Today is a Prince of Wands Day – please, think before you take that leap…

images-1With the Sun in Aries (action) and the Moon in Aquarius (progressive ideals/ideas), it’s going to be a Prince of Wands day.

The Prince of Wands is a fiery character; his youth and daring are readily apparent. Clearly, he is embarking on a journey of great importance. See how he radiates his passion? He’s a free & original thinker – inspired by his ideas of what might – someday – be.

But upon closer examination, something about this picture doesn’t look quite right – and I suspect that this because our prince is a bit too cocky, too quick on the draw. Undeniably, original thinking is a positive asset; it frees us from the status quo. On the other hand, if untampered by the practicalities of the situation, such thinking could well doom our plans to failure. Is this prince about to trip over his own feet in his race to the finish line? I fear that he might be…

On a Prince of Wands day, it is likely that we will learn an important lesson in regards to naïve assumptions of ‘good luck’ – just because we have a good idea doesn’t mean that we will – or even ought to try to – make it happen.

c588b6504745a6c0cc8e4bf470c60795Tomorrow the Moon shifts into Pisces – and the bright, shiny plans of today just might overnight melt into disillusioned dreams.

So, don’t be like Don Quixote in Cervantes’ famous tale and tilt at silly windmills.

Instead, stand back for a moment and take the perspective of the wiser, and more quietly self-confident Queen of Wands (Moon in Leo) – and ask yourself honestly if the proposed course of action will validate your true sense of self-expression. If it won’t, then don’t do it. Save your time and energy for those courses of action that will do.

Responsibility

They say that worldly achievement involves not only risks and rewards but also responsibility.

Fair enough.

But how do you know if you’ve got the mix right?

With the Sun in Aries and the Moon in Capricorn, the next couple of days will provide opportunities to discover just that but I’m guessing that it won’t be all that easy and here’s why.

Consider the story of Minos of Crete who, in order to become king, enlisted the aid of Poseidon, god of the sea. In return, Minos promised to sacrifice to Poseidon a wondrous white bull. But when it came time for Minos to honour his part of the bargain, he reneged, choosing to substitute his 2nd best bull instead.Unknown

In making this decision, Minos might well have used a classic risk/reward analysis – i.e. the potential reward (to him) of keeping the better bull outweighed the risk that Poseidon would find out (or even care).

But unfortunately Poseidon did find out (and he cared) and in retaliation caused Pasiphae, the wife of Minos, to fall in love with that  wondrous white bull. That in itself may not have been so bad. After all, marital indiscretion has often been an issue dealt with by kings. But when, after coupling witUnknownh the bull, Pasiphae gave birth to the Minotaur, the plot thickened; each year nine youths and nine maidens had to be sacrificed in order to feed the Minotaur’s foul appetite and after awhile the folks in the street started to get angry. Finally, the Athenian hero Theseus arrived in Crete and with the help of Minos’ daughter, Ariadne, killed the Minotaur freeing Crete from its terrible curse.  Minos, worn out by guilt and sorrow, died and Theseus became the ruler of both Athens and Crete.

I figure that this means that – despite the outcome of any risk-reward analysis, responsibility requires us to always consider that each and every decision we take also has an impact on others; Minos forgot this at his peril.

You wouldn’t want to do the same thing, would you?

Re-Evaluation

Is your current vision of life one of meaningless emptiness, all the more disturbing because it is so full of important things: fashion, food, family, friends, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter?

With the Sun in Aries and the Moon in Scorpio, the energy of today and tomorrow is one of bored dissatisfaction. Little wonder if you’re feeling disillusioned, uncertain.

But what are you going to do about it – that’s what you really need to know.

UnknownConsider Jane Austen’s ‘handsome, clever and rich’ heroine, Emma Woodhouse – after a few minor set-backs, her wildest dreams and ambitions are delivered up on a silver platter – and in true fairy-tale fashion, it’s happily ever after with Mr Knightley for Emma– huzza!

Consider also Madame Emma Bovary, Gustave Flaubert’s French bourgeois heroine – after a few minor set backs, her wildest dreams and ambitions are also delivered up on a silver platter – but it’s not happily after with Charles Bovary for this Emma – she’s so bored and disillusioned with her fairy-tale ending that she takes a lover who dumps her, thus destroying not only her own life but also that of her child and husband.images

  • Austen’s story is nice.
  • Flaubert’s is not nice.
  • Both are literature classics.

I figure this is because they both stress the importance of developing and maintaining a realistic personal value system.

With energy like that of today and tomorrow, it’s a perfect time to re-evaluate your own.

The Astrological Fortunes of Richard III

IShakespeare's Richard IIIn the times of William Shakespeare, the ‘stars’ were always a force with which men must reckon. There’s no doubt that in those days, the world was viewed as ‘fated’ – and whether this was a reflection of the ancient cosmos where the gods pulled all the strings or an inherent recognition of what Carl Jung would later posit about the covert operations of the unconscious, we will never know.

But we do know that the idea of ‘fate’ as shown in the ‘stars was woven oft through his work:

Our remedies oft in ourselves do lie,

Which we ascribe to heaven: the fated sky

Gives us free scope, only doth backward pull

Our slow designs when we ourselves are dull.

(All’s Well that Ends Well, 1.1.209), Helena

Having just finished reading Shakespeare’s play Richard III, I wondered how Richard was ‘fated’ to stack up?180px-Richard_III_of_England

Ptolemy identified six levels of fame/success:

  1. Kings & Princes

Both luminaries in masculine signs and at least one of them to be found in an angle. This alone is pretty good. However – as well, they (both) be attended by a doryphory (including rays)  composed of all five planets – then this is REAL GOOD. In addition this rank is helped if the planets in the doryphories are also in the angles or configured with the MC.

  1. Chieftain

The Sun only masculine with the Moon feminine and only one of them in an angle. If both, however, have good doryphories as described above, then the person will reach chieftain level, with the power to judge life and death. NOTE – a good doryphory has  benefics in good shape or on angles (or ruling them).

  1. Governor or Commander

If the natal chart has the luminaries as for a Chieftain but the doryphories do not involve the angles, these people will not be invested with sovereignty, but will reach eminence.

  1. Civil Leader

If neither of the luminaries be in the angles, but both have good doryphories which are in the angles or ruling the angles, they will have a leadership role in their community. Councillor, President of a club, Mayor of a small town and so on.

  1. Undistinguished

If however, neither luminary is in an angle (Sun still masculine and Moon feminine), and the attending planets are not involved with the angles by placement or rulership, then the person will lead a humble life.

  1. Lowest Level

If neither luminary be found in a masculine sign, nor in an angle, nor attended by any benefics they will live lives of “quiet desperation” and obscurity.

Richard III

  1. Sun in Libra (in fall) in a masculine sign succedent in the 11th house – OK – but could be better – the 7th house Moon in Taurus is in a feminine sign but it is angular and exalted) so overall this is pretty OK.
  2. This might get him to Chieftain level if the doryphories of one or both of the luminaries is strong.
  3. The doryphory is an interesting technique focusing on the ‘retinue’ of helpers either of the two lights or luminaries (i.e. sun or moon) have in their ‘train’. The more planets in the retinue, the more helpers and if additionally those helpers were themselves strong the more help they could give. Imagine yourself a feudal lord trying to raise an army to fight a foe – the more rich/strong neighbours (i.e. able to raise their own armies) you have supporting your cause, the more likely you were to succeed.
  4. Note that when considering if a planet throws a ‘ray’ into the doryphory, benefics (Moon, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, and the Sun) can only do so by sextile or trine and the malefics (Saturn and Mars) can only do so by opposition or square.
  5. Richard III’s solar doryphory (i.e. attendants to his sun at 17 Libra) is as follows: Because the sun’s retinue PROCEEDS him, we look to other planets in either Libra (18 -30 degrees) or Scorpio:
    1. Saturn in Libra (exalted) and succedent
    2. Mercury in Scorpio
    3. Venus in Scorpio (in detriment) yet angular
    4. Jupiter in Aquarius (retrograde) throws a ray into Libra by trine
  6. Richard III’s lunar doryphory (i.e. attendants to his moon at 28 Taurus is as follows: Because the moon’s retinue FOLLOWS her, we look to planets either in Taurus (29-30 degrees Taurus) or Aries:
    1. Mars in Aries – strong by rulership but not angular
    2. Jupiter casts a ray into Aries by sextile
  7. A solar doryphory of four planets isn’t bad – but none of these four are in rulership by sign or term – and although Saturn is exalted, Venus is in detriment (alternative) – but she rules the DSC angle (Taurus). Mercury is reasonable shape and also rules the MC angle. Likewise Jupiter is in reasonable shape in Aquarius and rules the IC angle – so overall pretty good
  8. A lunar doryphory of only 2 planets is not so good – But that Mars is so powerful (albeit also retrograde) that it alone could win the day – not to mention that it is the chart ruler because Scorpio is rising. This means Mars rules this angle. Mars is further empowered by being in reception with the Sun (the Sun is exalted in Aries so that Sun in Libra- charming and strategic – gives all it has to Mars. Being retrograde does not impede its power but will effect the outcome in the sense that this power is never really under control.
  9. Overall, this gets Richard III to chieftain level – but not to King – and that shouldn’t be surprising because although he was crowned king, it was only because he killed off or pushed aside all others entitled to wear the crown. He held the throne for only two years before being toppled himself by Henry Tudor (who’d been smart enough to remain in France whilst Richard was bumping folks off), whose claim to the throne was much stronger.

Love’s Alchemy – Stage I – The Purification process or Calcinatio

Alchmey‘So as above then as below’ is a basic tenet of all occult work.

That inherently there is both good and bad in all things created is a tenet underlying the work of alchemists and Jungian psychologists alike.

Put these two tenets together, and you get an incredibly elegant step-by-step formula on how to create ‘gold’ from your unperfected self.

The heroine, Judith Shakespeare, of my new novel, Love’s Alchemy, has long been interested in both psychology and alchemy. Whilst still a teenager, she’d concluded that it was possible to change, perfect, and redeem  Picture 1herself by marrying psychology with alchemy through astrology.

Jung (himself a competent astrologer) believed that the ‘great work’ or magnum opus of alchemists was akin to the process he coined as individuation – whereby one deliberately works against the natural order of things to create the ‘Self’, an internal structure that will provide a ‘feeling of standing on solid ground, on a patch of inner eternity which even physical death cannot touch.’

The alchemists start with the elusive ‘first matter’, or Prima Materia in Latin. This is the most confusing concept in alchemy and even alchemists find it difficult to define it. Luckily, however, in regards to astrology determining the Prima Materia is easy; it’s your birth chart ! Like alchemists with their Prima Materia, your goal is to take each piece of your natal chart apart such that it can be purified, transformed, and reunited again into a perfect whole.

The first part of the process commences with the ‘Black Phase’ or Nigredo and the first stage of Nigredo is known as calcinatio.

Calcinatio is a fiery, burning process governed by Aries/Mars during which the dross is burned off to purify rather like the process during which diamonds are formed.

Psychologically, this is accomplished by frustrating your natural desires and passions (i.e. deliberating frustrating your EGO) so that you no longer are able to get your own way). It was never going to be easy to recognise (much less eliminate) your childish beliefs that everything wrong in your life is the fault of someone else.

As you become increasingly unable to blame others (i.e. project your own frustrations outside yourself) and are forced to look inside for the answers, you are literally stewed in your own ‘juices’ – frustrated and trapped – until the fire that lit your anger burns itself out.

alchemy lab 7Hence this stage in the alchemical process is often depicted as wolves with their paws cut off (instincts frustrated), serpents devouring themselves, lions eating suns, or the King being boiled alive

Needless to say this is a dark time of life and is often characterized by feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and depression – as you finally give up your egoistic struggle and slow down long enough to take that all important look inside.

Judith addresses The Black Phase or Nigredo in the first few chapters of Love’s Alchemy when because her Mars is so strong (with Scorpio rising, Mars is her chart ruler which is then also found in the zodiac sign of Scorpio which it rules by sign and triplicity), she finds herself more trouble than she’s ever known.

Like I said, this never was going to be easy.

Spiritual lessons of Taurus

While Aries symbolizes the sprouting seeds of spirituality, Taurus symbolizes establishing the root system which will nourish them.

Astrologically, Taurus represents the “real world” where practical issues – like food and water – must be faced. This does not mean, however, that Taurus is slow witted or dull. Indeed Taurus’ ruler is Venus – the brilliant morning and evening star – which, according to the Ptolemy, “is the preeminent cause of abundance, good yields, and profit. ”

But success takes hard work and patience and it is only with the steadfast, loyal perseverance of Taurus that we can ever reach the stars for which we set out in Aries.

Yet all will not be well if–as so often is the case with Taurus–we become too enamored with the pleasures of the material world.

Buddhism,  which emphasizes the detachment and eventual elimination of desire offers one way of dealing with  the problem. Indeed Buddhism is strongly connected with Taurus as both the birth and enlightenment of the Buddha are celebrated at the time of the May full moon when the sun is in Taurus.

Likewise, for the Christian mystic, the material world is neither to be worshiped nor despised as a distraction.   Instead, it must be recognized as our only vehicle to enlightenment (Teilhard de Chardin, The Divine Milieu, Harper and Row, New York, 1968.)

To avoid choking in the weeds of the ‘real world’, Taurus should remember that spiritual growth doesn’t come by concentrating on its cultivation. The more she can forget herself  (i.e. forget self-conscious spiritual development or the accumulation of material goods), the more lively her spiritual growth.

Just as a seed grows while the farmer sleeps, so the spirituality of Taurus increases by simply going about the business of daily living.

Spiritual Lessons of Aries

Aries heralds the coming of the vernal equinox.  The bleakness of winter is past. As daffodils bloom and new buds of life appear, nature seems to have found renewed hope.

In the northern hemisphere, where Western astrology was developed, the light has triumphed over darkness and with it, life over death.  It is fitting then, that Easter usually occurs in Aries for Easter is a time of rebirth when, as Christians, we begin spiritual life anew.

Aries too speaks of beginnings and turning one’s back on the past. Perhaps if we’re struggling with how to implement our renewed spirituality, it is to Aries that we might turn for help.

Ptolemy, whose work reflects the traditions of Western astrology, listed the following as positive Arien qualities: spirited, powerful, venturesome, keen, headstrong, active, with the qualities of leadership.

Indeed these are the qualities we associate with Aries today.   Aries is the successful entrepreneur, the captain of industry, the true pioneer among men.  What then might Aries have to offer besides a place on the FTSE 100 or one’s name in Who’s Who?

All spiritual traditions emphasize the importance of making that initial decision to live the life of the spirit and warn us that we can’t wait for proof that God exists or that the teachings of our religion are true.  Yet today, many of us do just that.  For as children of the Enlightenment, we have learned to believe only in that which we can measure.

Yet if spirited, venturesome, powerful Aries is prepared to take uncalculated risks in order to reach for his stars, then perhaps we could as well.

And what better time to do so than in Aries when ‘the sun (is) mounting with those stars that with him were, what time the Love Divine, at first in motion set those beauteous things.’  *

___________

* From Dante’s Inferno reflecting the ancient belief (Albumaser, writing  in the 9th century) that Creation took place when the seven planets–Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn–were in conjunction in Aries.