Constellations & The Primordial Zodiac I



If you’ve ever been to a planetarium, the chances are the presenter took ten minutes or so to heap scorn on the ignorant ancients who must have been smoking and drinking powerful drugs in order to see things like goats or virgins in the night sky. This is usually intended as the first blow against the “completely unfounded” science of astrology. The intended knock out punch is the reference to the Precession of the Equinox which means those Sun Sign columns in the tabloids offer a contrived system that ignores precession.

The idea is very simple and easy to grasp.  The sign that was rising at the Vernal Equinox has moved back almost one whole sign since their alignment. This means that what are called Sun Sign Geminis are actually Taurus – except of course they are not. Our astrology is seasonal in its basis, just as it was for the ancients. The critics of the zodiac based on Precession are missing the point.  Nevertheless, this is lost on astronomers. For them, these things are conclusive proof that astrology and its adherents are delusional and primitive minded. The irony of being called “primitive minded” has not been missed; nevertheless who can blame them for their views in the absence of coherent apologetics?

Authentic astrologers would agree on pretty much all counts but come to a very different conclusion. I’m not aware of a true astrologer who isn’t well aware of the phenomenon of the Precession. I would be the first to agree that the appearance of constellations has precious little, if anything, to do with their names. This is where things become really interesting and is the reason I chose the word “primordial” as part of the title advisedly.This is the first in an intended series of articles on this theme. This first part can be little more than a sketch. It serves as an introduction.

It has become all but impossible for many to view a clear a night sky with little or no light pollution. It cannot be overstated that this has changed us to a very large extent. It is now common to find people who cannot identify a single constellation or star. Anyone in or close to large city see almost no stars or perhaps none at all. The best viewing experience I’ve had was in a desert area of British Columbia, on a small mountain away from any artificial light and no Moon.  At first, the brilliance of countless stars are such that it is difficult to find constellations amongst them until the eyes get used to it. The simple connecting of dots yields little or nothing, In the Middle East, particularly under very arid conditions, it is said that one feels that one may reach out and touch the stars. They seemed very close indeed and quite obviously significant.

I would like to take some stars and constellations as examples, questioning the asterisms and looking to alternate, more ancient ways of relating to the heavens.

Antares is a bright orange star, It is among the clearest stars and easy to find if the skies are clear and you know where to look. It is in the centre of the neighbourhood of Scorpio and, with our preconceived conception of the Scorpion, we join the dots.

That’s how its supposed to work, but the image below showing Scorpius, probably as clearly as it can be viewed almost anywhere, doesn’t particularly look like a Scorpion. It could just as easily be an angel, a rabbit, a buffalo or a river. Both photos are included here with the kind permission of David Malin.


© 2008 Akira Fujii/David Malin Images

Here is the same section of the sky with constellation lines drawn in. Drawing the ecliptic further helps to provide orientation.

Sco_2_www_cImage and text ©2008 Akira Fujii David Malin

© 2008 Akira Fujii/David Malin Images

Even with the lines drawn, it still takes a great deal of imagination to see the constellation as a scorpion rather than anything else.  Unfortunately for the scathing astronomer at the planetarium, that is simply not how the constellations came to be, The situation is of course compounded by the simple fact that different cultures give different names to the same asterisms. Strictly speaking, there are no constellations until we decide that a given asterism has boundaries and significance and visa versa –  One might say a constellation is a projection of an archetype.

Enkienki walks out of the water to the land. The lion symbol of Zoroaster Age of-Leo

Enkienki walks out of the water to the land. The lion symbol of Zoroaster Age of-Leo

Gavin White has produced three illuminating works on ancient Babylonian star lore that challenge later interpretations. I have consulted Babylonian Star-Lore : an Illustrated Guide to the Star-Lore and Constellations of Ancient Babylonia (2008) and his The Queen of Heaven   I have also consulted The Heavenly Writing by Francesca Rochberg, The Epic of Gilgamesh (Gardner and Maier 1984 ed.)  Inanna: Queen of Heaven and Earth (Wolkstein & Kramer 1983  The Babylonians (HWH Saggs ] Cambridge UP) and The British Museum.

White tells us that: “In astrology the Scorpion’s armoured body segments and its array of weaponry predisposed it to become a creature symbolizing war and the martial prowess of the king. However a different meaning is attached to it in mythic texts such as the Gilgamesh Epic where Scorpion-men and women guard the sacred mountain through which the hero has traverse on his quest for immortality. The Scorpion-people are said to guard the sun at his rising and setting and because Gilgamesh is a favourite of the sun god they allow him to travel the subterranean path that the sun travels every night under the mountain.” (all references to Gavin White’s The Queen of Heaven  A New Interpretation of the Goddess in Ancient Near Eastern Art’ by Gavin White can be found on the publisher’s web site).

untitledThis detail is from a kudurru, or boundary stone, showing Gula with feathery crown attached to her conical headdress and a scorpion-man.

Gula with feathery crown attached to her conical headdress and a Scorpion-Man.

However, the form of the Scorpion People of the Sumerian and Babylonian constellation is utterly morphed. “The Scorpion People were powerful servants of the sun god Utu (Shamash). They had a human head, arms and torso but were bird-like below the waist (sometimes with human legs, sometimes bird) and a scorpion’s tail. The people of Mesopotamia invoked the Scorpion People as figures of powerful protection against evil and the forces of chaos. In The Epic of Gilgamesh the Scorpion couple, Scorpion Man and Scorpion Woman, guard the great Gate of the Mountain where the sun rises and are described as `terrifying.” (Gavin White – Queen of Heaven.)

There is a strong need  to understand the Babylonian view on its own terms, to the extent that that is possible. Williams writes: “In Babylonian mythology scorpion men were the children of Tiamat, the dragon mother of the universe.

Tiamat, the dragon mother of the universe

They were giants whose heads touched the sky. They possessed the head, arms, and torso of a man; but below the waist they had the tails of scorpions. Deadly warriors, they could fight either with their scorpion tails or their bows and arrows which never missed their targets. They were the sacred guardians of the sun god Shamash. In the morning they opened the gates of the Mountain of the East and Shamash ascended into the sky. At night they shut the gates of the Mountain of the West as Shamash descended into the underworld. Gilgamesh, the great Babylonian hero, was aided by a scorpion man in his quest for immortality.”  (Michael Williams.  Encyclopaedia Mythica)

The most easily recognized constellations in the Northern Hemisphere are the Circumpolar Ursa Minor and Ursa Major followed by Orion, mostly because of the several brilliant stars, including Betelgeuse, Rigel and Bellatrix. However none of these are part of the zodiac. That doesn’t mean they haven’t been highly significant in different cultures throughout history,

untitledEnki and the fishes Fishes are often represented swimming up the flow of waters that descend from Enkis shoulders On the left the symbol of the sun

Enki and the fishes Fishes are swimming up the flow of waters that descend from Enkis shoulders On the left is the the symbol of the sun

The constellations have two primary points of reference. The first is particularly referring to the circumpolar stars. The second which has the most immediate importance is the temporal. This is a simple case of a season matching an asterism which is then circumscribed and named.  So for example, Aquarius the Water Bearer rose during the rainy season of late winter and early Spring. But Pisces is now in that temporal place, while Aquarius is rising in the cold but dry season. And how, we may well ask, does Pisces represent either late winter or early spring. What do fish have to do with the season? It takes an exceedingly vivid and guided imagination to translate the asterism to embody two fishes tied together and pulling in different directions for eternity. The same is true of most of the zodiacal asterisms.

Sumerian image, we see both mer-people and priests dressed in fish-skin capes at the sacred tree

Sumerian image, we see both mer-people and priests dressed in fish-skin capes at the sacred tree

However, when we look to Pisces as a temporal reference, the time of year of great floods, other significance can be found. Like Anunitum, the Fish symbolizes the season of flooding, which commences in the early spring. “Like other creatures of the Abyss, fish were thought to be symbols of wisdom and were accordingly held sacred to Enki, the god of creative intelligence, incantations and magic.” (QoH)  The cord is indicative of the two rivers flowing into the sea. This isn’t how Pisces is represented today and before the end of the epoch prior to 500 B.C. much, but by no means all, had already been lost.

 Seven Tablets of Creation.

The Kudurru – Seven Tablets of Creation. (left to right) Venus of the goddess Ishtar, lunar crescent of the moon-god Sin, and the solar disk of Shamash , the Sun god). The serpent is a Tiamat, ( Akkadian for “sea,”)

Of course some zodia are deceptively simple.
They make sense due to the Season in the Northern Hemisphere; Leo is probably as good an example as any.  The Lion has been seen by cultures everywhere as the “king of the beasts” courageous and Solar – why not reign in the hottest and driest part of the year.

White tells us: “Lion (Leo) The Lion has two main strands of symbolism. Firstly as a seasonal star it represents the ferocious heat of summer – its radiant mane stands for the overbearing radiance of the summer sun. Secondly, as the sacred beast of the war goddess Inanna-Ishtar, the Lion represents victory and war. The bright star at its breast (our Regulus) is known as the King Star – here representing the favourite of the goddess to whom she grants victory.” (QoN)

Our knowledge of Ancient History is poor, but great progress has been made even in the last two decades. It has become increasingly apparent that our classical Greek and Roman archetypes are in most cases pale shadows of their original significance. To get to the heart of the zodiac, we need to go back at least as far as Babylon.

Here we find a very different reality where the counterpart of Venus, for example, is the goddess of sexual love, fertility and warfare. The word “pretty” simply doesn’t apply to her. In fact, we have lost most of the archetypal origins of the zodiac and find ourselves trying to make sense of fragments of a powerful, elusive,  but clearly profound inheritance.


Winged gods - Sumer

The American Presidential Election and why we wouldn’t make a Prediction on the outcome using birth times of the Candidates.

It seems a day hasn’t passed since the start of 2016 when there hasn’t been some news coverage regarding either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, other than the time taken up with the Brexit outcome here in the UK.

Things on the Internet are now starting to heat up especially since the first head to head between Trump and Clinton on the 26th September.

Friendships have been lost either personally, or on Facebook over outcomes. Words are hurled over the Internet about others astrological takes on the outcome and, at times, it seems as though the small astrological community is at war with itself. (As we can see in the Libra Ingress chart a microcosm/reflection of the state of the nation)

Much of the animosity and finger wagging centres primarily on that most vexatious issue of unknown, or verified birth times for Hillary Clinton where times range from 8:02 am to 8:02 pm; as well as 10:48 am and yet another birth time of 02.18.

I copy the following from ISAR which is available on FB and other sites:

BREAKING NEWS!!! Hillary Clinton’s birth time has been found


According to astrologer Marc Penfield, both the Cook County and State of Illinois record divisions last week verified a time of birth as recorded for Hillary Rodham that took place on October 26, 1947. If correct, it is not the commonly used birth times of approximately 8:00 am or 8:00 pm.

Marc will be on the closing Presidential Election panel 2016 ISAR Forecasting Symposium on Sunday, October 16, 5 pm (PST). He will reveal the Democratic contender’s time of birth then, and the process he went through to find this KEY missing astrological link for forecasting the 2016 USA Presidential Election.

So now, we have even more suspense building up to the most exciting astrological event of 2016!

Hope to see you onsite in two and half weeks! #isar2016 #astrology

This led to the following comments on the Politics & Astrology FB page:

Marc Penfield’s time he claims to have sourced is 02.18am. This certainly has a ring of déja vu about it. Zayin Cohen was originally reported as giving a time of 02.18am back in 2005 and ADB recorded this. He claimed to have accessed Hillary Clinton’s time of birth through a contact in the Chicago Records Office who sourced her birth certificate for him. It was then reported on astrology groups like the Noel Tyl site. However, I corresponded with Zayin Cohen a few weeks ago. Zayin Cohen then claimed the time he had actually found was 02.08am not 02.18am. He said it was incorrectly reported on ADB and elsewhere. However, with the death of Louis Rodden it never got resolved. Like Marc Penfield, Zayin Cohen claimed to have an anonymous source in the Chicago Public Records office. He has long said he cannot give out the certificate or details of the official as this is illegal. But I have been in contact with Patrick Watson today and he showed me evidence of a FB conversation with Zayin Cohen back in August when he was informed by Zayin Cohen that the right time was actually 01.18am not 02.18am. I am trying not to throw out accusations here but Zayin Cohen is clearly giving out conflicting times. So was the time on the birth certificate always really 02.18am which has been corroborated by Marc Penfield? In which case why is Zayin Cohen now altering his time? Did Marc Penfield really source this directly or is he just using the time that was widely attributed to Zayin Cohen earlier which he now himself disputes? Or maybe Zayin Cohen is playing games with us and the time was always 02.18am. Presumably, like Zayin Cohen, Marc Penfield will not be able to produce a scan of the birth certificate for legal reasons.

Leaving aside birth times for Hillary Clinton, there is also a modicum of doubt to be raised regarding Donald Trump’s Rising Sign.  23 seconds into the AA rated birth time of 10:54, the Ascendant moves from Leo into Virgo. So there is more Virgo in that minute than Leo.  When I mentioned this fact during Hakan Kirkuglus’s talk at the AA Conference, Michael Lutin shouted and said how I could I be so stupid – of course Trump is a Leo, you just have to look at him. Well that is the common perception, but from a Traditional perspective, if Trump did have Virgo rising it would explain the multiple marriages and strong family ties and good relationships with his ex-wives even more than the fixed Leo Ascendant/Aquarius 7th house. So to my mind there is doubt about both candidates and their Ascendants and therefore their personal house relationships.

There is no definitive “birth time” for the Republican and Democratic parties.  So what could be used to call this election?

A traditional mundane method was always to look at the Aries Ingress and if needed, the other Ingresses of the quarters dependent on the Rising sign of the Aries Ingress. If a fixed sign rose, that chart was good for the year. (This is indeed the case with the UK Aries Ingress 2016).  If a mutable sign, the chart was cast for both Aries and Libra Ingress’ and if a Cardinal sign rose, then each quarter you cast a new chart.

Taking Washington DC as the Capital for America, the Aries Ingress for 2016 had the mutable sign of Sagittarius on the Ascendant. The lord of the Ascendant, Jupiter, is also in a mutable sign together with the mutable ascendant emphasising the need to look at the Libra Ingress. The Libra Ingress chart has Scorpio rising and is valid for the period covering the election to the actual Inauguration of the Presidential Candidate on the 20th January 2017.

In the UK with the Brexit vote, Mark Cullen the Moderator on Skyscript, put together a fairly comprehensive list of methods used by various astrologers to make their predictions. Of those 16 in his sample who correctly voted leave, 4 used opening of the Polls along with other techniques.

Maybe this method would shed some light on the potential outcome of this most bitter of elections?

Due to the time changes across America, the first State to open its polls is the New Hampshire state of Dixville Notch at 00.00 on the 8th November 2016.

There are two ways we could look at this chart for Incumbent and Challenger; one way is to take the 1st for the current Ruler and the 7th for the challenger, or the 10th for current King and 4th for challenger or opposition.

We will look at both ways, although the actual significators using whole house signs doesn’t change.

We will start with the 10th/4th axis.    The 11th is for the supporters of the current King and the 5th for the supporters of the challenger.

The 10th is ruled by Mercury, who is under suns beams, his supporters are the Moon (also the common people). The challenger is Jupiter and his supporters are Saturn.

Taking Mercury to represent the incumbent party; Mercury has no rulership in 23° Scorpio and cannot see the 10th sign of Gemini from the 3rd sign, which simply means it is blind and cannot effectively manage the affairs of the house Gemini represents.  We find Mercury just on the edge of Sunbeams moving out of the harmful rays. As Mercury leaves the rays of the Sun he applies to his ruler Mars, wanting to give his authority and management of 10th house affairs to Mars which is in its exaltation. However before Mercury can exit from the rays of the Sun, the application is frustrated as Mars leaves Capricorn into Aquarius. This does not bode well for the incumbent party.

Jupiter representing the Challenger or opposition party has authority as participating triplicity ruler in Libra. Jupiter is applying to Saturn giving his power and authority to Saturn to manage Jupiter’s affairs [this is called the committing of his disposition], which Saturn accepts because Jupiter is in the sign of Saturn’s exaltation [reception]. Also, Saturn has authority in Sagittarius as participating triplicity ruler of Fire. Saturn in the 4th is angular and has the strength to carry out the business of Jupiter.

Jupiter is operating out of the turned 11th house from the 4th. This is the house of Good Daemon and Jupiter is said to rejoice in the 11th.  Saturn is also indicator of Jupiter’s Seconds or helpers. Saturn is bang in the middle of Jupiter’s sign, giving his aid and assistance to Jupiter.

The Moon as indicator of the Incumbents Seconds is tucked away in the 6th of sickness and labour. She can’t see her house and is in the sign of Saturn.  Her next application is to Mercury, indicator of the current ruler.  She perfects this aspect with a square, showing some difficulty.  If we take the Moon to represent the people, it shows they are in slavery, sick and not very effective. The Moon takes the light of Mercury to Venus by Sextile. Venus in this chart disposes of Jupiter as he disposes of her. So there is some reception between these two planets.

Venus cannot see Mercury to give him her aid.  The women are turned away from helping the Incumbent.

Taking the Rising sign of Virgo for the Incumbent and the 7th for the challenger, we have the same planets as significators.  All that has changed is their house positions.

Mercury is now in a cadent sign but can see the Ascendant sign.  However, his power to act is weak as he is still blinkered by the Sun who rules the 12th of enemies.  The Sun is blinding him to what is going on?  Jupiter on the other hand is in his participating triplicity rulership, oriental and strong.   Jupiter can see neither Ascendant nor Descendant, but, through his application to Saturn in an angle, Saturn reflects Jupiter’s light to his house, Pisces (called rendering of light).  In this changed situation in assigning different houses, Saturn is the means whereby he Jupiter can manage the affairs of the 7th.  Jupiter can also see his other house, the 10th sign from the Descendant (Sagittarius). The same comments apply to Jupiter’s relationship to Saturn as mentioned in our first scenario (10th/4th axis).

If you look at this chart using house divisions, so the 10th cusp is Taurus and the 4th Scorpio, Venus is still in aversion to her sign (can’t manage).  Mars can see his sign of Scorpio by sextile.   The Sun (reputation, honours) is in the 4th by division.  Mars, the ruler of Scorpio, is exalted in Capricorn at the time of this event!


No matter how you view this chart for the opening of polls, it appears to give the victory to the Opponent.

Turning now to the Libra ingress chart:


Traditionally the first thing to locate was the Lord of the Year of the Ingress chart.

The first consideration is to determine what planet will represent the people of the nation.

“You will also look, for the rustics and their condition, from the Lord of the Year and its place,”

(From the “Revolution of the Years of the World” by Māshāʿallāh translated by Benjamin Dykes PhD)

The ascendant of the chart always represented the people of the nation as did the Moon.  The Lord of the Year was found from one of the lords of the ascendant (ruler, exalted ruler, triplicity ruler, or term ruler) or even the sect luminary.  In this chart we have chosen Mars as Lord of Year since he is the lord of the Ascendant Scorpio. We do this in spite of the fact he is cadent from the ascendant in the 2nd house. The reason for this choice is that in fact all the rulers including the sect luminary, the Sun, fall cadent of the ascendant.

This very accurately describes the state of the people in America going into this half of the year.

Chapter 12: When the Lord of the Year is cadent

If the Lord of the Year were cadent from the Ascendant, not aspecting the Ascendant (in the eighth, sixth, second, or twelfth sign), then he will be in need, and therefore weakness will befall him, because he fell in a place removed from the Ascendant:

(From the “Revolution of the Years of the World” by Māshāʿallāh translated by Benjamin Dykes PhD.

Both Mars and the Moon representing the people are in aversion to the Ascendant.  The people feel out of touch and powerless to act. The Martian types are in conflict and also out of touch with their national identity. For both significators there is a sense of helplessness, weakness, division, contention and fear. Note that the Moon’s application to the opposition of Mars further indicates the very obvious division of the nation.

The incumbent Ruling Party is shown by the Sun as ruler of the 10th sign/house. (Note: the Sun would not necessarily always be the significator of the ruling party if another sign were on the MC). Their opponents are indicated by Saturn as ruler of the 4th sign/house.

To discover the successor belonging to the current ruling party, we look to the second triplicity ruler of the Sign on the 10th. This gives us Jupiter as the Nocturnal Sect Ruler of Fire.

Jupiter is under Sunbeams, out of sight in the 12th sign. This suggests a weak successor who cannot be seen. This relates perhaps to Hillary not being so visible on the campaign trail. Obama has been actively campaigning on her behalf. Naturally the Sun being in Libra is in detriment and in the cadent 12th; the King is no longer strong.   Hillary’s recent health problems and public collapse could also be indicative of this weak Jupiter.

To assess the condition of the opposition, we will take both the actual sign ruler (Saturn) and the diurnal triplicity ruler of Air – again Saturn. So Saturn indicates the opposing candidate.    There is no other planet to consider as they (the opposition party) have put up their challenger.

Neither significator of the people (Moon & Mars) applies to join either candidate, again indicating the disconnectedness and “hatred” by the people for the two candidates. It appears in the history of the American Elections that no two contenders for this crown have been so reviled by their countrymen.

So how to discover the outcome?

We look at the individual strength of both significators and the actions between them.

As noted, Jupiter is combust, in the 12th and applies to Saturn from Saturn’s house of exaltation (Libra) and his house of joy.

As we saw in the other charts we looked at, this handing over of power is a very distinct action between the two because it indicates Jupiter handing the management of everything she is and represents, to Saturn who receives her gift!

Saturn standing alone is stronger than Jupiter, being free of sunbeams, and able to manage the affairs of his house of Aquarius.

The conclusion is that Saturn is the winner.

By Sharon Knight and Steven Birchfield 29.09.2016

Musings of an Astrologer

Musings of an astrologer

The methods used in mundane delineation are old and with their entrance into Europe in the 12th and 13th century via Spain some have been significantly revised. One of the last and perhaps most popular of the medieval Persian astrologers to use these techniques with real results was Abu Ma’shār.

When his works were translated into Latin, the translators and religious censors working with the translators were faced with some very real problems. The first was the lack of practical knowledge of the application of these techniques. They were first of all scholars, translating texts whose subject matter was totally outside their experience. As far as I have been able to see, not a single one was in fact a practicing astrologer. The second and probably the most critical, was the philosophies on which these techniques were based. In order to translate these texts and to receive acceptance by the religious authorities, compromises had to be made. Most often it was the text that was compromised. This particular problem was discussed by both Richard Lemay and Charles Burnett; both have written and given lectures on the corruption of certain Arabic texts when they were translated and transmitted into Europe. I’m not going to go into the details of these translation practices here, but it is quite well documented now that the original Arabic texts are being translated and compared to the same Latin translations. I can refer you to these articles though and particularly one by Dr. Charles Burnett:

“The Strategy of Revision in the Arabic-Latin Translations from Toledo: The case of Abu Ma’shār’s On the Great Conjunctions” by Dr. Charles Burnett in the publication, “Les Traducteurs au travail: leurs manuscrits et leurs methods”, ed. J. Hamesse, Turnabout, 2002, pp.51-113 and 529-540.


“A Group of Arabic-Latin Translators working in northern Spain in the mid-12th century” published in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1977, pp.62-108

Most of the current consensus is documented in articles in obscure journals, publications and University lectures. But I can assure you the evidence is quite authoritative!

Now the reason I’m beginning with this point is because it had a great influence in what later astrologers would have to rely on – which in many cases was not the original practice. But thanks to certain scholars today, such as Charles Burnett and Michio Yano (among others), we are gaining manuscripts and translated texts which reveal what was corrupted and where and when! I’ve personally devoted the last couple of years to these texts and practices and with the support and cooperation of scholars; (in particular I can thank Dr. Michio Yano and the Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa in Tokyo, who more than graciously obliged my studies by supplying me with texts) I’ve been trying to restore these techniques and the full picture of what these things entailed.

Now, having said this, I can lay no claim to having a complete or full understanding of these things. I do have certain convictions about these things and having struggled with these texts, am convinced that there is more than simply meets the eye. Mundane astrology was one of the matters of which Abu Ma’shār claimed “was a secret of science”. This is a theme running throughout Abu Ma’shār’s works. Abu Ma’shār was fond of secrets. He was quite fond of speaking in riddles and metaphors. For instance, in discussing the relationship of Jupiter and Saturn to war, he refers to the square of these two superiors as “The Fortitude of the Sword.” Secrecy was a necessary part of Abu Ma’shār’s astrological practice. He worked for the secular and religious authorities from Egypt to Persia and India. It is to be assumed that he was exposed to or came in contact with secrets, both personal and political in the course of his work. We are not surprised when we read the following anecdote in Lynn Thorndike’s article, Albumasar in Sadan, which is the only biographical treatise ever written about Abu Ma’shār by his student Abu Ṣāʳid Schadsan, which was corrupted into Sadan in Latin.

«Abu Ma’shār said that when a native’s 2nd house is impeded at birth and its ruler also unfortunate, the native never prospers. When asked why he never mentioned this in his writings, he said: “The sage who writes down all he knows is like an empty vessel. Nobody needs him and his reputation declines. He should keep some secrets to himself and communicate them only to his closest friends.»

When you look at the written evidence alone, it is very clear that few, if any Medieval Western or Arabic authors give exhaustive expositions. As Robert Zoller wrote in a yet unpublished article,

“Certain parameters are given (in these texts) and the reader is left to figure out the rest himself. The reader is likely to conclude that none of these authors really knew how to predict. However, two facts mitigate this conclusion: 1) there are numerous reports of astrologers successfully predicting the death of this or that native. 2) The common experience of contemporary practitioners of this Medieval Astrology is that such predictions can, in fact, be made. 3) Errors in prediction can come from numerous causes, but incomplete or faulty knowledge of the proper technique is certainly a cause of error.”

Now these things are true, and for anyone spending any amount of time in these original texts, it becomes very obvious! I appreciate that there are people out there who are not rejecting some of these original concepts but instead are making sincere efforts to use them. However, as has been the case of the last thousand years, the foundations are still not recovered so that often those efforts are much the same as a “craps game” and the odds are very small that we can restore a functioning method by chance alone!

Thus I have to start at the beginning! In order to make heads or tails of these ancients methods, then we have to understand something of the foundation philosophy. In Abu Ma’shār’s case, his methods reflect the basic philosophy that the first thing to appear in universal political and social matters is the prophet and “the law” of the Prophet. Because of changes in ‘religion (philosophy)’ there arise new dynasties and kings.

«Since we have already provided in the first Part the means to know the matters that needed explanation concerning prophets, their Shariahs (Laws), and the like, let us mention, in this second Part, how to know the matters of dynasties and kings, and let us begin in this chapter with how to know the change of dynasty from one nation to another, and to which nation it comes, since the rank of kings follows that of prophets.»

Now the ancients’ use of conjunctions is very much built on this foundation! It was not just any conjunction of Saturn and Jupiter, but it was especially those conjunctions which occurred at the beginning of a shift of the conjunction into a new triplicity. This is where it becomes very difficult. I struggled for a long time with this conception because 1) all of these astrologers used a theoretical conjunction based on the mean motions of these two planets and 2) these ‘mean’ conjunctions do not occur in reality! The whole of these considerations is based entirely on a ‘theoretical’ conjunction! Were they aware of this fact? Absolutely! In the introduction to this chapter On Conjunctions in his text book, Kūšyār Ibn Labbān writes;

«[1] Many people of this art have another method in general judgment. It is by means of the conjunctions of Jupiter and Saturn. The Persians are the wisest of them in their conviction, and the most devoted to bringing together happiness and misfortune through it, according to their claim, from the conjunctions of these two planets. They set in motion each one of Jupiter and Saturn with their mean motion and they lay down the following scheme – the two ‹planets› make twelve conjunctions in each triplicity and sometimes thirteen conjunctions; what is between two conjunctions is roughly twenty years. They fix chronology by it from the conjunction occurring at the beginning of a triplicity to the conjunction occurring at the beginning of another triplicity.

[2] If this method were correct for us, we could spare much trouble in worrying about the equations of the planets and their correction. When there is dependence on the corrected positions of the two ‹planets›, the number of the conjunctions of the two ‹planets› in the triplicities could not be grasped, neither could the days and years which are between the conjunctions nor the ascendant of the time of the conjunction of the two planets be obtained, because of the slowness of their motion and because of the difficulty of inquiring into their conditions which are dependent on precise observation.

[3] Thus they made the ascendant of the year in which the conjunction occurs the ascendant of the conjunction, and they judged what things are caused by the conjunction from this ascendant, just as judgments are made concerning the other things that happen from the ascendants of beginnings of these ‹happenings›. When we are true to ourselves we know that this ascendant is artificial, but we follow the people in their opinion, and we are polite to them in associating ‹with them› and we support them concerning their belief, and we do not think it utterly impossible that a conjunction of the two spheres of the orbs of the epicycles of two has influence in the world. Thus we choose from their sayings what is closer to ‹our› thought and what is more inclined to analogy. »

In this text we’re made to understand a couple of things; first that these astrologers were quite aware of the fact that the physical positions of Jupiter and Saturn had nothing to do with their conceptual positions through their ‘mean’ motions. Second, that the actual degree of the conjunction had nothing to do with the casting of the chart of the conjunction and that they used the ingress chart of the year of the conjunction. In other words, these astrologers willingly and knowingly used an ‘ideal’ conception to make delineations. As I said I had a very hard time coming to terms with this thought. By profession I am a Civil and Structural Engineer. I deal with physical laws and mathematics on a daily basis. For me to accept this conception was certainly a trial for my ‘scientific’ sensitivities. However, come to terms with it I did! The main reason in coming to terms with it was the fact that this is not the only place in astrology where an ‘ideal’ conception lies at the roots of delineation! The zodiac in its beginning and end is an ‘idealised’ conception! The signs are not nicely distributed in handy 30° increments! Aspects between planets are an idealised concept based on the totally natural human attribute of vision. The dwads or dōdekatémoria are 2½° conceptions that idealise the physical relationship of the Suns ‘mean’ motion and the moon’s ‘mean’ motion! The various lots are mathematical constructs based on longitudinal positions and their relationships. So there are many such ‘ideal’ conceptions. All of these things made me realise that perhaps there was a lot more to astrologers like Abu Ma’shār; especially with regards to ‘influence’ of the astrologicals.

A lot of people are going to say that these methods are too complicated and there are too many factors to consider. This has always been the complaint over Abu Ma’shār’s techniques in natal astrology. I’ve heard individuals say if we practiced what he taught it would take months to delineate a chart. First of all that is not true although it cannot be done overnight either. Secondly I marvel that people spend years in educating themselves in secondary schools and universities and if we hear of a doctor, lawyer, engineer or any other professional getting ‘certified’ without that kind of education then we are sceptical about their ability, and for good reason. Yet when it comes to the complexity of delineation, well we so easily accept ‘hobby’ astrology. As an engineer and I am working on a complex building project it takes me weeks to months to calculate the static forces that affect that construction and arrive at a structure that will handle the various forces that affect all buildings. I didn’t learn this as a ‘hobby’. Why people would expect delineation of a natal or mundane chart to be a simple 1-2-3 process when it contains so many relational and proportional elements is beyond me! An individual is a complex being! A society and culture is complex and more importantly the variables that contribute to the rise of cultures, societies and nations and religions are complex. I should expect that the methods of determining outcomes would also reflect to some extent the complexity of the system it describes. I have often marvelled at how similar my profession is to that of an astrologer where we have to demonstrate with the conceptual language of mathematics the relationships existing between so many variable physical factors!

To explain a little of the levels of this complexity with regards to the ancient’s methods of delineation let me try and put it into a schematic but I am going to work backwards from the simplest element. We have the individual and we are told by several of the ancient texts that that individual must be seen in the context of his mundane situation! How can you predict long life and riches to a man whose home is invaded and bombed by a rival nation or ethnic hate or political machinations? The natal delineation must be seen in the context of other greater ‘universals’. This native is a member of a cultural nation. What happens to that nation is predisposed also to ‘greater’ universals.

Steven Birchfield A.M.A.

Some thoughts about malefic and benefic planets

The last Mars / Saturn  conjunction in Sagittarius, on August 24th, 2016, raises some important considerations.

On the same day of the conjunction it happened there was an earthquake in Italy and 240 people were killed.

Here in Brazil the the impeachment trial of President Dilma Rousseff  was initiated by the Senate..

Ordinary people face problems of various kinds, especially those with planets in mutable signs.

In the heavens, most of the planets and luminaries are in Virgo. Virgo is Brazil´s Solar Sign, and the malefics in Sagittarius happen to be on the MC of this country.

Dilma Rousseff, who withdrew from the Presidency, has Mars in Virgo at 4 degrees, the Sun in Sagittarius at 25 degrees, Jupiter and Mercury at 11º and 10º. The malefic conjunction is activating  these points defiantly.

We can imagine that the Senate vote will not be  positive for the president.


grande conjunção Marte SaturnoI’m reminded of Steven Birtchfield´s words, when he wrote of the Zodiac as “living signs”

I consider it a very appropriate expression and we can observe that in heavens Sagittarius and all double signs are suffering, and the reflection of this is the situation in earth.The universe is a living organism and if one of its parts suffers, the whole body suffers.


Mundane occurrences depend on each natal chart and on the ruler ship of each planet in the signs.

But what strikes me is that we should keep in mind a reorientation.

The allocation off benefic and malefic planets comes  down to us from the Babylonians. However, there are features that go beyond the benefics bringing good things in life and malefics bringing bad experiences.

If we take a malefic and observe how he exercises his malfeasance, we tend to think that it is so called because of causing harmful things in our world. The real evil characteristic of the planet, however, rests in the fact that he treats other planets badly and such treatment, by synchronicity, reflects in our world.

Indirectly the malefic qualities belonging to Saturn and Mars translates into bad events that occur to humans, but in the first instance is the  war in heavens the responsible factor. The opposite effect is caused by the benefics, which treat well and benefit the other planets.

In a way, the idea that planetary relations should be seen from a heavenly point of view and not from the human point of view should always be remembered.

This is a focus  that we must get used to.

Explaining better we can reach the difference between benefics and malefics not because of a human perspective, but because in the first place, the living planets are suffering,  and this is caused by Saturn and Mars, squaring Virgo, afflicting the Sun and the Moon,( at least in the conjunction chart for Brazil), squaring the Nodes and all the planets in Virgo. The living creatures are suffering because Mars and Saturn are malefics, and their suffering causes tragedies on earth, but the point is to give light on WHY a planet is said to be malefic, and the answer is that it is because he cause war in heavens.

Clélia Romano, DMA     August 2016



 A  handy table constructed by Clélia Romano   

         according to  W.Lilly Teachings[i]

  Dedicated to my friends and partners

   Steven Birchfield and Peter Clark


       NO Means false

        YES Means true


1– Lord of the ASC in an angle
YES              NO

2– Moon in an angle

YES              NO

3– Dispositor of the Moon in an Angle

YES              NO

4– The dispositor of the Moon in a fixed sign.
YES              NO

5-Moon in a fixed sign?

YES              NO

6 -Moon in fixed Signes, separating from the infortunes and applying to a fortunate Planet, placed in any Angle

YES for a good rumor      NO for bad ones

7-Mercury separating from the an infortune and applying to a fortunate Planet, placed in any Angle

YES for a good rumors       NO for bad ones

8.Lord of the ASC is in a fixed sign?

YES              NO

9-Moon is in a sucedant house?

YES             NO

10- Moon in good aspect with the fortunate Planets, Sextile or trine of Jupiter, Venus or Sun?

YES ( for the good rumors    NO for bad ones

11-Lord of the ASC is in a sucedent house?

YES              NO

12– Lord of the Asc in good aspect with the fortunate Planets, Sextile or trine of Jupiter, Venus or Sun?

YES for good rumors             NO for bad rumors

13– Lord Of ASC, afflicted by the infortunes

YES              NO
14-Moon cadent in house (even if strong in the sign)

YES              NO

15– Lord of the Asc. is cadent in house (even if strong in the sign)

YES              NO

16– There are some malefic sitiated in the third of rumors?

YES              NO

17– Third house Lord afflict by malefic

YES              NO



                     NO Means false

                   YES  Means true



1– Are the angles of the figure in fixed signs?

YES               NO

2 Are the angles of the 4th and of the 10th in fixed signs?

YES               NO

3 Third house Lord is in the 3rd?

YES               NO

4 Third house´s lord is in a fixed sign?

YES               NO

5: Are the Angles of the 4th and of the 10th in fixed signs and the Moon is received in them?
YES               NO



[i] Instruction to use the Table: You have to print it and compare your chart according with each one of the questions above, underlying the answer for each one. After sum up the Columns saying YES and the columns saying NO.

You might compare with the last complementary table to check out your conclusions.

The Native´s Profession According to Medieval Authors

tradeswork1HansMed Beekeeper L_tcm4-566169

This article is a summary of a chapter of my 2nd book, The Practice of Traditional Astrology that deals with the native´s profession. Since the book is not being translated into English I think it would be useful to summarize it here.

Aside that, I have at this time some charts that are not apparently easy to delineate and I want to show that the medieval instructions if well studied can delineate them.

Please refer to Stefen Birtchfield´s article on this same blog, because I will not repeat the same considerations he made and it is important to take them into account.

So in this article we will focus especially on the native profession, the work,

duties and their strength and power to perform actions in the world.

The delineation of the native’s profession according to Medieval sources which will be addressed here reveals a skill that is the native backdrop for a lifetime.

To outline the type of profession that appears in the natal chart following the Medieval technique is quite different from the simplification that occurred in astrology in modern times.

Nowadays if you just outline the ruler of the MC and see if there are planets aspecting this place, people can talk about the profession, when in fact the Medieval procedure is much more complex.

Delineating the ruler of the 10th house and the planets in aspect to it is only part of one of the techniques, a second choice.

Guido Bonatti gives attention mainly   to   the   rising sign not only because it is the   most important house   of the chart,   but   also because   the Ascendant   can show whether the native has the corresponding body to perform some kind of work.

For example, a warrior or a weight charger must have an Ascendant pointing to the necessary body structure to carry out such tasks. Everything must be connected , as the temperament and the primary motivation, until we get to the correct significator.

The chart should be read in conjunction in order to reach some exact point that is the way through which the native will express himself or herself professionally.

In practice we have to determine whether the native conformation of body is masculine, feminine or neutral, if the temperament is mental, emotional, or vital, just as Stefen Birtchfield have observed.

We will not address to these issues here, but just remember that they provide important information.

Bonatti tells us to use the Ascendant in the first place: if there is a planet   there, it should   be used as a significator   of the native ‘s profession. If there are no planets in the first house, we have to look at the 10th house and if there is a planet there it must be considered in relation to the native´s profession as well.

If we do not find planets in the first house or in the 10th house, we look to the fourth house and the seventh house. Planets in 7th house mean that the native has several small jobs or is employed sometimes and not regularly, and his profession is not solid. The 4th House is considered stronger   than   the   seventh   if we are   looking   for   the   professional significator.

So if we have planets in angles we can use them to evaluate and discover the native’s professional choice.

Bonatti says that if there are planets in these four angles we have to make an Almuten of these angles and observe if this planet has dignity in the

10th house as lord of domicile, exaltation, triplicity or term.

If the significator is eastern to the Sun and western in relation to the Moon it strengthens it, but if it does not happen, we still can use it, but it is weaker.

The next step is if no planet was found so far.

In this case we have to observe the planet to whom the Moon will first apply after the SAN, if the nativity is diurnal and if the nativity is nocturnal we have to observe the first planet that will join to the Part of Fortune.

Note also that a planet   can be used if it is coming out of the Sun’s rays,

but further away, no more than 20 degrees, especially if this planet is

Mars, Mercury or Venus .

Notice if this planet or any planet which is in the angles is aspecting the


This initial list points to the fact that there are several positions   that are able to indicate a planet as professional significator and if we find a planet with two of these conditions we can use it as the professional significator.

Reviewing what you should consider:

1-   Planet in the 1st or 10th house or in the angles (use whole signs, according to Bonatti ) .

2 – If the planet is eastern   to the Sun and aspects the Moon it has preference.

3 – If it is the first planet aspecting the SAN in a diurnal nativity or the

Part of Fortune in a nocturnal nativity.

4- If a planet is coming out of the sun’s rays, no farther than 20º.

5 – If a planet is eastern to the Sun in a diurnal nativity or western to the

Moon in a nocturnal nativity.

When we find a planet with one of these conditions we should consider it, and outline the native ‘s profession from it , especially if it is Mercury, Venus or Mars and if it has any dignity in the 10th House .

The dignity of face or decan is very weak and is not used.

If one of the three mentioned planets are in aspect to the Sun and Moon ,or even more strongly, if a reception is intervening, means that the native will have a profession and a job , will go ahead and will use it with ease, and the profession will be able to give him enough financial resources.

If we have more of one professional significator, we have to chose the one with more dignity in the place where it is in.

When the chart do not meet any of these conditions and in a diurnal nativity and there   is no planets   aspecting   the Sun or if we are   dealing with a nocturnal nativity and there is no planets aspecting the Moon, or if the Moon is not linked to any planet, the professional significator must be sought by looking to the planet from which the Moon was separated recently or from the master of the house where the Part of Fortune is located or from the one which fits best.

If the planet   that resulted   from all this study is fortunate, in good

condition and even more if it is aspected friendly by Mercury, it means that the native will be good at his profession, versed in the science of numbers and writing or mechanical work, and has good intellect and progress in his professional life.

If Saturn is making a nice aspect to this planet and is in good condition and well prepared, it means that the native can benefit from farmlands and plantations and if Saturn aspects it from the tenth house means that the native will rise to large regencies and responsibilities , but with lots of hard work .

If Jupiter is aspecting the professional planet or if reception intervenes it means that the native will be honest and wise, or a writer, and will rise and live with princes, kings and great men.

If Mars is aspecting the significator or if he is itself the significator it indicates that the native is prone to medicine and surgery, but also to theology and will have a mind that will be applied without difficulty to these things and he will be smart and resourceful.

According to Masha’allah (The Book of Aristotle, translated by Benjamin Dykes, we read that if the Ascendant gives signs of a blind native he will be deprived of having a profession.

In addition   , we should   pay attention to some important points   to disentangle the native profession:

1 – Venus, Mercury and Mars are important because they rule crafts.

2 – The application of the New or Full Moon before the Nativity of these three planets should be considered.

3 – The orientality or westernization of the three planets should   be

considered .

4 – The local of the Part of Kingship   should   be considered. This Part is constructed from Mercury to Mars by day and the result is added to the Ascendant   (ASC + Mars-Mercury) and   from   Mars to   Mercury   in nocturnal nativities (ASC +Mercury-Mars).

5 – The nature of the signs in which the three planets are must be considered.

6 – Consider the angles and planets in them: Ascendant, 10th, 7th house and 4h house.

7 – Consider the signs after the angles and also the sixth sign, as said by

Abu Bakr based in Paul of Alexandria and Rethorius .

Ptolemy, Dorotheus and Hephaistio have prioritized the 10th house, the 4th house and the Ascendant plus the location of the Lot of Fortune checking if Mercury, Venus or Mars was in one of those places . If is not the case, they recommend to look if one of these three was near to the Moon or to the Sun, and if you do not find any planet able to give professions, they warned to observe the sixth house and then the second.

Traditional sources used to   delineate   the native ‘s profession took into account Venus, Mercury and Mars, their houses and terms or whether they were Eastern or Western, or if they are aspected by benefics or harmful planets. The authors took into consideration also the Lot of Work   or   Kingship,   verifying if its ruler   was configured   to Venus, Mercury and Mars .

If Venus , Mercury and Mars are not aspecting the Ascendant or the Midhaeven the native would not have skill or profession.

Masha’allah however has considered Jupiter and Saturn as professional significators. My opinion is that they can bring a new dimension to the profession.

The greatest glories would be coming from the position in angles and the

orientality or westernization of the planet .

The beneficial planets indicate luck and wealth and the evil ones threaten with poverty and starvation.

Abu Bakr said the following, ” The ancients did not concede dominion over the profession other than to 3 planets (Venus , Mercury and Mars ) , and rightly so, because Saturn, Jupiter , the Sun and Moon do not mean professions without the partnership of these planets . The Sun which means royalty and kings , high officials and traders that have slaves below them, so they themselves take care of the king. Saturn is the master of laziness, greed , weight, madness and sadness and so if Saturn is peregrine in the nativity   without a good aspect of the 3 planets that signify professions or if he is aspecting badly that three planets , the native will suffer injuries and be disapproved because of his profession and he will not seek rest for his sake , but because of his misery , and if some planet is helped by Saturn in a powerful aspect , the native can still work the land , channel fill , bury the dead and move from place to place or work in fields and vineyards as a slave miserable or doing trade.

Since that Jupiter is the lord of religion and prayer and so, if he is without the help of other which give professions in certain nativity , that means that the native will be freed from secular things and will mediate those things between God and men, and will let the world behind and will have a poor life.

The Moon is the lady of weakness, fast, light and of low intellect response and his great work is to come and go. It means working with your hands and feet and this according to the reception and respect to the other three planets. If the Moon is not fortunate in a nativity the native will move without good fruits, and if it is strong it means carrying luggage and heavy things or working with the hands. Furthermore, it indicates those who bring discord among others for doing gossip”.


Therefore, Jupiter, Sun, Moon and Saturn are not themselves indicators of professions, each one for a reason, but they can give to the profession a special feature insofar the professional significator was in aspect with them and in good or bad condition, fortunate or not, or if mutual reception intervenes.

To discover the professional significator can be one of the most difficult tasks in astrology.

It often deceive us , because if the significator was for example , Mars , which represent warriors , was close to a star of the nature of Mercury , the native may make war with words. The same if Mars is in water sign and is aspected by Mercury.

Abu Bakr follows Rethorius and Paulus and says that the quality of the significator will reduce or give potential to the profession.

Now I´ll show you two charts , one from a sculptor and the other from a singer;


We do not see Mercury, Venus and Mars in angles. But Rodin, a very important sculptor has Mars in the same sign that the Fortune. So we must look at Mars as a potential significator. Mercury receives it by domicile.

We see also that Mercury is conjunct Venus, in the Fortune´s 4th house, so angular to the Fortune.

The MC domicile master is Venus and if we consider the point of Midheaven we observe that Mars is its domicile lord.

The Asc. is in a earth sign, showing that the primary motivation is the material security.

Mars is the exaltation lord of the Asc. and the lord of the domicile of the Sun: and we are dealing with a diurnal chart.

Creating form in the formless world was the way that the native used to perform his mastership and he was fully recognized by it. We can imagine how much strength someone must have to create a human figure out from a stone.

It not easy to delineate the native´s profession from this chart, but using the Medieval techniques the chart becomes very clear.

George Michael

The chart above pertains to the nativity of George Michael , an English singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer. Michael rose to superstar, one of the world’s best-selling music artists.

We see the same aspect that we saw in Rodin´s chart, but like a mirrored chart.

The result is the same: fame and money. But this time the Asc is Cancer, which has as primary motivations the necessity of emotional security.

Mars is in the same sign of the Fortune and Mercury and Venus are in the 10th from the Fortune. His temperament is much more sanguine than Rodin´s, which was mostly melancholic.

Both charts shows how important is to look at the Part of Fortune always and especially when we are dealing with the professional significator, one of the most difficult tasks.

At first I thought that the success of George Michael was due to the Sun, in a diurnal chart, having Jupiter and Saturn in masculine signs , working as doriphories, but it is much more plausible that the explanation of his profession stands on the Fortune and the planets angular to them.

We can say that the life of George Michael was easier than the Rodin´s life, and that Rodin´s profession was much harder and heavy, due the hard aspect between Venus and Saturn.

Clélia Romano,DMA

After the Apple Incident

Lucas Cranach -  Der Garten Eden

Lucas Cranach – Der Garten Eden

There was a comment left by one of my readers remarking on the fact that phenomena such as eclipses and comets are invariably seen as negative events or even evil ones. There is a reason for this, and for good or bad, it is something with which every traditional astrologer needs to make their peace. The topic could easily fill many volumes (and does) but it can also be told quite simply for our immediate purposes. This article is likely to pose as many questions as it answers, but I have tried to show various avenues of inquiry for further research.

Since Eve ate apples, the stars have been far less friendly.  John Milton’s epic poem, Paradise Lost provides us with more than one passage about how the stars were turned, but the followed encapsulates it all very well. The post lapsarian cosmology comes into being immediately after the apple incident:

While the Creator, calling forth by name
His mighty Angels, gave them several charge,
As sorted best with present things. The Sun
Had first his precept so to move, so shine,
As might affect the Earth with cold and heat
Scarce tolerable, and from the north to call
Decrepit winter, from the south to bring
Solstitial summer’s heat. To the blanc Moon
Her office they prescribed; to the other five
Their planetary motions and aspects,
In sextile, square, and trine, and opposite,
Of noxious efficacy, and when to join
In synod unbenign; and taught the fixed
Their influence malignant when to shower—
Which of them, rising with the Sun or falling,
Should prove tempestuous. To the winds they set
Their corners, when with bluster to confound
Sea, air, and shore; the thunder when to roll
With terror through the dark aerial hall.

(From Paradise Lost  Book 10.).

Uriel with Sword of Fire by Walter Huacac Santa Cruz

Uriel with Sword of Fire by Walter Huacac Santa Cruz

The Fall changed all of creation, not just humanity After Adam and Eve were forced out of Paradise, an angel with a flaming sword guards the east and the Tree of Life with a flaming sword. This of course mirrors the new celestial restrictions. Adam and Eve. cannot return to the Garden – they must move forward into the world. The stars can still guide them in more ways than one, but they are now, as it were, the flaming swords protecting access to the Empireum.

After the Fall, humanity is in the Sub lunary Sphere and the seven spheres are bounded by the greater malefic. It is no coincidence that Saturn is associated with obstacles and limitations. Beyond Saturn are the Fixed Stars. He will not allow an easy passage. Existence in the the Sub – lunary sphere is subject to corruption, generation and delusions of all kinds The sphere is comprised of the four classical elements.

Buddhists would refer to this state of consciousness as Avidyā, symbolized by a person who is blind or wearing a blindfold.  It is ignore – ance in its true senseIn this state, we are  unaware of our true nature. Plato’s Allegory of the Cave where the cave dwellers believe the shadow play before them to be the real thing and in fact all there is. The one who unchains himself to turn toward the light of the Sun, outside of the cave. Essentially, you will remain in a state of illusion until you cast off the mind forged manacles.

There are many traditions that seek to win the Celestial Garden, such as Cabala, Hermeticism, Neo-Platonism and of course the Christian and Jewish faiths themselves, At the risk of over simplifying, these paths all strive for enlightenment and the Buddha tells us that the Enlightened don’t need astrology because they are no longer subject to cause and effect. All major religions and a good many philosophies subscribe to the belief, either stated or employed. Plato’s Doctrine of the Forms is very illuminating and will perhaps make a good starting point in understanding the traditional cosmology.

Ptolemaic cosmology diagram, showing stars as 8th sphere, and transcendent prime mover as 9th

Ptolemaic cosmology diagram, showing stars as 8th sphere, and transcendent prime mover as 9th

Islam rejects the notion of a Fall in the sense of original sin, but a Celestial Garden is the reward of the pious amd Adam and Eve lived in the Garden if Eden; the departure from the other Abrahamic religions in that Islam inteprets Adam as a prophet.

Stars play more than one role in Islam. Allah is referred to  as “He Who is the Lord of Sirius, “(Qur’an, 53: 49) while the Kaaba is oriented with Canopus and has a meteorite that is the stuff of pilgrimage. Modern Muslims tend to think that the reading of stars is shirk (attributing a partner to God,) by considering that the planets and luminaries compel us to act.  Essentially the same complaint was made by many Christians and for the same reason.

The history of Islam and its impact on traditional Western astrology is immense and the art is supported by the Qu’ran according to Muslims with whom I have spoken. There are two surahs that come to mind, but there are many more: “It is He Who maketh the stars (as beacons) for you, that ye may guide yourselves, with their help, through the dark spaces of land and sea: We detail Our signs for people who know. (Surah Al-An‘am, 97) ” This can be read to mean guidance of many types, including astrological.

Four_Angels guardian

Four Guardian Angels -Islamic

The second is this one : “He has made subject to you the Night and the Day; the sun and the moon; and the stars are in subjection by His Command: verily in this are Signs for men who are wise. (Surah An-Nahl, 12)” It is important to note that not only did Islamic scholars serve as conduits of Greek thought, including Hellenistic, but Middle Eastern traditions as well, such as Pre-Islamic Arabian and Persian, Almost all the star names we use are either Arabic or Persian. It is almost certain that Islamic astrologers were also exposed to Indian astrology. Our astrological roots are very deep, various and rich.

Furthermore, in all of these traditions there is a strong sense of having lost, or not yet attained, Paradise. Spiritual progress requires work ever since the Fall however one sees that and  to whatever metaphorical degree of understanding. The core trope is ubiquitous.

Finally the Yusuf Ali translation of 67:5 in the Qu’ran. we read: “And we have, (from of old), adorned the lowest heaven with Lamps, and We have made such (Lamps) (as) missiles to drive away the Evil Ones, and have prepared for them the Penalty of the Blazing Fire.” The evil ones are usually referred to as Jinn or “shaytans” in the plural. The former can be good or evil and are spirits of smokeless fire.  They are invisible unless they chose to be and live thousands of years. The “missiles” are commonly regarded as meteorites or comets, but also associated with the stars themselves who serve as guides and guardians.

Whether we look to Platonic myth of the Creation and Fall, the Mythos of the ‘people of the Book,’ and all major religions and most minor ones as well, there is the same theme: Creation in an ideal state which (ironically) cannot be sustained, a ‘fall from grace’ which includes all of creation and the promise of something far better than Eden. But it is conditional. Even the stars protect the inner sanctum, as it were, as well as the corresponding celestial realms – the microcosm and the macrocosm.

Islamic Eden

Islamic Eden

We could well argue that the mythos described is not literally true at all – perhaps even childish – but it has endured cross culturally for thousands of years. This may say something about the human mind or the nature of reality. Perhaps they are the same thing.  After all, cosmologies are a way to make things make sense and they remain more or less intact even before  our experiences reinforce them,

Of all the Fixed Stars used in astrology, only a handful promise good fortune. Among these are Spica, Canopus and others, but discernment is required to fully realize the benefits. It also makes a great deal of difference whether the star is ascending, culminating, setting and other considerations.

The Royal Stars of Persia, the guardians of the directions,  are all powerful, but their great benefits can only be realized by meeting certain conditions. If these are not met, they can become harbingers of very bad tidings indeed. If one is going to enjoy the blessings of Regulus, for example, one must avoid revenge or any of the lower impulses. One’s character must be equal to the task of nobility.

The Royal Stars each have an angel assigned to them as protectors of the directions . Regulus is associated with the healing Archangel Raphael, the watcher of the North. Fomalhaut, is identified with the Archangel Gabriel, the watcher of the South. Aldebaran is assigned the Archangel Michael, the watcher of the East.; to Antares, the Archangel Oriel, the watcher of the West.

This merely an expansion or extrapolation of the archetypal myth of creation, its fall and the goal of realization after traversing the spheres. Just like the conditional nature of the Royal Stars, the ascent causes the malefics to lose their power thus elevating us to a higher version of the Garden.

The simple point, easily missed, is that we cannot ignore the cosmology that lead to the astrology we practise. It is not crucial to understand it literally at all, but neither can we neglect such a powerful archetypal system.

The stars can be guides to us, but we must not lose sight of the ultimate goal. The Neo Pythagorean schema below provides a heightened knowledge of the spheres insofar as it offers ways in which we can actively participate in the harmonies of the spheres.


The Music of the Spheres. Shown in this engraving from Renaissance Italy are Apollo, the Muses, the planetary spheres and musical ratios.