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

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.

Mars, bloodthirsty and brave

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Nocturnal, irregular, a wanderer of the heavens, masculine, maleficent, hot, has an affinity with that which is public, be it prostitution, carnage; impulsiveness hanging on to war and infections. In the body, it rules especially the head.

In the natal chart, if it occupies an angle, or looks to the ascendant or has to do to key points like the Lot of Fortune, or if it is in its exaltation or domicile, it can add a positive point to counteract its evil: it confers the ability to react and fight, not surrender or conform, if the native is in an adverse situation.

As the Brazilian song goes: evil can be good and good can be cruelty.

Even in fall, if his mundane situation is angular, in spite of immense fears, the native is led to react and not to conform. This I have seen in my experience.

There is hardly a good thing to be heard about Mars, a true malefic that comes to break and destroy abruptly whatever it may be, whether it is exalted or in regency, in fall or detriment, whether in mundane or personal affairs.

But sometimes it is the only one responsible for making crucial and fast decisions.

It occurred to me these days, when Mars sailed for Scorpio, to watch a series of rather painful films, where people were locked up and abused for years, to an unbearable point. Even freed from gags and handcuffs, the will was broken and they do not escape. Other characters, in equally scary movies, in an act of courage, even accepting the loss of a member, were freed from the bonds.

I should probably watch lighter movies, which would require me less courage to go to the end. I agree, but Mars transits Scorpio, his nocturnal sign, and no doubt there was a synastry.

Even the fact that I am writing now on the subject is not a random fact and is related to this passage.

I went to the Astrodatabank © list of charts that I own and had used the filter of abducted people who suffered violence.

But I soon realized that in order to find Mars in an important position, I should look for examples of courage rather than victimization.

I found thousands of charts, of which I selected two, for no particularly important reason. The native’s stories were one of courage and I thought they would serve the purpose.

We will see these charts and I expect that the delineation will give us greater clarification on the role of Mars.

This is the first chart:

colocar ISCA 2

 

François Achille Bazaine (February 13, 1811 – September 23, 1888) was an officer of the French army.

Rising from a position for decades of service (including 35 years in campaigns, under Louis-Philippe and then Napoleon III, held all positions in the army.

He became known for his determination of leadership, for his impassive bearing under fire and for his personal bravery, getting to be bruised, which resulted in injuries on several occasions and had his horse shot from under him twice.

From 1863 he became a Marshal of France, and it was in this role that he delivered the last French army organized to Prussia during the Franco-Prussian War, during the siege of Metz.

They gave him an impossible task: to defeat a powerful enemy force, without support or supplies. He was able to engage them for 54 days, resulting in thier surrender.

He was sentenced to death by the government of the Third Republic, which declared that he yielded hastily and without due honor. He was tried by the Martial Court and sentenced to death.

But the president commuted his sentence to 20 years in prison in exile, from which he escaped.

He finally settled in Spain, where he died at 77 years old, alone and impoverished.

For the Foreign Legion he remained a hero and to this day is honored as one of its bravest soldiers.

Notice now that the astrological chart shows no angular planet.

If we did not use the Lot of Fortune as a second ascendant, the chart would be totally puzzling, a real enigma.

But, from the Lot of Fortune in House 9, using it now as House 1, Mars occupies the 10th House in relation to Fortune.

We can see that the domiciled Mars generated the profession of the native and his destiny. The ruler of Fortune is Jupiter in house 12, and it rules Saturn in the 7th house, the declared enemies, that is, the heavy sentence to which the native was submitted by his peers, the Martial Court.

 

Interestingly, exile, being away from home, in another country, from where he escaped, has a connection to house 9, where Fortuna is located.

 

But returning to Mars, domiciliated and below the sky in a daytime nativity, in haym, is squaring the Sun, the source of life in a daytime birth. That is why even Mars in good condition fails to do evil, soon or later.

 

The Sun ruler of sect lies in its joy, in the 9th house, but it is in its detriment, so in bad celestial condition, besides being afflicted by Mars.

By analyzing the chart we may see beforehand that something would go wrong. This hero was not only a hero, he killed many people even in the name of the motherland.

And when Mars is so prominent its sword is double-edged.

 

 

The second hero I will introduce is Jacques Lusseyran.

 

ISCA1

He was a fighter of the French resistance.
He was an active and happy child that became blind at the age of eight, on May 3, 1932, after accidentally hitting his head on a table.

He made school and college in Braille in Paris, maintaining his love for life and inner joy. He decided to study German when he sensed Hitler’s threat.

In 1943, as a teenager, he joined a group of young people, leading them to the Resistance Movement. Soon he joined a larger network and had his own newspaper, the Defense of France.

The edition of July 14, 1943, was printed in 250,000 copies (he also wrote the editorial). The transmission passed from the door-to-door distribution system to the open transmission, the exit of the churches or even to the subway.

Despite his disability, he quickly played an important role in the movement. During the first few months, he was responsible for controlling the recruitment of new members, using an inner sense, developed since he became blind, which allowed him to detect false pretensions in unknown interlocutors.

Betrayed, he was delivered to the Nazis, being arrested on July 19, 1943, being moved to a concentration camp. Among 2000 French in the same condition he was one of 30 who survived.

His survival is due, on the one hand, to the fact that he was involved as an interpreter by the Nazi camp administration, not having to suffer the terribly hard work of the “kommandos” of the work, but he was also helped daily by other prisoners because of his blindness.

Finally, according to what he reports in his books “The World Begins Today” and “The Light in the Dark” he felt supported by his spiritual strength which he claims to be present at all times.

His knowledge of German allowed him to understand and decrypt the information transmitted by the SS on the field loudspeakers. On August 26, 1944, he was certain that Paris had been released, although this was obviously not explicit.

On April 9, 1945, the US Army of General Patton arrived in the Weimar area. On the 10th, when the SS gave him the choice between staying at the camp or going out with them, he decided to stay. After a day of uncertainty, the field was released.
On April 18, 1945, he emigrated to the US and worked as a university professor in America, married and had four children.

He died in a car accident along with his third wife Marie, in France on July 27, 1971.

Analyzing the chart from the point of view of the contribution of Mars, we see that it is set to the South Node, which represents a great bad fortune in everything that concerns Mars. In addition, Mars squares the Ascendant and is angular if we use whole signs.

This man was wounded in the head and suffered a severe injury that in his childhood made him blind.

Now see: Mars has dignity in the ascendant, who receives Mars in his house as regent. It is worth quoting Masha’allah in his book On Reception: “When the ruler of life receives the ruler of Death there is death” Mars is not the ruler of the house of death but is a malefic. What happened is that the native did not revolt with his blindness: he accepted the designs of Mars and moved on.

Mercury provided a fruitful intellectuality and ability to express himself well, to learn and to write. A prodigious mind is revealed by Mercury occupying the house of the Good Spirit, far from the Sun and joined to the true MC: he was a writer and not a warrior.

What I found interesting in this chart is that we do not find bloody heroism, but the native’s acceptance of fate. In the end, the damage from Mars saved him effort and perhaps his life, because if he could see, he could have been killed in the concentration camp. A lord received in his own home is well treated, or the best possible. But we have to consider that receiving Mars in his own home is to receive a troublemaker and a thug.

In fact, our native died in an automobile disaster, a typically martial event.

What we see is that the maleficent Mars can be of assistance to tasks that require courage and they go beyond the war. But, Mars will always leave its mark of blood, like a fierce and hungry carnivore.

May we know how to use the beast that the cosmos has placed in our chart, may us try to understand it, and finally may us know that in the end we are not able to domesticate it once and for all.

Clélia Romano,DMA                 February 2018

Songs from the Gathas – Removing Spells & Illness

A Persian Zoroastrian King and his young son, Salmân al-Fârisî, enter a fire temple administered by three priests,

This is another of those topics which deserve a lengthy article, but for now, a blog entry will have to suffice as an introduction to a highly complex topic. The video, shown below, was made available on YouTube by a Zoroastrian gentleman who has an extraordinary channel at Fereydoun Rasti Zoroastrianism & Iran If this material interests you, I heartily recommend looking through the extensive archives of videos. 

I posted this rather lengthy video because it uses the Zoroastrian scriptures known as the Gathas. The similarity to the Vedic word Gita (song) is no accident: Maneckji Nusservanji Dhalla states that “It is an uncontested fact that there is a marked closeness between the grammar, meter, and style of the Rig Veda and the Gathas.” (History of Zoroastrianism p11).. The power of words is emphasized in both and the verses are meant to be sung, as the title suggests.

Zoroastrianism posits, quite sensibly in my estimation, that this world is in a battle between good and evil. There are no specific scriptural comments on astrology per se in the Gatha period at least, but astrology certainly became an important element of Persian beliefs. It was already ubiquitous. Zoroastrianism is not known as a superstitious religion. It is widely believed that Zoroaster was a priest and a prophet, associated with the Magi. He is considered a magician in the true sense.

The creator, Ahura Mazda, has always affected human reasoning and therefore actions. The aim is to reveal to humanity their innate connection to the source of light and consciousness. It should come as no surprise that Zoroastrianism was the impetus and source of Mahayana Buddhism.

There is also an angelology – the idea of celestial forces that could be called upon.  Ahura Mazda is ineffable.  The point for our immediate concerns are that the Gathas were sung for devotional reasons and also used to mitigate or cast out what were considered evil forces, including common illnesses. This cosmology lends itself very well to an astrological framework, but not one in which the planets or angels had a will of their own, as it were. We come back to the to the question as to whether the stars impel or compel us. The creed of Zoroastrianism comes down to “good thoughts, good speech, and good action..” With this thing in mind the practise of singing the Gathas, we find that this is more a practical application of divine principles than superstition.

The counterpart to Ahura Mazda is Angra Mainyu also known as the “evil spirit.” This dark manifestation is ultimately set to be destroyed according to Zoroastrian eschatology  In the meantime, the kinds of practises described in the video presentation are regarded as wise and efficacious, much in the way a Hindu or Buddhist might consider a mantra. We don’t consider the practise of such things as being indicative of superstitious minds and certainly neither do those employing these remedies. This is the source of confusion for many when being introduced to the Good Religion, as it is frequently called. A Monotheistic faith that recognizes dual forces of light and darkness within that wholeness is actually a fair and apt description of life.

 

The study of ancient and classical astrology inevitably including spending a great deal of time on the history, culture and particularly the religion of ancient Persia. There are several reasons for this, but the primary one can be realized immediately by the strategic location of a land that once included most of what is now Afghanistan and beyond. She borders India and the Sik Road to China, promoting trade and the exchange of ideas. Moreover, she also bordered and later ruled Babylon, Assyria, and Sumeria.

The capturing of Babylon also include the liberation of the Jews by Darius, who went further and paid to gave the temple re-built. darius forbid the use of slaves.  Later on, Persia was conquered by Alexander the Great, whose teacher was no less than Aristotle, Alexander’s conquest of Asia was a bloody affair and many scholars and written material were lost forever when he set the torch to Persepolis, burning the city to the ground amongst an orgy of violence, in spite of the fact that the inhabitants have surrendered. That was one of the best cases that have ever been made against the excessive abuse of alcohol in decision making in all of history.

Even the most unjustly founded empires do in fact has some advantages and this is very much the case in the transmission of knowledge. The Hellenistic world united Greece with Egypt and  Persia with both. The School of Alexandria was among the greatest venues for shared knowledge, from Hindu astronomers and astrologers, Buddhists, Pythagorean, numerous Solar religions, Neo-Platonists, devotees of Isis, Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians. This place of extraordinary learning was to meet its own demise under the Muslim invasions.

It’s a Persian, Indian and Greek alchemy that produced what we now call Hellenistic astrology. But that is only the beginning.

Astrology of the Bubonic Plague

(Detail() Triumph of Death fresco, circa 1448; Palazzo Abatellis, Palermo, Italy. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Not long after the Vernal Equinox of 1348 King Philip VI ordered a report on the causes of the Bubonic Plague from the University of Paris Faculty of Medicine. The response came by way of an astrological explanation. If the cause was understood, a cure might be found. The Faculty pointed to a chart for 1.00 pm 20 March 1345 there was a conjunction of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars in the House of Aquarius. Moreover, there had been a significant Lunar Eclipse on March 18 at 9:38 pm.

There is another chart of great importance in this matter. It’s the Solar Revolution for the year that the first known strains of the Black Death made landfall in Byzantium and spread rapidly throughout the eastern Empire, killing 100,000 people a year. At this time the Empire contained the lands on the Mediterranean coast and stretched far into the heartland of Europe. The plague went as far as Denmark and Ireland, ultimately killing about half the population of Europe. The Emperor Justinian contracted the disease in Constantinople but miraculously survived.

Byzantium frequently imported large amounts of grain from Egypt. The shipments became infested with vermin, who in term carried fleas infected with the plague. It has been suggested that the Plague was a Pandemic originating in China at a time unknown. It is not certain however that it was the same strain, In light of this, our focus is on the European experience.

The Byzantine historian Procopius first reported the epidemic in AD 541 from the port of Pelusium, near Suez in Egypt (Wade, 2010). We are not given a date. The chart is set for 0°Aries at Suez, constituting a Solar Revolution.

First of all, a quick word about the symptoms of the Plague.

Plagues have been the result of various forms of Human y pestis infection, taking three main forms pneumonic, septicemic, and the notorious bubonic plagues. See Ryan KJ, Ray CG (2004). Sherris Medical Microbiology (4th ed.). pp. 484–488.

At first glance, we can see the Byzantium Chart is not good, but perhaps not bad enough to signify what we are looking at. However, we have Saturn in Martian Scorpio in Partile conjunction to the Ascendant. His dispositor is in the Eighth House of Death.

Mars is also conjunct the South Node and Almuten of the chart as well as the Ascendant, adding considerable strength to the malefics. Mars is the Killing Planet. The angles are in Fixed Signs lending more power and longevity to the influences.

Less obvious is Venus in her domicile in Taurus.  In most cases, this is a good placement for her. However, she is exactly conjunct the highly malefic Fixed Star, Algol named by the Chinese as ‘piled up corpses’ and by others as losing one’s head. as in decapitation or madness. The deaths were so numerous that the corpses were literally piled up.

You could say that Venus is a devil in disguise. She is in Hayz and Lady of the Year.  She is also Lord of the two most unfortunate houses, the Twelfth and the Sixth. Mercury is in his Fall and disposits Mars and Moon in the Eighth without benefit. However, he is in the fruitful sign of Pisces. It seems that everything is conspiring to ensure this Plague has all it needs to spread without hindrance.

The Ascendant is the only candidate for Hyleg. Being in a malefic sign and conjunct another, this is dire indeed. The humour of the chart is an airy sanguine, warm and wet. So what is promised by other elements of the chart has the advantage of the best conditions for the Plague to thrive. If it was too hot or cold and dry, it would have been arrested. The Piscean Mercury is Lord of the Eighth House, brings more wetness that only serves to spread the contagion

 

Let’s now consider the  Eclipse chart referred to by the astrologers from the Faculty of Medicine. The chart is for Paris, France. 18 March 1345 at 9:38 pm. There are some similarities between this and the previous chart.

The Part of Fortune is Hyleg and Conjunct Algol, as Venus had been.  She is again in Taurus and in the 7th House. She is Almuten of the chart. Saturn is the Almuten of health according to the rules set down by Omar.

The eclipse is the 6 / 12 axis denoting health and hidden enemies respectively. We know that by this time the plague had become airborne being passed from one to another on the breath. The Killing Planet is Saturn in his own domicile and dispositing Jupiter and Mars. The malefic element of Mars and Saturn are made larger by Jupiter in this case.

The eclipse would have been read as an omen

Finally, we look at the chart delivered to King Philip showing the conjunctions of Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars in the Fixed Air sign of Aquarius. This is on 20 March 1345, Paris France at 1:00 pm.

As physicians reading the chart there are many things that would have been clear. It’s Sunday in the Hour of Mars. The Moon is in Via Combusta. Saturn is in the 7th House

Offsetting the emphasis on Air is the Leo Ascending and the Sun and Mercury in Aries.  The Hyleg is the Sun. We end up with a Choleric chart, being hot and dry, hosting the two malefics in Aquarius with Jupiter Parallel Sirius (searing heat). Again, Saturn is the Killing Planet. This happens not two days after the Lunar Eclipse. More often than not, Eclipses auger bad fortune for those under its influence.

We now have the same air considerations, but the humour is now more a raging fever being driven by the forces of air. The close proximity of the Descending Node to the Sun merely aggravates and exacerbates the situation. The force is unstoppable and all the physicians can do is try to lessen the fatalities.  The Moon represents the people. She is about to slip into the sign of her fall in Scorpio and in the Fourth House. This has among other significations, that of ancestry and the end of the matter.

The Plague in Byzantium was bubonic, but the one referred to King Philip’s physicians appears to have been pneumonic. The first is primarily spread by blood, as in flea bites and the second is carried in the air. This is at the heart of the issue with the charts comprising Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars in the Fixed Air sign Aquarius.

The symptoms, in either case, include boils and ultimately, several organs can be affected, including the spleen and brain. The infection, accompanied by violent fever causes immunologic breakdown, leading to disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC), resulting in bleeding and necrotic skin and tissue, particularly of the hands. This resembles gangrene. Historically, the disease was almost always fatal.

We can see then that the disease displays symptoms attributed to Saturn, Mars and Jupiter. Richard Saunders lists these in his Astrological Judgment & Practice of Physic (esp. pp. 52 -53). When we think of fever, Mars is what comes to mind. Indeed, Saunders duly lists, adds red Cholera, Smallpox, breaking of the veins and  great deal more that applies quite specifically to the Bubonic Plague.  Less well known are the attributes of Jupiter in the study of disease. Saunders includes all “diseases of the veins and proceeding from corruption of the blood, windiness and all putrefaction in the blood or fevers proceeding from too much abundance thereof.” (p. 50).

In the airy and Saturnine sign of Aquarius, these would be emphasized.  It would also make Mars and Jupiter * sympathetic* to Saturn in the Ficinian sense. Finally, we look at Saturn himself. The first quality is to make the disease persistent. Although victims didn’t last long and the disease wreaked havoc more or less continuously for more than a thousand years that we know of . Saunders also tells us the Saturn, if, in ill aspect with Venus, he corrupts the blood, with Jaundiesy and Melencholy (Black Bile) . We have noted Venus in all three charts and in the last two she is applying to a square with Saturn. The latter also “brings Black Jaundice and a super abundance of Flegm and crude humours”  Of course this is but a sampling of the attributes. but what can be seen most clearly is how the planets work together

Astrology can still be used for prediction and diagnosis with the same accuracy as in the time of King Philip. But what was an unmitigated tragedy on an epic scale would today be read as a warning, perhaps. The Plague is still with us and surfaces every now and again. Today we have effective treatments that make it no much more serious than a bad case of the flu. This doesn’t negate the fact of the accuracy of astrology and the validity of using it to warn of epidemics. seismic activity or extreme weather.

Reading Māshā’allāh: Sassanian Ayanamsa

The Sassanid Palace at Sarvestan Shiraz Iran – Persian: kakh-eh Sassani-ye Sarvestan – Photo- Javad Jowkar

Before we begin, I would like to make it abundantly clear that it is not my intention to replace the chart we have for the foundation of Baghdad This is in most respects as well sourced as can be expected. What I would like to, however, is to explore what happens when we decide not to take the best of intentions as the only possible motivation and that, further, the shifting of one element in the charts’ construction can change the meaning dramatically and with often unexpected results. Scientists and other researchers understand the necessity of ridding ourselves, as much as is humanly possible, of preconceptions. I think it only fair to read Māshā’allāh using the Sassanian Ayansama to see what might be found. I will add that this study makes me uncomfortable for all the right reasons and I most certainly mean no disrespect to Māshā’allāh.

Māshā’allāh (from mā shā’ Allāh, i.e. “that which God intends”) was a Jewish astrologer from Basra. Ibn al-Nadīm says in his Fihrist that his name was Mīshā, meaning Yithro (Jethro).  Māshā’allāh was one of the leading astrologers in the eighth- and early ninth-century Baghdad under the caliphates from the time of al-Manṣūr to Ma’mūn, and together with al-Nawbakht worked on the horoscope for the foundation of Baghdad in 762. (See Māshā’allāh ibn Atharī (or Sāriya) [Messahala]

13-th century manuscript, drawn by Al-Wasiti of the celebrated book “The Assemblies”. Written by Hariri, shows a library in Baghdad

The chart that he was commissioned for the construction of Baghdad comes down to us from Al Biruni, a fellow Persian from modern-day Uzbekistan / Turkmenistan, in his monumental work The Chronology of Nations.  He is less commonly known by his full name of Abū Rayḥān Muḥammad ibn Aḥmad Al-Bīrūnī (4/5 September 973 – 13 December 1048).  Biruni gives us the time, place and date, but makes no mention of the House System or Ayanamsa used for the chart. It’s normally considered that Māshā’allāh used Whole Signs and we know his most famous student did also. This still leaves the thorny question of which Ayanamsa he used.

If he used the Sassanian Ayanamsa along with material available to him in the Greater Bundahishn. This would change a great many things and would certainly challenge some of our more cherished notions, such as the Chart for Baghdad being done in good faith in the hope of the greatest possible benevolence. Before proceeding any further, it needs to be said that this chart has been subjected to all kinds of tortuous logic by several astrologers, including my initial article on this chart a decade ago. It has always seems to have been discussed with a touch of reticence.

This is no more than a ‘what if’ because we cannot absolutely prove it either way.  As a Persian Jew, Māshā’allāh had good reasons to dislike and resent the Islamic invasion of Persia and the slaughter of Jewish tribes in the Arabian peninsula and elsewhere. Jews had enjoyed a good life in Persia for millennia, as they do to this day. It would be extraordinary if he had no reservations whatsoever.

Here we have the chart with all the information passed on to us by Al Biruni, using Whole Sign houses, calculated using the Sassanian Ayanamsa.  This strikes me as a struggling chart with little to commend it.  But the chart has never been unequivocally beneficent in any of its forms, using other house systems and the sidereal zodiac, for example. This has been part of the confusion. Baghdad was indeed a great centre of learning with widespread influence, both through space and time. However, it has also suffered excessive calamities and violence over the centuries and still suffers to this day.

A brief history of the city shows us that Baghdad’s early meteoric growth was stifled due to problems within the Caliphate itself, including a relocation of the capital to Samarra (during 808–819 and 836–892), the loss of the western and easternmost provinces, and periods of political domination by the Iranian Buwayhids (945–1055) and Seljuk Turks (1055–1135).

Nevertheless, Baghdad held her place and continued as a major cultural and commercial centre in the Islamic world. Then tragedy struck on a massive scale. On February 10, 1258,  the city was sacked by the Mongols under the command of Hulagu Khan. The Mongols killed most of the inhabitants, including the Abbasid Caliph Al-Musta’sim. They also destroyed large sections of the city. Even the canals and dikes forming the city’s irrigation system were destroyed. The attack ended Abbasid Caliphate. It has often been noted that Islamic civilization never completely recovered.

In 1401, Baghdad was again vanquished by Timur. So it continued, until the incursion of the Ottoman Turks. It’s difficult to make the case that Bagdad has not had far more than its share of sorrows and reversals of fortune.  It is equally difficult not to recognize the measure of success and abundance.

We are used to thinking of the Royal Stars of Persia – the Watchers of the Directions –  as Regulus, Aldebaran, Fomalhaut, and Antares, representing the four Fixed Signs and hear we see them on the angles. However, the Sassanian model put the emphasis on Sirius. canopus is used in Islam for the orientation of places of worship. For those reasons, I have included them. It is crucial to consider the Horoscope of the World which we examined in a previous article. In that schema, the House of Life (the Ascendant) was at the nineteenth degree of Cancer, the asterism Azara too was disposed in the star Sirius, which in the chart we have falls in the House of death at 24°18.  I cannot see how he could have missed this. He was certainly aware of the Horoscope and the extraordinary power of Sirius.

In the Great Bundahishn

in Chapter 2, sections 3 & 4, in the translation by Behramgore Tehmuras Anklesariawe, we find:

“3. Over these constellations, He appointed four chieftains, in four directions; He appointed a chieftain over these chieftains; He appointed many innumerable stars that are recognized by name, in various directions and various places, as givers of vigour, by cooperation, to these Constellations.

4. As one says: “Sirius [Tishtar] is the chieftain of the East, Sataves the chieftain of the South, Antares [Vanand] the chieftain of the West, the Seven Bears [Haptoring] the chieftain of the North; the Lord of the throne, Capricornus, whom they call the Lord of Mid- Heaven, [is the chieftain of chieftains; Parand, Mazd-tat, and others of this list are also chiefs of the directions.”

Ibn al-Nadīm lists some twenty-one titles of works attributed to Māshā’allāh; these are mostly astrological, but some deal with astronomical topics and provide us information (directly or
indirectly) about sources used which included Persian, Syriac, and Greek)  He was a learned, brilliant and extremely talented man. We wouldn’t expect him to simply make a mistake.

Most strikingly, we have both Sun and Moon in Leo in the tenth house. This is a great place for the Sun, but the Moon is weak as a Lord of the Ninth House – a very important placing when higher education, the meeting of foreign cultures and of course, religion. We find Mercury Retrograde and conjunct the South Node.

The Eighth House of Death is lord of the Twelfth House of hidden enemies and Venus also takes the place of open enemies. Jupiter that rises in the charts using the tropical zodiac is here relegated to the Second House (the purse) in his dignity, but retrograde. Saturn is in his Fall in an unfortunate, but an unproductive house.

I see no useful reason to further elaborate on this. It is after all entirely speculative, even if plausible. I realize this turns the old enigma in its head, but sometimes an entirely new way of looking at something can be useful.  At the very least, it ought to raise awareness of just how different a chart can appear when the astrologer is using an Ayanamsa that may not have occurred. It also asks the astrologer to consider the cultural differences between practitioners that may very well, on the source be in agreement on virtually everything. This demands that we read far beyond the astrology itself, to the very ground of being which informs us all.

 

Beginning in 1211, Genghis Khan and his nomadic armies burst from Mongolia and swiftly conquered most of Eurasia. The Great Khan died in 1227, but his sons and grandsons continued the expansion of the Mongol Empire across Central Asia, China, the Middle East, and into Europe.

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Note: shortly after publishing this brief article, I became aware of another, written in 2003: The Horoscope of Baghdad: historical, astronomical, and astrological notes by Juan Antonio Revilla. The topic is not identical, but Revilla does well in describing context, methodologies and sensibilities involved in deriving the chart.  He has a familiarity with Sassanian astrology and discusses many things, such as the Tables of al-Kwarizm, which go beyond the limitations of a single blog post.