The exquisite sign of Aquarius

                                                                          Marsilio Ficino:

Marsilio Ficino

Due to the precession of the equinoxes we are entering the age of Aquarius.

Many astrologers believe it is a time of openness and humanism. Partly we can foresee some development regarding ideas, since Aquarius is an air sign. But such ideas will not always, especially in Aquarius, dealing with fair ideals.

We can´t forget that Aquarius is ruled by the great malefic, Saturn, which, being a day planet, is happier in Aquarius than in Capricorn, which it  also rules.

Thus, keeping with the traditional view, not only Aquarius opposes Leo, but their respective rulers, Saturn and Sun, also do so.

marsilio.pdf

The Sun is the daytime luminary, so we can expect a darker time linked to this opposition, as soon as Aquarius will rule the time.

One thing to keep in mind is that many astrologers identify signs with houses, which is a mistake and confuses things.

The signs refer to the position of the constellations in the sky. But houses are the most terrestrial phenomenon that exists as it is experienced as the change between day and night and the several hours over a period of a day.

Meanwhile, the constellations remain unchanged. It is the earth that changes, offering every two hours a different position in the east.

The fact that we observe, let´s say, the sign of Aries at dawn during the fall in the southern hemisphere, does not mean that dawn or the 1st house has to do with Aries, since in another latitude and longitude Libra, or any other constellation / sign, can be seen.

Much of what is thought about Aquarius relates to the fact that in the standard zodiac, which has Aries as its beginning, Aquarius appears in the 11th house, which in fact is a positive house, connected with fraternity and hope, and where Jupiter has its joy.

However, Jupiter rejoices in the 11th house, whatever sign appears there and not necessarily in Aquarius. Therefore, there is a huge difference between signs and houses.

Another thing to take into account is that the signs or constellations have their own proper characteristics:

As for the mode they can be fixed, common and mutable. The fixed signs keep things as they are. The common signs start things up and the mutable signs act sometimes in one way, sometimes in another.

As for the gender, the signs can be feminine and masculine. Feminine signs are centripetal, they hope, masculine signs are centrifugal, they seek.

As for its elemental nature the signs are divided in earth, water, fire and air. Earth signs wait for material security, water signs wait for being loved, air signs seek freedom of ideas and fire signs seek freedom of action.

In relation to Aquarius, object of our study, it is a masculine sign of air and is a fixed sign.

Male signs tend to be active and go after things. Air signs, which are masculine, tend to seek freedom of ideas and fixed signs tend to immutability.

We note here a kind of internal conflict in Aquarius because its immutability restricts the action to which Aquarius is prone. We can say that it is a sign that has a conflict in itself.

Leo is also fixed, but it is a sign of fire, but the Sun, its ruler, changes its sign much faster than Saturn, and Leo, having the Sun as its ruler can see the action needed being executed by others when its majesty, Leo, keep resting.

Aquarius is trapped in its freedom of ideas, and even if Saturn is in a masculine sign of action, Saturn is a slow planet, the slowest of all, which always suggests delays and melancholy.

Aquarius strives for freedom of ideas but cannot act in that direction because it is subject to its mode, which reflects immutability.

However, despite these more general characteristics, signs manifest themselves through their rulers, and it is then that we individualize a chart, be it mundane, personal, elective or horary.

In this case, there are specific rules and techniques for each of these kinds of astrology.

In a certain internet discussion of world astrology, someone told that the Aquarian age would bring “hopes” to mankind. I can´t agree, because Aquarius is ruled by the malefic Saturn and in the Thema Mundi it occupies the 8th house, a malefic house. Thinking about these matters we came across Marsilio Ficino´s chart. This man was a Renaissance´s astrologer, philosopher, translator, poet and physician.

At that time I was not aware of the chart, but got interested in the fact that this native, who wrote “Three books on Life”, “Soul Meditations,” and about the nature of love, had Aquarius on the Ascendant with Saturn!

I began to read his biography and to analyze his chart, in order to understand the meaning of Aquarius and his ruler being in the ascendant creating a prodigal author and a transmitter of ideas.

Much is said about Marsilio Ficino’s life, but very few is know of him in truly personal terms, for example if he was happy or unhappy person, if he had any love, how well he got along with people, etc.

About these matters we have nothing. His life, according to Wikipedia and other sites, quoted in the end ot this article , boils down only to his intellectual output, his intelligence, and the protection of the Medici´s. There are no books in any language, not even in Italian, narrating his personal biography. We have a lot about his writings, though.

First I will show his chart, obtained by Astrodatabank and considered as AA, that is, the time was reliable. Next I will write his biography as it is found on numerous websites, and then I will outline the chart, emphasizing the rising Aquarius sign.marsiliocarta.pdf

 Marsilio Ficino was born in Figline Valdarno, in October, 19, 1433 and died in Careggi, Florence, in 1st of October 1499

He was an Italian scholar and Catholic priest who was one of the most influential humanist philosophers of the early Italian Renaissance. He was an astrologer, a reviver of Neoplatonism in touch with the major academics of his day and the first translator of Plato‘s complete extant works into Latin. His Florentine Academy, an attempt to revive Plato’s Academy, influenced the direction and tenor of the Italian Renaissance and the development of European philosophy.

His father Diotifeci d’Agnolo was a physician under the patronage of Cosimo de’ Medici, who took the young man into his household and became the lifelong patron of Marsilio, who was made tutor to his grandson, Lorenzo de’ MediciGiovanni Pico della Mirandola, the Italian humanist philosopher and scholar was another of his students.

When Cosimo decided to refound Plato’s Academy at Florence he chose Ficino as its head. In 1462, Cosimo supplied Ficino with Greek manuscripts of Plato’s work, whereupon Ficino started translating the entire corpus to Latin.  Ficino also produced a translation of a collection of Hellenistic Greek documents found by Leonardo da Pistoia later called Hermetica, and the writings of many of the Neoplatonists, including PorphyryIamblichus and Plotinus.

A physician and a vegetarian, Ficino became a priest in 1473.

In 1474 Ficino completed his treatise on the immortality of the soul, Theologia Platonica de immortalitate animae (Platonic Theology). In the rush of enthusiasm for every rediscovery from Antiquity, he exhibited a great interest in the arts of astrology, which landed him in trouble with the Roman Catholic Church. In 1489 he was accused of magic before Pope Innocent VIII and needed strong defense to preserve him from the condemnation of heresy.

Probably due to early influences from his father Diotifeci, who was a doctor to Cosimo de’ Medici, Ficino published Latin and Italian treatises on medical subjects as De vita libri tres (Three books on life). His medical works exerted considerable influence on Renaissance physicians such as Paracelsus, with whom he shared the perception on the unity of the micro- and macrocosmos, and their interactions. Those works, which were very popular at the time, dealt with astrological and alchemical concepts. Thus Ficino came under the suspicion of heresy again; especially after the publication of the third book in 1489, which contained specific instructions on healthful living.

Ficino introduced the term and concept of “platonic love” in the West developed all along his work, mainly his famous De amore. He also practiced this love metaphysic with Giovanni Cavalcanti, whom he made the principal character in his commentary on the Convivio, and to whom he wrote ardent love letters in Latin that were published in his Epistulae in 1492; there are also numerous other indications to suggest that Ficino’s erotic impulses were directed exclusively towards men. His Latin translations of Plato’s texts put into practice the theories of anti-homosexuality in his Convivium.

With the death of Lorenzo of Medici, in 1492, the political balance between Florence and the other Italian states was broken. This was followed by a bloody period of war and invasion.

  The decline of the Medici will have a negative influence on Ficino’s life. The Academy’s activities have been extinguished and its thinking is harshly criticized by the powerful cleric Girolamo Savonarola, against whom Ficino will write an Apology in 1498.

Disgusted, the philosopher retires, dying in his house of Careggi in 1499.

Again:marsiliocarta.pdf

As we see, it is a chart whose ascendant is Aquarius. The native’s primary motivation is to pursue intellectual freedom. As Aquarius is a fixed sign, it persists in this goal, but has little malleability in the way it is pursued. Saturn, ruler of the sign, is a masculine planet and is dignified by domicile and placed in an angle.

Possessing the ascendant´s ruler in the ascendant we see that Marsilio was primarily interested in his own goals. But they are opposed by Jupiter in Leo, which we will analyze later.

Saturn is the dispositor of the Moon and Mars. The position of the Moon is quite negative, in the sign where it has its detriment and in bad house, the 12th.

This tells us of a reclusive type of life, which is confirmed by the fact that Mars, the dispositor of Mercury, ruler of the profession and ruler of the 10th house, is also falling in 12th house.

Mercury, on the cusp of the true MC, makes a sextile with Mars in the 12th house and Mercury, as we said, is the native’s profession dispositor: he is received by Mars, which is in its exaltation in Capricorn, so he wrote about deep and serious things and we suppose that in complete solitude. This sextile between Mars, ruler of the 10th and Mercury, ruler of the native´s profession, and Mars receiving Mercury by rulership, is the reason why Ficino´s writings and deep study were very important for the native’s reputation.

The chart is diurnal and the Sun is in the 10th house: the brilliance will be obtained without the native acting, since the Sun is in a feminine and passive sign, but because of Jupiter in the 7th House in Leo. So we understand most of Ficino´s life and support: Jupiter receives the Sun by rulership.

We can clearly see the partnership with solar and wealthy persons admiring  Marsilio’s studies.

Venus is the ruler of the 8th house, and is in its fall. Venus rules the 4th house, and Marsilio receives from Cosme a village to live and study. We see that a benefic dignified planet as an angular Jupiter, can turn bad things, as Venus in its fall, into not so bad, perhaps because Jupiter rules Pisces, the 2nd house of the chart. Also, the good effect is received because Venus in the 8th house is in Mercury’s sign, which is acting as a benefic. Venus in Virgo  is ruler of the 9th, which explains his priesthood.

His solar partners welcome him to court and value his knowledge, but his life was lived, most of the part, behind the scenes and alone, and love was represented only through letters, because he was shy, priest and rigid, not accepting sodomy.

I do not see Marsilio as an outgoing person at all, and he seems taciturn, melancholic, and sad.

Certainly he was not a threat to the Medici, as long as he developed the translations and the intelectual labor much appreciated by Lawrence the Magnific, who admired Plato.

I imagine that Marsilio submitted to the power of Jupiter, who acted not only for him to carry out his studies, which was his primary motivation, but Jupiter opposing to Saturn required a mundane life, parties and celebrations, which were important to the Medici, but not to Marsilio, who preferred a life of closure, quietness and study.

We do not know what really happened but it is very plausible that Marsilio have had to bow his head to the powerful Church, restricting his interest in magic and alchemy, since he was once accused of necromancy.

With these thoughts I hope to have shown a life which only obtained his primary motivation doing compromises and never having the total control over his own needs and freedom, including love.

 Had him a fiery ascendant, for example, he would hardly avoided quarreling in an environment filled with conflict over the power as used to happen in Florence at those days.

But the sign of Aquarius in the ascendant leads to great immutability, although Saturn, domiciled there, is masculine and leads to action, albeit very slowly.

Clélia Romano,DMA

August 2019

PS: Fort hose who want to know more of Ficino´s work I recomend the following encyclopedia  https://cse.google.com/cse?cx=001101905209118093242%3Arsrjvdp2op4&ie=UTF-8&q=+Ficino&sa=Search

Harran, threshold of the astral lore.

Harrán

Harran, once known as Carrhae, is a dusty town in southeastern Turkey, on the border with Syria, a location that has existed as an uninterrupted human settlement since the Neolithic period. It was part of the northernmost region of Mesopotamia at the time of the Assyrian Empire, and for centuries it served as a cultural hinge between the Byzantine and the Islamic world, in addition to having been an important commercial exchange point and forced passage of caravans of camels loaded with merchandise. However, its main virtue is to have served as cultural and religious capital of the Sabians, the last pagans of the Middle East. This mysterious people spoke Syriac as their native language, adored the stars and gave birth to some of the greatest mathematicians and astrologers of the high Middle Ages among its conical houses.

A famous story tells us that the Muslim caliph al-Ma’mun (786-833) went through Harran with his army towards a campaign. Observing the Sabians had seven temples dedicated to the worship of planets and luminaries, warned them that if they had not yet converted to Islam or to any of the monotheistic religions tolerated by the Qur’an by the time he returns from war, then he would destroy them. Concerned about this terrible threat, the Sabians sent emissaries to Baghdad to consult with Muslim jurists, learning that Koranic law endured the faithful of three religions, apart from the Islamic ones: the Jews, the Christians and the Sabians. Of course, nobody knew in all the Earth who the sacred book referred to with this last denomination. Neither fools nor careless, the inhabitants of Harran decided to identify themselves as Sabians, claiming that their founding prophet had been Hermes, the same one that Muslims call Idris and the Jews Enoch. On the other hand his sacred book, they explained, was the Corpus Hermeticum, next to Plato’s dialogues which they also held in high esteem. They would roll back their religion to such remote times that it preceded Patriarch Abraham, called Ibrahim by the Arabs.

Fortunately for the Sabians, the Caliph did not return alive from that military campaign, but the encounter with his threats had allowed them to find a Koranic excuse to continue existing under a disguise. In practice, the Sabian religion was a polytheistic astral cult, a direct heir to the astrolatry of Babylon, who after the conquests of Alexander the Great had become Hellenized enough to mix easily with hermetic and platonic ideas. That Greek substrate gave their wisdom a certain tone of universality, along with a more refined philosophical discourse. The lunar god Sin was the protector of Harran, and possessed the most colorful and prominent temple of the seven buildings. They offered sacrifices and prayers amid the thick smoke of incense and burning myrrh.

We know that there were two different groups of Sabians. There were the pagans of the popular cult, quite superstitious and rudimentary, who surely did not distinguish themselves much from the polytheists that Mohammed had expelled from around Mecca a few centuries earlier. On the other side were the learned Sabians, a small group of scholars, astrologers, mathematicians, translators and physicians such as Thabit Ibn Qurra (826-901). Their wisdom reached such a level that they were appointed as advisors to the rulers of the Abbasid Caliphate and illustrious members of the House of Wisdom of Baghdad (Beit al-Hikma).

One of the last among these great sages was Al-Battani (858-929), to whom we owe the calculation of the tropic year with stunning precision for the time: 365 days, 5 hours, 46 minutes and 24 seconds, with an error of only 2 minutes and 22 seconds. Al-Battani ended giving up to surrounding pressures and converted to Islam, like many of the Sabians after him. It is known that this people maintained their astral religion until the beginning of the 11th century, when the latter embraced the faith of their Arab neighbors or died. To them we owe, among other things, the survival of hermetic texts, both philosophical and technical. They also made the first translations from Greek and Syriac to the Arabic language of numerous texts by Plato, Aristotle and Plotinus. Harran served as a temporary refuge to Damascius, Simplicius and five other Neoplatonic philosophers who had been fleeing from Athens after the definitive closure of the Platonic Academy, a closing forced by the sad edict of Justinian I, Christian emperor of Byzantium. Thus the small city became the nostalgic scene of the last Greek pagans and their heirs, the last Mesopotamian pagans.

It seemed right to honor them with these few lines, since I owe them so much. The image shows part of the archaeological site of Harran, with the arch and walls in ruins of what was a mosque built in medieval times. In the background the so-called “astrologers’ tower”, probably an old minaret. Of the seven temples to the planets there are only a few foundations that, after the destruction propitiated by the Muslims, were used as a base to erect the walls of an Islamic university, now also disappeared.

Destiny: an astral tragicomedy.

There is an interesting biographical episode, whose rarity may tempt some to challenge its authenticity, starring a famous astrologer and German mathematician of the sixteenth century. I mention it to illustrate the accuracy of the classical astrologer in a tragicomic way, and incidentally to induce a reflection on the limits of personal freedom before predestination. I refer to the curious story of Valentin Naibod (1523-1593), a well-known scholar nobody could take lightly. He is recognized for his studies on the average annual displacement of the Sun, the establishment of the Naibod key for the calculation of primary directions, and for the publication of the “Enarratio Elementorum Astrologiae”, in addition to being famous due to the eccentricity of his customs. Along with his remarkable contributions to astronomy and astrology, Naibod was the protagonist of a macabre anecdote that serves to exemplify the inexorable force of the Anareta.

Having recently gone through his seventieth solar revolution, and after calculating on his own nativity the directions he had tried to perfect with his works of spherical astronomy, Naibod determined he was about to enter an astrological period of great danger to his life on the occasion of a direction of Saturn. So he decided to accumulate a large amount of water and food to proceed to lock himself in his house during the entire life-threatening period. He secured the door with the keys, blocked all the windows and closed the curtains so that could not even enter the light. He lay down on the bed and there he waited for the end of the cycle. But some criminals who passed by believed that the house remained without residents when they saw it completely closed, so they wanted to enter to plunder. After breaking the door, they entered quickly to avoid being seen, but their surprise was great when they met the astrologer, who reacted with shock. They did not take long to stab him to death in order to steal quietly and avoid being denounced. The deadly prognosis that our friend had tried to avoid was fulfilled, because the goddess Fortuna does not usually make concessions with anyone.

In the Stoic philosophy of the great Seneca we read: «Ducunt volentem fata, nolentem trahunt», destiny leads to whoever accepts it, drags whoever resists it. Would it have been possible to better face Saturn’s primary direction and elude death? It is evident that dying is inevitable, the issue here is rather about postponing it to prolong life. In the apocryphal Arabian Centiloquius (Kitab al-Tamara) attributed to Claudius Ptolemy, we can find suggestive phrases like this one: “He who knows can avoid numerous events of the stars, because having known his nature he will be able to prepare himself before they arrive”. This short exhort may seem an invitation to evade astrological predestination. It is undoubtedly a fascinating enigma to solve if we try to elucidate clearly what concept of determinism the ancient astrologers handled. At times they seem to think it possible to make some decisions in time to avoid some evils predicted by the study of heavens. But in other occasions, like in the bizarre history of Naibod, this possibility acquires borders that end up in black comedy. I am sure that nobody has the definitive answer to this question, which from time to time resuscitates among those of us who actively work with clients in the predictive field. But perhaps, more than the answer, it is the question itself that makes our art as enigmatic as it is disconcerting.

Love and Marriage- Some Considerations

                                              by Clélia  Romano, DMA  March 2017

                       Astrological analysis of love, marriage and companionship is not difficult to delineate in a chart and frequently the astrologer is asked about these kinds of questions.

ghk-wedding-dress-history-medieval-times-deIt is easier also to analyze this topic in a horary chart, since it is enough to look at the 7th house, its dispositor and the ascendant ruler, and see if there is any aspect between them. If both are in aspect  we have an important testimony in favor or against the question , depending on the type of aspect and if benefics or malefics give their testimony. If Venus  and Moon appear in the configuration, especially in a male question, we can judge that the marriage will happen or will have a good evolution. If a maleficent planet appears in the configuration the matter tends to be hindred. In case of a female client we accept a relation between the ascendant´s dispositor and the Sun to signify a possible marriage.

As Robert Zoller said, following medieval astrology,  the woman always goes in search of the Sun.

In a horary chart the Moon is co-ruler of the  chart and contributes sometimes very clearly, even replacing the ruler of the ascendant  or the ruler of the  7th house if she aspects one of the significators or a benefic strong by position .

However, the aim of this article is to present the most difficult questions, those which have not a simple answer, but that which takes into account the whole chart settings.

Venus and its position, angularity, sign and aspects, counts a lot in favor of happiness in love ( and even in life as a whole) and in an opposite way the aspects with Mars cause the end of things, ruptures and pain. The more I study individual charts the more I pay attention to the position of Venus by sign and by house, as well as its aspects, when the matter concerns marriage and love.

But even with this testimony the difficulties in delineation come from qualitative rather than quantitative aspects. A simple “yes” or “no” is easier than to describe  the kind of marriage or love the client will live.

When we get to the 7th house the  first thing is to be aware that we reach the West angle, one of the four hinges where important things in the chart will revolve, especially if there are planets in there.

Moreover, it should not be forgotten that  the 7th house makes an opposition to the ascendant. It is where the Sun sets on the West horizon. So, in the past, the 7th house was  considered the house of death.

In the human trajectory on earth we start from the known, from the mother’s womb, from the cradle, the ascendant, and  go towards what is unknown. What is awaiting or us after this journey is to reach the seventh house, the house of the Moon in Chaldean order. In this case the Moon is not  representing  women, but night, unknown and the obscure.

When Plato spoke about  primordial forms, one of them is the Same versus the Other. And the 7th House is the furthest house from the Ascendant (the Same), and it is attached to that which is unfamiliar, the Other.

The daily movement that carries the whole celestial vault toward the East, called by Plato the Circle of the Same, and by the astrologers the  Primary Movement  is faced by the opposite circle, which moves in an opposite direction, the zodiacal circle, i.e. the ecliptic ,the Circle of the Other. It was said that the Platonic Demiurge linked both.

A so disparate union gives some food for thought. The Ascendant and the 7th house are opposite in every sense and they were linked for some reason. We can not get to the ultimate reasons but we can speculate about the opposition link between the ascendant and the 7th house.

 

Traditional astrology has always given great importance to the topics of marriage, love and sex .

Of the planets, especially Venus has a lot of relation in the prediction and happiness of the marriage.

In any delineation one must look for a configuration, that is the relation between two, three or four planets in their signs and houses. A single planet does not say much.

The institution of marriage, though it has relations with Christianity, does not necessarily have to do with love, and it deals also  with hate and destruction.

When we study medieval techniques to predict marriage, some things seem outdated, but I do not think that anything has essentially changed.

We must remember that in medieval times Europe was pagan, and in it lived the Celts, Anglo-Saxons, French and Germanic tribes. Civil marriage did not exist for people. Rarely did anyone know their grandparents and sometimes even their parents . The family as we know nowadays only existed among the aristocrats and the incipient bourgeoisie, which, in order to pass on their power and lands, made marriage an arrangement and a mutual partnership in which the children are generated to continue and expand the family business. Marriages were arranged long before the bride and groom were old enough to formalize a carnal union. The woman had a inferior role to that of the man, but if we were to study the society of the time there was very little place for individualism, even for man.

The Catholic Church tried to institute marriage as a sacrament, but the people did not have even an economic condition to pay for civil marriage.

Uses and customs were worth more than any contract, and in a certain culture of medieval times a woman was considered married to a man if he took his keys customarily in his own belt. Returning a woman to the family imposed a certain payment on the man, such as a compensation.

Who consulted the astrologer was not the common people  but the aristocracy and bourgeoisie that was formed from the thirteenth century. They wanted to know if they would find a bearable partner , whether the woman would be fertile or spoiled, whether she would accept the sexual act with the appropriate pleasure, whether she will be straight or gay, whether the future partners would be able or not to control their sexual appetites or if they would fornicate with the servants, etc.

When one reads the observations and conditions for the prediction of marriage in medieval authors we, as an individualistic society , tend to put them aside and say that they do not serve in our culture. Sometimes they even seem laughable.

However, I urge you to analyze your study charts to see how timely the old assertions are: behind ideals bathed in romantic civility, human beings and marriage have not changed much and behind the scenes lies the same medieval needs, for they are human and marriage is nothing less than a contract aimed to carrying forward some form of partnership capable of increasing or at least managing better the patrimony of the couple or the family, generating children and allowing them a minimum of development, besides guarantee a group of people belonging to a clan capable of protect against malicious strangers.

All this can happen with love, but most fall with ruled and compromises.

The 7th house relates to both love and hate, the spouse, boyfriend or lover, partners but also enemies. It  means the forces that opposes us, people who openly face us, to whom we end up going to war: it representes the Circle of the Other.

To talk about love we have to look at almost all houses, meanwhile marriage is a question intrinsic to the 7th.

Whe can see love, looking to the ascendant, when Venus appears there, making the native someone prone to harmony. In the fourth house, making the family atmosphere clean, beautiful and harmonious, and we know how important this foundation is to foster love, in the fifth house, fostering the pleasure of carnal union and of the children. In the 7th house, if you learned how to deal with compromises, in the 9th house as the love for God, in the 11th house, the love to our friends and even in the 12th house, the compassion and pity to the excluded and unfornunate.

Everything depends on the relations of Venus with other planets because, depending of this the love can change in hate, self-complacency, laziness, perversion.

The ancient authors describe marriage and the type of sexual intercourse, but not love, because love is virtual, can be in every house or in none.

Poets say that love is an emotion which do not want compensation, simply gives and do not expect  receiving, since the pleasure of love stays in the very sensation that love brings.

I finish with a quote from  Mortimer Adler: “love consists in giving without getting in return; in giving what is not owed, what is not due the other. That’s why true love is never based, as associations for utility or pleasure are, on a fair exchange.”
medieval-marriage-32

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:

http://www.lunatica.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/SAA/Documents/Zoller/Archandpredabridged-2.htm

“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

On the art of electing a good moment

portasMasters tell us that astrologers should not analyze a horary question for themselves. In the same way, they can make a mistake by creating an electional chart for themselves.

Our desire for something to happen, or not to happen, leads to difficulties in interpreting the astrological configurations, giving room to ours unconscious mind.

It is true that mistakes mark us more than correctness, so we should learn more from them, but … this is not always possible.

Sometimes, even “a posteriori ” we are not able to identify the error, and yet, the election has not occurred as it was expected.

Any chart, but especially the electional one, is of extraordinary complexity, perhaps because in the final analysis we may be playing God.

So here’s an advice to the astrologer: never read a chart in a hurry, without sleeping for at least two nights from the first sight. The initial trust of an electional date must remain unabated. If not, it should be reviewed.

It may just be a personal opinion, but it is not possible to serve too many customers. Ideally, the astrologer would have to be paid enough, so he or her could devote several days to the same chart. This would give chance to be dazzled by the enigma of the unknown that must be deciphered and enable the professional to become a scholar.

Having the client’s chart in mind, memorized, from so much studying it, it is possible to do the best . The professional who has time to dwell unhurriedly on the chart benefits clients enormously, because their charts live in the astrologer’s memory.

I can say that there are people who I have not seen for years, and for so many years that their charts have been lost on old thirty years old drives. Many of them are dead. But the charts are still in my mind, like those of my friends, relatives and children. I forget birthdays, numbers, but I do not forget the charts I worked on.

I mention this fact of “digesting” the chart, because it is fundamental especially for any election.

I advice also to the astrologer avoid in any way to erect an electional chart whose purpose he, as a person, does not agree. The astrologer has to be on the client´s side, so considering his goal unacceptable or impossible, is a bad way to begin the work.

What can happen on this cases is that the astrologer will not find plausible dates, will start running for years without finding anything, and finally will adapt some things correctly, but usually as a result of the time and context of the client.

The result is ineffective and will ultimately harm the client and his/her own name.

Such a thing has happened to me, and up to this day I do not discovered a mistake in that disastrous electional chart! Apparently the choice for the day was okay…but the subject was not one, but a bunch of events very intricate and not depending one of the other, even if they will begin at the same time.

If the desired outcome is unreasonable, such as winning the lottery, doing several surgeries at the same time, in order to take advantage of the election, or because of the hurry, or if a woman wants to become pregnant at age 55, frankly, it is better to decline the election, even if the client is willing to pay a big money, so big as the client´s fantasy and desires.

In the case of several surgeries on the same day, for example, it is difficult to hit a good day, because the procedure lasts too long: the position of the Moon changes and also the ascendant which can be able to harbour Saturn or Mars, which dilutes the election, even if it has been well done.

The electional chart must take into account the client’s natal chart, the cyclical moment in which he is living, which is provided by the rulers and sub-rulers of firdars and profections, and by the ruler of the year, indicated by the solar revolution. The last one will be the Lord of the Year and we have to look exactly how it is configured in the natal chart and in the solar revolution, which means signs and houses it rules, its dispositor and finally, the aspects that it realizes and receives in the natal chart and in the solar revolution.

Writing what we observe is useful, because there are so many things to consider that our mind often forgets some very important of them

– Even if it seems obvious to you, write it down.

Yes, write down to yourself, it do not hurts, and justify your choice as if you were in the court room, until you have pages and pages of thoughts about what is important and why you have to take it into account, which houses should be avoided, which signs, which planets cannot be configured to some others … and much more.

At last but not least, consider the transits and avoid the malefic planets to be in configuration with the Lord of the Year and with the profection and firdar signs dispositors. If it is not possible, choose the less bad of the configurations.

All of the attention is good, but the astrologer will have to count on with some luck. I´ll give you an example:

Once, I chose the date of surgery for a client. I had already restricted the appropriate period, observing that both the firdar ruler and the sub-ruler were well configured in the natal chart, have avoided any contact with the eight house and her ruler, Venus, have paid good attention to where the profection felt in that year, which by the way was in the 8th house, which was ruled by Venus, as I said. In the natal chart Venus was in Virgo, very weak and in a cadent house, which was no good.

I had already verified the solar revolution, and the ascendant was Leo with Venus in the first house. Venus in this case, as ruler of the 8th house could be a light against a surgery. But the natal Leo was the sign of the 5th house, which seemed acceptable to me, due the intention of the surgery.

The Sun was the Lord of the Year, succedent in the solar revolution, applying itself to Saturn, but still distant, but I knew I had to take it into account.

Well, charts are imperfect, we have to get used with that, the malefics are always present, so the impression we have is that the astrologer flies from one side to another and when he thinks that has arrived at a good date, a planet appears to spoil all the job done.

I finally chose the day and the hour of my example chart. I justified the choice writing down to myself. And so I ended my day´s work and went out to watch a movie.

That night, when I closed my eyes to sleep, I remembered to send the report the next day and I felt uneasy. I stood up and opened the computer.

Out of the blue I saw that the Moon of the chosen date was in exact conjunction with Saturn in the Solar Revolution. The Moon was firdar´s sub-ruler and in addition, it has a huge importance over vital facts. I discarded the date and chose another one, very close, because the other planets were well.

It was not a perfect election, because after all, I realized that I could not accommodate well so many significators. But it looked as good as it was possible to be.

What is disturbing is the fact that it was virtually impossible to remember All ,as the fact that in the solar revolution Saturn would be at the same point and in the same degree as the Moon’s position of the chosen electional chart!

Saturn was not a significator, but it is the greatest malefic, and these coincidences, which in fact happen often, do not bode well.  Anyway, all this tiny thing requires a bionic attention! How do we ensure that we have all this in mind?

I don´t know if the surgery would be a disaster if I had forgot the position of Saturn, but I don´t like these kind of bad coincidences.

The question of choosing a date is complex. It is an intricate subject, because it uses the maximum freedom that is allowed to us, human beings.

In addition, there are elections of the date and time of birth, something of an unusual responsibility and that we must always carry out keeping in mind that we will try to reach some agreement with the divine.

Clélia Romano, DMA                                                        http://www.astrologiahumana.com

Astrology, predestination and free will.

With regard to predestination and its conflict with free will, the debate has been quite extensive and heated. It is an exciting subject, with profound philosophical consequences, and for which I am asked with some frequency. As I am not a philosopher but an astrologer, I have to try to answer from the discipline that concerns me. My intention is to show that the relationship between fate and human freedom is much more fluid and permeable than it seems. Although the issue is not without controversy, a reasonable perspective is possible to reconcile both extremes. Let’s assume first that astrology poses a predictable universe model and therefore organized around a deterministic notion, although not necessarily causal. I refer to a determinism in the broad sense, not circumscribed to the strict logic of cause – effect that we inherit from the thought of Aristotle or from the mechanistic paradigm of Isaac Newton.

Astrological determinism is far from resembling that universe of watchmaking gears that emanates from classical physics. On the contrary, it is an organic determinism, more similar to the simultaneous interrelation of the organs and tissues of a living being. With exceptions such as that of Al-Kindi (801-873 AD), who was one of the most aristotelian among Arab astrologers, many celestial augurs rejected the theory of astrological causation or direct stellar influence, leaning rather on the idea of a synchronic confluence in which the events of heaven and earth occurred in a coordinated manner. The conception of a causal line was tempting for some, because it tended to resolve in reasonable terms the awkward situation of having to account for this strange oracle of magical-Babylonian origin. From Greek philosophy, which at that time was an expression of the most exquisite rationality, a causal link could be established between the stars and terrestrial life. However, astrologers less well versed in the Aristotelian and Stoic lucubrations continued to maintain a vision of concurrency and simultaneity of the celestial symbols. In this way, sustaining a deterministic cosmos does not necessarily imply a view of causality, as evidenced by Cicero’s famous definition of destiny in De Divinatione.

That vision of cosmic synchrony had some compatibility with a third position, much more archaic and magical-religious, where the celestial bodies are the visible face of the gods, whose will is manifested to men through the movement and position of the planets. However, the three versions have in common the idea of a pre-existing fate, which can be known in advance. In them the notion of an intelligible universe is also evident, whose action expresses a meaning and perhaps also a purpose. This intelligibility of the firmament opens up the possibility of prediction within a deterministic framework, or what is the same, within a knowable future of finite possibilities. This, obviously, comes into conflict with the ideological foundations of modernity, where the future is open, unknown, of infinite possibilities, and whose crystallization depends on the exercise of freedom. Therefore, the ancestral vision of a time with predetermined possibilities tends to be annoying for the mentality in vogue. But we will return to this topic a little later.

When I say that the astrological cosmos is predictable and deterministic, I mean that the ability of the astrologer to predict the events that lie ahead depends on a conception where the celestial signs indicate the quality of time and its propensity to manifest itself in concrete events. The mantic arts in general conceive a closed or pre-established future, since if it were not determined in advance it could not be the object of divination. Then a tremendous philosophical problem arises, because if life is predestined, what place has free will? And worse, if human actions are predetermined, what moral responsibility can be attributed to people for their actions? Well, these complex questions arise precisely by the same way of posing the question of destiny. Maybe there is another way to approach the problem.

The destiny or fatum is that supernatural power that imposes itself on the life of men with the force of the inevitable, guiding the events to an end not chosen, although not necessarily negative, since the destiny also can sometimes overcome the personal aspirations and expectations. In Orphic mythology this force appears in the form of Ananke, personification of the inevitable and the inescapable necessity to which both gods and mortals are subject. She was represented as a serpentine being, intertwined with her eternal companion Cronos, the lord of time. Thus, destiny and time extended throughout the universe, giving rise to the network of existence. Ananke was mother of the three Moiras, those primal goddesses who distributed fate to each being and determined the duration of the thread of life.

And what about free will? Few people are aware that, just as the notion of destiny has an undeniable pagan root, the idea of free will arose from the discussions of the Judeo-Christian theologians. The rabbis and bishops of the first centuries of the common era were very interested in debating with the pagans about this idea that the gods and / or the stars determined the course of human destiny, because this basic belief of paganism came into contradiction with the moral doctrine that makes man responsible for his sins. If destiny exists and it is inexorable, it was predestined that Adam and Eve should disobey! If so, the fault would be God’s and not man’s. Starting from this point, the theologians strove to throw down the idea of predestination, postulating that God had granted man the gift of freedom to act according to good or evil. By doing God’s will, expressed in the sacred scriptures, good was done and the salvation of the soul was achieved in the hereafter. But in the opposite corner, the Stoic philosophers, all of them heathens, defended a very different position; the universe is predetermined to the last centimeter by destiny, and man can only liberate himself interiorly from his mundane attachments to attain peace and happiness, since matter, time and space are subject to an inevitable causal determinism.

The debate between pagan philosophers and Christian theologians ended, argumentum ad baculum, with the triumph of the freedom of action proposed by the latter. Consequence of that is that in the western mentality, free will is a dogma of unquestionable faith, to the point of being defended by those who are opposed to the church, the synagogue, the mosque and everything that smells similar. It is a theological triumph unparalleled in universal history. But since astrology is an ancient science, in which elements coming from any culture made use of it, it could not but survive in its core that pagan and deterministic element. However, also the free will of theologians found a place in it. How is it possible? The intermediate position that reconciles both perspectives is known as “compatibilism” and is based on a mild determinism. It argues that destiny and free will are compatible to the extent that we assume a deterministic universe in which a subject capable of making choices between the options that are presented as a result of predestination operates. Finding that bulky wallet on the bus seat was clearly predestined, but it is my free choice to keep the money or look for an ID to return it to its owner. And although there are situations in which we have almost no choice, this does not deny that we have that freedom to choose most of the time.

From traditional astrology it is better to think in terms of choices than in absolute free will. The fact that we do not control time or the flows of becoming, and that much of the ups and downs of life were not desired or anticipated by us, shows that we live in a deterministic world, in which the vicissitudes of fate define fundamental issues such as the country and city in which we were born, the parents that we got, the woman we fall in love on that party, the illness that took us to the hospital, the collapse of our business in the middle of the economic crisis, or simply the day of our inevitable death. If we are honest with ourselves, we will realize that the most important and determining events of our lives were not the result of our desires; they simply happened in spite of us, starting with the birth itself. All these apparent accidents that condition the events, coordinated with the symbolic text of the firmament, constitute what astrology means by destiny.

In the Middle Ages the renowned Thomas Aquinas (1224-1274), theologian and Christian philosopher, tried to address the issue. After much caviling he proposed a maxim that is repeated again and again by astrologers: the stars tilt, but do not force. It was not strange that he was interested in it, since his teacher had been the famous Albertus Magnus, bishop and theologian, but also naturalist, alchemist, geographer, herbalist, astrologer and for that time, magician. The question of astrological determinism occupied the most brilliant minds of humanity for many centuries, enough proof that astrology is not a simple superstition of lots of ignorant people.

What Thomas Aquinas says is that the stars can not force you to proceed in one direction, but they do incline the events and forces of becoming to a particular side. The possibility of choosing, and not an absolute free will, will present us with alternatives. Or we let ourselves be dragged by the current of the astral river or swim against it. The will acquires a central role here, since only a man of tenacious persistence can persevere swimming upriver. Since a will of iron is not usual, in most cases the current actually drags people to where they have not chosen. Have you noticed that when carrying out our careful plans, the situation usually presents so many unforeseen events that the process and the result are never exactly what one had planned? A Turkish dervish once told me that effort belongs to man, but the result depends on God. It is a pious way of seeing it, in which the same truth that we raise is hidden. There is an interaction between what is predestined and what man chooses to do. Not always our choices lead to a satisfactory result, because they have entered into contradiction with destiny. Other times our actions flow with the river of existence, and in coordination with the sky, what is expected is obtained. Hence the advantage that gives the knowledge of the future, because if you know the quality of time is possible to choose the right moment to do anything successfully. This is known as elective astrology, a branch of the ancient astrological tradition that seeks to anticipate the facts and take advantage of that knowledge to obtain favorable outcomes.

Regarding the moral responsibility of people in a deterministic framework, by assuming the freedom that every human being has to choose the course of their actions against predestined events, we must also assume as an inevitable consequence that every conscious subject is fully responsible for their acts. Maybe in life we come across someone who drives us crazy, and our bad temper makes us prone to outbursts of anger, but that does not rid us of moral responsibility if we cause injuries in a fit. Then, in a deterministic framework, moral responsibility is much greater, because as alternatives are closing and limiting, our uncertainty decreases and we have much greater clarity to decide and assume the consequences.

There are people who, due to low social status at bith, have a much more limited degree of freedom. It is the case of poverty and slavery, which unfortunately continues to exist on our planet in a veiled way. Others are fortunate and are born under very advantageous conditions of life, where there is no lack of money or opportunities. The powerful fate, which the Greeks knew as Εἱμαρμένη (Heimarmene), decrees for some the easy and for others the difficult. While among the Hindus there is an individual karmic explanation to account for the apparent injustices of life, among the Stoics a causal determinism of a general or cosmic order is invoked; but both the fortunate and the unfortunate, in their different levels of freedom, have a certain degree, larger or smaller, to choose the nature of their actions. I have met dispossessed people with the most kind and compassionate nature, as I have met with the most cruel and malicious wealthy people. Of course, the opposite is also true, since there are poor people who take pains to harm the rest and wealthy people who try to help sincerely. Statistical frequency is not my issue. I try to suggest that in spite of the pre-established conditions, and often outside of one’s own will, there is also the possibility of choosing and being morally responsible for said elections.

At the beginning we noticed the evident conflict between the traditional view of destiny and the consciousness of individual freedom that characterizes the modern subject. Predestination upsets the contemporary mentality and poses a threat to our psychological need to feel completely free to satisfy our desires. I believe that in this there is a sign of a certain collective immaturity, a form of denial of experiences of frustration, but it is also the result of the efforts of the theologians and apologists of the first centuries of Christianity. Anyway, it is clear that the astrological predestination does not empower the astrologer to know everything beforehand, since there is the human potential to choose, and even, by force of willful tenacity, turn the course of events. Astrology determines categories or types of objects, people and situations, but can not predict anything down to the smallest detail. In this sense, it poses a categorical determinism that leaves enough space for the emergence of the human will. In particular, astrology is not going to tell us which is the favorite rock band of the subject that stole my bicycle, but with a Horary Chart it can help us by indicating the type of place it is in, if it is whole or was already sold in parts, and even what general appearance the thief has.

To explain the relationship between astrology, predestination and free will I usually use an analogy. Suppose we sail at sea. Our ship is exposed to the impulse of the marine currents and the winds, which drag it in a certain direction. They are the forces of destiny signed in the stars. However, as captains of the ship we can take the situation and be responsible for the ship, take the helm of the will and direct the sails of the intellect, using the winds and currents in our favor, in order to reach the desired port. Because navigating safely involves a good deal of knowledge, it is a good idea to have the navigation maps provided by astrology.

In this way, our attitude towards the inevitable depends completely on us, and that action is conditioning the possibilities of expression of our own destiny, so that we are not passive puppets moved by the threads of doom. On the contrary, we are participatory agents in the configuration of destiny, determining a part of it by the exercise of our degree of freedom in choosing our actions against the manifestation of the predestined. Then, that the universe is subject to determinism simply means that it is intelligible, by presenting an identifiable and understandable order for the intellect. Finally, it is important not to forget a fundamental principle. Fate, from the metaphysical point of view, must be transcended. Hence the search for platonic anabasis, that ascent of the soul through the seven planetary spheres to reach the empyrean, beyond the Saturn region, where time does not exist and therefore, the Ananke no longer rules. That is the final goal – or destiny – to which every man and woman should direct their ship.