Monday, 10 November 2008

Intuition and Astrology

I have no intention of arguing whether this faculty truly is a faculty, I simply accept that it exists and each one of us decides if this is true or not from a subjective point of view. The following brief comments explain, to some degree, my point of view based on my subjective experience. In many ways this opinion can only have relevance for me, but it might be of some assistance to you.

There are many ways of defining intuition and all are as true as they are false. All we might say with any safety is
that there is an 'inner' way of gaining knowledge. This inner way can bypass the intellect wholly or in part, and is not dependent upon material facts. We have been conditioned through many generations that only the intellect and reason can be trusted, that this is the only way we might garner information and knowledge. This part of us is ruled by Mercury, also known as The Trickster, so can we really trust it? I would say that we cannot. The intellect serves a very useful
purpose, of course, but it is only a way to understanding - wisdom as it was once called - it is not understanding in itself. The Sun is the centre of our universe, it is the Lord of the Heavens and is symbolic of the Creator and as such is the centre of all wisdom. In the human body, the Microcosm, it corresponds to the heart, the symbolic centre, and so it also represents that same centre of wisdom. So, the understanding of which I speak occurs there, in the heart, but how does this process occur and what must we do to stimulate it?

Astrology is a divinatory art and, if that is accepted, immediately implies another way of gathering information than by
way of the intellect. In my opinion, this is indeed true, but not to the extent that it requires no input whatever from the intellect. When we say that we are studying astrology, we are training ourselves (please note the latter word) to be able to interpret the Word of God. We must train our intellects and, by so doing, we train our intuitive parts. This occurs almost automatically, because what we are studying is a symbolic language, a magical language. Astrological symbols are not merely shorthand expressions, but, in some senses, seem to have a life of their own. They will make changes to the practitioner who exposes him or herself to them and who attempts to plumb their depths. There are conditions, of course, and one of those is that the practitioner has a "fear of God" which can be interpreted in many ways. Fundamentally it means a respect for a power greater than our own which, in turn, implies humility.

We must study astrology and for that we need our intellects, we must learn all those correspondences and we must do so
in an orderly manner. As we do this the intuition is placed in abeyance for a time, and this is how it should be. The intuition is known to be a slippery and often unreliable faculty because fancy or wishful thinking can disguise itself as intuition; it, too, needs to be trained. It needs to be trained to respond to certain stimuli and in our case it needs to respond to astrological symbolism. This happens if the student sincerely wants to learn and remains receptive to that learning. If the student manages to keep arrogance and pride at bay, gradually the intuition begins to respond and to assist. In the early days it might simply open the mind to possibilities, helping the student to remember. With time it will inform every delineation, but not in any startling way, but softly and quietly; it makes things very obvious. Nevertheless, the astrologer will be able to explain, using astrological symbolism, how they arrived at their answer.

You might notice that I haven't referred to any external agency in the gaining of this 'extra' information. There are no
voices in your ear, no thunder and lightning, no angels, or demons for that matter, giving you messages; the process is internal - INtuition. It is achieved through hard work and honesty, there is no glamour and no mystery. If you learn this art properly and sincerely, you will train your intuition to behave likewise.

So to answer my own questions:

Do we use intuition in astrology? If so, should we use it?

Given the above-mentioned conditions, we can't help but use it, it is a natural development of the process of learning a magical art. However, the learning process, study, must come first for it to be reliable and sustainable.

How much do we use it?

This increasingly becomes impossible to answer, because as astrology becomes part of one's life, so too does the use of the intuition.

Can we use it on demand?

This is answered by the previous comment. We use it "on demand" every time we expose ourselves to the correct stimuli: the symbols and their correspondences.

What are we doing when we do use it, i.e. what is the process?

We are reaching the part of every human being that corresponds to the Divine, the part that can know everything. But we can't cheat this part of ourselves, the process has to be gone through properly, there are no shortcuts.

If there are any questions relating to my remarks, then please feel free to ask them.


  1. Thank you very much Sue for a very thought provoking article!


  2. Thank you very much, Sue Ward, for this long overdue observation.

    I think that the re-enchantment of astrology is a necessary step we all have to consider at some point.

    If we truly want to embrace the teachings of traditional astrology we must be willing to question the Cartesian worldview and step back in time for at least 400 years.

    We will only be able to fully understand, and successfully practice traditional astrology, if we admit that it is integrated into a wider magical system and is not only a scientific exercise.


  3. Peter
    Thank you, and I agree. My view for many years has been that astrology
    must be re-integrated with the other Hermetic arts. Unless this is done, we are working partially blinded.

    Paraphrasing your words: astrology is not a train timetable, and we must engage with it.

    Please feel free to comment further.

    Sue Ward

  4. Dear Sue Ward,

    How good it is, to see this view expressed by a true practitioner of the art. Thank you again for sharing your thoughts with us in a forum like this.

    I agree entirely with you that astrology needs to be re-integrated with the other Hermetic arts!

    The lovely passage you wrote here about the Micro- and the Macrocosm leads the true seeker into this direction without a doubt.

    Here the astrological symbolism of the Sun can only be completely understood, if we take the wider implications that connect it to the Hermetic disciplines of Alchemy and Theurgy (in the sense of Pico della Mirandola) into consideration.


  5. Peter

    Thank you again. Your last point is particularly interesting and, whilst not wanting to abscond from my responsibilities here or change the nature of this web log, please continue if you feel so inclined.

  6. Dear Sue Ward,

    I sincerely hope that my musings here have not for one instance been the cause for any reasons for anybody, including yourself, to question your responsibilities or indeed the nature of this log.
    Nevertheless should this have been the case, so please accept my apologies, as this never was my intention.

    Much more could have been said about this important topic, but I tried to keep it as short as possible, a comment, as is stated in the header.

    In my last comment I was talking about the 3 Hermetic disciplines, astrology, alchemy and magic.

    If ever there was a publication in history paying homage to the intricate connectedness of these our Arts, it must be Dr. John Dee’s ‘Monas Hieroglyphica’, published in 1564.

    The London Seal of Hermes, as Dr. Dee called his symbol, shows clearly that astrology, alchemy and magic can be and have to be seen as parts of a bigger picture.

    Contemplation of this symbol will reveal a plethora of knowledge to the true seeker.


  7. Dear Peter

    Your comments have been of great interest to me and, I'm sure, to other readers. My remark about responsibility was to remind myself that it is I who should be writing, but I admit to having enjoyed reading your brief comments. I was attempting to persuade you to write a little more.

    I agree with you, of course, but I wonder if astrologers generally will ever accept or approve the notion of astrology as a practice requiring the commitment of initiation?

  8. Dear Sue Ward,

    In your article above you wrote: “When we say that we are studying astrology, we are training ourselves (please note the latter word) to be able to interpret the Word of God.”

    You are absolutely correct here, and as you have brought up a related question in your last posting, I am inclined to comment on this subject.

    If we are trying to interpret the word of God, we are putting ourselves in a position between God and the human being whose question(s) we are trying to answer.
    We can only expect to be successful in our aim, if we try to be as close to the source as we can.
    By this I mean that we have to try to become as ‘essentially’ good as possible.

    I trust that the readers of these lines will know about the principle of essence, as the successful practice of traditional astrology requires a fundamental understanding of essential dignities, so I do not need to go into detail here.

    Keywords in your article referring to this achievement are ‘fear of God’, ‘respect’, ‘honesty’ and ‘hard work’.
    If we trace our memory back to William Lilly’s ‘Letter to the Student’, we will find a passage referring to exactly these points.

    Lilly himself was deeply involved in magic and he admits this point freely. We only have to think about related statements in his autobiography or remember his ‘England’s Propheticall Merline’ where says:” I hold it an honour to be Magus (in that sense King James took the word […]).”

    In his ‘Letter to the Student’ we find one particularly interesting sentence namely: “Having considered thy God, and what thy self art, during they being Gods servant; […]”.
    For me this passage is a clear example for the initiatory nature of traditional astrology.
    To work on one’s self, to meditate and contemplate God’s nature is certainly something we find to be a basic requirement in any magical lodge or mystery school.

    I agree that nowadays there is the possibility for self study and development, and everybody should try and do as much as they can, but after a certain level is reached I would compare any further attempt of ongoing experimentation to the effort of taking your appendix out yourself, after you have read the appropriate book on how to do it. It certainly is possible, but perhaps not recommended.

    But coming back to your initial question, Sue, I fear that most astrologers have not even contemplated the idea of any sort of initiatory commitment.
    Unfortunately I have to report that my few attempts to convince astrologers otherwise have not been very fruitful.
    To be precise, I have to say that, to my knowledge, you are the first person who discussed this topic in an open forum for which I am eternally grateful.


  9. Thank you, Peter.

    Engaging (however that might be defined)with Divinity, in my view, is essential.

    Astrology is a Divine gift, but no-one said that Divinity wouldn't take it back!

  10. >Astrology is a Divine gift, but no-one said that Divinity wouldn't take it back!

    Dear Sue, again I can only agree 100% with you, and again, this statement is true in a much wider context.

    I do not want to blow the boundaries of this blog entry totaly out of proportion and only say that the prophetic nature of these your words words may unfortunately be revealed all too soon.

    I hope that in the future we will have opportunities to discuss related topics in more depth, as I enjoyed our conversation thoroughly.

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