Tuesday, 10 November 2009

The Berlin Wall

Often referred to as the Fall of the Berlin Wall, its 20th anniversary was celebrated this week. It seemed to me that such a momentous event - often associated with the end of Communism - must be connected to the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction. It is this cycle which corresponds to and warns of great changes in mundane affairs. The conjunction pertaining to these events is that of 19th February 1961 when Jupiter and Saturn met in Capricorn, just one of the greater cycle within the Earth triplicity. Clearly, in Capricorn, Saturn is the stronger of the two being in its own sign and Jupiter in its Fall. I don't intend to explain the characteristics of these conjunctions or go very far with its interpretation because I did that in my article in The Tradition journal (Issue 2) where I examined the recent financial problems. Suffice it to say that, in this case, Jupiter can be taken as freedom and Saturn as the opposite, and because Saturn is the stronger it is this planet which will prevail in this conjunction. Notable also is that Jupiter is currupted in Capricorn and thus any freedom or mercy it might offer are niggardly, mean and hardly worth having; indeed, the modern term of "negative freedom" seems very apt. The whole Earth series has the nature of control and organisation which I demonstrated in the aforementioned article, so here we have a continuance of those, and narrow-mindedness, or simply narrowness, a 'pinching-in'. The construction of the Wall is also recognised as the beginning of the Cold War, and nothing describes coldness better than Saturn, particularly when in Capricorn.

Following the partitioning of Germany at the end of the Second World War, Berlin found itself isolated within East Germany which was controlled by the Russians. Berlin itself was divided between the British, Americans, French in West Germany and West Berlin, and Russians in East Germany and East Berlin, but Berliners moved between the two halves of the city for reasons of work, family, entertainment and so on. East Germans moved into the West in their tens of thousands with little hindrance, and it is reported that the numbers grew so fast that the Communist authorities decided to act. It is hardly surprising that they chose to do this as their skilled workforce was disappearing in huge numbers. The order to close the border was signed on 12th August 1961 at about 4pm and "just after midnight" the first barrier eas erected between the two parts of Berlin. Needless to say, this caused great fear among Berliners: those who were visiting the East overnight could not return; West Berlin was ostensibly cut off from its allies and supplies; they were under siege.

This chart is erected for the time mentioned above, when the fortifications around West Berlin, the "wall" being just a part, were begun. (A small change to the time makes little difference to the resulting astrology.) I remember the grave concerns about the capacity of West Berlin to survive and be re-supplied. I chose to look for its delineation to the rules of besieged towns as this seemed to be the most descriptive of the time. It is clear that the city would survive as indeed it did, and beyond that it thrived beyond all expectations. On page 379 of Christian Astrology, William Lilly recites the rules for this eventuality: The ascendant and his Lord are for the querent, and those that doe or shall besiege; the fourth house shall signifie the Towne, City or Fort besieged. or to be besieged, the Lord thereof the Governour; the fift house, Planets therein, and his Lord the Ammunition, Souldiery and Assistants the Governour and Towne may expect to reli[e]ve of assist them:

The Gemini Ascendant and Mercury signify the Russian authorities of East Berlin and East Germany; the 4th house has Leo on the cusp and so is ruled by the Sun, thus Leo describes West Berlin, and the Sun, its governor. The 5th house, vital in this matter, has a Mercury ruled cusp with Mars therein. This identification between the besiegers and West Berlin's assistants is strange, but there were many strange alliances made throughout the Cold War. However, Mars is the strongest planet in this chart and in Virgo describes those assistants as noisily belligerent and potent. Notice that Mars is in trine to Jupiter and Saturn in this chart and also to the previous conjunction itself. Although a dangerous time, there is little that will happen in terms of standard, 'hot' warfare. Mercury, the besiegers, is on the 4th cusp, the enemy within. It is combust - obliterated by the city it besieges. The Sun, representative of West Berlin absorbs its besiegers, Germans themselves.

...have regard to the Lord of the fourth; if he be in the fourth strong and fortunate, and not Retrograde or Combust, or besieged of the Infortunes,

The Sun is the ruler of the 4th and it is relatively strong and fortunate in its own sign (the Sun can never be especially fortified in the usual sense), it cannot be retrograde, but it is slow in motion which can be taken as the equivalent, but its slowness is slight. It receives nor casts any aspect, it is isolated, but unmolested and such isolation can be interpreted as a good thing in this particular matter.

...or if Jupiter or Venus or the North Node be therein, and no reception between the Lord of the Ascendant and fourth,

The North Node is present in the 4th house, the Sun does receive Mercury in one sense, but this is by sign and so it is more properly disposing of Mercury.

then the City, Fort or Towne at that time surrounded or besiged, shall not be taken or delivered to the Army now besieging it; nay if there be both a Fortune and an Infortune in the fourth, the Towne shall not be taken,

This seems clear-cut: West Berlin will not be taken.

The next chart is for the time that restrictions along the border were relaxed, and is when the first gate in the Wall was opened and East Berliners began to pass the checkpoints. The BBC news broadcast of the following day defines it as "just after 9pm", I have left it at 9pm, but a few minutes later and Leo rises. Either way we have an end or a beginning. The Moon is very late in Pisces and on the cusp of the 10th house again signalling change. From double-bodied Pisces, the Moon moves into the single sign of Aries and applies to square with Venus, a difficult peace and reunification.

But of far greater impact is that Jupiter and Saturn are mutually applying to the opposition, that halfway point between the last conjunction and the next, the border of change.

And so the world turns.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The Tradition LIBRARY

The editorial team and I knew that a central resource for astrologers was not a new idea, but to dedicate it to Traditional astrological texts might be a little more novel. We had intended to bring this project to your attention in the New Year, but the extensive research done by Peter Stockinger and I revealed such a wealth of practical instruction that we couldn't let the moment pass.

The initial impetus for our taking on yet more work was that there is, as we are all aware, some very poor quality and poorly researched material out there upon which many have relied. As an example, the rather jaded opinions about William Lilly have persisted simply because no-one has published properly researched biographies. So many of those available rely on Derek Parker's William Lilly: Familiar to All published in 1975, even though it is clear that this is not and was not intended to be a definitive or in-depth biography. This is not to say that biographers aren't entitled to their opinions, but in order that those might be taken seriously, the reader needs to know the sources on which they are based. In the case of Parker's biography, sources are not provided, therefore those who rely upon this biography for their own derivatives perpetuate the errors and misapprehensions.

For me it was shocking to find that the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography – that singular source of biographical histories – has followed this same pattern with its biography of William Lilly. Furthermore, its biography of John Gadbury continues these very same failings and indeed is in contradiction to another of its biographies, that of Dr. Nicholas Fiske. Peter Stockinger and I didn't expect to find so much evidence of slanted views and inadequate research. It might be said that, as students of William Lilly, Peter and I are not the best people to be doing this work and that we would impose our own "slanted views". That is certainly a possiblilty and we did approach it from a far more sympathetic point of view than have other authors and commentators. However, we have produced *all* of our sources for the interested to investigate, so any suspected partisanship is easily checked and, if necessary, corrected by others.

It was for these reasons that we accelerated the Library project – we were fed up with the situation and thought that others might be, too, thus we have presented for you (and for animal welfare) source material which will assist your studies and understanding. I can say that without fear of contradiction because I have studied and transcribed so many of the documents. In my opinion, the various lists of aphorisms are essential reading for all astrologers. Written towards the end of Lilly's life – and he was very aware that it was the end of his life – they demonstrate an astrological and magical maturity to which we can only aspire. These abstracts are intended to enhance our understanding of astrology and its practise; we, the editors, gain very little from this, if anything at all. So, we need encouragement through your support to continue with this project.

Let's take the opportunity to look at the facts.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

The Tradition Journal

The third edition of the Tradition journal is now available by following the link to the right. It's packed with first class articles, and new to our contributors is Jerome Libon from Belgium who has submitted a thesis on Francis Bacon. As previously mentioned here is my collaboration with Peter Stockinger, Monster of Ingratitude; a detailed investigation into the notorious relationship of William Lilly and John Gadbury. It was a fascinating and revealing study. There are lots of other goodies including the results of the Animodar statistical study whose results might raise a few eyebrows.

Remember that all proceeds go to animal welfare and rescue.

The Tradition Library

This brand new project can be found at http://thetraditionjournal.com/library , pop over there and take a look at what's on offer. While you're doing that please give a thought to the animals and their welfare.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Lilly and Gadbury

Peter Stockinger and I have just completed a paper entitled "Monster of Ingratitude" and which will be published in the forthcoming edition of The Tradition journal (due to be released in September).

Scholarship into the history of astrology has improved over the last ten or fifteen years and has brought us a huge amount of information regarding astrology's development from many perspectives. However, biographical information about those who practiced astrology in centuries past is not of such a high standard. There are several reasons for this, not least a lack of autobiographical material. It was from this point of view that Peter and I examined the relationship between William Lilly and John Gadbury.

This rather large piece of research has taken several months to complete, but still leaves many questions unanswered. However, what we did discover was that those few biographies of William Lilly are markedly flawed. Most researchers rely upon Derek Parker's "Familiar to All" which, whilst it presents one of the earliest biographical texts about Lilly and which hasn't been bettered, presents very few sources as grounds for the author's opinions. Nonetheless, it is those opinions that we find most frequently in subsequent biographies of the astrologers of 17th century England, particularly those of Lilly and Gadbury. Indeed, much of the personal detail regarding Lilly's life found in Parker, can be found nowhere else. It may be that Parker had access to material unknown to us, but there are no references with which to follow this up. (It may be that a full and detailed review of "Familiar to All" is required in order to test the assertions made there against known sources.)

We have attempted to address these, largely unsubstantiated, opinions and present source material which leads to alternative, and often very different, conclusions. As an example, the main theme of our paper is the infamous contention between Lilly and Gadbury and our research shows that it has been misconstrued by historians throughout. This study has brought to light a number of other doubtful areas relating to Lilly's contemporaries, too, but our remit precluded going very far with that; we had already far exceeded our original intentions.

The paper contains:
  • brief biographies of the two men;
  • the beginning of their acqaintance and how it came about;
  • how the enmity began, developed and ended;
  • the rather one-sided pamphlet war;
  • others involved in the contention;
  • a study of the published material;
  • all sources of information;
  • alternative conclusions based on the above.
We hope to draw the attention of astrologers to an area which requires far closer attention than it has attracted hitherto, and perhaps encourage others to proceed in this research. Furthermore, we hope to demonstrate that Gadbury's work is far from reliable and could easily be replaced by that of a better qualified author of the period, such as John Partridge. That is, if astrologers want to investigate the art as it stood post-Lilly and as it collided with the new science.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Presentation Links

The link to my presentation God, the Universe and Everything, has been corrected. You should be able to download the video without problem now.

You can find it by going to my web site (link right), and clicking on "Articles" at the top of the home page.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

An Explanation of Horary

I've uploaded to my web site another video presentation entitled An Explanation of Horary: How it Works. It is a brief, introductory view of the subject, but I hope that you'll find it helpful.

Monday, 24 August 2009

The Primary Problem with Venus

I want to present a few thoughts on the nature of Venus, but I don't pretend that they are definitive. These ideas are supplemental to my lecture, God, the Universe and Everything which can be found at my web site as a video presentation.

The problem is that the nature of Venus is variously described as cold and moist, and/or hot and moist; Lilly states in Christian Astrology that Venus is both of Air and Water, both phlegmatic and sanguine (p73). (For a discussion of the humours, please refer to the Traditional Horary Course materials and Luis Ribeiro's article in The Tradition journal, both of which also refer to the application of the humours.) However, taking Lilly's statement that Venus has two pairs of primary qualities, and because this is difficult to apply in practice, I'll address the question of why or how this situation arises. I will not go into great detail here, and so interested readers are referred to my other articles and lectures for more information, but perhaps most appropriately the presentation mentioned above.

I have been lecturing on the philosophy and basis of astrology for some years now, and it is to those ideas that I now refer. Genesis I says, "In the beginning, God created the Heaven and the Earth.", this describes a primary division and can be interpreted in a number of ways. However, the next lines state, "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep [water], and [then] the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." The imagery produced here is one of gender and generation, thus the masculine (active) Heaven and the feminine (receptive) Earth. So, for our purposes, the first or primary division of Creation was one of gender. When we talk about the primary qualities or natures of the planets, it is to this that we refer, otherwise it isn't primary. Thus, Venus is primarily feminine.

The next division, after the creation of Light, is of day and night, representative of time, and these are connected with the previous division of space, above and below. In my interpretation of Genesis I, these two divisions overlap and lead to the creation of the four elements by secondary division. The whole story is one of fertility through division, and through that we can deduce the source of the creation of benefics and malefics. The former corresponds to fertility and productivity, the latter to barrenness and destruction. Jupiter and Venus are designated as benefics because of their power of moderation, or fertility. The two qualities required for fertility are heat and moisture, thus Venus, as a benefic, can correspond to these qualities. However, primarily it is feminine and thus corresponds to coldness and moisture, and the qualities of the night, thus phlegmatic.

This is one way of explaining how it might be that Venus can be both Airy and Watery. In application, the context will be important, thus if you are searching for beneficence, the hot and moist natures are important; if you are looking for a primary quality, then coldness and moisture have priority. For example, when we are examining the planetary hour, we should look at Venus in its primary mode as cold and moist; its secondary nature as a benefic might be used in other applications, such as in the calculation of temperament. In the latter, because it provides a guide to balance or imbalance, productivity or non-productivity, we need to look at the planets and their positions as significant of one or the other. Thus, Venus would be dealt with as the lesser benefic, productive, fertile, and progressive and thus, sanguine.

Friday, 21 August 2009

God, the Universe and Everything

I have now added a transcript of the presentation to the "Articles" page on my web site.

God, the Universe and Everything

Having lectured on this subject for some years now and presented a number of variations, I wanted to produce the clearest version for internet users. It takes the form of a 'movie' presentation and is my first attempt to use this technology. The audio was recorded in one 'take' and so there are one or two speech errors, as well as that my ability with graphics is limited, so I hope you'll overlook these flaws.

I had wanted to try to explain how and why astrology works and by so doing I had to examine its philosophy and I discovered that this has hardly changed at all – it is still perfectly understandable to astrologers now. Astrology's magical context, of course, cannot be ignored for a complete understanding, but these days I don't think that will raise very many eyebrows, although it did when I began to speak and write about it. It was my intention to present an explanation that would help all of those students of the art who recognised that their understanding was limiting their practise, as it had mine. I hope I have succeeded at least to some extent. Of all the presentations I have given and of all the subjects I have written about, this is my favourite. I hope that you will find it of some interest, too.

The large, compressed file can be found at my web site under "Articles".

In a day or so I will write a short supplementary piece here on the nature of Venus – another subject of debate.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009


I have only just realised that none of the links on the "Articles" page on my web site were working. I've now put them right and added a new article. All links appear to be working now, but please let me know if you encounter a problem.


Monday, 6 July 2009

Something to Think About

Life and Training of an Astrologer

Firmicus Maternus, “Matheosos Libri VIII (The Mathesis)” c.334 AD,

trans. Jean Rhys Bram, Noyes Press, New Jersey 1975.

1. Now you, whoever you are who try to read these books, since you have received the whole knowledge of this divine science and are now endowed with the secrets of the stars and have learned the first principles of the art, shape yourself in the image and likeness of divinity.

2. Therefore study and pursue all the distinguishing marks of virtue and, when you have trained yourself in these, be easy of access, so that if anyone wishes to consult you about anything, he may approach you without fear. Be modest, upright, sober, eat little, be content with few goods, so that the shameful love of money may not defile the glory of this divine science. Try with your training and principles to outdo the training and principles of worthy priests. For it is necessary that the acolyte of the Sun and Moon and the other gods, though whom all earthly things re governed, should so educate his mind always that it be proved worthy by the attestation of all mankind.

3. See that you give your responses publicly in a clear voice, so that nothing may be asked of you which is not allowed either to ask or to answer.

4. Beware of replying to anyone asking about the condition of the Republic or the life of the Roman Emperor. For it is not right, nor is it permitted, that from wicked curiosity we learn anything about the condition of the Republic. But it is a wicked man and one worthy of all punishment who, when asked, gives a response about the destiny of the Emperor, because the astrologer is able neither to find out nor to say anything. You must know that even the Haruspices, as many times as they were asked by private citizens about the condition of the Emperor, and wanted to answer the one who consulted them, always disturbed the entrails which were intended for this purpose by tampering with the arrangement of the veins and cartilages.

5. In fact no astrologer is able to find out anything true about the destiny of the Emperor. For the emperor alone is not subject to the course of the stars and in his fate alone the stars have no power of decreeing. Since he is master of the whole universe, his destiny is governed by the judgment of the Highest God, since the whole world is subject to the power of the Emperor and he himself is also considered among the number of the gods whom the Supreme Power has set up to create and conserve all things.

6. This consideration also makes things difficult for the haruspices because, whatever divinity is invoked by them since it is of lesser power, is not able to explain the character of the greater power which is in the emperor. For all free-born men, all classes, all the rich, all the nobles, all the officials, all powers serve him; endowed with divine authority and immortality he is numbered among the first ranks of the gods.

7. Therefore, if anyone asks anything about the emperor, I do not want you to disturb him with a harsh of stern answer, but convince him with persuasive words that no one can discover anything about the life of the Emperor so that, warned with your arguments, he may put aside his madness and his wrong intention. Nor do I wish you to give a report, if anyone asks you anything wrong lest, after he has received the death sentence because of his forbidden desires, you should seem to have been the cause of his death. This is foreign to the purpose of a priest.

8. Have a wife, a home, many sincere friends; be constantly available to the public; keep away from all quarrels; do not undertake any harmful business; do not at any time e tempted by an increase in income; keep away from all passion of cruelty; never take pleasure in others’ quarrels or capital sentences or fatal enmities. Employ peaceful moderation in all your dealings with other people; avoid plots; at all times shun disturbances and violence.

9. Bind your friends’ loyalty to you with strong ties; be careful to keep your honesty uncorrupted in all your activities; never stain your self-respect by becoming a false witness. Never ask interest on money lest you accumulate an increase in income from the needs of others. Do not give or take an oath, especially if it has to do with money, lest the divine protection of the gods appear to be asked by you for money.

10. To erring men, especially those bound to you by ties of friendship, show the right road of life so that, trained in your principles, they will easily avoid the errors of life. Never be present at nocturnal sacrifices, whether they are held publicly or privately. Do not bring forecasts to anyone by stealth, but openly, as we have said before, and in the sight of all exercise the discipline of this divine art.

11. In drawing up the chart I do not wish you to show up the vices of men too clearly, but whenever you come to such a point, delay your responses with a certain modest reticence, lest you seem not only to explain but also to approve what the evil course of the stars decrees for the man.

12. Keep away at all times from the enticements of the shows, lest anyone think you are a patron of this kind of thing. For the priest of the gods must be apart from low, base pleasures.

13. When you have equipped your mind with the characteristics and protections of virtue, approach with confident boldness of mind this book as well as the following books which we have written on forecasting from the stars. But if your mind has strayed in any way from these principles which we have laid down about human character, see that you do not approach the mysteries of this doctrine with a perverse instinct of curiosity or sacrilegious rashness.

14. Do not entrust the secrets of this religion to the sinful greed of men’s minds; for one should not initiate souls of depraved men into the holy rituals. This divine science cannot at any time adhere to a mind captured and stained by wicked greed, and it always sustains the greatest loss when it is defamed by improper intentions.

15. Therefore be pure chaste; and if you have separated yourself from all kinds of wicked activity which destroy the spirit; and if the desire for the right way of life has freed you from any suspicion of crime, and if you conduct yourself as one mindful of the Divine Seed, approach this work and commit to memory the following books. In this way, having attained the true knowledge of this divine art, when you calculate the destinies of men and chart the course of their lives, you will be directed not only by your readings but also by the conclusions of your own reasoning. Thus your own divinely inspired ideas may be of more profit to you than the traditions of the written word.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

William Lilly and Elias Ashmole

I have uploaded an article to my web site – http://www.sue-ward.co.uk – called Beyond the Great Fire: Lilly and Ashmole. It is based on a paper I presented at the A.A. conference a few years ago and I reminded of it when I posted William Lilly's true nativity. You'll find a little more information about that nativity and directions, etc. there and some of the charts involving his friendship with Ashmole.

I hope you'll find it interesting.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Terms' Poll

The Tradition journal and the Academy of Astrology is now conducting a survey to discover which system of terms is favoured by practitioners. You can participate by following this link: http://www.academyofastrology.org/research/termpoll/

Don't forget to download your FREE copy of The Tradition NEWS for updates, the results of the House System Poll and comments on the Vernal Ingress. Follow the journal link to the right.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Manilius on Hard Work

There would be no harm in emphasising Peter Stockinger's comment below on House Systems where he tells us that the secret to becoming a competent astrologer is hard work. It reminded me of a passage in Astronomica by Marcus Manilius which was written in the 1st century AD and which very eloquently explains the principle.

The object of your quest is God: you are seeking to scale the skies and, though born beneath the rule of fate, to gain knowledge of that fate; you are seeking to pass beyond your understanding and make yourself master of the universe. The toil involved matches the reward to be won, nor are such high attainments secured without a price; so wonder not at the winding route and the intricacy of things. It is enough that we have been given the power to make the search: let the rest be left to us. Unless you mine mountains, gold will elude your grasp, and the earth that is heaped above will bar access to the wealth it hides. Men will traverse the entire globe to make jewels available, and will not shrink from occupying the sea to gain the precious pearl. Each year the anxious farmer will utter every prayer he knows, and yet how small is the yield of the treacherous countryside! We shall face the perils of the sea-winds in our search for gain and follow the god of war in hope of booty. Ah, shame on those willing to pay so high a price for perishable goods! Luxury too entails a kind of military service: the glutton keeps sleepless watch over that which proves his ruin, and profligates oft pant for their own undoing. What then shall we give for heaven? What is the worth of that, with which we may purchase all? Man must expend his very self before God can dwell in him.
Nothing much has changed in 2000 years.

House Systems

Following the publication of the House Systems' Poll in The Tradition NEWS , Peter Stockinger has made some interesting comments on his web log. I should say straightaway that I agree with him completely and because I think his post is important, I would like to take up his discussion from another perspective.

When I read the results of this poll, I was reminded of the situation with house systems when I began in astrology in the early 1980s when Equal House and Placidus were the dominant systems. Campanus, Koch, Porphyry and many others were discussed and written about, new systems were presented each supposedly answering doubts found within the others. Regiomontanus came to the forefront because of the indefatigable work of Olivia Barclay in her attempts to promote the work of William Lilly, thus it was that this system became popular, and I will say more about this below. With all the arguments about which was the definitive house system, most students were left confused and unsure about what to do, until someone (I don't know who) came up with the solution of the 'no house' house system. That is, the angles of the chart would be calculated and then left at that; the chart being delineated through the quadrants. (Porphyry itself was seen as a compromise between Equal House and Placidus and thus as a solution.) This, too, became fashionable and I recall that it held its ground for a little while.

If I were to list the order of popularity of the house systems from 20 or 30 years ago, you'd see that little has changed in terms of the understanding of house systems. The choice for most people seems to made on the basis of who it is that is recommending the system, and little to do with the system itself.

I began my studies before the advent of the personal computer and astrological software. A few years later we did have some software for certain
scientific calculators, but that was it – we used tables. This probably was beneficial because to be able to generate these other, more novel systems, one needed the tables to go with them. Tables of houses could only be found by going to a bookshop, although sometimes we could buy through mail order. Also, calculating manually did tend to slow down some of our more eccentric activities; I could calculate and draw a chart in about 15 minutes (this is very fast), but even I was disinclined to calculate lots of charts simply to test some new-fangled technique.

Peter Stockinger has brought up the idea of fads and fashions in astrology and I agree with him, but this doesn't only extend to the house system, it also extends to the astrological method in totality. Modern, Traditional, Medieval and Classical (Hellenistic) attract their own adherents or followers, but the largest proportion of each are those who use a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Mixing systems or methodologies is a mistake and does no justice to any of the systems or methods employed. You might think that the mixing takes place between the Modern system and one of the earlier methodologies, but this isn't completely true. There are many practitioners who mix, say, Medieval with Traditional, or either of these with Classical which displays a lack of confidence and understanding.

Working astrology on a 'pick 'n mix' basis is understandable these days because there is so much information so easily available through the internet. But what needs to be said, I think, is that its recent manifestation began with the rising success of the Tradition in the late 1980s and throughout the 1990s. Whilst the Tradition was encapsulated within horary astrology, and stayed there, no questions or antagonisms were raised; it was a specialised field that required its own 'rules' and no-one disabused the Modern practitioners of that (readers might not know that when I began my studies in the Tradition, horary was an astrological pariah). Later I began to lecture and write on the use of the Tradition in nativities and mundane work. It became clear to me that the idea that the same system could be universally applied was causing some people problems, particularly as other Traditionalists began to do the same, and as natal courses became available. It seems to be at around that time that the divisions of application were set, that is, that the Traditional system was to be used for horary and perhaps mundane, and the Modern system for nativities. As this happened, so too did decisions about house systems – one for each astrological application.

There is only one astrology and it encompasses nativities, horary, elections, and mundane. Choose your period and stick to it, learn it thoroughly and cleanse your mind of everything else you've learned about astrology. Do not be tempted to introduce techniques from other periods ('bolt ons' don't work in astrology), use the house system associated with that period, and understand the historical and cultural context for that period. Just because we have access to all these historical periods, doesn't mean that we have to make porridge of them. Astrology is the language of the stars, not Esperanto.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

The Tradition NEWS

There is a free download of The Tradition NEWS available now at The Tradition Web Log. It features updates on the forthcoming issue of The Tradition and articles.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Lilly's Nativity in Finnish

My article regarding William Lilly's true nativity has been translated into Finnish by Petri Laakso and can be found at


Wednesday, 17 June 2009

William Lilly's Nativity - continued

My decision to publish William Lilly's true nativity here was made after much thought.In terms of circulation, the internet is second to none, but it has many drawbacks, too. I wanted the widest possible audience for an astrological fact. Too often astrologers are deluged with opinion and it is time that a few facts were introduced into a daily diet of pre-digested whimsy. William Lilly's nativity, offered for your interest here, is a fact, but not a universal truth. It is a fact because it exists and because it was the calculation which Lilly himself used (Elias Ashmole tells us so). It is not a universal truth because it is a personal instrument rectified to Lilly's own satisfaction and so broadly comes under the heading of opinion. Nevertheless, it is Lilly's opinion, not that of an enemy. I don't understand why it is that astrologers appear to accept so readily that Gadbury's approximation is good enough to work with. But, unfortunately, this is just an example of an attitude which helps to perpetuate less than rigorous scholarship. I am not a scholar, I am an astrologer who has engaged in serious study and research, even so, I am capable of providing the sources of my information so that readers may form their own opinions.

There is only one astrological system. It may have evolved over the centuries, but it remains fundamentally the same and anyone who has even looked at the authors of the past will see that. However, method does vary and we can link that to cultural changes, yet the system remains recognisable from one age to another - until the 20th century that is. William Lilly is important because he presents the system in a way that modern minds can readily understand because his time is much nearer to our own. Still we have to deal with the cultural differences, but nothing so vast as that when we try to approach the medieval period or the classical. William Lilly is important because he speaks of astrology as it was, not as it became through the Enlightenment. He speaks of astrology as a magical art, inextricably linked with the other hermetic arts. William Lilly is important because he practised what he preached and his success will never be matched by anyone in this age, we simply do not have that level of understanding. Our culture has robbed us of the means by which we might approach the subject and we have lost innocence, as William Blake might say. And yet we still claim astrology as our own...

The very least we can do is to get our facts straight.

My thanks to Luis Ribeiro of Academia de Astrologia (link shown right) who produced this video.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Lilly's Nativity iin Portuguese

The article below regarding the true nativity of William Lilly has been translated into Portuguese and can be found by following the link to the right for Primum Mobile. My thanks to Helena Avelar and Luis Ribeiro for translating it.

Friday, 12 June 2009

The Nativity of William Lilly

For many years, the only extant copy of Lilly's nativity was that provided by John Gadbury in his Collectio Geniturarum of 1662. This version was also used in the Regulus facsimile of Christian Astrology in 1985; since Gadbury hated Lilly, it seems a travesty to have published it in Lilly's greatest work. I know that Olivia Barclay detested the chart, but she wanted the facsimile to be published and thus didn't stand in its way. (To set the record straight, it was she who began the recovery of the Tradition in the early 1980s by promoting Lilly's work and allowing her original copy to be pulled apart for photographing. As much as other notable astrologers might have done in this regard later on, she was the first, the most active and the most well-known. I know this because I was there, having been one of her earliest students.)

Whether it matters or not that most astrologers know only Gadbury's rather poisonous version of Lilly's nativity, I will leave for you to decide. However, since we always bemoan the lack of accurate data, it seems a little odd to ignore the chart that Lilly himself used. I have published it before in the Astrological Associations's Journal, and presented it at a lecture at least five years ago, so it hasn't been hidden from sight.

There are serious differences, particularly regarding the Moon's position and that of some of the cusps, between this 'authorised' version and that published by Gadbury and his friend Blackwell. You will notice that Lilly has gone to the trouble of calculating some planetary positions to the second, so it's a little optimistic to say that the differences are small and thus trivial. If you are not using primary directions for natal predictions, then these discrepancies won't mean as much, but it seems that to follow the Tradition and *not* use primaries is missing the point somewhat.

The following chart is from MS Ashm. 394 and is endorsed by Ashmole himself as being Lilly's nativity copied by Ashmole. This is the correct chart and the one which Lilly rectified and directed himself. Anyone wishing to comment on Lilly's life should be referring to this and no other unless for reasons of comparison.

From Lilly's unpublished papers:

From Gadbury's published works:

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Physical Description

The workshop at Lisbon brought up a number of interesting astrological points relating to physical description, one being the value of "moles, marks and scars". It is a technique used by William Lilly and explained in Christian Astrology and one which I've favoured for many years. However, I have used it mainly for horary work and haven't really taken the opportunity to explore it in nativities. The workshop enabled me to correct that and I am now more convinced that this technique is valuable.

Obviously, in such an environment, it wasn't possible to be certain in all cases – they could hardly take their clothes off to check some of the more private areas! I'm hoping, though, that those who needed to check afterwards will do so and let me have the results. If this occurs, it might be possible (with their permission and without identification) to post those results here. In any case, the results were positive enough to warrant further investigation into those charts and supported my experience with horary descriptions. So, hopefully, there will be more from me on this later on.

So, watch this space...

Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Anzacs and Gallipoli


The above site is just one source of information on the setting up of the Anzacs, the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and their exploits. 'Anzac Day' is held on the 25th April every year to commemorate the Anzac landings at Gallipoli in Turkey on 25th April 1915, an action of some renown, some might say infamy. These annual commemorations are primarily to honour the bravery of those who fought there (and in other places afterwards) and who suffered huge losses, but achieved very little in military terms. These days the memorial services are as much to do with Turkish losses which were also great. Along with those who fought so bravely and so well, the day also brings to mind the ineptitude of those in command, those at the top of the hierarchy who sent these men into battle, for example, one wave of troops is said to have landed on the wrong beach giving them the almost impossible task of getting off that beach because of the surrounding cliffs. But this is not meant to be a definitive summary, there are many web sites which deal with Gallipoli in one way or another, I am simply interested in looking at the astrology of that ominous day in 1915.

The first problem becomes apparent with the chart because there are various times given for the first landing of the Anzacs at Gallipoli. The abovementioned web site provides a time of 4.10am from one source, and 4.30am to 4.45am on the timeline. If anyone has a definitive time of the first Anzac landing, I'd be obliged if they'd let me know. I've opted for 4.30am and this is based on the chart, although there are few differences through to 4.45am. The 4.10am time gives a different perspective.

At 4.30am with Aries rising, its ruler, Mars is just above the horizon and I took this as the troops just reaching land, but the time could as easily have been four or five
minutes earlier when an even closer match is obtained. Having a strong Mars as a significator in a chart relating to war is of course the best that can be hoped and here it is not only strong, but the strongest in the chart. So, if that's the case, why did this expedition fail and a withdrawal effected less than a year later? The fighting force is not the only issue in battles, the strength of command, the continuity of supplies and communications are just as vital; without even one of these being in place, no amount of bravery will win.

I'm going to use Christian Astrology by William Lilly to find my arguments and this should present no problem because the nature of war does not change, its essence remains the same. At the time that this book was published, England was in the midst of a fierce civil war; many battles were fought and many lives were lost. Even so, Lilly reports from much older authorities in times when the arrow and the siege engine replaced the bullet and the cannon.

It would be tempting to investigate the aphorisms for beseigement, and some certainly would apply, but the battle for Gallipoli reached a point where it was difficult to say who was besieging whom, although I'm sure that the soldiers and sailors fighting in the battle would have their own ideas on that. So, I will examine the section in Christian Astrology from page 380 to page 383, "Of Commanders in Armies, their abilities, fidelity, and whether by them Victory may be had yea or not, &c.". This is a simple exercise that you can apply for yourselves.

The Anzacs are signified by the 1st house, Aries and Mars; the 7th house, Libra and Venus signify the Turkish defenders and reinforcements. The first indicator here is fulfilled: "An Infortune in the ascendant...it notes, the querent, or that side he takes part with, will not amange their matters well, or prosecute the Warre discreetly:". Mercury is the ruler of the sign intercepted in the 6th house, an unfortunate house, and is thus unforutnate itself. the same might be said about the Sun, even though it is in a different sign from that rising. Just concentrating on this for a moment, you will also see that the South Node is conjunct the 6th cusp with the Moon also in the 6th. This house, in "Christian Astrology" relates to "the Carriage-Horse attending the army...", and mules and horses were used at Gallipoli, but we can take this as transport in the terms intended by Lilly. This then suggests that transport was a problem, in that getting supplies and equipment from place to place actually caused serious problems because the rulers are placed in the 1st house.

These infortunes in the 1st also indicate that that there was no "good cause" for this expedition and this was, in fact, true because (albeit with hindsight) it is known that the Royal Navy could have achieved its goal if it had persisted because the Turkish army had run out of ammunition after the first bombardments. Had it done so, the landings would not have been necessary at all. As it was, the bombardment gave the Turks notice and they brought up supplies and reinforcements in the interim.

"If an Infortune be in the fourth, the place where the Warre is like to be, or where the Armies engage, is like to be unfit for the querent's Army:..." In this chart there is no infortune in the 4th, but Mars aspects the cusp closely by square. Even though Mars is well dignified and is ruler of the 1st, it is also ruler of the 8th and thus has some claim to being unfortunate. Certainly, stuck on a beach with the sea behind you is no place to have a battle. Exalted Jupiter is in a trine with the 5th cusp and this indicates that "If Mars be in the fift, well dignified, or the good aspects of the Fortunes irradiate that house,... the Army or Souldiers on the querent's part, will be good Souldiers, apt for fight, and obedient to their Officers;". Since there is no querent because this is an event chart, we might extend the argument about Mars to its 1st house position. There are no fortunes in the 8th house and so "much destruction of men will follow, or wil there be many men wounded, or their wounds difficult to cure;" to reverse the aphorism. Notice that Mars rules this house and is strong in dignity, thus it is capable of great bloodshed. Jupiter also holds a square to the 9th house cusp, it is fairly well-off in terms of dignity and so we might allow this to be less harmful and indeed the Turks were in a very good position, situated as they were above the Anzacs; Turkish snipers did enormous damage.

"...but if Saturn or the South Node be therein [the 10th], or Mars, any wayes unfortunate, the Officers and Captaines are very asses and buzzards, have no judgement, simple Fellowes, the whole designe [plan] is like to be overthrowne by their knavery, and want of discretion and judgment; I meane, the greater part of the Officers, &c. they are more fit for hanging, then to Command." This statement seems a little excessive, and this exact configuration isn't present anyway, but Mars does have a square to the 10th cusp, and even though this aspect occurs in signs of short ascension, it doesn't bode well in these circumstances. Furthermore, the 10th is ruled by an undignified Saturn. As Saturn is disposited by Mercury, it seems to me that bad communications were as much to blame. The lower ranking officers have no fortune in the 11th to support them, although exalted Venus does cast a sextile to the cusp, indicating that the officers on the ground were less at fault than those higher up.

And so we move to the 12th house: "If a Fortune be in the twelft house, those against whom the Army is to go, are well provided, and resolved to defend thelselves; they agree well, feare nothing, will stand it out to the last:"

So, we have a strong Mars for the Anzacs, but this planet also rules the turned 2nd of the Turkish resources, furthermore, Turkish supplies and ammunition are
signified by an exalted Jupiter. This when added to the slightly more elevated position of Venus in exaltation provides additional testimony of the position of the Turkish troops. We should not forget the poor decision-making of the upper eschelons of the Allied forces, because this was the single greatest obstacle to victory which even that very strong Mars could not overcome.

A quiet withdrawal of the Anzacs, with few casualties, was achieved by 19th December 1916, just short of 8 months after the landings. The Moon applies to a trine of
the Sun, revealing the errors and the futility of further attempts, in about 41' of arc. When proprotioned to a year, this equates to about 8 months.

The total number of deaths among the British, French, Australian, New Zealander, Indian and Turkish forces was over 130,000, The Turkish forces losing almost twice the number lost by the Allied forces. In terms of population size, New Zealand suffered the highest percentage of Allied deaths. No wonder then that both sides participate in Anzac Day.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

THE TRADITION journal web log

As you might know Helena Avelar, Luis Ribeiro and myself have worked extremely hard to bring you The Tradition journal. But all that hard work is pointless if it misses the mark. We want to know what you think of it in general and specific terms. To this end, we have set up a web log for you to make your comments.


Post your comments and we will try to reply.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

Hard Wired

Her neighbour's alarm having been activated, she looked out of her window to see what was going on. She spotted three boys breaking into her neighbour's house, but she had also been spotted by them and one boy shot at her. Like many women, she was a firm supporter of the underwired bra and it was this that saved her life or from serious injury. The bullet was deflected by the underwiring and the only injuries she sustained we caused by broken glass as the bullet passed through her window.


I am showing this chart for one reason only, as you will see. The 1st house represents the woman who was shot at, Cancer is on the cusp - which part of the body corresponds to Cancer? Yes, you guessed it: the breasts. The Ascendant is afflicted by Saturn and certainly she was in great danger, but the bullet, Mars, is applying to Venus (Veus is very slow at the moment) very closely. And what does Venus signify? Women's things!

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Lisbon, Temperament and Physical Appearance

On Saturday, 6th June at 2pm, I will be leading a half-day workshop in Lisbon, it will be in English. with Portuguese translation We will explore the relationship between the temperament and physical appearance and we'll do that through the nativities of those attending the workshop. But there's a twist - I will judge these from the nativities without knowing to whom they belong and before I arrive in Lisbon. It should be fun!

Those attending will already have made the necessary calculations with the help of Helena Avelar and Luis Ribeiro (follow their link in the sidebar for Academy of Astrological Studies). I will take those calculations and nativities and working from those will make a judgement on the native's temperament and their physical appearance. This is not done to appear to be clever, but to show how reliable these Traditional methods are and how much confidence I have in them.

For those more modernly inclined, you might be interested to know that through the temperament we begin to discover the 'psychology' of the native. Yes, "there's nothing new in our posterity". There's nothing new about psychology, except its name.

I hope to meet some of you there, we always have a great time and I do like Lisbon very much.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Not So Lucky

The public holidays always bring with them their share of tragedies as people do whatever they have to for fun. In this case, a Polish tourist appears to have been having a photo taken by friends. A witness reported that he was on, or very near to the cliff edge and holding on to a tuft of grass for support as the photo was being taken. The grass was uprooted by the tourist's weight and he fell 300 feet (90m) to his death. The time given is approximately the time that the emergency services were called. The man was already dead when the call was placed as is shown in the chart.

The chart speaks clearly enough, but readers might also like to note the similarities with previous charts of cliff falls on this web log. You can see the Ascendant and the Moon in late degrees as well as Venus, to whom the Moon applies. The Sun rules the Ascendant and is exalted, high up, but not this time because he would be rescued by the Coastguard. The general significator, the Moon, is in its fall and in the 4th house of ground level afflicting the rising degree. The late degrees again describing a position 'between', in this case, between land and sea, between life and death.


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Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea

Unlike my earlier post regarding the dog who fell off a cliff, there was no ledge to break this man's fall of 85 feet (26m). He was rescued by the Coastguard and taken to hospital with two broken legs and a suspected skull fracture.


Clearly this chart describes a fall with Saturn in the 1st house and close to the Ascendant, and Mercury, the ruler of the Ascendant, is separating from an opposition with Saturn. This describes the fall itself, but if we look at Mercury's position in a western house and applying to the Sun after a change of sign, we see a description of his location near the most western point of England, Land's End. He was found about 20 feet (6m) above the waterline and as with Saturn's position near the cusp of the 1st and Mercury's position nearing a sign cusp, we have that image again of 'between'. A good expression would be "between the devil and the deep blue sea", as Mercury separates from one and applies to the other.

That the man survived is probably due to Jupiter's intervention, the Moon separates from one benefic and applies to the other, even though it's not very well dignified, so it couldn't save him from falling – Saturn disposits it – but it could keep him from worse injury. Because the Sun is exalted, we have an image of life elevated and the man airlifted to safety.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Better Late than Never!

(Thanks to Helena Avelar for the title.)

Aside from the jokey title, there is a poignancy to this story that I'm sure you'll understand. A young girl's remains were recovered by archaeologists just outside a church in Kent. Some 700 years earlier, she had been decapitated and her head placed beside the body. It is said that this was done in order to prevent the spirit of the deceased from wandering and was often the result of some offence, and that she had been buried in unhallowed ground for the same reason. Two suggestions are that she might have been found guilty of a crime or had committed suicide. The cause of death is unknown.


It is probably wise to investigate the 1st house and the 4th for information about this strange case; the 1st for the unknown girl and the 4th for the grave, discovery,
and re-burial. Saturn is on the cusp of the 4th house, a natural significator of death, burial and matters connected with the underground. It is retrograde suggesting a repeated action and in Virgo, a double-bodied sign, supporting that and so we have a description of two burials or funerals. The Moon rules the 1st house and is fallen in the 5th which is strongly suggestive of illegitimate pregnancy. Its dispositor is Mars in the 9th of religion and about to change signs, although not afflicting the 1st or the Moon, Mars corresponds to beheading through its natural association with cutting and Aries' association with the head. Mars being in late degrees is suggestive of her being buried just outside of the boundaries of the church, it is on the 9th cusp, a boundary.

There are a number of points that suggest a conclusion:
  • the Moon applies to Mercury and Mercury is in a mutual application with Saturn;
  • Mercury rules the 12th house anciently associated with evil doings and what was termed 'witchcraft';
  • Mercury is in Pisces, often associated with Christianity and it is in the 9th of religion and the Church;
  • Jupiter, natural ruler of religion, is in the 8th of death.
This might indicate that the girl was suspected of being possessed by demons and was put to death on the authority of the Church, thus deprived of a Christian burial and the attainment of place in Heaven. I think it wasn't unknown for women to blame demonic possession for their adultery or illegitimate pregnancies, perhaps this was the case here and the results were not as expected. The same line of argument might produce the conclusion that the girl did indeed take her own life and that it was blamed on demonic possession.

The Sun, also in Pisces, is at the Midheaven and it separates from the opposition of Saturn, the grave. The religious funeral on sacred ground leads to a rather romantic interpretation that the girl's spirit was finally released into the light of the Sun, or Sun God.

Friday, 20 March 2009

More Than Lucky

The following chart is set for the time that the Coastguard was alerted after a man asked for help because his dog had fallen over the cliff. The cliff is about 200 feet (60 metres) high, but the dog had fallen just 10 feet onto a ledge. The dog was lifted to safety and reunited with its owner. I've chosen this subject because it gives me the opportunity to explain a little about finding the correct signficator.

This chart is an event chart and there is no information about who it was made the call to the Coastguard, so choosing a significator for the dog isn't straightforward. You will see from the photo that the dog is very like a golden retriever, so I've concentrated on that as physical description is the ultimate test for correct significators. Also, the dog has fallen so we might want to take note of Saturn as the natural ruler of falls, and of the Moon, general significator, in its fall in Scorpio. It would be tempting to go directly to the 6th house of small animals, but this takes no account of the Ascendant we don't know if it was the owner who made the call. Thus, I'm going for Mars because it disposits the Moon and is itself disposited by Saturn. Furthermore, it's in Aquarius which gives a light, sanguine colouring. Mars is in late degrees as is the 10th house itself in which Mars is placed, and so I take that as a clear image of an edge or ledge. Perhaps the joining of land and sea.

Lilly says this of Aquarius ("Christian Astrology" page 99): "I have observed the party is of a cleer, white or faire Complexion, and of sandy coloured Haire, or very flaxen, ...". As Aquarius is of the Air triplicity it provides a description of high places, hilly and uneven. I'm satisfied that the dog is signified by Mars in Aquarius. Mars is the strongest planet and that it is in the 10th house indicates 'lifting up' rather than 'falling down'.


I think it's more fortunate that the dog is of that particular breed which are often steady, reliable and unflustered dogs, another breed might have fallen during the
rescue attempt. Nevertheless, it's amazing.

Monday, 9 March 2009

To Hell – and back?

In the current issue of The Tradition journal (link to the right), I've made a fairly detailed study of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in terms of the economy with particular reference to the current crisis. Along with this I discuss our dependence upon fossil fuels, so it seemed apt to follow-through with this chart which refers to a series of aspects that I mention in the article but don't apply therein.

The history attaching to the the Miners' Strike of 1984 to 1985 is long and complex and I won't attempt to go into the details here, but the preceding concern was that Thatcher's Tory government would close large numbers of the nationalised coal mines and privatise the rest. It was on this basis of fear that the strike was announced as 'general' and those miners who were not already on strike, walked out. The beginning of this strike is marked as a few minutes after midnight on 5th March 1984 at Cortonwood Colliery, near Barnsley, Yorkshire.

There are a few selected points of interest here that I want to bring to attention:

  • the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) was the most powerful of the unions and its strike of some ten or twelve years earlier, to all intents and purposes, brought the Heath government to an end;
  • the government's propaganda machine was brought to bear with full force against the miners whose financial arguments were overwhelmed and public opinion was anaesthetised by government tirades – until afterwards that is;
  • Thatcher described the strikers as "the enemy within" in comparison to the "enemy without" i.e. the Argentinians who invaded the Falkland Islands (it is generallyaccepted that the military action to recapture the islands kept Thatcher in office);
  • the police were used in huge force to beat down the pickets as if they were enemies and went far beyond the call of duty in this regard. They were brought in from areas outside of those affected by strikes so that their "local sympathies" wouldn't get in the way of their duty! Taunts by some officers of "treble time" (overtime paidat the rate of three times the basic wage) whilst waving their wage packets at the strikers, who were getting nothing, must have been done to stir up trouble;
  • the Tory government effectively 'starved out' the miners. The government took the view that the strike was unnofficial (a general ballot had not been taken) and therefore strikers were not entitled to state benefits. Needless to say, this took the strike to the children of their families who couldn't even get the free school meals they would otherwise have got;
  • from the political perspective, Thatcher succeeded in destroying the trades unions because, as she and her supporters continued to legislate against the unions and the privatisation programme picked up speed, British industry was annihilated and the unions along with it. It might be true to say that as the strike lengthened and frustration deepened mistakes were made by the strikers, too – it is reported that at least two collieries would have survived had they allowed safety workers in to secure those mines, for example. However, there are former mining towns and villages which remain on the EU list of the most deprived and run-down not only in the UK, but in Europe, too. Well over 200,000 miner workers subsequently lost their jobs as colliery after colliery was closed down. Some were sold to private companies, but many of those have also closed down. Some mines were promised security if their workers did not strike, they didn't strike and have had to bear the enmity of their colleagues from other areas, but it's easy to see why they didn't strike. Those too have been closed down.

I don't offer a link to this story because it's easy enough to find from numerous sources. But the full story is nasty and twisted involving the intelligence service, 'dirty tricks', subterfuge, informants and, as you might expect from politicians, lots and lots of lies. In the end, in the massive closures of 1992 and beyond, the miners were threatened with no redundancy payments (the sop with which the Major government got this through Parliament) if they went on strike about those closures.

It goes on because former miners still have to fight for compensation where their health has been affected by their work, those who have survived thus far that is. And, to my mind, the latest and perhaps greatest insult was a firm of solicitors, widely used by miners to process their claims and obtain the payments, has been defrauding them. Some miners got a cheque for just a few pounds.

To hell and back? I would say so.

My reasons for going into such detail here are not purely personal, although I do have fairly strong feelings about it, but because the chart is so clearly descriptive of this awful experience. For all the preceding words, the chart requires little explanation.

I cannot think of a better description of Hell than the one here: Mars conjunct Saturn in Scorpio, above ground only because of the strike. Saturn naturally rules mines and underground matters, Mars naturally rules strikes. So, although the time is approximate, the description tells us that it's not that far out. Scorpio is intractable and persistent and so the strike will be prolonged; Mars is also the strongest planet which gives the strike power and dignity. So, they did have cause and it was for the industry not just their own livelihoods that they did what they did – their leadership may have had other ideas – the miners themselves believed in what they were doing.

The Mars-Saturn aspect series are of particular interest to national or mundane astrology (along with the Mars-Jupiter series), the conjunction, square and opposition are particularly malevolent. This one, perfect on 14th February 1984, is no different and has had far-reaching effects. The next occurred on 28th February 1990, the year that Thatcher was forced to step down, and the next on 6th March 1992, the year of the next round of closures with the loss of 31,000 jobs. Bear in mind that this same period was one of recession.

The Aries Moon in the 5th house is particularly poignant because it was ultimately that their children were suffering that forced the miners back to work. This Moon is void of course and demonstrated the futility of the strike – it would go nowhere. Mars itself is void, too, only receiving a square aspect (in signs of short ascension) from Venus, ruler of the 11th and 6th houses: hard work and hope. Assistance did come in the form of donations of money, food, clothing and so on, but it was never enough to fight the government who, although telling the country that we had to 'tighten our belts', still found the money to wage this war against the miners.

The South Node of deceit and loss is on the cusp of the 2nd house, the Part of Fortune is there, too, but is disposited by fallen Jupiter also in the 2nd. How explicit this is of the strike itself and its poverty and, indeed, of the aftermath. But we should also consider the other angular planets of Sun and Mercury. The 4th house is a dark house and corresponds to mines, but also to hidden matters, to which Mercury's combustion also refers. Mercury rules the 10th house of government and the Sun is the natural ruler of those in authority and power. So we see here an example of the underhanded and secretive nature of the doings of Thatcher's government. Interestingly, though, her handling of this matter, and that of the Poll Tax, proved to be her undoing and we see the mutual application of the Sun and Saturn to a trine.

However, it wasn't only she who was hoist with her own petard, the British as a whole were hoist with it, too. It is commonly known that we could have used the coal from those mines, that their closure was a purely political and idealogical act as the miners themselves had argued. Anger and bitterness are still felt by those who took part in the strike. Public opinion swung against the government afterwards, perhaps guilty feelings about being led by the nose by politicians, which caused difficulties for them in pursuing their programme of closures.

So, "to hell and back in a handcart" probably sums up this event and the chart itself. As my article in The Tradition journal explains, the Earth series of conjunctions has been far from easy, and this event occurred after the first Air conjunction of 1980 when we were all being carried away by the virtues – and profits – of commerce as opposed to industry. Perhaps the advocates of that movement are at least feeling a little silly now as we stand by helplessly and watch commerce disintegrate.