“They do not compel” William Lilly, Astral Determinism and Free Will

William Lilly’s portrait, now housed in the Ashmolean Museum, shows him standing by a window, holding pen and paper. The sheet of paper has the words Etatis 45 written on it, indicating Lilly’s age at the time of the painting. It also contains a blank horary chart with the words non cogunt (they do not compel) written in its centre, which, of course, refers to the stars. The picture was painted in 1646 and later given to Ashmole, probably in 1652.

Shortly after the painting was finished, in 1647, Lilly published Christian Astrology. The book’s frontispiece, which is based on Lilly’s portrait, again shows amongst other things a square chart with the words non cogunt written on it. It therefore has to be seen as themotto for Lilly’s ‘Introduction’, as he fondly called his book, but also for his view of judicial astrology itself.

Some of Lilly’s more outspoken but most likely not so well educated contemporaries were much in favour of astral determinism; they believed in an unchangeable fate which could be predicted by the stars. We only need to take a look at the front cover of Elias Ashmole’stranslation of Fasciculus Chemicus. In the middle of the page, we see a statue of Ashmole, whose head is hidden behind his birth chart. Reason for this is that he published his translation under the anagrammatic pseudonym James Hassole. What is important for us here is that the words Astra regunt homines (the stars rule men) are written in the centre of the nativity, which stands in stark contrast to Lilly.

It is a well-known fact amongst historians of astrology that the astrologers’ belief in astral determinism brought them into endless conflicts with the clergy, who, in turn condemned judicial astrology as a whole. Most famously, it was Thomas Aquinas, who believed that astral causation, rather than leading to determinism, necessarily has to be followed by free will. Albertus Magnus and Roger Bacon argued along similar lines. In her Arabic Influences on Early Modern Occult Philosophy, Liana Saif quotes Bacon, who writes:

“Ptolemy also and Aristotle, Avicenna, Messehalac, Hali, and Albumazar […] do not maintain that there is an absolute necessity in things below due to the influence of the heavens, because free will is not subject to the things of nature.” 1

It would be easy to think now that Lilly’s motto (non cogunt), as well as the choice of title for his magnum opus, Christian Astrology, was only lip service he paid to avoid censorship and endless criticism. But this is not the case at all, as will become clear. To understandLilly’s motivation, we have to keep in mind that he was a Neoplatonist. He firmly believed in the Anima Mundi and was familiar with the work of the Italian humanist philosopher and priest Marsilio Ficino. Ficino translated all of Plato’s dialogues into Latin. He also wrote numerous commentaries, but his most important and systematic work was Platonic Theology. Nowadays, astrologers, hermeticists and magicians are also particularly interested in Ficino’s Three Books on Life, wherein Ficino provides a theoretical framework for and also practical examples of astrological magic. Lilly gives a beautiful statement in his Annus Tenebrosus, showing his deep fondness of Ficino’s philosophy:

“And Ficinus, that excellent learned Priest, saith […] many accidents are signified or foreseen by the Stars, which are not done in Heaven. And again […] many things are foretold by means of the Heavenly bodies, as it were by signe, not by causes […].”2

Neither does Lilly offer a justification, nor does he provide a detailed explanation for the prominent placement of his non cogunt. The potential student has to read between the lines to work out what Lilly’s thoughts on the subject were, but what he basically tells us is this. Determinism can be found in the nature of the individual and in the events caused by their reaction to circumstances. Lilly also thinks that such situations can be avoided and thus changed by the individual. So, the apparent pre-destiny of life only lies within the character of each person. If they would only be willing to put in some effort, than pre-destiny could be, at least, flexible. All of this shows that, in Lilly’s view, astral determinism and free will were not mutually exclusive.

The Greeks already suggested a similar concept, as Dorian Greenbaum shows in her book about the Daimon in Hellenistic Astrology. She shows how heimarmene (fate) and pronoia (providence) are connected. She writes that:

“[…] Though all is contained in fate (in that fate itself is a container), not everything ‘conforms to fate’ […] Pronoia, in fact can supersede heimarmene […]”3.

Greenbaum goes into great detail, explaining that fate is included in providence and comes to the conclusion, that:

“Tertiary providence […] operates within heimarmene (which includes planets and stars), but allows some choice.” 4

(The three Moirai, Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos)

Embracing this philosophy, Lilly shows that he is adhering to the hermetic as well as Neoplatonic notion of betterment through work on the self, leading to increased spiritual awareness. In Lilly’s view, fate does not have to be inevitable and can be negotiated which, of course, would have a deep impact on both his astrological method as it would on his magical operations. For him, fate exists solely within the nature of the individual human being, and the apparent fixity of a chart becomes wholly fluid and malleable, conditional only on the exertion of effort by the individual.

It has already been mentioned that Lilly doesn’t explicitly reveal his views in any of his writings, but if we look closely at his Letter to the Student in Astrology, we can read between the lines:

“ […] Beware of pride and self-conceit, and remember how that long ago, no irrationall Creature dared offend Man, the Microcosm; but did faithfully serve and obey him, so long as he was master of his own Reason and Passions, or until he subjected his Will to the unreasonable part. But alas! When iniquity abounded, and man gave the reins to his own affection, and deferred reason, then every Beast, Creature and outward harmful thing, became rebellious and unserviceable to his command. Stand fast, oh man! to your God, and assured principles, then consider your own nobleness, how all things created, both present and to come, were for your sake created; no for your sake God became Man: you are that Creature, who being conversant with Christ, lives and reigns above the heavens, and sits above all power and authority. How many pre-eminences, advantages has God bestowed on you? you range above the heavens by contemplation, conceive the motion and magnitude of the stars; you talk with Angels, yes with God himself; […]” 5 [Emphasis mine]

There were some astrologers though, who did not veil their philosophical views so darkly. One of them was Robert Burton, who published his Anatomy of Melancholy in1621. The reader will note that this was 26 years before William Lilly published his Christian Astrology. Burton’s book was widely read and we can assume that Lilly had read it, too. Burton writes about the subject:

“Natural causes are either primary and universal, or secondary and more particular. Primary causes are the heavens, planets, stars, &c., by their influence (as our astrologers hold) producing this and such like effects. I will not here stand to discuss obiter, whether stars be causes, or signs; or to apologise for judical astrology. If either Sextus Empericus, Picus Mirandula, Sextus ab Heminga, Pererius, Erastus, Chambers, &c., have so far prevailed with any man, that he will attribute no virtue at all to the heavens, or to sun, or moon, more than he doth to their signs at an innkeeper’s post, or tradesman’s shop, or generally condemn all such astrological aphorisms approved by experience: I refer him to Bellantius, Pirovanus, Marascallerus, Goclenius, Sir Christopher Heidon, &c. If thou shalt ask me what I think, I must answer, nam et doctis hisce erroribus versatus sum, (for I am conversant with these learned errors,) they do incline, but not compel; no necessity at all: agunt non cogunt: and so gently incline, that a wise man may resist them; sapiens dominabitur astris: they rule us, but God rules them. All this (methinks) Joh. de Indagine hath comprised in brief, Quaeris a me quantum in nobis operantur astra? &c. Wilt thou know how far the stars work upon us? I say they do but incline, and that so gently, that if we will be ruled by reason, they have no power over us; but if we follow our own nature, and be led by sense, they do as much in us as in brute beasts, and we are no better. So that, I hope, I may justly conclude with Cajetan, Coelum est vehiculum divinae virtutis, &c., that the heaven is God’s instrument, by mediation of which he governs and disposeth these elementary bodies; or a great book, whose letters are the stars, (as one calls it,) wherein are written many strange things for such as can read, or an excellent harp, made by an eminent workman, on which, he that can but play, will make most admirable music. But to the purpose.” 6 [Emphasis mine]

Below is shown the title page of the 1638 edition of Burton’s Anatomy of Melancholy, which Lilly could have read.

It may be of interest to compare Burton’s text to what William Ramsey has to say in his Astrologia Restaurata, published only six years after Lilly’s Christian Astrology, wherein Ramesey quotes from his own Lux Veritatis published in 1651:

“[..] to prove unto you by the sacred word of God that the stars are both, signs and causes.” 7 He continues: “[..] astrology, or the influence of the stars has no fatality, except some contingency be mixed therewith; for this were to deny the providence of God […] itsays thus (and so forward) supines dominabitur astris, a wise man rules the stars […] and astra regunt homines, sed regit astra Deus, the stars rule men, but God rules the stars; not meaning when we say, Astra regunt homines, any fatal necessity to be attributed to the influence of those heavenly bodies, nor to have power over men farther than such men are guided only by sense as brute beasts, and not by reason, and farther that they agunt non cogunt, they act or incline, but no wise compel; but where grace or reason supports a man, there, or onsuch a man the stars have no power.” 8 [Emphasis mine]

1 Liana Saif, The Arabic Influences on Early Modern Occult Philosophy, Palgrave 2015, p83, quoting Bacon, Opus majus, I, p.262

2 William Lilly, Annus tenebrosus, or The dark year, London: printed for the Company of Stationers, and H. Blunden at the Castle in Corn- hill, 1652, p23.

3 Dorian Gieseler Greenbaum, The Daimon in Hellenistic Astrology, Brill 2015, p.30ff

4 Ibid, p.32

5 William Lilly, Christian Astrology, London: Printed by John Macock,1647, p.xxxi.

6 Robert Burton, Anatomy of Melancholy, 1621: SUBSECT. IV.—Stars a cause.

7 William Ramesey, Astrologia Restaurata, London : Printed for Robert White, 1653, p.35.

8 Ibid, p.53f.


John Flamsteed’s Election For The Foundation Of The Royal Greenwich Observatory

John Flamsteed (1646 – 1719) was an English astronomer, a member of the Royal Society, and the first Astronomer Royal. On 4 March 1675 Flamsteed was appointed by Royal Warrant “The King’s Astronomical Observator”. The warrant stated Flamsteed’s task as:

“rectifieing the Tables of the motions of the Heavens, and the places of the fixed stars, so as to find out the so much desired Longitude of places for Perfecteing the Art of Navigation”.

In 1725, after a lifetime of observing the heavens, Flamsteed’s own edition of Historia Coelestis Britannica was published posthumously. The book contained his astronomical observations, including a catalogue of 2,935 stars. During his career, Flamsteed accurately calculated the solar eclipses of 1666 and 1668. He was also responsible for some of the earliest recorded sightings of the planet Uranus, which he mistook for a star.

In June 1675, a second Royal Warrant was issued. It was concerned with the founding of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, which was intended to be a:

“small observatory within our park at Greenwich, upon the highest ground, at or near the place where the castle stood”.

(Greenwich Observatory [Latinised as “Observatorium Anglicanum Hoc Grenovici prope Londinum”], as illustrated in Doppelmayr’s map of the southern celestial hemisphere, ca. 1730)

It is fairly well documented that, in his youth, Flamsteed was very interested in astrology. In his autobiography, we find that in 1665, he busied himself very much in:

“… calculating the nativities of my friends and acquaintance…”

and in 1666, he:

“… spent some part of my time in astrological studies”

We also know that Flamsteed provided the astrologers Vincent Wing and George Parker with data for their planetary tables. In 1673 he began to work on “His large Ephemeris for the yeare 1674”, stating that in this ephemeris, he:

“… showed the falsity of astrology, and the ignorance of those who pretend to it.”

In the preface, he wrote under the pseudonym of Thomas Feilden:

“Indeed, so small is the verity of astrology that even astrologers do not agree on where it lies. Thus William Ramsey (Astrologia Restaurata 1653) says it lies with elections while William Lilly (Christian Astrology 1647) says it lies with horary (he makes his living by them), but John Gadbury (Genethlialogia 1658) laughs at both, thinks that elections are a vanity and horary uncertain, and says it lies with nativities, which I can disprove with one of his own examples of a famous person where, if the name of the person were concealed, the chart would be judged as indicating an idiot rather than a famous person.” (A Preface to the Readers Concerneing the Vanity of Astrology, & the practices of Astrologers; Source: astrology-and-science.com)

It has to be noted though, that neither the preface nor the ephemeris were ever published! It is thought that Flamsteed never found a publisher, willing to print his work, but there is also the possibility that he changed his mind. One year after he finished the draft for his ephemeris, Flamsteed produced an election for the foundation of the Royal Greenwich Observatory, shown below:

The chart includes the Latin motto “Risum teneatis amici”, translated as “could you, my friends, refrain from laughing”. He may have found some merit in astrology after all!


(Doppelmayr’s celestial map of the southern hemisphere published in Atlas Coelestis in quo Mundus Spectabilis…, decorated with vignettes of the astronomical observatories at Greenwich, Copenhagen, Cassel, and Berlin.)

Aries Ingress of the Sun 2016 for UK and USA

On  20 March 2016 at 4:30 UT the Sun will be in 00*00’ Aries. Traditional astrology states that a chart cast for the capital of a nation at the time the Sun enters Aries provides a detailed picture of the events occurring during the year or at least part of the year to follow. The ancients called this the Revolution of the Year of the World, but it is also known as the solar ingress.

As ingress charts are location specific, I will give a separate analysis of the 2016 solar ingress chart for Britain and the EU, followed by the ingress chart of the Unites States of America.

2016 Solar Ingress for the United Kingdom

Aries Ingress London 2016

Shown above is the Aries ingress chart, cast for London, representing the United Kingdom. With a fixed sign rising, this chart will be valid for the whole solar year, until the Sun’s Aries ingress in 2017.

From the chart above, we can see that Mars will be the Lord of the Year. He is Lord of the 9th house, and is prominently positioned near the 10th house cusp (MC). Generally speaking, this suggests that the main themes during this solar year will be matters concerning conflicts, arguments and divisions. Bonatti writes that Mars in the 10th house:

“… signifies wars and contentions over matters which do not belong to those who seek them, nor pertain to them” (BoA p951)*.

In the light of the British prime minister’s recent negotiations with leaders within the European Union and the prospect of a referendum on 23 June, possibly resulting in Britain’s exit from the EU (the  so called “Brexit”), Bonatti’s delineations seems to be ominously succinct. We have to keep in mind also,

“that by the Lord of the Year is known the condition of the whole nation, people, and indeed everything therein in a general way…” (AR p344)**.

Mars’ domicile in the 9th house and his conjunction with the medium coeli do suggest that the future of Britain’s economy will truly be on everybody’s mind. This shows that the two camps, arguing for or against a Brexit, will push their agenda religiously, if not fanatically. Looking at the state of Mercury, natural significator of the economy, we can see that potential danger is lurking here (Mercury, under the sunbeams, is essentially debilitated by detriment and fall).

A quick look at the Aries ingress chart for Brussels, representative for the European Union,  shows that, at face value, it is identical to the ingress chart for the UK. Aquarius is rising here too, and therefore both charts are valid for one year. A closer look reveals though, that, unlike in the case of the UK,  the ruler of the year for the EU is the Moon, natural significator of the common people, or the collective of the many. This can be interpreted as a first sign of the eventual rift between the EU and the UK. Aggressively, Mars (Lord of the Year for the UK) tries to break away from the EU, symbolised by the Moon.


2016 Solar Ingress for the United States of America

Aries Ingress Wash 2016

Shown above is the Aries ingress chart, cast for Washington and therefore representative for the United States of America. With a mutable sign rising, this chart is valid for six months and the Libra ingress chart will have to be taken into account thereafter.

During this year, much attention will be paid to the election campaign which will result in the US Presidential Elections, held on 8 November. We have to carefully distinguish between the election campaign, which is reflected in this chart, and the actual election itself, which will take place after the Sun’s ingress into Libra. The Libra ingress chart will have to be consulted to judge who will win the election and become president.

From the chart above, we can see that Mars will be Lord of the Revolution, which gives a first indication of what can be expected from the election campaign. Bonatti writes about Mars being Lord of the Revolution in the 1st house, that:

“… it signifies something horrible (and sorrow and fears, and contrarieties and contentions) is going to come to men …” (BoA p948)

Below is the chart of the Libra ingress, cast for Washington, valid from 22 September 2016.

LIbra Ingress 2016

From a first glance at the Libra ingress chart, it looks to me as if the Democrats should be able to secure another victory. A detailed analysis of the ingress cart and a prediction of the outcome of the presidential election will be posted on my web log at a later date.

UPDATE: New Blog Post: Libra Ingress and US Presidential Elections

*Bonatti, Guido: Book of Astronomy (BA), translation B Dykes, Cazimi Press, 2007

** Ramesey, William: Astrology Restored, 1653, modernised edition by Kim Farnell, 2014

Saunders’ Excellent Astrological Observations and Aphorisms concerning Diseases and Sick persons

Richard Saunders, a native of Warwickshire, was born in 1613, and became a well-known practitioner of astrology and chiromancy from about 1647 onwards. William Lilly referred to him as an ‘old and valued friend’, and he was also a friend and admirer of the famous antiquarian and astrologer Elias Ashmore. Saunders was well versed in astrological medicine, with over 35 years of practice.

Saunders’ main publications, of which some are still in print today, include:

The Astrological Judgment and Practice of Physick, deduced from the Position of the Heavens at the Decumbiture of a Sick Person, London, 1677. The book is a systematic exposition of astrological therapeutics.

Palmistry, the Secrets thereof disclosed, 2nd edit., London, 1664.

Phisiognomie, Chiromancie … and the Art of Memorie, London, 1653 (A  second edition, very much enlarged, and dealing with ‘Metoposcopie, the Symmetrical Proportions and Signal Moles of the Body,’ appeared in 167).

decumbiture 1

Saunders also published almanacs, of which copies are extant for the years 1681, 1684, and 1686. The following is a transcript of a piece, first published in his Apollo Anglicanus for 1681:

Excellent Astrological Observations and Aphorisms concerning Diseases and Sick persons

Astrologians (that are addicted to Coelestial Contemplations, and well versed therein) do observe not only the day, but also the very hour and minute when any Person first fell sick, & for that Moment of time, to erect a Figure for the Position of heaven, then observing the Hyligiacal places, the Lord of the Ascendant and Significators of the Disease, from whose constitution or position, good or bad, they do conjecture and foretel of the Disease, whether it will terminate in Life or Death, or whether it should be long or short of continuance.

But how difficult that time is to be gained, Galen the Prince of Physicians himself confesses, that he laboured very much for the investigation thereof, Quid igitur? Shall we flight or lay aside this most excellent part of Philosophy which the Antients have so diligently enquired after, and admired? Shall we think it impossible? I confess in the first Assault of Fevers, and not a few other Diseases and Distempers, this is with much difficulty to be found out, but in Vertigo’s, Falling sickness, Apoplexies, Palsies, Fluxes of Blood, Pleurisies, Vomiting of Blood, Palpitations of the Heart and Stomach wounds, and many other such like; very often the first insult is known, by which means the Artist hath a large Field to exercise his Observations in, therefore in these or the like diseases, let us observe the following Aphorismas, viz.

(1) When the Ascendant at the first time of any persons falling sick shall be adverse, in opposition, square or contrantiscion to the Horoscopes or Ascendants of the said parties Nativity, there is little hope of Life, unless there be some good Transits or Directions to alleviate the malignity of the evil one then operating. Now the adverse signs are when the 4, 6, 7, 8. Houses in the decumbiture, shall be the Ascendant of the Nativity, or when the Ascendant of the decumbiture shall be in the signs of any of those Houses in the Nativity, but this Aphorisme is of little use unless the Physician knows the parties Geniture, which is of most excellent use.

(2) When the five Hyligiacal places shall be oppressed, together with the Lord of the Ascendant, death I follows, unless there be a benigne Reception of the Infortunes and other places shall also well happen, and these Fortunes likewise project their beams, I say if these things happen the sick party shall evade his disease in a Miraculous manner beyond all expectation.

(3) He that falls sick in the hour of Mars, his infirmity proceeds from a Hot cause, and if in the hour of Saturn, it comes from a cold cause; but the common Planetary hours in this case are to be rejected, and those are to be admitted, which are accounted from Sun Rising or Setting, allowing to every 15 Deg. of the Ecliptick one hour, according to the Judgment of some Astrologers.

(4) The Lord of the Ascendant, or Lord of the Figure combust without doubt signifies Death; unless they shall be received of the Sun, or the Sun receives them; so likewise if the Moon be safe, there is hopes of Recovery in the greatest Danger. (5) The Lord of the Ascendant and the Moon, with the Lord of the eights House, without the beams of Fortunes denotes Death. (6) The Lord of the eight in an Angle, and the Lord of the Ascendant, in a cadent House, is ever deadly, and the worse if he be an infortune. (7) The Moon applying to any Planet in the 8th House is ever more deadly. (8) The Lord of the Ascendant applying to the Lord of the 8th. or to Stars posited therein, and to the Moon any manner of way corrupted, denotes Death. (9) The Moon carrying the Light of the Lord of the Ascendant to the Lord of the 8th. denotes death. (10) The Lord of the 8th. in the Ascendant is ever fatal, if the Lord of the Ascendant and the Moon shall be afflicted or corrupted by the Bodies or ill beams of the infortunes. (11) The Lord of the Ascendant in the 8th and the Moon corrupt is death. (12) The Lord of the Ascendant posited under the Earth, and be in ill Aspect with the Lord of the 8th. posited therein, or in the 4th. House, it is a signal token of death. (13) The Lord of the Ascendant which the Lord of the 4th. 6th. 7th. or 12th. is dangerous and much to be suspected. (14) Consider the light of the time (for God made two great lights, the Sun to rule the day, and the Moon to rule the Night) and see whether it be well or ill posited, and judge the same, as in any Aphorisme where you find the Moon mentioned. (15) The Hytech is to be taken after the accustomed manner, and according to his condition, judgment is to be given, as if he were the Lord of the Ascendant. (16) The Lord of the Ascendant, the Sun, Moon, and Hytech, happening to be in the sign of an Eclipse of that year, or of any notable or great Conjunction then in force hath great signification of death. (17) The sign wherein an Eclipse operating, or great Conjunction threatening evil, or the sign of the 8th House in the worlds revolution, I say if any of these shall be upon any of the 4 Angles, but especially the Ascendant, ‘tis thought to be very deadly. (18) When a Party falls sick, and at the time an infortune do posses the Ascendant or that Parties Nativity, he shall then be desperately sick, but yet may recover. (19) The Moon in the beginning of a sickness, being in the sign wherein an Infortune was at the time of Birth produceth a very dangerous sickness, but if a Fortune Judg the contrary. (20) The Conjunction of the Sun and Moon at the first falling sick, especially if the Moon be within 6 degrees of the Sun, and applying is very perillous, and if it shall happen in Aries or Leo, it is not so bad, and the Moon separating from the Sun, and elongated 12 deg. from his body, the danger is the less. (21) The Conjunction of the Moon and Saturn prolongs the Disease, especially when slow in motion, but when swift it is not of so long continuance; but if Saturn be Retrograde, and before he meets the opposition of the Sun the Party will relapse, and the disease return. (22) If the Moon be in Conjunction with a Retrograde Planet, the sick Party will be troubled much with vomiting. (23) The Moon joined to Mars without the beams of good Planets, and the disease be of a hot nature, it many times proves deadly, and more dangerous will the disease be, if the Moon increase in light and motion, then when she decreases. (24) The Moon joined to an Oriental Planet, direct and swift in motion, signifies the disease to be short; but if to a Planet that is Occidental, slow in motion, or Retrograde, the contrary. (25) The Moon or Lord of the Ascendant joyned to a fortune Retrograde, or Aspect, promiseth health; but the disease to be long. (26) An infortune in the Ascendant ofttimes changes the disease into another kind. But if a fortune, the disease is often cured without medicine. (27) An infortune in the Mid-heaven shews an unsuccessful or ignorant Physician, but a fortune there the contrary. (28) An infortune in the 7th House signifies the sick party shall cherrish, or augment his disease by intemperateness in his dyet and obstinateness of will, but if a Fortune be there, he will be ruled and will be very conformable. (29) An infortune in the fourth House shews that the Medicines given will increase the disease, but if a fortune be there, then they will profit. (30) The rising and setting of Stars of the first or second magnitude happening at the first decumbiture according to their natures operate very powerfully.

And thus from the experienced Rules of Ptolomy, Haly, Zarl, Arnoldus, Villanovus, and other learned men, is found that the Angles of Heaven have greatest signification in the State of sick persons, both in the beginning of diseases, and in Questions for the sick, for at the first falling sick, the Ascendant shall shew the disease, the seventh the sick party, the tenth House the Physician, and the fourth House the Medicines. But in questions give the Ascendant for the Physician, the tenth House to the sick Party, the seventh House to the Medicines, and the 4th House to the disease, ad thus these Aphorisms are changed.

And hence I may discover a secret and an excellent Rule if rightly understood; which is by the time of the Radical first Question (the day of the parties first falling sick being known) to find the hour of the patients falling sick. For look at the time of the first Radical question what sign is in the fourth, and make it the Ascendant, and that the tenth, which is here the first, and the true Horoscope shall shew it self when the Party fell sick; and this is a very truth if the day of the Parties first falling sick be really known, &c.

Signs of Health are, if the Lord of the Ascendant, the Moon and Hytech, shall be safe and not Infortunated. The hour of health or amendment is when the Lord of the Ascendant shall come to his own House, or exaltation, or shall become swifter in motion, or become Direct, and the Lord of the 8th. shall be cadent, or when the Hylech or Moon or Lord of the Ascendant shall be favour’d by the good Aspects of the Fortunes, but if the Fortunes be well dignified in the 8th. House, then they hurt, also when the Lord of the Hylech, or the place of the Moon, or the Ascendant, shall come to the degree of the Hylech. or the Moon or Ascendant, they shall signifie health, unless they shall be Infortunes, for the infortunes so coming, they hurt their proper places but do not destroy, the certain hour of Death is when the Lord of the Ascendant shall be joined to the Lord of the 8th. by body or evil aspect [?] like judge of the Moon and the Hylech, also when the Lord of the 8th. shall come to the degree of the Ascendant, or to the Hyrech. Those that desire to read more of this subject I referr them to my Astrological Judgment of diseases, wherein they will meet unto many rare and practical experiments. Sold by Thomas Sawbridge, at the three Flower deluces in little Britain.

after Unknown artist, line engraving, 1650s-1670s

after Unknown artist, line engraving, 1650s-1670s

2015 Aries Ingress of the Sun and UK General Election

On 7th May 2015 the next United Kingdom general election is to be held to elect the 56th Parliament of the United Kingdom. The leader of the Conservatives, who are the larger party in the current coalition government, is David Cameron. At present, he is the UK’s Prime Minister. In the following, I will try to predict if Cameron and his party will be successful in the upcoming election and if he will be able to defend his position as Prime Minister.

The chart below shows the Sun’s Aries ingress for 2015:
Aries Ingress 2015 London

With a fixed sign rising, this chart will be valid for the whole of 2015.

From the chart above, we can see that Mercury will be Lord of the Year. Being Lord of the 10th house, he is prominently positioned near the 4th house cusp. He is also debilitated by detriment and fall and square Saturn, the greater malefic. Main themes during this solar year will be matters concerning communal finances and business in general. The ingress chart shows that debilitated Mercury is squaring Saturn in the 1st house. This indicates more financial restrictions and continued economic hardship for most of the population. All of this doesn’t come as a surprise to anybody who followed the news during the last five years, but it doesn’t indicate in any way who the UK’s next Prime Minister will be. To find out about this, we have to look closely into techniques of traditional astrology. All of the passages quoted below were conceived and recorded long before concepts like ‘constitutional monarchy’ or ‘Prime Minister’ were invented. For this reason, we have to be flexible and think of the ‘king’ as the person in charge, rather than the monarch.

In the Aries ingress chart, the Sun is significator of the king, according to Bonatti, who says to look to

 “… the Lord of the Year, and the Lord of the 10th, and to the Sun: and the one of them you find stronger, or less weak, or better disposed, or less bad, … make this the significator of the King.” (BA, p833)*

The Sun is exalted in Aries, which suggests (at least temporary) strength. We know that, traditionally, exaltation is compared to a king on his throne, and we have to remember that Lilly thought it to present “a person of haughty condition, assuming more to him than his due” (CA p102). But we also have to take into consideration that a solar eclipse was taking place only hours before the Aries ingress.

Solar Eclipse London March 2015

Seeing the election process as a ‘pilgrimage’ (another traditional concept we have to modernise), we can say that with the Sun located in the 4th house, according to Bonatti:

 “… his journey will be horrible and fearful. And because it will be in the eights from his own house, it is feared concerning his death.” (BA, p867).

Knowing that Cameron’s position as Prime Minister is at stake, this statement doesn’t come as a surprise either. It has been widely stated in the media that the outcome of this election is one of the most unpredictable in recent history. Still, this observation alone is not enough to predict the outcome.

Another traditional astrologer whose work can be of help in our quest is Masha’allah. In his Revolutions of the Year of the World, he writes:

“… if the significator of the king was not in charge, … the enemy will be from the same clime, but the king will be weakened, and another will be led into his place.” (AoW, p110)**

What he means is that we have to look at the planet who is Lord of the Year and compare its strength to the planet representing the king. Mercury, who is Lord of the Year, is essentially debilitated by detriment and fall, as compared to the Sun, who is essentially dignified by exaltation. Therefore we can argue that the king will not be weakened and it is unlikely that anybody else (i.e. another ruler) will take over his position.

Another way of looking at this is via the accession chart. We know that David Cameron became Prime Minister on 11 May 2010. The Aries ingress chart for this year is shown below:

Aries Ingress chart 2010

Reading with the astrologer al-Rijal, in The Book of the Skilled, we find:

“And if the Sun was separating from Jupiter and connected with Mars, [and] then connected with Saturn before he goes out of the sign in which he is, it indicates that a man of the people of the house of the acceder, or of his own rank will rise up against him and he will suffer grief from that – then he will be victorious over him.” (AoW, p449)

With this final judgment taken into consideration, it seems highly likely that David Cameron will continue to be the UK’s Prime Minister after the election in May 2015.

*Bonatti, Guido: Book of Astronomy (BA), translation B Dykes, Cazimi Press, 2007

** Dykes (trans): Astrology of the World II, Cazimi Press, 2014


UPDATE: Read my new blog post entry and Jessica Adams’ article about astrologers who got it right, here.

NEW Publication: A German Stargazer’s Book of Astrology

A German Stargazer’s Book of Astrology is the first English translation of Astronomia Teutsch Astronomei, published in 1545 in Frankfurt am Main. The original work was one of the earliest astrological textbooks in the vernacular, predating William Lilly’s famous English primer Christian Astrology by over a century. With this translation, I offer the English reader an exciting insight into the working methods of a 16th century astrologer living on the cusp of the Late Medieval and Early Modern periods. The book contains a detailed introduction by the translator, providing valuable background information and historical context, and is comprehensively annotated throughout.

Stargazer Frontcover

The book is divided into six parts:

  • Signs and Images
  • Planets
  • Mundane Astrology
  • Weather
  • Perpetual Calendar
  • Astronomy

Clicking on the thumbnails below will provide a detailed view of the book’s contents list:

Stargazer Contents 1Stargazer Contents 2

Stargazer Contents 3






A German Stargazer’s Book of Astrology is available via Amazon, or may be ordered directly from Mandrake of Oxford. To visit their website, click the thumbnail below:

Stargazer Frontcover

There is also a dedicated Facebook page, which can be viewed and “liked”, following this link:

A German Stargazer’s Book of Astrology – Facebook Page

Readers who “like” this page will be notified of any new links to reviews, sample chapters, and more.

2014 – An Astrological Preview

This is a general overview of what the astrology of 2014 will have to offer. Some of the events mentioned below may affect us globally or nationwide, whilst others may only affect us on an individual basis. If there is doubt about any possible effects, the individual birth chart has to be consulted to achieve an accurate judgment of the level of influence. In this overview, the following information can be found:

Retrograde motion of the planets 

Out of Bounds phases

Noteworthy sign ingresses and transits

Other Noteworthy Phenomena

Solar and lunar eclipses

Solar ingress charts

For more detailed information, you may watch this space for in-depth articles to be published during the year to come, or follow my daily updates on twitter. For personal requests, please see my list of Astrological Services or contact me via the Contact Page.


Retrograde Motion

Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn will be retrograde at times during 2013.

Mercury Rx

will delight us, as usual, with interrupted communication, malfunction or complete failure of computers and other electronic devices and general uncertainty and confusion concerning any contracts, legal documents or agreements.

Mercury will be retrograde

  • in Pisces between 7 February and 28 February,
  • in  Cancer between 8 June and 1 July,
  • in Scorpio between 5 October and 25 October.

Venus Rx

in  Capricorn will test our level of trust. People who had problems with jealousy in the past may experience renewed  spells of it. Problematic areas, like the ability to give or to receive love will be coming under tight scrutiny.

  • Venus will be retrograde until 31 of January

Mars Rx

in Libra will highlight problems of exaggerated sensuality.

  • Mars will be retrograde between 2 March and 20 May

Jupiter Rx

will remind us of his prudent side; with Jupiter’s help we are able to fulfil our potential but in his Rx phase, he demands that we obey the rules, follow our moral guidelines and show kindness and compassion.

Jupiter will be retrograde

  • in Cancer until 6 March
  • in Leo between 9 December 2014 and 8 April 2015

Although exalted in Cancer, retrograde Jupiter will bring a sober note to our search for philosophical or spiritual truth. In this introspective time, we may realise that intuitive insights are more valuable than any philosophical or religious dogma.

Saturn Rx

in Scorpio will give us a chance to re-evaluate what has become static and dogmatic in the past. It is likely that any unfinished but forgotten business will make an unexpected reappearance during this time, reminding us to bring old  issues to a close.

  • Saturn will be retrograde in Scorpio between 3 March until 20 July


Out of Bounds

When Planets exceed the 23°27’ area of the Sun’s max declination, north or south, they are called “Out of Bounds.”

During these times, the OOB Planets will be out of the Sun’s control; therefore a heightened activity of all themes corresponding with the appropriate planets can be expected.

Mercury will be OOB between:

  • 16 December 2013 and 8 January 2014
  • 11 May and 5 June
  • 7 December and 1 January 2015

Venus will be OOB between:

  • 2 December and 24 December

Mars will be OOB between:

  • 28 September and 21 November


 Sign Ingress

  • Jupiter will move into Leo on 16 July
  • Saturn will move into Sagittarius on 23 December
  • The Lunar North Node will move into Libra on 18 February


Noteworthy Transits

Jupiter will trine Saturn again on 24 May. He has been trining Saturn in his retrograde phase on 13 December 2013, reminding us that patience, endurance and hard, steady work are at the basis of success in any domain.


Other Noteworthy Phenomena

Venus conjunct Moon

On 26 February, Venus will be conjunct Moon. It will be possible to observe Venus near the Moon during daytime. In Central Africa the crescent Moon will occult Venus.

Occultation of Venus

Mars opposite Sun

On 8 April, Mars will be opposing the Sun. This makes it a good time to view the Red Planet in the sky.

Jupiter conjunct Venus

On 18 August, Venus will be conjunct Jupiter. They will be visible at dawn, with only 15’ separating them.

Moon conjunct Saturn

During 2014 a series of 11 conjunctions between Saturn and the Moon will take place. If you are living in the northern Pacific region, the night of 28 September will be one of the best opportunities to view an occultation.

Occultation of Saturn


Solar and Lunar Eclipses

Solar Eclipses

  • Annular solar eclipse on 29 April in 08*51’ Taurus.

This eclipse may be of immediate importance to Morocco, Mauritania and Mali. India, China and Russia may also be affected.

  • Partial solar eclipse on 23 October in 00*25’ Scorpio.

This eclipse may be of immediate importance to the Philippines, Indonesia and Taiwan. North Korea may also be immediately affected.

Lunar Eclipses

  • Total lunar eclipse on 15 April, Moon in 25*16’ Libra, Sun in 25*15’ Aries.

This eclipse may turn out to be of immediate importance to Australia. Later on Canada and western parts of the USA may be affected also.

  • Total lunar eclipse on 8 October, Moon in 15*05’ Aries, Sun in 15*05’ Libra

This eclipse may turn out to be of immediate importance to Russia and China.


Ingress Charts

2014 Solar Ingress for the United Kingdom

Shown here is the Aries ingress chart, cast for London, representing the United Kingdom. With a common or mutable sign rising, this chart will be valid for six months. Thereafter, the Libra ingress chart will have to be taken into account.

Solar Ingress 2014 London

From the chart above, we can see that Jupiter will be the Lord of the Revolution*, valid until the onset of the Libra ingress. Jupiter is prominently positioned in the 10th house, and essentially dignified by exaltation. He is also the Planetary Hour ruler and strongest planet in the chart (Almuten Figuris).

Main themes between March and September will be matters concerning communal finances and business in general. The ingress chart shows that Jupiter is squaring the Sun and also shows a strongly debilitated Mercury. This indicates more financial restrictions and continued economic hardship for most of the population. The Moon, representing the common people, is conjunct the Greater Malefic Saturn, which is telling.

A detailed analysis of the Aries and Libra ingress charts will be posted on my web log in due course.


2014 Solar Ingress for the European Union

The Aries ingress chart cast for Brussels and therefore representative for the European Union does not significantly differ from the ingress chart for the United Kingdom. With a common sign rising, this chart will be valid for six months. Thereafter, the Libra ingress chart will have to be taken into account. 


2014 Solar Ingress for the United States of America

Shown here is the Aries ingress chart, cast for Washington, which is representative for the United States of America. With a cardinal sign rising, this chart is valid for three months only. The Cancer -, Libra- and Capricorn ingress charts will have to be taken into account thereafter.

Aries Ingress 2104 Washington

Once again we see that Jupiter will be Lord of the Revolution*, but here he is located on the first house cusp. Jupiter is squaring the Sun, located on the 10th house cusp. This indicates that, just like in the chart cast for Europe, that the emphasis will be on business affairs and the economy. With debilitated Mercury in the 9th house, foreign affairs may become of importance, too.

A detailed analysis of the Aries and the Libra ingress charts for the United States will be posted on my web log in due course.

*Footnote, answering the repeatedly asked question why Jupiter is called the Lord of the Revolution.

The concept behind the judgment of ingress charts is as follows. Astrologically speaking, each new year begins at the moment the Sun passes 00 degrees Aries.  An astrological chart cast for this moment is called the Aries ingress chart, or the chart of the Solar Revolution. Depending on the zodiac sign on the Ascendant of this chart (also called rising sign), it is possible that the Aries ingress chart is valid for three, six, or twelve months. If the Aries ingress chart is valid for the next twelve month, the astrologer can follow certain rules and establish which planet will be what is called Lord or Lady of the Year. If the Aries ingress chart shows that it will be necessary to cast another ingress chart after three or six months, the individual rulers of the ingress charts, established by the astrologer, are called Lord or Lady of the Revolution (meaning the Revolution of the World Year). The nature of this planet, its position, strength, aspects, and so forth have to be judged to predict the mundane situation during the period in question of each individual country.

Winter Solstice Wishes

With the Winter Solstice approaching quickly, I would like to take the opportunity to wish all my friends, followers, and gentle readers of this web log a peaceful solstice time and a happy and prosperous year 2014.

crescent moon virgin

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us – Listen!!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
Welcome Yule!      

(Susan Cooper)


Winter Solstice 2013

For more astrological information about the 2013 Sun Ingress in Capricorn (Winter Solstice), see my blog post: 2103 Capricorn Ingress

Lunar Eclipse 18 October 2013

On 18 October 2013 at 23:37UT, there will be a penumbral lunar eclipse. This eclipse is the 52th of Saros series number 117, which is composed of 72 eclipses. The duration of this lunar eclipse will be 3 hours, 59 minutes and 6 seconds.

The eclipse will be visible from the Americas, Europe, Africa, and most of Asia, whereby only the beginning will be visible in East Asia.


(click on image to enlarge)

The chart below, cast for the location of Washington, shows the event:

Lunar Eclipse 18 October Washington

In all lunar eclipses, we have to take into consideration two sensitive points, namely the placement of the Moon and that of the Sun, which are opposing each other. In this case the eclipsed Moon is located in Aries, and a look at the table of Essential Dignities and Debilities shows us that she is peregrine (that is, not essentially dignified).

The Sun is in the sign of Libra, wherein he is essentially debilitated by fall, and he is also peregrine. This basic information already provides us with important insights into the nature of the upcoming eclipse. We are able to predict that the energy of the eclipse will most likely be rather negative or challenging.

William Lilly tells us in his pamphlet on the judgment of the effects of solar and lunar eclipses:

“For when the place Eclipsed, or Eclipse itself, shall be in the Ascendant, the effects shall then begin in the 1, 2, 3, and 4. moneth next after the appearance of the Eclips, …”

 To find out more about the possible general effects of this eclipse, we can turn to William Lilly again. He writes in his Annus Tenebrosus, or The Dark Year, about a lunar eclipse with the Moon in the third decanate of Aries:

“… it imports many abortive births, many discommodities and dangers unto that Sex, viz. women; as also the death of many great Ladyes according to the Climate wherein the Eclips falls.”

 We know that the planet ruling the third decanate of Aries is Venus, which underlines the importance of this eclipse for women (Venus is the natural significator of women). Venus is located in Sagittarius and is essentially dignified by term. Looking at the placement of the Sun, we realise that he is in Libra, ruled by Venus, which adds to the developing theme. We also know that Mars has rulership over Aries and therefore he is dispositor of the eclipsed Moon. Venus and Mars are not in conjunction to any malefic fixed stars, which indicates that the negative effects of the eclipse may perhaps not be as bad as first expected.

Lunar Eclipse 18 October 2013 angularity Washington

The next step is to determine where the effects of the eclipse will be felt strongly and immediately. The general rule here is that the smaller the distance between the Sun or Moon and any of the angles, the stronger the effects of the eclipse will be. Furthermore, we can say that there is a correlation between the Ascendant, Medium Coeli or Descendant, and the time of the onset of the eclipse’s effect. If the eclipsed Moon is near the Ascendant, the effects will become noticeable after one, two, three or four months. If the eclipse is near the Medium Coeli, we will notice the effects after five, six, seven or eight months. Should the eclipse be near the Descendant, we can expect effects to occur after nine, then eleven or even twelve months. Thus, being interested in the strong and immediate effects of the eclipse, we want to find out where in the world the Moon will be close to the Ascendant during the eclipse. Looking at the world map, we see that the line of angularity for this particular lunar eclipse runs through Canada and the United States of America. Taking Washington to be representative of the USA, we can see that Luna is close but not conjunct the Ascendant and we can therefore conclude that the diminished effects will begin to take place about one month after the day of the eclipse.

We also notice that during the eclipse the Moon will be conjunct the MC in the United Kingdom and Europe. This is clearly visible in the world map, depicted above. The astrological chart below, cast for London, shows this, too:

Lunar Eclipse 18 October 2013 London

We can conclude from this that there will be a stronger effect in Europe and the UK, setting in about four months after the eclipse date.

We are also interested in the duration of the eclipse, and we find it to be three hours and 59 minutes. Lilly claims that the key to establishing the duration of a lunar eclipse’s effect is “one month for every hour”. Therefore we can conclude that this eclipse will affect us for just under four months.

To give a summary of what we have established, we can conclude that the upcoming lunar eclipse will mainly affect women in a rather negative way, and, should it come to the worst, we may even expect the death of a prominent woman. Eclipse rulers Mars and Venus are not in conjunction with any of the malefic fixed stars, and are not highly debilitated which may diminish the severity of the predicted outcome. In the United States of America, relatively weak effects should be felt about one month after the eclipse. In Europe it may take five months before any effects might unfold, but they could be more severe than the ones felt in the USA. In both cases the duration of the eclipse’s effect could be up to four months.


For readers, interested in the personal implications of this eclipse, it might be of interest what William Lilly has to say about this:

“… Eclipse is more dangerous or pernitious which shall be in the Horoscope or Ascendant of the birth; or which shall be in the degree Ascending in an Annuall Revolution: it portends unto the Native some ominous and mischievous action as unto his body and also in his vital substance.”

And further on:

“… who had in the Radix of his Nativity either the Sun or the Moon in that degree, or in the degree opposite … or in the like degrees … which signs are in Quadrate aspects to the former, or if the degree Culminating in any man’s Nativity was either [the degree of the eclipse or its opposite or square] or within one degree therof, the native did suffer more or less by the influence of this Eclips; according to the signification of the House of Heaven, wherein the Sun or the Moon was in at the Birth, and was either well fortified or aspected of the benevolent Planets, or ill aspected, or afflicted of the Malevolents.”

For this particular lunar eclipse that means that people with Aries or Libra rising, either in their birth chart or in their Solar Return chart for 2013, will feel the influence stronger than others. Furthermore it should be noted if natal Sun or Moon are conjunct the eclipse point and it should be investigated if Venus or Mars are particularly afflicted or located in houses six, eight, or twelve, as this might be of significance, too. If it should be the case that one or even more of these factors apply, an in-depth reading of the native’s charts may be necessary to find out which particular areas of life are likely to be affected the most.