Tag Archives: astrology

Astrology on the National Health Service

David Tredinnick MP

David Tredinnick MP

News this week that a British MP told an astrology journal that the NHS would be improved if Doctors knew about astrology. This has provoked outrage in the gutter press, with many publicly calling for the MP in question, David Tredinnick, never to be made a minister! They are conveniently ignoring that the fact that Tredinnick was forced to renounce any possibility of a ministerial career many years ago: which is probably why he is not afraid to speak out on issues which he feels are important.

As an astrologer myself I must say that I have great sympathy with Tredinnick. However, in my opinion, it will be unfeasible to incorporate astrology into our National Health Service, and it’s not for the reasons that the Yellow Journalists trot out. To wit:

Firstly, whilst there is such a thing as “medical astrology,” it is my understanding this is used for long-term chronic concerns, not conditions which arise from referrals from Accident & Emergency, or which arise in circumstances of urgency. Unfortunately, it is just such cases which form the majority of the workload of the NHS. “Medical astrology,” if it were to be used at all, could only really be used for general health check-ups.

How the NHS sees new patients...

How the NHS sees new patients…

Secondly, there is the peculiar way in which funding is allocated in the NHS, which is basically that the money follows the patient. An unpleasant side-effect of this is that it encourages NHS workers to visualise patients as if they have £ signs stamped on their foreheads – which further encourages different fund-managers (e.g. different GP practices, different primary health care trusts within the same local area, etc), within the the NHS to compete with one-another for the same patients. Hence, if one GP refuses to offer astrological consultation but another down the road does, there is the danger that the first GP will dissuade the patient from transferring to the second one not on scientific but on financial grounds.

And before you accuse me of scaremongering, I actually once worked in the NHS many years ago, and I was firmly told by management that if a potential patient came through our door who we would not ultimately be able to treat ourselves, we were to get him on our books anyway before transferring him to an external agency, instead of redirecting him to the external agency straightaway – precisely for this “money follows the patient” principle. This sort of shit does go on.

Thirdly: if NHS professionals do give astrological readings to patients, it would force the NHS to stop treating patients as statistics but as people – because, astrology, as properly done, is a skilled art which needs great sensitivity and tact on the part of the astrologer. NB: astrologers will get the point immediately, but non-astrologers ought to be aware that the kind of thing that Tredinnick was talking about was not the daily horoscopes which appear in the newspapers, which are not real astrology anyway, but a full reading which involves drawing up and going through the patient’s entire birth chart.

Thus the irony is that although we may not see Astrology on the NHS in its current state, the effort involved in trying to introduce it would inevitably shake up our health service and cause radical reform in terms of quality all the same.

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Why does astrology still exist?

Answer by Craig Weinberg:

I also wondered why astrology was taken seriously by anyone, until I took the time to actually investigate what it is and what it is not. What I found, and what anyone who is able to study astrological systems should find if they are able to view it with scientific objectivity, is that confirmation bias, like the placebo effect, can go both ways.

Just because it is easy to be fooled by the vague generalities of astrological interpretation does not mean that there is nothing at all of value there. To the contrary, divination systems such as Astrology, Numerology, Tarot, and the I Ching are among the most insightful ontological tools that I have ever encountered, and represent the sum total of the wisdom and philosophy of pre-scientific history.

After doing hundreds of charts for people I know, interesting world figures, and periods of history, I can say with confidence that anyone who thinks that astrology is nothing but scientific illiteracy and fraud does not really know very much about astrology. Not that there is not a tremendous amount of illiteracy and fraud out there, especially in the psychic-horoscope market, but again, popular abuse of something is not an argument against proper use. Looking at the charts of a family, the number of unlikely coincidences and meta-coincidences among the natal charts of the family members has never failed to blow me away. Every chart tells a story, and every family is a like a quantum mechanical ensemble of stories and themes.

Astrology still exists because neither science nor religion offers a comprehensive theory of identity and history which respects the subjective qualities that actually matter in such considerations. It provides a language to talk about esoteric themes within personal and social experience, as well as a compelling framework with which to analyze historical events.

The mistake that people make is to assume that the purpose of astrology is prediction. While astrology can indeed be of some predictive value, it would be a mistake to try to use it that way intentionally. Astrology doesn’t predict events, it maps the coincidence of psychological themes to the coincidence of planetary configurations.

Applying those coincidences can invite apophenia (delusional projection of patterns), but when attended to with maturity, they can also be used to cut through mental clutter (associated with activity of the prefrontal cortex) and pick up on deeper, more intuitive sensitivity to the flow of our personal lives.

In recent years, Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) theory has become popular, and enjoys more respectability than astrology among highly educated audiences. MBTI was based on Jung’s work on personality types, which itself was based on astrological dichotomies.

Why does astrology still exist?

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Proposal for a new holiday: Astrology Day!

Happy Epiphany! Or, if you are a member of one of the Orthodox Churches, or are reading this in Africa, Merry Christmas! This post is a follow-up to my previous Epiphany-themed post, Jesus Christ: Pagan Messiah.

Astrologers are mentioned with high-praise in the Bible! All you Christian Fundamentalists who say that Astrology is evil, are ignoring the literal word of the good book, for the Gospel of St Matthew clearly says that the first foreigners to recognise Jesus as Christ were Astrologers. In fact, the Churches have instituted a day to honour the fact – today, the Feast of the Epiphany, January 6th.

Yes indeed. The Magi who came to offer gold, frankincense and myrrh were astrologers, who used their powers of casting horoscopes to predict the birth of the Messiah. The key to understanding this is the passage:

In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem,  asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.”

Matthew 2:1-2

The phrase at its rising has been also been translated as “in the East.” This has given rise to an erroneous belief that there was an actual Star of Bethlehem, moving comet like through the sky to guide the Magi to the place of Jesus’ birth. Some have also speculated, also erroneously, that the passage refers to a planetary conjunction which occurred in 6BC. (NB: all stars rise in the East, simply because of the Earth’s rotation).

However, to an Astrologer, the passage takes on a completely different meaning. It refers to Jesus’ “rising sign” or Ascendant. Hence the Magi computed Jesus’ Horoscope. Incidentally, the Rising Sign is the literal “Horoscope” – the word means “house marker,” hence the Ascendant is the point from which the Houses of the chart are measured. Likewise they used the power of Astrology to identify the specific house in Bethlehem (it so happens that there is a method in Horary Astrology where the geographical location of a thing may be determined by the position of the ruler of the house under which it falls in the Horary chart – see, e.g. here).

This has given me a brilliant idea – the Christian Church should celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany as Astrology Day, precisely because it is the day when a group of Astrologers came to visit Baby Jesus. Given that every other Christian holiday inevitably becomes secularized soon enough, we may rely on the power of big business to soon open it up to people of all religions and none! Heck, if this idea takes off and finds widespread popular appeal, we shall soon have internet memes going round saying it was a pagan feast day all along!

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Meteor Shower Tonight – A Spell

This is an updated version of a blog I first wrote several years ago, on the occasion of a previous meteor shower. I wrote:

…this has given me a great idea for casting a simple magic spell to make all your dreams come true. Here it is:

Make a list of all your wishes before going to sleep, and use the power of lucid dreaming to dream about the Leonid meteor shower from the comfort of your own bed!

This will be just as effective as actually watching it, and it has the advantage of being a lot warmer and more comfortable.

More to the point: it occurs to me that certain meteor showers occur every year with predictable certainty. Hence, if there is anything in this whole “wishing upon a star” business, there must be certain days of the year which are always bound to be luckier than others.

I have therefore compiled a list for these “lucky days” for 2015:

Meteor Shower When peaks:
Quadrantids Jan 1st to 10th Jan 3rd / 4th
Lyrids April 16th to 25th April 22nd / 23rd
Eta Aquarids April 19th to May 26th May 6th / 7th
Alpha Capricornids July 11th to August 10th July 27th / 28th
Delta Aquarids July 21st to August 23rd July 28th / 29th
Perseids July 13th to August 26th August 12th / 13th
Orionids October 4th to November 14th October 21st / 22nd
Southern Taurids September 7th to November 19th October 23rd / 24th
Northern Taurids October 19th to December 10th November 11th / 12th
Leonids December 4th to 16th December 13th / 14th
Ursids December 17th to 23rd December 21st / 22nd

For more information, follow this link to the American Meteor Society Meteor Shower Calendar.

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The Bells! The Bells!

"... it tolls for thee."

“… it tolls for thee.”

Happy Solar Return to me. When this time of year comes around, I have mixed feelings about calculating my Solar Return chart, because it will supposedly show whether the forthcoming year ahead will be a good or a bad one. Thus with trepidation I crunch the numbers into my astrology program…

HOLY SHIT! FUCK! NOOO!

Ahem. Sorry for that outburst. It’s just that I notice that at the precise moment of the return, the Sun is conjunct Venus, of which it is said:

You will have opportunities for romantic relationships. One person (or several!) may court you intensely. You will receive innumerable invitations, and the choice of accepting will be yours.

Moreover: the Moon, which represents where my heart will lie, is in its exaltation in Taurus, a notoriously marriage-prone sign, in the Seventh House – the house of Marriage.

This is a complete disaster! For years now I have been relying on my obnoxious personality to fend off the thousands of women who solicit my time and attention. Can it be that the stars have other ideas in mind? CRUEL FATE! WHY DO YOU MOCK ME???

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It’s Friday 13th, a Full Moon AND Mercury is Retrograde. What could possibly go wrong?

The Olsen Twins

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, born 1986, are celebrating their 28th birthdays on Friday 13th 2014. Oops :(

First the good news. “Friday the 13th” as a superstition is actually a load of spurious nonsense. There are no historical indicators that people thought it superstitious before the late 19th century, and it only really took off just over a hundred years ago. The whole fuss of the Templars being arrested on Friday the 13th? A modern ret-con!

Insurance companies have found that often, Friday 13th is less unlucky than other days of the year – because people are going out of their way to be careful. So whilst 13 is allegedly an unlucky number generally speaking, I have argued on this blog that in Qabalistic terms, it is in fact quite the opposite.

That being said, however, I notice a lot of talk on social media that Friday 13th June 2014 (a date alleged to associated with bad luck) is occurring during a Mercury Retrograde (also alleged to be associated with bad luck) and on the same day as the Full Moon (associated with Witches etc). Speaking as an astrologer, I would say that the world is not going to end that day. However, the planets on that day do feature some “interesting” alignments (as in the old Chinese curse, “May you live interesting times.”)

Chart for 12 noon on Friday 13th June 2014, London, UK.

Chart for 12 noon on Friday 13th June 2014, London, UK.

In the above chart, which shows the horoscope for Friday 13th June 2014, all of the red-lines denote relationships which are potentially problematic. There are three main sets to consider here:

  • The Sun + Mercury retrograde vs Moon opposition;
  • The Saturn retrograde vs Venus opposition; and
  • The Mars / Pluto / Uranus “T-formation.”

As regards the first: a retrograde is where the energies of a planet are directed inward rather than outward. Mercury, however, being a faster-moving planet, is never retrograde for too long (it is actually turning direct on 1st July). Hence, the period of a Mercury retrograde is an excellent time for planning what schemes you will commence next month – so long as you make sure you don’t actually commence them until next month.

Unfortunately, retrograde Mercury, the planet of communication breakdowns, is opposed by the Moon, the planet of how well we get on with other people. This combination presages arguments, quarrelling, misunderstandings, social awkwardness, and major faux pas! This will be especially the case in relation to self-esteem issues (i.e. the Sun’s influence).

As regards the second: miserable and overly-cautious Saturn is putting a serious damper on favourably placed Venus in Taurus. Marital upsets or frustration of marriage plans ahoy!

As for the T-formation, irritable and impulsive Mars is likely to fly off the handle at Uranus being an awkward sod. Meanwhile, devious Pluto is offended by Mars’ bolshiness and is secretly stirring up Uranus to be even more contrary – thus exacerbating the situation! This may sound like bad news: however, one may console oneself by noting that these three are relatively slow-moving planets, which means that this description applies to the times generally i.e. this Friday may be shit, but it will be no more shit in this regard than what has been occurring recently.

BUT… do you need to be worried about any of this?

Generally speaking, no – unless it happens to be your birthday that day. For most people, the energies of that day will pass with that day. Best to be overly cautious, like the drivers who manage to cause less accidents when it’s Friday the 13th! However, for those whose birthday is the 13th June, there is a theory in astrology that the position of the planets at the exact moment that the Sun returns to its position in one’s natal chart point out what you have to expect in the coming year. Thus the Moon/mercury, Saturn/Venus oppositions and the T-formation will conspire to leave a long shadow over the forthcoming twelve months.

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New Beginnings

Saturday March 1st 2014 is an auspicious date, astrologically speaking. The previous day, Mercury will have turned direct again after its most recent retrograde period. Whilst in the early hours of Saturday morning (GMT) is the precise moment of the New Moon.

Saturday 1st March 2014, the day of the New Moon and Mercury turning direct.

Saturday 1st March 2014, the day of the New Moon and Mercury turning direct.

What better day than to start some new adventure? Indeed, and I myself shall be marking the day by hitting the road to promote the print edition of my latest* book Taromancer. On that Saturday I shall commence my nation-wide tour of the United Kingdom with a book-signing / tarot-reading session in Manchester. The print edition is available from Amazon, although I will be bringing along a limited number of copies myself.

Please get in touch if you are interested in coming along and I will keep you informed as to the precise time and place!


* When I say “latest” I mean I came out with it on Kindle as long ago as December 2013. Yes! Believe it or not I am still on the promotional trail of the last book, unlike some writers I could mention! ;-)

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What the Stars Have In Store For… The Golden Dawn

What with prominent people in cyberspace suddenly renouncing the Golden Dawn tradition – although, when it is convenient to them, not renouncing the Golden Dawn legacy – bethought myself that there might be something astrological going on? I therefore decided to cast a chart for the Golden Dawn itself, and investigate.

The Birth of the Golden Dawn

The three founders of the GD signed the original warrant for Isis Urania temple on 12th February 1888 (so immediately we know the GD is Sun Aquarius, Moon Pisces). I was not able to find a time or place this took place, but I am willing to bet that it was at Westcott’s house. According to The Golden Dawn Scrapbook, this was 396 Camden Road, London, England. Thanks to Google Maps I was able to get precise latitude and longitude for this.

As to the birth time, I was going to use an approximated time… but then a thought occurred to me. The Golden Dawn received unwanted public attention on two notable occasions – the Looking Glass Trial in 1911, and the publication of “The Golden Dawn” by Israel Regardie, the last volume of which came out in 1940. A twenty-nine year gap separates these two years i.e. the length of the orbit of Saturn. Hence, Saturn would have been transitting the same part of the Golden Dawn’s “chart” on each of these two occasions.

I therefore decided I could use this information to create a Rectified chart for the Golden Dawn. Receiving unwanted public attention is one of the by-products of Saturn transitting the MC. On the day the Looking Glass trial was reported in the papers, Saturn was at 9º 16′ of Taurus, whilst in 1940 it would have ranged from 5º to 17º Taurus. I therefore decided to pick an arbitrary figure of 10º Taurus, this being a nice round number which makes the “best fit.”

Crunching this into Solar Fire, I got the following:

The Golden Dawn

Time (Rectified): 17:02

Date: 12th February 1888

Place: 51º 13′ 10″ North, 0º 7′ 20″ West.

Ascendant (Rectified)Leo.

Sun: Aquarius.

Moon: Pisces.

Rectified birth chart for the Golden Dawn, based on the MC being 10º Taurus and the warrant being signed at Westcott's house.

Rectified birth chart for the Golden Dawn, based on the MC being 10º Taurus and the warrant being signed at Westcott’s house.

What appears to have happened, therefore, is that Westcott, Woodman and Mathers founded the Golden Dawn over sherry one evening! But what does it all mean?

Birth chart interpretation

Of the combination Sun Aquarius / Moon Pisces, it is said:

[This] … produces a mind that is very original and able to grasp the most vague, ethereal and extreme concepts.

And also:

You are a person who is naturally persevering and conscientious, being interested in detail, method and order. Your way of reacting to the world is very interesting. You can spend days just dreaming and speculating. You are fascinated by the unusual and the abstract, finding it interesting to take up studies in any number of bizarre topics. Loving to read and study, you may become very well informed on a wide variety of subjects. You lean heavily on your hunches and way out ideas, and you’re easily distracted from routine work. You dream a lot and you have an utter faith in the dreams you dream.

Moreover, given the fact that the Sun and Moon are both in the seventh house, this ought to be ideal for a large group of people who all want to work together and get along with one another – would it not?

However, a warning bell is sounded by Mercury in the 7th house – of which Cafe Astrology says: “You might attract partners who are not especially sincere or downright duplicitous.” Also, the fact that both Mercury and the Moon are in Pisces would indicate that the GD had a tendency to dwell in illusion and perhaps being economic with l’actualité – telling its members what they wanted to believe, not what was strictly accurate – whilst in a stressful situation  it would react with throwing out a haze of disinformation and deceit.

Leo, being the rising sign, would indicate a propensity for drama and performance – thus fitting in well with the GD’s use of dramatic ritual. However, Cafe Astrology says of those with Leo Rising: “[t]hey are given to rash decisions, temper tantrums, and excesses.”

What this means for the modern Golden Dawn movement

Oh irony of ironies! Saturn was again transitting Taurus back in 1999 – right in the middle of the flame wars involving HOMSI and David Griffin proclaiming his supposed Golden Dawn Reformation. Obviously it would be a churlish for me to suggest that this was a public scandal just as damaging to Golden Dawn as had been the shenanigans involving Crowley and Regardie, so I won’t.

Looking however at the present, the following transits are occurring roundabout now / the not too distant future.

Saturn will be square to the Golden Dawn’s Ascendant (as established above) on 14th February… then it will go retrograde and form an exact square on 19th March, before going direct again and making another exact square on 25th October. This indicates current key relationships being put to the test, and some GDers wanting to break down old structures. October will be an especially testing time as the planet will also square the GD’s natal Sun, making the movement feel as it is undergoing an endurance test. An opposition to the natal Neptune in November 2014 will appear to shovel more grief on.  However… the good news is that it is entirely possible for the members of the GD to overcome these difficulties, by sticking to their core ideals and especially concentrating on spiritual studies.

Jupiter meanwhile, being square to the GD’s natal Uranus (exact on 25th December 2013 and 13th May 2014), indicates people feeling irritable and wanting to break free of past restrictions, and even causing rebellion. Separately, Jupiter is in opposition to natal Venus, signifying difficulty in relationships. Already around Christmas 2013 we have seen Nick Farrell and Sincerus Renatus each say they want to get out of the GD tradition. Come August Jupiter will be squaring the rectified Mid-heaven, indicating some difficulty in juggling public and private responsibilities: this will follow on from a square with natal Mars in June 2014, indicating that some GDers will be overly-assertive to the point of aggression in trying to achieve their goals (no doubt leading to more arguments, etc).

However, transitting Jupiter does form harmonious aspects with natal Mercury (good for writing projects);  Saturn (good for achieving balance with ones responsibilities); and Jupiter (optimism, opportunities).

Conclusion

So all in all, I believe that there is sound evidence to support the rectification arrived at above. Moreover, recent events within the GD community would indicate that there is an astrological impetus for them.

BUT… seeing as the whole point of spiritual development in the GD tradition is to transcend the influences of the stars and planets, being prey to their influence is hardly Hermetic, now, is it?

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Foretelling the Future – How Not To Do It

Astrologer poking his head out of the sphere of fixed stars to see what lies beyond

“Help! I’m stuck!” ;-)

In an article in the forthcoming Journal of Consumer Research, researchers report that the way people react to a prediction of the future (e.g. an astrological forecast), depends to a large extent on the extent to which they believe in fate. In some circumstances this may lead to seemingly counter-intuitive behaviour. (NB: this story was misreported in the Daily Telegraph today under a headline luridly suggesting horoscopes may be bad for you, despite the fact that technically speaking, no actual astrology took place during the study concerned.)

The gist of their findings is this: if you give a prediction of ill-omen to someone who believes fate is malleable, that person is likely to choose a “virtuous” course of action (i.e. in an attempt to avert the omen). However, if you give the same prediction to someone who believes fate is fixed, they are likely to just thing “F— it,” and just go do something self-indulgent. In such a situation, trying to use the prediction as a warning to them to mend their ways will end up having the opposite effect that which is intended.

This has potentially important implications for those of us who practice divination, either in the form of Astrology, Tarot, or some other method.

In order to make use of divination as an effective tool to help someone, it is necessary first to make them understand that their Fate is not fixed, that they still have free will and therefore the choice to either avoid or accept the message being given to them. There is an old saying: the stars impel, they do not compel. This rather goes back to the ancient Hermetic view of the universe, which was that it was possible to rise above the influence of the stars and the planets if one were to ascend in consciousness – to “free one’s mind,” in other words. Divination – typically in the form of astrology – was thus the key to achieving this freedom, as it enabled the individual to be fully informed of the route he or she needed to take in life – rather than be imprisoned in a deterministic, mechanistic universe.

This approach can be applied by analogy to other forms of Divination, e.g. the Tarot, which releases intuitive insights from the consciousness of the reader. Instead of predicting the future, per se, the divination is in fact pointing out present causes: and, indeed, present opportunities. These only create a “fate” where the querent is unwilling to take responsibility for his or her own actions.


My tarot themed novel, Taromancer, is free until December 11th 2013. Hurry to download a copy now!

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What Kim Jong-Un Has In Store For The Stars

Imagine a world where if you hear a song on the radio, and you hate it so much that you literally want the person who sung it to be taken out and executed. Well imagine no longer – it’s actually happening in North Korea! According to today’s Daily Telegraph, Kim Jong Un, North Korea’s answer to Mr Bean, has actually gone and done what other people only dream of doing, and executed a whole load of pop-stars. And he’s started off by executing one of his ex-girlfriends.

Now it would be churlish of me to say that must have been one hell of a bad break-up, so I won’t. Also, given that the stated reason was because she was allegedly involved in making a porn film, one might be sorely tempted to speculate the real reason as to why they split… but I won’t do that either. Instead, it is at times like these that I recall that I blogged about Kim Jong Un back in April, so it would be interesting to see what I predicted. I wrote:

Mars, however, does form a challenging angle with Mercury, suggesting that the current publicity KJU is generating is essentially posturing and rhetoric. More worryingly, though, it may also indicate the violent repression of freedom of the press, communication,  and writers in general – so don’t expect any of my books to be available in North Korea any time soon.

Violent repression of… communication. Mercury is, amongst other things, the planet of performers, including musicians. Thus, the current news from North Korea is an ongoing manifestation of the astrological forces I identified over three months ago.

Moreover: we should also note that in the chart I drew up for Kim Jong-Un’s regime, Mercury is conjunct the Moon’s True Node. Hence, these murderous outrages will actually characterise Kim Jong-Un’s rule all the while he remains in power.

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