Solar Returns and Profections have made quite the comeback in the 21st century! In this interview with Mychal A. Bryan, I am guiding the viewer through how we can use and apply these two traditional predictive techniques within our Astrology.
Born less than a year before the death of Queen Elizabeth I in 1603, William Lilly lived during one of the most turbulent times in English history. Like so many of his generation, he had to deal with the plague, was drawn into the madness of the English Civil War and was forced to take sides, and witnessed the regicide of King Charles I. Lilly lived in a time of enormous religious and social upheaval, but his astrology remained the outer expression of a magical world-view, based on hermetic and neo-Platonic principles and rooted in the 16th century.
This book provides the reader with a thorough introduction to the world of William Lilly, the famous 17th century astrologer and magician. It includes his autobiography, transcribed from the autograph, with annotations, commentaries and biographical notes, including Elias Ashmole’s addenda. Nativities of some notable persons are appended.
Also included is the Nativity of Sir William Wittypoole, the transcript of a nativity, rectified and directed by William Lilly. This previously unpublished manuscript provides the reader with an exciting insight into the working methods of the master astrologer.
The book also includes Peter Stockinger and Sue Ward’s Monster of Ingratitude, an investigative journey offering new insights into the notorious contention between Lilly and the astrologer John Gadbury. Included are brief biographies of Lilly and Gadbury, and the results of in-depth research, showing how their enmity began, developed and ended, including details of the rather one-sided pamphlet war. An thorough study of published material, timelines and bibliographic entries of all primary sources used are also included and provide the grounds for a different explanation from that commonly proposed.
To access the contents pages, click on the thumbnails below:
William Lilly: The Last Magician is available via Amazon, most bookstores, or may be ordered directly from Mandrake of Oxford. To visit their website, click the thumbnail below:
There is also a dedicated Facebook page, which can be viewed and “liked”, following this link:
William Lilly: The Last Magician – Facebook Page
Readers who “like” this page will be notified of any new links to reviews, sample chapters, and more.
On 8 December 2013 the legendary singer, poet and cult-figure Jim Morrison would have been 70 years old. His birth chart is depicted below:
The exalted Taurus Moon, combined with his natal Venus, essentially debilitated by detriment in Scorpio, already indicate his notoriety and lasciviousness, which was also expressed in his legendary performances with the Doors. Morrison died of heart failure in the bathtub of his apartment in Paris on 3 July 1971 after consuming a large dose of heroin. There have been many conspiracy theories surrounding Morrison’s death, therefore it may be useful to look at the primary directions on the day of his death to establish if the rumours are true.
The graphic above shows primary directed Mars conjunct natal Moon and we can also see that the square of Saturn (symbolised by the green dot) is conjunct the natal Ascendant. The great 17th century astrologer William Lilly writes in his Christian Astrology about Ascendant square Saturn that:
“This is a terrible Direction (if other malevolent Promittors consent, or when Saturn is Anareta) and threatens death …” (CA p657)
The chart above shows the event in a different way, and we can also see that on the day of Jim Morrison’s death, his directed Moon was opposing the Arabic Part of Daimon.
In summary, we find:
I would conclude that there is enough evidence contained here to show that Jim Morrison died on the 3rd of July 1971.
In only a few weeks’ time another lunar eclipse will be upon us. This time the Moon’s south node will be conjunct the fixed star Algol, renowned for its connection with sudden violence and danger, hinting at the fact that not everything might turn out to be as rosy as we would like it to be. To pick up the theme and provide the gentle reader with a graphic example of an eclipse’s predictive powers, I have chosen to delve deep into the occurrences happening in London, back in 1648, the year before the extraordinary execution of King Charles I took place.
Due to the recent publication of the excellent book The King’s Revenge, by Don Jordan and Michael Walsh, telling the story of King Charles II and his hunt for the regicides responsible for the death of his father, this might be a timely addition.
The picture above shows the birth chart of King Charles I, as given by the astrologer William Lilly in his Angelicus Merlin in 1652. Lilly also mentions elsewhere that the king
“[h]ad the Sun in his Radix with Cor Scorpii, and he laboured these two yeeres last past under the Medium Coeli to the conjunction of Mars.”
Without going into too much detail about the king’s nativity, I only want to highlight that his natal Libra Moon is conjunct fixed star Vindemiatrix, regarded by the ancients as unfortunate and associated with deception and disgrace.
The picture below shows the nativity in a form most of us are more accustomed to.
Looking at the important November 1648 lunar eclipse, we find that eclipse Jupiter is also conjunct fixed star Vindemiatrix. According to the Arab astrologer al-Biruni, Jupiter is the natural significator of kings, which seems to be fitting.
The November 1648 lunar eclipse took place only hours after the 48th birthday of King Charles I ; we can see that the eclipse Sun is nearly exactly conjunct the king’s Sun. This means of course as well that the eclipsed Moon is precisely opposing the king’s Sun. Furthermore, the eclipsed Moon is in King Charles I natal 10th house, which signifies kings in general. We have seen that the king’s natal Moon was conjunct Vindemiatrix and now we find that eclipse chart Jupiter, significator of royalty, is once again conjunct fixed star Vindemiatrix, promising deception and disgrace to the king. To top it all, the Moon’s north node is conjunct the fixed star Bellatrix. According to Diana Rosenberg’s Secrets of the Ancient Skies, there seems to be a well known connection of this fixed star with imprisonments, assassinations, fanaticism and intolerance.
Recounting the factors, influencing the extreme event that happened so soon after the king’s 48th birthday, we find:
The natal Sun, opposed by the eclipsed Moon is located in the 4th house, darkening the king’s life force and casting a shadow over his ancestral home. We know that only less than 2 months later, on 30th January 1649, King Charles I was executed in front of the Banqueting House which Inigo Jones had built for him.
For an analysis of the November 2012 lunar eclipse, see my web log entry:
In December 2009 I wrote a blog post concerned with the rectification of Dion Fortune’s nativity. The article may be accessed here: Dion Fortune’s Nativity
We know that Dion Fortune was born as Violet Mary Firth at Bryn-Y-Bia in Llandudno on December 6th 1890 but there were different opinions about the exact location of the place where she was born and spent part of her youth, Lympley Lodge and the Craigside Hydro Hotel. Alan Richardson writes in his book Priestess, The Life and Magic of Dion Fortune:
It was at the foot of this lesser dragon [the Little Orme] that Violet was born, in the old house they lived in until the purpose-built Limpley Lodge was finished as the permanent housing for the owners and managers of the Craigside Hydropathic Establishment. (p.27)
To clarify matters, I am now able to provide a picture of the Craigside Hydro Hotel with the Lympley Lodge in the foreground:
The picture below shows the whole complex, seen from the Little Orme. Llandudno and the Great Orme are visible in the background.
Christine Hartley was born as Christine Campbell Thomson in London on May 31st 1897, at 11:30 am. Although there is not much known about her youth, her nativity shows clearly that she was fortunate to be born into an important family who provided her with all the support she needed.
Her Part of Fortune is conjunct her Virgo Ascendant, casting a square aspect to her 10th house Sun and Moon in Gemini, both conjunct her MC. It does therefore not come as a surprise that, after a short employment as a secretary in a literary agency, she founded her own agency. This is where she met John William Brodie-Innes, who, shortly after the end of the First World War, intended to publish a book with her. Brodie-Innes was a high-ranking member of the Order of the Golden Dawn and it is believed, that he was Dion Fortune’s teacher. He was as well a first-rate magician and immediately recognised Christine’s dormant magical abilities. There may have been some ancestral recognition also, as Brodie-Innes considered himself to be the reincarnation of John Dee, whilst Christine Hartley was in fact a descendant of Dee through common Welsh ancestors. Christine did not take Brodie-Innes up on his offer to teach her magic; it should still be quite a while indeed, before she would enter the world of occultism.
In 1927 Christine Hartley was approached by Dion Fortune; the latter intended to publish one of her books, “The Problem of Purity”. Like Brodie-Innes, Dion Fortune would as well have immediately recognised the innate magical potential in Christine, but it would take until 1932 for the two women to meet again. At this time Dion Fortune returned to Christine’s office and invited her to attend a lecture on Ceremonial Magic at the Society of the Inner Light.
This is, how the remarkable career of CCT, as Christine Hartley became to be known amongst her fellow members of the Society of the Inner Light, began. In 1937, when her training period was over, she was to meet the man who would become her priest or magical partner, Charles Seymour. In this year her primary directed Ascendant was sextile Sun, of which Lilly says:
Great Health of the Body, tranquillity of Mind,[…] new and eminent friends of great account[…] (CA p661)
and sextile Moon, of which Lilly has to say:
[…] apt to undertake any matter [and] does follow his Profession with much alacrity[…] (CA p664).
Colonel Charles Seymour’s occult background was in Freemasonry, although it is likely that he knew Brodie-Innes. Alan Richardson says about Seymour in his recommended book Dancers to the Gods:
There is a curious reference in his diaries, which reads: ‘Working with Volens in the Museum Chambers’.[…] the whole statement calls to mind the old tradition that a Temple of the Golden Dawn once worked magic in the British Museum with the sanction and co-operation of E.A. Wallis Budge, the eminent Egyptologist.
For the next two years Christine and Seymour were working together, bringing a stream of Moon magic, which was rooted in the Celtic Otherworld, into the Western Mystery Tradition. In Christine’s nativity primary directed Sun and Moon are conjunct the fixed star Castor in 1938 and in 1939. According to Robson’s Fixed Stars and Constellations this is an indicator of ‘prominence in occult matters’ (Sun) and ‘occult interest and psychic ability’ (Moon).
Colonel Seymour left the Inner Light at the beginning of World War II. He died in 1943, but Christine Hartley continued her magical work. In 1945 she married Henry Alexander Hartley; they had been brought together by a book called The Science of Astrology, which he had written. The fact that it was a profected first house year shows the new beginning in her life. If one looks at the beautiful Venus in her nativity, one can get a good idea of the feminine aspect of her personality. Her Venus certainly is Lady of the Geniture, being domicile ruler, triplicity ruler and in trine aspect with Jupiter. Venus is placed in the 9th house and trines the Ascendant as well as the Part of Fortune, a clear indicator of her role as a successful priestess in the Western Mystery Tradition.
In 1968 Christine published her masterpiece, The Western Mystery Tradition, wherein she weaves Celtic mythology into the greater occult picture. She does this with great knowledge showing her personal involvement and the magical experience of a lifetime.
Christine Hartley died on September 29th 1985, at the age of 88.
Violet Mary Firth, better known as Dion Fortune, was one of the most famous occultists of the 20th century. She was the founder of the Society of the Inner Light and claimed to have participated in the “Magical Battle of Britain” to prevent a possible German invasion in World War II. Her many occult novels and works on magical subjects are still in print and many occultists consider her Mystical Quabalah to be one of the best books on magic ever written.
Although we know that Dion Fortune was born at Bryn-Y-Bia in Llandudno, Wales, on December 6th 1890, no written record concerning her exact time of birth has ever come to light. Nevertheless there exists one important statement from her mother, Sarah Firth, claiming that she sat with the newborn child in her arms during the dark hours before dawn. Taking this fact into consideration, I was trying to rectify Dion Fortune’s nativity in a traditional manner with the help of primary directions. Having done so, my proposal is that the birth took place at 1:58 AM.
Taking a look at the nativity, we see that her Sagittarius Sun in the 3rd house is in close opposition to Caput Draconis in the 9th house. This makes them immediately recognisable as being important indicators of her life. The Sagittarius Sun is characteristic for people looking for wisdom and knowledge and a deep interest in spiritual matters. The positioning of the Sun in the 3rd house indicates that the native may express his interest in writing or other forms of communication. Dion Fortune’s 3rd house Mercury adds, of course, to her success as a successful author of many books. The placement of her North Node makes it clear that her field of interest could only lie in the occult. Venus, ruler of the Ascendant, is in shocking condition, being combust, peregrine and retrograde and, together with her 12th house Moon, can tell us a lot about her difficult emotional life patterns and her notoriously secluded lifestyle.
If we now have a look at some of the most important dates in Dion Fortune’s life, it will become clear that my suggestion for her time of birth at 1:58 AM is likely to be correct.
At the age of 23, in March 1913, young Violet had a nervous breakdown. This event is clearly reflected in the primary direction of the Moon to the South Node occurring the same year. William Lilly says about contacts between Moon and Cauda Draconis in his Christian Astrology: “It usually brings a melancholy Disease or proceeding of phlegm along with it.”
On April 17th 1927 Dion Fortune married Penry Evans; in the same year her primary directions included Ascendant square Venus and MC trine Venus. William Lilly says about Ascendant square Venus: “the Native falls into distempered passions by his folly in Love”, and about MC trine Venus: “many times it produces marriage”. The same aspect can also be seen in Dion Fortune’s Solar Return chart for 1927.
Already in December 1938, she got divorced. The primary direction for that year, Moon square Mars, tells the tale of this event. Interestingly 1927 and 1938 were both profected 1st house years for Dion Fortune, indicating new beginnings on the spiral path of life.
On January 6th 1946 Dion Fortune died from leukemia. The primary directions for the year show Ascendant opposite Mars, in the secondary progression her Ascendant squares the natal Mars. This year was a profected 8th hose year with the profected South Node close to the 8th house cusp.
Update April 2011 – see as well: Dion Fortune Revisited
One of the most remarkable women of the 20th century is Mirra Alfassa, also known as ‘The Mother’. She was the first Westerner to become an Indian guru and was worshipped as an incarnation of the Divine Mother.
Mirra was born on February 21st 1878 as the second child of an Egyptian mother and a Turkish father. She was a gifted child and soon became an accomplished painter and musician. She claims that at the age of five she realised that she did not belong to this world and very often she would fall into trance or experience a state of bliss. From the age of twelve she was practicing occultism, had out of the body experiences and gained mystical insights into the existence of God. In her twenties she studied occultism with Max Theon and began working with different spiritual groups. In 1914 she met Sri Aurobindo, who she recognised as her mentor. She had to leave India after the outbreak of the First World War, but she returned to Pondycherry in April 1920, never to leave again. Sri Aurobindo recognised in her an embodiment of the dynamic expressive aspect of evolutionary, creative force, which is recognised in India as the ‘Supreme Mother’.
Although Mirra Alfassa’s time of birth is recorded to be 10:15 am, I have slightly rectified her chart. The following chart and delineation is based on this rectified time of 10:12 am.
Mirra Alfassa’s chart shows a Gemini Ascendant with Mercury in Aquarius, in the 1oth House. This placement describes a born communicator with leadership capabilities and a progressive outlook on life. The mind is very quick and there is much room for intuitive responses as well. And indeed she organized the Sri Aurobindo Ashram and, in 1952, 2 years after Aurobindo’s death, she created the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education. Later on, in 1968, she founded Auroville which was meant to be ” an universal town where men and women of all countries are able to live in peace and progressive harmony, above all creeds, all politics and all nationalities”.
Her Venus is placed in Pisces in the 11th house, the house of ambition, but as well as hopes and wishes and is cazimi. I would suggest that Venus is the Lady of the Geniture in her nativity, as the whole life of the Mother seemed to revolve around this fundamental principle. This famous quote of hers may be useful for the better understanding of her burning, undivided love:
I belong to no nation, no civilization, no society, no race, but to the Divine. I obey no master, no rules, no law, no social convention, but the Divine. To Him I have surrendered all, will, life and self; for Him I am ready to give all my blood, drop by drop, if such is His will, with complete joy, and nothing in his service can be sacrifice, for all is perfect delight.
The outlet for this Venusian energy can be found in the placement of Jupiter in the 9th House, which is conjunct her Part of Fortune. It shows her deep interest in philosophy and religion, indicates her yearning for wisdom and enlightenment and explains, why she had to travel to find the location of her destiny. Saturn in Pisces emphasises the sacrificial theme in her life, which is indicated in the quote above. Mirra’s Libra Moon shows her gentle nature and her desire for harmony and combines beautifully with her communication skills.
A look at her primary directions, which were used to rectify her nativity, shows that in 1914, when she met Sri Aurobindo for the first time, her Midheaven was sextile Sun, of which William Lilly says that it “promises honours, bestowed upon by some eminent person, whereby he shall lay the foundation of arising to great preferment” (Christian Astrology, part III). In 1920, when she decided to stay with Aurobindo in India, her Midheaven was sextile Moon, of which Lilly says: “It gives increase of fortune, estimation and honour from the people more than usual; it argues some journey beyond Sea, and public commands, and usually affords the Native such esteem and reputation, as he by birth or place is capable of“. (CA III)
The Mother and Sri Aurobindo worked all their lives for the manifestation of a mode of consciousness beyond mind, which Sri Aurobindo named “Supermind” or “The Supramental”. The full expression of this consciousness on earth would result not only in a new species, as far beyond Man as humanity is beyond the animals, but also in a modification of the whole terrestrial creation.
In 1960 the Mother’s dream was to create Auroville, or the City of Dawn; it was her dream to create a place where humanity could seek the Divine without having to be worried about everyday needs like food and shelter, a place where people, coming from all over the world, could live in peace. A look at her primary directions for that year shows that the Moon was sextile Saturn, of which Lilly says: “The native will be prone to building and re-edifying“. (CA III) In 1968, when her directed Moon was conjunct Jupiter, she inaugurated the new city and today about 2000 people are living in Auroville.
In 1971, on the 93rd birthday of the Mother, the foundation stone for Matrimandir, or sanskr. The Temple of the Mother, was laid. This is the ‘soul’ of Auroville, situated on a large open space, called Peace. This laying of the foundation stone coincided with her primary direction of the Ascendant conjunct Mercury, a perfect indicator.
The Matrimandir is in the form of a huge sphere surrounded by twelve pedestals. The central dome is covered by golden discs and reflects sunlight, which gives the structure its characteristic radiance. Inside this central dome is a meditation hall known as the inner chamber – this contains the largest optically-perfect glass globe in the world. The Matrimandir, and its surrounding gardens in the central Peace Area, is fully open to the public by appointment.
The four main pillars that support the structure of Matrimandir, and carry the Inner Chamber, have been set at the four main directions of the compass. Sri Aurobindo said:
Four great Aspects of the Mother, four of her leading Powers and Personalities have stood in front in her guidance of this Universe and in her dealings with the terrestrial play.
Maheswari (south pillar): One is her personality of calm wideness and comprehending wisdom and tranquil benignity and inexhaustible compassion and sovereign and surpassing majesty and all-ruling greatness.
Mahakali (north pillar): Another embodies her power of splendid strength and irresistible passion, her warrior mood, her overwhelming will, her impetuous swiftness and world-shaking force.
Mahalakshmi (east pillar): A third is vivid and sweet and wonderful with her deep secret of beauty and harmony and fine rhythm, her intricate and subtle opulence, her compelling attraction and captivating grace.
Mahasaraswati (west pillar): The fourth is equipped with her close and profound capacity of intimate knowledge and careful flawless work and quiet and exact perfection in all things…
All these qualities, as recognised by Sri Aurobindo, can be seen in the nativity of Mirra Alfassa.
The Mother left the physical plane on November 17th, 1973, at the age of 95.
Satprem, a disciple of the Mother recorded the “Mother’s Agenda”, a 6000 page logbook of her exploration in the cellular consciousness of the human body and her discovery of the cellular mind. More information and an online version of “Mother’s Agenda may be found here: http://www.auroville.org/vision/maagenda.htm
In the recent discussion concerning my web log entry LVX – The Light of Creation in Traditional Astrology, Sue Ward mentioned the influential role of the mystic Anna Kingsford. Unfortunately many people, although interested in the Western Mystery Tradition, are not aware of the importance of her contribution in the field of Hermetics and her influence on McGregor Mathers and the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn.
Anna Kingsford was born in 1846 in Essex. She was a precocious child and already wrote her first novel at the early age of 13. Later she became interested in animal welfare and women’s rights and advocated equal rights in education for girls and boys. In 1874 she enrolled in the Paris Medical School and qualified as a physician in 1880. During her medical studies she had a series of mystical illuminations which would shape her future life. She decided to teach the Western Mystery Tradition and became president of the Theosophical Society in 1883. In 1884 she was offered her own Hermetical lodge, but its existence was only short-lived. In May 1884 she formed, together with Maitland, the Hermetic Society. Due to her ill-health she could not continue to lecture there after 1886. McGregor Mathers, who had been giving lectures at the Hermetic society, was heavily influenced by Anna Kingsford. He founded his magical order, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, in 1888, the year Anna died.
More information on Anna Kingsford may be found at http://www.anna-kingsford.com/english/index.htm.
In 1886 Anna Kingsford published her translation of Valentine Veigelius’ Astrology Theologized, The Spiritual Hermeneutics of Astrology and Holy Writ Being A Treatise upon the Influence of the Stars on Man and on the Art of Ruling Them By the Law of Grace, which had been originally published in 1649. It includes a Prefatory Essay, written by Anna Kingsford, on the True Method of Interpreting Holy Scripture.
A copy of her translation of Astrology Theologized can be read online at: http://www.anna-kingsford.com/english/Works_by_Anna_Kingsford_and_Maitland/Texts/014-OAKM-I-Astrology-web.htm#1
As an homage to Anna Kingsford, to astrology and the Hermetic arts, I want to give a short excerpt from her beautiful translation of Astrology Theologized, hoping to kindle some new interest in her and her work.
Astrology is Philosophy itself, or it is the whole light of Nature, from whence ariseth the universal natural Wisdom, or a solid, sincere, and exquisite knowledge of natural things: which light of Nature is twofold, external and internal: external in the Macrocosm, internal in the Microcosm.
The study of Astrology or Philosophy is conversant about the universal knowledge of all the wonderful and secret things of God, infused and put into natural things from above in the first Creation.
The exercise therefore of the Light of Nature is the most sagacious perscrutation (INTENSE SCRUTINY) and enucleation (TO PEEL OUT or EXTRACT) of the abstruse, internal and invisible virtues, lying hid in external, corporal and visible things; to wit,
- What should be the first matter of this great world whereof it was made.
- What the Elements should be, and those things which are bred of the Elements, and consist in them; of what kind is their creation, essence, nature, propriety and operation as well within as without.
- What might be in the stars of heaven, what their operation.
- What in volatiles, what in fishes, metals, minerals, gems; what in every species of sprigs and vegetables.
- What in animals, beasts, creeping things, and in the whole frame of the world.
- Lastly, what is in Man, who was made and created of all these; to wit,
What is that mass, or slime, or dust whereof the body of the first man was formed, and whence he received his soul, and what it is; and whence he hath the Spirit, and what he is: And so the Light of Nature, or Astrology comprehends in itself all the wisdom and knowledge of the whole universe; that is, all these are hid and learned in the School of the Light of Nature, and are referred to as Astrology, or are rather Astrology itself; to wit,
The Subject of Astrology is therefore double; the Macrocosm and the Microcosm, the greater world and the lesser world.
An article discussing Anna Kingsford’s nativity can be found in Primum Mobile, the web log of the Academy of Astrology.