Tag Archives: Hermeticism

The Cause Of All Our Problems…

Saturn, as seen from Voyager.

God loved it so much that he put a ring on it.

Recently I have been receiving evidence (if evidence were still needed) that Astrology is real: all too real in fact. To wit: I have had people approach me various problems, some quite serious, and ask me if I thought there was a supernatural cause for them? On examining their natal charts I discovered that in each instance, at the time the client claimed to be experiencing a calamity, Saturn was transitting one or more planets in their natal chart. I even found one instance where, a querent had a number of planets clustered together in their horoscope. They had a list of problems, and through back-checking, each problem occurred as Saturn transitted each successive planet in the cluster. The correlation staggered me: as transitting Saturn went conjunct natal Venus, romantic problems occurred; as it went conjunct natal Mercury, communication problems with colleagues occured; etc etc etc.

The positive in all this negativity is that if – as I believe – such problems can be directly linked to Saturn, it is also possible to predict when the same problems will alleviate themselves. The planet Saturn has a twenty-nine year orbit around the Sun, which in astrological terms means it takes twenty-nine months or just under two-and-a-half years to pass through each Zodiacal sign. However, because it goes retrograde on a regular basis, its passage through a sign is not straightforward. So, for example, although Saturn is only retrograde for approximately four-and-a-half months, it will not exit its Shadow until eight months after first turning retrograde. During this time it will have gone back and then forward over a 7 degree section of the horoscope which, if you have any planets or major angles there, is going to feel pretty shitty (See here).

To conclude, I would like to make two points. Firstly, if you are having a rough time, do not automatically assume that you are being maliciously attacked, either occultly or otherwise. Instead, get an astrologer to analyse your natal chart with respect to current transits, to see if it isn’t actually something that will pass of its own accord. Secondly: try to avoid reading too many astrological websites about Saturn!!! I have found that although many of them say things along the lines of you will experience a tough time during this period, etc, few of them provide actual solutions as to what to do in the meantime. This is where Hermetic Magic comes in. Hermeticism is firmly rooted in the astrological paradigm, but its scope is far more ambitious than astrology – or what most modern astrologers believe to be astrology. One of my favourite quotes from the Corpus Hermeticum is this:

Nay more, if we must boldly speak the truth, the true “man” is e’en higher than the gods, or at the [very] least the gods and men are very whit in power each with the other equal.

For no one of the gods in heaven shall come down to the earth, o’er-stepping heaven’s limit; whereas man doth mount up to heaven and measure it; he knows what things of it are high, what things are low, and learns precisely all things else besides. And greater thing than all; without e’en quitting earth, he doth ascend above. So vast a sweep doth he possess of ecstasy.

X. The Key – Corpus Hermeticum, translated by G R S Mead.

The “Gods” referred to are the Planets of Classical Astrology – that is to say, the ancients believed that the planets were not just named after the gods, they ensouled them. Hence, Hermes Trismegistus is saying that it is possible for a human to raise his or her consciousness (“mount up to heaven”) to become higher than the gods and hence ultimately transcend their influence – and achieve true Free Will. A magical system such as the Golden Dawn believes that the occult techniques it teaches to Adepts enable an initiate to do just this. Even if one is not an experienced magician, the simple act of becoming aware of the planetary influences which affect you at any given time is the first step in being able to lessen their power over you.

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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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On Astrology

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

“Help! I’m stuck!” 😉

Astrology is an Art, and more importantly, the continuation of a tradition which stretches back to ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt – and times and places even more remote.

Anyone who makes a casual study of Astrology might surmise that since (for example) the planet Venus is said to represent love and relationships, and Mercury represents communication, and furthermore that the Roman deities bearing the same names were the Goddess of Love, and the Messenger of the Gods respectively, then modern Astrology is somehow connected with ancient Roman mythology. And they would be entirely correct! In ancient times, the people of the day did not believe that the planets were named after the gods: they believed that the planets were the gods. Therefore, by noting the movements of the planets, they sought to understand how their gods affected their daily lives.

Astrology, therefore, is really the direct continuation of the old Pagan religions, from ancient right into modern times. Therefore, in order to really understand Astrology, one ought to consider it not from a “scientific” (in the modern sense) point of view, nor from a psychological or even a “New Age” point of view: but instead ask – “how would the ancients have viewed it?”

Fortunately, one ancient sage named Hermes Trismegistos spoke with refreshing clarity on the subject. He said:

Nay more, if we must boldly speak the truth, the true “man” is e’en higher than the gods, or at the [very] least the gods and men are very whit in power each with the other equal. For no one of the gods in heaven shall come down to the earth, o’er-stepping heaven’s limit; whereas man doth mount up to heaven and measure it.

That is to say: the “gods” are the planets of astrology. Although they influence the earth, they cannot “over-step heaven’s limit” i.e. stray outside their regular course, but man can, through the use of his reason and other faculties, take account of their influence, and eventually overcome them.

Thus to the ancients in general – and Hermes Trismegistos in particular – Astrology is neither deterministic nor fatalistic. Instead, properly understood, it is the key to achieving true Free Will: by learning about what influences are affecting one’s life, one can learn to escape from them, and thus rise “higher than the gods.”

This, incidentally, is why one should be cautious when you hear about an Astrologer talking about “bad luck.” If I were to say that such and such a thing would lead to ill-fortune, the very fact that I have warned you about it gives you the key to escape it.

THE FUTURE IS NOT CARVED IN STONE – WE ALL HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE IT IF WE WANT.

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