Tag Archives: analysis

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 (skeptic.com) 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 | 1. Profections Intro

Profections are one of the oldest, most important, and easiest predictive techniques to learn.

Activating the Natal Chart and Transits

Prediction starts with a proper understanding of the birth chart.  Most people today are familiar with transits, which are the relationships between the celestial configuration (i.e. the “transiting” planets) of a given time, such as today, relative to the configuration at birth.  Transits are by far the most common predictive technique used today.  However, in traditional astrology, they were viewed as rather superficial and insignificant in themselves, unless they involved planets that in some way were activated during that period. Activated planets were those which were Time Lords.  These were not the type of Time Lords that fly around the universe in a telephone booth, but rather the type that have a greater bearing or influence over a certain period of time, potent for releasing natal significations.

There are many types of Time Lord systems.  In fact, there are many Time Lord systems that are found in the gigantic Anthology by Vettius Valens of the 2nd Century CE, that are not found elsewhere.  Valens was a traveling astrologer who seemed to have picked up techniques from a great many different groups of astrologers in his time, and the bulk of his huge Anthology is devoted to natal predictive techniques of all sorts, which astrologers are still exploring, testing, and coming to understand.

While most Time Lord systems that will be discussed on this blog were introduced during the Hellenistic period (and most are reported from Valens), there are also some Time Lord systems that were introduced by the Persians, such as the Firdaria system.  In any Time Lord system, the emphasis is on activation of the natal chart.  Some astrologers may take a cookbook approach to Time Lords, such as on the Firdaria site that I linked to in a previous sentence, but the real value of these Time Lords is that they “turn on” or “potentiate” certain significations of the planets in the specific birth chart.  Similarly, there are Time Lord techniques that activate signs, places, and particular aspects in the chart.  Transits and other predictive techniques, such as solar and lunar revolutions (i.e. returns), become more focused and clear with the prior use of Time Lord techniques.

Introducing Profections

While there are other important Time Lord techniques, I find profections to be one of the most valuable and the easiest to use, so I’ll explain profections in the next few posts on predictive methods.  Then we will get into other Time Lords and predictive techniques, to eventually consider how techniques can be prioritized and integrated into one’s own particular predictive system. In this first post we’ll look at who used profections and the basic idea behind the technique.

Hellenistic and Persian Astrologers on Profections

There are few Time Lord systems, or even predictive techniques, more ubiquitous and universal in Hellenistic and Persian astrology than profections.  A sampling of some of the Hellenistic and Persian astrologers that definitely used this technique (which is nearly all of them) included Marcus Manilius (1st Century CE), Dorotheus of Sidon (1st Century CE), Vettius Valens (2nd Century CE), Claudius Ptolemy (2nd Century CE), Paulus Alexandrinus (4th Century CE), Julius Firmicus Maternus (4th Century CE), Hephastio of Thebes (5th Century CE), Masha’allah ibn Athari (8th Century CE), ‘Umar al-Tabari (8th Century CE), Sahl ibn Bishr (9th Century CE), Abu ‘Ali al-Khayyat (9th Century CE), Abu Ma’shar al-Balkhi (9th Century CE), and al-Qabisi (10th Century CE).  As you can see, this was one of the truly vital predictive methods of ancient astrology, discussed even more frequently than transits.

Paulus gave one of the clearer expositions of the basic technique (Ch. 31, from Greenbaum trans., 2001, p. 65, bracketed passages added by me for clarification):

As many years as the nativity should spin out, we pass these through from the hour-marking zōidion [sign], giving the first year of engendered time to the Hōroskopos [ascending sign] and the second to the post-ascension of the Hōroskopos [2nd place], and so on for the rest in the following zōidia [signs], until the 12th number should be completed.

Basic Technique: Annual Profections of the Ascendant

The quote above from Paulus illustrates the most basic, and in my opinion, most important, form of profections, which is the profection of the Ascendant from one sign to the next for each year of life.  Paulus goes on to give examples, of how the profection each year comes to the next sign or place of the chart, and the ruler of that place becomes the “lord of the year”.  The technique is easy and requires no fancy computer software, as there are no specific degrees involved, but rather just discrete hops from one place in the chart to the next at intervals of time.  In fact, the technique is called a “circumambulation”, meaning a “walking around” the chart.

To illustrate, if someone was born with Pisces rising, then Pisces is the 1st Place or House, and Jupiter is the Lord of the Year for their first year of life, age 0.  On the solar return at age 1 (typically the birthday, but the exact moment the Sun returns to its natal position), then the Ascendant profects to the 2nd Place, Aries, and Mars becomes Lord of the Year.  It continues like this, from one place to the next on the solar return/birthday, until the start of their 13th year, which is the 12th birthday, at which point we return back to Place 1, Pisces, with Jupiter as the Lord of the Year again.

Another example.  Let’s say someone has Leo rising.  Then ages 0, 12, 24, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84, 96, and so forth are 1st Place/Leo years with the Sun as Lord, while ages 1, 13, 25, 37, 49, 61, 73, 85, 97, and so forth are 2nd Place/Virgo years with Mercury as Lord.  Where will the Ascendant profect when they are 18 years old?  18 years old is their 19th year, so take the remainder of 19/12, which is 7, and this is the Place of that year, the 7th Place, Aquarius, with Saturn as Lord.  What about at age 44?  44 is the 45th year, so take 45/12 which leaves a remainder of 9, so it is a 9th Place/Aries/Mars year.  If 0 is the remainder, then you’re dealing with the 12th place (sorry, if I’m making this more confusing).

Another way to find profections is to simply use the age itself and count forward or backwards from a multiple of 12, as all multiples of 12 will be the 1st Place.  So if you are looking at age 25, then you know this is one year past 24, so it will be the 2nd Place.  If it is age 35, then this is one year back from 36, so it will be the 12th place.

Take a number of charts and simply try finding the place of the current profected Ascendant for all of them.  After a short time you should be able to do this very easily in your head knowing nothing more than the person’s rising sign and age.

Usage of Annual Profection of the Ascendant

The annual profection of the Ascendant is interesting from a symbolic viewpoint.  First, the sky is sometimes generally conceptualized as the soul or mind, while the earth is conceptualized as the body, and as the Ascendant is the point where the sky with the Sun and planets within it appears to stream up from the earth at the eastern horizon, the Ascendant is like a soul peering out through a body.  The Ascendant, and the rising sign in general, are representative of the self, or the locus of the actual physical discrete person in the horoscope.  As the Ascendant profects to the next house of the chart, it is as if the person pays a visit to a new house each year and the goings on there thus become awakened in the life.  While the Lord of the Year is given a lot of attention, in some ways the planets in the sign itself are even more important, being directly encountered during this visit, while the lord of the chart particularly presides over and takes responsibility for the affairs.

Paulus on the Lord of the Year (Ch. 31, from Greenbaum trans., 2001, p. 65):

[…] falls to Virgo.  Hermes is the lord of the year.  We examine the [star] of Hermes, how it lies in the nativity, and which of the stars make a baleful aspect to it, and which look ahead at the zōidion where the year has chanced to be, and which were configured with it in the nativity.

There are profections for months also, and days, as well as other types of profections of planets, all following this same principal of moving something into a new house at each new time interval.  We will address other uses and varieties of profections in future posts. However, the annual profection of the Ascendant has a particularly special significance.  Not only does it establish a sort of main “lord of the year”, and highlight a sign and place, but it is also incorporated strongly into other predictive techniques.  For instance, in Abu Ma’shar’s particular predictive system he pays special attention to the sign of the profected Ascendant and its lord in the solar return chart.  Additionally, I find it particularly helpful to pay attention to the transits from and to the lord of the year, and through the sign of the profected Ascendant.

Examples of Use with Transits

To simplify, I’m going to give an example of using profections to highlight important transits, as this will be the easiest way for the beginner to start working with profections. However, I caution against trying to predict on the basis of an annual profection and transits alone.  There are many other factors, and in time we will explore them and learn how they fit together.

It is very difficult to find examples to just use transits emphasized by just the annual profection but I know of one particularly striking one which I’ll share.  We’ll explore this example and others in more depth with other predictive techniques as we delve deeper in later posts of this series.

James Randi Publicly Announces Cancer Diagnosis

[Note: this section corrected 6/27/12 using input from reader, Erna]

I’ve addressed Randi’s chart before in terms of belief, so I won’t do much analysis here.  Suffice it to say, I admire the guy, I think the chart info that he has provided for himself is honest and accurate, and his chart has a lot to say. In this case we’ll be looking at the malefics in Randi’s chart, Mars and Saturn.  Mars is a malefic, and Mars is here the ruler of the 6th of disease, and is in the 12th of loss, oppression, hidden enemies, and such.  Both the 6th and 12th are largely regarded as the worst of the bad places in ancient astrology, so malefics in these places have the capacity to signify quite difficult matters when activated. Saturn is the out of sect malefic in Randi’s chart, and as such tends to signify in a way that is both difficult and seems disloyal to Randi’s self and purpose.  Randi was diagnosed with intestinal cancer in mid-2009 and it looks to have been successfully treated, but it was certainly difficult period.

James Randi's Natal Chart (twelfth-part positions along the outside)
James Randi’s Natal Chart (twelfth-part positions along the outside)

James Randi was born in August of 1928, so when he was diagnosed with intestinal cancer in June of 2009, as well as when he announced that cancer treatment was underway on or about July 9, 2009, at the Amazing Meeting that year, he was 80 years old.  Age 84 would be a 1st place year, so age 80 would be back 4 places at the 9th place, Aquarius, with Saturn as Lord of the Year.  Generally, Saturn would be regarded as the more difficult of the malefics because Randi was born at night and Saturn is loyal to those born during the day.  Saturn’s ability to signify difficulty is also shown in its position in the sometimes antagonistic 7th house and the location of Saturn’s twelfth-part in the 12th house which is a dark place called bad spirit as it was particularly associated with problems (especially mental/social ones shown by the word “spirit”).

Note: Using Valens-style profections, in which the planets are also profected, Saturn profects 9 places to the 3rd house, where the Sun and Mercury are located.  Saturn to the Sun is particularly symbolic of health issues, as is Saturn to the ruler of the Ascendant (Mercury).

Randi's 2008 Solar Return (non-precessed)
Randi’s 2008 Solar Return (non-precessed)

Looking at the (non-precessed) solar return for that year which was in August of 2008, we find that the Ascendant was 17 Virgo, with both Saturn and Mars (with Venus) in the rising sign (which is the 4th house of the natal; see above).  At the time of Randi’s cancer announcement transiting Saturn was also at 17 Virgo afflicting the solar return Ascendant (see Saturn in outer wheel of chart below).

As mentioned, Mars is a malefic, in a bad place, and Mars also dominates Mercury, ruler of the Ascendant.  In June and the first half of July, 2009, Mars was transiting through Taurus, Randi’s 12th place, where Mars is also located natally.  The twelfth-part of Saturn, lord of the year, is also located there.

Fascinatingly, James Randi publicly announced the cancer during his exact Mars return.  The Mars return occurs about every 2 years due to the apparent speed of Mars through the zodiac (which is about half a degree per day), so this is not an event that happens every day or often.  Not only did the return of Mars coincide with the announcement but Mars was most likely in the exact same degree of the zodiac that Mars held at birth when the announcement took place, a degree it would occupy that year for only those first couple days of the July 2009 Amazing Meeting.  The last time Mars returned to that degree (i.e. his last Mars return) had been in August 2007, and the next Mars return was not until June of 2011.

Cancer Announcement transits (outer wheel) to natal chart (inner wheel)
Cancer Announcement transits (outer wheel) to natal chart (inner wheel)

I’ve provided the transit chart (relative to natal) so that you can confirm the positions of the planets, and particularly of Mars on the day of the Amazing Meeting during which Randi publicly announces the cancer.  I’ve also provided the chart with transits around the edge, and with the Mars return highlighted for better visual understanding.

To recap: It was a Saturn year for Randi, and Saturn is a planet that is able to signify the most difficult circumstances in Randi’s life, as well as one which has its twelfth-part position with Mars, the other planet that signifies difficulties, both in the 12th house which can show health difficulties, and with Mars ruling the 12th even more particularly showing health difficulties.  The combined influence of Saturn and Mars was highlighted in the solar return, which featured both planets in the rising sign, symbolic of the self.  At the time of the events, Saturn transited in the very degree of the solar return Ascendant, while Mars returned to its natal position in a difficult house.  While this example brings in other techniques besides basic annual profections (returns, twelfth-part positions, Valens-style profections, transits), it illustrates how annual profections help to form the backdrop to other predictive techniques and structure their meaning.

Conclusion

Using annual profections of the Ascendant simply to recognize periods when natal significations will be more active is a good exercise.  However, we don’t experience the same fate at age 12, as at age 24, and at 36, etc.  Paying particular attention to transits of and to the lord of the year, and through the place, in addition to the natal significations, particularly those that renew a natal signification, can sharpen up your use of transits.

I would like to add that profections are thought of as a handing off of responsibility.  A new planet is taking some responsibility for your well-being, when you, signified by the Ascendant enter into the planet’s house.  The Lord of the Year, has some responsibility for carrying out some of the big yearly plans for you.  As we look at the Lord of the Month in the next post, you’ll see similar themes, where a certain plan has increased responsibility for the big monthly plans that pertain to you.

If you’re new to profections, then I hope this post has been informative and that you have fun with this great, simple, and effective technique that was a staple of the ancient astrologer’s repertoire.

References

Alexandrinus, P., & Olympiodorus. (2001). Late Classical Astrology: Paulus Alexandrinus and Olypiodorus. (D. G. Greenbaum, Trans.). Reston, VA: Arhat.

James Randi. (2011, November 28). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 04:29, December 3, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=James_Randi&oldid=462839271

Astrology of Religion, Atheism, and Belief | 10. Abu Ma’shar

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.

Abu Ma’shar

Abu Ma’shar was one of the most influential of the later Persian Medieval astrologers.  He differed from most Persian astrologers in his use of quadrant houses (rather than the whole sign houses used in the Hellenistic period and by most earlier Persian astrologers – and by me), he profected in 30 degree increments rather than by sign, as well as a few other innovative approaches that were of particularly strong influence upon later European Medieval and Renaissance astrology.  In my opinion, his greatest contributions were in introductory material, mundane astrology, and in his particular natal predictive tool set (though I don’t always agree with the particular way he used the tools).

I was reading the introduction to Ben Dykes’ recent translation of Abu Ma’shar’s “On the Revolutions of the Years of Nativities”, which is Abu Ma’shar’s work on natal predictive methods, including solar returns, and I noticed that Dykes’ gives Ma’shar’s birth time and natal chart as established by noted historian of science, David Pingree.  The source appears to be from chart examples Ma’shar has given, and there is some conflict between the positions implied by the day and time and those given by Ma’shar, by a few degrees, sometimes one way, sometimes another.  In any case, Dykes gives the day and time as 8/10/797 at about 10pm, near Balkh, Afghanistan (Dykes, 2010, p. 1).  The Ascendant of the reconstructed chart example is at 2 degrees Taurus, so I’ve set my chart at 9:55pm to match the example.  All planets are in the same positions, in the same signs, in the chart example as in my chart, give or take about 5 degrees, except Saturn which Ma’shar’s example puts in late Aquarius, while the day and time puts it at 0Pisces.

Given that there is some conflicting information about his chart from the reconstruction, why use this chart at all?  The problems with the chart are probably owing to slight table inaccuracies and calculation errors committed in Ma’shar’s time.  The chart should therefore be regarded as near B-rating accuracy, in my own opinion.  Ma’shar is interesting from a belief standpoint, as he was initially a skeptic.  Ma’shar was an astrological skeptic until his late 40’s, when al-Kindi brought him around to astrology (Dykes, 2010, p. 1).  He went on to become a very notable astrologer and defender of the science of astrology.

Abu Ma'shar's Natal Chart
Abu Ma’shar’s Natal Chart

Ma’shar’s Chart Analyzed in Brief

  • Jupiter:
  • Very Strong – Jupiter is strongly advancing, within about 5 degrees of the MC, and so is very strong, even though it is in a cadent place.
  • Very Benefic – Jupiter is naturally benefic and is in a good place, the 9th.  While out of sect, Jupiter is not regarded by the malefics, and is actually dominated by the benefic Venus.  Therfore, Jupiter is very benefic in the chart overall.
  • Jupiter is one of the strongest planets in the chart.  We expect expansive experiences, including spiritual ones, to play a major role in this person’s life.  Jupiter is in the sign and bound of Saturn, so we may expect such experiences to also be accompanied by doubt, and that the native will seek to make them more concrete or explicit for reassurance.  Jupiter is dominated by Venus, so there is likely to be a strong sensual or artistic orientation to the joys of Jupiter.   
  • 9th Place:  
  • Strong  – The 9th, Capricorn, is occupied by a very strong Jupiter, and is ruled by Saturn, planet of doubt, fear, loss, and dread.  Saturn is pretty strong, as it’s advancing in the 11th, overcoming the Ascendant (with a scrutinizing sextile).  Venus, the ruler of the Ascendant, also dominates the 9th.  Overall, it’s a prominent place.
  • Mixed, somewhat benefic – Saturn rules the 9th, and is quite malefic, as Saturn is out of sect.  However, a planet in the place pertains more directly to characterizing it than the ruler.  The position of Jupiter in the actual 9th and Venus dominating it, is enough to associate the place more typically with pleasant circumstances in the life.
  • Matters of belief-systems and searching for some greater truth are fairly prominent in his life.  His beliefs tend to be heavily informed by doubt/skepticism (Saturn rules the place), spirituality/religion/faith and deeper expansive truth (Jupiter), and also sensual pleasure (Venus domination).
  •  Saturn:
  • Strong – Saturn is advancing and is not subject to any major weakening conditions.
  • Somewhat Malefic – Saturn is naturally a mafefic, and here is out of sect.  Saturn is in a good place and is overcome by Jupiter by sextile, yet still, we would expect Saturn to regularly signify difficult matters and circumstance in the life.
  • Saturn, as the significator of doubt, fear, obstruction, loss, and so forth, does have a pretty strong effect over the life in a general and pervasive way, and particularly over matters of belief (the 9th).
  • Mercury:  
  • Very strong – Mercury is advancing, in phasis, and is in a “pivot” of the chart (i.e. the 4th), while assembled with the Sun and regarded by the Moon, so Mercury is very strong.
  • Mixed, somewhat benefic – Mercury is in sect and is in a good place, but is assembled with Mars, so there is quite a lot variation over time with whether Mercury’s significations are positive or negative, but overall they’ll tend to be positive.
  • There doesn’t appear to be a strong identification with Mercury, as Mercury has no dignity at the Ascendant.

Ma’shar was not a religious leader, nor was he an atheist.  He also seems to identify quite strongly with the Moon and Venus (we know little of his personality and life before astrology). However, what is unique about him is his doubt in astrology in particular, and then his very strong faith in it.  In his life in general, we see that faith plays a major role, but that doubt is also quite strong, and both play a role in the belief system.

This interplay between faith and doubt, with a desire to give concrete evidence for God or the gods, is not uncharacteristic of the charts of serious astrologers employing rigorous methods.  For instance, Robert Zoller has Jupiter in the 9th, dominated by Saturn (though Saturn is a bit weak, and Jupiter rules the Ascendant, so there is much less doubt and much more faith there), and Chris Brennan has Saturn as ruler of the 1st and in the 10th, while Jupiter is somewhat weakened, yet the 9th is made prominent through a Venus (which is ruled by Jupiter).  Myself, I also have Saturn ruling the 1st, Mercury as bound lord of the 1st, a very prominent Mercury (in the 10th, in phasis, conjunct the MC within a degree), but Saturn in the 9th, conjoined to Jupiter in the 9th within 2 degrees, and with Jupiter scrutinizing my Ascendant by trine.

In future posts in this series, I am planning on expanding out from the basic analysis, to explore more thorough characterization of belief drawing upon Hellenistic and Persian astrological literature.

Blessings!

Anthony

 

References

Ma’shar, A. (2010). Persian Nativities III: Abu Ma’shar on Solar Revolutions. (B. N. Dykes, Trans.). Minneapolis, MN: The Cazimi Press.

Astrology of Profession or Calling | 4. Jimi Hendrix

Today is the birthday of Mr. John Allen Hendrix, aka Jimi Hendrix.  I’m a big fan, particularly of his final album, Electric Ladyland.  I’ll be doing the normal very brief profession analysis below, and I’ll also add a couple notes about character in the concluding synthesis.

Profession or Calling

Here, I apply a special technique for delineating profession, or perhaps more accurately, skills development, which originated in the Hellenistic period of astrology with developments, modifications, and interpretation by many various Hellenistic and Persian astrologers.  The reader is referred to the brief outline of the technique which can be found here, “Astrology of Profession or Calling | 1. Technique“, in order to better understand my delineation process and the general significance I assign to the various planets.

Jimi Hendrix

A brief biography for Jimi Hendrix can be found on Wikipedia, and his chart is given a Rodden Rating of AA for accuracy on Astro-Databank. His chart is pictured below (CTRL+click to open an expanded version in a new tab).

Jimi Hendrix's Natal Chart
Jimi Hendrix’s Natal Chart

Jimi Hendrix Occupation Analysis in Brief

First, identify the planets with some pertinence to “actions”:

  1. MC: There is no planet strongly advancing toward the MC.
  2. Places: Venus, the Sun, and Mercury are in the 1st, and Saturn is in the 7th.  The Moon and Jupiter are less relevant in the 8th.
  3. Rulership: Mercury rules the 10th and is in the 1st.  Venus rules the sign and bound of the MC, and is the 1st triplicity ruler of the 10th, and is in the 1st.
  4. Phasis and the Lights: No planets in phasis.  Mercury and Venus are assembled with the Sun.  Jupiter is assembled with the Moon.  The Moon is separating from Jupiter and applying to Mercury.

“Testimony” Conclusion: Mercury and Venus have the most relevance to actions, and are together so are particularly important in terms of combined signification. The Moon, the Sun, and Jupiter has some lesser relevance.

Secondly, identify the planets that are strongest in a general way in the chart, as they push their natural significations onto the life in a strong way:

  1. Advancing/Retreating: There are no planets strongly advancing, however, Jupiter and the Moon are advancing with the greatest strength.  Mars is advancing to a lesser extent and the rest of the planets are retreating.
  2. Relationships to Lights: No planets in phasis.  Mercury and Venus are assembled with the Sun.  Jupiter is assembled with the Moon. The Moon is separating from Jupiter and applying to Mercury.
  3. Stationing: No planetary stations.

“Strength” Conclusion: Jupiter is the strongest planet.  The Moon is also very strong.  Mercury and Venus are of about equal strength, being prominent in characterizing the individual and career due to position in the 1st and pertinence to the 10th and the Lights.

Synthesis of Occupation for Jimi Hendrix

As in Trent Reznor’s chart, we see that Mercury and Venus pertain most strongly to development along the lines of profession, and they are strongly tied together.  As mentioned in that post, this combines the intricacy, intellect, and wind/verbalization features of Mercury with the artistry of Venus.  It is common for music, a profession pertaining to artistry in sound waves (wind), but particularly with singing (air, verbalization), as well as composition/arrangement of songs (as well as production – basically the thought-oriented and engineering aspects of things).

In relation to Venus as significator of mastery, al-Qabisi noted, “And she signifies the mastery of all sounds, like music and the rest” (Dykes, 2010, p. 254).  In discussion of Venus with Mercury as significators of mastery, al-Qabisi noted, “And if Mercury is complected to her, it signifies the sound which is used in the composition of verses” (Dykes, 2010, p. 255).

Modern Day Apollo

Venus and Mercury are on either sides of the Sun, both conjunct the Sun within 3 degrees and under its beams.  When it comes to music, the Sun is most associated with stringed instruments, as the Sun god Apollo’s most prominent symbol is the lyre.  Here we find a symbolism of Mercury and Venus, intellect, verbalization, beauty, and artistry, joined with and outshone by the powerful dynamic Sun god and his lyre.  In discussion of Venus with the Sun as significators of mastery, al-Qabisi noted, “And if the Sun is complected to her, it signifies the sound of wood [Dykes footnote: “Ar.: ‘the lute.'”] by which one plays in the presence of kings and nobles” (Dykes, 2010, p. 255).

Jupiter and Character

Interestingly, this cluster of Venus, Mercury, and the publicizing Sun, in the 1st House of the self, are in the sign and bound of Jupiter, which is possibly the strongest planet in the chart overall in a general way.  Jupiter is also the planet most relevant to character as: 1. It rules the 1st (Lords of the 1st are commonly used for character as ruler of the 1st of self, for instance by Masha-allah and Abu’Ali al-Khayyat); 2. It’s the ruler and bound ruler of Mercury (Mercury and its Lords are used for character by Masha’allah, Abu’Ali al-Khayyat, among others, and Mercury signifies the rational mind to Ptolemy).  3. Jupiter is the ruler and bound ruler of the sect light, the Sun (the sect light has a prominent powerful influence in the life, particularly when in a personal place like the 1st, and is colored by rulers, including the bound ruler).  4. It’s assembled with, and the exaltation ruler, of the Moon (the Moon signifies the irrational mind and the body to Ptolemy).  5. It’s generally a strong and pervasive planet, being advancing more than any other planet and being conjunct the Moon, and in Jupiter’s own exaltation and bound (many approaches to character, including that of Abu Bakr, tend to put a stress on the impact of prominent planets on character).  We actually have an adjective in English to best describe the character of a Jupiterian person; “jovial”, which literally means, “of Jupiter”, and denotes one who is jolly and cheerful.  Jupiter tends to pertain strongly to spiritual faith and experiences that step out of the bounds of reason and law, such as expansive spiritual experience (including from psychedelic drugs), as well as synchronicity and luck that often defies logical explanation.

As to Jupiter as ruler of the chart, being the primary indicator of character, Julius Firmicus Maternus (4th Century CE) noted (Bram, 1972, p. 139):

9. JUPITER. Those who have Jupiter as ruler of the chart are always trustworthy, of high spirit, and are impelled toward great deeds.  They spend more than their resources or their inheritance allows.  Commanding in all their acts, noble, famous, honorable, lovers of luxury, cheerful, desiring to please in every way, large eaters, faithful friends, they are simple and friendly to all; successful and accustomed to do everything well.

10. Their body is of middle size but well-formed, handsome, and they are light-complexioned.  Of beautiful eyes and head, with long flowing hair; firm of step.  Their life will be glorious and filled with good fortune and they attain their desires.  Their activities turn out well, and they are protected by the influence of great men […] Their illnesses come from stomach trouble, from wine and from indigestion; death comes from high living, hemorrhoids, or sexual intercourse.

References

Ma’shar, A., & Al-Qabisi. (2010). Introductions to Traditional Astrology. (B. N. Dykes, Trans.). Minneapolis, MN: The Cazimi Press.

Maternus, J. F. (1972). Mathesis: A fourth-century astrological treatise. (J. R. Bram, Trans.). NY, NY: New York University.

Credit for Featured Image:
Jimi Hendrix – One by MadeInKobaia, retrieved from MadeInKobaia’s DeviantArt page.

Astrology of Profession or Calling | 3. Steve Jobs & Bill Gates

Technologists, businessmen, and scholars all share a strong emphasis upon Mercury, planet of intellect, reason, wind. speech, and symbol. We often see a lot of overlap between academic prowess, technological proficiency, and financial acumen (though not always).  For instance, the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergey Brin were scholars of technology, turned business leaders.

Here, I apply a special technique for delineating profession, or perhaps more accurately, skills development, which originated in the Hellenistic period of astrology with developments, modifications, and interpretation by many various Hellenistic and Persian astrologers.  The reader is referred to the brief outline of the technique which can be found here, “Astrology of Profession or Calling | 1. Technique“, in order to better understand my delineation process and the general significance I assign to the various planets.

Steve Jobs

A brief biography for Steve Jobs can be found on Wikipedia, and his chart is given a Rodden Rating of AA for accuracy on Astro-Databank. His chart is pictured below (CTRL+click to open an expanded version in a new tab).

Natal Chart - Steve Jobs
Natal Chart – Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs Occupation Analysis in Brief

First, identify the planets with some pertinence to “actions”:

  1. MC: There is no planet strongly advancing toward the MC.
  2. Places: The Sun is the only planet in a “stake” being in the 7th.  Mercury is in the 6th.  Then we have Jupiter and Venus in the 11th and 5th respectively.  Less pertinent are the Moon and Mars in the 8th.
  3. Rulership: Mercury is ruler of both the 10th and the 1st, and is the 1st triplicity ruler of the 10th, and exalted ruler of the 1st.  Mars is bound ruler of both the Ascendant and MC, while the other planets have less relevance as they all have triplicity in either the 1st or 10th, but not both.
  4. Phasis and the Lights: Mercury is in phasis, coming out from the beams less than a week before birth.  Mercury is the planet receiving the next application of the Moon.  Mars is assembled with the Moon.

“Testimony” Conclusion: Mercury has the most relevance to actions. Of the three “actions” planets, Mars is next most significant.  The Sun is very significant.  The Venus, Jupiter, and the Moon are significant to a lesser degree.

Note:  Venus has the closest aspect to the Ascendant, scrutinizing it (within 3 degrees), and by trine.  We’ll see in a future post, that if a planet is scrutinizing the Ascendant (there are 3 in this case – we take the one with square, then trine, then sextile in order of importance) then it will in fact impact skills development, and so our criteria in the technique will have to be modified.  I’ll illustrate this with the charts of Bjork and some other figures.  My own chart also seems to have Jupiter with little to no relevance to skill development, but Jupiter is the only planet in my chart that scrutinizes my Ascendant, and its by trine.  I’ll address this further in a future post in which we’ll modify the criteria to include scrutinization (i.e. aspect within 3 degrees) of the Ascendant by a planet.  Suffice it to say for now that Venus should probably be considered more important or at least as important as Mars in terms of relevance to profession in Steve Jobs’ chart (but still much less relevant than Mercury).

Secondly, identify the planets that are strongest in a general way in the chart, as they push their natural significations onto the life in a strong way:

  1. Advancing/Retreating: The Moon is just about strongly advancing, while Jupiter and Venus are also advancing pretty forcefully.  Mars is also advancing, while Mercury is just barely advancing.
  2. Relationships to Lights: Mercury is in phasis and is being applied to by the Moon.  Mars is assembled with the Moon.  Jupiter and Venus regard both Lights.
  3. Stationing: Mercury is very strong, as it is stationing direct within 24 hours of birth.

“Strength” Conclusion: Mercury is the strongest planet.  Mercury is stationing direct, in phasis, and is advancing.  The Moon is also very strong, while Jupiter and Venus are to a lesser extent.

Synthesis of Occupation for Steve Jobs

Mercury both has the greatest testimony in matters of occupation and is the strongest planet of the chart in a general way.  Intellectual type of development is most relevant to the occupation, such as in business and technology.  An element of publicization (the Sun) is also extremely relevant to the profession, and there is additionally pretty relevant development in terms of aesthetics (Venus), competitiveness and public affairs (Mars), and particular natural human-ness or sense of subjective experience (the Moon – such as accommodation of natural human physical or emotional needs for comfort).  To keep things brief, I’ll only explore one of these planets, Mercury, and let the reader have fun with further delineation.

Mercury: Mercury is in an Air sign, pertaining to more human, social, and ephemeral phenomena, like ideas, trends, news, education, and technology.  Mercury is in a sign of Saturn and is dominated by Saturn (right-side square), while Saturn is the out of sect malefic, so there was many negative associations with Mercury in terms of struggle, death, loss, oppression, and so forth, and Mercury is in the 6th of slaves (more modern definition: employees) and health issues, both of which were critical sore areas in Jobs’ life.  Saturn pertains to solidity, industry, and management, while it is in the 3rd which pertains to communication and transportation.  Mercury’s natural significance in terms of communications is increased and there is an increased association with business management and working with solid resources such as hardware.

Bill Gates

A brief biography for Bill Gates can be found on Wikipedia, and his chart is given a Rodden Rating of A for accuracy on Astro-Databank. His chart is pictured below (CTRL+click to open an expanded version in a new tab).

Natal Chart - Bill Gates
Natal Chart – Bill Gates

Bill Gates Occupation Analysis in Brief

First, identify the planets with some pertinence to “actions”:

  1. MC: The Moon is strongly advancing towards the MC.
  2. Places: The Moon is in the 10th, while Mars and Mercury are in a “stake” (the 4th).  Jupiter is in the 2nd.  The Sun, Venus, and Saturn are less relevant, being in the 5th.
  3. Rulership: The ruler of the 10th is Mars, while the Moon rules the 1st.  Mars and Jupiter have dignity in both places, but Jupiter more so.
  4. Phasis and the Lights: Mercury is in phasis, coming out from the beams just under a week before birth.  Mars is the planet receiving the next application of the Moon.  Venus and Saturn are also in phasis and assembled with the Sun.

“Testimony” Conclusion: Mars, the Moon, and Jupiter have the most relevance to actions. Of the three “actions” planets, Mars is the most significant, followed by Mercury.

Secondly, identify the planets that are strongest in a general way in the chart, as they push their natural significations onto the life in a strong way:

  1. Advancing/Retreating: The Moon, Mars, and Mercury are strongly advancing.  All other planets in the chart are advancing to a lesser extent.
  2. Relationships to Lights: Mercury, Venus, and Saturn are in phasis.  The Moon applies to Mars.  Venus and Saturn are assembled with the Sun.  Jupiter regards both lights, and is in the home of the Sun.
  3. Stationing: Mercury is stationing direct.

“Strength” Conclusion: Mercury is the strongest planet.  Mercury is stationing direct, in phasis, and is very strongly advancing.  Mars and the Moon are very strong in the chart.

Synthesis of Occupation for Bill Gates

Mars has the greatest testimony in terms of occupation, while Mercury is stronger in the chart overall due to being in phasis, stationing direct, in a “stake” of the chart, and strongly advancing, all at the same.  Jupiter in the 2nd of wealth and possessions, as well as strong, is probably connected in some part to both Bill’s immense financial acumen and development of philanthropic pursuits as a vocation.  He is currently working full-time with his philanthropic organization, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  The prominence of the Moon is very interesting, though Gates, like Jobs, worked primarily in adapting technology to natural human experience, more than more straight-forward technological innovation.  The strength of the Moon and Mercury, and the strong connection of the Moon with the 1st, give strong indications of his mental acuity (the Moon and Mercury were the two most important planets for mind or soul in Ptolemy’s astrology – the Moon also pertains strongly to the brain, memory, and intuition).

Mercury: As with Jobs, Mercury is in an Air sign, pertaining to more human, social, and ephemeral phenomena, like ideas, trends, news, education, and technology.  Mercury is in a sign of Venus and is assembled with Mars.  We might expect Mercury to pertain to design (Venus) and the military or domestic public affairs to some extent (Mars). In other words, we see a greater emphasis on involvement in meeting the demands of competitive business, military, and public affairs in this Mercury placement, and less on physical materials, than we do with the Mercury of Steve Jobs.

Mars: Gates was able to secure great success for his company through aggressive strategizing that went over into even unethical means of locking out competition, bringing on multiple controversial anti-trust suits.  His management style was also known to be particularly harsh and abrasive.   Mars is in Libra with Mercury, so many of the same associations with Mercury apply to Mars and they work together.  He participated in the congressional Page program at age 17, so his involvement in public affairs came early and has persisted in his life.  In whole, his career has been centrally about beating competition and coming out ahead in power struggles, to the point that he was even the wealthiest person in the world for 14 years, and has persisted as one of the most powerful.  This technique with the chart of Bill Gates shows similar results as those for many very high-climbing politicians and industry leaders, that for very socially mobile people, Mars does not show “brawn” so much as a development of competitiveness, strategy, and the desire to make a powerful impact in the lives of others.

Astrology of Religion, Atheism, and Belief | 9. Bill Maher

The ingredients 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.

Bill Maher

Comedian and talk-show host Bill Maher is a very vocal critic of religion and frequent supporter and publicizer of the “new atheist” movement, serving on the advisory board of Sam Harris’ Project Reason, creating a film spoofing religious belief, winning the Richard Dawkins award from Atheist Alliance International, and frequently featuring new atheist figures on his shows.  Rather inaccurately, he self-describes as an apatheist, though he has shown great interest in religious belief, attacking it often, and promoting atheist causes.  You can read Maher’s biography on Wikipedia by clicking here.  His natal chart is below, and has a Rodden Rating of AA.

Bill Maher's Natal Chart
Bill Maher’s Natal Chart

Bill Maher’s Chart Analyzed in Brief

  • Jupiter:
  • Not strong, not weak – Jupiter is just barely advancing, and so is not very strengthened by advancing.  It does not have any other major strengthening or weakening conditions.  Retrogradation may be mildly weakening to Jupiter.
  • Mixed, somewhat benefic – Jupiter is naturally benefic and is in the 11th (its Joy), but Jupiter is also out of sect, and struck by the rays of Saturn (Jupiter is square Saturn within 3 degrees – actually within 1 degree – and in such a case the overcome planet strikes the planet behind it with rays and afflicts it.  This is part of the Hellenistic aspect doctrine, and the way I imagine it, it’s as if the dominant planet can see the other one better and take some control over it, sort of like with a panopticon, but the dominated planet has a straight enough shot to chuck something in the dominating planet’s eyes.)  So Saturn hits Jupiter hard with its significations.  On a more minor level Jupiter is in the term of Mars and is opposed by the Sun and Mercury.  Overall, Jupiter is benefic though.
  • Jupiter is one of the weaker planets in the chart, though not as weak as Venus, and arguably about equal in strength to Mars and Saturn (though I would consider Saturn, being exalted ruler of the Ascendant, to be stronger than Jupiter; also Venus is ruler of the Ascendant so there is a case for Jupiter as weakest planet, but it’s not clear-cut).  We can expect some spiritually expansive experiences because Jupiter is not very weak and is somewhat benefic, though Maher seems to have chalked these up to his drug experiences on his show, and in any case, Jupiter is struck very strongly by Saturn, planet of doubt. Jupiter does not have a prominent and pervasive effect on the life, but should bring great fortune in terms of 11th place matters of friends and networking. 
  • 9th Place:  
  • Moderately strong, primarily Mercurial and Saturnine  – The 9th, Gemini, is empty, and is ruled by Mercury, planet of reason, intellect, and communication.  Mercury itself is moderately strong, being in phasis, but also weakened from stationing retrograde about 2-3 days before birth.  The 9th is overall quite Mercurial from Mercury ruling, overcoming it by trine, and being the 1st triplicity ruler of Air signs by night.  Saturn and Mars also have a strong effect on the 9th by opposing it from the 3rd, though Saturn has the strong effect, as Saturn is a triplicity ruler of Air, and is a bit stronger than Mars (Saturn also rules the Sun and Mercury, is exalted ruler of the Ascendant, and is in a partile sextile with the Sun).  Venus dominates the 9th (right-side square), but her influence does not seem as strong as that of Mercury nor Saturn, as she is rather weak and has no rulership of the 9th.
  • Mixed, somewhat malefic – Mercury rules the 9th and is overall benefic in the chart, being in sect, and in the very good 5th (of creative performance) though is heavily influenced by Mars and Saturn which overcome Mercury by sextile (perhaps hinting at how Maher’s mercurial performance can be controversially dark, skeptical, and even aggressive, but with some degree of working well or harmoniously for him, as shown with the sextile – Mercury is friendly with Mars and Saturn, though they rub off on Mercury because of their more influential position in the friendship – overcoming – and so Mercury takes on some of the same inclinations).  However, the 9th is made more malefic than benefic by having both malefic opposed to the place (i.e. in the 3rd).
  • 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 beliefs tend to be heavily influenced by rationality and intellectualism (Mercury rulership), doubt/skepticism and contentiousness (Saturn and Mars opposition), and also sensual pleasure (Venus domination).
  •  Saturn:
  • Somewhat weak – Saturn is not very strong in the chart, as it is cadent, and just barely advancing.  While Saturn has a strong effect on the 9th, and upon the Sun and Mercury, 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.
  • Malefic – Saturn is naturally a mafefic, and here is out of sect, not in a good place (nor in a bad one), and is assembled with Mars.  Jupiter overcomes by trine, but the aspect is actually a scrutinizing square because it is within 3 degrees as such.  Jupiter is expected to ease up some of Saturn’s significations though, but overall Saturn is still quite malefic in the chart, and is the significator of the most difficult challenges in his life.
  • As noted, Saturn does not have a very strong and pervasive influence over Maher’s life.  Saturn does have a strong impact on the belief system, and there is a self-identification with Saturn (exalted ruler and a triplicity ruler of the 1st, while also regarding the 1st), but we don’t expect Saturn encroaching strongly on many areas of Maher’s life.  Saturn is very destructively inclined, signifying the more difficult matters in life, rather than simply discipline and duty or something like that.  In fact, discipline, duty, mortality, and authorities have very negative associates attached to them.
  • Mercury:  
  • Moderately strong – Mercury is advancing, and is in phasis, but stationed retrograde 2-3 days before birth.  The Lights are very prominent in Maher’s chart, but Mercury is at least the strongest planet other than the Lights (the Lights are naturally strong).  Mercury is in the 5th place of creative performance (the Joy of Venus) and with the publicizing Sun, in an idea-oriented Air sign (and one of the “human” signs).
  • Overall benefic – To reiterate: Mercury is overall benefic in the chart, being in sect, and in the very good 5th (of creative performance) though is heavily influenced by Mars and Saturn which overcome Mercury by sextile.  We expect some of the greatest fortune in the life to be associated with Mercury, even though the styling is influenced by the malefics.
  • There is a strong identification with Mercury, as Mercury is strongly connected to the Ascendant.  For instance, Mercury is the 1st triplicity ruler of Air signs, the term/bound ruler of the Ascendant, and regards the Ascendant by trine.  The domicile ruler of the 1st, Venus, does not regard the Ascendant.  There is also something of an identification with Saturn, the exaltation ruler, and another triplicity ruler, of the Ascendant.  There is not a strong identification with Jupiter.  Mercury does have a prominent and pervasive influence upon the life, and has a particularly strong influence on the 9th of belief, which it rules.

With Bill Maher, we see a lot of similarities, and some differences with the charts of other outspoken atheists and skeptics.  For instance, Maher does not have a Saturn that is much stronger than Jupiter, but he does have a Jupiter which is most strongly linked to the out of sect malefic, a 9th place characterized by Mercury and the malefics, and a strong identification with Mercury and Saturn, with Mercury quite strong.

Astrology of Profession or Calling | 2. Trent Reznor

In the first post of this series, I explained an ancient technique for finding the significator of the profession in the astrological chart. In this and subsequent posts, I will apply the technique, so please first get acquainted with the technique by reading the initial article.

Trent Reznor

Trent Reznor is a musician, primarily involved with vocals and electronic composition.  Lately, he has been involved with big Hollywood soundtracks, including that for “The Social Network” and the soon-to-premier “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”.

A brief biography for Trent Reznor can be found on Wikipedia, and his chart is given a Rodden Rating of A on Astro-Databank (though their biography of him has some factual inaccuracies).  His chart is pictured below (CTRL+click to open an expanded version in a new tab).

Reznor's Natal Chart
Reznor’s Natal Chart

As an artist, we can expect Venus to play a major role in matters of profession.  Vocals, as well as composition, are areas of music particularly pertinent to Mercury due to Mercury’s associations to verbalizing and intellectualism, respectively.  His particular style is characteristically dark, with strong themes of pain, oppression, death, and control – things typical of the domain of Saturn.

I will be attempting a very consistent and coherent analysis of indications of profession and skill-development in Trent’s chart, so I urge the reader to refer to my post on the technique itself, to get a better idea of what is going on in the analysis.  To briefly recap, the technique involves finding planets with more pertinence or “testimony” regarding “actions”, which involves the MC, 10th place, and the Lights, and then also looking at general indications of planetary strength, and combining these.  The factors and basics are from Hellenistic and Persian astrology.  I am willing to answer any questions as to the origin of any particular aspect of my technique in terms of Hellenistic and Persian texts.

Reznor Occupation Analysis in Brief

First, identify the planets with some pertinence to “actions”:

  1. MC: There is no planet strongly advancing toward the MC.
  2. Places: No planets in the “stakes”.  In terms of the 2nd and 6th, Venus and Jupiter are most pertinent, as they’re in the 6th.  To a lesser extent Mercury and the Sun are relevant by this factor because they are in the succedent 5th.
  3. Rulership: The ruler of the 10th place is Venus, which is also a triplicity ruler of the Ascendant.  The only planet with a stronger relationship to both the 1st and 10th is Saturn.  Jupiter is the bound ruler of the Ascendant (and Mars is the bound ruler of the MC).  Mercury does not have rulership at the Ascendant but is the first triplicity lord of the 10th.
  4. Phasis and the Lights: No planets are in phasis, though Venus is nearly so, as she is moving out from the beams.  Mars is the bound ruler of the sect light.

“Testimony” Conclusion: Venus has the most relevance to actions. Of the three “actions” planets, Mercury is next most significant.  Jupiter, the Sun, and Saturn may have lesser relevance.

Secondly, identify the planets that are strongest in a general way in the chart, as they push their natural significations onto the life in a strong way:

  1. Advancing/Retreating: Mercury is conjunct an angle within 3*, so I consider it advancing in the strongest sense.  All of the planets aside from the Moon are advancing in the chart (and there are no planets in the “stakes” of the chart, which is also very important for strength, while covered in the first step).  All planets, other than the Moon, are advancing, but the Sun more strongly than the others (besides Mercury).
  2. Relationships to Lights: There are no planets in phasis (though Venus is nearly so and moving out from the beams).  The Moon is applying to Mercury and had separated from Saturn.  Mercury is assembled with the Sun.    Saturn and Mars are the only planets regarded by both Lights.
  3. Stationing: No stations.

“Strength” Conclusion: Mercury is the strongest planet.  The Sun and Saturn also have some prominence in this manner.

Synthesis

Venus is the planet with the most testimony regarding this matter but Mercury is the strongest planet of the chart and has some testimony with regards to actions.  Therefore, we take both Mercury and Venus.  Venus is viewed more in terms of the types of actions the native would like to be involved in as a calling, and Mercury as the type of skill development that tends to dominate and get the most attention.  We expect a desire for artistic work with a strong intellectual component. That Venus is in a house of Mercury (Gemini) and Mercury in a house of Venus (Taurus) further stresses the mutuality of both, rather than them being totally separate skill sets.  In fact, Mercury is in the term of Venus also, and is even in the 5th House, pertaining to creativity, which is the Joy of Venus.  It is as if these planets keep evoking each other and looking for new ways to serve each other.

Venus: Further delineation of Venus finds that she is in the domicile of Mercury.  She is quite fortunate, as she is naturally fortunate (i.e. she’s a benefic), and she’s in sect, assembled with Jupiter while in Jupiter’s term, and regarded by the sect light, the Moon.  However, she is also in the 6th, dominated by Saturn and square to Mars.  The 6th is a bad place considered the place of slaves, accidents, and disease, so that, so there will be negative associations concerning that, as well as violence (Mars, but Venus actually dominates Mars, so she uses Mars more than the other way around and they are of the same sect), but more particularly Venus is colored by Saturn, lord of death, darkness, loss, and oppression.  Therefore, Venus is strongly tied to the sense of faith and spiritual power, shown by the conjunction with Jupiter, while the artistry is characterized by strong intellectual and/or verbal/vocal components and particularly with impact of Saturn (and to a much lesser extent, Mars) on the particular characterization of beauty. While the person likely identifies most strongly with Saturn, there is also a strong identification with Venus, particularly as the sense of higher purpose is concerned.

Mercury: Mercury is in the domicile, term, triplicity, and Joy of Venus.  Matters associated with a Mercury have a strong and pervasive effect on the life, while Mercury is both evocative of Venusian matters and is specifically determined most directly to matters of creative performance (5th place, Joy of Venus).  Mercury is overcome by Saturn by sextile and is assembled with the Sun, so there is both a sense of strong duty and discipline associated with Mercury and of publicity and achievement.

Astrology of Profession or Calling | 1. Technique

Introduction: Actions

Special techniques for the delineation of one’s calling appear early in the Hellenistic tradition.  The Greek word used is “praxis”, which is often translated as actions, though I’ve also seen it translated what one does (e.g. Greenbaum’s translation of Paulus), and the reckoning of the descriptions for varieties of praxis in Greek texts are what we’d call a profession or a calling.

Background

My own strategy for the delineation of the basic nature of one’s profession or calling is best broken down into multiple steps.  I largely follow the special technique developed by Ptolemy, Paulus Alexandrinus, and Rhetorius in my approach to the matter, with a particular emphasis on Paulus and Rhetorius, who actually used the Houses/Places of the chart.  I am far more concerned with accurate use in practice than historical reproductions, so you will find some minor deviations from Paulus and Rhetorius in my technique, much as you see minor differences in the technique as used by Ptolemy, Paulus, Rhetorius, and later Persian authors (let alone later European medieval authors, such as Bonatti, who deviate even further).  As mentioned, I think Paulus and Rhetorius were the best of the Hellenistic astrologers when it came to this technique.

Lords of Actions

For now, I’ll just deal with the most basic aspect of delineating profession, which pertains to identifying the planet or planets that most pertain to the nature of one’s calling. I urge astrologers not to think in terms of there being one and only one true and pure, very specified, calling for each individual human being.  Rather, planets signifying actions will give indications as to where people develop themselves in trying to achieve something or be more.  The 10th place of the chart is the one that pertains most to this reckoning, being the place that dominates the 1st place (i.e. it is in a right-side square to the place representative of the person themselves, like an authoritative influence).  The 1st place will also be very relevant because it pertains to the physical self and affects self-identification.  In addition, the Lights (Sun and Moon), the planets most representative of power, are quite important.

My first step is to identify planets with relevance to actions, second step is to find the strongest planets in the chart, while the third step is to delineate the nature of the profession or calling based on the strongest indications from Mars, Venus, and Mercury from the other two steps.  This is just to assess the basic nature of the profession or calling, according to what I recently saw astrologer Tom Callanan refer to as “brawn” (Mars), “aesthetics” (Venus), or “brains” (Mercury).  These labels for the three main categories are about as succinctly descriptive as you can get.  However, even these descriptions are not without some problems, particularly as concerns Mars.  Mars shows up strongly in the charts of politicians and other leaders.

Actually, all 7 planets are relevant to this matter, and in the exposition of Rhetorius (Holden, 2009, p. 134-145) he does look at all of them and give indications for all of them, but also stresses the importance of Mars, Venus, and Mercury.  It is helpful to think of the reckoning more in terms of skill-development than in terms of finding the category of profession or calling.  For instance, Mercury will show a developmental stress along intellectual lines, whether it is in academic, business, or mystical study, there will be intense mental development.  Venus will show development along aesthetic lines as well as that pertaining to women, attraction, and sexuality, so there is likely to be some sort of artistic discipline, such as playing an instrument or creating art.

Mars does not just show more physical activities, pertaining to things like athleticism, building trades, mechanical work, or dangerous work, but also tends to show development of competitive skills, such as those involved in leadership.  There are other techniques pertaining to eminence or “social-mobility”, so the significations will often depend on that, as very few of the typical Mars professions apply to those of high social standing, which are more likely to channel that development of brawn into political maneuvering and competitive strategy (for instance, nearly all popes have Mars connected with profession). Along this vein, Rhetorius does make a statement connecting the signs of Mars with “weapons or fire or iron or iron-working or public affairs” (Holden, 2009, p. 135).  Similarly, in the commentary on Paulus by Olympiadorus, he associated Mars as professional indicator with the typical building and metal-working type of trades when less authoritative, while with positions of command, especially military ones, like generals and professional soldiers, when more authoritative (Greenbaum, 2001, p. 124). When very malefic, however, Mars can show those who engage in criminal acts for a living.

Jupiter will tend to show development of a quest for truth.  Law may be indicated, but if Jupiter is more prominent then in my experiences there is more development along religious and spiritual lines.  For instance, there may be great study of religious texts and practices, and spiritual matters like divination or astrology.  In either case, there is a sense of a commitment towards the ideal which is being worked upon.

Saturn is associated with land, farmers, sailors, the soil, natural resources, the dead, misery and poverty, as well as discipline, control, and management.  I am not just adding management in there from my own experience, but Rhetorius also associates Saturn in connection with the 10th and actions (when stronger and more benefic) with public service and management (c.f. Greenbaum, 2001).

In my opinion, both the Sun and Moon in relation to profession show prominence, due to the association of the Lights with power.  The Sun is associated with things being more public or publicized, while the Moon is associated with things being more idiosyncratic/original/self-taught, humane, subjective, and/or group-oriented (counseling is something I often see strongly connected to the Moon).

Steps to Reckoning Actions

First, identify the planets with some pertinence to “actions”:

  1. MC: A planet strongly advancing towards the MC (see Advancing/Retreating below) will likely give stronger indications even than a planet in one of the above places, and even if it is not in one of the above places.  This is because the MC itself is the point of culmination, and as such is the point of loftiness.
  2. Places: The planet should be in one of the following places (which include all but the 12th, 9th, or 3rd), in the following order of relative importance:  10th (place of actions), 1st, 7th, or 4th, (i.e. the “stakes” of the 10th), 2nd or 6th (i.e. the trigon/triplicity of the 10th), 11th, 5th, 8th (i.e. succedent places).
  3. Rulership:A planet will be more relevant to the profession if it has some dignity at the 10th place or the Ascendant, but especially the 10th.  If the planet does not have any dignity at either place, consider it much less important.   The domicile ruler of either, and/or a planet with some minor rulership in both places (especially if the term ruler of the Ascendant) is preferred.
  4. Phasis and the Lights: This is reiterated below with strength, but there is a special relevance to actions when a planet is in phasis (particularly, if moving out from the beams rather than in towards them), as well as if the planet is the ruler of the bound of the sect light (and to a lesser extent the other light).  Orientality/occidentality considerations, particularly relative to the Sun, also often show up in the literature, although I don’t stress them here, as I haven’t yet found them to be consistently strong indicators in this matter.

Secondly, identify the planets that are strongest in a general way in the chart, as they push their natural significations onto the life in a strong way:

  1. Advancing/Retreating: Look at the Ascendant, Descendant, MC, and IC. If a planet is more than 1/3 of the distance from one to the next it is “advancing” and strengthened, while if not it is “retreating” and weakened.  The closer the planet gets in its approach to the angle (Asc, MC, Dsc, or IC), the stronger it is in a general way, as if the volume is being turned up on the planet.  By contrast, when a planet passes the angle it is as if the volume quickly turns down on the planet.  A planet that is approaching the angle within about 15 degrees is particularly strong, and should be considered “strongly advancing”.  If a planet is conjunct an angle within about 5 degrees (even if separating, I use about 10 degrees for considering a Light to be conjunct an angle) then that is also extremely strong.  Remember that the planets move clockwise in this regard, rising in the east and setting in the west (i.e. this movement is contrary to the movement through the zodiac, so for instance a planet ten degrees clockwise of the MC would be retreating and weakened, while one ten degrees counter-clockwise of the MC would be strongly advancing).  These points represent where a planet lines up with your specific location, as in your local horizon and meridian.  It is a great metaphor because it really is as if the planet advances towards your world then retreats away from it.
  2. Relationships to Lights: The following relationships to the Sun or Moon will make the planet more relevant to profession: the planet the Moon is separating from or applying to, a planet in phasis, and to a much lesser extent a planet regarded by a Light (more so by trine or sextile, and/or if from the sect light, and/or if closer to exact).   There are other relationships to the lights that are sometimes looked at but I think these are most important.  It is rare, but if a planet is cazimi the Sun it may be extremely strengthened.  By contrast, a planet within 8 degrees of the Sun at birth, which is not in phasis, is likely to be quite weakened.
  3. Stationing: Look 7 days before the birth and 7 days after to check for planetary stations.  This is very important.  A planet stationing direct within about 7 days of the birth will be extremely strengthened.  The closer the station is to the time of birth, the more powerful.  By contrast, a planet that is stationing retrograde is quite weakened, particularly if the station occurs closer to the birth.

Finally, of Mars, Venus, and Mercury combine their relative pertinence to profession from the first step with their relative overall strength or prominence from the second step, and you will find that one planet tends to draw development towards itself more than the others, while the others may or may not also show skill diversity in skill development or other desired callings if they are very pertinent to actions (such as in the actual 10th) or very strong with some pertinence to actions (such as a very strong ruler of the 10th or 1st).  As noted above, the other planets influence profession as well.  In any case, stress should be placed on Mars, Venus, and Mercury – significators of actions because they are swift moving and active.

Note

While this type of special technique shows up very often in Hellenistic and Persian astrology, there were also a large number of special, career-specific indicators.  Maternus, Rhetorius, and many other authors give indications specific to many professions, that are aside from this method.  I find this technique more reliable then most of the more specific indicators given, but still this technique is just a start.

In a sense, what this special technique is attempting to do is to connect together significations of general planetary strength, with significations of strength in relation to actions and achievement (10th/Lights), as well as the self (1st). If you understand the importance of these three matters and how to look at them, then you get the heart of the technique and need not stick to it in a mechanical fashion.  I lay things out in such a fashion to set the rules which I’ll have to stick to with consistency, as I analyze charts in future posts of the series and compare the accuracy of the method with other popular methods often advocated by both traditional and modern astrologers.

 

References

Alexandrinus, P., & Olympiodorus. (2001). Late Classical Astrology: Paulus Alexandrinus and Olypiodorus. (D. G. Greenbaum, Trans.). Reston, VA: Arhat.
Rhetorius of Egypt, & Teucer of Babylon. (2009). Rhetorius the Egyptian. (J. H. Holden, Trans.). Tempe, AZ: American Federation of Astrologers.

Astrology of Religion, Atheism, and Belief | 8. Pope John Paul II

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 in a past post of the series, which you can view here.

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II was the last pope before the current Pope Benedict XVI.  He was one of the more tolerant and well-liked popes, helping to encourage much interfaith dialog, in pretty sharp contrast to the current pope who has made public derogatory remarks about other religions.  Pope John Paul II also heavily engaged in that other 9th House activity, travel.  You can check out his biography on Wikipedia by clicking here.  His natal chart is below, and has been given a Rodden Rating of A.

Pope John Paul II's Birth Chart
Pope John Paul II’s Birth Chart

Pope John Paul II’s Chart Analyzed in Brief

  • Jupiter:
  • Extremely strong – Jupiter is extremely strong, strongly advancing on the MC.  That Jupiter is overcome by the Moon, dominated by the Sun, and in the domicile of the sect light, The Sun, also confers strength and prominence.
  • Extremely benefic – Jupiter is naturally benefic, and here is in sect, in perhaps the most benefic place, the 11th (the Joy of Jupiter).  Jupiter is also dominated by the benefic Venus, and overcome by the Moon by sextile.
  • Jupiter is one of the strongest planets in the chart, and the most benefic.  Lofty spirituality has a profound influence over the life, and is associated with very fortunate matters.  While Jupiter is only a triplicity ruler of the Ascendant, there is still likely to be a strong identification with Jupiter because Jupiter dominates the Ascendant and has some dignity, while the domicile and exaltation rulers (Venus and Saturn) are both in aversion to (i.e. don’t regard) the Ascendant.  Jupiter, Venus, and Mars, all have a strong effect on the character.
  • 9th Place:  
  • Very strong, Lunar and Mercurial – The 9th, Gemini, is ruled by Mercury.  Most importantly, the Moon is in the 9th, bringing much prominence to matters of the 9th.  The ruler of the 9th, Mercury, is advancing and in phasis, so is very strong also.
  • Quite benefic, some mixed indications – The benefic Moon is in the 9th.  The ruler Mercury is also benefic overall, despite being in a bad place (the 8th), as Mercury is in sect and conjunct Venus (as well as ruled by Venus).  Saturn squares the 9th, so more negative associations can also be present, particularly with Saturn’s activation.
  • Matters of belief are very prominent in the life, and overall associated with fortunate happenings.  The 9th is most directly Lunar (powerfully and vividly subjective, personal, even irrational).  The 9th is also quite Mercurial, and in fact, John Paul II put a strong emphasis on reason during his papacy, and drew on St. Thomas Aquinas in stressing how reason and faith can be mutually supportive of each other.  The Moon is the natural significator of journeys in ancient astrology, and Mercury also pertains to movement, so it is little wonder that with the Moon and Mercury so strongly associated with the 9th, which besides religion also pertains to travel, we saw such a globetrotting pope.
  • Saturn:
  • Mildly strong – Saturn is mildly strong, as it is advancing, though also cadent.  However, Saturn is arguably the weakest planet in the chart, as it is the only cadent planet.
  • Quite mixed, somewhat malefic – Saturn is naturally a malefic so will indeed have some negative significations, particularly as it is in the 12th place.  However, Saturn is in sect and is overcome by trine by Venus, as well as overcome by both Lights, so we can expect things to be quite mixed overall.
  • Saturn’s significations are not nearly so strong as those of Jupiter, nor of most of the other planets in the chart.  However, Saturn does make itself felt, and with mixed results.  Saturn is the exalted ruler of the Ascendant, but we don’t expect as much identification with Saturn because Saturn doesn’t regard the Ascendant.
  • Mercury:  
  • Quite strong – Mercury is advancing, and is in phasis, so Mercury is quite strong.
  • Somewhat benefic – As mentioned, Mercury is overall benefic because it is in sect and assembled with a benefic.  There may be some difficult associations on occasion due to the fact that Mercury occupies the 8th, which is a bad place.
  • There is not a strong identification with Mercury, but there is a little bit of one, as Mercury is a triplicity ruler of the Ascendant and is conjunct the Ascendant Lord, Venus.  Mercury is quite strong, and has mostly benefic associations, so there may be an overall pleasant relationship with rational intellectualism.

In conclusion, Pope John Paul II, like most religious leaders, had an extremely strong Jupiter, an emphasis on 9th house matters, and a relatively out-of-focus Saturn.  Through the Lunar and Mercurial characterization of the 9th, we see the stress on humanity and reason which characterized his particular brand of religion, as well as his propensity for nearly constant travel.

 

 

Featured Image Attribution:

José Cruz/AbrAgência Brasil