Mundane Astrology

September 5, 2013

Autumn 2013: Calm Before the Storm

Filed under: Uncategorized — Seren @ 8:15 am

It’s been a year now since I last had the chance to post a mundane reading here. I apologize to my readers for the delay: it’s been a very busy time for me. Still, with the approach of the autumn equinox comes a new ingress chart, governing the next six months of America’s troubled encounter with its future, and other responsibilities have backed off far enough that I’ve had time to cast and delineate a chart for the upcoming six months. Those readers who are hoping for better times in the near future are going to be disappointed: for the United States, at least, the next six months are going to be more of the same rough sledding we’ve had for the last few years.


Let’s start with the basics. The administration in power in the US is indicated by the planet ruling the tenth house cusp, and the head of state is indicated by the Sun. It’s even more important than usual to draw this distinction just now, as President Obama remains as detached as ever from the political and economic realities of the country he was presumably elected to lead. You’ll find the Sun over in the eighth house, almost wholly disconnected from the rest of the chart; its only relation to other planets are a set of nicely paired applying semisquares with Venus and Mars. The semisquare is an aspect of tension, a weak echo of the square; Obama, isolated as usual, is once again poised between two competing forces, leaving him in a state of indecision and relative paralysis.

One of those forces, in a fine bit of political irony, is his own administration. Since the tenth house cusp is in Scorpio, that’s indicated by Mars, who is in Leo near the cusp of the seventh house.  Mars in the seventh house is a traditional indication of war, though it normally needs to be backed up by a square, opposition, or conjunction of the outer planets to make that indication stick; lacking that, it argues that important figures in Obama’s cabinet are pushing hard for war, in a predictably blustering Leo manner, but may or may not get it.  A mostly random barrage of missiles launched at an enemy who lacks the capacity to shoot back—the most typical expression of US foreign policy these days—might well be indicated by this position.

The other side of the conflict is Venus in the ninth house, which has a twofold significance here. The ninth house in mundane astrology represents relations with other countries, and so part of that opposition comes from the many other nations that are less than delighted with Washington’s latest march toward war. Venus, however, also rules the cusp of the fourth house, which in mundane astrology represents the other party in a two-party system. With utter predictability, in other words, Republicans who couldn’t find any objection to George W. Bush’s wars are bristling in outrage when a president from the other party tries something out of the same playbook.  Again, whether or not their opposition will amount to anything is hard to say from the chart.

The position of the Sun in the eighth house also deserves discussion. The eighth house is the house of death, but an event as dramatic and rare as the death of a head of state in office is signaled in the heavens by much more specific indications, and those aren’t present in this chart. A position such as this in a mundane chart, rather, means that the authority of the head of state will suffer, or that another important figure in the administration will be forced to step down.

Far more troubling from the perspective of the current administration is the condition of the people, represented in a mundane chart by the ruler of the ascendant and the Moon. The ascendant of this ingress chart is in Aquarius, traditionally ruled by Saturn, and the Moon is passing from an opposition with Saturn, through an opposition with Venus, to a square with Mars. The Moon-Saturn opposition argues that popular opinion has been sharply divided; the Moon-Venus opposition suggests that the GOP, which at one point had some claim to speak for at least a part of the American people, is losing that advantage rapidly—a shift also shown by Venus’ separation from a conjunction with Saturn. The square with Mars warns that disillusionment with the Republicans may not work out to the advantage of the Democrats, as the cheerleading for war that’s taken the place of serious statesmanship on the latter side of the aisle will have very little appeal among the public.

Other factors promise to further this bipartisan loss of legitimacy. The most important of these is shown by the pattern of outer planets in the eleventh, first and second houses of the chart. Uranus retrograde in the second house—the house of the nation’s wealth and economic activity—may just  be the most critical of these. Uranus is a malefic, the ruler of all things unexpected and disruptive, and in the second house of a mundane chart its normal meaning is economic crisis.

Notice the relationships between Uranus and other planets.  It’s just separating from a square with Pluto, in the eleventh house but within orb of the cusp of the twelfth. There’s also a separating trine between Uranus and Mars, a good deal further apart, and an applying inconjunct—the minor aspect of near misses and might-have-beens—between Uranus and Saturn. The square with Pluto, conjunct the cusp of the house of institutions, suggests that recent changes in government policy may well trigger the impending economic crisis; the trine with Mars hints that the point of the bellicose rhetoric coming out of the administration just now may be intended to distract attention from the economy; while the inconjunct with Saturn, who rules the twelfth house cusp, suggests that official actions taken to forestall the crisis will fall frustratingly short of their goal.

Then there’s Neptune, poised in the first house of the chart. Neptune in a mundane chart represents those deep influences that come from “out of the blue,” difficult to define and often subtle in their influence but pervasive. In the first house, the house of the national mood and consciousness, this generally means the emergence of a new trend in the collective thinking of a nation, one that may eventually take shape in an organized movement of some kind. Neptune’s separating trine with Saturn hints that this new mood will emerge out of existing ideas and beliefs among the general public, and very possibly (given Saturn’s broader symbolism) from those of a conservative cast.

Neptune is also in aspect with Jupiter in an applying sesquiquadrate, another minor aspect of strain and tension. Jupiter in mundane astrology represents the influence of the rich and privileged in society, the sixth house is that of health, and the relationship here suggests that among the issues that catalyzes the birth of the new trend of thought is the extremely widespread popular dissatisfaction with the medical-pharmaceutical industry (the nation’s so-called “health care system”) and its ever more blatant pursuit of profit at the expense of human lives and health. Widespread publicity given to a more than usually egregious example of medical corruption or abuse may bring this dissatisfaction to a head—that would certainly be suggested, at least, by the square between Jupiter and Mercury in the eighth.

 All in all, it’s an ordinarily troubled fall and winter for the dysfunctional former democracy called the USA. The upcoming spring ingress chart is something else again, and promises the arrival of a very troubled period indeed. I’ll try to have a chart up well in advance.

September 23, 2012

Autumn 2012: Voices Prophesying War

Filed under: Uncategorized — Seren @ 9:36 am

Regular readers will recall that since this year’s Aries ingress chart for the United States had Sagittarius rising, that chart governed the six months from the spring to the autumn equinox. As that interval draws to an end, it’s interesting to glance back over the points made in the post covering that chart.  The speculative bubble showed up on cue, though it was not in the stock market—shale gas and shale oil, boosted into the limelight by supposedly new “fracking” techniques (which have been in common use in the oil patch for forty years) and marketed with the same sort of meretricious hype used not that long ago to push worthless real estate investments, turned out to be the speculative vehicle du jour. The inevitable aftermath is already on its way—a point that will be discussed in more detail shortly.

The vacuum at the top of the American political system also remained fixed in place, though Obama’s advisers managed to avoid the open quarrels that the spring chart suggested were likely. Over the last six months, the presidential leadership that’s been missing in action since Obama’s inauguration has continued to play a lively game of “Where’s Waldo?” with the American people.  The Republicans, for their part, failed to do much of anything with the opportunities thus handed them, a point which goes to show that even the most promising horoscope can’t make up for the basic incompetence that is so pervasive and bipartisan a fact of American political life these days.

Many of these same themes remain in place for the next six months, but there’s another major factor that appears in the Libra ingress chart. Here it is:

We can begin, as usual, with the basics.  The head of state in a mundane chart is indicated by the planet ruling the midheaven, and also by the Sun. In this case it’s a moot point, since the midheaven falls in Leo, the Sun’s domicile. The Sun is in the 11th house, which in mundane charts represents the national legislature; thus it’s safe to say that the next six months of absentee leadership from the White House will be even more subject to the whims and conflicts of Congress than before.

The Sun is in its fall in Libra, but that’s always the case in a chart cast for this season and so can be disregarded. What can’t be disregarded is the ugly T-square aspect made by the Sun with the planets Pluto, in the second house, and Uranus in the fifth. This is an applying aspect, and thus represents an influence that will increase in strength over the period covered by the chart. Uranus, the planet of radical change, is in the fifth house of speculation, and Pluto, the ruler of hidden things, is in the second house of money; the most likely interpretation is a major economic crack-up in which a great deal of corruption and fiscal fraud is abruptly revealed.  Given the Obama administration’s close ties to the financial industry, it doesn’t take an astrologer to suggest that Obama himself may be far too close to these financial improprieties for his own political comfort.

The second and fifth house cusps, interestingly, are both ruled by Jupiter in this chart. Jupiter is in a fascinating position, less than a degree off the cusp of the eighth house—the house of death. The sort of event that so often kicked off financial crises a century ago, with the sound of a self-administered bullet whistling through a financier’s skull serving to announce the collapse of some great and fraudulent scheme, comes forcefully to mind; this may not be what happens, but a close eye on the obituaries may be worthwhile. Notice also the trine between Jupiter and Mercury, the planet ruling the eighth house cusp; whatever happens, it will be a media sensation, and it’s not impossible that some Mercurial industry will be involved in the process.

The people of a nation in a mundane chart are indicated by the the planet ruling the ascendant, and the Moon. The ascendant’s in Scorpio, and Mars—the traditional ruler of Scorpio—is sitting right up against the first house cusp; it’s a safe bet that the popular mood over the next six months will be unusually bellicose. Some of that aggression is going to be channeled straight at Obama and his administration, for the Moon—the secondary significator of the people—is in the second house, applying hard to a square with Obama’s Sun. The Moon in the second house is also a traditional indicator of volatility in the economic sector, by the way.

Normally this sort of chart would be bad news for an incumbent president, but the Republicans have gone out of their way to make life easy for Obama in the upcoming election season. The party out of power is represented in a mundane chart by the planet ruling the cusp of the fourth house, which in this case is Saturn; there he is in the twelfth house, the weakest position in the chart, exalted in Libra but in the last, essentially powerless degrees of that sign, with Obama’s significator perched at the beginning of the same sign.

The GOP, in other words, remains stuck in reactive mode, allowing Obama to set the terms of the debate, and failing to convince much of anyone that they can actually offer any sort of alternative to Obama’s policies—which themselves, please note, were copied almost word for word from those of George W. Bush.  They stand to gain from the economic crisis (Saturn trine Uranus) and may well win more support from the people (Moon sextile Saturn).  Still, that twelfth house position does not suggest a change of presidents any time soon, so the odds are that Romney will continue to run a feeble campaign, and Obama will win four more years by default.

There may be a little more to it than that. Mars in one of the angles of a mundane chart is a traditional sign of war, and Mars in the first house, conjunct the ascendant, is as strong a sign of this sort as could be expected.  It’s very likely that the United States will go to war in the next six months; it will be a popular war—Mars’ placement in the first house, ruling the sign on the ascendant, shows that—and a victorious one, at least in the near term—Mars in his domicile in Scorpio shows that.

The other side?  That’s indicated by the ruler of the cusp of the seventh house, which is Venus. Venus in this chart is dignified by term, a minor dignity, and weakened by being in the cadent 9th house. An applying square between Mars and Venus suggests that the war will be against one of those nations that most Americans think of as a hostile power.  It’s hard to get precise indications of individual nations from a mundane chart, but if I were the government of Iran, I would walk very, very carefully for the next six months, and do nothing that might bring down an American military response.  As the economic crisis tightens its grip, it’s very likely Obama will flail around for any available option to distract the American people from his record of nonleadership, and posturing in front of a victorious army certainly worked for his predecessor.

One way or another, it will be an interesting six months.  A nice victorious war may get Obama his reelection, if it happens soon enough, or it may deflect criticism from him for a few months during the economic crisis, but it’s not going to do a thing to solve, or even defer, the increasingly difficult problems facing the United States. As those problems continue to suffer from malign neglect, expect the pace of crisis to pick up—with troubling consequences in the year to come.

March 4, 2012

Spring 2012: A Matter For Speculation

Filed under: Uncategorized — Seren @ 10:38 am

The Aries ingress chart sets each year’s astrological keynote, and its influence on each nation’s capitol provides a snapshot for the mundane influences that will be shaping that nation over the months to come. How long the influence lasts varies, depending on the zodiacal sign rising above the eastern horizon at any given capital at the moment of ingress. For the last few years, the ascendant of Washington DC’s Aries ingress charts has reliably turned up in cardinal signs; traditionally, when this occurs, the influence of the ingress passes off with the season, and each quarter’s mundane chart thus shuffles the cards of the nation’s destiny and deals a new hand.

This year, the common sign Sagittarius rises on Washington DC’s horizon as the Sun enters Aries, and so the influences we’ll be discussing in this post remain in play for six months. Whether or not this counts as a good thing is a matter for speculation—in more senses than one. Here’s the chart:


Let’s start with the basics. The condition of the American government and, more precisely, of the nation’s head of state will come as no surprise to readers who have either followed these posts or kept track of the news. The tenth house cusp is in Virgo, and so President Obama’s significator is Mercury, which is retrograde, combust, and peregrine – in other words, very nearly as weak as a planet in a mundane chart can be. It’s probably safe to predict that Obama will remain as out of touch during the remainder of his term as he has been so far, and will continue to display the same serene certainty that smiles, nods, and lip-synched sound bites are adequate substitutes for the leadership this country normally gets from its presidents.

Two details of the chart, however, suggest some interesting wrinkles to this ongoing scenario. First, Obama’s significator is combust and retrograding toward the Sun, which is the natural ruler of government. In the months to come, it’s quite possible that Obama will become even more detached and less effective than he’s been to date, and other members of his administration may find themselves forced to take more of a leadership role by the vacuum at the top. This probably won’t turn out well, since the fourth house is the natural house of opposition to the existing government; I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see cabinet officials turn on each other as they struggle for the power Obama hasn’t gotten around to using.

Second, as just mentioned, Obama’s significator and the Sun are both in the fourth house, which is the natural house of the opposition.  This is an odd place for a president and his administration to be; it has happened in the past that an incumbent president has tried to position himself as the alternative to the existing order in Washington DC, though, and this is probably what’s being indicated here. Expect to see the Obama administration taking on a more belligerent and oppositional stance toward Congress in the months to come. The sort of standoff in which the business of governing the nation grinds to a halt is by no means an unlikely outcome.

Congress, represented by the eleventh house, is in a much stronger position than Obama, and can afford to risk such a standoff. The sign on the eleventh house cusp is Libra, so Venus is its significator, and Venus is in its rulership in Taurus in the fifth house. Expect  conservatives to score at least one of their long-term goals in the months ahead—the eleventh house is also the house of hopes and dreams.  Liberal social issues such as gay marriage, though, will likely do well this year, buoyed by Venus in the fifth house of pleasures. The eleventh house cusp is also conjunct Saturn, who thus serves as a co-significator, and is retrograde but in his exaltation in Libra. Saturn on the cusp of the eleventh house is traditionally a sign of major troubles in government, dissension in the legislative branch, and trouble for the party in power—no surprises there.

The American people, meanwhile, is represented by the ruler of the ascendant. Sagittarius rises in this chart, making Jupiter the people’s significator, and Jupiter is in the fifth house, peregrine but benefited by a grand trine that includes a retrograde Mars in the ninth house and a conjunction between Pluto and the Part of Fortune in the first. Mars in the ninth suggests trouble abroad, though none of the traditional indicators of war are present; the very close conjunction between Pluto and the Part of Fortune suggests that the people stand to make a great deal of money by dubious means; Jupiter himself is in the fifth house of speculation. All this suggests to me that money flowing into US markets from overseas, in response to foreign crises – the ongoing difficulties with the Eurozone are a likely source here – will set an overfamiliar chain of events into motion.

That is to say, the United States is apparently about to experience yet another massive speculative bubble.

Exactly where this latest bubble will take off is anybody’s guess at this point, though the stock market is a perennial favorite, and has been showing a good deal more enthusiasm than usual in recent months. The long term effect of such a bubble won’t be good – it never is – but within the six months governed by this chart, a great deal of paper prosperity is likely to flow into the economy; plenty of paper debts may well be clearned, and speculative ventures of many kinds will prosper.  The fifth house is the house of parties, and between now and the autumn equinox, at least, it’s party time.

It’ll be a wilder party than usual, too. The co-significator of the people of a nation in a mundane chart is always the Moon, and the Moon in this chart is in an awkward position—decreasing in light, located in a cadent house, dignified only by a weak triplicity, and passing from conjunction with a very strong Neptune to opposition with a retrograde and peregrine Mars. Neptune is the planet of visions, dreams and delusions, settling into his own sign of Pisces after more than a decade in Aquarius, the sign of his fall; a flurry of old delusions are losing their grip on the collective mind at last, and the opposition with Mars bids fair to deliver a hard wake-up slap. Expect rashness and recklessness, extravagance and excess, and plenty of anger; the party will likely end in a drunken brawl and an epic mess that will have to be cleaned up the next morning.

Looming behind the approaching boom and inevitable bust is an outer planet aspect that will define much of the next decade—the square between Uranus and Pluto, which will complete for the first time on June 24, 2012 and repeat again, due to retrogrades, no fewer than six more times before Uranus finally creeps out of range in 2015. This aspect, as an earlier post here mentioned, is historically associated with severe and grinding depressions—yes, the Great Depression of the 1930s took place under its influence, as did the Long Depression of the 1870s and other crises of the same kind further back. Exactly how that outer planet influence will play out in the next few years is a complex matter, and one that will be discussed at length in posts to come.

December 21, 2011

Winter 2011: Rough Sledding Ahead

Filed under: Uncategorized — Seren @ 11:00 am

The portrait of a troubling autumn painted by last quarter’s ingress chart, as most of my readers are well aware, was certainly borne out by events. Mercury combust as Obama’s significator foretold with unwelcome clarity his administration’s curious inability to do, well, much of anything, really, as one of the least impressive economic recoveries of modern times petered out into a renewed downward spiral, and the corresponding upwards spiral of partisan warfare in Congress—Mars in the 11th house—once again reached the point at which essential business basically could not get done at all. The powerfully afflicted Jupiter in the ninth house, with its warnings of economic trouble overseas, also played out in a steady drumbeat of bad news from Europe.

I am embarrassed to say, though, that I missed an obvious indication in last quarter’s chart: a well dignified Venus in the second house applying to conjunction with Saturn in exaltation. Saturn governs things underground, and Venus as the Lesser Fortune conjoining him in the house of wealth—that would of course be the current shale gas and shale oil boom, which has simultaneously driven down natural gas prices and brought jobs to a number of otherwise impoverished regions in America. The long term consequences of the boom are another matter, to be considered in future charts.

With the arrival of the winter solstice, the astrological year enters its fourth quarter, and a new set of indications for the political, economic, and social trajectory of the country can be read from the ingress chart, cast for the moment of the solstice at Washington DC.


It is interesting to note that here again, as in the last three ingress charts, the significators of the people and the head of state—normally quite distinct—are entangled with one another.  In last quarter’s chart, Mercury stood as the significator of both; in the two earlier ingresses, the Moon, which is normally a secondary significator of the people, ruled the cusp of the tenth house and so was the significator of the head of state, in this case Barack Obama. In the current ingress, the tenth house cusp is in Cancer, and so the latter of the entanglements just mentioned repeats itself for a third time. It is hard to think of a better way of symbolizing the extent to which the Obama administration seems more interested in occupying the Oval Office than in doing anything in particular while there.

The Moon in this chart is heavily afflicted in Scorpio, the sign of its fall, and it has no connection with any of the other significators; it is, however, in the second house of money. It may not be unreasonable to assume from this that Obama will be so busy raising funds for his uphill reelection campaign that he may have little time for the concerns of the nation. The Moon’s only relationships in the chart, other than her house placement, are an applying square to Neptune in the fifth house and an applying trine to Uranus late in the sixth, conjunct the seventh house cusp.  Neptune, the planet of protest and radical ideas, in its fall in the house of youth suggests that Obama may find his support among young voters—among the foundations of his 2008 victory—waning sharply; Uranus conjunct the cusp of the house of foreign policy and open enemies suggests that a foreign policy crisis late this winter may give Obama the chance to play the role of national figurehead, and give him some respite from the continuing decline in his popularity.

The Sun is also a significator for the government, and since it rules the cusp of the eleventh house—the house of legislatures—it is particularly the significator of Congress in this chart. It is not so badly placed as the Moon; the Sun is peregrine—it has no essential dignities at the beginning of Capricorn—but it receives a trine from Jupiter and sextiles from Saturn and Neptune, and is also conjunct the cusp of the fourth house, giving it accidental dignity—though it is also squared by the same angular Uranus that trines Obama’s significator. The conjunction between the Sun and the fourth house cusp, which is the position of the party out of power, and the sextile between the Sun and the fourth house’s ruler, Saturn, shows that the Republicans will continue to dominate the political dialogue over the months ahead. Their position is strong, and Obama’s increasing isolation from anything other than his upcoming campaign will do nothing to weaken it.

Step outside the overheated realm of national politics and a broader picture can be seen. The ascendant of this chart is in Libra, and so Venus is the significator of the American people during the months ahead.  Venus is essentially dignified by face, and accidentally dignified by its placement in the angular fourth house; it is sextile Uranus, and square Saturn—when the crisis comes late in the winter, the American people stands to gain more from it than from the government’s response to it. Venus in the fourth house also has another welcome indication: it predicts good weather, and in particular seasonable rains, in agricultural regions.

These favorable indications are balanced by some strongly unfavorable signs in other regions of the chart. The Moon in fall in the second house, alongside its reference to Obama, is also a very unwelcome indication for the economy; it predicts, as Raphael’s manual of mundane astrology puts it, “great fluctuation in the revenue and on the money mariet, in stocks and shares.” The Moon being in her fall, those fluctuations will by and large be down. Saturn in the first house has similar implications, warning of economic distress, unemployment, decrease of trade,and rising prices for foodstuffs and other necessities.

Saturn in the first house also takes part in a traditional indication of trouble—an applying opposition between Jupiter and Saturn, which predicts war. A similar opposition in these same houses in the Aries ingress this spring was fulfilled when the United States got involved in the fighting in Libya, and this opposition may predict something similar—while the planets in question are in angular houses, they are again far from the cusps, which suggests that US involvement may be somewhat limited. Venus, ruler of the first house, representing the United States, is better dignified than Mars, ruler of the seventh house, representing the enemy, and so a US victory is pretty much a foregone conclusion; still, things may begin with a bang—Uranus right on the cusp of the second house, and within the first degree of Aries, suggests this—and Mars in the twelfth house predicts panic and bloodshed, as well as the possibility of secret enemies. The possibility of terrorism on a large scale cannot be ruled out.

Over on the far side of the chart, finally, Jupiter is peregrine, retrograde, and conjunct the cusp of the eighth house, which is among other things the house of money belonging to other nations. Jupiter has aspects to a great many of the planets we’ve discussed so far; he is opposite Saturn, trine the Sun, square Venus and sextile Neptune. The economic and political crisis in Europe, this suggests, will be the defining event of the next three months, against which the various players in the US political scene will have to contend. (Other than Obama, of course, who is out of the picture here as elsewhere.) The US government will benefit from the crisis, quite possibly because money fleeing from Europe will keep interest rates here low; youthful protest, here indicated by Neptune, will draw inspiration and energy from it; the American people will take a hit, and so will the wealthy interests indicated by Saturn.

All in all, it’s fair to say that there is a great deal of rough sledding ahead. If the situation for the American people is better than it’s been for a while, especially in farm country, the nation as a whole is still mired in a depression, facing major challenges overseas, and led—or more precisely not led—by a genial but ineffectual president who does not seem to have noticed that his duties involve something more than smiling, nodding, and mouthing platitudes. With the Aries ingress in the spring of 2012, the beginning of the new astrological year, those challenges and conflicts promise an even more explosive situation—but that will be discussed in its proper time.

September 20, 2011

A Nation in Trouble

Filed under: Uncategorized — Seren @ 2:27 am

It would be pleasant to delineate one of these quarterly ingress charts for the United States and find the planets in favorable positions, promising three months of good government, economic improvement, and maybe even a solution for one or two of the crises that have been left to fester by both parties for so long. Regrettably, that will have to wait for some other time. This year’s autumn ingress chart, to the contrary, looks uncomfortably like a harbinger of a major national crisis.

Since not all the readers of this blog will necessarily be familiar with the basic techniques of mundane astrology, I’ll run through the groundrules briefly. An ingress chart is cast for the exact moment of solstice or equinox at the location of a nation’s capitol, and predicts the tenor of public affairs in that nation for the following three months. Those predictions can be read off the ingress chart using a set of rules somewhat akin to those used in horary astrology.

The planet ruling the sign on the ascendant represents the people of the nation, with the Moon as a secondary significator; the planet ruling the sign on the cusp of the tenth house represents the head of state, with the Sun as a secondary significator; the dignities or debilities of the planet in question, along with the aspects it makes to other planets, point up the influences affecting what that planet represents. Each of the other house cusps has its own meaning, which can be found in the classic texts of mundane astrology—readers familiar with the literature may wish to know that Ramesey’s Astrologia Restaurata and Raphael’s Mundane Astrology are the chief texts I use.

Here’s the chart for this quarter’s ingress:

This chart is particularly interesting because the signs on the ascendant and the tenth house cusp, Virgo and Gemini respectively, are both ruled by Mercury, which makes Mercury the significator of both the president and the people.  When this happens, it’s standard to determine the almutens of the two cusps—that is, the planet that would be most dignified if it were placed on the degree of the cusp—and use one or both almutens as a significator; in this chart, however, Mercury is also the almuten of the ascendant and tenth house cusp, and its status as the almuten of the ascendant also makes it lord of the ingress, the predominant influence on the entire chart. For these three months, then, the president and the people are in the same boat—and it’s a boat that’s taking on water fast.

Consider Mercury, next to the Sun in the first house, rapidly approaching the cusp of the second. Its essential dignity is generally good—it’s in Virgo, one of the signs it rules and also the sign of its exaltation—but it’s combust, which is a bad debility at the best of times. According to Ramesey, when the significator of the head of state is combust, his power is greatly weakened or at an end; when the significator of the people is combust, the nation itself is in grave trouble. When the lord of the ingress is combust, both these indications are reinforced, and the fact that this happens in the first house implies that the trouble will be domestic in nature. Furthermore, having the significator of the head of state combust in one of the angles—these being the first, fourth, seventh, and tenth houses, the strong points of the chart—this is traditionally a baleful omen.

The Sun and Moon, as mentioned already, serve as secondary significators of the president and people respectively, and useful indications can be derived from both.  The Sun is less than a degree from the second house cusp, and it’s entering into a complex set of aspects, part of which I discussed in an earlier post: the Uranus-Pluto square, which has historically been a harbinger of severe and protracted economic depressions—the Great Depression and the Long Depression of 1873-1896 mark the last two times this aspect took place. This is a massive issue, as aspects among the outer planets generally are. In the current ingress chart, the Sun is applying to form a T-square with Uranus and Pluto, squaring the latter and opposing the former. The economy, in other words, is in deep trouble, and President Obama is stepping straight into the line of fire.

Notice also the applying aspect between the Sun and Mars. “If the significator of the King applies to a malevolent planet,” says Ramesey, “or receives the light of one slow in motion, it threatens very much mischief.”  Mars is one of the two malefics of the chart; and the sun is applying to sextile with it. “If your significator be afflicted by sextile,” Ramesey also says, “judge the evil proceeds from such as are pretendedly friends of the King, or such as are not thought or suspected to be enemies.”

Mars is in the eleventh house, which represents national legislatures in mundane astrology; one plausible interpretation here is that Obama’s rapidly sinking popularity and his administration’s frankly incompetent management of the economic crisis may well spark a revolt among Congressional Democrats, a primary challenge for the Democratic presidential nomination from a popular senator or congressman, or both. There are also uglier possibilities, having nothing to do with Congress, but some things are not entirely safe to discuss nowadays on a public blog like this one; I will simply point out to astrologically literate readers the fact the Mars, the afflicting planet, is the lord of the chart’s eighth house, and leave it at that.

The Moon, the secondary significator of the people, is also worth close study. It’s in the eleventh house, near the cusp of the twelfth, separating from a sextile with the Sun and a conjunction with Mars; it is peregrine—that is, it has no essential dignity in its current position—a condition that leaves it weak and vulnerable, as indeed the American people are just now. This movement away from other planetary relationships into the twelfth house, the house of secrets and secret enemies, suggests that the widening gap between the people and their government will receive another helping of malign neglect from the government’s side, and a corresponding shift further toward the political fringes on the part of the people. That way, over the long run, lies immense trouble.

The Moon is also applying hard to a square with Jupiter, and this square is in some sense a key to the entire ingress chart. Jupiter, the planet of wealth and good fortune, is in very bad shape in this chart; it is peregrine, retrograde, and cadent—this latter means that it is located in one of the four cadent houses of the chart, the third, sixth, ninth, and twelfth, which are the weak spots in the chart. Jupiter is the ruling planet of the fourth house, governing real estate and all things underground, and the seventh house, governing foreign trade and overseas events generally.

Its position in the ninth house, which governs foreign travel among other things, supports the latter identification, though I suspect both will play a part. My sense is that Jupiter here represents an economic crisis overseas that deals a further blow to the American economy, one that proves particularly burdensome to the American people. The location of the overseas crisis can be guessed readily enough from the headlines; it is probably not an accident that Taurus, the sign in which Jupiter is located, traditionally rules most of Greece, as well as Ireland.

The interesting thing here is that the resulting economic troubles will not be bad news for everyone, or for all sectors of the economy. The second house, the house of money and the national economy, is surprisingly well dignified in this chart. Its cusp is ruled by Venus, who is in Libra, the sign of her rulership, and also in the second house; She is applying to a conjunction with Saturn, also in that house, which is not normally a good sign, but Saturn is dignified by exaltation and face and thus very nearly as favorable as he ever gets. There may be, in other words, certain benefits coming to the American economy from the troubles overseas, at least for a short time.

Still, the overall picture is remarkably bleak, even by the standards of recent US ingresses. Mercury combust as significator of the president and people alike suggest that neither of these latter will be in any position to play an active role in the events that unfold over the next six months. Sitting on the sidelines as the events that matter unfold overseas, President Obama will find himself blamed for a worsening crisis that he did nothing to cause—though, admittedly, it’s also a situation that he has done effectively nothing to address; he American people face another round of crisis driven by factors over which they have no control, and can be expected to take another step toward political extremism as a result; and a period of economic troubles far worse than those presently in force—a period that can be expected to last at least a decade, and quite possibly longer—looms in the near future. All in all, it is the portrait of a nation in trouble.

August 11, 2011

A Depressing Prospect

Filed under: Uncategorized — Seren @ 7:54 am

One of the issues that has slowed the rediscovery of mundane astrology in recent decades is the bad habit, common especially but not only in America, of thinking that modern natal techniques can be applied across the board to all other branches of astrology. To some extent, this notion comes out of  the fixation on natal work that dominated astrology straight through the twentieth century; it was typical of a self-obsessed age that astrology was reduced to the interpretation of somebody’s birth chart.

Of course there are many more uses of astrology, and one of the things that sets them apart is the use of decidedly different techniques. Mundane astrology is no exception to this principle. In traditional  mundane practice, birth charts of persons or nations have only a peripheral role. Instead, four classes of charts give the mundane astrologer his basic tools. The first is ingress charts for national capitals; the second, inaugural charts for heads of state, important legal enactments or the like; the third, transient events such as eclipses and comets.

These three have had some discussion in this blog, and so it’s arguably time  to begin considering the fourth: the conjunctions and aspects of the outer planets.  That’s a timely subject, because a powerful and malefic relationship between two outer planets is in play just now, and if the past is anything to go by, it will be shaping the future in very unwelcome ways over the decade or so ahead.

We have had a foretaste of that relationship in the last few days. On July 27, Mars entered the orb of a square with Uranus, which at that time was one degree from perfecting a square with Pluto. Around the world, stock markets turned sharply down. Mars entered the orb of an opposition with Pluto in the 29th, and markets worsened. On August 8, as Mars came within a degree of perfecting the Uranus square, stock values plunged disastrously, with the Dow down 635 points at closing. On August 10, as Mars came within a degree of perfecting the opposition with Pluto, markets plummeted again, with the Dow down another 519 points. All in all, it was a bruising two weeks for the markets, with close to $7 trillion in stock values lost worldwide; my suggestion, in last week’s post, that the slide in the stock market would get much worse does seem to have been borne out.

Still, traditional mundane practice offers another way of interpreting this.  By aspecting Uranus and Pluto in close succession, Mars activated, most of a year in advance, an incomplete square between these two malefic planets.  The square itself, due to the slow movement and repeated retrogrades of both outer planets, will not actually perfect until June 24, 2012.  That will be the first of seven perfections of the same square, as Uranus and Pluto move back and forth through the same handful of zodiacal degrees, concluding in 2015.

Squares between Uranus and Pluto always come in clusters of this kind, and the clusters happen once or twice in a century.  The last series of squares between these two planets happened in 1932, 1933, and 1934, with five perfections of the aspect during that window; I doubt I need to remind anyone of what else was going on during those years.  The series before that was in 1876 and 1877, with three perfections; students of economic history will recall the Long Depression, which began with the Panic of 1873, and by some measures dragged on until 1896. The series before that was in 1820 and 1821, with five perfections; the depression in this case began with the Panic of 1819, and continued through the following decade.

A variety of relationships among the outer planets are associated with economic crises.  What makes the Uranus-Pluto square distinctive is that the depressions  it sets in motion tend to be deeper and more prolonged than most others. Thus there is good astrological reason to think that the world will be mired in a major economic depression for the next decade or so.  The crash that begins a Uranus-Pluto square depression normally happens one to several years before the aspect perfects—typically when some other relevant planet triggers the incomplete square, as Mars has done here—and so it’s not at all improbable that future economic historians will say that the great depression of the twenty-teens began with the Crash of 2011.

This is the kind of thing that can be predicted from the conjunctions and aspects of the outer planets. Those predictions, in turn, feed into the more focused predictions from ingress charts, inaugural charts and transient astrological phenomena to paint the full picture of astrological influences on our collective life—the subject of mundane astrology. In future posts I hope to discuss the other outer planet influences at work in the current situation, and incorporate them into predictive work.

August 8, 2011

The Debts That Matter

Filed under: Uncategorized — Seren @ 7:18 am

It was probably inevitable that last week’s last-minute compromise to authorize the United States to borrow more money would be hailed by the media as a “historic bill.” It was nothing of the kind, of course, but “US raises debt limit for seventy-eighth time after partisan wrangling,” adespite its accuracy, would hardly have sent newspapers flying off the stands.

At most, the posturing and photo ops on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue last Tuesday offer a candid snapshot of the dubious state of Washington politics and, more broadly, of the nation itself. The tools of astrology offer one way to make sense of that portrait.

According to press statements at the time, Obama signed the Budget Control Act of 2011 into law a little before 2 pm on the afternoon of August 2. A more exact time would be hard to determine, because signing a bill isn’t an instant process—photos of the signing show Obama with a rack of souvenir pens, all of which were apparently used by the end of the process.  Still, none of the relationships important to traditional mundane astrology vary significantly within the window defined by the announcement, and the chart below, cast for 1:50 pm EDT, is close enough.

The usual mundane correspondences apply here, just as they do to the ingress charts more usually studied here.  Thus the planetary ruler of the tenth house cusp represents the President; the ruler of the eleventh house cusp, Congress; the ruler of the seventh house cusp, interested foreign powers; the ruler of the ascendant, along with the Moon, the American people.

The tenth house cusp in this chart is at 19º Leo, so the Sun—the natural ruler of heads of state, and their secondary significator in most charts—is Obama’s primary significator here. The Sun is in its rulership of Leo and also in its day triplicity, thus quite strong, though weakened a bit by being placed in the cadent ninth house.  The ruler of the ninth is the Moon, the natural significator of the people, who is therefore Obama’s dispositor, the planet that defines the context in which he acts; it’s probably fair to see this as a reference to Obama’s overrriding concern at this point in his presidency, the approaching 2012 election.

The cusp of the eleventh house , the house of legislatures, is at 21º Virgo, and so the significator of Congress is Mercury—a very well positioned planet in this chart, being located in its rulership, exaltation, and term, and also well placed in the angular tenth house. The ruler of the tenth is the Sun, and so this is Congress’ dispositor; Congress may have gained more from the standoff over the debt ceiling than Obama did, but the presidency remains the dominant force in American politics and the actions of both parties in Congress fixate on the White House and its occupant to an extent that would have horrified the founding fathers. That fixation is a potent political force at present; it may not remain so indefinitely.

The house governing foreign powers is the seventh, and the cusp of the seventh house is at 11º Taurus; the planet representing foreign interests in the quarrel is Venus. It’s hard to see how a planet can be weaker than Venus is in this chart—she’s combust (too close to the Sun), peregrine (in a place that leaves her without any essential dignities), and cadent (in one of the four weak houses of the chart). That’s a fair indication of how foreign observers must have felt as the American political system played a high-stakes gain of chicken with the global economy in between the two onrushing cars. As a Chinese observer commented, the economies of many other nations are in the impact zone where the donkey and the elephant fight. The lack of influence on the part of foreign powers is all the more ironic, in that it’s foreign money—represented here by Jupiter conjunct the seventh house cusp—that’s expected to pay for the $2 trillion in additional debt that the United States has just agreed to run up over the next year or two.

The ascendant, in turn, is at 11º Scorpio, and so the planet representing the people as a whole is Mars. He’s weakly dignified by term, and located over in the eighth house—the house of other people’s money, by the way—which is ruled by Mercury. Notice the round robin of dispositors here: the context in which the people function is defined by Congressional actions, the context in which Congress acts is defined by the overwhelming influence of the presidency; and the context of the President is defined by his need to market himself to the people.

The Moon also functions as a significator of the people, and in this chart there’s much to be read from it. The Moon is peregrine in Virgo, and during the whole period Obama spent signing the debt ceiling legislation it was conjunct the cusp of the eleventh house, the house of Congress. The dispositor of the Moon, like that of Mars, is Mercury, the planet of Congress in this chart. What this suggests is that Obama may have shed what’s left of his ability to shape the political dialogue; the momentum is passing to the legislative branch as a nation, adrift (peregrine Moon) and increasingly angry (Mars), loses what’s left of its patience with the Obama administration’s reactive and aimless approach to the troubles of the last three years.

This shift of momentum toward Congress faces significant obstacles hardwired into the wider political context; these are shown by the relationship between the significators already described and the outer planets, particularly Pluto and Neptune. Pluto retrograde in the second house is a classic indication of fraud, graft and corruption, and it will doubtless come as no surprise that Pluto in this placement is trine the significator of Congress and opposes that of the people; Congress’ well-earned reputation for financial improprieties has been a sore point with American voters for a long time now.

What makes this fascinating is that exactly the opposite relationship applies to Neptune, the planet of dreams and delusions, in the fourth house. Neptune is in his rulership of Pisces but retrograde, and suggests widespread illusion concerning fourth house matters, which in a mundane chart means the land and basic productive activities, such as farming. mining, and manufacturing, that support the nation. These latter are not in good shape; Neptune’s dispositor, the ruler of the fourth house, is Saturn, the planet of limits and hard choices, unpopular at the best of times but particularly so here and now.

Neptune in this chart is trine the significator of the people, and opposes that of Congress. Thus we have a corrupt but realistic Congress, aware of the hard limits to what the economy will support but unwilling to jeopardize its own well-feathered nest, confronted with an honest but delusional populace which is convinced that happy days would be here again if only somebody, somewhere, would do the right thing—whatever that might be.  How this uneasy relationship will work out in practice is an interesting question.

Still, larger forces may intervene to make the question moot. Pluto in the second house is applying to a square with Uranus, the planet of disruptive forces and sudden change, in the fifth house of speculation; the possibility that the stock market turmoil now under way may get a good deal worse than most people suspect, and uncover a great deal of financial chicanery, shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. One way or another, the debts discussed in the recent Congressional debates are far from the only ones our spendthrift republic has run up, nor the only ones that, sooner or later, will have to be paid in full.

June 20, 2011

A Calm Before The Storm?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Seren @ 8:57 am

The summer solstice marks another of the turning points in the mundane astrologer’s year, and the moment of the Sun’s entry into Cancer, viewed from the capital of a nation, provides a snapshot of the astrological influences at work shaping that nation’s destiny over the three months that follow. The challenge, as all who have tried predictive astrology know, is to relate the abstract patterns of the heavens to the grubby and decidedly specific details of life down here on Earth. That is where art and intuition enter the picture, and also where mistakes get made; the human factor, unavoidable in the realm of politics, is equally inescapable in chart synthesis.

This quarter’s chart is no exception, but some of the indications it offers are clear enough.

Cancer ingress 2011

In traditional mundane astrology, as readers of this blog already know, the planet governing the ascendant represents the people of a nation, while the planet governing the cusp of the tenth house represents the head of state—in the present case, President Obama. The ascendant is in Libra, a fraction of a degree from its position in the Aries ingress chart three months ago, and the tenth house cusp is in Cancer, again less than a degree from its Spring position; once again, then, Venus represents the American people and the Moon represents their president.

The relationship between these two planets, though, has taken a sharp turn for the worse. In the Aries ingress, they were applying to a trine, a favorable aspect that indicated a boost in Obama’s popularity—a prediction clearly fulfilled in the wake of the assassination of Osama Bin Laden.  In this ingress chart, by contrast, the Moon and Venus are applying to a square; the Obama administration’s policy of drift and opportunism, indicated by its significator the Moon, will not be popular, and we can expect a continued weakening of what remains of Obama’s popular support.

This will not keep the Obama administration from winning some of the fights ahead of it.  The Sun, which functions as a second significator for the presidency, is at midheaven, applying to a conjunction with the tenth house cusp and also to a sextile with Jupiter, the planet of good fortune.  This presages some significant success for the administration during the next three months; it is not impossible, for example, that Obama will arrange some sort of compromise around the raising of the nation’s debt ceiling that will be seen, or at least portrayed by the media, as a major coup.

Obama’s luck is by no means entirely good.  His significator, the Moon, is in the sixth house of health and illness, weakly dignified; the ruler of the sixth house, and also the ruler of the face and term in which the Moon is located, is Jupiter, who is located in the eighth house of death.  The Moon is free of negative aspects from malefic planets, so the illness is unlikely to be fatal or even severe; still, watch this space.

Two positions in the chart—Mars and the south node of the Moon in the ninth house of travel—are traditionally held to indicate a risk of robbery and violence related to travel; one of the big news stories of the next three months may involve American citizens being robbed or killed while playing the tourist in a foreign country. Neptune in the fifth house, near the cusp of the sizth, predicts at least one major scandal relating to drugs, with a significant impact on health issues.  This latter trines the Sun, so it may offer an opportunity for the Obama adminstration to act, or at least to grandstand.

On the foreign policy front, meanwhile, threatening clouds are building. The Sun is at one end of an applying T-square in the angles of the chart, opposing Pluto in the fourth house and square with Uranus in the seventh. Uranus in the seventh house, according to Raphael’s useful treatise on mundane astrology, is a “troublesome position in regard to foreign affairs, producing awkward and unexpected complications of a serious nature.” Pluto in the fourth predicts deeply rooted troubles in fourth house matters such as real estate, minerals, or fossil fuels. A political crisis overseas that affects the nation’s ability to import petroleum might be one way this complex aspect would play out. It’s possible that the administration’s response to the resulting crisis will count as the success mentioned above.

Still, whatever accomplishments the Obama administration adds to its very limited list over the next three months, the political balance domestically is swinging against it. The square between Venus and the Moon is reinforced by a square between the Sun and the ascendant; increasingly, the administration and the people are working at cross purposes.  A planet’s conjunction with the midheaven, while it can represent great success, also tends to indicate the attainment of a peak from which all roads lead down.

Furthermore, the fourth house represents the party out of power, and its ruler, Saturn, is in the first house, in the sign of its exaltation, and also dignified by triplicity and face.  Saturn also forms a T-square with Pluto and Uranus, though a slight difference of angle keeps the Sun and Saturn from squaring each other; whatever crisis the Pluto-Uranus aspect indicates, the party out of power will be called on to respond to it as well, and Congress, at least, may display a rare burst of bipartisanship—the eleventh house is the house of the legislative branch, and its cusp is ruled by the Sun.

Saturn is within seven minutes of arc of an exact square with Mercury in the tenth, representing the national media, but it trines Venus, the significator of the public; Saturn’s location in the first house reinforces the connection with popular opinion, and so does another traditional relationship between Saturn and the ascendant. The almuten of any house in the chart is that planet that has the most dignities at the degree of the houses’s cusp; a planet that is a house’s almuten functions as a second ruler of that house, and Saturn, dignified by three relationships in the degree of the ascendant, is the almuten of the first house. This predicts that the conservative influences represented by Saturn will exercise a potent influence on public opinion in the months ahead.

They will be relatively quiet months, in spite of—or perhaps because of—the emerging crisis in foreign affairs. A well-disposed Saturn in the first house predicts a prosperous year for farmers; rising prices for grains and other farm produce, challenging as they make life for the urban poor worldwide, tend to bring prosperity to America’s farm belt, and this may be what is indicated here. A range of aspects and positions that are present in the chart are held in traditional mundane practice to indicate relative peace, quiet, and prosperity.  If the other indications of the chart are anything to go by, however, that period of quiet may just turn out to be the calm before the storm.

March 20, 2011

Aries ingress 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Seren @ 8:49 am

First off I owe an apology to readers of this blog who have been wondering why no posts appeared over the last several months. Other responsibilities swallowed the spare time that would normally have gone into mundane astrology; it’s some measure of this that I didn’t even have a chance to cast the Aries ingress chart for the United States until the evening before the equinox itself. Still, better late than never, and I expect to be able to post more regularly over the months to come.

In mundane astrology, the annual spring equinox or Aries ingress chart is the foundation of the traditional art, the basis for prediction. For any nation, the chart cast for the capitol city foreshadows the events to come for the next year, or a portion thereof.  The size of the portion depends on the sign rising at the moment of the Sun’s entrance into Aries: a chart with a fixed sign rising governs the entire year, one with a common sign rising governs six months, and one with a movable sign rising governs three months. The chart for this year’s Aries ingress has Libra rising, so it’s going to be another year of many changes, and the chart below governs the three months from March 20 to June 21, 2011.

The method I use for mundane charts is largely derived from the writings of William Ramesey, a 17th century English astrologer whose work is among the most complete accounts of traditional mundane practice available at present. In Ramesey, the ascendant and the planet ruling it represent the people and the nation as a whole, while the tenth house and the planet ruling the cusp of the tenth represent the head of state and the government. Other houses and their rulers have other meanings, following the normal rules of astrology, and certain planetary positions have distinctive meanings as well.

In this chart, with Libra rising, the planet representing the people is Venus, which is in the fifth house and peregrine – that is, not in any of its dignities.  A peregrine planet is weak and wavering, and that’s amplified by the one planet that aspects Venus strongly, the Moon, who rules ebb and flow. Venus in the fifth house, out of its dignities and trined by the Moon, suggests speculation, and this indication is strengthened by the approaching conjunction of Venus with Neptune, the planet of dreams, delusions, and the collective imagination, who is also in the fifth house. It’s very possible that a new speculative bubble will begin to take off in the next few months, though it will be some time before it reaches full spate.  It’s just possible that the same influences will take their expression in the form of some other kind of unreasoning popular fad, but a speculative bubble is the most likely option, since Venus also rules the cusp of the second house, the house of money.

The Moon plays an unusual combination of roles in this chart, because the cusp of the tenth house is in Cancer, and so the Moon as ruler of Cancer here represents Obama as head of state. The Moon is usually a second significator of the people, and this along with the Moon-Venus trine makes a surprising prediction:  During the three months ahead of us, Obama will find himself suddenly a great deal more popular with the American people than he is as I write this. It’s unlikely that this will be the result of any great achievement on his part; the Moon as his significator makes a fine representation of the drifting, aimless nature of his presidency to date; as the ruler of the passive planets, the Moon also suggests that whatever gives him his popularity will be a product of events that Obama will not cause, and over which he may have no control.

Obama’s newfound popularity will not be universal by any means.  Venus, the significator of the people, also rules the ninth house, which – being twelve houses from the tenth – represents secret enemies and hidden weaknesses of the head of state.  Amid the general wave of support for Obama, in other words, there will be plenty of people who, silent for the moment, continue to dislike and distrust the man, and may be counted on to oppose him and whatever momentary policies he may adopt. His political opposition, represented by the fourth house, also remains recalcitrant; ruled by Saturn – Capricorn is the sign on the cusp of the fourth – the opposition remains more closely attuned to the mood of the common people than the administration is.  Pluto in the fourth house lends a jarring note; the (dwarf) planet of generation and corruption, ruler of all that is hidden, subversive, and transformative, Pluto in that position suggests that the administration’s domestic opponents may be pursuing their agenda beyond the limits of ordinary politics, into potentially very risky territory.

The most important of the events boosting Obama’s popularity is signified by the applying opposition between Jupiter and Saturn. This is a traditional sign of war, and in this ingress chart the opposition is angular — that is, located in the strong houses of this ingress chart – and aligned with its first and seventh houses,  and and thus much more likely to affect the United States directly. Saturn is in the first house, representing the American people, and Jupiter is in the seventh, representing whoever the enemy happens to be. The seventh house is ruled by Mars, who is dignified by term and face, but in the weak sixth house and under sunbeams, that is, within 17° of the Sun. Jupiter is dignified by triplicity, and Saturn is exalted but retrograde; all things considered, the United States will win this one, but it won’t be anything like as quick or easy as the initial round of media cheerleading will insist.

The role of the media is worth watching from another perspective. Mercury, which rules media and communications, is also in the seventh house, and dignified by term.  Once the war begins, the United States is likely to lose control of the media war, and overseas news media sympathetic to the enemy will likely succeed in embarrassing the US government and military in a big way. Saturn in Libra normally indicates “great and notable events,” in Ramesey’s phrase, and Saturn retrograde in Libra – especially in a chart close to sunset, as this one is – indicates wars, quarrels and bloodshed.

Another indicator of major changes is given by the Sun’s position.  The sun is a secondary significator of the head of state, but seems more often than not to indicate the government rather than the president himself, and here – because Leo rules the eleventh house of legislative bodies – the Sun may stand either for the administration or for Congress.  In this chart it’s in the sixth house, and half a degree from exact conjunction with Uranus, the planet of sudden change and disruption. The indication here is that during the next three months, the Obama administration will be shaken by a drastic shift; since the sixth house governs subordinates, one real possibility is that an important cabinet member will resign under a cloud; another is a Congressional upset of some nature. Since the conjunction will take place less than a degree from the cusp of the seventh house, this will be associated with the war, and may involve serious public disagreements about its conduct.

Wars and cabinet shakeups all take place against a wider background, and in this case, that background is far from favorable to the United States.  The Lord of this ingress, the planet governing the three months it describes, is Saturn, the Greater Malefic.  As lord of the year and a powerful influence in the first house, Saturn indicates economic troubles, distress, unemployment, and declining public health. Mars in the sixth house, it may be worth noting, indicates feverish illnesses; this year’s flu season may be a good deal worse than usual. Since the Sun is in the sixth house at the moment of ingress, health issues will be important, and so will labor relations; there is a strong possibility of strikes and other forms of labor unrest in the months ahead.

The one positive note in all this is that Saturn, though retrograde, is dignified by exaltation and face, as well as angular in the chart. This suggests that one way to deal with the troubles of the next few months is the unwelcome but effective approach of patience, perseverance, and caution.  Saturn’s retrograde state can be used to advantage here; anything having to do with the past, or with returning to some previous condition or approach to things, will tend to be favored if it’s done patiently and carefully. Great leaps forward will be in short supply in the months to come, and those that are attempted are likely to end messily, but thoughtful renewal of those things that used to work, and may well work better than their current replacements, will be a much more successful strategy.

— Seren

December 22, 2010

An Ordinary Eclipse

Filed under: Uncategorized — Seren @ 11:52 am

One of the odder features of being a practicing astrologer in the present age is the way that people ignore astrology when they ought to be asking questions from it, and ask questions when they might as well go about their daily lives and not worry too much about the doings of the heavens. Outside the small fraternity of relatively traditional astrologers, for example, I know of nobody who expressed any interest in the astrology of President Obama’s inauguration, even though the very word – in-augur-ation – defines it as an event at which omens should be watched.

Yesterday’s lunar eclipse, by contrast, brought a flurry of questions from people wondering what it meant. Now it’s true, of course, that eclipses have played an important role in mundane astrology since the days when astrology consisted of checking what the heavens were doing from the top of a mud brick ziggurat, and the messages they have to offer are worth noting. Still, when people suddenly start insisting that the recent example must be a harbinger of some wonderful new era, or perhaps the end of the Mayan calendar a little in advance, it can be hard not to wonder whether they have too much time on their hands or something. Since it’s become a bit of a cause celebre, though, the eclipse just past probably does deserve an interpretation.

One thing should be clarified at the beginning: it’s inaccurate, astrologically speaking, to say that the eclipse happened at the winter solstice. This year’s winter solstice happened at 11:39 pm GMT; the middle of the eclipse, which is the point that the old mundane astrologers used for their charts, was at 8:16 am GMT, more than fifteen hours beforehand. In astrological terms, fifteen hours makes a huge difference; the moon at eclipse wasn’t even in the same sign it was in at the solstice. Thus this was, in astrological terms, an ordinary eclipse, and can be interpreted in the ordinary way.

Here’s the chart. I’ ve cast it for Washington DC, for reasons I’ll explain in a bit.

To make sense of an eclipse according to traditional mundane practice, you start by figuring out two things. The first is how bad it’s going to be, and the second is who will be affected by it. Bad? Yes, eclipses in astrology are bad by definition. The two luminaries, Sun and Moon, are the dispensers of light and life to the Earth, and when one or the other has its influences, that’s never good news.

You determine how bad it’s going to be by finding the eclipse’s dispositor—the planet that rules the sign in which the eclipse occurs—and noting the dispositor’s relative strength; the stronger the planet, the stronger the effects of the eclipse. This eclipse took place in Gemini, so its dispositor is Mercury. Mercury is in his detriment, retrograde, combust, and separating from an opposition with the Moon, thus about as weak as it’s possible for a planet to be.

That technique gives you the overall severity of the eclipse. Since astrological influences vary in their impact on different regions, it’s also standard practice to consider the ascendant of a chart cast for the midpoint of the eclipse from a particular location. The planet ruling the sign on the ascendant, by its nature and the aspects it makes, tells you how the eclipse will affect the location from which your chart is cast. In this case, the ascendant is in Scorpio, which is traditionally ruled by Mars – not a good sign – and Mars is applying to a square with Saturn – a very bad sign.

This second method gives you some idea of whether a particular country will be strongly affected by an eclipse, but there are two other ways that allow you to check this. The first is that each country and city in the world is associated with a particular sign of the zodiac. The logic to these correspondences is not always clear, but the correspondences themselves seem to work reliably, and eclipses are among the situations in which they’re used. The rule here is simple; when an eclipse occurs, those countries and cities associated with the sign in which it occurs receive the bulk of its effects. The second is that those areas where the eclipse is visible tend to receive more of their effects

This eclipse is in Gemini. According to the standard lists – the one in Raphael’s Mundane Astrology is as good as any – the countries that correspond to Gemini include Armenia, Belgium, Libya, Sardinia, Wales, northern Italy, and the United States. Of these, the United States – or as much of it as wasn’t under cloud cover at the time – had the best view of the eclipse from beginning to end. That’s why I chose Washington DC as the location for the eclipse chart; as a mundane astrologer, I want to know how any given event will impact the government of the nation I’m examining, and the capital city is the place for that.

“Weak but nasty, and active here in the US” thus might be a good summary of this eclipse. The next step is to figure out what it will do, and the old handbooks give plenty of pointers. An eclipse in the eighth house predicts death, while the dispositor of the eclipse in the second house, severely afflicted, predicts economic trouble and financial losses. An eclipse in any sign in the airy triplicity – Gemini, Libra, and Aquarius are the air signs – predicts crop failures, illness, and “tempestuous stormy winds.” An eclipse with Mercury as dispositor also predicts crop failures, diseases, and stormy weather, and Mercury in the eastern half of the chart, predicts floods. An eclipse in the third decan of Gemini is also traditionally associated with the impending death of some illustrious and famous man.

There are several traditional ways of calculating the time during which these events can be expected to take place, but the standard method is to note how much time passed from the rising of the Moon to the midpoint of a lunar eclipse, and treat every four minutes as equivalent to one day; this will give the total number of days before the effects of the eclipse culminate. In the present case, that works out to 158 days, for a date for the culmination of the eclipse’s effects around May 27, 2011. They will first be felt clearly around April 21, and will continue to be felt strongly until around July 2, these being equivalents to the times the Earth’s shadow first touched and finally left the Moon.

What this eclipse predicts, in other words, isn’t a shining new era or the end of the Mayan calendar – which doesn’t end in 2012, mind you, but that’s a subject for another post. It predicts, rather, that this coming spring will see a spate of unusually bad weather in the United States, which will cause floods and crop failures. There will also be some illness issues – I’d expect the spring flu season to be worse than usual, for exampe. Finally, we can expect a very strong public reaction to the death of some popular and influential figure this coming spring.

An ordinary eclipse, in other words. That’s the sort of thing mundane astrology can predict when it’s done right, just as the endless string of new eras and apocalyptic changes that never quite got around to happening are the sort of thing mundane astrology predicts when it’s done wrong.

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