Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! For this months main post and the last of 2018 I will be sharing with you on the relationship and application of astrology to magical initiation.
This is a huge area on both sides of the fence, magical and astrological, and so whatever you learn from this sharing can only be the tip of immensely unseen icebergs. What you read here should be considered an introduction to the subject only, and a very basic one at that. Those who are interested in delving deeper into this rich and very rewarding area must ultimately find their own way, even if it is with the guidance of others. The most important reason for this being the case is the fact that we are all individual and unique, factors which are at the core of both astrology and the attainment of a magical Equilibrium and which makes commentary on both somewhat hamstrung by over generalisation where there is a need for specific application. In other words, to really get to the bottom of all this you have to dig into your own self, your own experience, because your relationship to both astrology and magic is utterly unique to you and can only be known by you.
When the impetus to write this article came to me earlier this month one of the first things which began to present itself in my mind was that there is an apparent lack of other people writing in this area. There are and have been plenty of great minds (but not nearly enough!) dedicated to understanding the relationship between astrology and magic and sharing what they have learned with others, but as far as I’m aware I am the only person writing about the relationship between astrology and the magical Equilibrium which is a prerequisite for attaining magical capability. As far as I know I am the only astrologer who is also a practitioner of Bardon’s “Initiation into Hermetics” and who is sharing what they have learned with others. I’m not particularly comfortable with this monopoly or seeming monopoly, precisely for the reasons I’ve just stated about the uniqueness of everything that exists. I don’t want people to think things like “well, David said this so it must be this way”. So while I can say some things in general about this topic, I caution you not to take it too seriously and instead to just accept what resonates with your own experience while leaving the rest for your own experimentation. Indeed your own experimentation is vital if you wish to truly succeed in applying your experience of astrology to your path of magical initiation, and indeed with initiation in general. VITAL.
I’m also aware that there will be numerous people coming across this article who do not understand what I mean by magical Equilibrium and why it would be necessary before true success in magic is possible. So I must devote some time to explaining these things as part of this message. In doing so while I will be referring heavily to the work of Franz Bardon I’m not in any way implying that this is the only path to a magical Equilibrium, only that in my experience it is the most reliable one. In fact what will become immediately apparent when we understand what a magical Equilibrium actually is, is that the practice of astrology itself has the same goal. This shared goal is what makes them true lovers in the art of initiation. In other words, it is possible and in fact it is the intended purpose of astrology for people to reach a magical Equilibrium through astrological awareness, and astrologers have been helping people to do that for thousands of years without using that terminology.
THE MOON, THE ASTRAL TIDES & THE NEED FOR EARTHLY EQUILIBRIUM
The physical realm is inter-penetrated by other realms which the average person is not fully consciously aware of. While there are many such realms coexisting with the physical realm, we can conceptualize two primary ones which help us to understand the overall hierarchy, these being the astral realm and the mental realm. There are also non-physical realms which correspond to the physical planets in the solar system, so that there are astra-mental realms corresponding to the physical Sun and Moon as well as the Earth and all of the major planets. Although astrology encompasses all three of these metarealms – physical, astral and mental – it is primarily focused on the astral realm.
The astral realm, like the physical realm, is a restless place where things are continuously in motion and are subject to time. Just as the physical realm can be seen as a continuously shifting sea of physical substance and energy, so too the astral realm can be seen as a continuously shifting sea of astral substance and energy. However, wherein the physical realm that substance is formed by matter and its energy in the astral realm the substance is formed not by matter but by what we can call significance. Certain things like colours, numbers, symbols and feelings convey this substance as a currency more directly but all things in the physical realm are bound to the astral realm and therefore communicate significance. Artists know this realm intimately as all art emerges from muses in the astral realm, but the practice of astrology and its efficacy lies in its ability to read the significance within the astral realm from the physical positions of planets which represent the current state of affairs in the astral sea (at least as it applies to life on Earth).
So we have a continuously shifting sea of significance into which all physical things are placed and made subject. We cannot directly perceive significance in the same way that we can directly perceive physical matter – it cannot really be touched by our physical hands – but we know it is there as we experience it regularly in our lives. When someone dies we are hit with a profound wave of significance as their presence departs from the physical realm. When we walk into a room full of people, each one of them has a different significance for us. When we look at a painting or listen to music, we are touched in a uniquely significant way. All our lives we navigate through this invisible sea without ever seeing that it is there, as vast as the physical universe is and even more unexplored.
Well, not all of us – both astrologers and magicians know that it is there and that our interaction with it is the most significant thing of all. Both know that the ever-changing nature of the sea means that the journey is forever, or until death, and that navigating it successfully requires awareness. Just as a ship needs a map, a knowledge of the stars and fair weather to cross the ocean, so too the human vessel can be equipped with the necessary tools to make its passage over this vast and wild expanse. There are living beings in this realm, just as varied as in the physical realm. The aforementioned muses are among them, but the inhabitants of this realm are truly as varied and diverse as life in the physical universe is. At different stages on our journey, our course through life destines us to encounter some of them at specific times. All of this is readable from the positions of the planets in the solar system in relation to the Earth and its inhabitants, which is to say through astrology. Yet while astrology can know the movements and actions and behaviours of the astral sea it has long lost sight of the living inhabitants, the spirits which magicians are fully aware of.
We are born as physical beings at a specific moment in time and at a specific place and thereby we “inherit” a particular resonance, a particular significance which is present at that moment when we are born. This unique significance attaches itself to our unique physical body and is anchored there through our breath and other mechanisms which tie the astral and physical realms together. From that point forward, we are subjected to both the effects of the physical plane and the effects of the astral plane combined and will be forced to deal with the reality of changing circumstances as we are subjected to time. The astral ocean into which we are born continues to shift relentlessly and so it’s resonance with us changes as time passes. Life becomes a process of adapting to an ever-changing tapestry of physical changes and shifting tides of significance. We fall in and out of love and despair, move from one occupation to another, travel from one location to another, endlessly voyaging through and into experience and its attendant significance. In many cases it is we ourselves who assign significance to our experiences and so we build up a personal body of significance, an astral body.
The principle local controller of this astral ocean and its rhythmic tides is our closest neighbour in physical space, our Moon. Like our planet Earth, She has an astral body and a spirit or mental body as well as a physical body, and so She is alive and aware of Her own existence. This intelligence is not only the controller of the physical tides but also the astral tides of our world. As the Moon orbits the Earth it dives into and out of the energetic field of the Earth, astrally transmitting influences into the earthly sphere from the other planets and the Sun and so stirring up the astral realm. This creates the need for every living thing on the Earth to move in response, the need for Equilibrium.
While the fact that every living thing is unique means that it’s Equilibrium is also unique, there are some general features to its nature which mean we can actually talk about it. The primary one is that the awareness is no longer controlled by this external astra-physical environment – the ever shifting nature of the astral ocean (described by our astrology) no longer has the power to control or direct our actions. Instead our actions are now intentional choices which we make in response to the external environment and the astral tides. The only way in which this is possible is for us to know our own part of that astral ocean, to know and master ourselves so well and so intimately that it cannot manipulate us without our conscious awareness. Whereas before when we ran for the last bus only to watch it drive away seconds before we reached it and were overcome with anger, now we have such presence of mind that when the circumstances that would trigger anger arise, we are in control of how we react. So it’s essential nature is internal and not external, the Equilibrium being attained when we have mastered our own reactions to the ever shifting nature of astral reality and physical existence. We may still get angry as the bus drives away, but if we do so it will be an intentional choice, not something that is thrust upon us.
The self awareness we need in order to avoid being manipulated constantly by the relentless motion of the astral ocean means that we must dive into our own character and our own significance – we must know ourselves in order to know the nature of our responses, many of which have been programmed into us by past experiences and our unconscious has warped them into bad habits. This diving into ourselves involves coming to know our character in all its gritty details. So we have to know our own inner nature so that we can understand how we are affected by external and environmental factors.
However the Equilibrium requires not only that we acquire this self-knowledge but that we have eliminated the most negative qualities which easily overpower our ability to choose how we react. These negative qualities lie at the root of our astral nature and must be pulled up and transformed intentionally into something which does not dictate or control our behaviour. This means that in the example above if anger is at the root of many of your negative habits, then you have to resolve the anger before you will attain your own Equilibrium, and that means diving into what causes it and how it began as a pattern of negative behaviour in your life. In all likelihood, it has nothing to do with buses.
Once the majority of your negative habits are transformed in this way you begin to gain greater control over how you react to the astral ocean and therefore greater mastery over your direction in life, and if new negative habits or behaviours emerge from within the infinite ocean you are able to control how you react immediately. Equilibrium does not require you to have eliminated all of your negative qualities so that you live as a perfect saint, only that you have uprooted and transformed all of the major negative traits and that the other less significant negative traits are always in your control when they arise. Additionally your depth of knowledge of your own nature and its subjective perception of reality means that your subjective perceptions no longer act to cloud your objective perception of reality. You can identify what you are subjectively bringing to your experiences and in doing so you can screen it out so that you can more clearly see what is really there. This clarity of perception becomes vital when it comes to interacting with intelligent living beings of a non-physical origin (spirits), and it makes it much more difficult for you to be deceived. The important thing however is that you are now in control of how you react to the astral ocean and this gives you an initial power of command over the ocean itself which makes possible your ability to wield magic in a reliable and consistent way. Before the Equilibrium any success at magic is hit and miss and it is mostly miss, especially if you have an immature understanding of your own astral body.
Students of astrology and its practice who have no experience with magic may at this point be wondering if this is even possible since it seems to represent an extremely high degree of mastery over the birth chart and its patterns and influences. And indeed this attainment is definitely not easy, but it is greatly assisted by a structured and systematic approach such as the one provided by Bardon in his book “Initiation into Hermetics”. Through a gradual process involving physical, astral and mental exercises the ten steps of instruction Bardon provides lead the initiate to attain this Equilibrium in its primal state by the beginning of step four. How long this takes is an open question that depends very much on the individual and their commitment. Astrology can also lead people to attain an Equilibrium, but it is less likely to be lasting and more subject to fail temporarily. Part of the reason for this is really the chaotic and diverse approach to using astrology in practice, something which is of course both a strength and weakness in the field. Simply put astrological practice is not as structured as the system outlined by Bardon and it is this structured approach aimed at attaining the Equilibrium that makes it more readily attainable.
Ultimately this means that astrology can become an even more powerful tool in the hands of the magician than it is in the hands of a practiced and professional astrologer, especially with regard to the magicians own being and experience, not only because they have attained this mastery over the reactions they have, but also because they are now prepared to begin consciously encountering the living intelligences of the astral realm, something which astrologers in practice cannot do without similar training or natural gifts. Eventually the magician will be able to travel freely throughout the diverse astral realms at will, just as most of us can travel about the physical world at will by moving our bodies, taking them far beyond what any astrological training of today can offer.
THE BIRTH CHART
The primary tool in astrology is of course the birth chart itself but it may surprise many people to know that as far as initiation is concerned you do not really need a birth time as the data supplied merely by your birth date is often usable straight out of the ephemeris without a time. An astrological chart with no time still reveals the psychological nature of the individual which is what we really need in initiation. We do not need the granular higher resolution of the houses/temples although if we have them the greater detail they provide will certainly help enormously.
The birth chart shows the imprint of astral significance on our astral body, the way our astral body was “programmed” at the moment of our birth. Our personality (which is an expression of our astral body) will not be fully developed at this time but its potential will be present. As time goes by our astral nature develops as we are exposed to changing tides and circumstances, as significance emerges for us it shapes our character and our personality emerges as a result of our responses to the changing significance. Yet we are always innately conditioned to respond in a certain way from birth, and if we are not fully conscious of this conditioning – and none of us are when young, at least today – then we develop bad habits around those things which we do not carefully tend to. We become more like automatons in certain areas, reacting as a result of our past conditioning. The early stages and steps of initiation are concerned with thoroughly investigating our own astral nature and personality so that we can identify these neglected areas and bring them under our control. Thus for the magician with a knowledge of astrology this entire process is greatly clarified as there is an objective blueprint – the birth chart – which accurately describes their own astral nature, albeit in symbolic form.
By investigating the birth chart in the early stages of initiation the whole process of identifying the astral nature is given a massive boost and a single consultation with a good astrologer can potentially cut years of work from the process of getting to grips with your own astral character. It is even better than going to see a psychiatrist in this respect because a psychiatrist must start by getting to know you whereas an astrologer only has to get to know the chart, which is being completely open and communicating everything significant that there is to communicate about your experiences. The astrologer only has to open a dialog with you and listen carefully so they can come to an understanding of where and how you are resonating with your specific symbolism. When this becomes clear the astrologer (whom you just met) can perform a literal act of magic and tell you things about yourself that you know to be true, sometimes things that even surprise you about yourself or which clarify things you have long tried to articulate, and they can even accurately advise you about your future as they can see how the astral ocean is moving around you at any given time in your life simply by checking the positions of the planets at those times. To most people this shouldn’t work and it’s a profound and sometimes even disturbing shock that it does, it breaks reality as we think it to be. The more context you give an astrologer about your past interaction with your particular symbolism, the more accurate they will be able to pinpoint the patterns you will experience in the future. A good astrologer will advise you how to react positively and healthily with whatever is emerging from that vast ocean, whether it is a titanic beast of the deeps or the gentle song of a mermaid on a sunny afternoon.
PLANETS – the What?
Some specific components of modern astrology have certain specific implications for initiation (the process of attaining and maintaining the Equilibrium). I’ve already mentioned that the birth chart itself expresses the innate astral nature of the person that was imprinted upon them when they were born into the physical world, and that it is therefore the principle tool in the box for the magician using astrology. Know the birth chart and you Know Thyself. The Lights (Sun and Moon) and the planets of the birth chart represent the dimensions of awareness available to all Earthly life. Everything is able to feel and to think (Mercury and Venus) and it has an individual will driving it (Mars) and so on. In this respect everything that lives upon the Earth is the same, however the planets are only one of four main layers present in the birth chart and these other layers introduce all the individuality and an infinite variety of scope and expression of these dimensions of awareness. These layers are the signs, the aspects and the houses/temples. Additionally, beyond the birth chart itself and an understanding of how the astral nature was imprinted by the astral realm at birth, astrology can also reveal the condition of the astral realm at any point in time and so bring guidance on the unique path that each being must take to reach the goal of Equilibrium. Astrologers have an arsenal of techniques with which to do this, a truly staggering array of methods, but in modern astrology the two most commonly used in the west are progressions and transits. I will now look at each of these areas of astrology in turn and explain some of their significance to initiation.
SIGNS – the How?
Whereas planets symbolise our access to the dimensions of awareness which are open to life on Earth, the divisions of the sky which we call the 12 signs of the zodiac represent the ways in which we can process that awareness. I have written extensively about the signs of the zodiac in this journal (just search for a sign in the archive) and will complete that series of articles about them very soon, and in my book I have given as precise an account as I can of what the zodiac actually is, but here I will share some thoughts on the significance of the zodiac signs for someone seeking the Equilibrium through a magical initiation.
The first thing to note is that the signs are divided into the four Elements, with three signs given for each of the Elements. These Elements are the same Elements that Bardon talks about in his books. That is to say, the signs of the zodiac belong to the Elements, not that the Elements belong to the signs of the zodiac. The zodiac is an expression of the four Elements. The majority of its inhabitants are animals or symbolised as animals because the zodiac is a living thing, one big Elemental animal that lives in the sky if you like.
So there is an immediate correlation between the exercises of initiation in which the qualities and traits of the character have to be assigned to one of the four Elements and the birth chart which assigns each of the planets to one of the four Elements. If you calculate the relative weight of each planet according to which Element it is in in the birth chart, you can come up with a numerical score which roughly communicates the essence of your innate Elemental balance. What this means is that just by doing a quick calculation with the birth chart you can identify where your strengths and weaknesses lie according to the quantity of connection to the four Elements.
Aside from this the signs allow us to begin understanding qualitative detail related to the astral character because each of the signs express particular qualities or traits more than others. For example, Virgo is often quite logical and helpful while being prone to worry and fuss, while Leo is charismatic and exuberant while being prone to arrogance and pride. With this means is that at a glance an astrologer can see the character traits we are inclined to have, especially if there is a particularly obvious emphasis on a particular sign.
The expression of a particular planet or light (dimension of awareness) will be filtered in a particular way by a particular sign, with some signs strengthening the expression of a planet and other signs not or doing the opposite and undermining its expression. So the astrologer can also begin to see which planets are strengthened in our awareness and which are lying dormant in addition to the aforementioned insight into the types of character traits we have. All of this can come merely from looking at planets in signs. Importantly it does not replace the work that the initiate must do in introspection or self examination, but it greatly assists it especially in the beginning stages when there is a great deal of subjectivity regarding this matter. In many cases it also adds important details to what the magician has already uncovered from the introspection they have done, details that may have taken many years to identify but which astrology provides a shortcut to because its symbolism reveals them. This happens more times than I can count in my professional and personal interactions with people.
In addition just the knowledge of planets in signs alone can be highly effective in the timing of magical rituals and other activities which are connected to the process of initiation (such as the practice of certain exercises) since it is an easy matter to use transits and progressions (see below) through the signs to time specific activities. In effect this initial layer of planets in signs opens up access to a vast range of potential for any practitioner of initiation and seeker of Equilibrium, but especially to a beginner. You could stop here, making use of planets in signs alone and diving no deeper into astrology and still find a lifetime of useful application for what you know and will learn.
ASPECTS – the Inner Conversation
Just one more level in deeper however and you come across aspects, the utility of which cannot be underestimated. A whole series of articles on the subject matter of this message could be written about the aspects alone, and there are many good books and lectures by astrologers on the nature of the aspects which are worth reading for their insight and practical advice.
Simply put, aspects are the relationships that arise from the different positions of the planets. More technically, they are what give the Moon its different phases – as all the planets move around the zodiac and orbit the Sun in their own orbits, they form relationships with other planets just like the Moon does with the Sun, but She shows it visibly in how much light She is reflecting to us. When the Moon is on the opposite side of the Earth from the Sun, then She is Full but when She is on the same side as the Sun then She is New. As She moves around the Earth the Moon forms different relationships with the Sun which are shown on the Moons surface clearly by the amount of light and its position on the surface of the Moon. Similarly all of the planets are perpetually in motion and forming relationships with one another, which are called aspects. For example when they are 90° apart from one another they are said to be in a square aspect because this aspect will form a square shape when repeated inside of a circle. We can think of aspects as the circuitry and wiring which connects the planets in signs to one another.
For initiation aspects are very powerful to know about. Certain aspects are said to be harmonious because they combine signs which have compatible Elements while others are said to be inharmonious because they combine signs from Elements which are not compatible. For example the trine, an aspect of 120°, is said to be a harmonious aspect because it connects signs which belong to the same Element – a Fire sign with another Fire sign for example. The square on the other hand is said to be an inharmonious aspect because it connects signs from incompatible Elements – a Fire sign with a Water sign for example. In the astrological scheme Fire and Air are compatible with themselves and each other and the same for Water and Earth. So the astrological scheme has an underlying principle which emphasises the Electric and Magnetic Fluids, just like Bardon’s system, since the Fire Element is all Electric while the Air Element is mostly Electric and the Water Element is all Magnetic while the Earth Element is mostly Magnetic. The harmonious and inharmonious nature of astrological aspects is therefore based upon the nature of the Fluids as they express themselves through the four Elements.
Since the aspects reveal how the different planets interact with one another, relate to one another or are connected in our awareness, and also comment on whether or not this connection is inherently harmonious or inharmonious, and since planets in signs provide us with traits and character qualities as well as a measure of their quantity, aspects essentially reveal the complexes of the astral nature, what we would call personality complexes. During the process of initiation the initiate will discover that certain character traits relate to other character traits and that those character traits then relate to other character traits, so forming a web of interrelated character traits. This is a personality complex, a dynamic arrangement of traits within the astral nature. What differentiates a personality complex from a simple dimension of our personality is that the personality complex is more sensitive so that whenever it is influenced by the astral ocean all of its connected parts react at once. It makes it more difficult for us to understand the behaviour behind our reactions because there are many layers to them, but the advantage they bring is that when one part of the personality complex is transformed it has an effect on the entire complex and in the case of powerful negative complexes which have existed for a long time this is a serious advantage! It means that by working on one part of it really well you don’t have to work on the others so hard because the transformative energy will flow through your astral nature along its natural predetermined paths. To put this in a practical example let’s imagine that you have Mercury in Scorpio in a square with both Venus in Leo and the Moon in Aquarius. This complex is a quarrelsome one wherein those three dimensions of awareness find it very difficult to agree with one another and will tend to pull us as a person in different directions. This will be quite a vulnerable spot as far as a reaction to the astral ocean is concerned. However if we concentrate our effort on transforming our mental attitude (Mercury) and bringing it more in alignment with the highest nature of Scorpio, then the work that we do with our Mercury in this case will inevitably make its way to that Venus in Leo and Moon in Aquarius as well, and so the changes we make in our thinking through working on our Mercury will cause changes in our emotions (Venus) and our astral awareness (Moon) as a result.
Conversely, of course, aspects and their associated personality complexes can also be the places where the astral ocean really gets to dominate our reactions because some places will be quite sensitised by them. For example if the Moon is receiving several square aspects and very few harmonious offers of support, it will be a place of extreme difficulty and challenge. In this case we will probably struggle a lot with the astral exercises. It just won’t be easy for us in some way or form to make progress in those areas or in some other area which is connected to the Moon. Yet what this means is that these are the sensitive places where we need to do our work to attain Equilibrium and so astrology again can make it very easy for us to identify this and can accomplish what would otherwise take many months or possibly even years within a very short time, possibly even a few minutes in some cases.
Additionally harmonious aspects can show where we might have strengths and talents which we are not using or not using as effectively as we could, and these will show up just as easily as the complexes which are challenging and which describe weaknesses. The aspects can then show us what strengths we have at hand to easily apply to our weaknesses. For example if the chart has Venus in Cancer in a harmonious trine with Mars in Pisces (both of which are Water signs), then it will be clear that there is an ability to apply the will to intentionally sympathise and empathise with others, especially the vulnerable. This is already a very detailed and specific insight into the astral nature, but if we are also then to consider that the same chart also has Saturn in Aries, which is in a square relationship with Venus in Cancer, we begin to see that there is an inhibition or fear of expressing the Venus side, it is being restrained somehow, and we can conclude that the qualities of Mars is providing something helpful that can contribute to remedying this issue.
In other words, aspects are the magic of our secret alchemy, the astral chemistry which makes us and the universe tick. Through an understanding of aspects we come to understand the nature of astral dynamics, how the astral ocean that we exist in operates and the mechanisms which drive it, we learn when and where the storms approach or the calm waters lie and we discover the ways in which we can transform more effectively and powerfully and where (and when) we should focus most of our attention and energy in terms of that transformation. These are immensely powerful tools and insights which remain useful throughout every stage of initiation and only grow in usefulness the farther we progress, like much of what we learn with astrology.
HOUSES or TEMPLES – the Where?
The houses or temples are physical spaces in the sky into which objects can be placed according to the orbit of the Earth on its own axis. To put this simply, the same chart for the same moment but on an opposite side of the world will take place at a different time of day (perhaps night instead of afternoon) which will mean that the Sun is in a different part of the sky, and so be in a different temple. It will be in the same sign in both charts no matter where the chart is located because the position of the Sun in signs is dependent upon the zodiac which is independent of both the houses and the rotation of the Earth on its own axis.
For houses or temples we need an accurate birth time and so this is not always possible, but when it is the inclusion of this layer acts to bring everything above into a much sharper focus. What we have been unable to see from all of the above so far is where in life experience all of this will be happening. Of course the truth is that it is all happening within us as part of our own astral nature but some of it will externalise itself for reasons of karma or because we or others make it so. With the inclusion of the 12 houses or temples we will be able to see where in terms of life experience everything will tend to externalize itself, so we will be able to see for example whether or not there is a great emphasis on career matters or traveling to far away places. Previously the planets, signs and aspects have only intimated or suggested these things, but with the inclusion of houses or temples the astrologer can be more confident about this factor.
Thus, this layer of astrology is not only about the externalisation of our astral nature in life experience and as a life path, but is also deeply karmic because there are good reasons for the planets to be in certain houses, reasons that have to do with life experiences that we are here to gather. The temples act to literally earth the entire chart by assigning things to earthly experiences.
This means that the position of the planets in certain houses/temples reveals to us how specific dimensions of awareness are especially empowered or active in specific arenas of life experience. For example, Jupiter in the 7th means that the presence of Jupiter and all that it signifies in our birth chart will be encountered most directly in our closest relationships and partnerships such as our marriage. It may mean that our partner has particularly Jupiter-like qualities for us or that in order to manifest enormous potential in the arena of relationships we have to develop and mature our relationship to whatever Jupiter represents in our chart by its sign and aspects. Essentially it means that when we explore relationships our life path brings us face-to-face with Jupiter and its attendant beings.
Obviously all of the houses are of interest but as far as initiation and the Equilibrium is concerned some have a particular relevance. The 9th house/temple is concerned with spiritual experience and spiritual maturity and initiation in general and so if there are planets in this area of your chart it can be extremely significant for initiation. You will have to satisfy some kind of agenda with that planet as part of your initiation. Strong astrological presences in the 9th can also indicate the influence and even the guise of the Greater Self as you progress further. The 12th house/temple is also important, especially in the early stages of initiation. This area of the chart pertains to the content of the unconscious and the subconscious and to all forms of meditation, inner reflection, absolution or retreat from mundane concerns. For all of these reasons it is an important place for any student of magic. The 4th temple also connects to the unconscious as well as past experience, especially in childhood. The 8th house/temple can reveal deep astral complexes or conditions which are carried over from previous mortal coils and can sometimes communicate our darkness and need to transform it and the 1st house/temple as well as the 5th house/temple relate to our creative potential and our ability to express ourselves healthily. I have written 3 long messages about the 12 temples which you can find in the archive if you need more information.
The inclusion of this layer also helps an initiate to align themselves with the flow of time. Since each of the 12 temples relates to a specific life activity or area of experience, the initiate can use transits or progressions (see below) through the temples to discern fortuitous times to engage in specific life activities. They can effectively forecast the weather of the vast astral ocean and can therefore navigate it with far greater confidence. They can tell when they are luckier at certain things or not and when it is wise to make a decision and when it is not or when the power of a particular planet will be strong and available for a ritual. Knowledge of the houses/temples becomes important when using astrology in the creation of talismans or amulets because the placement of planets in specific houses/temples is a major factor in using astrology to empower them.
When you are beginning with initiation knowing which planets are in which houses can just add a layer of confusion rather than clarity and since for the purpose of initiation and reaching the Equilibrium it is not really necessary to know this level of detail, the effort may best be spent elsewhere (such as in understanding aspects and planets in signs). However if you do include your knowledge of planets in houses the overall effect is that your clarity on your life path will be enriched and you will gain the beginnings of your insight into your karma and your purpose.
TRANSITS & PROGRESSIONS – the Journey
As previously mentioned there are many techniques within astrology to forecast the condition of the astral ocean at any given moment but the primary ones used in western astrology are progressions and transits. The important thing to point out here initially is that all of the techniques no matter the method are designed to achieve the same goal which is to delineate the nature or condition of the astral ocean at a specific moment and how it relates to certain individuals with their unique resonance and thus their unique way of interacting with it. All of the above – the planets, signs, aspects and temples/houses – are present in the birth chart and represent the basic language blocks of astrology, but the techniques which are aimed at forecasting or predicting are things which are applied to the birth chart and the delineation comes from how the birth chart responds to whatever is being applied. Human relationships can also be examined in this way as you can compare one chart with another and thereby give a delineation of the chemistry between them, but this is not as directly useful to initiation and the attainment of the Equilibrium as forecasting techniques are. In fact this may be the single most useful astrological tool for attaining and sustaining a true magical Equilibrium.
Transits are simply the current positions of the planets applied to your chart (or if we are not dealing with looking at the present day they are the future or past positions of the planets as applied to your chart). Here we are simply looking at the current state of the solar system or its state at another time and noting the positions of the planets before relating them back to the birth chart. In this we are directly looking into the current state of the astral ocean, first trying to see what is actually there and then relating this back to the way the birth chart interacts with it. It is literally looking at the symbolism of the bus as it drives away and leaves you stranded and angry but doing so a month or two beforehand so that you can see the symbolism of that moment happening before it happens. You won’t be able to see the bus in the symbolism but you will be able to see the angry moment and the frustration it presents you with. When that period comes around you might then go a bit earlier fearing that you will miss the bus, which might mean that you actually catch the bus and avoid the anger, or (more commonly) you will still miss the bus or something similarly frustrating will happen but your foreknowledge of the potential for you to be angry at this time and your determination in initiation to deal with your anger issues may actually combine to give you a golden opportunity to change your life forever. The important point here is that a character trait can only be transformed when it arises, not after or before (although you can of course prepare for that beforehand and learn from it afterward). The golden moment we have to transform our character is that moment when we are standing in the rain cursing the fact that the bus has just disappeared from view, and the anger begins to rise up… but we arrest it and we replace it with a deep breath, and make other plans.
Some transits are bigger than others, they express greater significance because they occur less frequently. This is an important point to bear in mind. Essentially it means that the slower a planet moves through the zodiac the more impact its transits have on the ocean. Eris and Pluto for example have long orbits through the zodiac and so bring profound effects which affect the entire global situation, while Mercury who is very fast can disrupt airports and trains for a few weeks and create blips in the global economy from time to time but has no lasting impact on the global status quo compared to the other two. However there is one exception to this rule as far as sustaining the Equilibrium is concerned – the transits of the Moon are paramount, as Her monthly orbit of the Earth acts to communicate every astrology aspect with every planet into the Earths astral realm, and so trigger every part of what the astral ocean is holdfing for us at that time. In other words, the Moons transits are what the magician has to deal with in maintaining their astral Equilibrium. This is so huge for initiation, but few make use of it. Another important point to bear in mind is that transits arise from an external causation, since they are drawn from the continually changing positions of the planets in the sky, which are the same for everyone (even though they affect everyone differently). They can still bring internal rather than external happenings but the source is external, it originates from within the astral ocean itself. The tapestry of transits are therefore the same for everyone at the same time.
This is not the case with progressions which are drawn from the way the positions of planets in the birth chart change positions in the sky for about the first 80 or 90 days of life and so are not the same for everyone. With progressions there is an internal causation as the seed planted in the birth chart germinates and grows through life. Again, they can still cause external happenings even though they arise from an internal astral source. If transits are the weather and the features of the landscape of the ocean we must navigate through, and the birth chart is a representation of our vessel and its course, then progressions are how the crew change and develop as the journey unfolds. In terms of initiation and the attainment of the Equilibrium these factors are equally important as transits are, because we must learn not only how to control our own reactions to the environment and external effects and become the master of our emotions and negative traits but we must also do so as we ourselves grow and evolve as people and our unique resonance changes as a result. This is what progressions are showing us, the way the birth chart will germinate and mature as time passes.
Unlike with transits, it is the faster moving objects which carry greater significance in progressions, because they will move the furthest and therefore be the most active in the three months following our birth from which progressions are drawn. In three months, slow-moving Eris and Pluto will hardly move at all and so their progression throughout life will not vary significantly from its birth chart position. Mercury however will zip through the zodiac in this time, and so have greater significance because it will undergo a major journey by progression. In the case of Mercury, that journey will relate to the evolution of the mental awareness and the intellect and how it interacts with the astral ocean. As an example you may be born with Mercury in Gemini and start out in a very talkative and inquisitive mental state as a child but end your life with progressed Mercury in Virgo, it having progressed all the way through Cancer and Leo and thus having gone through several major stages of development in terms of your thinking. You will always be by default in some way a Mercury in Gemini person but you will have adapted that template according to your later experiences and thus the expression of your Mercury will be different and it will interact with the astral ocean differently.
For this reason, just like transits are, progressions are a key tool to understand and use when it comes to attaining or maintaining the astral Equilibrium, mostly for maintaining it. Since our astral nature is not a static being but is continuously adapting according to its progressions and our reactions to life, it is important if we want to stay in command of our responses to the astral ocean that we understand the changes that we go through internally as we mature in time. Progressions can also alter or modify the innate astral balance of the Elements that our birth chart expresses, always by adding. For example the aforementioned Mercury in Gemini begins life with an innate attunement to the Air Element, but at some stage when it progresses into Cancer it modifies that connection to the Air Element with a new connection to the Water Element. As each of the Lights or the faster moving planets (Mercury, Venus and Mars) as well as the angles of the ascendant and midheaven move by progression fast enough to change signs more than once (and in the case of the Moon and angles can orbit the entire zodiac numerous times) in the course of one lifetime, the innate Elemental balance with which we are born with can be very strongly modified by these factors. Thus a knowledge of the progressions of these faster moving parts of astrology in the signs and thus through the Elements can be a significant help in navigating the lifetime of your Equilibrium. This can also help you identify periods in the year when it is auspicious to work at developing your relationship to certain Elements as the progressions of the ascendant are especially potent in this respect.
As I said at the beginning of this message, this can only serve as an introduction to a vast subject but I hope that I’ve been able to give you some guidance in this area and that you have enjoyed reading. There are many other messages in the archive on magic and astrology if you wish to read more. If you’d like to support this journal in the future please consider becoming a patron.
I wish you all the best in 2019 and thank you for reading!