“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.


Istanbul Airport Attack

With the shocking news of yesterday’s terror attack at Istanbul Airport dominating the headlines, our thoughts an prayers are with the victims and their relatives. This is the continuation of a recent string of sad news, and we can now see a more coherent picture emerging.

Displayed below is a bi-wheel of the moment the attacks took place and of Turkey’s foundation chart from 1923.

Turkey Foundation and Terror attack

(Inner wheel: Turkey Foundation/outer wheel: airport attack)

Here we see that the lunar nodal axis of both charts are conjunct and also conjunct the MC of the foundation chart. We also notice that Mars in the attack chart is angular and conjunct Venus and Jupiter of the foundation chart.

If we compare this picture to the chart of the Paris terror attack of 13 November 2015, we will notice some striking similarities.

Paris Attack

Mars and the south node are also of utmost importance in this chart. A detailed analysis of the chart above can be found in my web log entry about the Paris attacks, here.

At the time of writing this blog entry, Mars is stationary and about to turn direct again. This means that, over time, he will continue move through Scorpio, re-visit many sensitive points and finally moving towards a conjunction with Saturn and the fixed star Antares. As I wrote in another recent blog post (here):

“… Diana Rosenberg, one of the most knowledgeable fixed star astrologers, knew that Antares had strong connections with the great issues of humankind, especially intolerance, racism and human rights. In their nativities, Julius Caesar, Heinrich Himmler, Winston Churchill and Ayatollah Khomeini had strong Antares placements. History also shows that a prominent, angular Antares in mundane charts indicates extremism, radicalism, acts of terrorism, but also the possibility of natural catastrophes, like earthquakes, storms, or epidemics.”

The conjunction between Mars, Saturn and Antares will take place on 23 August 2016.


UPDATE: My astrological colleague Gabriella Mittelman (see her website) sent me two graphics, which I am reproducing with her kind permission. She writes that she ran Timing solution, asking when planets (except Moon) were making major aspects to Antares. The higher the line or stronger, more planets angle Antares. :


The second graph is a view of 2016. She posted a link to Wiki- terror attacks in 2016- and counted 96 in January alone!


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.

Solar Eclipse 29 April 2014

On 29 April 2014, at 06:14:29 UT, there will be a rare non-central annular solar eclipse. The Sun and the Moon will be conjunct in 08*52 Taurus.

A partial eclipse will be visible within the much broader path of the Moon’s penumbral shadow, that includes the southern Indian Ocean, the southern edge of Indonesia and all of Australia.

This eclipse is part of Saros cycle 143, repeating every 18 years and 11 days, containing 72 events. The series started with partial solar eclipse on 7 March 1617.

The map below shows visibility and timing of the eclipse (time = UT):

2014 Solar eclipse path

(click to enlarge)

The astrological chart, cast for Bangladesh, shows the event:

2014 Solar Eclipse Dhaka

In his Annus Tenebrosus, or the Dark Year, the famous 17th century astrologer William Lilly presents a method of eclipse delineation, including an interpretation of the effects of solar and lunar eclipses, occurring in each decanate of the Zodiac. As this solar eclipse takes place in the first decanate of Taurus, Lilly’s aphorism is as follows:

“afflicts such as are Negotiators, Solicitors, Agents, or are generally employed in men’s affairs, or in the publick; it compells men to undertake unnecessary business, it brings to nought, and confounds all factions undertaken by the former sort of men, and is suficciently hurtfull to corn”.

If we have a look at the eclipse’s path of angularity, we can see the following:

Solar Eclipse 2014 angularity map

The map above shows that the solar eclipse will be of quite immediate importance for parts of Africa, particularly Morocco, Mauritania, and the Ivory Coast. The eclipse point will be in the first decanate of Taurus, suggesting Venus to be the eclipse ruler. Venus is essentially dignified by exaltation in Pisces. William Lilly tells us about Venus being Lady of the Eclipse:

“… Venus generally in all things is like unto Jupiter, and produces such effects, with a certain kind of gracefulness; Peculiarly she gives renown unto men, honour, cheerfulness, … obedience and confirmity in Religion, … In the ayr she stirs up temperate blasts of wind, moyst and fructifying, no unpleasing weather or troublesome tempest. In rivers, it notes their gentle Inundation, and pretty swellings without harming any thing, not destructive or violently breaking forth …” 

We can also see that the eclipse point is conjunct the Medium Coeli in Bangladesh, China and Russia. Our astrological chart above is cast for Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, and the map segment below shows the event from a different perspective. We can expect Bangladesh to be affected four to five months after the actual eclipse date.

2014 Solar Eclipse map Bangladesh



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

“… 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 thereof, 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 Solar eclipse that means that people with Taurus rising or culminating, either in their birth chart or in their solar return chart for 2014/15, will feel the influence stronger than others. Furthermore it should be noted if Sun or Moon are closely conjunct the Ascendant or Midheaven. Should it 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.

The 2013 Eclipses and Traditional Astrology

Jessica Adams from The Astrology Show has published our recent Q&A interview on her website. We are covering a varied selection of topics, including my forecast of the upcoming solar and lunar eclipses, which some of my readers may find of interest.

To read the interview, follow the link below:

The 2013 Eclipses and Traditional Astrology

Sun conjunct Saturn in Scorpio

On 25 October 2012, the Sun will perfect a conjunction with Saturn in Scorpio. This is a rare event that will only be repeated on 6 November 2013 and 18 November 2014. Thereafter, Saturn will move on into Sagittarius and it will take him until November 2041 to return to Scorpio again.

Generally speaking, Scorpio is a cold, watery, nocturnal, feminine fixed sign and is ruled by Mars, called the Lesser Malefic. Key words for Scorpio are: sex and sensuality, death and rebirth, forbidden secrets and hidden matters. People with Scorpio rising or the Sun in Scorpio are often thought to be generally wary, calculating and intensely secretive.

If we have a general look at Saturn, who is also called the Greater Malefic, we find him to be a cold, dry diurnal planet. He mainly represents sobriety, setbacks and restrictions, and when in Scorpio, he specifically indicates the possible appearance of serious problems, as well as an increase in phases of melancholy. During Saturn in Scorpio, many people are drawn towards an exploration of the paranormal or the occult sciences.

With the Sun in Scorpio, we are exposed to similar themes, like an increase in melancholy but may also experience spells of fanaticism, jealousy, a heightened level of determination, and become intensely passionate. We also may be more secretive, manipulative, cunning or obsessive.

When the Sun is conjunct Saturn in Scorpio, many of these themes may become an issue and particularly so for people who have Sun or Saturn natally placed in Scorpio, have Scorpio rising or many even have a Sun – Saturn conjunction in Scorpio in their birth chart.

In sum total, the conjunction between the Sun and Saturn in Scorpio seems to test how we experience identity as individuals. An increased amount of negative or complicated outside influences are seemingly trying to affect how we respond to other people and the world in general. As a response, many of us will become more sober, withdrawn, jealous, more obsessive and so forth.

Between 16 October and 4 November Saturn is very close to the Sun; traditional astrologers say that during this time Saturn is combust. (The actual definition is that a Planet is said to be combust when it is between 17.5 minutes and 8.5 degrees of the Sun.) During this time we all will be exposed to the influences of this conjunction and, as the ancient masters told us, the closeness of the Sun will increase the detrimental effect of Saturn.

But there is a short period of time when Saturn will be very close to the Sun. Traditional astrologers say that Saturn will be in the heart of the Sun, often also called cazimi. (Any Planet within 17.5 minutes of the Sun’s position is said to be cazimi). On the contrary to being combust, this is very beneficial.

  • Saturn will be cazimi on 25 October, between 00:46UT and 16:18UT.

During this period of time, the Sun will enhance Saturn’s beneficial side. Everybody who is going through an identity crisis or suffers from a lack of self-esteem, caused by the problematic configuration of the Sun and Saturn in Scorpio, will greatly benefit from this short spell of cazimi Saturn. Meditating on these Saturnine themes and allowing ourselves to develop a strong identity, combined with bold decision making in the categories of the Scorpionic themes, like sex and realtionship or death and rebirth will make it possible to embrace the lessons Saturn in Scorpio has in store for us.

I would be delighted if you, gentle reader, would share your experiences of the Sun – Saturn conjunction in Scorpio in form of a comment.

Lunar Eclipse 28 November 2012

On 28 November 2012, there will be a penumbral lunar eclipse. This eclipse belongs to Saros series nr. 145, which was born on 11 August 1832. The graphic below shows the visibility of the lunar eclipse (via Wikimedia*)

(click on graphic to enlarge)

Astrologically speaking, the Moon will be in 06°46’ Gemini, opposing the Sun in 06°46’ Sagittarius. The eclipsed Moon will be conjunct Jupiter and conjunct the Hyades. Furthermore Cauda Draconis, the Moon’s south node, will be conjunct fixed star Algol.

The chart below, cast for Budapest, shows the event.

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 about the possible 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 first Face of Gemini:

“it threatens Incursions and Rapines of enemies: fraudulent Negotiations, many Treatyes, violent Petitions, many Missives, and much employment of  Scribes and Secretaries.”

A look at the map, showing the eclipse’s path of angularity, reveals that the Moon is close to the Ascendant during the eclipse in the centre of Europe, particularly in parts of Poland, but as well Hungary, Rumania and Turkey. Immediate effects of the eclipse can be expected in these parts of the world.

(click on thumbnail to enlarge)

Jupiter is conjunct Moon and ruler of the first Face of Gemini and is therefore of major importance, playing a key role at the time of the lunar eclipse. The map shows that his line of angularity leads through Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, suggesting immediate effects of the lunar eclipse there as well. Jupiter will be retrograde, peregrine and essentially debilitated by detriment. In its debilitated state, Jupiter can represent fraudulent actions, ignorance and carelessness, but also hypercritical religiosity.

(click on thumbnail to enlarge)

From the eclipse chart above, we can see that the Moon in Gemini is conjunct a cluster of stars, the Hyades. These are called “rainy stars”. They are thought to be the nymphs who wept over their brother Hyas, killed by a boar. The Hyades are associated with licentiousness, greediness and the lust for power. Diana Rosenberg writes in her Secrets of the Ancient Skies** that

 “the key word is “overwhelming”. [Causing] torrential rain, storms, floods, fog, air and ship wrecks, mass movements, invasions, uprising, demonstrations, riots, epidemic, mass events, upheavals, mass murder; disasters caused by poor visibility.” (SAS, vol.1, p.243)

She also says that these stars are

“ not usually conductive to negotiations” (ibid),

which brings us back to William Lilly’s point.

The Moon’s south node, also known as Cauda Draconis, will be conjunct fixed star Algol, the Demon Star. Lilly says about the effect of Cauda Draconis:

“For the Tayle of the Dragon, I always in my practise found when he was joyned with the evil Planets; their malice or the evil intended thereby was doubled and trebled, or extreamly augmented, &c.”  (CA p83)

Algol marks Medusa’s severed head and has a reputation for violence and extreme danger. According to Diana Rosenberg, Manly Palmer Hall called Algol

 “the most evil, violent and dangerous star in the heavens”. (SAS, vol.1, p. 200)

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

“… 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 Gemini rising, either in their birth chart or in their Solar return chart for 2012, will feel the influence stronger than others. Furthermore it should be noted if natal Sun or Moon are conjunct the eclipse point. 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.

UPDATE: An extreme example of the effect the 1648 lunar eclipse had on a king, see my blog post:

Of Beheadings, Fixed Stars and Eclipses



** Rosenberg, Diana: Secrets of the Ancient Skies, Ancient Skies Press, New York 2012

Horary Astrology: The Case Of The Disappearing Warts

Recently I received an urgent letter from a damsel in distress. The unfortunate woman had developed a couple of unsightly warts on her nose and was terribly worried about the possible restoration of her good looks. Attempting to get rid of the unattractive inhabitants, she visited a doctor who carried out a surgical procedure on her otherwise perfectly shaped nose. Unfortunately and to her great dismay a week  after the surgical procedure had taken place, the warts seemed to remain firmly in situ, not showing any inclination that they might be willing to disappear any time soon.

Realising how distressing this debilitating issue was to her, I told the lady not to worry because help was at hand in the shape and form of the horary chart, depicted below.

With the rising sign and the Ruler of the Hour in harmony, we can immediately see that the chart is radical, showing that her pain was real, her question was valid and could therefore be judged.

The main significator of our lady is Mars, Lord of the Ascendant. Aries is in correspondence with the face and the great astrologer William Ramesey writes in his Astrologia Restaurata that Mars is the natural significator of the nose. Mars is located in the 6th house, the house of illness.

Co-rulers of our lady are the Moon and Venus, representing her feminine aspect (health & beauty). Venus is located in the first house, representing her as a person, but also signifying her health.

Now we can have a look at the warts, signified by Saturn. We may notice that Saturn is exalted in Venus. Exaltation suggests that something is extremely visible but short-lived. Another important observation is that Saturn is moving retrograde – a sign that the warts are on their way to disappear!

Looking at the last aspect perfecting before we asked the question, we see that the Sun, ruler of the 6th house health problems trined Saturn. I read this as the onset of the affliction, happening a while before she sent the urgent missive to her astrologer.

Now looking into the future, we can see that the next aspect perfected will be an opposition between Venus and Saturn. Venus, indicator of our lady’s feminine side is in detriment, due to her problems concerning her warts. But with Saturn perfecting the opposition, things will soon come to an end. Saturn (warts) and Venus (the lady’s corrupted feminine appearance) which are so opposed, will part in about 3.5 units.

Therefore the final judgment had to be given as follows:

The chart indicates that surgery took place, which will turn out to be a success. The warts are disappearing slowly, although the healing process will not be complete in a couple of days. I would judge that in about 3 ½ weeks all will be well and the beautiful looks should be restored, once again.


Libra Ingress 2012, Obama & the US Presidential Elections

Since the publication of my web log entry about the 2012 solar ingress,( Solar Ingress 2012 for UK, EU & USA ) I have been repeatedly asked about the 2012 presidential elections in the USA. As it seems to be of great interest to the readers of my web log if President Obama may be re-elected, here are a few thoughts. The reader has to keep in mind though, that my musings are based on traditional sources alone.

The presidential elections will take place on 6th November 2012. From the viewpoint of traditional astrology this means that we have to consult the Libra ingress chart, cast for Washington DC to get a picture of the general situation in the USA at the time in question.

2012 Libra Ingress Chart

The Lord of the Revolution in the Libra ingress chart, representing the common people, is Mars. To find the significator of the current ruler, President Barack Obama, we need to establish which Planet the “significator of the king” would be. According to Bonatti, the king, or president as we would now have it, in this ingress chart is signified by Mars.

This fact that both, president and citizens, are signified by Mars already indicates that the fate of the common people and the fate of the president are closely interconnected. Further evidence is provided by the fact that Mars is located in the first house, indicating that the democratic process of the election will manifest the will of the common people, regarding their choice of leader.

Looking at the condition of the President Obama, we find that Mars is in Scorpio, essentially dignified by Rulership and Triplicity, swift, direct and free of sunbeams. This tells us that the president should be in a strong position without any noticeable weakness. Mars being occidental in the chart is the only one minor debilitation, pointing out that there may still be some trouble ahead.

Following this lead, we may determine more about this potential weakness by looking at what Bonatti calls the “substance of the king”. For this, we have to look at the 2nd house of resources and its ruler, Jupiter.

Jupiter is located in the 8th house, dealing with resources, taxes and money owed. We are not surprised to see Jupiter in his detriment as this seems to be a fair description of some of the problems the president may have to deal with during election time.

Traditional astrology also gives judgment about the king’s journey or pilgrimage; I would propose this to be synonymous with the modern process of presidential re-election. The first and most important point is to find out if the significator of the king is not located in the 6th house of infirmity, or the 8th house of death. If it would be so, we could judge with great certainty that President Barack Obama would not be re-elected. As this is not the case, we have to find out next who the Lord/Lady of the 9th house (journeys) is and where he/she is located. Lady of the house of pilgrimage is the Moon and she is located in the second house, in Sagittarius. The Moon is representing the population per se and with her being located in the 2nd house, we may deduct that a large part of the king’s quest will be dealing with problems concerning everybody’s money. Bonatti says:

“If indeed the Lord of the ninth were in the second … it signifies that his journey is because of a quest, namely to acquire money” (BA, p867*)

For further judgment of the condition of the king, Bonatti also advises us to take a look at the eclipses occurring during the time the ingress chart is valid. The solar eclipse, occurring on 13 November is in Scorpio, ruled by Mars.

Total Solar Eclipse, 13 November 2012

Here we can see that the eclipse point is in Scorpio, ruled by Mars. About this, Bonatti tells us:

“… the condition of the king will be more strongly burdened if his significator were the Lord of the sign in which the eclipse is going to come.” (BA, p860)

Looking at Barack Obama’s nativity and the eclipse chart, cast for Washington, the following picture emerges:

Bi-wheel nativity Barack Obama (inner wheel) and 13 November 2012 solar eclipse (inner wheel)

What springs to mind here is the fact that the lunar nodal axis of the eclipse chart and the eclipse point are conjunct the 4th/10th house axis of the nativity. This axis is squared by the lunar nodal axis of the eclipse chart (1st/7th house). This is an indicator of the importance of the eclipse for President Obama. Furthermore the eclipse point is located in Obama’s 9th house – the house of pilgrimage, as described before, highlighting the agenda once again.

Weighing all these factors up, we can see that here is a man, fighting the fight of his life. Although there are many obstacles in his way which will need to be overcome, there seems nothing to suggest that he may not be successful in his quest for re-election.

*All quotes from: Book of Astronomy by Guido Bonatti, translation from the 1491 and 1550 Latin translations by Dr. Ben Dykes; Cazimi Press, Minnesota 2007.

UPDATE: see as well my new web log entry on Chris Brennan’s article:

Astrologers Predict the 2012 Election: Roundup

UPDATE: For a discussion about the upcoming election, see the article on the web log of Anthony Louis:



For a discussion of the influence of social media on the election, see this interesting study:

Social Media Election