I came across this recently in a search and thought I would share:
Dating Horrors by Sign (originally published by Tarot.com)
I came across this recently in a search and thought I would share:
Dating Horrors by Sign (originally published by Tarot.com)
Thank you for dropping by. Below you’ll find archives of recorded presentations at the Zodiac Lounge.
***(The Zodiac Lounge was a one-stop, magical space to find people who help you get insight on a problem, relief from stress or direction for your career or love life. The prices were very reasonably priced, $10 for 10 minutes, and the events were always fun. You could either see 3 different professionals, like psychics, massage therapists, astrologers, reiki specialists or nutritionists, in 30 minutes or see only one for the same half-hour. It’s currently on indefinite hiatus until we find a space in NYC.) ***
They’re FREE for you to enjoy and share with friends and others. Click on the link below. If you enjoy them, please, by all means, come out to the Zodiac Lounge and check us out in person. We’d love to have you there!
On The Job Stress Panel Discussion–How to manage stress on the job and beyond…
Libra Birthday Talk 2006–Special Birthday message for Libra
Scorpio Birthday Talk 2006–Special Birthday message for Scorpio
Open Panel Discussion–First panel discussion when you get to ask the questions you’ve always wanted to ask.
Capricorn Birthday Talk 2007–Special Birthday message for Capricorn
Visions of The Future Panel Discussion 2007–What is the future going to bring for us all?
Aquarius Birthday Talk 2007–Special Birthday message for Aquarius
Intuition Panel Discussion 2007–How to better develop and use your intuition
Pisces Birthday Talk 2007–Special Birthday message for Pisces
Panel Discussion for Spring Cleaning for Mind, Body, Soul and Home--Awesome talk to kick your Spring off right!
Aries Birthday Talk 2007–Special Birthday message for Aries
Panel on “Law of Attraction”–Is “The Secret” real? Or just something to con people?
Taurus Birthday Talk 2007–One of our strangest and yet most enlightening birthday talks ever!
Open Panel – 5/18/2007–People brought their questions on spirituality, health, wealth and love while we brought the expertise.
Gemini Birthday Talk 2007–Want to get a fix on Gemini? Listen to this!
Emotional Wellness Panel Discussion–Get a better understanding of how to be emotionally healthy!
Cancer-Leo Birthday Talk 2007–It was two in one, but there was no half-stepping! Enjoy!
First, we should probably say a few words about Scorpio, before Scorpios get more paranoid and think I’m just picking on them. I’m not. Scorpio, astrologically, represents that universal principle that is pre-occupied with life and living itself. This pre-occupation can happen in three ways: thinking about generation (creating or pro-creating); re-generation (coming up from the ashes of something traumatic); or death itself (life coming to its cycle of closure or permanent transformation). The first way, generation, is what earns Scorpio-influenced people the claim as the sex-crazed people of the Zodiac, or in street parlance: freaks. I won’t debate the merits of that claim as I think it’s enough to say that I’ve met freaks in all 12 signs and no real statistical data on Scorpionic freakiness is forthcoming. The second way, re-generation, is all about how Scorpio-influenced people (either by rising sign, Sun sign or moon sign) will usually go through severe trials and literally have to re-build their lives. They must find a way to begin anew and sometimes they do that a lot! Lastly, Scorpios may have a deep abiding fear of extinction, death. This fear may compel them to think that death or extinction may loom at every corner, in some form or fashion. If someone isn’t literally attempting to kill them, then someone may be attempting to demoralize them or extinguish them mentally, emotionally or spiritually. I will not say that this may not be happening or have happened to Scorpios, as it certainly does, but perhaps not as much as they much think. When that thinking goes too far, paranoia is born.
Paranoia literally means besides-thinking, or thinking that is flawed or skewed. However, the real error in paranoia is not the idea that someone may be out to get you, but that everyone is out to get you or that certain people are out to get you all the time. It’s error of judgement in measure, not process. This leads to really narrow thinking as it becomes hard to distinguish or trust friend from foe. It’s equally hard to appreciate the goodness of life as the paranoiac comes to suspect the worst, in nearly everyone and everything. What might have started off as a correct hunch or intuition about a person or situation transforms into an ongoing life manual for dealing with all situations and people. We get locked into a loop or belief system that the world or universe only means us harm and not good; we also come to believe that whatever seeks to destroy us actually will most likely and certainly destroy us as well. This is where the natural instinct for survival and self-preservation that Scorpio represents gets out of control.
There are at least a couple of ways to address paranoia when it becomes rampant. (Providing it’s not drug-induced. Those who know, know what I’m talking about! ) First, I’d like to introduce you to pronoia, paranoia’s good sister, if you will. Paranoia is the idea that there are hidden meanings or forces that seek to spell out your doom. Pronoia is a forward type of thinking to see other hidden meanings that are “conspiring” for your benefit. You can imagine someone watching you through your mirror, as I knew a Scorpio who believed that, for the benefit of the government, or you can imagine Angels watching over you as you walk home late at night. Both ways of thinking include real possibilities that are really hard to prove, but one clearly leads to less stress. Again, I don’t want to debate whether the perceptions of paranoia are true as it depends on how much we think the universe is conspiring against us. You have and will, indeed, encounter again people who don’t aspire the best for you. On a group level, many Black people in America know about the FBI’s COunter INTELligence PROgram (COINTELPRO) in the mid-20th century that was designed to study and foil the efforts of Black organizations deemed revolutionary (but perhaps progressive for Black people). This is documented. However, it’s one thing to intuit or even encounter danger in the past, and it’s another thing to always suspect danger in the future. Pronoia keeps the equally valid idea that there is as much that conspires for you as against you. Pronoia is a testament of faith, while paranoia is a testament of fate. Faith honors the Spirit, while fate is what appears in our lives as mysterious and unalterable. Pronoia realizes that there is something in you that cannot be destroyed and is Divine. Paranoia recognizes that life is ephemeral and requires constant vigilance and investigation. The key is to be able to hold space for both. If you think everything is a conspiracy, then you abdicate power in your own life. If you think nothing is mysterious or malicious and beyond one’s own power, then you’re bound to be disappointed and seriously caught unawares, to put it mildly. Too often, Scorpio-influenced people, think too much about the paranoia and conspiracy toward menace than the good.
So what maintains that balance? I hate to sound cliched and cheesy, but survival only happens in one moment: NOW. The more we can be present with whatever reality we face in the moment, the more we can trust to find the wisdom of the appropriate moment. We can choose the kernel of goodness that Pronoia teaches us that is our birthright and we can equally embrace the kernel that lets us know that life is ephemeral and mysterious. But it’s rarely a matter of life and death, as Scorpio-influenced people might like to think. There is something in us that can never die, and we may have as many hidden friends as we perceive foes. The blessing of the journey of this thing called Life is forging the wisdom to know that. But only embracing paranoia can only lead to more paranoia and that’s no way to live a life. It ultimately is a self-fulfilling prophecy of self destruction. Scorpio-influenced people seem to have to learn that lesson a lot, but they aren’t certainly the only people to have to do so. We all could.
Originally published at old blog on 9/27/09
Top 10 Ways For a Libra To Make a Decision
10. Call up your best friend at midnight to run “the question” by him/her one more time, then your therapist in the morning and finally your psychic at noon.
9. Talk the decision through until you forget what you were talking about.
8. Let your husband/wife/partner do it.
7. Shop, and see if it goes away
6. Imagine you’re making the decision for someone else, then make the decision for him or her, I mean, you.
3. Pay an Aries to make the decision for you.
2. Avoid it.
1. Look at all your options until you (and those around you) can’t stand waiting for you to make up your mind anymore. Then make a decision and change it 5 minutes later.
A brief look of this Leo’s chart shows a couple of disturbing things. First, it is likely that he did rape this young woman. With his Mars square to Uranus and that same said Uranus trine to the Sun, he has a natural sense of entitlement and doesn’t like anything encroaching on his own sense of freedom. His Venus and Jupiter conjunction tell me that he has a big appetite, especially regarding lust. Well, interestingly, transiting Uranus is opposite to his Venus and Jupiter, heralding a sudden shock and challenge to that lust. As a topper, transiting Saturn is all over that Venus and Jupiter, suggesting that it’s time for him to deal with his karma and past. (Can you say Judgment day, boys and girls?!)
So, to my crazy student, I say: do the crime, pay the time. It’s what his own chart says. It’s likely from what I read that he may not do the time, but Uranus is giving a shock to his monkey to let him know that he’s not above the law. I don’t know the astrology looks like he’s kinda screwed. (Or is that wishful thinking?) We’ll see…
Originally published on MONDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2009
Actually, my heart goes out for David Letterman. Not because I condone his actions as he cheated on his wife at the very place where I’m sure she hoped he could be trusted: at work. (Though I’m also convinced that is the place where most affairs start.) Now it’s come to light that he putatively has a bedroom at the studio. Of course, his alleged extortionist, Robert J. Halderman, has drawn more ire for now, but it looks like Dave may get more heat.
Dave’s Mars, his Sun’s ruler is very strong in his chart. Mars is not only a warrior, but a paramour as well. He’s very virile and sharp. Dave isn’t a warrior, per se, but he’s been able to build the empire he has because it helps to have a strong Mars, who represents our ability to assert and define our desires in the world. Weeeeelll, it looks like his Mars is about to get a visit from two ruffians: Pluto and Saturn. Pluto is “squaring” his Mars, meaning he’s facing an internal struggle to hold on to his power; Saturn is “opposing” his Mars, meaning he’s facing an external struggle to hold on to his power. When Saturn and Pluto team up, there’s a showdown. Things (and people) get busted and roughed up. Astrologers like to say nice fluffy words like transformation and getting in touch with our own authority. But it’s really a nice way of saying that the “fit is about to hit the shan.” But it isn’t the end of the world.
Never forget that what the planets want of us: they want our respect and to heed the Divine messages they have for us. We show “them” that we’ve heard the messages in action, either in ritual or taking proactive steps to honor the message. Dave’s message is clear with Pluto and Saturn coming around: take ownership of your actions and face the consequences. And here’s where I feel for Dave. He did that and he’s still gonna hafta pay the piper, but not the extortionist. I wonder if Dave will be able to keep his job.
This is the second time in a year that Dave’s had to eat his humble pie on national TV. His show is starting to feel like a late night confession box. I’m glad he can admit to his errors in judgment, but say sorry more than a few times and people start to feel like you’re messing up on purpose. Or you’re incompetent. I don’t know if either conclusion directly applies to Dave, but his extortionist left him vulnerable at a pretty bad time astrologically. (I don’t believe the planets CAUSED this; they reflect the truth of the moment!) So there’s blood in the water and many, mostly conservatives, have had it in for Letterman for years. And I think they’re going to go in deep.
Here’s exhibit A from the New York Post: Andrea Peyser is not one of my favorite columnists, but she usually gives me a feel for how conservative mainstream America might feel on an issue. With Hollywood rallying around a convicted pedophile, it won’t be too hard to get protest votes from smug, self-righteous or even conveniently ethical people of Middle America on an easier target. Hollywood is NOT going to rally around Dave like they do Polanski, because he’s not committed a crime (which is high drama) and Polanski is no one that Hollywood has to fear. Dave is.
Show business can be dirty business and when you have power, as Dave does, he can expect that some people are going to want to take him out. I’m not saying that there’s a conspiracy to do so from Hollywood itself. I’m saying there are some people who have been trying to get rid of Dave, since even before the Palin-Bristol episode, and he’s now given them a smoking gun. Now, I don’t think Dave can count on the measured support of Hollywood to back him as he’s not really a cause celebre. He’s a guy who got caught with his pants down, literally. I mean, can you picture Madonna coming to Dave’s rescue after this: Madonna vs. Letterman. Yeah, I know it’s 1994, but I’m sure her memory is long. She’s been on the show several times since then, but there’s always some measure of tension between those two. Regardless, I don’t think people will be coming out the woodwork to help good ole Dave.
So I think as Saturn comes closer to opposing Dave’s Mars during the month, we can expect the heat to go up on Dave. I like Dave, as he’s really the only late night guy I will watch four or five times a year. (I’m either already in bed or out.) But he’s dealing with the self-righteous judge (Saturn) in what we call exaltation (in Libra) and his bailiff (Pluto). I hope he has a good lawyer or a whole team of PR wizards to help him get out of this before Saturn directly opposes his Mars at the end of the month. He did as much damage control as he could by being upfront about his dalliances, but he’s gonna hafta repent and convince TVland that he’s serious. Or else we’re gonna have some long, dark winter nights without Letterman.
Click here for Dave’s chart.
Originally published November 25, 2006
As some of you may or may not know, Jupiter went into Sagittarius yesterday (Friday). This means that for the first time in 12 years or 8 (if you count Pisces), Jupiter is right at home. For me, it means that Jupiter will be sailing over my midheaven and I’m elated. I’m expecting a lot of good things to happen this year, despite the fact that Jupiter will be squaring my ascendant, my natal Jupiter, Uranus, and Pluto. I spent a good portion of the morning mapping out my goals, my check-in points of those goals and plans of action. I’m very excited. I believe what I’m doing is one of the right ways to use astrology.
I often read and listen to astrologers use astrology the wrong way. They cultivate more dread than anticipation. “Well, when Saturn goes over your Sun, honey, you can expect to be depressed,” I’ve heard said. This is, literally, dreadful, and only partially true. There are other things you can expect besides depression and it depends on whether you’re cultivating dread or anticipation. The key differences between dread and anticipation are awareness and attitude.
Dread, in my opinion, hooks itself into the fatalistic sense of astrology. “Here comes the “axe,” Virginia, so you better watch out!,” one says in cultivating dread. Dread taps into the feeling that we’re helpless before the mechanics and movement of the cosmos. In fact, we’re little more than stellar roadkill in this view. There are some basic truths being expressed here. There might be a symbolic “axe” coming our way. However, if we use anticipation, we see something different.
The symbolic “axe,” if we anticipate it, is still coming, but our reactions can be different. For instance, we can grab the metaphorical axe and use it to chop our way through a psychological or physical impasse. We also can do something as simple as duck by stepping away from a challenging relationship as described by the stars. Anticipation is more emotionally engaging than the resignation of dread. It is embracing what’s to come, being prepared and yet staying present all at the same time.
So as Jupiter transits through Sagittarius and all my “mutable” realities, I actually do something rather “cardinal” and plan. I take advantage of the boon that Jupiter augurs by coming up with a game plan. I did a similar thing as Jupiter traveled through all my Scorpio planets. It was during that transit that Andrew and I formed the Astrology Career Institute. I didn’t know that I was going to meet Andrew when the transit started, but I made a commitment to myself to STAY OPEN. I didn’t focus on Jupiter’s square to my natal Moon. I didn’t freak out about Jupiter going through my eighth house of death. I anticipated the best and worst possibilities, but focused on the best.
Dread only focuses on the worse case scenario. Dread, in life and astrology, will keep you at the same level or lower as you function now. We are made to grow. Jupiter relays this symbolic meaning more than any other planet in our pantheon. It’s up to you to use the movements of the heavens to anticipate the miracles you want to happen in your life. Or you can use dread. The only requirements of either state are our attitudes and awareness. Astrology gives us the awareness, but how is your attitude?
Originally published October 18, 2007
From the Desk of Samuel Reynolds, Astrology Career Institute
“Everybody lies” is one of the maxims of the acerbic character Dr. Gregory House, from the hit show “House” on Fox. Now, this isn’t a surprising comment from House, who as a son of Mercury, has supposedly the same “birthday” as the Gemini actor (Hugh Laurie, OBE) who plays him: June 11, 1959. What’s more it’s not a surprising idea as the OTHER fictional character on which “House” is based is “Holmes,” as in Sherlock Holmes. Holmes had similar beliefs and his author, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, was also a Gemini (May 22, 1859, Edinburgh, Scotland). This is not to say that Geminis are liars, at all. Lying isn’t just a question of truth. However, Gemini and Mercury as astrological symbols do highlight a theme of duality and a need to rectify two separate “entities,” like heart and mind or two different versions of the same story. It shows us how one aspect of reality as we see it may not be how it appears in another version of reality. This cuts at the heart of what House means…and his important implications for our work as astrologers.
One of the key reasons why House says “Everyone lies” is that people have a vested interest in looking good and just as much interest in NOT looking bad. However, he also says, “Symptoms never lie.” There’s a similar sense in what happens in an astrological consultation. I always say that there’s astrology, and then there’s biography. The two may not be the same thing. How things manifest in a chart may not be how they manifest in someone’s actual life. The chart documents a “promise” for the native, as in what are the latent potentials of character, behavior and correlative events that are likely and possible for a person. However, as astrologers, we’re looking at this promise through symbols, which expose us to shades of interpretation. There’s always room for error, but not as many errors as we might think.
So, if you’re a beginner in astrological analysis, it’s not unusual to be doing an astrological reading for someone and have her say that she can’t quite connect to what’s being said. The astrologer often feels as if he or she is doing something wrong. And there could be a good chance that he or she is. In fact, many new astrologers take such comments to heart and, unfortunately, get discouraged. However, many never consider that the client could be lying. I actually was surprised by this discovery as I matured in my practice. I always assumed that I was doing something wrong. Again, I don’t want to say that the astrologer is completely off the hook—she may not be, indeed, wrong. However, it’s good to keep in mind that your client may not always be as willing to pursue the truth about him or herself as you think.
For instance, I had a client this past summer who was looking to buy her first property (as a source of passive income) and wanted to know where to buy and when. At times, we had trouble communicating with each other because English was not her first language, though she speaks it fluently. It was actually jarring, at first, as I take pride in being able to communicate well with most people. But, for some reason, our pace and ways of speaking with each other clashed. However, I gave her the information she sought and she seemed happy. In a follow-up session, later in the month, she complained that the transit report I gave her didn’t match up with her experience AT ALL. She was actually quite upset about it. I told her that was unusual as most of my clients seem to love the transit report, so I asked her if we had the right birth time for her. We did. I also asked if she was taking the report too literally. For instance, when it talks about love or a break-up, she shouldn’t expect something literally to happen on that day. She said, “No, I just can’t relate to anything it says.” I finally asked if she wanted to continue with our follow up or have a refund. She said she wanted to continue with the session. I’m glad we did.
Here’s what I learned. She decided against buying any property, because AFTER reading some books on home buying, she realized that she couldn’t afford to purchase anything. She didn’t have enough savings or she doesn’t earn enough to purchase where she wanted to buy. I had assumed, very incorrectly, that she had already done some research on buying property before seeing me. But she hadn’t done anything. She just thought she could go out and buy it. Here’s the thing: she had transiting Neptune (the planet of deception, illusion, unrealistic expectations) going over her natal Moon (the planet of our emotions, sense of security and “home”). This aspect was in her transit report, but because it mentioned relationships, she didn’t really read deeper into the other possible meanings. (She is currently single.) However, this transit was square in both of our faces as manifesting. She was shrouded in illusion and confusion, which might have been why it was so hard for me initially to connect with her. Also, her unrealistic expectations were well matched in the transit of Neptune over her moon.
Before I learned what I learned, during the first half of our follow-up session, I actually was a bit disturbed that my transit report for this client wasn’t working. Actually, I was completely baffled. We had talked about her impending Neptune-Moon conjunction, but I guess it hadn’t sunk in. I re-iterated to her that she needed to embrace more the lessons of Saturn, which also was in aspect to her Moon by opposition.*** However, unfortunately, she seemed to have a greater vested interest in feeling sorry for herself than the truth.
Another time, at a local retail store, I was doing a mini-reading for a client who happened to have her sister shopping with her. In her chart, I saw multiple astrological signatures for a key aspect of her personality, but she didn’t seem to resonate too well with what I was saying. She actually seemed uncomfortable about it. Well, I was feeling pretty brazen, so I called her sister over. I asked my client if I could ask her sister if what I was saying was true. She agreed, and I explained what I was saying. Her sister replied, “Absolutely!” I thanked the sister and continued with my reading.
This can be one of the most challenging aspects of astrological work. We’d like to think that people have a definite interest in knowing the truth about themselves. Oddly enough, this isn’t always true. However, it’s important to realize that the “truth” in astrological analysis is two-fold: it’s technique in interpreting a chart and it’s the receptivity of the client to the truth. We know as astrologers that we can be prone to missing a clue or misinterpreting a symbol, but we don’t always acknowledge that clients are not as receptive to the truth as we think or like to hope.
That’s why it’s important to look at multiple factors before making a strong statement. However, if you see that there are repeats of the same signature, like a person is passive aggressive, then you can pursue that line of reasoning with a client. They will either agree or disagree, but it’s likely to be true. This is where either the chart is lying or they are. But once you know “everyone lies,” you’re more likely to seek the truth beyond just blaming yourself.
***If you’re interested in a good book on exploring and understanding transiting aspects, check out Rob Hand’s Planets in Transit: Life Cycles for Living.
Originally October 22, 2007
From the Desk of Samuel Reynolds
One thing to help in astrological analysis is to recognize that planets are on trial. Like a court trial, planets testify for or against something, and you, as the astrologer, have to judge their testimony. That’s why one of the classical phrasings for delineating a chart was “judging” it. This brief essay outlines a technique that will improve your astrological analyses and help you come out with better judgments overall.
One of the developments in modern astrology that’s made it so difficult to accurately judge a horoscope has been the advent of cookbooks. Not food cookbooks, but astrological books that look at the placement of planets in signs and provide interpretations for each one, as if they’re individual ingredients for a dish. You might think at first that this should have been a boon, but it’s not. The reason is simple: traditionally, planets were not viewed in isolation of each other. For example, it would be impossible to consider Venus in Aries, without considering the “testimony” of Mars as well. What’s more, an astrologer would also look at what houses Venus rules, occupies, and what houses Mars ruled and occupied as well. The two would be connected, because Mars rules Aries.
There’s also another big issue to consider with thinking about planets in signs first or only. Traditionally, that is before the 20th century, astrologers didn’t focus on interpretations of planets in signs; they focused on the conditions of the planets. Going with our last example, Venus in Aries is a very challenging position for Venus, because she’s in the sign opposing to what she rules, Libra. This means she’s in detriment. This compromises her ability to rule justly and well over the affairs she rules by a house. She also might sour somewhat the affairs of the house she occupies. So if Venus in Aries is the ruler of the 7th house (Libra) for an Aries rising person, then this person might have trouble integrating the lessons of true partnership in her life. There’s further testimony of this as Venus in Aries is in this person’s first house. This means she is even more likely to think about herself first, though the person may protest to the contrary. This is pretty specific information, but admittedly not enough detail. We only have the testimony of one planet. That’s why our next step would be to look at the testimony of Mars, the planet that rules Aries and most likely rules the house that Venus occupies.
However, a cookbook would come up with a snappy judgment that perhaps complements what Venus says, but adds more that’s not fueled by additional testimony. For instance, a cookbook might say something like this about Venus in Aries: “Socially aggressive. Passionate romantically. Tend to be impetuous in love, possibly even marrying in haste. Can take initiative making money, but may be just as impulsive in spending it.” This sounds great, but could be completely wrong as we don’t have enough testimony or evidence for this just from a Venus in detriment. That’s the key thing! Mars in Scorpio, however, may temper that Venus to be very good with money, almost too deliberate. Although Venus in Aries is likely to be in the first house of an Aries rising, her ruler, Mars in Scorpio, may not only suggest she’s very attractive, but she has an allure that makes her compelling in getting what she wants. She may, in fact, be driven by a measure of selfishness, but she may not get it by overt aggression! This is why it’s important to see the chain of evidence that you have to construct when “judging” a nativity, a chart.
I also recognize that since the advent of psychotherapy, astrologers have become reluctant to judge, or pass a moral statement on just about anything. I think that’s unfortunate as it’s built into the actual system of astrology. This is why we talk about planets in detriment, fall, exaltation and dignity. This does not mean, however, that we have to judge a person as a bad person because many of the planets are in fall. These placements speak about what has been given by nature (at the person’s birth) and testify to the work he or she must do to improve his or her life. However, if we skirted the importance of that work, of the planets’ testimony (by fall or detriment) that certain areas of life need serious attention and effort, we could cheat the client out of his or her destiny or spiritual growth. The testimony of the planets provides us with windows into spiritual growth and possibilities for the person.
In some ways, getting away from the cookbook principles of astrology is liberating. I used to find it tedious and laborious to look up the zodiac placement of every planet in someone’s chart. Then I would have to synthesize what it would mean. If I know that Venus in Aries doesn’t allow for the true expression of Venus in that sign, then I know that detriment will complicate the areas that Venus also rules and prove challenging to the planets that Venus contacts, especially by square or opposition. I keep the terms of Venus’ testimony to a simple level, without running the risk of adding statements that can’t be supported by the chart, as we saw with the cookbook example above.
In other systems, like in India , they have even more advanced ways of “grilling” the testimony of the planets for particular houses using “amsa” charts or divisional charts. Divisional charts are what we call harmonic charts in the West, and they divide up the chart by different numerical sections. For instance, a navamsa chart is a 9th harmonic chart that divides each sign of the zodiac into 9 equal parts and then superimposes that into 12 houses, like we regularly do. From this type of chart, the astrologer can gain more information about the power and weaknesses of planets for 9th house affairs (and marriage in Vedic astrology, but that’s a different topic.)
One final word about testimony comes from looking at a house cusp for the testimony of a planet, for example, looking at the ruler of Pisces on the cusp of the 12th house. This is something that also has become confusing in the 20th century with the adding of modern rulers of particular signs. I personally don’t believe the outers truly rule signs, though I know the standard idea is that Uranus rules Aquarius, Neptune rules Pisces, and Pluto rules Scorpio. However, I challenge any astrologer, student or otherwise, to produce the evidence that demonstrates HOW astrologers came up with these rulerships. From what I’ve been able to read, it seems that people, in this century, have just seemed to go with the flow, though there’s not a lot of written testimony on why and how these planets were assigned to these particular signs. There’s more I can say about this, but my key point is that the astrologer should stick first to the traditional rulers: Saturn for Aquarius, Jupiter, Pisces and Mars, Scorpio. If additional testimony is needed from the outer planets, their testimony should be added only after the traditional rulers.
You are a judge as an astrologer. You’re not here to judge the person, but you can judge the nativity. No one has made you God to judge someone’s lifestyle or even a client’s hair-do. However, you can look to the testimony of the planets to see where they are strong and weak and how that will affect the native, the person holding the chart. It is your responsibility to do this to the best of your ability, and that means keeping a level head. If you go by just planets in signs, you might be apt to make some statements that don’t bear out in the life. This mostly is because there is a chain of testimony that connects the planets to permitting something…or denying it. You do have to interrogate each planet to see how they testify. Sometimes they sing like a canary, and other times they’re sealed shut like a clam. But you have to take your time and do the work. Thank the heavens that there’s only seven to use initially, and a smaller number to use for additional testimony.
Further Testimony from other sources:
Rulers of the Horoscope by Alan Oken
Astrology: Understanding the Birth Chart by Kevin Burk
Christian Astrology, Book 3: An Easie And Plaine Method Teaching How to Judge upon Nativities (Don’t be put off by the title, Christian Astrology! This is a must have in your library!) by William Lilly
Originally, October 23, 2007
From the desk of Samuel Reynolds
Many times, I’ve had people ask if astrology is an art or science. Ultimately, I look at it as a craft, but I think it is more an art than a science. I know many other astrologers would disagree, which for me, testifies more to its art than to its science. This is more than just a light-hearted question, however. I think if one comes to think of astrology as a definitive science, like chemistry, one is also bound for some deep disappointments and prone to more surprising results. Let me explain.
Astrology is the art of stellar portraiture, which is capturing a moment as seen in the heavens. The moment could be the moment of a birth, the starting of company, the posing of a question, the start of a marriage, or the end of a life. The mechanics of the drawing is not something with which the astrologer has to be concerned. It’s already drawn out by God, if you will, and replicated in symbols by your trusty astrology software program. (Although there is something to be said for the practice of doing a chart by hand as the astrologer was, indeed, offering a portrait in her own style.) The artistry comes in how and what is “seen” and “shown” by the astrologer. This is about more than just interpretation.
For instance, it is rather jarring when an astrologer does a “different” kind of chart for someone other than how they’ve known it, if they have before. For instance, when many people signed up for the Astrology Career Institute, I would offer them replicas of their charts using Whole Sign Houses. Whole sign houses use a whole Zodiac sign, starting from the sign of the ascendant, for each subsequent house. There are no intercepted cusps and all the house cusps have the same degree starting them, 0 degrees. However, this was jarring for a number of people as their planets were shifted from one house, where they had grown accustomed to seeing it, to another. It gave them a different portrait than they had seen. Likewise, a similar, but perhaps more jarring thing, happens when someone uses a completely different zodiac, like the sidereal zodiac. A person may have a lot of stake in being one sign; however, it is very likely that they’ll move back a sign when using the sidereal zodiac. So, if you were born a Gemini, using the “normal” tropical zodiac, then you may be a Taurus using the sidereal.
There are also other ways to show other things to be seen in a chart than what’s commonly done. I have an astrologer friend who feels a very well known astrologer committed an immense injustice to her and her first session with him because he didn’t use Chiron, a planetoid, in his reading. She feels that it would have provided more insight into her life than what he actually dispensed. Many others feel the same way regarding not using asteroids, and another school of astrology would insist on using a set of hypothetical planets, like Vulcanus, Zeus, Vulcan, and perhaps a host of other hypothetical or pseudo-planets you’ve never heard of.
So what does one do? This is why I view astrology, at some level, as more an art. From the way you set up “house” with a house system to what planets you use (or don’t) would be analogous to an artist’s palette and his or her style. An artist could offer a portrait for someone in cubist, impressionist, modern, post-modern, surrealist, or any gallery of artistic styles. It’s similar in astrology. I might like for my physical portrait to look like a photograph, but I might just like as much an artistic rendition that’s more cubist. One might reveal traits and thoughts that I might not have seen if I focused on just one style. The same experience is true for the artist, and this is what’s important for the astrologer to realize. What’s disorienting for many novice astrologers is that there is NO ONE WAY or true RIGHT WAY to offer a stellar portrait. When people elect to take their essay exam for ACI, they ask which house system they should use. I always say the one that makes them comfortable. I can see why this is unsettling to people. People want a way to do something that doesn’t depend on fancy, whim or style. If that’s you, then astrology may not be the art you desire or the science you need. In fact, this is why I don’t feel astrology is a science at all.
If we consider astrology as a science, then we have to fulfill a few pretty steep requirements for it to be considered as such, which no astrology has yet to fulfill (to my knowledge). One mainstay of scientific thought is that results should be replicable, by another researcher using similar methods. This is where things get tricky, for two key reasons. Astrology seems to resist replicability and its methods, as I mentioned above, are so diverse. For instance, one moment can have several different layers of meaning and importance for two different people. Add the question of HOW I should look at that moment, i.e. using the sidereal zodiac, the Regiomontanus house system, or only seven planets, and you see even different layers than another astrologer. In science, if I come up with a formula to make a drug, then any other chemist can use the same chemicals to make the same drug. What’s more, even if one were able to get astrologers to use the exact same methods to delineate a chart, they may not all arrive at the same conclusions. This is largely because the true “material” of astrology is not actually material; it’s spiritual. Science is largely concerned with the material nature of the universe, not the spiritual or experiential nature of it. It is true, though, that science is used in astrology. It is important for astrologers to recognize the astronomy in astrology, but that’s just as true for artists to recognize the chemistry involved in most of the substances they use to create. Nonetheless, the artistry of the science used in astrology becomes even less of an issue when we consider the craft of the art.
When we pay attention to any endeavor at the level of craft, this acknowledges that we are attentive to both advancing our skill set in that endeavor and deepening our own internal experience of it. As I’ve intensely studied astrology, I’ve come to see that it’s more than just learning and practicing technique. It is realizing that we use tools that provide us with keys to unlock our divine potential and nature. By careful contemplation, we can become more skillful in recognizing the likely nature of astrological signature and their relevance in our lives and the lives of our clients. Like Michelangelo believed that he was more releasing a sculpture from a block of stone, as we grow as craftsmen astrologers, we’ll no longer seek to infuse our beliefs and ideas into a chart, as much as correctly perceive what’s there. This comes from just as much an internal change as the external acquisition of skills and tools. It is in this sense that I believe that it is impossible to diligently study astrology without cultivating a spiritual life. It doesn’t matter whether you believe in organized religion or not. Or if you believe in a literal God or not. I think it’s most important to believe in the connectedness of all things and see that in yourself and your astrology. In this regard, you come to recognize all your “divine” attributes while still fully being human. This is true holiness. In fact, celebrated medieval astrologer William Lilly may have said it best when he said, “for the more holy thou art, and more neer to God, the purer judgment thou shalt give.” Craft, at this point, isn’t just about skill, but also character and action. May we all become better at this craft of speaking for stars.