Traditional Astrology of Death | Whitney Houston Revisited with Directions

This will be a rather focused revisit of the astrology of Whitney Houston’s death, simply to showcase a couple of the important facets of the primary directions at the time of death.

I discussed the important basic major astrological factors relating to her death previously – please click here and refer to that post for a more detailed discussion than provided here.  To simplify and summarize, a number of predictive techniques highlighted the importance of Saturn generally, her natal Saturn-Sun opposition,  and Saturn’s transit through the 8th House of her chart (the one that pertains most strongly to death).  At the time of death we find the transiting Sun conjunct her natal Saturn and the transiting Moon in her 8th with natal 8th House Mars and applying to that transiting 8th House Saturn.  Altogether, 8th House and Sun-Saturn themes abound in the predictive indications.

Some commentary on that article prompted me to explore primary directions next within my series on ancient predictive techniques, so as to establish what counts as pre-Renaissance traditional type of primary direction, basic manner of use in ancient astrology, and how one can calculate such with free software.  The first post on primary directions concerned the primacy of the Ascendant in early directions and the time lord technique of directing the Ascendant through the bounds, which later came to be known as the distribution with the bound lord being called the distributor, or jarbakhtar from Persian terminology.  In the second post, I explained how to calculate directions through the bounds and traditional pre-15th century style directions with the excellent free and open-source software program, Morinus.  Since that time an update of the Traditional Morinus version of the software has been released which improves the display when directing through bounds.  You can download the software here.  In the post on software calculation of primary directions I also provided some links to past blog posts in which I’ve briefly touched upon the basic installation and use of Morinus.

In this post, I won’t be discussing all the ancient theories and techniques regarding death prognostication.  I will hit on them a bit in future posts, particularly those in this series and the primary directions series, but here the main thing to note is that many of the techniques involved direction of a malefic planet, star, lot, or point (for instance, the Descendant is symbolic of death so a direction of the Sun to the Descendant could signify death) to a planet, lot, or point that signifies health and the body, particularly one of the Lights or the Ascendant.  Even though conjunctions, squares, and oppositions are more important, for the most part the type of aspect is not as important, since primary directions take so long to occur, and often a planet will only aspect another planet or point a few different times and ways throughout the whole life.

Whitney’s Chart

Whitney Houston Natal Chart (AA-Rodden-Rating)

Directing Through the Bounds

I advise that one should always look at the direction of the Ascendant through the bounds, taking the bound lord as an important time lord, known as the distributor or jarbakhtar.  This is done in Morinus as discussed in the past post on primary directions, producing the following table.

Jarbakhater - Ascendant
Whitney Houston – Distributors of the Ascendant for 100 Years After Birth

As we can see from the table above, Saturn is the main time lord of the period (day of death was Feb. 11, 2012), and we find that this technique, as with many of the others, also highlights the influence of Saturn.

While the distributor of the Ascendant is typically most important, and is the one used by Abu Ma’shar, some authors, including Masha’allah, use the technique for other life-signifying points, particularly one of the Lights or Lot of Fortune.  While I consider the distributors of the Ascendant to be much more important, I’ve included below a table of the distributors of the Lights and Lot of Fortune for Whitney from Age 25 to 50. It is interesting that the Sun and Lot of Fortune, like the Ascendant, have malefic distributors, in this case Mars.

Houston Distributors of Lights and Fortune Age 25-50
Houston Distributors of Lights and Fortune Age 25-50

Algol to Ascendant

One of the most striking primary directions at the time of death is that of the fixed star Algol, which is largely considered to be one of the most malefic fixed stars, if not the most malefic.  Algol is in the constellation of Perseus, which images the hero Perseus grasping the head of the Gorgon, Medusa.  Algol is the eye of Medusa in the constellation.  The star has separately been associated with demons, evil, death, decapitation, horror, tragedy, and such in many different cultures.  For those unfamiliar, you can get a quick briefing on Algol on Wikipedia and a better one on Constellation of Words.

A table showing all the directions of fixed stars to the Ascendant from Age 25 to 50 is below.  The table says the direction was exact on February 15th, which in primary directions is still “exact” even on February 10th, because even seconds of inaccuracy in recording the birth time equates to days of difference in timing by primary directions.

Directions of Fixed Stars to Whitney Houston's Ascendant
Directions of Fixed Stars to Whitney Houston’s Ascendant (direction of Algol to Ascendant in February 2012)

Saturn transiting over Directed Sun

One of the more interesting directions at the time of death concerns the direction of the Sun through the zodiac (or direction of the zodiac over the Sun).  As seen above, the Sun was in the Mars bound of Libra by direction.  This bound is 2 degrees in length starting at 28 Libra and ending by 0 Scorpio.  Interestingly, that is in Whitney Houston’s 8th House, and is the very bound that Saturn has been transiting in.  In fact, if we pull up a chart of zodiacally directed positions at the time of death, we find the directed Sun at about 29°14′ Libra.

PDs in Chart for Death of Houston
PDs in Chart for Death of Houston

Comparing this with Saturn’s transit position at death, we find Saturn transiting at 29°29′ Libra at the time of death, moving retrograde toward that earlier position, only a quarter of a degree from it, within the same degree and bound, in the 8th and bound of Mars, with the natal Mars.

Whitney Houston - Transits at Time of Death
Whitney Houston – Transits at Time of Death

In my opinion, this was one of the more striking repeat Sun-Saturn significations, in addition to Saturn as distributor, the over-arching Sun-Saturn planetary years manifestation, and the transit of the Sun over natal Saturn.


If you’re new to primary directions, I hope this has whet your appetite for the technique and given you a glimpse into its great value.  Please check out the other posts on directions to start working with them yourself, as they are really not hard to work with when there is great free software available for the calculations.  Until next time, give someone you love a big hug , let them know how much you care, and continue having fun exploring traditional predictive astrology.

Astrology of Religion, Atheism, and Belief | 12. Rudolf Steiner

The ingredients and recipes for this type of analysis can be found in the first post of the series, which you can view here, and were reviewed with additional comments a couple posts back, which you can view here.

Happy precessed solar return to Rudolf Steiner!

Rudolf Steiner

In this series I’ve been alternating between those who are strongly atheist/skeptic and those that are religiously or spiritually devout.  Rudolf Steiner is an interesting case of someone who was certainly spiritually devout, having many profound and guiding spiritual experiences throughout his life and himself founding the Anthroposophical Society, while he was also something of a rationalist, a well-read philosopher seeking a synthesis between science and mysticism.  He reminds me somewhat of Leibniz, who combined a profound rational intellect with deep religious convictions, seeking their synthesis in philosophy.  Certainly, thinkers like these remind us that spirituality and rationality, while not necessarily conjoined faculties, are neither opposed faculties, in spite of frequent New Atheist claims to the contrary in our era.  You can read a brief biography of Steiner on Wikipedia by clicking here.  His natal chart is below, and has a Rodden Rating of AA.  Despite the AA rating, I should note that even the day of Steiner’s birth is not without controversy, so the AA rating should be treated with a little bit of suspicion.

As I’ve done in the rest of the series, I’m going to analyze the main basic factors concerning faith, belief, doubt, and rationality, showcasing how they provide clues as to the nature of the person’s belief system.  This might be called the first phase of this series, while in subsequent phases we’ll be exploring other factors and techniques that pertain to spirituality, going beyond the basics.

Rudolf Steiner's Natal Chart
Rudolf Steiner’s Natal Chart

Steiner’s Chart Analyzed in Brief

  • Jupiter:
  • Extremely Strong – Jupiter is the strongest planet in Steiner’s chart and is extremely strong.  Jupiter is not only culminating in the 10th place, in a sign ruled by a Light, and the first triplicity lord of its place, but is actually conjunct the angle (MC) within 3 degrees, which makes it fantastically prominent, being aligned as it is with the meridian through Steiner’s location, in the South, at his birth.
  • Benefic, somewhat mixed – Jupiter is naturally benefic and is in a good place, the 10th, while very strong.  This is  a benefic Jupiter overall.  Jupiter is out of sect and dominated by Mars (though Mars is in sect), so Jupiter can associate with a fair degree of battles, heated situations, and general competitions and contentions.
  • Summary – Jupiter has an extremely strong and pervasive influence on Steiner’s life, that pertains to the 10th of actions, occupation, and career, and well beyond that.  Jupiter’s expansive, positive, faith-oriented, truth-seeking, and spiritually experiential nature leaves its mark on his life in a big way.  That Jupiter is out of sect, and particularly that it is dominated by Mars, linked Jupiter’s significations with heated challenge from others at various points in his life.
  • 9th Place:  
  • Very Prominent, Lunar, Saturnine, and Mercurial  – The 9th, Cancer, is empty, and is ruled by the Moon, which is the Light of the nocturnal sect, pertaining to the power of subjectivity, irrationality, instinct, the wild, movement, nurture, and bodies of water.  The Moon also regards the place.  The Moon is with Saturn, adding a sense of fear, control, obligation, and doubt to the significations, and associating such with the 9th to some degree.  The Moon shows an emphasis on the personal, on natural development, natural processes, and a sensitivity to social reality, in the belief system.  The Moon is in the bound of Jupiter, linking her to Jupiter’s expansive positivist spirituality, while in the domicile of Mercury, planet of rational intellect.  The Moon separates from the Sun and applies to Mercury in his chart, which, in a night chart, Firmicus associated with particularly learned people who make much public writing and are entrusted with and/or invent some sort of secret wisdom.
  • Somewhat benefic, mixed – The Moon is very mixed in the chart.  She is for the most part a powerful force (the Sect Light), benefic, and in a good place, ruled by a Mercury made benefic by sect, place, and rulership by Jupiter.  So the Moon is centrally benefic, but her copresence with Saturn, the out of sect malefic, and her being overcome by Mars by trine, both weigh her down and associate her with difficult circumstances and challenges in the life.
  • Summary – The Moon’s dominant influence over the 9th adds a particularly idiosyncratic element to the beliefs as well as stress on the role of natural processes, women, nurture, and personal development.  The Moon, like Jupiter, has her significations associated with good things in the life, but also attended by difficulty.
  • Saturn:
  • Very strong – Saturn is very strong, as he is strongly advancing in the chart, about 14 degrees from the MC.  Saturn has a strong and pervasive influence on the life.
  • Malefic – Saturn is quite malefic in the chart, being naturally malefic, and her out of sect and overcome by Mars very strongly within a degree (applying).  Saturn will tend to destroy, nullify, and challenge.  Saturn is at least in what is arguably one of the best of the good places, the 11th, where it most directly influences friends and social circles.  Saturn’s malefic tendencies are tempered somewhat by its copresence with the very powerful Sect Light, the Moon, also.
  • Summary – Interestingly, Saturn is very strong in Steiner’s chart and quite malefic.  Steiner’s life was in fact plagued with a good deal of loss, death, sorrow, adversity, and oppression.  He was certainly no stranger to doubt and criticism.  Jupiter still was a great deal stronger than Saturn in the chart.  The influence of Saturn was no doubt part of the reason he strove to make “proofs” of his ideas, hoping that he could make concrete and unbreakable the validity of his own deep spiritual experiences to others.  There is a certain Saturnine sorrow, desperation, and sense of responsibility and obligation bring the light to even the darkest most pessimistic and critical mind at the base of such a pursuit.
  • Mercury:  
  • Strong – Mercury is in phasis, copresent with the Sun, in the chart and ruled by a very strong and prominent Jupiter, so Mercury is quite strong.
  • Benefic, mixed – Mercury is quite benefic in the chart, being in sect, in the 5th place which is a very good place, and ruled by Jupiter.  Mercury is opposed by Saturn though, like a critical weight always pressing on Mercury and challenging during activations.
  • Summary – Steiner’s Ascendant is in the bound of Mercury, as is his MC, and his Descendant, as well as his Jupiter and his Saturn.  There does seem to be a strong identification with Mercury, the planet of rationality, intellect, and scholarship, even though Mercury doesn’t have the same sort of pervasive influence on the life as Jupiter, or even the Moon, Saturn, or the Sun.  Mercury is in the 5th of children, entertainment, leisure, and creative pursuits.  Mercury here gives a strong bent toward teaching and lecturing, as well as a connection with children and the creative arts (especially with the Sun here as well).  The strength of Mercury combined with the strong identification with Mercury combine to make Steiner quite the intellectual and rationalist, somewhat unusually for the leader of his own spiritual wisdom society.

Overall, the most immediately striking feature of Steiner’s chart is Jupiter conjunct his MC in Leo.  This while the Sun, its ruler is in Pisces, ruled by Jupiter, saying something of a spiritual leader and spiritual teacher.  Digging deeper we find that while Steiner’s faith and sense of the spiritual were extremely strong, this was not due to an absence of adversity or a lack of understanding as to how difficult and dark of a place this existence can be, but despite his very difficult experiences with such.  It seems to me that he was contending with this darkness and doubt nearly constantly, always attempting to build up stronger and stronger arguments and works against it.  I think this is at the heart of his desire to fuse mysticism and science, and to make mysticism somehow more objective, verifiable, and concrete.  He was a rationalist of immense strength, identifying readily with the scholar type even more than the religious type, extremely well-learned in philosophy and adept in a broad array of subjects, he was an intellectual to be reckoned with and used these powers intensely to bolster his spiritual cause.

Astrology of Religion, Atheism, and Belief | 11. Michael Shermer

The ingredients and recipes for this type of analysis can be found in the first post of the series, which you can view here, and were reviewed with additional comments a couple posts back, which you can view here.

Michael Shermer

Shermer is one of the most prominent skeptics in the world today as founder of The Skeptics Society ( and editor in chief of its magazine, Skeptic.  He is also a self-professed atheist – see here for his article, “Why I Am An Atheist”.  You can read Shermer’s biography on Wikipedia by clicking here.  His natal chart is below, and has a Rodden Rating of AA.

Michael Shermer's Natal Chart
Michael Shermer’s Natal Chart


Shermer’s Chart Analyzed in Brief

  • Jupiter:
  • Strong – Jupiter is strong in Shermer’s chart.  Jupiter is advancing, in a sign of a light (Cancer), regarded by both Lights, and receiving the application of the Moon.  When Jupiter is generally strong in this way, we might suppose that among other Jupiter significations being prominent in the life, the native has had many expansive spiritual experiences that transcended the known.
  • Benefic – Jupiter is naturally benefic and is in the 11th (its Joy), while in sect.  This is  a very benefic Jupiter overall.   Jupiter is opposed by Mars, the out of sect malefic, so there is some heat and contention to Jupiter’s significations, particularly upon activations of the Jupiter-Mars opposition.
  • Summary – The influence of Jupiter is pretty substantial and positive.  The subjects that interested Shermer and which he pursued in school were cultural anthropology and experimental psychology, both of which are more expansive, holistic, and Jupiterian type of fields.  Later he earned his Ph.D. in the History of Science.  While an atheist, he has also argued that science cannot invalidate religion.  Unlike many prominent skeptics and atheists he doesn’t appear to advocate intolerance for others based on their religious beliefs.
  • 9th Place:  
  • Moderate prominence, Venusian and Saturnine  – The 9th, Taurus, is empty, and is ruled by Venus, planet of sensuality, artistry, and pleasure.  Venus is advancing, but is in a cadent place.  She does regard the 9th by opposition though.
  • Somewhat malefic, mixed – Venus rules the 9th and is somewhat malefic, being in a more neutral place, but out of sect and applying a conjunction to a malefic (Saturn), while also in the bound and sign of the out of sect malefic, Mars.  Saturn is in very close aspect to Mars, and Saturn opposes the 9th, so overall the 9th place has a very Saturnine influence on it, inducing much doubt, critical thinking, and need for tangible evidence when it comes to matters of belief systems and dogma, from science to philosophy to religion.  Saturn would lean more toward the science end of things, while Venus more toward the importance of aesthetics and happiness in the evaluation of belief.  Somewhat of an association of matters of higher truth and dogma with unpleasantness or strife, but it is mixed in this regard, exhibiting a broad range, as Saturn is in sect and Venus is a benefic.
  • Summary – Matters of belief-systems and searching for some greater truth have moderate prominence in the life, but are not as prominent as in most of the charts of vocal atheists we’ve seen.  His evaluation of belief systems tends to be heavily influenced by aesthetics or pleasure (Venus rulership) and doubt or skepticism (Saturn opposition to 9th and conjunction to ruler of 9th).
  • Saturn:
  • Moderate strength – Saturn is moderately strong, being advancing but cadent.  While Saturn has a strong effect on the 9th, it doesn’t have a strong effect on the life overall.  So overall the life is not marked strongly by doubt, loss, dreariness, darkness, and negativity as it is in the charts of many atheists.
  • Somewhat malefic, mixed – Saturn is naturally a mafefic and is ruled by the out of sect malefic, but is here in sect and conjunct a benefic, while overcome by Jupiter by sextile.  Therefore, there is a quite a broad mixed range with the significations of Saturn in the chart, from malefic to bringing about very positive developments.
  • Summary – Saturn influences the belief system, but doesn’t have a huge impact on the life overall, and has both positive and negative associations.
  • Mercury:  
  • Extremely strong – Mercury is strongly advancing on the Ascendant and rules the Ascendant, while also very strongly in phasis (15 degrees from Sun).  Mercury is therefore extremely strong in this chart.  The god of movement, intellect, rational thought, and commerce has a very strong and pervasive effect on the life as a whole.  We expect the person to be involved with and encountering Mercurial themes in a wide variety of ways.
  • Somewhat malefic – Mercury always has a broad range from benefic to malefic influences, but here is out of sect and in a dark place (the 2nd), while in the bound of Saturn, while applying to Mars, so we expect a more negatively inclined Mercury.  In other words, we expect Mercury to be more geared into destroying than creating, negatively evaluating rather than positively contributing something new.  In the bound (and exaltation, and triplicity) of Saturn, we expect Mercury to be particularly geared into skeptical evaluation (Saturn pertains to doubt, judgment, and nullification).
  • Summary – There is a very strong identification with Mercury, as Mercury is strongly connected to the Ascendant and is extremely prominent generally.  Mercury is in the 2nd of money and wealth, so while Mercury’s influence is pervasive and broad, the significations concerning commerce are particularly appropriate, and we expect that Shermer is a shrewd business-minded individual.  Identification with Mercury is such a common theme among atheists and skeptics, who as a whole appear to identify very strongly with rationality and intellect.  So far, half of the atheists/skeptics in this series (Randi, O’Hair, and now Shermer) have had Mercury as the actual ruler of the Ascendant.

Overall, with Shermer we again see the influence of strong identification with Mercury, which is the strongest influence in the life, and by contrast, no identification with Jupiter.  We also see the influence of Saturn upon the belief system (9th) and rational thought (Mercury).  Unlike some more vocal atheists, it appears that there isn’t a strong influence of doubt, dreariness, and “desire to reject” on his life in general (Saturn is not very strong), and that he has had many spiritually expansive experiences in his life that test the limits (Jupiter strong).  Perhaps it is this which has led him to be more tolerant of religion generally than many other skeptics and atheistics, to remain open-minded, and to direct his attacks instead at specific ideas and claims.


Article feature image is attributed to User: Loxton of Wikipedia.

Astrological Predictive Techniques | Primary Directions | 2. Software Calculation

In the first post of this series, I discussed a little bit about the history and use of primary directions.  One point that I made was on the primacy of the Ascendant.  This primacy of the Ascendant persisted in the Persian period.  In fact, the entire Book III (Distributions) of Abu Ma’shar’s On the Revolutions of the Years of Nativities is devoted to primary directions involving the Ascendant, from the jarbakhtar technique, to looking at planets (and Lots and even Twelfth Parts) conjoining or aspecting the Ascendant by primary motion as partners with the jarbakhtar, and then even an exposition of how to direct the Ascendant through the Indian Ninth Parts and their subdivision into thirds (Abu Ma’shar claimed that this was how the Indians directed the Ascendant, and so he recommended it as an alternative approach to be used).  Other directions are used in Hellenistic and Persian predictive literature, but directions to the Ascendant, and particularly those of the bounds, have an immense primacy in early directions literature that tended to be lost in the resurgence of directions in the Renaissance.

In that first post, I discussed how to roughly estimate directions involving the Ascendant with the use of ascensional times, how to play with astro-clocking, and finally how to calculate directions through bounds with the free astrological program, Morinus. This is going to be a very short post in which I’m going to show how other primary directions can be found with the Morinus software, and what a couple of the settings mean.  All that we will be doing is adjusting settings in Options->Primary Directions within the program.  The Primary Key and the use of only Direct in the Tables->Primary Directions settings, should remain as discussed in the last post, for the reasons noted in the last post.

Basic Settings

Basic settings for looking at aspectual directions will be very much the same as those discussed in the last post.  We’ll just add in the traditional aspects, the points we want to see directed and directed to, and consider a few settings.  Below is how I would look at directions to the Ascendant.

Primary Directions

The Ascendant would be the significator, as a point that we want to stand still relative to the location and have everything else (the promissors) rotate through by primary motion.  So I check the Ascendant as significator, and all the planets and other points I might want to direct to it.  I then check all the classical planets that I want to direct, and in this case also the Lot of Fortune and the Node.  Semiarc and Zodiacal without latitude are standard means of directing until about the 15th century.  In zodiacal options, the first option should definitely be checked, but the second is more controversial. Traditionally the second option would not be used as you would direct aspects of promissors to the significator but would not direct to aspects of the significator.  Some may opt to include those though as it still involves regular primary motion but the difference between the two pertains to a notion of what aspects what, and from what direction (Ptolemy called these direct and converse, but they are different from the modern direct and converse notions that more frequently show up, such as in the tables settings in which converse is actually everything moving backwards – for more on this see the last section of Chapter 1 of Martin Gansten’s 2009 book, Primary Directions: Astrology’s Old Master Technique). Basically, if you check the second option then besides looking at when a planet or its aspects direct to the Ascendant, you will also be looking at when a planet directs to a degree that aspects the natal Ascendant degree.

For the third option in the bottom right, I can see good arguments for or against treating the Asc and MC as promissors, but I do not think they were treated that way traditionally.  In any case, if you check this, then what you are doing is also treating the zodiacal point of the Asc and MC as being able to rotate with the primary motion and enter into aspects with other planets and points that way.  The argument against it might be that these are very different from directions to an actual angle, as here we are looking at directions that the degrees on the angles make to other things as they are carried from east to west in the primary motion.  If you do use them, then you should recognize that the direction of the Ascendant degree to a planet is not likely to be as significant as the direction of a planet to the Ascendant (eastern horizon).

The second thing that I’ve highlighted is accounting for the secondary motion of the Moon.  When we use the astro-clocking method we are accounting for secondary motion.  Secondary motion is very slight in the few hours following birth for all planets but the Moon.  There is a sense that the spirit of the technique is to look at connections made by the planets, especially to angles, after birth, in a more natural manner, with the hours after birth as symbolic of the lifetime (every 4 minutes as a year).  It doesn’t appear that secondary motion was accounted for in the traditional technique, especially when ascensional times were used, but an argument can easily be made for accounting for the secondary motion of the Moon so that directions more accurately reflect the reality in the relevant times after birth.  If you do use this option, then you’ll have to figure out what the three different iterations mean, because I’m not sure (could pertain to accounting for some combinations of secondary motion, parallax, and refraction that affect lunar positioning).  There is more on this topic of secondary motion in Chapter 7 of Martin Gansten’s aforementioned work, Primary Directions: Astrology’s Old Master Technique.

Going Further

From here, if you want to look at directions to additional signficators, just check their boxes.  As mentioned in the last post, in order to pull up the table of directions just click Tables->Primary Directions, choose only Direct, select the age span, and hit OK.

I would caution against starting with too many significators. Ultimately, you want to stick with a very limited number of significators, such as the Asc, MC, and the lights (Sun and Moon). Directing through the bounds is most important for the Ascendant and the sect light.

Eventually, I hope to show some ways that primary directions were used in practice by Hellenistic and Persian astrologers.

Astrology of Porn Stars | 3. Ilona Staller

In this, the third post of the series, I’m going to keep things a bit briefer, looking at a chart that possesses a large number of the factors seen in the other two posts and one that is something of a more exaggerated case.  I recommend that the reader check out the first two posts of the series in order to get a feel for the important factors and configurations before continuing.  The first post, which you can read by clicking here, introduced some of the basics and discussed Traci Lords.  The second post, which you can read by clicking here, pertained to ex-prostitute and all-around sex guru Annie Sprinkle.  While it can be hard to obtain accurate times for porn star birth data, the previous two posts did deal with AA-rated birth data, as will this one.  I’ll be discussing Ilona Staller, who in addition to being in porn has, like Sprinkle, positioned herself as an icon of lustful sexuality.

Ilona Staller

Ilona Staller

Ilona Staller is a Hungarian-born porn star who came to fame in Italian porno.  She also was able to get elected to Italian parliament where she is famous for doing things like delivering speeches with a breast out and offering to have sex with Saddam Hussein for peace in the Middle East.  She has also had a brief musical career of explicit pop songs about sexual matters.  More biographical information about her is available from her Wikipedia entry. She was born on November 26, 1951 at 5am in Budapest, Hungary, and this birth information is Rodden-rated AA for accuracy.

Ilona Staller’s birth chart is pictured.  As far as I can recall, hers is the only chart I’ve examined with all 7 planets in dark or “bad” places of the chart.  Not pictured in the chart are her Lot of the Sun (Spirit) at 0 Libra, Lot of Women’s Marriage at 14 Scorpio, and Lot of Venus (Eros) at 22 Libra.

Here are some of the indications that she has which have been discussed in previous posts (with a couple new ones at the end):

  • Identification with Venus shown by Venus connecting with many personal points.  Here the Ascendant is in the bound of Venus and Venus is a triplicity lord of the Ascendant, while the sect light (the Moon) is in the bound and sign of Venus with 3 other planets and the Lots of Spirit and Eros in that same domicile of Venus (Libra), as well as Venus ruling the Descendant/7th and the Node being in the bound and exaltation of Venus.  Additionally, Venus is co-present with the sect light and Ascendant lord, and regards every planet in the chart.  We get the sense that Venus is important in understanding this person’s character.
  • Venus is in a dark or “bad” place, one that doesn’t regard the Ascendant.  Venus in the 12th or 6th has been particularly associated with lustful longing by Masha’allah, particularly when under the regard of both Mars and Jupiter, as she is here.
  • Venus is with Mars, and generally afflicted.  Venus-Mars connections were said to increase sexual passions, and a connection with Mercury, which is also present, can possibly connect notoriety to these passions.  Eros is also conjunct Mars very closely in a sign of Venus and in a bad place.
  • Lustful signs prominent, particularly among personal points.  Venus, the sect light (Moon), Ascendant lord (Mars), Descendant, Saturn, Jupiter, the Node, Spirit, and Eros are all in lustful signs.
  • Venus in a place of her own rulership (i.e. a place of her “dignity”).  Here Venus is in her own domicile.  As discussed in the last couple posts, sex workers tend to have Venus in a place of her own rulership, which perhaps makes her pertain even more to the prototypical Venusian concerns of sexual procreation.
  • Venus involved in the Moon’s motion.  Here the Moon is separating from Venus and applying to Mercury.  Any lunar separation or application involving Venus can bring in sexual themes, but especially when the Moon is waxing or very full of light (Moon is waning and slight here).  Maternus did associate this Moon of little light moving from Venus to Mercury with indecencies and “those who maintain the management and provision of exotic pleasures and delights” (Book 4, Ch. 2, #2, Holden trans., 2011, p. 197).  It’s unclear to me whether he intended these exotic pleasures and delights to have a sexual connotation or not.  It is clear that the lunar separation provides yet another personal link to Venus, however.
  • Finally, there is an honorable mention worth looking at in the chart, concerning the fixed star Alphecca, the principal star of the constellation Coronae Borealis.  It is at about 11 Scorpio.  Maternus identified this constellation rising as particularly pertaining to Venusian matters, including lustful sexuality, adulteries, etc. (Book 8, Ch. 11, #1, Holden trans., 2011, p. 487).  With her Ascendant at 9 Scorpio, we would expect Alphecca to be very close to the horizon, emphasizing the rising of this constellation at her birth.


Again, we are seeing patterns emerge in the charts of porn stars and the sexually notorious.  Having looked at only 3 charts, it is far too early to tell what works best and which indications are more suggestive vs. which are more boldly indicative, and/or if a confluence of factors is necessary for strong indication.  We are starting to see the wisdom and experience behind some of the weird proclamations regarding licentious lust found in ancient astrological works.  When gathering together such statements we find ourselves with the most effective starting points for developing our own approaches to delineating very particular natal topics.



Maternus, J. F. (2011). Mathesis. (J. H. Holden, Trans.). American Federation of Astrologers.

Astrological Predictive Techniques | Primary Directions | 1. Ascensions and Bounds

Few techniques are more hyped in traditional western astrological circles  than primary directions.  This is probably because they became a very popular predictive technique in Renaissance and late classical or early modern traditional astrology, during a time when the complexity of an astrologer’s mathematical abilities were more important than the veracity of her predictions.  I frequently encounter the beliefs today that with primary directions one will have the number one key to predicting the timing of a person’s death, that some specific type or combination of types of primary directions will time out the major events in a person’s life to the very day that they occur, and that, because of the last belief, birth times need to be rectified, even if recorded with a stopwatch at birth, such that the important events in life line up with certain primary directions to the very day.

While primary directions are a bit over-hyped, they were used by various Hellenistic and Persian astrologers, and can be an important addition to the astrologer’s predictive toolbox.  Directions through the terms and directions to angles, especially the Ascendant, are particularly powerful and useful, and are the earliest types used.  I feel that it is best to start from the beginning, with the way it seems that primary directions were used in early Hellenistic astrology, and progressing gradually from there.  I will not be getting into the incredible diversity in direction approaches that arises after the first millennium, but I’m of the rather cynical opinion that the reader will be better off for that. In fact, according to Martin Gansten (2009) who wrote the definitive text on Primary Directions, prior to the 15th century directions were always in the zodiac (in zodiaco as opposed to in mundo), without latitude, using semi-arc proportions, and without any relationship to particular systems of quadrant house division (p. 61).

What are Primary Directions?

As you’ve probably heard, the Earth spins, and it takes 24 hours for it to make one such spin.  The planets rise, culminate, and set with this spin.  But what if we were to freeze the positions of the planets in the sky relative to the Earth at birth, and then watch the planetary conjunctions and aspects that occur in the sky relative to this as the day goes on with the planets continuing to rise, culminate, and set?   If we did this we would see the primary directions, and the clock time that it would take for these conjunctions and aspects to occur would be the timing of these directions (for instance we may equate 4 minutes of elapsed time with 1 year of life).

The 24 hours of spin is given a constant measure called Right Ascension (RA), such that 30 degrees of RA passes over the Meridian of the location in exactly 2 hours of clock time; 360 degrees = 24 hours; 24 hours = 1,440 minutes; each of the 360 degrees corresponds to about 4 minutes of clock time (i.e. 1,440/360=4).  In other words, if a planet were to culminate 8 minutes after birth, then we’d convert this to degrees of RA as being a direction to the MC 2 degrees (of RA) after birth.

Annual Key: To convert these degrees of RA into a point in the life, we use the key 1 degree of RA = 1 year of life.  This key is sometimes called the Ptolemaic key, even though it was not Ptolemy that originally used it.  This is the annual key used for primary directions until about the Renaissance, and thus it’s the only one we’ll use.  Remember, 1 degree of RA = 1 year of life = 4 minutes of clock time. 

Smaller Units of Time: We now know that 1 degree of RA is symbolic of 1 year of life, but there are 365.25 days in a year, so how much RA is a day?  1 degree is equivalent to 60 minutes of a degree which is equivalent to 3,600 seconds of a degree.  By dividing 3,600 by 365.25 we get that a day is about 9.86 seconds of a degree of right ascension.  We really don’t need that sort of precision, as primary directions are not really the appropriate technique for timing to the day anyway.  We’re especially not concerned with precision at this point, and when we do want greater precision we can let a good software program do the calculation for us.  It was common practice in the ancient world to use approximate the year as 360 days, giving an even approximation of 10 seconds of a degree for one day (i.e. 3,600/360=10) and 5 minutes of a degree for one month (i.e. 10 seconds * 30 = 300 seconds = 5 minutes).

Estimating Primary Directions to Angles with Astro-Clocks

Because about 4 minutes of clock time is equal to a year of life in the system of primary directions, one can actually use an astro-clock to look at the time it takes from birth to when a planet conjoins or aspects an angle of the chart. Take the time, divide by 4, and you will get a rough approximation of the year (and quarter) when an event is likely to occur.  Out of all primary directions that are aspect-based (as opposed to the very important time lord discussed below), these directions to the angles are most pivotal, especially the direct hits, so it is handy to be able to approximate these with one’s astro-clock or by manually time adjusting a chart.

For instance, the divorce of Kurt Cobain’s parents when he was seven years old is often cited as a very influential event in his life.  Looking at his natal chart we see that Jupiter is the ruler of his 4th of family, and that Venus (a significator of the mother by day) is conjunct Saturn in his natal chart. This Venus-Saturn conjunction was a particularly significant combination in his musical career, his marriage to Courtney Love, and his suicide.

Kurt Cobain's Natal Chart
Kurt Cobain’s Natal Chart

Sure enough, about a half hour (about 30 / 4 = about 7.5) after Kurt’s birth Jupiter, ruler of the 4th, exactly aspects the Descendant, and Venus conjoins the Descendant.  The setting of Venus is more significant here because it is a direction to the horizon itself, rather than a direction of an aspect of a planet to the horizon (the Jupiter direction is from the trine of Jupiter to the horizon). While a traumatic parental separation may not strike one as a particularly Venus and Jupiter type of event, Jupiter, in Cancer and ruling the 4th shows the emphasis on parents, and Venus, being conjunct Saturn, shows the effect on his sense of relationships, and the loss and weight associated with that.

30 Minutes after Cobain's Birth
30 Minutes after Cobain’s Birth

At age 12 his mother granted full custody to his father.  Age 12 would correspond to about 48 minutes after birth (4*12=48), and sure enough Saturn sets in the chart about 48 minutes after birth, rounding out the impact of this very powerful Jupiter-Venus-Saturn configuration coming due by direction to the Descendant.

Cobain 48 minutes after birth

I invite the reader to take a few minutes to play around with this on one’s own chart and other working charts to get a rough idea of when directions to angles occur in the life, especially those that are complex configurations involving a series of hits over a few years.  Think in terms of natal significations that could be unlocked by the prominence that lining up with the axis (horizon and meridian) of your birth location can bring.

Early Primary Directions

According to Gansten (2009, p. 11) there is evidence of use of primary directions dating back to at least the 1st century CE, in the Carmen Astrologicum of Dorotheus and possibly also in a paraphrase of the early 1st century CE astrologer Balbillus.

There are three things that you should know about the earliest primary directions:

  1. There is an exclusive focus on the Ascendant (though Dorotheus in his length of life technique appears to advise to direct from various points, so Gansten may have overstated this point).
  2. The rising of the bounds of a sign give rise to a time lord of the period as bound lord which sets the tone.
  3. Directions of planets to Ascendant and planetary aspects to Ascendant mark more transitory events.

This second point about directing the Ascendant through the bounds is often overlooked in today’s traditional circles where primary directions tend to used more like some a suped-up set of transits than a system giving time lords.  However, this was a critical facet of this technique from the beginnings in the Hellenistic period right on through the Persian period, where the bound lord is given the technical term, jarbakhtar (distributor of time, much like the Greek chronocrator).  Of course, you can try to rough estimate these by astro-clocking as well, noting when the Ascendant passes into another bound.  The bounds used were the Egyptian bounds (the “Egyptian” bounds were the only set widespread and independently attested in multiple Hellenistic sources, in addition to appearing to be rooted farther back in Mesopotamian astrology).  You can find a table of Egyptian bounds online at Altair Astrology’s blog here, or download a free pdf of the bounds and more from Project Hindsight here.  This is arguably the most important use of primary directions, and appeared to have been given more stress than the aspectual ones, so the time has come to show we can obtain this important time lord quickly and easily with free software … but first, let’s talk ascensional times.

Estimating Ascendant Directions with Ascensional Times

The ecliptic is at an angle to the horizon, so signs rise somewhat diagonally, which is why they take more or less than 2 hours to rise, rather than a steady 2 hours per sign for all 12 rise in a 24 hour day.  The length of time it takes for a given sign to rise depends on the latitude of the location, and this length of time is measured in Right Ascension (RA).  You will recall that 1 degree of RA is basically 4 minutes of clock time.  Therefore, if a sign rose uniformly, then all 30 degrees of the sign would rise in 30 degrees of RA or 2 hours (30 degrees RA * 4 minutes clock time = 120 minutes clock time).  If the sign took longer to rise, called a sign of long ascension, and let’s say it rose in 3 hours, then we’d call this 3 hours its “ascensional time” for that latitude, but we’d want to convert it into RA.  2 hours of clock time is 30 degrees RA, so 3 hours of clock time would be 45 degrees RA, and the ascensional time for such a sign at that latitude would therefore be 45 degrees.

The ascensional times of the signs at the latitude of birth is an important thing to know in multiple Hellenistic predictive methods.  The ancient key of 1 year for each degree of RA was used in multiple ways in Hellenistic astrology.  For instance, an activation of the sign in the chart was thought to occur around the same number of years as the ascensional time of the sign.  In our 45 degree sign example, we might expect some special activation of that sign around the time that natives of that latitude turn age 45.

Additionally, the ascensional times were used to estimate primary directions pertaining to the Ascendant (and sometimes also for a sort of rough symbolic direction of other points, even though it is not astronomically correct to use it for directing other points).  Gansten (2009, p. 14) mentioned that at least Valens and Paulus Alexandrinus employed this short cut method.  The method is as follows: Take the ascensional time of the sign, divide it by 30, and use that as a conversion unit for converting zodiacal degrees into right ascension.

To better understand how this is done, the reader will have to first obtain a table of sign ascensional times for the latitudes.  One such table is available from Project Hindsight for free as the last pdf link on this page.  Please download that table at this time and refer to it for the discussion in the next few paragraphs.

Let’s return to Kurt Cobain.  He was born at about 47 North, for latitude, and his Ascendant is Virgo.  At the intersection of latitude 47 and the sign Virgo, you will find the ascensional time of 40°29′.  Dividing by 30 we get 1°21′ or 1.35°, which is our conversion factor.  In other words, while the Ascendant is in Virgo, we pretend that 1° of zodiacal longitude is equivalent to 1.35 years of life (about 1 year, 4 months, and 1 week).  Kurt’s Ascendant is at 20 Virgo in the bound of Jupiter but the bound switches to that of Mars in a degree, and thus at about age 1 year, 4 months.  Mars rules that time in the life until the Ascendant enters the bound of Saturn which starts at 28 Virgo, 8 degrees past the Ascendant, so 8*1.35=10.8 years, or about 10 years and 9 1/2 months old.  In other words, from about age 1 1/2 until almost age 11, Mars is the lord of the time, and should be more in focus and setting the tone.  This Saturn bound lasts for 2 degrees, or 2.7 years (1.35*2=2.7), until he is about 13 1/2.  After that point the Ascendant enters the first bound of Libra, which is another Saturn bound.  When entering a new sign we then have to find the conversion factor for the new sign as well.  However, in this case it is easy, because Virgo and Libra have the same ascensional times, and thus the same conversion factor. That Mars and Saturn as time lords set the tone during Kurt’s childhood for the other directions is significant, particularly in relation to our speculations about the meaning of the Jupiter and Venus directions above.

We can do the same thing for aspects to the Ascendant.  The Ascendant is at 20 Virgo and Saturn is at 28°44′ (about 28.75) Pisces.  When 28°44′ Virgo rises this direction of Saturn opposite the Ascendant (same direction we mentioned as occurring around age 12 above on astro-clocking) will be complete.  Therefore, we are interested in the age that corresponds to about 8.75 degrees of zodiacal longitude.  Multiplying by our Virgo conversion factor for this latitude of 1.35, we get 11.8 years of age, which is pretty close to the estimate we got by astro-clocking – emphasizing a focus on that Saturn at about 12 years of age.

Hopefully, you now have a good idea for how these sign conversion factors can be used to convert zodiacal distance within a certain sign into degrees.  This is simply another rough estimate method because of course the conversion factor is not in reality constant throughout a sign, but rather the speed of the signs rise changes continuously, so it is not precisely accurate to equate any arbitrary zodiacal degree of Virgo with the same particular unit of time.  Imagine that you don’t have a program that can calculate primary directions or even an astro-clock to estimate important hits and aspects to the Ascendant, then you can at least approximate important directions through bounds and to the Ascendant with nothing more than the ascensional times of the signs under consideration which you divide by 30 for a conversion factor.

Directing thru Bounds with Free Software

In a future post of this series, I’ll give more details about primary directions, their use, and their calculation with free software.  However, I want to leave the reader with at least the chance to create and print off tables for the Ascendant jarbakhtar periods of any chart.  This is done with the free open-source traditional astrology program Traditional Morinus.

I won’t get into the details of installing the program and entering basic chart data here because I’ve addressed it in this prior post, and further in this one.  If you are new to Morinus, please check out those posts, download, install, and get a chart in there, before continuing on.

OK, now that you have a birth chart up, you should have a screen that somewhat resembles the following:

Houston Natal

First, let’s set the Key.  Click Options, then Primary Keys.  Make sure Static is selected and select Ptolemy from the list, then click OK.

Second, let’s set the other Primary Directions options for some traditional Ascendant through the bounds type of directions.  Click Options, then Primary Directions.  Make sure your selections look as follows by deselecting pretty much everything and then selecting the options shown (remember that semiarc and zodiacal without latitude are pretty much the only approaches prior to about the 15th century) and hit OK:

PD Options

Now we are ready to calculate the tables.  This is done by going to Tables, then Primary Directions.  You might as well check 0-100.  Make sure only Direct is checked.  Converse here are actually not traditional converse primary directions at all, but a sort of reverse primary direction where we imagine that the signs are moving across the sky in reverse (i.e. moving opposite the primary motion), so they are a very weird modern experimental thing which we we’ll ignore, always choosing Direct.

When you hit OK, you should end up with a Table of primary directions of the Ascendant through bounds.  Also included are directions of the Descendant through bounds which you should just ignore as they were not a part of the technique (though I’m not sure how to disable them in the software).

For the example below, I pulled up the jarbakhtars for Whitney Houston from Age 25-50.

Houston PD Table

Remember again that the ones that say Dsc are irrelevant and should be ignored.  One thing that we notice is that for the period from April 18, 2009 until March 3, 2013, the Ascendant directs through the Saturn bound of Taurus (22 to 27 Taurus).  This tells us that Saturn is jarbakhtar for the period and sets the tone as a time lord, activating potentials related to her natal Saturn, which is located in her 12th House, opposite her natal Sun.  For some more on the importance of Saturn in the timing of her death, please see my recent post on that matter.


It’s my hope that I’ve given some insight and encouraged use of some new predictive techniques among readers with little to no background in primary directions or those that have found certain elements of primary directions to be confusing or overly intimidating in the past.  When I get around to the next post I’m hoping to diving a little deeper into the way directions were used by various astrologers predictively in the first millennium of the common era.



Gansten, M. (2009). Primary Directions: Astrology’s Old Master Technique. Bournemouth, England: The Wessex Astrologer Ltd.

Astrology of Porn Stars | 2. Annie Sprinkle

Annie Sprinkle

In the second post of this series, I’d like to look at the chart of Annie Sprinkle, who has been involved in the lustful side of sexuality in more ways than one can count, from being a prostitute (for two decades), stripper, porn star, porn producer, etc.  She has really done it all and has positioned herself center stage as an icon of licentiousness, a “sacred prostitute”. You can read more about her biographical details in her Wikipedia entry.

As in the look at Traci Lords, I will be pulling out some factors in the chart that pertain to signification of licentiousness.  As the series progresses we’ll see certain trends and confluences of factors appear repeatedly as a common theme.  The reader is urged to first read the last post on this topic before proceeding, as I discuss some of the basics and give some warnings appropriate to this type of work.

Annie Sprinkle was born Ellen Steinberg on July 23rd, 1954 at 11:34am in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  Her birth information is Rodden-rated AA for accuracy and her natal chart is pictured here.

Annie Sprinkle Natal Chart

Not pictured in the chart are her Lot of the Sun (Spirit) at 28 degrees Sagittarius, Lot of Woman’s Marriage at 28 Scorpio, and Lot of Venus (Eros) at 20 Gemini.

Lustful Signs

The lustful signs are moderately represented, but some important points pertaining to self and relationships are in them.  The Sun, Moon, Ascendant, Descendant, and Node are in lustful signs.  The Moon seems particularly relevant in this sense as she is dispositor of many of the planets in the chart and is in a dark place while regarding most of the planets in the chart from the right side and opposition, including a superior trine to Venus and domination of the Sun.

Venus and Special Indications

Again, as in the chart of Traci Lords, we are dealing with a Libra rising chart, with Venus as Lord of the Ascendant and in a dark or “bad” place (i.e. one that doesn’t regard the Ascendant – 6th, 12th, 8th, and 2nd) while out of sect.  This identification with Venus and placement of Venus into a vulnerable place subject to corruption is noted by Masha’allah (On Nativities, Ch. 5, Dykes trans., 2008, p. 400) in relation to licentiousness (note: like most simple delineation statements, the following illustrates the principle with extremes rather than being a cookbook delineation, i.e. the principle is that Venus as lord of the Ascendant inclines to identification with Venusian things and that planets in bad places incline to the darker side of things while those in good places incline toward the more pleasant side of things):

If Venus were the Lady of the Ascendant, and in a good place, it designates him to be handsome and humble.  And if she were in a bad place, it designates he is hot [in desire] (and if were a woman, it designates her to be a prostitute).

Another passage by Masha’allah, but from the Book of Aristotle, and previously mentioned in the Traci Lords post, also holds in this chart, with Venus in the 12th, regarded by Mars and Jupiter:

Indeed for the appetite of longing and sexual impurity, consider the following.  For, Venus in a place of longing-namely the sixth or twelfth-under the regard of Jupiter and Mars, or if she would be lingering with the Lord of the Lot in the Midheaven, it defames the female spouse because of prostitution, hides an abortion, presents [her] for sale […]                (Masha’allah, Book of Aristotle, Dykes trans., 2009, Book III, Chapter 7, Section 8, p. 146)

Also, as in the chart of Traci Lords, we find that Annie Sprinkle’s Venus is in the bound of Venus.  While we may be tempted to draw some conclusions based on the position of Venus in her sign of fall, Virgo, as pertaining to ill-dignified Venusian behavior following the later medieval idea of “negative dignity” when a planet is in fall, this would lead us down the wrong path, as Venus is not only in her own bound here, but in her own bound and domicile in the chart of Traci Lords and in her exaltation in the chart of Jenna Jameson.  It may instead be the case that some deeper connection of Venus to prototypically Venusian matters of sexuality, as opposed to other manifestations of love and beauty, is important, and shown through Venus being in her own domicile, exaltation,  bound, or triplicity (but triplicity is more effective if first triplicity ruler, which Venus is here of Virgo by day).

In my own opinion, a form of rulership in its own place makes a planet more independent in action and less tied to other planets or encumbered by dependencies with them.  In that sense, a form of rulership in its own place can make a planet a little bit stronger, less restrained or forced to cooperate, but should never be interpreted as having effects that are in some sense more “dignified”, in the sense of admired, socially accepted, commended, honorable, or even as conferring greater success.  I’ve addressed this at length in prior posts on the issue, most succinctly in The Curious Case of Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Turner, contrasting Dahmer’s 4 very positively “dignified” (in domicile) planets with Turner’s 4 planets in detriment and fall with none in domicile or exaltation, to illustrate the absurdity of identifying a planet in a form of rulership with the degree to which a planet signifies dignified matters in the life.

There is a substantial connection between Venus and Mercury in the chart, which are in a partile sextile and have most of the important planets of the chart under their rulership.  For instance, the Ascendant and the Moon are in domiciles of Venus but bounds of Mercury, while Venus is in the domicile of Mercury but her own bound, Mercury is in the bound of Venus, the Lot of Venus (Eros – at 20GEM) is in the domicile of Mercury and bound of Venus, MC in the bound of Venus, five planets in water or earth signs where Venus is the first triplicity lord.  Mars is the only planet in a “stake” of the position of Venus (i.e. in the 1st, 4th, 7th, or 10th sign from Venus – in this case square to Venus), and given the strong interchange between Mercury, Venus, and personal signification, we get a sense both for the passionate sexuality of Mars-Venus and the strangeness, “talk”, and notoriety that Mercury can bring to the mix.  The chart doesn’t fulfill the following statement by Ptolemy but the strength of the ties Venus has to Mars and Mercury reflect it:

Therefore Venus, with Mars, produces merely amorous dispositions, but if Mercury is present, notoriety also…      (Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, Book 4, Ch. 5, Robbins trans., 1940, p. 401)

Similarly, Rhetorius claimed, “Venus and Mercury and Mars aspecting each other will make lechers” (Compendium, Ch. 66, Holden trans., 2009, p. 121).  But this indication is so commonly occurring in natal charts as to be worthless predictively, beyond indicating the way that combinations of Venus, Mercury, and Mars can be indicative of mind/talk, passion, and sexuality getting mixed up in possibly scandalous ways.  With Venus in the 12th and all the back and forth between Mercury and Venus, we particularly get the sense of sex strongly on the mind and on the tongue.  Mercury in the 10th, strongly advancing on the MC, and strong due to stationing direct days prior to birth and being in phasis, along with being fortunate through being with Jupiter, all give strong indications of great career success through her words and mental personage.  She has indeed lectured on a wide variety of topics and claims to have a Ph.D. in human sexuality (I wasn’t able to confirm the validity of this claim).  In the following video she discusses her sexual history a bit and one gets a good sense of her style of sexual advocacy and openness.

Mercury in the bound of Venus is typically a good and pleasant thing, but it does associate Mercury with sexuality, and given that Venus is out of sect and in the 12th, the identification with Venus, and some of the other Mercury-Venus connections, we might expect that some of the more difficult indications of Mercury in the terms of Venus to come forth, as discussed by Julius Firmicus Maternus:

They will certainly be lustful in sexual intercourse, and those who corrupt the marriages of others with a depraved mental desire.  They will be full of moral faults, and those who are always battered with constant scandal because of these faults.    (Maternus, Mathesis, Book 5, Ch. 5, #6, Holden trans., 2011, p. 297)

With Venus moving more than twice as fast as Mercury at the time of birth, we may wonder whether the Moon is already invested in application to Venus in the chart, rather than Mercury at the time of birth.  Venus and Mercury are in partile sextile, and the Moon applies to both, to Venus with the stronger trine, but first to Mercury with the weaker sextile, so while technically the Moon is separating from Saturn and making her next application to Mercury, the application to Venus may be important as well.  I note this because Maternus noted the following among his indications for a waning Moon separating from Saturn and applying to Venus:

But if she was of little light, it denotes the depraved enticements of love affairs, or it makes [them] to be involved in impure and indecent passions, or it denotes disgraceful actions in continual succession.  (Maternus, Mathesis, Book 4, Ch. 3a, #7, Holden trans., 2011, p. 188)

This indication, like many above, bring out how many indications can be repeated when Venus has more malefic associations in the chart (such as Venus out of sect, in a dark place, and regarded by malefics and Mercury – in this case all three) and many important and personal factors connect with her by rulership, regard, and application, such as the Ascendant, Moon, strongest planet in the chart (Mercury in this case), and Descendant.

This chart and the chart of Traci Lords show a trend that we’ll continue to see, in which Venus in her own term, sign, exaltation, and/or triplicity is more likely to give indications directly pertaining to sexuality than a Venus that lacks such rulership in her own place.  I think there is a sense behind this in which Venus prototypically refers to the procreative nature, with her additional indications pertaining to beauty, art, and so forth being extensions of this.  Rulership in her own place could be said to increase her independence for better or worse, and strengthen her significations related to sex in the person’s life.



Bishr, S. ibn, & Masha’allah. (2008). Works of Sahl & Masha’allah. (B. N. Dykes, Trans.). Minneapolis, MN: The Cazimi Press.

Masha’allah, & al-Khayyat, A.  ’Ali. (2009). Persian Nativities I: Masha’allah and Abu  ’Ali. (B. N. Dykes, Trans.). Minneapolis, MN: The Cazimi Press.

Maternus, J. F. (2011). Mathesis. (J. H. Holden, Trans.). American Federation of Astrologers.

Ptolemy, C. (1940). Ptolemy: Tetrabiblos. (F. E. Robbins, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Loeb Classical Library. Retrieved from

Rhetorius of Egypt, & Teucer of Babylon. (2009). Rhetorius the Egyptian. (J. H. Holden, Trans.). Tempe, AZ: American Federation of Astrologers.

Synastry in Ancient Astrology | Bare Basics with Kurt Cobain & Courtney Love

Synastry is the art of comparing the astrological birth charts of two or more people for insight into their relationship with a particular eye toward complimentary strengths, personality compatibility, and possible source and themes of conflict or contention.  Most people today are probably familiar with the idea of whether two people’s Sun signs are compatible as popularized within the media of our superficial, entertainment-oriented, western cultures.  However, many people are probably not aware that synastry has been used in horoscopic astrology since its inception in the Hellenistic era, especially for matters of marriage and friendship.

Here I’d like to briefly touch on a few of the bare basics of synastry as found in Dorotheus’s Carmen (1st Century CE), Ptolemy‘s Tetrabiblos (2nd Century CE), and Masha’allah‘s The Book of Aristotle (8th Century CE).  An English translation of the Tetrabiblos can be found online here.  The interested reader will want to refer to Book IV, Ch. 5, “On Marriage”.  The first and only English translation of Masha’allah’s The Book of Aristotle, a mammoth indispensable work covering all aspects of natal delineation, was made by Dr. Ben Dykes in 2009, published with Abu’Ali‘s On the Judgments of Nativities as the first volume of the “Persian Nativities” series which you can purchase here.  I’ll be referring to Book 3, Ch. 7, Section 11, “On the concord and esteem of each”. Carmen of Dorotheus can be picked up here.

In order to illustrate the basics I’ll refer lightly, without much in the way of deep analysis, to the charts of Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love.  The charts of both Kurt and Courtney have been Rodden-rated AA for accuracy.  Kurt’s chart information is available here and a brief bio of him can be found hereCourtney’s chart information is available here and a brief bio of her can be found here.

Sun, Moon, Venus in Natal Chart

Both Ptolemy and Masha’allah place a premium on the relationships between the Sun, Moon, and Venus, both in the natal chart and between charts.  For Ptolemy, the Sun in a woman’s chart is particularly significant for describing a husband and facets of her marriage, and the Moon in a man’s chart for describing the wife and facets of his marriage, so harmony between the Sun and Moon was very important for marriage.  Ptolemy does not neatly separate out natal and synastry factors, but rather seems to refer often to both and sometimes to one or the other without much clarification:

Marriages for the most part are lasting when in both the genitures the luminaries happen to be in harmonious aspect, that is, in trine or in sextile with one another, and particularly when this comes about by exchange; and even more when the husband’s moon is in such aspect with the wife’s sun. Divorces on slight pretexts and complete alienations occur when the aforesaid positions of the luminaries are in disjunct signs, or in opposition or in quartile.      (Ptolemy, Tetrabiblos, Book IV, Ch. 5, Robbins trans., 1940, p. 184-185)

The idea that I’ve taken away from this discussion by Ptolemy is that harmony between the Sun and Moon in a natal chart is symbolic of harmony between the primary powerful creative partnership.  Perhaps co-presence, trines, and sextiles are symbolic of a natural harmony between two partners, sexes, or gender roles, a sense that the partners should get together in deepening bonds, while squares and oppositions draw out a symbolism of inherent tension and conflict between the same, and aversion between the lights symbolizing a detachment between them.

My sense is that this consideration of harmony between the luminaries is more important in synastry than the natal chart, but Ptolemy does imply that it is a sign of the strength of union in a more general individual sense through the natal chart as well.  It should be noted that this is one minor factor among many factors that pertain to the general strength of one’s marriage bonds and the lure of relationships that can be found in a natal chart.

Courtney Love's Natal Chart (Ctrl click to enlarge)
Courtney Love’s Natal Chart (Ctrl click to enlarge)

Looking at this consideration in the charts of Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain we’d conclude, with Courtney’s Sun and Moon co-present in Cancer, and Kurt’s Sun-Moon trine across Pisces and Cancer, that there is a symbolism of partners sticking together and deepening bonds, a harmony and glue between the sexes, gender roles, or partners.  For Kurt, particularly, with his Sun-Moon trine, this appears to have been symbolic of his desire for a lasting long-term traditional relationship, and his immense upset and disappointment in his parents for failing to uphold such a relationship in his own life.

Kurt Cobains'
Kurt Cobain’s Natal Chart (Ctrl click to enlarge)

Masha’allah, following Dorotheus, also stressed the relationship between the Moon and Venus in the natal chart, noting that “the traversal of Venus and the Moon in the same sign denotes the insoluable concord of the conjugal agreement” (Masha’allah, The Book of Aristotle, Book III, Ch. 7.11, Dykes trans., 2009, p. 149).  He goes on to discuss Moon-Venus connections in synastry, following Dorotheus who noted in Book II, Ch. 5 of Carmen, “Similarly [does it happen] if you find that wherever is the Venus of one of the two [marriage partners], there is the Moon of the other, especially if the Moon of one of the two is in trine with the Moon of the other” (Pingree trans., 2005, p. 206).  Therefore, regards between the Moon and Venus are important, and especially their co-presence in the same sign.  The strength of the Moon-Venus relationship is perhaps symbolic of personal and emotional investment in love (and in many authors, such as Firmicus Maternus, it can show heightened investment in sexual activity, especially when the Moon has just separated from or is just applying to Venus).

Where Sun and Moon may show partnership in a more idealistic, general, abstract form (i.e. along the lines of husband and wife), this is perhaps showing the craving for maintaining intimacy with others.   In some authors strong Moon-Venus connections (together with other factors) also come up in relation to incest, such as with a mother, again playing off of the theme of personal life, nurture, familiarity, and even emotional fulfillment (Moon) being linked with love, beauty, and sexuality (Venus).  It is certainly common knowledge that relationship bonds can be shaken by a lack of sexual intimacy and affectionate personal space, so perhaps Masha’allah’s stress on Moon-Venus connections for strength of bond pertains to this sense.

In terms of the Moon and Venus, they are in aversion (disregard each other) in Courtney Love’s chart and in trine (powerful harmony) in Kurt Cobain’s chart.  This could symbolize that it is more natural for Kurt that intimate familiarity go hand-in-hand with sexuality and affection, while for Courtney they may be more disconnected facets of life. Again, like Sun-Moon in a natal chart, Moon-Venus is one of several factors pertaining to strength of bond, durability of marriage, and such that are mentioned in connection with delineating marriage in one person’s natal chart, and the indications given by these couple factors alone should be examined in light of such other factors.

The regards of benefics and malefics (as well as house placement and other factors) are important when examining any factor and are discussed in the literature.  For instance, that Saturn, the out of sect malefic in Kurt’s chart, is with the Sun and Venus (strongly conjunct Venus), may be indicative of weight, isolation, and melancholy in relationships, as well as the sorrow of the “husband” in the relationship, as opposed to the idealized “wife” shown through Moon with Jupiter.  Courtney’s own Mars with Venus may be indicative of things getting heated surrounding love and sexuality, possibly in many ways, including contentions or “battles” over such matters.

Sun, Moon, Venus, and the Angles in Synastry

While there are many ways to delineate aspects of marriage and love from the natal chart, I’ve mentioned the ones above because they are used by Ptolemy and Masha’allah as springboards into looking at those same connections across charts.  In other words, intense and harmonious connections between the Lights (especially the man’s Moon and woman’s Sun) and between Moon and Venus across charts is indicative of strong basic ties between partners (while squares, oppositions, and aversions are indicative of problems).  Additionally, the “stakes” (1st, 10th, 7th, and 4th places, also known as “angles” or “pivots”) of the charts become very important, as having the same angles, or having the above mentioned planets in each other’s angles also increases the bond, as indicated in the following quotes from Dorotheus, and from Masha’allah (who is drawing on Dorotheus):

The man is suitable for the woman and the woman for the man if the ascendent[s] of these two are the same cardine.  If the two luminaries or one of the two is in the ascendent or midheaven, then also it is suitable.         (Dorotheus, Carmen Astrologicum, Book II, Ch. 5, Pingree trans., 2005, p. 205)

Which if each Sun, under the birthdays of both, would be lingering in the same sign and in a pivot, it promises [the same].           (Masha’allah, The Book of Aristotle, Book III, Ch. 7.11, Dykes trans., 2009, p. 149)

Additionally, all three authors, Dorotheus, Ptolemy, and Masha’allah stress the role of malefic planets (i.e. Saturn and Mars) in splitting up the relationship, particularly when a malefic in one person’s chart is with (i.e. co-present) one of the Lights in the partner’s chart. The timing would seem to coincide with an activation of the malefic that is making the connection.  By contrast, benefics co-present with the Lights or regarding them harmoniously increase the stability of marriage or can reunite partners when other problems such as hard connections between the Lights are indicated.

Let’s look at the synastry of Kurt and Courtney to illustrate.  I have a chart pictured which has Courtney’s chart on the inside with Kurt’s planetary and angular positions marked on the outside.  Some of the more positive configurations for their relationships are marked out with blue, while the more problematic configurations are marked out with red.

Kurt-Courtney Synastry
Kurt-Courtney Synastry – Kurt’s natal placements are on the outside of Courtney’s natal chart.

Angles: Kurt has Virgo rising and Courtney has Libra rising, and since these are adjacent signs which are in aversion this is not a strong connection between their Ascendants.  However, it should be noted that the signs Libra and Virgo are contra-antiscia to each other which lends an affinity between the two signs (see my post on antiscia and contra-antiscia for more on this).

Lights: The Lights (Sun and Moon) reveal a very powerful connection between the two of them, particularly in that his Moon is conjunct her Sun, in Cancer, which is the midheaven of her chart (one of the “stakes”).  Additionally, both have their Suns trine each other, and his Moon-Jupiter with her Sun-Moon is an extremely powerful positive connection.

However, there is a very difficult configuration in the chart also, shown by her Saturn in Pisces, which is the place of both his Sun and his Venus.  In fact, her Saturn is in close conjunction with his Sun and this Saturn draws out his own Saturn-Venus conjunction in the same place in his natal chart. This Saturn is definitely the most difficult factor in their synastry.

Venus: Venus in one chart is square to Venus in the other.  The squares between Venus are not necessarily indicative of problems, and may in fact show more passion and a stronger love connection than if they were in aversion.  Additionally, Courtney’s Venus is in Kurt’s midheaven (a “stake” of his chart), so it has an intense attractive impact on him.  However, both have Venus conjunct a malefic, Saturn in Kurt’s case and Mars in Courtney’s, so Venus in each chart is also afflicted by the malefic conjunct each other’s Venus, and Mars joins Venus on Kurt’s midheaven, fostering conflicts.

Kurt’s Death:  Shortly after Kurt’s last solar return in February of 1994 his behavior began to spiral out of control, often involving relationship matters with Love.  In February of 1994 Saturn had just entered Pisces, being at 2 Pisces at the time of Kurt’s last solar, two degrees from Courtney’s own Saturn, within a degree of both Kurt’s Sun and solar return Mercury (ruler of Kurt’s Ascendant), as well as with solar return Venus, reinforcing the natal configuration of Sun, Saturn, Venus, and Mercury in Pisces.  The most potent symbolism of Sun-Saturn, as touched on in the post on the death of Ilya Zhitomirskiy (who also committed suicide shortly after a solar return with a tight Sun-Saturn conjunction) and the recent post on Whitney Houston, is loss of the vital heat and spirit, i.e. death.

Cobain Last Solar Return
Kurt’s 1994 Solar Return (precessed) – Saturn is conjuct return Sun within 1 degree.
Kurt's Natal Chart with Solar Return Positions on Outside Showing Return Transits to the Natal Chart
Kurt’s Natal Chart with Solar Return Positions on Outside Showing Return Transits to the Natal Chart – Sun-Saturn-Mercury conjunction on the natal Sun at solar return.

I am not implying that Courtney directly had anything to do with Kurt’s death, but it is interesting that conflicts in their relationship intensified at the end, as soon as Saturn came into Pisces activating that synastry, and that his self-inflicted death, which ended their relationship, be so clearly symbolized in the chart.  Kurt’s death occurred on April 5, 1994 with Saturn at 7 Pisces, as Courtney Love was going through her Saturn return.  Transiting Mars had also entered Pisces and was conjunct transiting Mercury, just a couple degrees from Kurt’s Venus, at the time of the suicide.

Cobain's Natal Chart - Transits on the day of death around outer wheel - both malefics and Mercury in the 7th at the time of death.
Cobain’s Natal Chart – Transits on the day of death around outer wheel – both malefics and Mercury in the 7th (where most of his natal planets are located) at the time of death.


Masha’allah, & al-Khayyat, A.  ’Ali. (2009). Persian Nativities I: Masha’allah and Abu  ’Ali. (B. N. Dykes, Trans.). Minneapolis, MN: The Cazimi Press.

Ptolemy, C. (1940). Ptolemy: Tetrabiblos. (F. E. Robbins, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Loeb Classical Library. Retrieved from

Dorotheus of Sidon. (2005). Carmen Astrologicum. (D. Pingree, Trans.). Abingdon, MD: Astrology Center of America.


Featured image for this article is courtesy of Kate Petty.

Traditional Astrology of Death | Whitney Houston

The singer Whitney Houston recently passed.  Glancing briefly at some of the predictive factors leading up to her death I’ve found that there was a strong emphasis on Saturn, both natal and transiting, as Saturn transited through her 8th, occupied natally by Mars.  There was also a highlighting of transiting Mars in her 7th by monthly profection.  I give a very brief look at her natal chart, last solar return, last lunar return, and transits of the day of death below.

Planetary Years: Sun & Saturn

Whitney Houston's Natal Chart
Whitney Houston’s Natal Chart

A popular technique among Hellenistic and Persian astrologers for timing involved the use of the planetary years and their combinations (and sometimes also divisions) for signifying times when natal planets and combinations particularly become expressed.

Whitney was 48 1/2 at the time of death, and one of the more interesting combinations due at about that age is the combination of the Sun (19) and Saturn (30), at age 49.  It is interesting given Whitney’s Sun-Saturn opposition across the health and loss oriented 6th and 12th houses. Sun-Saturn is particularly significant of death, as Saturn, the natural significator of death and general lack and coldness is opposing the Sun, natural significator of vital powers and the heart.

Whitney Houston’s natal chart is pictured, and is Rodden-rated AA for accuracy.  Information about her death tends to be updated regularly in her Wikipedia entry.

Monthly Profection and Transiting Mars

As she had turned 48 at her last solar return, and 48 is a multiple of 12, Whitney was in a 1st Place, Pisces, annual profection, and all points in the chart profect back to their natal positions.  Jupiter is the lord of the year and is a planet with a particularly broad range of signification in the natal chart from benefic to malefic, as Jupiter is naturally of a very benefic nature, particularly in connection with money, and is here in the house of money, as well as self and career (Jupiter rules 1st and 10th), but Jupiter is also in a dark place (2nd), out of sect (it’s a night birth), overcome by Saturn which is in the 12th and out of sect, and opposed by Mars in the 8th (which also opposes the Moon, significator of the body).

The monthly profection of the Ascendant for the month of death (Feb. 9th to March 9th) is her 7th Place, Virgo, ruled by and occupied by natal Mercury (side note:  her natal Mercury is also conjunct her natal modern planetoid Pluto within a degree).  The reader interested in a primer on annual and monthly profections of the Ascendant can find one in a previous blog post.  The 7th place, the place of the setting Sun, was one of a few places associated with death in ancient astrology (though less so than the 8th).  Of the 7th, Manilius (1st Century CE) said, “…wonder not if it is called the portal of sombre Pluto and keeps control over the end of life and death’s firm-bolted door. Here dies even the very light of day, which the ground beneath steals away from the world and locks up captive in the dungeon of night” (Manilius, Astronomica, Book 2, 951-954, Goold trans., p. 157-159).

Interestingly, she (symbolized by the profecting Ascendant) was entering the House (7th) occupied by transiting Mars (20 Virgo – see death transits below) at the time, and Mars is her natal occupant of her 8th House of death.  The monthly profection is congruent with the significations that the month beginning Feb. 9th may bring her into contact with danger that associates readily with death.

Last Solar Return: 8th House Saturn Rising


Whitney Houston 2011 Solar Return (non-precessed)
Whitney Houston 2011 Solar Return (non-precessed)

While I find considerable significance in both precessed and non-precessed solar returns in my own practice, and lean more heavily on the significations of precessed returns for in depth reading, it is Whitney’s final non-precessed solar return that is most striking, with Saturn, natural significator of death, conjunct the Ascendant, significator of self, within less than 3 degrees in her natal 8th House (house of death), Libra (and dominated by Mars in Cancer). Note: I do not relocate solar returns – I find that non-relocated return charts give the strongest significations.

Also note that Jupiter, lord of the year, is placed in the solar return 8th house.

Last Lunar Return: 8th House Saturn Rising

Whitney’s final lunar return took place on January 28th, 2012, and is pictured.

Houston's Final Lunar Return
Houston’s Final Lunar Return (non-precessed)

Her final lunar return echoed the solar return with Saturn in Libra rising once again, strongly advancing toward the return Ascendant within 6 degrees.

In this case, Saturn was additionally in the bound of Mars, natal occupant of the 8th of death.  Saturn also opposes the Moon, significator of the body, and opposes Jupiter (lord of the year) out of sign but within 3 degrees and thus considered “scrutinizing” within the Hellenistic aspect doctrine, with Jupiter again in the 8th of the return.

Death Transits: The Moon Arrives, Saturn in Focus

On the day of her death in Beverly Hills in the early afternoon of Feb. 11, 2012, the Moon was transiting through Libra, Whitney Houston’s 8th House pertaining to death, occupied by natal malefic Mars, and transiting malefic Saturn.

Transits to Houston's Natal at Time of Death
Transits to Houston’s Natal at Time of Death

In addition to the transiting Moon’s co-presence with natal Mars and transiting Saturn, natal Saturn is also in focus by the Sun’s transit through Aquarius and recent conjunction with natal Saturn, still fresh within 3 degrees of orb at the time of Whitney’s death.



Manilius, M. (1977). Astronomica. (G. P. Goold, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: Loeb Classical Library.

Astrology of Porn Stars | 1. Traci Lords

There is no specific “porn star” astrological signature, but certain sets of factors show up repeatedly when it comes to adult film stars.  This thread may be offensive to some, but many others wonder if ancient astrology has anything to say when it comes to those who become socially prominent through notorious sexual behavior quite contrary to social norms, such as porn stars and prostitutes.

First off, I should mention that there is a lack of good birth data for porn stars.  Typically we have nothing other than a date and a location.  There are only a handful of porn stars for which we have accurate birth times.  Therefore, in this series I’ll probably oscillate between stars with good birth data, where we can dive into the charts more thoroughly, and those without a time, where we’ll stick to a more superficial analysis.

Another note: Don’t take the indications that I find in some porn star charts and start delineating your friends and loved ones as fornicators with wanton lust based on stray indications.  Really.  Don’t.  Accurate prediction can be done but it’s very difficult.  Venus with Mars in the same sign, for instance, is a common occurrence, and wouldn’t be enough to judge someone’s sexuality on.  Think of astrology as a language, with any set of factors potentially indicating a large variety of experiences, many of which all at once as potentials in someone’s life, some more than others due to repeat factors, and some that really don’t even pertain very strongly to the natives themselves, but may describe other people or circumstances in their lives.

I draw really heavily on Persian astrology in this analysis, except that I stick with the basic astrological principles and techniques established in the Hellenistic period whenever they’ve been changed, and I have my own preferences for what works best from practice.  The reader interested in Persian techniques concerning sexuality is urged to check out the Persian Nativities series translated by Ben Dykes.  It is a series which translates 5 huge and pivotal Persian works on natal astrology, dealing with delineation and prediction on all life topics, into a 3 volume set.  Additionally, a reader desiring a firm foundation in basic ancient astrology is directed to check out the Hellenistic astrology course run by Chris Brennan , as well as Introductions to Traditional Astrology (a set of translations on basic astrology by Ben Dykes).

Basic Factors

When delineating sexuality, points of personal importance, such as the Ascendant and its lords, are pivotal, while the single most important factor is Venus. Often, I’ll just focus on Venus, but I summarize some important factors below :

  • Venus: Classical planet with the strongest natural significations pertaining to love, beauty, marriage, and sexuality.
  • Eros (Lot of Venus): This is the classic Hellenistic lot for Venus, which is found by taking the arc from Spirit (Lot of the Sun) to Venus by day (Venus to Spirit by night) and projecting that from the Ascendant.
  • 7th Place: The 7th House, i.e. the 7th sign counted inclusively from the Ascendant, is the one that pertains to marriages, unions, and partnerships.  It also has some pertinence to sexuality.
  • (Possibly) Lot of Marriage: There are a few different lots of marriage in ancient astrological works, but the Persians seem to have preferred Saturn to Venus from Asc for men (by day, reversed by night) and Venus to Saturn from Asc for women (by day, reversed by night).  These lots were used in marriage delineation, and occasionally in delineation of sexuality.
  • (Possibly) 5th Place: The 5th House doesn’t seem to be used much in my sources, but many ancient astrologers did associate the 5th with love, romance, sexuality, and all things Venus – it was associated more with children than partnership though.

Traci Lords

Traci Lords has certainly faced many challenges related to sexuality in her life.  She was raped at 10, molested in her teens by a drug-dealer boyfriend of her mother’s. Her molester also got her into porn when she was just a teenager, with her illegally appearing in dozens of movies at 16 years of age.  She was eventually busted, but did a little more pornography when of age. Later she claimed that she was in porn solely for drugs (though this is disputed by some insiders).  She achieved stardom through her porn notoriety, but was able to transition in later years to acting for television and B movies.  You can read some biographical info about her at Wikipedia. Besides acting, she has been involved in the arts in other ways as well, including work in music.

I remember her as Wanda, in John Water’s 1990 film, Cry Baby (starring Johnny Depp).

Her chart is below, based on AA-rated birth data of May 7, 1968 at 5:19pm in Steubenville, OH.

Traci Lords Natal Chart (12th parts along outer edge)
Traci Lords Natal Chart (12th parts along outer edge)



One of the first things we should note in the chart is that Venus rules the Ascending Sign, the 1st Place, Libra, and that Venus is in Taurus, another sign of Venus, and the bound of Venus, while the sect light, the Sun, is also in Taurus with Venus (and Moon, Descendant, Fortune, and Spirit are also in bounds of Venus).   We get the sense that there is a strong personal identification with Venus, and her natural significations of art, beauty, aesthetics, and sexuality.

For reference, the positions of the relative lots are Lot of Venus (Eros) at about 1 Virgo and the Lot of Marriage at 25 Virgo, both with the Moon in the 12th and ruled by Mercury, which is conjunct Mars within 3 degrees – though I will not analyze the lots in detail in this post.

Venus: she’s out of sect, in a dark place (8th) and a place that is particularly relevant in terms of fear and violation in power situations, while also with the out of sect malefic Mars.  From this we gather that this Venus can signify pretty far along malefic dimension, i.e. that the significations of Venus will often pertain to difficulties, challenges, adversity, and circumstances arising where there seems to be something of a disregard for the person’s well-being and peace of mind. Because Venus rules the Ascendant, she will also tend to direct the person, be representative of the person’s self-identification in some ways.

Lustful Signs: In a previous post I discussed the lustful signs.  They are abundantly represented in her chart.  Five of the seven planets and the Ascendant and Descendant are in lustful signs, and this includes Venus, the ruler of the Ascendant (again, Venus), ruler of Fortune and exalted ruler of the Ascendant (Saturn), and ruler of the Descendant (Mars).

Special Indications: There are many special indications or groups of indications in the chart that are discussed by various ancient authors in connection to controversy, adversity, and notoriety related to sexuality that are present in the chart.  The following are found in the chart of Traci Lords.

If Venus is in one of the signs of desire, which abound in lust (they are Aries, Capricorn, Pisces, and Taurus), and Venus is under the [Sun’s] rays with Saturn or Mars, then this indicates [something] like what I told you of the act of scandals […]             (Dorotheus, Pingree trans., 2005, Book II, Ch. 7, p. 206)

Masha’allah appears to associate the 12th and 6th places with being places of longing when Venus occupies one, and one may wonder if the 8th should also be included in this matter.  Interestingly, it is the regard of both Jupiter and Mars while Venus is in such a place that is mentioned:

Indeed for the appetite of longing and sexual impurity, consider the following.  For, Venus in a place of longing-namely the sixth or twelfth-under the regard of Jupiter and Mars, or if she would be lingering with the Lord of the Lot in the Midheaven, it defames the female spouse because of prostitution, hides an abortion, presents [her] for sale […]                (Masha’allah, Book of Aristotle, Dykes trans., 2009, Book III, Chapter 7, Section 8, p. 146)

Masha’allah also associated connections between Venus and Mars with increased sexual longing, as did Abu’Ali (among many others):

Moreover, Venus with Mars or in his bound, or under his regard from the opposition, advances sexual impurity and longing; indeed under a male birth it will be thus.             (Masha’allah, Book of Aristotle, Dykes trans., 2009, Book III, Chapter 7, Section 8, p. 146)

Venus, if she were joined to Mars or in his bad aspect, signifies the foulness of wantonness.         (Abu’Ali, On the Judgments of Nativities, Dykes trans., 2009, Ch. 26, p. 285)

Additionally, Masha’allah and Abu’Ali (among others) associated sexual indicators being oriental (i.e. rising before the Sun) as pertaining to more initiating and less restrained facets of Venus (the second passage appears to pertain to in a man’s chart in relation to delineating his love life in marriage):

Their orientality increases it greatly, on the contrary [their] occidentality restrains; but the regard of the Sun reveals sexual impurity.      (Masha’allah, Book of Aristotle, Dykes trans., 2009, Book III, Chapter 7, Section 8, p. 146)

And if Venus were oriental, it signifies the boldness of the woman over the man, with a multitude of love and joy.      (Abu’Ali, On the Judgments of Nativities, Dykes trans., 2009, Ch. 26, p. 286)

There are some additional passages in Masha’allah’s Book of Aristotle, and in other Hellenistic and Persian works, which I won’t be getting into.


As one can see the delineation of sexuality in ancient astrology involves a rich vocabulary, with the potential for very complex delineation, and that the primary stress was upon Venus, the natural significator of sexuality, rather than upon the accidental significations of a particular House of the chart.  The existing literature on sexuality addresses many facets of sexuality from compatibility to homosexuality, and from various types of sexual scandal to fidelity in marriage.  The rich set of factors in the traditional astrology, going beyond just “signs” to include, for example, Houses, planetary regards, side of the Sun (oriental/occidental), and Lots, has the capacity to bring much deeper levels of delineation, with existing literature serving as starting points for practical usage, rather than be-all-end-all dogmatic proclamations.

It is my hope that the reader will start looking at the chart from a different perspective, in ways ancient Hellenistic and Persian astrologers would view things, where natural significations, whole sign places, whole sign regards, orientality, sect, aversion to the Ascendant, and such things take on a great deal of meaning and reveal nuances of expression, leading us away from an overly Modern planet-in-sign approach or a stagnant late Traditionalist dignity-pointing approach to reading the chart.    Have fun!


Masha’allah, & al-Khayyat, A.  ’Ali. (2009). Persian Nativities I: Masha’allah and Abu  ’Ali. (B. N. Dykes, Trans.). Minneapolis, MN: The Cazimi Press.
Sidon, D. of. (2005). Carmen Astrologicum. (D. Pingree, Trans.). Abingdon, MD: Astrology Center of America.