Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month I am sharing some thoughts on the benefits of astrology for all the practitioners of the books on magic by Franz Bardon.
This post was prompted by a recent visit to my home in Berlin by Tanya Robinson, the publisher of Falcon Books. She and I have been planning a course in astrology for practitioners of ‘Initiation into Hermetics’ (hereafter, IIH) over the internet for about a year, and we have reached a point where we are inviting people to offer their suggestions about what they would like it to contain. In this article I will explain some of my thinking and lay out some of the major but general ways in which astrology could apply itself to IIH, and I hope that this will be useful to people in offering us both feedback on the course material as well as to people interested in astrological magic. For further posts directly related to this topic you can check out here, here, and here. This article on a magical approach to the natal chart may also be of interest.
The main problem with creating an astrological course to apply itself to IIH is the sheer scale of astrology itself – it is literally impossible to account for every thought that has arisen from astrology, to include every technique, method and doctrine. Nor is it easy to draw from the grimoires on astrological magic (see Picatrix, Agrippa etc.) since they are frequently focused on evocation and the creation of talismans, and there has traditionally been no magical system of initiation that is based on natal astrology, the birth chart. In my book ‘The 26 Keys’ I have created a magical system that fills this gap, and the techniques and methods in that system are made to be flexible enough to easily adapt to most astrological techniques and approaches as well as any magical doctrine that has a place for astrology. The course I am currently working on developing applies this system to the 10 steps of IIH and its companions ‘The Practice of Magical Evocation’ (PME) and ‘The Key to the True Quabbalah’ (KTQ), while also offering suggestions on how astrology in general can be applied to them. It is focused on practical ways to gain benefits from astrology while initiating as an adept in the system set out by Bardon, whether you are at Step 1 of IIH or working through KTQ.
Another big problem in designing such a course is that of personalization – in astrology, planets in particular have both a universal meaning and personal significance to their nature and while it is a relatively simple if nuanced matter to apply the universal meaning of things to the steps, it is literally impossible to design a system that accounts for every single personal significance our astrology can have. For example, we can say that the Moon is very much connected with all of the astral steps for everyone, because the astral awareness is a universal meaning of the Moon, but the Moon can take on personal significance related to the feeling of anger, or the experience of being trustworthy to others, all of which arise from the overall position of the Moon in the context of a unique chart. I overcame this problem in ‘The 26 Keys’ by outlining the main ways in which these personal connections arise and giving some guidance on the universal meaning of the parts that are involved, allowing people to adapt the system to their own personal astrology. For the last 5 years this journal has been adding to the material people can draw upon to explore these more personal dimensions of their astrology, with information on the signs, temples, planets and aspects that greatly expands on my published material. This will continue in the future for as long as I am able to add to it and will serve as reference material for the course being designed today.
The challenge now is to find a way to solve the problem of applying both the system I have created and astrology in general to each of the tasks IIH and its two companion volumes require the adept to master. What this boils down to is the problem of mapping the universal meaning of different astrological influences to these tasks, and letting the initiate figure out the relevance of their personal significance during their own practice, just as they do in ‘The 26 Keys’.
In giving consideration to this, I quickly realized that the content of this new creation would have to grow beyond natal astrology and into at least two of the other three main branches, electional and horary. This is because electional astrology has primary importance to the second volume, ‘The Practice of Magical Evocation’, while horary is a divinatory school of astrology and therefore an important magical tool in general (and one which can greatly complement work with all astral and Akashic magic). The last main branch of astrology, mundane astrology, does not apply itself directly to IIH or any of its companions, since it concerns itself with the astrology of nations, states and other environmental effects such as the weather. Unless a magician is specifically interested in these things mundane astrology has no direct application to the steps of initiation. Some of you of course may be very interested in these areas. Ironically, this branch of astrology was extremely important in the magic of ancient times (i.e. before the popularity of natal astrology), which were inhabited by far more collectively focused societies than our individually focused ones. This alone may be reason to consider its application to IIH and its companion books.
Here, then, are some of my current thoughts on what might be included in a framework that applies to IIH in terms of each of these 4 branches of astrology, and why. I invite your thoughts on each.
This is the big one in terms of its benefits to the course of IIH and beyond. The benefits are truly incalculable. In fact I can state confidently that there is no better tool than natal astrology when it comes to passing through the steps of IIH. When a student is starting out but intending to work practically with KTQ in the future they can give themselves a huge advantage by studying the Tree of Life and the Hebrew language beforehand, and it strikes me that just as the Hebrew language is the way to equip yourself for KTQ but is not necessary, the language of natal astrology is the way to equip yourself for IIH while not being necessary. The initiate who has a background in astrology has a massive advantage over the one who does not. Here are just some of the ways that advantage plays out:
– Creation of Black and White Mirrors is easier and more intricately detailed
– Transformation of astral qualities is easier
– Insight into Elemental complexes is more detailed
– Successes overall are aided by fortuitous timing
– Workings of karma are clarified
– Personal karma is clarified
– Potential blocks are identified before they become significant
– Solutions to blockages are clearer and have more options
– Relationships to others are more objective
– Divination skills are more developed
– Awareness of the law of analogy is awakened
– The magic of symbolism is clearer
– Individual magic and life purpose is more apparent
– Life structure and pattern is revealed
– Connection to the astral realm is safely initiated
Again, these are just a few of the advantages that a student of astrology has when starting IIH, and these advantages can be gained very quickly as basic astrology is not hard to learn – they can be gained in just a few months of study, and even less in some cases, according to my experience with students. A single good quality session with a professional astrologer can also provide the basics of many of them. The more experience with astrology the initiate has, the greater and more developed these advantages become. The impact of these advantages is far greater and more helpful at the beginning of initiation, but they can be beneficial to introduce at any stage, and they deepen and grow the further into astrology the magician ventures. Additionally the interesting thing about astrology applied to magic is that the application and depth of its use scales upwards as an initiate progresses through the steps – the maturity of the magician ‘unlocks’ more mature expressions of their astrology. Astrology and magical initiation freely and naturally enter into a feedback loop whereby they elevate one another as they elevate the maturity of the magician.
That’s a brief look at the question of “Why use natal astrology as far as IIH is concerned?”. For anyone with any real working knowledge of professional astrology it’s pretty much a no-brainer. As for the course itself we envision that it will teach the basics of astrology and provide a framework for interpreting charts as well as guidance on how to apply that knowledge to the tasks of initiation. These instructions will be written with a magicians perspective in mind and assume there is no prior knowledge of the subject of astrology (I am unsure at the moment whether or not they will include instructions for hand crafting a birth chart – what do you think?). This will in itself be a large part of the material. Here are some of the things this part of the course will teach:
– The history of astrology and magic
– Building blocks of the chart (stars, Lights, planets, signs, aspects, houses) and their reflection of the Tetrapolar Magnet.
– Mechanics of how these building blocks interact and move through time.
– How to make a quick identification of the major challenges we encounter in IIH from looking at a chart.
– How to make a quick identification of the major strengths we bring to IIH from looking at a chart.
– How to interpret the chart to illuminate the quantity of the Elements we are born with, and how this ‘factory setting’ changes during life and Initiation.
– How to use the chart as an aid to create and balance the Soul Mirrors.
– How to read the imprint of past lives and karma from the chart.
– Plotting the chart onto the globe to identify various loci of power for tapping into in magic.
– Zodiacal divisions (degrees, decans, terms, lunar mansions) and their meaning and use in magic.
– House systems and their philosophical assumptions; choosing a house system.
– Miscellaneous conditions (retrograde, combust, lunar phases) and their application to IIH and its companions.
– Exploring and revealing deeper levels using conduction of the chart during Initiation.
– Examples, questions and tests will be provided throughout so that the application is properly understood.
I mentioned earlier that I would lay out some universal meanings as they are relevant to IIH, and this is really the second huge part of the natal chart material. Essentially each of the building blocks outlined above and some of the other parts of astrology will have their own section outlining their universal meanings. It’s easier to understand what I mean with an example, so to close this section here is a section of the very first draft on the universal meaning of the Sun as applied to IIH:
“Universally all mental steps, all visualization and all vital energy and Fire (and to a lesser degree Air) Element exercises; later, Electric Fluid mastery and mental equilibrium. Can be a tool for any exercises, where it supplies energy, command and illumination. Can have a combustive effect (see Combustion). More specifically the exercises listed below (M=Mental, A=Astral, P=Physical) and in addition other steps depending upon the Suns aspects, its sign and its temple placing (see aspects of the Sun in Initiation into Hermetics, below, and the various sections on the universal significance of signs and temples).
One pointed Meditation (M)
Present Moment Focus (M)
Daily Routine (P)
Single Sense Concentration (M)
Character Transformation (A)
Pore Breathing (P)
Multi Sense Concentration (M)
Inhaling the Elements (A)
Accumulation of Vital Energy (P)
Impregnation of Space with Vital Energy (P)
Transference of Consciousness (M)
Accumulation of Elements (A)
Elemental Harmony in Body Regions (A)
Magical Rituals (P)
Depth Point (M)
Projection of Elements (A)
Meditation on the Mental Body (M)
Tri-Polar awareness (M)
Creation of Elementals (P)
Mental Equilibrium of the Elements (M)
Development of the Astral Senses (A)
Creation of Elementaries (P)
Mental Wandering (M)
Present Moment Awareness (A)
Mastering the Fluids (A)
Influence Through the Elements (P)
Fluid Condensers (P)
Four Divine Qualities (A)
Influence Through the Fluids (P)
Wandering the Higher Spheres (M)
Various Magical Practices (P)
Aspects of the Sun in Initiation into Hermetics
Sun/Moon: Equilibrium (astral and mental); mental matrix; all magic which gives life, light, animation, power or command.
Sun/Mercury: All mental exercises and all magic related to the mental body or the mind, especially the brain; animation of mental beings; mental wandering, hand rituals, Air Element.
Sun/Venus: All astral exercises and all magic related to the astral body or the emotions, especially sympathy/antipathy; animation of astral beings; Water Element.
Sun/Mars: Willpower; directed and magical will; True Will; power of command; mastery of the desires; awareness of individual uniqueness; Fire Element.
Sun/Jupiter: Power of faith or belief and trust in magic itself; all exercises related to expanding or accumulating energies; Air Element; meditation on Divine Virtues.
Sun/Saturn: Concentration; discipline; persistence and dedication; Earth Element; fate and karma; magic of time and space; focusing of energy; binding; magical oaths; communion with the Greater Self.
Sun/Chiron: Healing magic; nature spirits (especially Fire beings and mental manifestations of nature spirits); core lessons of initiation (whatever they are for us); astral and mental wandering.
Sun/Uranus: Energy raising; magic of liberation and freedom; shattering of old habits; Kabbalah; mental magic (especially wandering and telepathy); invention and breakthrough or genius.-
Sun/Neptune: Evocation; all astral magic (especially involving spirits and disembodied beings); clairvoyance; divination; the Akasha principle; psychic development.
Sun/Pluto: Transformative magic of all kinds; necromancy (which is not just dark sorcery, but any magic directed at the dead); demonology (again including defenses and wards against such things); sex magic; healing of the spirits of the dead; all magic of the afterlife; creation/destruction and the inseparable nature of both; the Akasha principle as Depth Point.
Sun/Dragon: Fate and karma; consequences of who we have been upon what we can become; awareness of past life identity and past life events; awareness of life purpose.”
The natal section will probably go through numerous revisions, but this is the current idea in a nutshell.
The section on electional astrology presents a formula for use in ceremonial magic, ritual, alchemy and evocation. Electional astrology is concerned with identifying a powerful moment to begin something or perform something and it constitutes the main bond still connecting magic with astrology in the modern day, thanks to the works of Renaissance magicians and before them the magicians of the Medieval era and the Arabic tradition. This section will look at some of the methods and ideas of these astrological magicians and show how they can be applied to some of the tasks of IIH, PME and KTQ, such as in the construction of a magic mirror or the enactment of an evocation. It will teach the basic rules of electional astrology and the quickest way to identify an auspicious moment for a specific act of magic. It will also explain the nature of the influence of astrology over a magical operation and why it is not necessary but still wise and beneficial to have a working knowledge of astrology as a practicing magician. Examples, questions and tests will be provided so that the application is properly understood.
Horary astrology is a branch which is concerned with answering questions. It seems to do best when the question has a binary ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (and potential ‘maybe’) answer, but it can also apply itself to more open ended questions like “Where is my passport?”. The chart for the question, when legal, will answer the question and also what it implies (for example, implied in the passport question is the question of whether or not we will get it back). There are rules for determining the legality of a chart, and in some cases horary astrology and thus the astrologer must decline to answer. Implicit in horary astrology itself is the hermetic principle that the answer to a question is contained within the nature of the question itself, its emergence in the Akasha of the astral. This is partly why the rules of horary clearly state that the question needs to have urgency and significance to the querant, and cannot have been asked of horary astrology before.
This section of the course will teach the basic rules of this branch, the way to judge a charts legality and draw an answer from it, and the potential uses of such in IIH, PME and KTQ, in particular as an oracle or divinatory method. Primarily this will help magicians to understand the full consequences of their magic once it has been set in motion before they do so, and in some cases to divine whether they should proceed in the first place. It therefore helps to train the magical awareness of the Akasha and its will, as well as how the astral dynamics of astrology reflect it. Examples from my own files will be provided to show the method in practical use and questions will be asked to help memorise the main points, but tests in this section will come from the students real life questions.
This is a branch of astrology concerned with politics, nations, leadership, and other mundane events like the weather. It is not focused on individuals but on much larger, macro-scale patterns. It essentially uses the same rules as natal astrology with some adjustments in interpretation for the macro scale. Here I will simply explain the basics as I did with horary and the potential for its application in magic and the steps of Bardons books. In some cases, for example in weather magic, this branch of astrology can be very useful.
A continually updated integration with the articles in this journal will be added to a suggested reading section at the end of the material.
That is all I have to share at this time, there is more material but it is not yet ready to share with you. I hope you have found this as exciting as I do and please contact either myself or Tanya Roberts with your suggestions. We want this course to be as responsive to your needs as possible. If you would like to contribute financially to the development of this course, please do so by providing patronage of this site.
Next month this journal is on summer vacation, but I will be back sharing with you in August, have a great summer!