Making Money through your Part of Fortune – Part I – Case study for Ms X

Egyptian Zodiac Taurus

Continuing my serious study of classical (Medieval) astrology, I now delve into one of the most famous Arabic Parts, the Part of Fortune.

The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that we can’t negotiate directly with the gods (i.e. the planets). Hence we must approach the gods through their Arabic parts (as shown in our natal charts). It’s rather like praying to a statue with the belief this somehow channels you to the spiritual reality of that which such statue represents.

In the mind-set of the ancient Greeks and Romans, the Sun represents Spirit while the Moon represents matter or physical form.

Algebraically put your Sun and Moon together (bring spirit to matter) along with your ascendant (or ASC = degree on the horizon where the sun rose the day you were born) and this becomes a very personalised pointer to how and where you make money.


With his culture’s eye for trading and capitalism, the Roman Firmicus Maternus gives us a reliable method for looking at your chart in this way:

Therefore observe who is the ruler of the sign and of the degree of the Part of Fortune, that is, in whose terms the Part is; also in what house each ruler is, whether on first or second angles, in favourable or dejected houses, in their exaltation or fall; whether each ruler is in aspect to the Part of Fortune and if they, on the angles, are in aspect to each other.

When you have carefully investigated all this, then observe who is the ruler of the degree of the Moon (in a nocturnal chart) or of the Sun (in a diurnal chart) and see if this ruler is in aspect to the Part of Fortune. If one planet is found to be the ruler of all these degrees and is favourable located in signs in which he rejoices, or in his exaltation, or in his own house, this indicates a lucky chart. ….

But if there is not one ruler of the sign of the Part of Fortune and of its terms and of the terms of the Sun or the Moon, the one which has the greatest power should be the most important in the forecast.

If none of these stars (planets) is favourable located, the native will be oppressed by ill fortune to the end of his life.

The following is the analysis for Ms X who although she has married into significant wealth, wishes to know her potential to generate wealth in her own name.


Reminder of the formula set out by that capitalist Roman, Firmicus Maternus:

Therefore observe who is the ruler of the sign and of the degree of the Part of Fortune, that is, in whose terms the Part is; also in what house each ruler is, whether on first or second angles, in favourable or dejected houses, in their exaltation or fall; whether each ruler is in aspect to the Part of Fortune and if they, on the angles, are in aspect to each other.

When you have carefully investigated all this, then observe who is the ruler of the degree of the Moon (in a nocturnal chart) or of the Sun (in a diurnal chart) and see if this ruler is in aspect to the Part of Fortune. If one planet is found to be the ruler of all these degrees and is favourable located in signs in which he rejoices, or in his exaltation, or in his own house, this indicates a lucky chart. ….

But if there is not one ruler of the sign of the Part of Fortune and of its terms and of the terms of the Sun or the Moon, the one which has the greatest power should be the most important in the forecast.

If none of these stars (planets) is favourable located, the native will be oppressed by ill fortune to the end of his life.


In practice, this works as follows for Ms X (a diurnal chart):

  • Her Part of Fortune is 7 Sagittarius 07 = ASC – Sun by day + Moon. It is in the 7th house (highlighting wealth coming through partnership, in this case by marriage).
  • Jupiter rules Sag (Sagittarius)– so Jupiter rules the sign of her Part of Fortune.
  • The term ruler of 7 Sag 07 is also Jupiter.
  • In the chart of Ms X, Jupiter is at 22 Taurus 50 – spot on conjunct with the ASC (angular in a very big and very good way).
  • Jupiter in Taurus is neither in rulership nor exaltation– but it is very happy & exceedingly powerful in this chart. Not only is in conjunct the ASC (life force) but also in trine to the midheaven or MC.
  • Does Ms X have capacity to generate riches?
  • Absolutely !! (She has already done very well through marriage).
  • According to Bonatti’s Liber Hermetis, Jupiter in Taurus (in sect) ‘brings great riches and happiness linked with glory. The person will be the ruler of villas, estates, buildings.’ (NB – Ms X does have homes in several countries). Not only that but she ‘will receive benefits from women and may have a high social profile because of women.’
  • Is there potential for it to all go wrong?
  • Sadly, yes.
  • The Jupiter of Ms X is in the terms of Saturn. Take heed here – for Bonatti warns that because of this, ‘whatever is gained can be lost.’
  • To determine how much a problem this might pose, we look to the Sun and Moon and their rulers by term. Both the Sun and Moon are cadent (12th and 6th house respectively) which suggests potential to ‘fall from grace’ (at least in regards to wealth). The term rulers of the Sun and Moon (Mars and Mercury respectively) suggest pretty much the same thing (Mars being a malefic and in opposition with Saturn, the other malefic, and Mercury – while not particularly damaged, is out of sect and cadent). Further, we look to the triplicity rulers of her 2nd house (Gemini = Air) – and are pleased to find that in the 3rd and final period of her life, Jupiter (in excellent condition) gives her the ability to generate and hold enough wealth to comfortably get by.
  • Because this is a diurnal chart (she was born after sunrise), we must also look to the Sun and its rulers to determine ability to achieve and hold wealth.
  • The Sun of Ms X is at 27 Pisces 31. Jupiter the ruler by sign of Pisces and we know from our above analysis where that stands.
  • The term ruler of 27 Pisces 31 is Mars which in the chart of Ms X, is at 19 Virgo 15 in the 5th house (succedent). This is not a particularly bad place for Mars nor is it particularly good either. However having said that, Mars does pick up quite a bit of power being is ‘at the bends’ (i.e. in square aspect to the lunar nodes). Unfortunately Mars does not aspect the angles (MC or ASC) nor does it aspect the Part of Fortune.
  • Hence Mars and Jupiter are the indicators of the ability of Ms X to generate (and keep) wealth.
  • Mars is not in the best of conditions – even though it is very powerful (suggesting it powerfully influences in not particularly helpful ways). According to Bonatti, Mars in Virgo (in sect) indicates ‘dealers in arms and evil men of evil manner who pursue evil purposes’. Oh dear. Best not to take that too literally. Also according to Bonatti, with Mars in the terms of Venus ‘this person will see the death of their partner yet twill have many lovers and beautiful daughters.’ Best not to take this too literally either. Bonatti was writing in the 17th century and things were quite different then.
  • Regarding the best career choice for Ms X – we first look to Mercury (because the Moon is applying to Mercury).
  • The Mercury of Ms X is at 15 Aries 24 in the 12th house (cadent). Cadency suggests little or no power in the ‘establishment’ sense – leaving the focus more on a profession where service is key. Cadency also suggests that Ms X is not so much interested in acquiring personal power or gain through her profession. That’s good because the cadency of her Mercury suggests she is not particularly effective at doing so.
  • However Mercury is in its own terms – which suggests that it is amongst friends. According to Bonatti, Mercury in its own terms suggests ‘the person will have rank and share in secret knowledge’. Traditionally Mercury is associated with merchants (buying & selling). In more modern astrology, Mercury is associated with communication of all sorts including writing (the idea of ‘secrets’ is also highlighted by modern astrology through association with the 12th house). Mercury is not connected with the angles (ASC or MC) and only very widely trines the Part of Fortune. This suggests Ms X may not make much money in professions associated with Mercury.
  • Because Mars is ‘at the bends’, it is also a strong significator of profession. Traditionally Mars is linked to the warrior classes. Today it might equate to anything connected arguments/disputes and/or sharp (knife/blade) things – such as being a butcher or surgeon or a judge who resolves disputes in a court of law. The Mars of Ms X is likewise not connected with the angles and again only widely squares the Part of Fortune suggesting she is unlikely to make significant money from these professions.
  • However – good news when we look to her status in regards to profession – Venus (1st triplicity ruler of the 10th house) – and because Venus is exalted in Pisces (and not cadent) and its own triplicity ruler is Jupiter (strong and connected with the angles) Ms X could achieve some fame (if not fortune) in her chosen profession.
  • This is further confirmed by her immensely powerful solar doryphory – or train of attendants – including Venus, Saturn, Mars, Jupiter, Mercury and the Moon. In the chart of Ms X, the Sun has lots of help and support. This is good.
  • In summary Ms X has tremendous potential to accumulate significant wealth (most likely through partnership/marriage) however she equally has the potential to lose it again. This is a real danger. However there is the suggestion that in later life she has the ability to accumulate and hold enough wealth in order to get comfortably by. In regards to profession, careers relating to merchandising, communication, dispute resolution are highlighted and although Ms X is likely to acquire some status and recognition in regards to her career, it is unlikely she will acquire significant wealth from it.ph88

The Dangers of Individuality – The Sabian Symbol for Today

With the Sun moving towards 24 Leo, the Sabian Symbol for today is an ‘untidy, unkempt man’.

Usually with Leonine energy, we think of proud playfulness, openhearted generosity, and confident charm.   But sometimes, it can all go wrong.

The ruler of Leo is the Sun, which can be equated with the Ego – that part of your personality that maintains the balance between impulses (‘id’) and conscience (‘superego’).   When balance is achieved, you have the unruffled self-assurance so often associated with Leo.  Actually, you’d expect nothing else.   Leo is ‘fixed fire’.  The Leonine ego must come to terms with itself by turning not to the world outside, but instead to within.

Yet after such intense soul-searching, it’s imperative to share your hard-won wisdom with your fellow man.  Most spiritual traditions emphasis this final leg of the Self’s journey as the most important.  This makes perfect sense as Leo’s balancing energy is to be found in its opposite -Aquarius -the epitome of social responsibility and the egalitarian ideal.

But when the ego fails to find balance, the result is complete self-obsession and an unattractive insensitivity to the wider world.

Today’s Sabian less is not just for Leo, but also for everyone.  Individuality is key to human happiness.  But without balance, the exact opposite is attained.  Hence we find the image of this Sabian Symbol – a negative, perverse satisfaction in the neglect of self.

Faces Within Faces – Revealing the Secrets of Your 5th House

Conflict exists between the face you believe that you present to the world and that which you actually do.  If you don’t wish to take yourself at ‘face value’, then dig deeper.

Astrology offers a way to do just that.   Like artists, astrologers seek to capture the essence of their subject – that unique signature style that sets one apart in the sea of humanity.

The best place to start is with the 5th house.  It’s here that you find your potentiality for self-expression.  Keep in mind however, that you could choose to use this energy to camouflage your real Self.

The 5th house is a place of enormous complexity.  It symbolises not only that in which you take pleasure (Venus ‘delights’ here), but also it’s home to your heart chakra.  The 5th house channels your life’s vital energy.   It also symbolises your ability to give and receive without strings.

If your 5th house energy is inhibited or blocked, you’re unable to fulfil your promise.  In this case, the ruler of your 5th house (and any planets residing there) provides clues.  Societal attitudes toward self-expression are also synthesized in the 5th house.

I have Scorpio on my 5th house cusp.  This makes Pluto (in my 2nd house in Leo) and Mars (in Virgo conjunct Venus in the 3rd) the co-rulers of the face I present to others.  As Scorpio is renouned for being guarded and suspicious, it’s little surprise that, for my own protection, I hide myself away.  Perhaps early on I learned that expression of the ‘real me’ was dangerous?  I realise that under my easy Libran smile, my teeth are always clenched.  Clearly something intense is going on under the surface.  Maybe it’s the ever-present survival concerns (Pluto in Leo in 2nd house) especially in regard to financial security?  Or maybe I’m mistrustful of life in general?

People have told me that I have a piercing gaze.  I hold eye contact with them longer than is comfortable.  What am I looking for?  My Mars in Virgo squares my Moon.  This suggests my playful Gemini Moon is seeking a way to relax and let ‘go’.

Can others see this in my face?  Can I?

Tilting @ Windmills – Real Life Writing with Neptune

(the following is a ‘life writing’ project recently completed for my Oxford University Creative Writing program)

 When transiting Neptune comes calling, we set off in pursuit of the impossible dream.   It’s rather like Don Quixote tilting at windmills.  We search for something we’ll never find but in the process, we’ll get something that we need.  At least that’s what my astrologer, Karen Thorne, says and she’s almost always right.  So when Neptune knocked at my door, I shouldn’t have answered.  But as luck would have it, that’s exactly what I did.

At the time, I was living in Boston, Massachusetts.  My first marriage had just ended in a shambles.  I’d been ill for nearly a year.  Now, I was out of a job.  I needed a change of direction and I needed it as soon as possible.

I would return to London where I’d worked as a tax lawyer for the multinational accounting firm, Ernst & Young.  But for hundreds of reasons, that didn’t work out.  I was forced to cast my net wider.  Only one of many promising leads panned out. It was as if the fickle finger of fate was pointed directly at me when at 7:31 AM on 19 April 1994, I arrived at Schiphol airport to commence my new life.

Boston had been sultry and sunny.  Amsterdam is chill and grey.  I button my new raincoat with ‘dress for success’ shoulder pads and hop in the nearest taxi.  I’ve only one suitcase with me.  The rest of my things are on a boat to Rotterdam.  I hand the driver two vijftig gulden notes emblazoned with sunflowers and am deposited in front of a white office complex just off the A-10 Ring Road next to the train station, Amsterdam Rai.  Moret Ernst & Young – Nederland.  Automatic doors swish open.  The glass lobby with a turquoise carpet is of Scandinavian design. From behind a basket of lipstick-red tulips, a uniformed receptionist hisses goedemorgen.

In faltering Dutch, I announce myself.  Elevator doors part.  An owl-eyed belastingadviseur shakes my hand.  Sipping aromatic koffie laced heavily with sugar, I’m ushered into my new office – light and spacious with individual climate control.  Such luxury I’d never had in either Boston or London.  Might this work out well after all?

While being treated by my colleagues to the cafeteria’s ‘luxury lunch’ – raw herring and onions washed down with buttermilk – my new boss, Alieke Bonte, swans in.  Although she’s nearly fifty years old, her stocky frame is squeezed into a stylish black leather suit.  She fluffs her pink hair (grey hair doesn’t hold red dye) and grabs my hand.  The electric current passing between us is palpable.  Her watery blue eyes probe my very soul.  This had never happened to me before.  I blush and turn away.

Over the next few months, she’d stop by my office late in the evening when no one else was around.   A United States tax deadline was looming and, for me, long hours were a necessity.   But there was no reason for her to stay late.  None-the-less, nearly every evening she’d position herself across from me and confide amazingly intimate things; a failed marriage, mixed emotions about the price she’d paid for success, and other things I’d best not repeat.  Often she’d invite me for dinner or drinks in the up-market cafes lining the Beethovenstraat around the corner from her house.  Sometimes her husband, Bert, joined us.  Sometimes he did not.  Regardless, she’d make discreet sexual overtures towards me, which were always followed by a hasty retreat.

Over time, her advances become more overt.  When we are in a client meeting, her leg presses against mine.  The pressure increases until we both look up and smile. Whenever we’re in an elevator together, her fingers stray towards mine.  One grand summer morning she takes me to a gay friend’s law offices near the bohemian Vondelpark.  I understand we’re there solely to ‘show me off.  Always when we touch, the electricity flows between us.  Always afterwards, I feel bated and bereft.

“She’s having a Neptune/Mars transit,” says my astrologer one sticky summer evening while we were chatting on the phone.  “She’s confused about her sexuality. She hates her husband one moment and loves him the next.  Don’t get involved.  Remember your own Neptune transit.  You’re not in any position to see things clearly now.”

Good advice.  I didn’t take it.  Instead, I poured more and more energy into reeling Alieke in like a floundering fish.  I didn’t know much about astrology then.  But my experiences with her prompted me to find out.  I bought an astrology program for my computer along with piles of “how-to” books.  I spent long Saturday evenings holed up with a bottle of red wine trying to figure out when her husband, who had heart problems, might die.  Once he was gone, I reasoned, she and I would surely be ‘together’ (whatever that meant).

Late in November 1994, as the twilight sun sinks behind the grey-green of Dam Square, the chill wind off the North Sea bites harder than usual.  An old fashioned organ grinder plays a tinny tune.  I look up, confused.  I’m no longer in Amsterdam but in Vienna.  I’m wearing strappy 1920’s style shoes instead of modern boots.  The vision, if that’s what one calls it, lasts only seconds.  But it is totally and utterly real.  I was badly shaken.  Things were getting serious.  I needed help.

A friend suggested that I go to a therapist in Noordwijkerhout specialised in past life regression.  The result was amazing.  It’s back to the 1920’s again.  This time my husband, whom I recognise as Alieke, drapes a colourful shawl over my shoulders and escorts me to our awaiting automobile.  We are going out for the evening – to a dinner party or perhaps the theatre.  My husband’s hand reaches for mine.  Our pinkies touch.  Sparks fly.  I succumb to an intensity of pleasure beyond my wildest imagination before crashing back into hard reality.  What I was to make of this ‘revelation’, I had no idea.  But when a few weeks later Alieke and I are in the back seat of a colleague’s car and our pinkies touch, it all plays out exactly as it had before – but this time in the here and now.

I needed to know how this would turn out.  Curled up in a sunny corner of my flat in Oud-zuid, I devoted Saturday afternoons to books; diaries about Virginia Woolf’s love affairs with Violet Trefusis and Vita Sackville-West, Radcylffe Hall’s novels about lesbian relationships, and the tragic story of playwright Joe Orton who was murdered by his gay lover, Kenneth Halliwell.  From these, I concluded that unconventional relationships like that which I wished to have with Alieke always ended in tears.  I panicked.

According to Karen, my astrological Sun serves as a lighthouse beacon to steer me along the ‘right’ path.  If I ‘do’ my ‘Sun’ then I’ll be doing the ‘right’ thing even if it doesn’t make me happy.

“I assure you that this ‘thing’ with Alieke is what you’re supposed to doing now,” says Karen one snowy night a week before Christmas.  “Your Sun is in Libra.  Therefore your focus must always be on relating through open and honest two-way exchange.”

“But Alieke and I never talk about anything important,” I complain.  “She keeps sweeping this thing under the carpet.”

“Aren’t you doing exactly the same thing?”

Karen was right.  It’s easy to blame another without ever looking into the mirror.  But knowing this wasn’t enough.  This ‘thing’ with Alieke was threatening my sanity as well as my job.  To break free of what now felt like a malevolent magical enchantment, I had to intellectually discern why this was happening to me.

I spent entire days on the top floor of the well-stocked American Discount Bookstore in Amsterdam trawling through stacks of astrology books.  I discovered that, in what is called synastry (the comparison of one person’s natal chart with another’s), Alieke’s Neptune fell smack dab on top of my Sun.

This was the most powerful of synastry aspects.  If exact (as was mine and Alieke’s), the relationship would always feel fated or karmic.  Inevitably, there would be disillusionment and anger on both sides.   The Sun person (me) would feel manipulated and cheated while the Neptune person (Alieke) would feel abandoned and abused.   The books warned that frightened by the power of what might be unleashed if the relationship were consummated, either or both of us might well turn and run.

The key to my survival was that I become conscious of my own power drive.  This is something I would have sworn I never had.  Her Machiavellian nature was precisely what I’d found so distasteful in Alieke.  How was it that I had one too?  Yet slowly I began to realise that in subtle ways (like constantly threatening to move to London), I’d been undermining her every bit as much she’d been undermining me.  If there could be no workable balance of power between us (and because she was my boss there would never be), then like it or not, I’d have to put an end to our ‘relationship’.

“Each of us needs some magic in our lives,” said Karen in yet another marathon telephone call.  “But when the magic is over, we need to move on.   This is the hardest part.”

This time I followed Karen’s advice.  I started looking for distractions.  Luckily I found one in my office mate, a young Dutchman named Jan Willem Moolenaar. With his easy manner and breezy good looks, he was a welcome contrast.  Knowing that Alieke was wearing me down, he found subtle, yet effective ways, to keep her and I apart.  I was appreciative.  He took well to his new role.  We spent more and more time together.  I bought a funky maisonette in leafy Amstelveen.  Shortly afterwards, he moved in.

Everyone at work knew about our relationship except Alieke.  This was a most amazing thing.  Alieke prided herself on knowing about everything even tangentially related to her ‘team’.  Yet this was going on right under her nose.  When finally she realised Jan Willem and I arrived at the office together each morning, she took me to lunch on the Beethovenstraat.  She’d not done that in months.

“Tell me about your new house,” she simpers while picking at her ham and cheese panini.  “You have two bedrooms?”

“Yes,” I say.  “Natuurlijk.”

She looks relieved.

“But only one bedroom has furniture,” I say with a grin.  “Looks like it will stay that way for the foreseeable future.”

She pushes her plate away and stands up to leave.

Finally, I win.

During our next phone call, my astrologer Karen declares that my Neptune transit is officially over. It is indeed time to move on.  Over the next six months, I engineered a job transfer to Ernst & Young, London.   3 July 1998, I sold my maisonette, packed up, and moved away.  Jan Willem came with me and on an exceptionally warm and sunny Friday in September 2004, we married at the Registry office in Richmond upon Thames.

This doesn’t mean the ‘thing’ with Alieke had ended.  Far from it.  For years, my heart would pound whenever I saw a woman with pink hair.  I still have dreams in which she ‘visits’ me.  Yet I now realise that although she was ‘mine’, it was inevitable that I would ‘lose’ her.  That’s what those diaries of Virginia Woolf’s had been about.  I’d be lying if I said I’ve let go gracefully.  I haven’t.   It’s Alieke who refuses to speak to me.

A few months ago I was chatting with Karen about a current transit of Jan Willem’s.

“While you were busy chasing illusions of intimacy with Alieke,” she reminds me, “you actually fell in love with someone better suited.”

I glance down at my wedding ring.  Nearly seventeen years ago she’d told me that when transiting Neptune comes calling, we set off in pursuit of the impossible dream.   It’s rather like Don Quixote tilting at windmills.  We search for something we’ll never find but in the process, we’ll get something that we need.

“Karen,” I say.  “How is it that you’re always right?”

With help from Jupiter, you might get lucky

Many believe that where Jupiter is, you’ll be lucky.

In large part this is true.  However with Jupiter, luck isn’t left to chance.  Instead, it’s all about timing and vision. Whether through religion or philosophy, when you see how you fit into the bigger picture, then all else falls into place.

Jupiter is the Roman equivalent of the Greek god Zeus, whose name derives from the Indo-European ‘djeus’ – which is composed of ‘deus’ or deity and ‘theos’ or the moment of light.

The combination of the gods and enlightenment is admittedly, intriguing.  Indeed, according to Liz Greene, Jupiter provides you with a personal path to spirituality – your own ‘divine plan’.

To learn more about what this might be, examine the zodiac sign in which Jupiter resides in your chart (house placement is equally important, but let’s leave that to another day).

Jupiter in Aries – you’re always on a crusade – a constant supply of fresh ideas is required to feed your fervent need for adventure and an exciting lifestyle.  Beware of a certain amount of egotism, however – but when its channelled towards helping the community at large, its forgivable if not outright charming.

Jupiter in Taurus – you need your feet planted firmly on the ground for you are constrained to work within the framework of the material world.   Your spiritual and religious values must, therefore, be grafted onto your need for material comfort and security.  Thus you will likely take a practical approach to religion.  Beware of fanaticism, however, for you may be prone to tenaciously held beliefs.

Jupiter in Gemini –  you’re always on the move – learning more and more enlarges your breadth of spiritual vision.  Beware of holding superficial beliefs.   By nature Gemini has a penchant for novelty and change.  This doesn’t give much incentive to getting to the root of things.  You’ll find your spiritual path by testing your hypotheses about the divine in your head rather than in your heart.

Jupiter in Cancer – you connect with the divine through your emotions – by holding together a community or family.  Your path is to find unity and group solidarity in all you say and do.  Beware of meddlesomeness under the guise of trying to be helpful.  Also beware of simply espousing (without examination) your group’s religious causes and beliefs.

Jupiter in Leo –  you need to find your deeper values through everyday living.  This is best achieved through helping others – for the hearth-flame (of which Leo is a symbol) burns ever brighter the more it is stoked.   Keep in mind, however, that Jupiter in Leo isn’t one for details.  Broader outlines and ambitious plans are more your cup of tea.

Jupiter in Virgo – religious feelings may be reduced to a sense of duty and you may feel you shoulder too much responsibility in the wake.   However uncomfortable this is, know it is here that your spiritual path lies.  For it is through relief work and service to others that you find your true calling.  There’s little doubt you’ll carry out your duties to perfection.

Jupiter in Libra – broaden your spiritual horizons through making ever more contacts and friends.  Your sense of justice is strong.  But this may prove to be a disadvantage for Jupiter isn’t about being fair.  Fairness implies the weighing of scales.  But you can’t help everyone – especially when they’re on opposite sides.  So best to join in a common cause and avoid making choices, which you’ll never do well.

Jupiter in Scorpio –broaden your spiritual horizons through anything that helps you understand your own (and others’) motivations.  This provides you with precious insight into the meaning of life.   Beware of moralising, however.  One of the downsides of coming to grips with your faults, is the tendency to force the same process on others.

Jupiter in Sagittarius – your search for a more comprehensive picture of the cosmos inclines you to do what’s necessary to live in keeping with your inner faith.   Beware, however, of boasting and self-conceit.  While the patterns of the universe may for you be clear and obvious, for others it will not be the same.

Jupiter in Capricorn – your need for spiritual and religious values is directed to things of practical and ‘real worth’.  This might mean that your faith rests on dogma and ritual and that’s OK.  However you have a real opportunity to find what you need from a different material and social point of view.   Use your keen organizing abilities in the service of others and you’ll soon understand what this can mean.

Jupiter in Aquarius – for you, spiritual and religious values must comply with the rules of logic – and this isn’t always for the best.   Try not to spend time persuading others to your point of view.  Instead take your facts and figures out into a wider social setting and help others to express what is most important for them.

Jupiter in Pisces – your sense of religious and spiritual values comes from your feelings about what surrounds you – atmospheres and general moods will effect you greatly – so take special care to understand which values belong to you or somebody else.  Your greatest gift is your ability to feel at one with your fellows.  You have the ability to show them their own paths.


Mercury in Retrograde – what does it really mean?

Royal Mail Ford Transit van (September 2006) C...
Image via Wikipedia

OK, we all know Mercury is retrograde for the next three weeks.  But what might this really mean?

The general consensus is that at least on the surface when Mercury is retrograde communications of all types go awry – letters go missing, phone calls remain unanswered, misunderstandings arise – and oh yes, do expect delays.

In horary (a type of astrological divination as well as lost and found), retrograde Mercury suggests a change of direction.  Business deals near completion are renegotiated.  Friends and associates have a ‘change of heart’.  Ideas we thought absolutely brilliant before Mercury switched gears now lose their appeal.

The thing to remember with Mercury, is that he’s not his ‘own man’.  As Liz Greene put it, in terms of psychological astrology Mercury has no goals or purpose of his own, he’s always in service to another – and that other is usually the Sun.

Our astrological Sun is akin to our personal ego – it gratifies our existence and gives meaning to our lives.   It is (more or less) conscious of the path we’re meant to take toward individuation.  Like a lighthouse beacon shining bright into the night, the job of the Sun is to steer us clear of the rocky shallows into which we’d otherwise surely stray.

On this mission, Mercury plays an important part.  Like an advance scout, Mercury scours out the information necessary for the Sun to do the job right.  Most of the time, the focus of Mercury is strictly outwards – into nitty-gritty of commerce in the ‘real world’ of men.  Hence Mercury is in charge of all types of exchanges – language, travel, contracts, and even the Royal Mail.

But when Mercury goes retrograde, his attention turns inwards to bridge the layers of our consciousness.  No longer concerned with that which is obvious and visible, retrograde Mercury slips into the unchartered territory of our unspoken thoughts and dreams.  It’s as if Mercury’s energy has been redirected from our ego to our unconscious, which, according to many psychologists, is really in charge.

So when Mercury is retrograde, don’t just despair when you miss your train.  Take the space so inconveniently provided to jot down how you’re feeling, read that interesting newspaper article you’d otherwise have had to skip, or strike up a conversation with the person next in line.  Who knows where it might lead?

When Mercury is retrograde use your time and energy to research, review, re-edit, re-negotiate, reconcile, and reunite.  The message of Mercury retrograde is to stop pushing forward for a time and instead ‘go back and try again.’

It’s a King of Wands Day – take the challenge and rise above yourself to be a leader of men

With the sun in Leo (leadership) and the moon in Sagittarius (adventurous philanthropic pursuits), today is a King of Wands day.

In the King of Wands, we meet first-hand astrological fire symbolising the human imagination in its most dynamic aspect.  Ever wondered why we ‘dream’ by the fireside and ‘light a candle’ to ‘show the way’?  It’s because fire speaks in a primitive language we desire desperately, to understand.

However when dealing with fire, there are two key points to keep in mind; (1) by its nature fire transforms and consumes and (2) unless controlled, fire is deadly destructive.

For insight into the energy of a King of Wands day consider the adventures of the mythic hero King Theseus of Athens, who was at the same time brave, inspirational, and downright mean.

After single-handedly slaying the monstrous Minotaur, Theseus abandoned Ariadne, the woman he loved and who’d helped him, and went on to change the course of history with the sheer power of his ideas.

Three cheers for Theseus, we’re tempted to say.

However it takes a certain single-minded selfishness to be a successful King of Wands, which if left unchecked can bring disastrous results.  Such was the fate of Theseus.

After years of chasing dreams, King Theseus eventually married Phaedra, a Cretan princess who tragically fell in love with his son, Hippolytus, whom Theseus had fathered on another.  When Hippolytus rejected his stepmother’s advances, Phaedra convinced Theseus that he’d raped her.  Infuriated, Theseus cursed Hippolytus, which resulted in Hippolytus’ gruesome, untimely death.  After Phaedra committed suicide, Theseus was so saddened by the mess that he’d created that he could see no option but throwing himself off a high rock into the sea.

The trick to getting the best of a King of Wands day is to avoid racing impulsively about to selfishly further our own ends, as did Theseus.  Instead we might summon our innate nobility and rise above ourselves to inspire others (as well as ourselves) to strive for ever higher ground.

Lying at the very heart of our being, fire gives meaning to our lives.  It points us toward new and exciting experiences that will make us into all we potentially can be.  But as the King of Wands discovered, it’s one thing to strive towards greatness and quite another to chase after our own tail.  Once we’ve discerned the difference, we can confidently go forward and give our all to life.

The Dangers of Magical Practice – Ego Gratification vs. the Divine

As transiting Neptune slides into Pisces, many will become more interested in the occult.   If you decide to dabble in anything more strenuous than practical household magic, it’s worth keeping in mind one point that just might save your life.

In his excellent book, The Philosophy of Magic, Arthur Versluis reminds us that in both Eastern and Western traditions, Magic has always been worked for the grace of God – not for ego-gratification.

Sadly these days, however, the situation is quite the reverse.

“As a result, one can see today a situation arising which involves the greatest possible danger to those who misguidedly become involved with ‘pseudo-traditional mysticism’ or ‘neoshamanism’, not recognizing that these are, for reasons we will discuss later, but ‘inverted’ images of the traditional, be it Buddhism, Islamic or Christian, and can well lead to the psyche becoming irremediably lost in the labyrinthine confusion of the ‘second world’.”

At the foundation of Western magic, lays a Platonic universe consisting of three inter-connected spheres.  According to the Corpus Hermeticum, after being created in the image of the highest sphere – The Divine – man descended through the starry heavens to the planet of illusion – the moon – whence he landed with a resounding thud.  It was there while gazing in a pool of water, that man fell in love with his own reflection thus binding himself like a slave in chains, to the lowest sphere – the material world.

Since then, man has worked through magic to transcend his ego (which through an illusion of immortal permanence in a constantly changing mortal world, keeps him firmly earth-bound) and ascend back up through the spheres to be reunited with the Divine.

According to Versluis, in correct magical practice, the magus transcends to the higher spheres when his ego is subsumed by celestial realities.

However most modern magical practices work in reverse – keeping the ego firmly in charge.  As Versluis points out, the dangers of this are significant and real.

“…(i)f the visualization is of the Divine, enclosed within tradition, then one ‘ascends’ and radiates beneficence.  But if the visualization is, inversely, governed by ego, outside tradition – then one ‘descends’ and is overwhelmed, destroyed by the infernal and malignant.”

As an example, he cites the experience of the Belgian spiritualist Alexandra David-Neel who during a ritual in Tibet created a small round-faced monk who was greeted by others as quite real.   The monk, a product of David Neel’s own mind, eventually became so independent she could no longer control him and it was with great difficulty that he was dissolved.

“This story carries within it the implicit danger of ritual visualization, for the ritual changes the very nature of one’s relationship with the celestial world.”

Some years ago while innocently dabbling in Wicca (with what I believed was proper supervision),  I myself had a similar experience that made me physically ill for many months.

The lesson to be learned here is to take great care when following any ‘spiritual path’.  Without proper grounding and years of trainingwithin that tradition – you might just find yourself getting more than you bargained for – dumped head first into the proverbial deep end unable to swim.

It’s a Two of Swords Day – time for a ‘sick headache’

With the sun in Leo (creative self-expression) and the moon in Libra (balance and compromise), today is a Two of Swords day.

On a divinatory level, the Two of Swords implies a tense state where we’ve closed our eyes to life’s problems rather than trying to sort them out.

Interestingly, the information and motivation needed to succeed are already in place.  So the problem lies not with preparation, but with implementation.

For the Kabbalist, today’s energy relates to the 2nd sepira, Chockmah, where we find the male energy in its dynamic aspect – constructive, stimulating, and evolutionary – the driving force behind much needed change.

All change starts with a conflict in need of resolution – hence the present state of tension.

Yet however much the moon in Libra would like to push ahead, it simply can’t.   Libra is an air sign, not an earth sign, and therefore is not directly involved with the material world.  They swim with the tide – not against it.   Taking a stand against anyone or anything is more than they can possibly manage.  Perceiving these inadequacies, the moon in Libra retreats into the realm of ideas and does battle not with the world at large, but with its own inner demons.

The sun in Leo suffers much the same fate, albeit for different reasons.  Like Libra, Leo’s weak spot lies with its interaction with the material world; it’s the nature of Leo bask in the limelight of his fiery personality rather than to do anyone’s dirty work including his own.  But haughty as he may seem, Leo is all too aware of his shortcomings.  His ego dented, Leo retreats into sulky solitude.

So on a Two of Swords day, although action is what’s called for, the impetus required to affect it is lacking.    This sad state of affairs creates more and tension until we reach the point where we can do nothing more than go to bed with a sick headache.

The best that can be said for a Two of Swords day is that in a day or two the energy will change and with some fresh air we can  get moving again.

The challenge of the new moon in Leo – Look inside instead of automatically following the rules!

The Sabian Symbol for today’s new moon is Leo 18 – A Teacher in Chemistry.

This throws the spotlight on the popular notion that we can control our world through science and similar intellectualization.  We’re encouraged to believe there’s no limit to our creative abilities.   Given proper instruction on ‘how things really work’, not only can we control the course of our own lives but also that of Mother Nature.

However we only have to witness the devastation of a hurricane, forest fire, or even a volcanic ash cloud to realise this simply is NOT true.  Nor in many cases is it even desirable.  As the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has well illustrated – the most sophisticated man-made technology can make – but not fix – disasters far worse than anything Mother Nature throws our way.

The good news is that all new moons give us a chance to make things different.  They provide a proverbial fresh start in those areas governed by the zodiac sign in which they occur.

With the new moon in Leo, both the sun and the moon are in astrological element of fire.  Light a match to experience first hand the enthusiastic, out-going energy of fire.  Watch carefully as it consumes everything in its wake as it lights the way.

This is perfectly normal.  By its nature fire is meant to both consume and transform.  Yet in Leo, fire’s outward advance is kept in check by the force of the fixed cross – which is just as it sounds – fixed – unmoving as a brick wall.

Without a proper outlet, leonine fire turns inward – it’s natural confidence eroded and undermined.  It’s as if the torch normally kept focused on the world around us is turned instead on depths of our unconscious –  from which according to Carl Jung –  all things manifest must unfold.

The challenge of the new moon in Leo is not to feel threatened when confronted with things you’d really rather not see – especially when they’re about yourself.

Instead have confidence in your instinctual reading of a situation – this time act on insight instead of dogma.  Remember that regardless of what science says, nothing (not even Mother Nature) always plays ‘by the rules’.  Find a new way of being and doing – and while you’re at it  – teach someone else to do the same.