefic typically cannot act as a benefic here. I suppose it’s because Jupiter, a hot, moist planet and naturally associated with generosity and abundance, can’t find the fertile soil it needs for expansion in Capricorn’s craggy, mountainous earth.
There are two small spans of Capricorn where Jupiter has some essential strength. From 0 Capricorn 00 to 9 Capricorn 59, Jupiter is in its face, the least of essential dignities. From 12 Capricorn 00 to 18 Capricorn 59, Jupiter is in its term, the next dignity up from face. Jupiter will revisit its term from the end of June until the beginning of September, during its retrograde period.
Speaking of that retrograde period, did you know that whenever Jupiter is stationing – direct or retrograde – it is trine the Sun? This is a smart shortcut to remember whether you’re a horary or a natal astrologer. If you see Jupiter trine the Sun in a chart, keep in mind that Jupiter is on the verge of changing directions (or has just done so), and that it is extremely slow compared to its usual speed. Obviously this doesn’t apply to transits to your natal chart.
Jupiter’s first station this spring is at 22 Capricorn 22 on May 9th. Jupiter retrogrades back to 12 Capricorn 32 and stations on September 8th. So summer in the Northern Hemisphere will be a great time for Jupiter-spotting.
Most of the books in my dad’s study captured exactly none of my interest when I was 13. But tucked in among the financial how-to books and guides to wines and operas, one blue paperback caught my eye one day. On the back was a pretty, intense brunette with piercing eyes. On the front, the all-capital words LINDA GOODMAN’S SUN SIGNS.
“How to really know your husband, wife, lover, child, boss, employee, yourself – through astrology,” promised the cover. Astrology? I knew my sun sign was Libra, but nothing more than that. I took the book off the shelf and turned to my sign’s section.
How to Recognize Libra
Librans hate to be rude, yet they’ll straighten the crooked picture on your wall and snap off your blaring TV set. Librans love people, but they hate large crowds. Like gentle doves of peace, they go around mediating and patching up quarrels between others; still they enjoy a good argument themselves…
I read on. Extremely intelligent, yet gullible. Restless, but rarely hurried. A face like a box of chocolates. In short, a mass of contradictions behind a Brigitte Bardot smile. (Or possibly a Dwight Eisenhower smile. “You have to make allowances,” Linda warned with a wink.)
Her portrait of Libra didn’t suit me at all. It did describe someone I wanted to be. Invariably pretty? Harmonious and brilliant? Never without a boyfriend? Wow, I won the zodiac lottery! So what if we Librans also suffer from chronic mood swings and can’t make a decision without consulting our sweeties? For that matter, so what if I was actually bookish, introverted, and chronically timid around boys, and would sooner shrink into the earth than argue my case? I was hooked.
Clearly, the book’s appeal wasn’t the infallible accuracy of its descriptions. I believe that, once we’re told what we are supposed to be like, courtesy of Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs or any system of personality classification, some of us naturally tend to start conforming to that description. We nod furiously in recognition of the parts that rhyme with what we know (or believe) about ourselves, and shrug and skip over whatever doesn’t match. “I’m a Scorpio, I can’t help it if I’m secretive.” We’ve all heard that. Whereas I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say, “I’m a Scorpio, I can’t help it if I’m the life of the party.”
What piqued my curiosity was that, even as Linda wittily described the penchants and predilections of Virgo men (Dad), Taurus women (Mom), and Gemini friends (my best friend), she would slip in these sly, subtle references to something beyond sun signs alone. “Most [Libra women] are about as female as the average man can stand (unless there’s an aggressive ascendant),” she’d write. Or, “This antipathy to making a decision can turn into quite a stalemate with [Librans] who have adverse afflictions between their planets at birth.”
What? The other planets were relevant, too? And what did she mean by “an aggressive ascendant”? That was my first hint that there was something more to astrology. If I couldn’t claim to be Linda Goodman’s typical Libran, I reasoned, maybe it had something to do with my Moon, or my ascendant, or any of a number of other factors. No wonder all Libras weren’t identical – there was a whole deck of planets to shuffle and deal out, and my hand was different from everyone else’s. I was determined to learn more about the astrology beyond the sun signs, to find out what made me different, special, unique.
The next summer at camp, I had the good luck to take an astrology class with a college student who taught us how to calculate birth charts by hand. We used a paperback Rosicrucian ephemeris and tables of diurnal planetary motion from the American Federation of Astrologers. I learned to calculate Placidus house cusps, draw up a chart, insert planets, and do some cookbook-style analysis. It was just the rabbit hole I was hoping to tumble down. There was no turning back. (Okay, there was a turning back at my Saturn return that lasted five years, but that’s a tale for another time.)
I never asked how a book like Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs came to be in the possession of my father, a scientist and businessman with a love of art and music but not, as far as I can tell, of the occult. But I’ll always think fondly of the role it played in my youth and beyond. Whatever its actual merits as an astrology text, it’s still the original signpost that pointed me down this path.
To the late, lovely Linda Goodman, the self-proclaimed triple Aries who turned me and millions on to astrology, happy birthday today, April 9th. I raise my Mars bar to your memory.
In the US, the tax filing deadline looms. I was scouring our home office for a check stub I needed over the weekend, and finally put up a chart. I’m stumped. Where in this chart does it show that I would find it? Because I did find it.
(Click to enlarge the chart.)
I figured, missing document is Lord 4, Saturn. It’s in the 10th house, home office. It’s retrograde, so it’s “coming back.” But there’s no contact between it and me as Mars (Lord 1) or me as Moon (my co-significator). And Moon is void of course, which would normally mean “nothing comes of the matter.” I went through all my unfiled papers – got a lot of overdue filing done – but no check stub.
But… I woke up the next morning long before the alarm clock & couldn’t get back to sleep. Thought some more about what I would logically have done with a stub from a check I had to deposit – and realized I might have folded it and stuck it in my checkbook. When I came downstairs and looked in my checkbook, there was the folded check stub.
All I can think of is that the very late Moon at 29 Aries 55 was indeed applying to trine Lord 4, Saturn, but AFTER a change of sign. So, maybe the chart meant, “You won’t find it tonight, but you will tomorrow.”
Result: paystub in gray checkbook, gray checkbook in red handbag, red handbag on the table between living room and dining room. The table itself is south of where I was when I asked. I was wrong about searching the home office, but maybe Lord 4 in 10th house meant “Go south.”
Sigh, back to the books… Readers, any insight?
If you live in the northern hemisphere, look up at the sky any clear evening this month to see the approaching dance between one wanderer you know well and one fixed star you may not know as well. The latter is the glowing heart of the Lion. The former is the cold planet of lead.
These spring evenings are the perfect time to observe the grand constellation of Leo, the Lion. Look up in the southern sky around 10pm any night this week to see a great backwards question mark (the lion’s head and mane) punctuated by the fixed star Regulus. Its name is Latin for “Little King,” and it’s also known as the Heart of the Lion from its location in the constellation.
Just to the left of Regulus these days, parking on the Lion’s chest, is the planetary wanderer Saturn, slow, cold, and elderly. A little distance further to the left, a small triangle of stars depicts the Lion’s crouching hindquarters. As spring progresses, you’ll need to step outside a little earlier each evening to see the constellation Leo at its height.
Saturn right now is retrograde in the early degrees of Virgo, about 2 degrees 18 minutes today. Regulus is poised just at the end of Leo, at 29 degrees 56 minutes. If you observe them carefully over the next several nights and weeks, you’ll see Saturn’s position verrrry sllllowly shift to the right, approaching, approaching, but growing slower and slower. The distance it has to travel to reach Regulus is small – just a couple of degrees of arc. The weight of leaden Saturn seems ready to drag down the Lion’s shining heart.
But the conjunction is never achieved. Saturn creeps to a fraction of its usual measured, ancient pace as it approaches its station. Finally, stationary at 1 Virgo 40 the first weekend of May, it comes as close as it will to the Little King at the end of Leo. And since, in this astrology, planets in two adjacent signs cannot be conjunct, its cold lead does not conquer the Heart of the Lion.
What can we expect from Saturn, ever the slowest of the classical seven planets, grinding to a halt in Virgo? I’d say inertia is the order of the day, the sense that you just can’t get projects off the ground. Lodged in Virgo, the sign ruling the intestines, stationary Saturn is a tummy ache that just won’t move. (Are you drinking your water? Getting enough fiber? Taking a walk after supper?)
Mentally, it’s a case of the doldrums, a penchant for melancholy thoughts. If Saturn’s station corresponds to an onset of inertia for you, perhaps spending time with your most regal, spirited friend – high-tempered, magnanimous, and generous – could help shake off those blues.
I’m getting several questions lately from students of astrology who, seeing my relationship horaries at Seduction Central, have started casting charts for their own horary questions of the heart, and trying to make sense of them. One thing that distinguishes relationship questions from other horary questions is that, instead of just having two or three key planets to study, you may have as many as five significators in play.
It sounds complicated but it’s really not. To find the answer you’re looking for, you need to start by figuring out who’s got which role in the drama you see before you. Here’s how it works.
In any relationship horary…
1. Give the ruler of the 1st house to the querent (the person asking the question), as always.
2. Give the ruler of the 7th house to the person being asked about. This is even if they currently have some other relationship to you in real life: a friend, a supervisor, etc. You’re asking about their partnership potential.
3. Give the Moon to the querent UNLESS it’s already been put to use in Step 1 or Step 2. It stands for the querent’s heart, his/her feelings in the situation.
In male/female relationship horaries only:
4. Give the Sun to the man UNLESS it’s already been put to use in Step 1 or Step 2. In this case, Sun stands for the guy’s libido, his role as Man.
5. Give Venus to the woman UNLESS it’s already been put to use in Step 1 or Step 2. In this case, Venus stands for the woman’s libido, her role as Woman.
This means that in a male/female relationship horary, the querent could have as many as three significators (Lord 1, Moon, and either Sun or Venus) and the love interest could have as many as two (Lord 7 and either Sun or Venus). But you don’t HAVE to fill all of these roles to be able to read the chart.
How does this work? Let’s say you’re running a theater workshop. Today you’ve got some big-name actors visiting – Brad Pitt (who always plays Sun), Angelina Jolie (who always plays Venus), and Natalie Portman (who always plays Moon) – and you’d like to cast them one way or another. Some of your scripts also include other parts you’ll fill with the regulars in the workshop.
In your first script (i.e. the chart you cast for this relationship question), Gemini is rising, and a woman is your querent. So you grab a Mercurial gal from the cast of regulars to play the Querent, and a big Jupiter guy to play the Love Interest (Gemini rising = Sagittarius setting). Natalie grabs a box of tissues, Angie puts on (or takes off) something sexy, and the two of them take on their roles as Querent’s Heart and Gal’s Mojo. Brad stalks over and strikes a pose as Guy’s Mojo.
In your second script, or chart, Cancer is rising, and your querent is a man. This time, Natalie Portman, who always plays Moon, takes the role of Querent (even though querent is a guy). With Capricorn on the 7th house cusp, you find a Saturnian woman to play the Love Interest. Brad, still playing Sun, goes over his lines as Guy’s Mojo, and Angie as Venus continues to pout prettily as Gal’s Mojo.
In your third script, Aquarius is rising, and your querent is a woman. Since in the classical system Aquarius is ruled by Saturn, you hand the Querent’s lines to the Saturnian woman, and Natalie (Moon) and Angie (Venus) take their classic roles again as Querent’s Heart and Gal’s Mojo. With Leo on the 7th house cusp, Brad, the Sun, is put to work as Love Interest, and thus is too busy to play his automatic role of Guy’s Mojo.
Places, everyone. Quiet on the set. And… action!