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How Does Astrology Work?

How does astrology work? If you ask 10 different Western astrologers, you are likely to get at least 11 different answers. Of course, we can all talk about the mechanics of casting a chart and the physical bodies we are charting in the sky, but how does that translate into meaning here on Earth. How and why do the movements of the planets and the stars impact our lives?

Scientific Basis for Astrology

very large arrayModern scientists love to say that there is no scientific basis for astrology. Actually, by the rules of modern science and the scientific method, I would have to say that they are likely correct. As of the present, no physical reason for the influence of the planets and stars upon our lives has been found. While some physical reason may be found in the future, I find that highly unlikely. Does that make astrology invalid? I would say absolutely not.

The rules of modern science and the scientific method are limited to what can be observed with the senses and what can be measured quantitatively. I believe that this would be a good system if people would restrict the scope of their pronouncements in the name of modern science to those things that fall within its realm. The difficulty is that people tend to employ a form of circular reasoning. We can only measure what we can observe, so what we observe must be all that there is.

An example of this can be found in the scientific study of the fifth element of Aethyr. While most people know of the four classical elements of earth, air, water, and fire, there is a fifth element called Aethyr. Aethyr is the actually the first element, the source of the other four. Scientists have claimed to “disprove” the existence of Aethyr because they can find no evidence of it in the material world. Yet, Aethyr by definition is not a material element, and thus, it is not a part of material world, but exists outside of it. So of course, they would find no physical evidence of it. Indeed, if they did find evidence of something they thought was Aethyr, it could not be Aethyr, but something else.

In the same way, I believe that the real basis for astrology comes from outside the material world. This is why I doubt that a physical basis for astrology could be found using the scientific method. If some physical basis were found, it would still not be the “real” basis.

So How Does Astrology Really Work?

Most astrologers can quote the Hermetic axiom, “as above, so below,” but what does that mean?

I would say that first and foremost, astrology is a form of Divination, or a method of trying to interpret the influence of the Divine on our lives on Earth. In the Filianic Tradition, we are told that after the Fall, “I [the Mother Creatrix] shall not live as close to you as before, but still I shall pour blessings upon you, and you may give Me gifts-not in every moment as before, for you have learned to tire, but My light shall give you signs in this matter.” Mythos of God the Mother, authorised version. In the Judeo-Christian Written Tradition, we are told that on the fourth day of Creation, “And God said, ‘Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years, and let them be lights in the dome of the sky to give light upon the earth.'” This is why I think that an astrologer’s beliefs with respect to the Divine are of utmost importance.

One of the fundamental cornerstones of astrology, regardless of the belief system of the astrologer, is that there is a Music of the Spheres. In many, if not all, traditional cultures, it is believed that the Music of the Spheres governs all life and all human societies. In Japanese, this is called 和, wa. Just as human music is a form of language, so is the Music of the Spheres. I would say that the Music of the Spheres is the Language of the Cosmos. This Language is too far above us, as humans, to comprehend, so humans developed or were given the languages of astrology as an intermediary that we could understand.

The Building Blocks of Western Astrology

There have been many forms of astrology throughout human history, and the versions that are practiced in the Modern West are variations of the astrology used in Ancient Chaldea and Ancient Greece. This form of astrology uses the building blocks of the 7 planets and the 12 signs.

The 7 Planets

I believe that the 7 planets are physical representations of the 7 primary aspects of the Divine. The modern English names for the planets were taken directly from the Ancient Roman pantheon, which had direct analogies in the Ancient Grecian pantheon. It is often said that the Ancients believed that the planets themselves were gods; however, I find that unlikely. I think it was more likely that they believed that the planets were representatives of the gods.

Even though we use the Roman names for the planets to this day, to my knowledge, there are no remaining practitioners of the Ancient Grecian or Roman religions in the present age.  I, personally, would have difficulty using the Greco-Roman pantheon as the Divine Presences behind the planets because the gods and goddesses of this pantheon were far from perfect. Indeed, one would be hard pressed to say that they were even good. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, the planets are associated with the 7 archangels. As a Filianist, I would say that they are associated with the 7 primary Jayanti.  The Janyati are not the planets; the planets themselves are physical bodies that reflect the Janyati.

vlcsnap-2015-04-06-16h01m37s253In my belief system, the Janyati themselves are emanations from the Divine, and as such represent the highest aspects of the planetary principles. At their highest level, all of the Janyati, even Sai Rhavë, the Janya associated with Saturn, are perfect and good. Their reflections, as can be seen in the planetary influences, are not always perfect nor are they always good. The differences between the Janyati and their planets can be seen as the reflection of the Moon on the water, a distorted image reflecting a higher reality.

In addition to representing Higher Divine Principles, each of the planets also represents a heavenly sphere. In traditional thought, there were many layers between the material world and Absolute. This is the true meaning of the Traditional Model of the Cosmos. The Earth, or sublunary sphere, is not just the planet where we live, but the entire physical universe that we can observe with the senses. The sphere directly above us is the Lunary Sphere, which is the sphere of our dreams and imaginations. Our own personal Image Spheres are found here. The Heavenly Spheres impact our own, which is the meaning to the axiom, “as above, so below.”

Astrology uses the motions of the planets to interpret the physical reflections of the major Divine Principles and the impact of the Higher Spheres upon our own.

The 12 Archetypes

The zodiac represents the 12 Human Archetypes, or the 12 different emanations of Axial Beings on Earth. This number is reflected in the Judeo-Christian tradition as the 12 tribes of Israel or the 12 disciples. 12 represents the full expression of manifestation. Every so often, there will be a big bruhaha in the news about the “scientific discovery” of a 13th zodiac sign. I actually find this interesting, not because it is a new discovery, it isn’t, not because it changes anything about the way I practice astrology, it doesn’t. I find it interesting because in the traditions with the 12 archetypes, there is often one extra and set apart: The 12 disciples and Jesus; the 12 regular Israelite tribes and the Levites. Even in the Oriental Zodiac, which is based on an entirely different premise, there are 12 animal signs, with one animal without a sign…the cat, who was tricked out of her place in the zodiac by the rat.

Almost everyone is aware of his or her sign, which is actually the sign of the placement of the Sun at birth. Even though compared to a full Nativity Chart, Sun Sign personality descriptions are extremely blunt instruments, there is some validity to them. This is because the physical Sun represents the Supernal Sun, or the Creative Force in the Cosmos, and is the Heart of the Solar System. Humans, as Axial Beings, are microcosms of the Cosmos and in turn, the Solar System, and thus the Sun in our chart represents our Heart. Now, the Sun actually does represent our physical heart, but it also represents our deeper Heart, or the center of our being. For this reason, our Sun Sign will always represent who we are on a certain level, even though, depending on the other factors in our charts, it will show to a greater or lesser extent in our personalities.

Other Considerations

There are many other considerations in astrology such as Houses, Fixed Stars, the Moon’s Nodes, and Parts or Lots. There are also many considerations that have been added in modern times, such as the Outer Planets. That being said, everything in astrology revolves around the building blocks of the 7 planets and the 12 signs.

Summary

Astrology is a form of Divination, or a means of interpreting the impact of the Divine on our lives on Earth. While astrology uses the movement of the planets in this interpretation, the basis for astrology is not in the principles of modern physical science, but in the metaphysical principles that are beyond the world, and beyond the scope of modern physical science. The main building blocks of Western Astrology are the 7 planets, which represent the 7 primary aspects of the Divine, and the 12 signs, which represent the 12 main archetypes. Everything in Western Astrology revolves around these building blocks.

See also:

Astrology as a Traditional Science

 

The Astrology of Sailor Moon – Part II: More Plutonian Overtones and Sailor Pluto

In Part I of this series, I talked about the rich astrological symbolism in Sailor Moon, beginning with the very first story arc, which is a very traditional story, with classic mythic and fairy tale elements. In the first story arc, we met the Sailor Senshi* associated with the Moon, Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, and Venus, and from an astrological perspective, everything about them is absolutely correct.

I then discussed the beginning of the second story arc, which began with many Plutonian overtones. We met Chibi Usa, a child who was far from innocent. Sailors Mercury, Mars, and Jupiter were all abducted by villains who called themselves Black Moon. Sailor Venus was almost abducted, but was rescued just in time. Tuxedo Kamen discovered his power, the power of the Earth. We learned that Chibi Usa was from the 30th Century, which was in trouble. We left as Sailor Moon, Sailor Venus, and Tuxedo Kamen had agreed to accompany Chibi Usa to the 30th Century.

More Plutonian Overtones

vlcsnap-2018-05-11-14h53m05s193After the rescue of Sailor Venus and before the decision was made to go to the 30th Century, at Chibi Usa’s insistence, they all spent the night at Mamoru-san’s (Tuxedo Kamen’s) apartment. The night was a difficult one. Usagi-chan admitted to feelings of jealousy over Mamoru-san’s attention and affection towards Chibi Usa. She said that Chibi Usa was in love with him. Mamoru-san dismissed this, saying that Chibi Usa was just an elementary school student, and Usagi-chan said that she was a girl, and that her age did not matter. They both became embarrassed at this conversation. As they were talking, Usagi-chan seemed to fade away momentarily, which alarmed Mamoru-san. Mamoru-san and Usagi-chan embraced, and Mamoru-san reassured Usagi-chan of his love for her and his commitment to her protection. They then retired to the bedroom together.

These are interesting developments from the perspective of the overall Plutonian themes of this story arc. In Modern Astrology, Pluto is seen to represent the deeper and darker recesses of our psyche, as well as death and destruction. Modern Astrology considers all of the Outer Planets as “transcendent,” and there is a tendency to see Pluto as a “Higher Octave” of Mars. Some even go so far as to consider Pluto a planet of “transformation.” Modern Astrology also assigned rulership of the sign Scorpio to Pluto, which was traditionally ruled by Mars.

Pluto is not visible to the naked eye, and was not discovered until 1930. As such, it is not one of the planets that was used in Traditional Western Astrology. Many Traditional and Classical Astrologers do not use Pluto at all, and if they do, they do not assign Pluto the rulership of any sign. In my own work and practice, I have come to believe that Pluto represents the modern poison of deformation, or the fascination with disturbing images and the inversion of right and wrong.

The time of the discovery of Pluto was near the end of the life of Sigmund Freud. Freudian psychology, tended to probe into the darker recesses, which coincides with the modern interpretation of Pluto, proposing that our emotional difficulties stemmed from “repression” of these feelings. In modern times, there is a popular belief that these deeper, darker feelings are our “real” feelings, and that our kinder, gentler, and more noble feelings are “phony” or just for show. I think that this way of thinking is part of the poison of Pluto, and that yes, all of us have both virtues and flaws, and all of us have darker emotions and impulses: however, we all also have the choice as what feelings to embrace and what feelings to set aside. I believe that this is what Free Will is truly means.

vlcsnap-2018-05-11-15h12m17s302That night, Sailor Moon’s feline partner, Luna, had a dream that she was back in the past in the Silver Millennium. Sailor Moon’s mother from that time, Queen Serenity, was looking for Luna. It appeared that Luna found her way to a forbidden doorway. Queen Serenity became alarmed. She retrieved Luna from this place, instructing her to forget about it. There is a theme emerging in the story of hidden and forbidden places being found and disturbed.

Sailor Pluto

The next morning, they do leave for the 30th Century, with Chibi Usa leading them. As they were traveling the Senshi and Mamoru-san became separated from Chibi Usa, and in the process, they almost lost Luna. They arrived at a mysterious door and encountered Sailor Pluto, who attacked them. It appears that Sailor is a guardian for this doorway, which is the doorway to space and time, and it is her job to defend it from anyone who breaches it.

vlcsnap-2018-05-11-15h35m58s474It is clear that Sailor Pluto is not a part of the regular world of material existence. She is the guardian for a forbidden area outside of space and time. As an astrologer who uses Classical methodology, I found this really interesting. While Classical Astrologers and those who use Classical methods are divided on whether the Outer Planets have meaning, they agree that they are not a part of the planetary rulership scheme. In Modern Astrology, Pluto rules Scorpio. Classical Astrology teaches that Pluto does not rule any sign, and uses the traditional ruler of Mars for Scorpio. Whether or not the role of Sailor Pluto has any metaphysical accuracy, it is in the realm of possibility. To my surprise, I found that I had no issue with Sailor Pluto from a Classical Astrological perspective. Whatever she represents, it is certainly not a New Age notion of a Higher Octave Mars. I also am in complete agreement with Pluto representing a place where we are not supposed to go.

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Before Sailor Pluto delivered the finishing blow, Chibi Usa arrived. Sailor Pluto stopped her attack immediately and talked to Chibi Usa. Chibi Usa confessed to stealing Sailor Pluto’s key and bringing the Senshi there in order to rescue her home. Sailor Pluto was stern, but then embraced Chibi Usa and said she had been worried about Chibi Usa’s disappearance.

We then learn that Chibi Usa is a princess in the 30th Century, and after a brief discussion, Sailor Pluto allowed them to go through the door. When they did, they found a world, the 30th Century Crystal Tokyo, that had been completely destroyed by an explosion, followed by the appearance of a large, mysterious black crystal.

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Chibi-Usa began to lead them to her home, the Crystal Palace, but some villains from Black Moon appeared. During the battle, Sailor Moon’s powers would not work; however Tuxedo Kamen’s did, and they were able to win the battle.

After the battle, they arrived at the Crystal Palace, and found a woman who looked like Usagi-chan sleeping inside a large crystal, who was the mother of Chibi Usa and whose name was Neo Queen Serenity. They also met a kitten by the name of Diana. Then, from behind a curtain, a man appeared that looked like Tuxedo Kamen.

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To be continued…

_____________

*In Japanese, senshi means soldier, and the transformation outfits of the Senshi are reminiscent of sailor themed school uniforms

The Languages of Astrology

confused studentWhen looking for an astrologer or an astrology instructional program or teacher, there are many different types of astrology to choose from. What makes it more confusing is that many of these types seem to be in competition with or at odds with each other. Which one is “right,” and which ones are “wrong”? Even if a person is not interested in seeking out the services of an astrologer or learning astrology and just wants to read her daily horoscope in the newspaper for fun, sooner or later she will discover that the zodiac used in most Western astrology does not match the actual constellations. That is one of the most common criticisms of astrology by modern scientists, by the way. If she investigates further, she may learn about Vedic astrology, which does use a zodiac aligned with the actual constellations.

So what is a person supposed to do? What is the “real” astrology?

I greatly enjoy learning, and often my eyes are bigger than my stomach when it comes to taking on topics to learn. I subscribe to Great Courses Plus, which is an “all you can eat” program for video online college courses. Last fall, I thought I might try to learn computer programing. Sadly, my time is not unlimited, and I did not get through more than a few classes. I did, however, watch long enough to hear an interesting paradigm concerning computer languages. The professor explained that computer languages were not really languages of the computer. Computers only have one language, that is binary. Computer languages are human languages by which we can communicate with computers.

I thought about it, and it occurred to me that the same paradigm can be applied to the various forms of astrology. I do believe that the various forms of astrology are true languages, with vocabulary, syntax, and grammar. Like all languages, one can learn a little astrology with enough skill to get by, or one can take the time to become proficient and even fluent. Even when fluent, there is always more to learn. There is a long tradition in astrology that no matter how much one learns or how long one has practiced, one is always a “student of astrology.”

That being said no form of astrology is the True Language of the Cosmos. The True Language of the Cosmos is so far above us that it is incomprehensible to us. Astrologies are human languages by which we can understand the True Language of the Cosmos to a limited degree. I think that when one sees the various forms of astrology with this paradigm in mind, the fact that there are so many different forms of astrology becomes much less worrisome.

I am a Traditionalist, and as such, I tend to have more confidence in forms of astrology that have a long pedigree as opposed to newer, more modern versions. Both Vedic and Western Classical astrology have long histories and use some of the same terminology. While I think that they are truly different languages, they belong to the same astrological language family, analogous to Spanish and French.

So, how does one choose?

Well, I think that if you are looking for an astrologer, I think it is more important to know the astrologer’s experience and philosophy of practice than then the astrologer’s methodology. What is her position on Fate vs. Free Will? What does he think is the best use of astrology? Different astrologers have different skills and interests. For example, I see astrology as a tool for self-development and for finding and being one’s best self. I see astrology in terms of a person’s spiritual growth and practical well-being. I have almost no interest in financial astrology and only limited interest in psychological analysis. Other factors to look at is whether you like the astrologer and whether the astrologer is helpful for what you are looking for.

Vedic classIf you are looking to study astrology, I think it is best to start somewhere, rather than worrying about which astrology is right or wrong. Most astrologers, including myself, started in one direction and changed directions along their journey, sometimes several times. I think that as you study you will find the forms of astrology that you warm to and the forms that you do not.

What about mixing and matching? Can you use techniques and concepts from one form of astrology in another? Well, I think that the language paradigm works here as well. I do not think drawing from various astrologies is necessary. Each astrological language is sufficient in and of itself. On the other hand, all human languages have “loan words” from other languages, which may or may not mean the same thing as they did in the original language. Any English speaking student of a foreign language will find “false friends,” loan words from English that mean something different in the target language.

I also think that one must be careful with “mixing and matching” too much, because then it becomes much harder to understand in any meaningful way. For example, my grandmother’s native language was Swedish, and when our Swedish relatives visited or she went to Sweden, her language became a mixture of English and Swedish, and it was difficult to comprehend what she was saying.

So, what do you think? I would love to hear the experiences and thoughts of others, both astrologers and non-astrologers, with respect to the various forms of astrology. For non-astrologers or beginning (or intermediate or advanced) students of astrology, do you have any questions? I do not know if I can answer all of them, but I will do my best.

The Astrology of Sailor Moon – Part I: Foundations

Like many people, my first introduction to anime came through Sailor Moon. Unlike most, however, I first saw Sailor Moon a little over 5 years ago as an adult. As an astrologer, I was immediately impressed by how well the series incorporated astrology and traditional wisdom into the characters and plot of the story.  Indeed, I can give a lot of credit to Sailor Moon in inspiring my Japanese studies, and I was fortunate that the newer series, Sailor Moon Crystal came out in my first few years of these studies. I also used Sailor Moon manga as I was learning to read Japanese.

With respect to astrology, there are many obvious correct associations, such as the Sun Signs of the various Senshi matching their planetary associations.  For example, Usagi-chan (Sailor Moon) was born with her Sun in Cancer, and Ami-chan (Sailor Mercury) was born with her Sun in Virgo.  Another obvious correct association is the thunder-based attack of Sailor Jupiter. While the association between Jupiter and thunder is correct in the Western system, it is also correct in the Eastern elemental system.

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It seems that the Senshi attacks are based on the Eastern, rather than the Western, elemental associations.  In the Eastern elemental system, each element is associated with a non-luminary planetary principle.  Indeed, in Japanese, the non-luminary planets themselves are named for their element. Jupiter is 木星, or “wood planet.” Mercury is 水星, suisei, or “water planet,” and Sailor Mercury’s attack is water-based.  Mars is 火星, kasei, or “fire planet,” and Sailor Mars’ attack is fire-based.  Venus is 金星, kinsei, or “gold planet,” and Sailor Venus’ Crescent beam is gold colored.  Also, heavily featured in Sailor Venus’ transformation and attack is the pentacle, the five pointed star, which is also associated with Venus.

Aside from these surface associations, there is much deeper metaphysical wisdom in Sailor Moon.  In the series, it is revealed that the Sailor Senshi have been reincarnated from Moon Kingdom of the Silver Millennium. The Silver Millennium can be seen as symbolic of the Silver Age, or Treta Yuga in traditional teachings. In the Silver Millennium, Sailor Moon was Princess Serenity.

Silver Millenium

The entire first story arc in the manga and Sailor Moon Crystal has a very traditional mythic theme. This theme is present in the original anime as well; however, in the original anime, it is muddled with many other story lines and sub-plots. (As an aside, for this reason, I will be using Sailor Moon Crystal and the manga rather than the original anime series in my discussion.)

The single male main character is Tuxedo Kamen, or Tuxedo Mask. Over the course of the first story arc, we learn that he was Prince Edymion of Earth during the time of the Silver Millenium. In true mythic or fairy tale form, Princess Serenity and Prince Endymion have a forbidden romance which ends tragically. The rest of the story arc is the cleansing and resolution of the tragedy from the past. This is a very traditional story.

The Second Story Arc: Plutonian Overtones

Given the soundness of the first story arc, I was a little worried when I came to the second story arc, particularly as I was told that I would encounter the first of the Outer Planet Senshi, Sailor Pluto, in this arc. As an astrologer who uses primarily Classical methods, I am dubious of New Age associations for the Outer Planets. I make limited of the Outer Planets in my practice, and I tend to view them as representatives of the poisons of the Modern Age.  I see Pluto as a representative of deformation, or of inversion of Light and Dark.

vlcsnap-2018-04-26-15h43m19s092Before we meet Sailor Pluto in the second story arc, there is a clear theme of deformation, or inversion. In the very beginning of this story arc, we meet Chibi Usa, a child who has clearly become hardened and cynical, and who has apparently lost her innocence.  In the first three Acts of the story, the villains abduct the Sailor Senshi one by one, first Mars, next Mercury, and then Jupiter. They abduct these Senshi by using an inversion of each of their own elemental attacks.

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After Mars, Mercury, and Venus have been abducted, we are left with Sailor Moon, Sailor Venus, Chibi Usa, and Tuxedo Kamen. Chiba Usa steals Usagi-chan’s brooch with the all important 幻の銀水晶, Maboroshi no Ginsuishou, the literal translation of which is something like Illusory or Dream Silver Crystal.  As a result of this, Sailor Moon is unable to transform when the villains attack and attempt to abduct Sailor Venus. Fortunately, Tuxedo Kamen finds his power, which is the power of Earth.

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He is able to hold off the first attack of the villains, and this is long enough for Chibi Usa to repent of stealing the Maboroshi no Ginsuishou. She returns the Crystal to Usagi-chan, who transforms and saves Sailor Venus from the secondary attack that was meant to abduct her. After this, we learn that Chibi Usa is from the future, the 30th Century to be precise. She then asks Sailor Moon, Sailor Venus, and Tuxedo Kamen to help the future Earth, and they agree.

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Chibi Usa has her own Maboroshi no Ginsuishou from the future and a special key. With these two items, she is able to travel back to the future with the remaining Sailor Senshi and Tuxedo Kamen.

The Astrology of Sailor Moon – Part II: More Plutonian Overtunes and Sailor Pluto

Signs of Stability, the Fixed Signs

As I have discussed before, in Western Astrology, the zodiac is based on the seasons rather than on the constellations. Each season begins with a cardinal sign. In the Northern Hemisphere*, Spring begins with the sign of Aries, Summer begins with the sign of Cancer, Fall begins with the sign of Libra, and Winter begins with the sign of Capricorn. As the seasons progress, the Sun moves into the fixed signs.

2017-05-11 14.30.38The fixed signs are the anchors of the zodiac. It is during the time of the fixed signs that the seasons deepen and grow. The fixed signs build upon the changes made during the time of the cardinal signs and develop them to their fullest potential. In the article about the cardinal signs, I discussed that in earlier times, the cardinal signs were called moveable signs. There is a third grouping of signs that I plan to discuss in a later article, which are known as the mutable signs. These signs were called common signs in the past. Fixed signs, however, were called fixed signs in the past, they are called fixed signs now, and they will likely always be called fixed signs. In Japanese, they are called 不動宮, fudou kyou, unmoving signs.

People who have a predominance of fixed signs in their chart are notoriously resistant to change. They tend to be dependable and loyal, and they are stalwart friends.  Once they start something, they will keep going to the bitter end. Those who lack fixed signs tend to have a great deal of difficulty in finishing what they start.

Now that we have talked about the four fixed signs as a group, let us look at them individually.

Taurus the Bull

牡牛座 (Oushi Za)

Fixed Earth

Taurus

Human Archetype:

The Farmer

Sect:

Night

Planets Dignified in Taurus:

Venus, Ruler and Day Triplicity Ruler**; Moon, Exalted and Night Triplicity Ruler; Mars, Participating Triplicity Ruler

Planets Debilitated in Taurus:

Mars, Detriment***

Part of Body:

Neck and throat

General Characteristics:

Taurus is calm and plodding.  She is slow to anger, but when roused her anger is formidable.  She is stable and persistent.  Taurus is happiest when surrounded by natural beauty.  Possessions and money are quite important to Taurus, and she is quite fond of good food. At best, Taurus is patient, steadfast, kind, and pleasant mannered; at worst, Taurus is lazy, dull, stubborn, and closed minded.

Leo the Lion

獅子座 (Shishi Za)

Fixed Fire

Leo

Human Archetype:

The Queen

Sect:

Day

Planets Dignified in Leo:

Sun, Ruler and Day Triplicity Ruler; Jupiter, Night Triplicity Ruler; Saturn, Participating Triplicity Ruler

Planets Debilitated in Leo:

Saturn, Detriment***

Parts of Body:

Heart and back

General Characteristics:

Like the Lion, Leo is Royalty, and she will never let you forget it.  She is charming, engaging, and larger than life.  She has a Sunny disposition and always wants to be the center of attention.  Despite an ego that needs plenty of massaging, Leo is loving and magnanimous. At best, Leo is generous, fun loving, confident, and loyal; at worst, Leo is egocentric, bossy, and needs endless attention.

Scorpio the Scorpion

蠍座 (Sasori Za)

Fixed Water

Scorpio

Human Archetype:

The Martial Artist

Sect:

Night

Planets Dignified in Scorpio:

Mars, Ruler and Night Triplicity Ruler; Venus, Day Triplicity Ruler; Moon, Participating Triplicity Ruler

Planets Debilitated in Scorpio:

Venus, Detriment***; Moon, Fall

Parts of Body:

Reproductive and elimination organs

General Characteristics:

Scorpio is the sign of extremes.  Her lower nature is the scorpion, but her higher nature is the eagle.  She can be the worst of sinners or the greatest of saints, and she never does anything half-way.  Scorpio can pierce through lies with sharp accuracy, but she will never reveal a confidence entrusted to her keeping.  Scorpions are known to sting themselves before being eaten by a larger animal, and Scorpios will likewise destroy themselves before admitting defeat. At best, Scorpio is passionate, determined, perceptive, and loyal; at worst, Scorpio is temperamental, possessive, cruel, and has stormy emotions.

Aquarius the Water-Bearer

水瓶座 (Mizugame Za)

Fixed Air

Aquarius

Human Archetype:

The Prophet

Sect:

Day

Planets Dignified in Aquarius:

Saturn, Ruler and Day Triplicity Ruler; Mercury, Night Triplicity Ruler; Jupiter, Participating Triplicity Ruler

Planets Debilitated in Aquarius:

Sun, Detriment

Parts of Body:

Ankles

General Characteristics:

Aquarius is the most difficult sign to describe, because she tends to eschew convention.  She can be conservative or progressive, but she is her own person.  Aquarius is the most immovable of the fixed signs, and when she has made a decision or set her mind on something, there is nothing that will change it.  She will listen to the ideas of others in an open and pleasant manner, but they will not impact her ideas at all.  At best, Aquarius is curious, intelligent, friendly, and sociable; at worst, Aquarius is defiant for the sake of defiance and immovable.

________

*In the Southern Hemisphere, the correspondences between the seasons and the signs are reversed. Libra is at the beginning of Spring, Capricorn is at the beginning of Summer, Aries is at the beginning of Fall, and Cancer is at the beginning of Winter.

**There are several different versions of Triplicity Rulers. I use the Dorothean Triplicity Rulers.

***Sometimes planets are both dignified and debilitated in the same sign. There do exist quantitative methods of analyzing dignity and debility in which they cancel each other out; however, I prefer a more qualitative approach that considers both.

Signs of Change, the Cardinal Signs

Western Astrology is based as much upon the seasons as it is upon the movement of the celestial bodies. This is because the zodiac that is used in most Western astrology is the tropical zodiac. The tropical zodiac is not based on the actual constellations along the ecliptic but upon the four seasonal turning points, which are the two equinoxes and the two solstices.

Spring DaffodilsThe equinoxes are the two times during the year in which the length of day and night are equal. The Spring Equinox is when day becomes longer than night, and this is the beginning of the astrological new year. The sign of Aries begins at the position of the Sun at the Spring Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere* is where. The Fall Equinox is when night becomes longer than day, and in the Northern Hemisphere,* is where the sign of Libra begins.

The solstices are the times of the further extremes of day and night. The Summer Solstice is the longest day, and in the Northern Hemisphere,* is where the sign of Cancer begins. The Winter Solstice is the longest night, and in the Northern Hemisphere,* is where the sign of Capricorn begins.

The signs at the equinox and the signs at the solstices are collectively known as the cardinal signs, because these also directly correspond with the four cardinal points. The Spring Equinox corresponds with the East, the Summer Solstice corresponds with the South, the Fall Equinox corresponds with the West, and the Winter Solstice corresponds with the North.

In earlier times, the cardinal signs have been called the “moveable” signs. In Japanese, these signs are the known as 活動宮, katsudou kyuu, action signs. As these names suggest, the cardinal signs, Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn, are the movers and shakers of the zodiac. People who have a predominance of Cardinal signs in their chart tend to be active, busy people who are “self-starters” and like to initiate projects and change. They often find themselves in leadership positions, and they enjoy being in control.

People who lack cardinal signs have difficulty with initiative and with starting projects. They often need an outside force to get them moving; however, once they are in motion, they tend to stay in motion, unless something causes them to stop.

Now that we have talked about the four cardinal signs as a group, let us look at them individually.

Aries the Ram

牡羊座 (Ohitsuji Za)

Cardinal Fire

Aries

Human Archetype:

The Warrior

Sect:

Day

Planets Dignified in Aries:

Mars, Ruler; Sun, Exalted and Day Triplicity Ruler**; Jupiter, Night Triplicity Ruler; Saturn, Participating Triplicity Ruler

Planets Debilitated in Aries:

Venus, Detriment; Saturn, Fall***

Part of Body:

Head

General Characteristics:

Aries is a bold and courageous sign. Aries likes to be at the forefront of change and does not flinch in the face of danger. Aries welcomes any challenge and is known to “rush in where angels fear to tread.” Aries has no patience for fear or for apparent weakness or cowardice. At best, Aries is a fearless hero and protector; at worst, Aries is a controlling and violent bully.

Cancer the Crab

蟹座 (Kani Za)

Cardinal Water

Cancer

Human Archetype:

The Mother

Sect:

Night

Planets Dignified in Cancer:

Moon, Ruler and Night Triplicity Ruler; Jupiter, Exalted; Venus, Day Triplicity Ruler; Mars, Participating Triplicity Ruler

Planets Debilitated in Cancer:

Saturn, Detriment; Mars, Fall***

Parts of Body:

Breasts and stomach

General Characteristics:

On the surface, Cancer may seem shy and retiring, but this appearance is somewhat misleading. Cancer is a nurturer and protector, and just as there is nothing fiercer than a mother protecting her young, Cancer can be quite courageous when defending anyone or anything in her care. She actively nurtures and grooms her charges, whoever they may be. At best, Cancer is a devoted and selfless caregiver; at worse, Cancer is clingy and smothering, and she can become mean and cruel.

Libra the Scales

天秤座 (Tenbin Za)

Cardinal Air

Libra

Human Archetype:

The Peacemaker

Sect:

Day

Planets Dignified in Libra:

Venus, Ruler; Saturn, Exalted and Day Triplicity Ruler; Mercury, Night Triplicity Ruler; Jupiter, Participating Triplicity Ruler

Planets Debilitated in Libra:

Mars, Detriment; Sun, Fall

Parts of Body:

Lower back and kidneys

General Characteristics:

Libra is the sign of balance and harmony. Like all Air signs, Libra enjoys being with many different people from all walks of life; however, Libra is the only sign that would expect them all to get along. Libra can sometimes be seen as indecisive and weak willed, but that is a bit of an illusion. Libra is just as much an agent of energy and change as any other Cardinal sign; she takes charge in a polite and indirect manner. At best, Libra is a charming diplomat, hostess, and keeper of the peace; at worst, Libra is manipulative and controlling in a passive-aggressive manner.

Capricorn the Sea-Goat

山羊座 (Yagi Za)

Cardinal Earth

Capricorn

Human Archetype:

The Manager

Sect:

Night

Planets Dignified in Capricorn:

Saturn, Ruler; Mars, Exalted and Participating Triplicity Ruler; Venus, Day Triplicity Ruler; Moon, Night Triplicity Ruler

Planets Debilitated in Capricorn:

Moon, Detriment***; Jupiter, Fall

Parts of Body:

Knees, bones, and teeth

General Characteristics:

Capricorn is a practical and responsible manager. She is strict and orderly and likes to be in charge. No matter how much or little responsibility she has, anything in her care will be governed well and efficiently. Although she often desires to climb in rank and social status, she believes in hierarchy and social order and will rise by conventional means. At best Capricorn is an efficient and highly competent supervisor; at worst, Capricorn is miserly and mean and can become cold and cruel.

________

*In the Southern Hemisphere, the correspondences between the seasons and the signs are reversed. Libra is at the beginning of Spring, Capricorn is at the beginning of Summer, Aries is at the beginning of Fall, and Cancer is at the beginning of Winter.

**There are several different versions of Triplicity Rulers. I use the Dorothean Triplicity Rulers.

***Sometimes planets are both dignified and debilitated in the same sign. There do exist quantitative methods of analyzing dignity and debility in which they cancel each other out; however, I prefer a more qualitative approach that considers both.

Humors and Temperament, A Simplified Approach for the Modern World

When attempting to apply Classical Astrology to the practical problem of health and well-being, among the first hurdles an astrologer faces are the related subjects of temperament and humors. Temperament and humors have a long pedigree in traditional medicine, and they were used from before the Classical period through the Middle Ages and Renaissance, until they were largely abandoned in the 1800’s. They are all but forgotten in the modern age, except by those interested in history and astrology.

Most of us, even non-astrologers, learn about a little about temperament and humors at some point in our history or science classes in school. The conventional teaching is that before modern times, people superstitiously believed that the body was made up of four liquids, blood, phlegm, yellow bile, and black bile, and that illness was caused by an imbalance in these four liquids. Usually, the textbooks continue to tell horror stories of the use of leeches and other rather frightening treatments, and we leave feeling blessed that we were born in the Modern world with a more enlightened approach to medicine.

In studying temperament in Western astrology, we learn that there are four temperaments that correspond to the four humors, or bodily fluids.  These also correspond to the four elements. Sanguine corresponds with blood and air, phlegmatic corresponds with phlegm and water, choleric corresponds with yellow bile and fire, and melancholic corresponds with black bile and earth.

After learning all of this, one might be tempted to avoid the issue of temperament altogether and move on to more palatable topics in astrology such as relationship or vocational astrology. Who wants to be told that their temperament is choleric, or worse, phlegmatic, and for that matter, what in the world is black bile anyways?

Yet, at some time in our lives, we all come to the point in which issues of health and well-being can no longer be ignored, and temperament does play an important role in all areas of our lives, including our relationships and our choice and success in our vocations.

A Simplified Approach

Setting aside the issue of bodily fluids, phlegmatic temperaments, and black bile, the study of the humors and temperament is at its core a study of balance. Balance is an important component in traditional medicine in all cultures, including Chinese and Native American medicine. In Classical Western medicine and astrology, the balance is along two axes, hot and cold and wet and dry.

20170920_105024There is nothing exotic or unusual about the balance between hot and cold and wet and dry. We still use these concepts when caring for plants. If you buy a plant for your garden, there is often a little card explaining how much sunlight or shade and water the plant needs. The card will also explain the amount of heat or cold it needs and will tolerate. At the most basic level, this is really what temperament is, how much energy, heat, and moisture we need and can tolerate. All of have a natural temperament that is somewhere along the hot/cold and wet/dry axis.

The hot/cold axis relates to both literal heat and to activity level. Hot is fast, busy, and active; cold is slow-moving and calm. The wet/dry axis is a little more abstract. This axis relates to boundaries and distinctions. Moisture blends and softens boundaries and distinctions; dryness hardens them. Without wet there would be no growth; without dry there would be no form.

There are traditional sources that seem to imply that the ideal state for all people is in the middle of both axes; if people have a natural temperament to one side of the hot/cod axis and/or wet/dry axis, the best practice is to counter their natural tendency. Other traditional sources seem to imply that it is best to support a person’s natural temperament whatever it may be.

While these approaches seem to contradict each other, I think that the apparent contradiction can be resolved by looking the axes as a pendulum. In this model, a person’s temperament can be seen as her personal ideal state and imbalances cause the pendulum to swing.

When a person is in balance, she is better able to heal and to maintain her own physical and emotional well-being, and large or long-term imbalances can lead to physical and emotional illnesses.

Relevance in the Modern World

This is all well and good, but are these concepts still relevant in the modern world? Hasn’t modern medicine rendered these ideas obsolete?

I believe that these concepts are still very relevant in the modern world and are far from obsolete.

Yes, we have medicine and treatments for all manner of illnesses; yet, many of these medicines and treatments have all manner of side effects, and it is often a matter of trial and error as to whether a medicine or treatment will be effective.

Worse, we are given contradictory and confusing information about health and nutrition, and what is considered “healthy” and “unhealthy” changes from decade to decade, and sometimes from year to year. This is particularly difficult for people with illnesses such as Type 2 Diabetes or other metabolic disorders as they try to manage their illnesses.

The reason for all of this confusion is that knowledge of temperament has largely been lost to Modern medicine. One size does not fit all with respect to medicine or diet, and an understanding of temperament would reduce the amount of guesswork with respect which treatments would be effective and which treatments would be likely to have side effects.

Calculation of Temperament

Traditional sources contain many different methods of calculating a person’s temperament, and some of these methods are quite complex. After reviewing and testing many of these methods on my chart and the charts of those I know well, I have adopted a rather simple approach.

In this approach, I look at the Nativity chart and consider the element of the signs of all of the 7 traditional planets, the Ascendant, the Midheaven, and the Part of Fortune, the season, and the phase of the moon.

Elements:

Air – Hot and Wet

Fire – Hot and Dry

Earth – Cold and Dry

Water – Cold and Wet

Seasons:

Spring: Hot and Wet

Summer: Hot and Dry

Fall: Cold and Dry

Winter: Cold and Wet

Moon Phases:

New: Hot and Wet

1st Quarter: Hot and Dry

Full: Cold and Dry

3rd Quarter: Cold and Wet

I then tally up the score along the Hot/Cold axis and the Wet/Dry axis to determine the native’s optimal balance. After that, I look at the chart in a qualitative manner to look for tendencies towards imbalance. While anyone can become off balance in any direction along either axis, our charts can point to what is most likely for us, all other factors being equal.

Queen Anne’s Temperament

Queen_Anne_by_John_Closterman
Portrait from the school of John Closterman, circa 1702

An interesting case study with respect to temperament is the last Stuart monarch of Great Britain, Queen Anne. Queen Anne ascended to the throne in 1702, after the death of her brother-in-law, King William III, who was married to her older sister, Queen Mary II. She was 37 years old at the beginning of her reign, and she was already in ill health. It is estimated that she had been pregnant 17 times, but none of her children survived childhood. She was described as short and stout, which was likely a polite way to say that she was overweight. Her health continued to deteriorate, especially after the death of her husband. She had gout and became unable to walk. She died of a stroke at the age of 49.

Her reign was an eventful one. The Act of Union between England and Scotland, an attempted invasion by her Catholic half-brother, James Stuart, and the War of Spanish Succession resulting in the Treaty of Utrecht all occurred during her reign. One of the provisions of the Treaty of Utrecht was that Great Britain gained control over the Strait of Gilbraltar, and this treaty set the stage for the later British Empire.

Despite this, Queen Anne has often been dismissed as unintelligent, and it is her advisers, rather than herself, that are given credit for the accomplishments that occurred under her reign. In the Great Courses series of lectures, A History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts, Professor Robert Bucholz suggested that perhaps the reason for this dismissal was due to prejudice against an overweight female sovereign. While this could very well be a factor, it is likely that her temperament also played a role.

Before even looking at Queen Anne’s chart, her weight and ill health suggest that her humors were out of balance. She also seemed to be able to make or understand connections that others did not. At the time it was ratified, the Treaty of Utrecht was seen as a disappointment with too many concessions, a waste after the bitter and costly War of Spanish Succession. Yet, in hindsight, the provisions of this treaty gave Great Britain huge advantages in its emergence as a world power.

Queen Anne’s weight and ability to see connections suggest a wet temperament. It may be accurate that she relied heavily on advisers, or at least gave that appearance. It could be that what was seen as unintelligent was actually an apparent difficulty with indecision.  Obesity is a classic malady of those who are excessively wet. Also, people with wet temperaments are able to make connections that those with dryer temperaments can not, and this ability can make decision making difficult, because wet people often see all too clearly the many different consequences of their actions.

So, with this hypothesis in mind, let us look at Queen Anne’s Nativity chart.

Queen Anne Nativity Chart

Step 1: Calculation of Temperament

As discussed previously, to calculate the temperament, I use the elements of the signs of the 7 personal planets, the season, the phase of the moon, the Ascendant, Midheaven and Part of Fortune. This gives a total of 12 considerations.

Sun – Air (Aquarius): Hot and Wet

Season – Winter: Cold and Wet

Moon – Water (Pisces): Cold and Wet

Moon Phase – New: Hot and Wet

Ascendant – Water (Scorpio): Cold and Wet

Midheaven – Fire (Leo): Hot and Dry

Part of Fortune – Air (Libra):  Hot and Wet

Mercury – Water (Pisces): Cold and Wet

Venus – Fire (Aries): Hot and Dry

Mars – Water (Pisces): Cold and Wet

Jupiter – Air (Aquarius): Hot and Wet

Saturn – Earth (Capricorn): Cold and Dry

In tallying up the scores, we find that Queen Anne had 6 Hot and 6 Cold. She was exactly even on the Hot and Cold Axis. We also find that she had 9 Wet and 3 Dry. Her temperament was not only Wet, it was very Wet.

Step 2: A Qualitative Analysis of the Chart for Likely Imbalance

While the quantitative measure of wet to dry in Queen Anne’s chart is 9 Wet to 3 Dry, all of the major considerations in her chart are Wet. Her Sun is Wet by sign and season, and her Moon is Wet by sign and phase. Her Ascendant is Wet, and the ruler of her Ascendant, Mars, is in a Wet sign. The three Dry areas of her chart, her Venus, Midheaven, and Saturn, are comparatively weaker. This means that even though her optimal balance was Wet, her natural inclination would have led her to become even Wetter.

While each of us has a different optimal balance along each axis, there is a certain level in which too much of any humor becomes dangerous for anyone. Those with temperaments at the extreme end of either axis run the risk of sliding into the danger zone. Queen Anne’s optimal balance was extremely Wet, but Wetness beyond this optimal balance would have brought her into this danger zone. It is no wonder that with her temperament and her inclination towards imbalance that she was plagued with health problems throughout her life.

Advice for Queen Anne

So, if Queen Anne were living in modern times, as an astrologer, what advice would I give her? Well, even though Queen Anne’s most likely imbalance would be in the direction of becoming dangerously Wet, because I am an astrologer and not a trained physician, I would be extremely cautious about giving advice to directly influence her Wet and Dry balance. The reason for this is that even though as a general rule she could use to dry, if she became too dry, this could send the pendulum swinging even further in the wet direction, which could be perilous for her.

Luckily, there is an indirect approach. Actually, the description of temperament with respect to the elements, seasons, and moon phases was a little oversimplified. Actually, each of these has a quality that they are, and a quality that they are becoming.  For example: Spring is Wet, becoming Hot; Summer is Hot, becoming Dry; Autumn is Dry, becoming Cold, and Winter is Cold, becoming Wet. While this distinction is unnecessary for the quantitative calculation of temperament, it becomes helpful when giving advice. The two axes are not directly related, but they do impact each other in a circular fashion. Moisture heats, heat dries, dry cools, and cold moistens. So, in cases such as Queen Anne, when it is dangerous to manipulate along one axis, it may be possible to manipulate along the other axis.

In Queen Anne’s case, she was in the middle of the Hot/Cold axis, and thus, far from the danger zone in either direction. So rather than suggest drying foods and activities, I would suggest gently warming activities, such as mild exercise and heating herbs and spices in moderation. As we would want to avoid pendulum swings at all costs, I would suggest that she pay very close attention to her body, making changes very slowly. If she had a bad reaction to a change she was making, she should slow down or stop to give her body time to adjust.

I would also talk to her about salt and sugar cravings, which often lead to overeating. Salt and/or sugar cravings are a sure sign of imbalance along the wet/dry axis because the body is trying to compensate for the imbalance. Salt dries and sugar moistens, and refined salt and sugar dry and moisten very quickly. It is very common for people to alternate quickly between salt and sugar cravings. From a temperament standpoint, the way to counter these cravings is not to fight them, but to pay attention to them in terms of what the body is trying to do, and to find healthier ways of doing it.

If Queen Anne was experiencing sugar cravings, I would suggest foods that were moistening. On the other hand, I would avoid foods that were cooling as well as moistening, such as fish, strawberries, or citrus fruit, but instead suggest foods that were warming and moistening, such as apples, tomatoes, and most soups. As cold moistens and heat dries, it seems safer and slower to heat as well as moisten when that is necessary. If she was experiencing salt cravings, I would suggest that she tried to dry indirectly through heat, rather than directly. This would be a slower process, with far less danger of causing her to swing.

If she could, I would suggest she find ways to go to a different climate on a regular basis, particularly during the winter. The climate of Britain can not have been helpful for her. I would also suggest that she reserve her decision making to purely important matters, and delegate less important decisions to advisers and ministers. Decision making is a dry activity, and is often quite exhausting for those with wet temperaments. It is likely that the stress of being Queen wore on her health and well being greatly. That may be why she appeared to be overly reliant upon her advisers. This may have been suggested by her physicians, who would have been aware of temperament considerations, or she may have realized this on her own. Most people with even minimal self awareness learn to manage their Nativity Charts as they mature, even without being aware what their charts contain.

Summary

In this article, I have explained how and why the use of humors and temperament is still relevant in the Modern world. I have also suggested a simplified paradigm with respect to temperament and humors that minimizes the use of rather unflattering terms and the discussion of bodily fluids. I have also put forth my own method of calculating temperament and analyzing likely imbalances. It is my hope that this article will be of use to astrologers and of interest to non-astrologers. It is also my hope that this will generate discussion and perhaps lead to a greater understanding of the humors and temperament with respect to overall health and well-being.