Some Occult Anatomy

Greetings and welcome back to Journeys! This month I explore the relationship between the physical, astral and mental realms and the equipment we are normally given to investigate them. Next month I will be taking a break from posting to attend to some important business, but I’ll be back in June.

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Students of both astrology and magic often come to some confusion in the matter of initially grasping how these two systems relate to the human body and especially if they are students of both since there are seemingly conflicting views. For example, students of “Initiation Into Hermetics” learn that the chest area of the body is the Air region, but students of astrology are taught that the heart is of Leo, which is a Fire sign. This is often a problem when we combine two different symbol sets from separate traditions as people are very keen to do in the modern day (and with extremely disparate traditions), however in this case because of the historical connection between western astrology and hermetic magic going back to ancient times the symbol sets do actually correspond, to a degree. However they do so in a somewhat occult manner which requires a degree of understanding in order to penetrate. In this article I will attempt to explain how the western astrological and magical analogies correspond with one another to reveal a much more complex occult anatomy then either system describes.

To begin with, a word or two about the schemes themselves. The hermetic information is easier to summarize – the body is divided into four Elemental regions with the densest Elements at the base and the least dense at the top. So the head and neck region is given to the Fire Element, the shoulders, upper body and chest and upper arms are the Air Element region, the lower body including the abdomen and forearms are the Water Element region and everything below the waist down to the feet as well as the hands are placed within the Earth Element region. These four Elemental regions are divided in three places – at the base of neck, at the diaphragm and elbows, and at the hips and wrists. The earliest goal of the magician is to achieve an equilibrium of these four Elements in all three of their bodies. These three bodies are the physical body itself, the astral body which drives the character and the mental body which connects us to the trans-personal and transcendent realms. This is done through a series of progressive exercises involving the four Elements and the Elemental realms which are their source. So in its simplest form of expression the hermetic or magical occult anatomy discusses things in terms of four Elements within three manifest realms and their bodies.

This is quite similar to the way that the zodiac is constructed in astrology with four Elemental essences that express in three patterns or modes, called Cardinal, Fixed and Mutable, but the manifest realms (physical, astral, mental) and the modes of the zodiac signs are not the same things. However although they are not the same things as the physical, astral and mental realms the three patterns of astrology do actually describe the function of these three manifest realms in terms of their role in astrology itself. The mental realm is Cardinal (or Active) in nature because it is initiatory and causal, giving impetus to astral waves through the pristine archetypes within it, the astral realm is Fixed in nature because this is the real substance of astrology itself, the matter at hand that we are born with and must work through, and the physical realm is Mutable in nature because it is always undergoing flux and change as a result of or in response to the mental and astral realms and astrology.

However the hermetic scheme has additional important points which need to be brought up here, and these are the ways in which the physical astral and mental bodies are connected. There are two matrices and a number of other forms of connectivity involving the bodies. The first of these is the astral matrix which connects the physical body to the astral body and is often described as a silver cord. The astral matrix is positioned in the physical body at the naval, the place where the umbilical cord was cut at birth. When this occurs, the astral awareness of the newborn baby is for the first time a personally independent entity, with an individual astral and physical body connected together. The second connective tether is the mental matrix which connects the astral body with the mental body and which is sometimes described as a golden or violet coloured cord. The mental matrix is centred in the physical body at the solar plexus in the diaphragm area, and is fully established with our first breath.

Within this system the astral body acts as an intermediary or transceiver between the physical body and the mental body. Its sole purpose is to faciliate communion between these two forms, and so when the physical body expires, the astral body follows suit, and the mental body rejoins its Host. The mental body is initially formed on the mental plane at conception when the Greater Self begins incarnating as an individual self at a particular point in time and space. It is a vehicle for that Self to learn specific and particular things during an incarnation. It is therefore a temporal vehicle which will exist for a period of time only before it rejoins the Greater Self. In order to manifest itself in a physical body this mental body needs to accumulate an astral body through which it will be able to cause a physical body to accumulate. This astral body is formed of past experiences and the need to resolve them, in particular personal entanglements with other beings that we have incarnated with and things we need to return to as a result of our past incarnations. All three of these bodies grow together in the womb (in mammals this is the Water region of the mother, in other creatures – for example birds – it takes other forms) until a pre-set biological time kicks in and birth happens. Consider the Intelligence of nature required to manage this entire operation for countless individual species across billions of years. Until the umbilical cord is cut the baby is astrally connected to its mother’s astral body as well as to her physical body.

The mental body itself is always connected to everything that is (the Divine or Unity) via a connection which emerges from the crown of the physical head, however this is not really a cord like the other cords are, since they are temporary manifestations which serve the function of connecting and binding the three bodies while the Crown tether is a permanent state of universal connection to everything which does not vary in quality or tone from life to life. Only our awareness of this connection varies, not its qualities.

Similar to the hermetic view of placing the Elements in an order from head to toe, the astrological idea is that the zodiac signs are placed in order starting with Aries from the top of the head down to the bottom of the feet which are given to Pisces. In addition, all of the organs of the body and their systems are given over to planets or one of the Lights as well as being connected to a sign by virtue of where they are generally located in the body and which planet traditionally rules the sign. So for example in the head which is given to Aries there are attributions to the two Lights in the form of the eyes and brain itself, which is also given over to Mercury. In addition to this because many of the parts of the body are interwoven together as a system (such as the skeletal system or the nervous system or the endocrine system etc.) and also because certain sensations are associated with certain zodiac signs, the astrological system is greatly complicated and ambiguous. For example in the head which is the most complicated region of the body, the ears and the tongue and the lower jaw are often attributed to Taurus because it has a connection to taste and hearing and chewing the cud. So even though the head in astrology is viewed as a primarily Aries type area it has all these moving parts which are confusingly attributed to other astrological things, and while the head is an extreme example of this complexity the situation is present throughout the astrological system in every area of the body. The blood for example is attributed to Mars and to Jupiter and its circulation to Leo and Aquarius, among other things. But the basic idea is quite simple – zodiac signs are arranged from beginning to end at the major locations of the body starting at the head and the planets are given to organs and systems within the body.

The major apparent disconnect here is that the four Elements are distributed differently in the two different systems. Pisces, a Water sign, is assigned to the feet which are in the Earth region of the body. The problem here is that these are two distinctly different systems that developed differently and for different purposes, but with a common occult philosophy and a shared history in which they overlapped. The key thing to understand is that while their fusion does not synchronise perfectly, it is possible to flex the astrological symbolism to harmonize them together. The easiest way to show this is to discuss each Elemental region of the body and each sign within that region, starting with the Fire region.

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FIRE – Aries and Taurus, the head and neck.

This is the easiest region to explain, with Aries being the primal Fire sign and Taurus providing it with a support structure in the form of the neck. In the matching of the astrological signs to the four Elemental regions the Earth signs are all located at critical places where muscular support is needed – the neck, the diaphragm and the knees. In some astrological schemes Taurus is also connected to the lower jaw, where it also provides muscular support for chewing. However, there is another more occult reason for why Taurus as a zodiac sign fits in the Fire region of the body and this has to do with the connection of Taurus with the physical senses. Of all of the Earth signs, Taurus is the one which is most directly connected to all five of the physical senses, four of which have their organs located in the head. The sense of touch which is located throughout the body across the skin is still however connected to the activity of the Fire region simply because the brain, the locus of the physical Fire region, is the organ which interprets all of the electrical and chemical signals received by it through the body. Therefore, the external physical support of the neck and the input from the material, physical universe into the head and brain are related together through the concept of the sign of Taurus.

The brain however lacks mobility and therefore requires a body to move it around. The Fire region and the brain require an agent within that body to enact their will.

AIR – Gemini, Cancer, Leo, the base of the neck to the diaphragm.

That agent is the heart, which in the astrological scheme is the zodiac sign of Leo. The heart and brain are in a harmonious relationship since it is the brain which drives the beating of the heart while the heart pumps blood to the brain. We can say that the heart enacts the will of the brain to live. Leo is therefore the agent of the Fire Element in the Air region. The Air region is obviously connected with breathing because it contains the lungs, which are the organs of Gemini in this area. Gemini however also represents the shoulders and parts of the upper arms, ‘opening’ the Air region, so its placement in the Air region is self-explanatory. However it’s important to note that the division of the cerebral hemispheres of the brain (which in the Fire region is expressed externally through the symmetry of the face) now finds broader expression as the shoulders divide the skeleton into twin halves, and most of the organs of the body and its muscles follow suit.

The zodiac sign of Cancer is placed in the chest and breast area. When compared to the four Elemental regions of the body described by Bardon, the Water signs are all placed in the most sensitive areas of the external body as far as provoking an emotional response. The nipples in both sexes are the most sensitive area of the skin in the Air region. Additionally, the connection to nurturing and comforting (newborns breastfeeding, or consoling someone by laying their head upon your chest for example), also suggest a hint of Water to this part of the body.

The sign of Virgo which is placed at the diaphragm delineates the lower limits of the Air region, but it more truly belongs to the Water region since it descends from the diaphragm into the abdomen. Again we see the way that the Earth signs are used to provide a muscular support for the regions of the body, but the placement of Virgo is also significant because the diaphragm as a muscle is in service to the Water and Air regions since its purpose is to stir the activity of the organs and processes of the Water region (digestion, et cetera) and in doing so it drives the bellows of the lungs, forcing the breathing. The physical act of breathing is the way in which the physical body provides sustenance to the mental body. The physical act of eating and drinking is how the physical body provides sustenance to the astral body as well as itself. Thus, the placement of Virgo positions it to be in service to both regions of the body and to provide life force to the Air and Water regions, which are connected to the astral and mental bodies through the astral and mental matrices rooted in these physical locations of the body.

WATER REGION – Virgo, Libra, Scorpio, the diaphragm to the waist.

As explained above, Virgo divides the Air region from the Water region and while primarily in service to the Water region also serves the Air region. It is given over to most of the organs of digestion including the intestine, where its task is to separate purity from waste and clean out the system. The Water region is delineated in the astrological scheme by the sign of Libra which is given to the hips and the waist, however the sign of Scorpio is attributed to the genitals which are just below the waist. Internally though the sex organs are located within the Water region (ovaries, uterus, prostate gland). It’s worth noting that the Water region has these more fluid boundaries when compared to the astrological scheme, with Virgo ‘flowing’ into it from the top and Scorpio ‘flowing’ out of it from the bottom. Scorpio has its external manifestation in the Earth region (the sexual organs) but its internal manifestation in the Water region, where it is also very active in excretion and assisting Virgo through elimination.

Libra’s obvious manifestation at the hips need hardly be stated because they strongly resemble a pair of scales. Note that like the previous Air sign, Gemini, Libra sets a polarised form for the lower body, just as the shoulders do as they split in opposite directions, and that also like Gemini it is located at one of the borders of the Elemental regions. As noted previously, the Fire region needed an agent within the Air region of the body to enact its will or life. This was the heart represented so directly by Leo. Similarly, the Air region has an agent in the Water region in the form of Libra. This sign not only represents the hips astrologically but also the kidneys, a pair of organs which play a vital role in the harmony and balance of the body. The neutral nature of the Air Element is represented in these organs through their activity of neutralizing toxins in the body. The Fire region also has an agent in the Water region, and this is the solar plexus which is located between the naval and the sternum. The solar plexus or celiac plexus is a nerve cluster which acts as the brain of the Water region of the body, it keeps everything doing what it should, including the diaphragm, but it is obviously dependent upon both the brain and the heart in order to survive. However, both the brain and the heart need the solar plexus in order to stay healthy and to continue functioning, since it animates the breathing and digestion of substance, and is thus critical to the supply of Elements to the three bodies. Thus it is a nexus which binds the Air and Water regions and the astral and mental bodies to the physical and manages the absorption of the four Elements through the skin, lungs, digestion, elimination and by dealing with toxins, among other things. It is here that we feel the effect of our thoughts upon our emotions and our emotions upon our thoughts in a physical sensation which can at times be very distressing. Most people will recognize the tightening feeling in their mid-body area when extreme anxiety is affecting them or when they were undergoing something stressful. The solar plexus plays a major role in the manifestation of our aura and is extremely important in occult anatomy, and so I will come back to it shortly.

EARTH REGION – Sagittarius, Capricorn, Aquarius, Pisces, the waist to the feet.

The Earth region is the most still and immobile region of the body. It requires an impetus from above in the Fire region in order to take any kind of activity. At the centre of the Earth region, at the knees, the zodiac sign of Capricorn is placed. Again, this emphasizes the importance of supporting everything above it, and flexibility of the knee enables most of the movement our lower body can take. While both Taurus and Virgo offered strong muscular support for their regions, the support of Capricorn is more about bone than muscle because this is the Earth region. The shinbone of both legs is also a Capricorn area.

Sagittarius is attributed to the thighs and upper legs, which are the primary muscles used by the Fire region in bringing the Earth region to life. It’s clear that the athletic potential of this area of the body is a good match for the sporty and adventurous Sagittarius, but the key quality of Sagittarius is mobilization and this is what it brings to the Earth region of the body.

The lower legs or calves and the ankles are the Aquarius areas in the zodiacal scheme, both of which allow greater flexibility of movement and swiftness. Note that like the other two Air signs this is a complex joint in the bones, but unlike the shoulders and the hips, the ankles come in two pairs and are designed differently. Aquarius is not placed at a border of an Elemental region because it ignores borders. Instead it hovers just above the ground and facilitiates mobility like the Sagittarius sign. There are also pressure points around the ankle which connect to the other regions of the body, especially the solar plexus.

The Water sign of Pisces has again been given the most sensitive part of the Earth region, the feet, particularly the soles of the feet. Everyone knows how pleasurable, ticklish or relaxing it is to be touched here. The feet also have energy connections to every organ and muscle in the body as well as serving as an unconscious sensory instrument from our times listening to things through the ground with bare feet. However, it is primarily the sensitivity of the feet which connects them to Water.


 

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As you can see, the two systems do not really contradict one another but the astrological attributions add some detailed information to each of the regions without changing their essential Elemental affinity. This brings up an interesting point in that while undergoing the practice of “Initiation Into Hermetics” we load each of these regions with the appropriate Element, the regions themselves are not pure expressions of the Elements. They contain nuances and a mixture of the other Elements while retaining the dominant affinity that they have. This is because nothing in the physical or astral realm is a pristine expression of a single Element – everything in the physical and astral universe is to some degree a mixture of more than one Element, including the beings which inhabit them. To locate a pristine expression of the Elements you have to seek for it in the mental realm.

The integration of these three bodies so that they are working harmoniously together in perfect tandem results in greater health and vitality as well as clarity of perception both in terms of ideas and feelings, among other things, while a disharmony between the physical, astral and mental (which often happens through blockages such as things we do not allow ourselves to feel) weakens our ability to draw vigor and energy from life and in some way interferes with our ability to engage with it. The equilibration of the four Elements in the appropriate regions of the physical, astral and mental bodies is what enables a magician to operate magically. The primary way of doing this in the physical and astral bodies is through Eucharistic magic involving eating and drinking foods which have been causally dedicated in the Akasha. The body will absorb these foods and so in turn absorb the Elements of the intention as well, distributing them to the physical, astral and mental bodies. The primary way of doing this in the mental body, however is through the practice of magical breathing both in terms of conscious intake of breath while focused in meditation upon specific qualities you wish to draw into the self, or through whole-body pore breathing through the skin in the same way. However, there are many other ways for a magician to attain equilibrium in the three bodies, not just through a magical practice of eating, drinking and breathing. In fact, it is always necessary to employ other methods if you wish to succeed at this task more rapidly. The transformation of your character is often required to remove energy blockages in the astral which if chronic accumulate as physical conditions in the physical areas analogous to them.

Just as our material bodies interact with various physical manifestations of the four Elements (plasmas and light, liquid, gases and solids) and ingests into itself specific combinations of those Elements in the form of food and breathing, so too the astral body interacts with various astral manifestations of the four Elements and feeds upon them. However in the astral realm there is no need to eat in the way that there is here, however there are still hungers – many of them in fact! The hunger of the astral realm is for specific types of significance which we in our earthly incarnation experience emotionally through the feelings we have about things. What we feed upon in the astral realm then are things which are akin to qualities in our character. For example, a person filled with rage and anger is in that moment both feeding from and being fed upon by astral entities which resonate with the significance of anger. Therefore, by mastering the character and the astral nature of the personality so that our negative qualities are no longer able to hijack our behaviour, we not only relocate ourselves astrally to a new environment, we start making new friends there too.

Additionally, just as the physical world is always turning on its axis and turning around the Sun which is in turn spinning around the galactic centre and so on, everything in astral space is also in motion. The astral sea continually shifts around us, presenting us with fresh inhabitants and situations, and this is what astrology tries to communicate to us here on earth. The physical body has senses and apparatus capable of interacting with the material of the physical world – eyes for vision, ears for the hearing of things, etc. – but the astral body also has its sensory array, none of which depend upon a physical brain. They require an astral ‘brain’ instead, which is located in the astral body at the solar plexus.

When the three bodies are integrated together and we are alive (i.e. as soon as we are born and the umbilical cord is cut) the astral senses are “cloaked” by the input of our physical senses.Similarly, the raw input of the equivalent senses of our mental body are also cloaked by both the astral and the physical senses. In infancy and childhood this cloaking of our more subtle senses by the physical experience is minimal and we can often still perceive the beings of these realms. However, as time goes by we inevitably lose sight of the reality of these realms and instead begin to perceive them as feelings and ideas that we have. In other words, the astral apparatus that we have which we use to have transactions on the astral plane is communicated to us as feelings. The same happens with the mental realm, only we end up interpreting this contact as thinking.

A magician is able to move the awareness from the physical body to either of the other bodies after separating them so that they are independent of the physical body. When this is accomplished it becomes clear that human feelings and emotions are simply the way we encounter astral reality when we are in a physical body. In fact this will be one of the first things we have to learn following our physical death. Some methods of astral travel, such as the astral method of separating the astral body and moving our awareness into it described by Bardon, are actually dangerous to attempt without the proper training because the shock of succeeding causes the awareness to snap violently back into the physical body which can damage or even break the astral matrix resulting in death. Even with the proper training there are dangers that this will occur when your body is touched while your astral body is separated so you have to practice this alone and be sure that you will not be disturbed. However there are other methods of exploring the nonphysical worlds, primarily the method of mental wandering which also leaves your astral body resting ‘behind’ and allows you to voyage beyond the Saturn sphere, while remaining connected to your resting astral body via the mental matrix. During such activities the heartbeat and respiration do not stop, but they do reduce to an almost imperceptible rate. 

The spheres named after the planets (for those who don’t know these are magical realms of awareness which evocation magic can interact with) are not the same thing as the actual physical planet in space. However all of the spheres up to the Saturn sphere have astral dimensions to them which somewhat correspond to the astrological matters of the planet named after them. Just as we have a physical body in the physical universe composed of many cells, so too each of the spheres in the astral realm has a physical body composed of many cells. These are the worlds and stellar objects of our solar system and other solar systems. The movements of these planets relative to the Earth describe through synchronous activity the shifting of the astral sea relative to Earth and its individuals. They do not however in any way cause anything in the astral. This is an important argument astrologers have been having for millennia now – whether or not the planets cause things or merely describe them. The answer really is that they only describe them, but I do not think that the astrology of today is equipped to settle the question. Only magic can reveal this truth.

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Arising Worlds II

Greetings and welcome back to Journeys! This month I give you part 2 of Arising Worlds in which we look at Jupiter, Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto on the ascendant. As was noted by a reader in the comments last month information on rising planets can be extrapolated to the characteristics of rising signs, so that Jupiter rising has quite a bit in common with both Sagittarius and Pisces rising, which are its two signs, and so on.

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JUPITER

Jupiter represents what we need in order to manifest an awareness of the bounty of life. Most of the traditional thinking on Jupiter is heavily skewed towards optimistic and fortunate interpretations, but with the advent of modern psychology in the 20th century our understanding of this planet has grown and matured to encompass more awareness of its negative potential. For this reason if you look at ancient texts there will almost universally praise Jupiter rising as an extremely fortuitous omen, although they will sometimes make mention of some of the less healthy expressions such as exaggeration, wastefulness and laziness.

As a mediator of the natural order along with Saturn the planet Jupiter sets the overall rhythm of life in terms of expansion and contraction, with Jupiter delineating the cycles of expansion. Its overall effect is to enlarge and expand awareness and so when rising it significantly expands the projection of the qualities of the rising sign of the ascendant so that they become more all inclusive and more generalised, more beneficial in many respects but also more troubling in that they can be much greater in scale. As a result of this expansion of the qualities of the rising sign the capacity for the rising sign to form connection and experience commonality with others is increased dramatically so that the individual finds themselves in the position where they can always relate on at least a general level to whatever the awareness encounters in the present moment. If Jupiter were poetry it would be like a simile, a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid (I just gave you one by likening Jupiter to a poetic element). A key thing to understand with Jupiter rising is that this awareness of how one thing is like another thing is present in the identity at all times, not just when it happens to strike us, and that this factor is what causes the awareness to grow and expand as it finds more more connection the longer it lives.

There are certain things in human experience which rapidly multiply and grow exponentially when they are combined together, and many of these things have been associated with Jupiter in astrology. Faith for example is one of these things, as is community spirit and good fortune. Having an awareness of some of these things or one of them is very common with people who have Jupiter rising, so we see it in charts for people who preach about certain beliefs or philosophies, people who have some kind of power to bring other people together and people who emphasize a positive attitude in attracting good outcomes. The typical interpretation of this conjunction in ancient times would be that you are in some way connected to the clergy or to royalty, or that you had been in some way blessed by the gods or the heavens to attain great fortune, but the reality is that it positions you to attract these things into your sphere and to make them part of your identity. The fortune that comes from Jupiter rising is very clearly connected to the optimistic and positive attitude which it generally takes towards everything that ever happens to it, it always expects the best and it always tries to put a shine on things, but it’s true gift is its capacity to feel empathy and connection with other beings and to empower everyone by doing so.

Those with Jupiter rising have an expansive and benevolent personality and will be known as a seeker of knowledge and a philanthropist, a helper and a kind provider. This may be expressed through travel, study, teaching, religion or philosophy. They seek to broaden their horizons and embrace expansion as a positive development. They like to do things which are big, bold and grand in scale. Strong moral and sometimes religious convictions rule their behaviour, and this may at times become dogmatic. A pompous, puffed up, know it all attitude is a common trait of too much emphasis on this.

In general the appearance is fleshier, rosier and rarely gaunt as well as being buoyant and cheery, sometimes cheeky. Humour is a huge way these people recharge their vital supplies. In many cases an appropriate word for their deportment is ‘regal’ as they carry their bodies with a graceful and often physically attractive posture. The ‘sex symbols’ of Jupiter rising are like figures of royalty, they look like princes or princesses. Others have a potent spiritual or philosophical quality in their appearance and clothing. Weight can be gained more easily because Jupiter has the effect of expanding the shape of the physical body when it is rising. This is especially likely when Jupiter is conjunct the ascendant, which happens every 12 years or so, from birth onward, thus, at 12, 24, 36, 48 etc. Dieting and slimming in the years surrounding these Jupiter returns is a good idea but may be more difficult. However the gaining of weight through fat and indulgence in luxury food is not the only way that Jupiter can play out here, as the body of Charles Atlas demonstrates. AtlasA bully kicked sand in his nerdy face in front of his girlfriend around the first Jupiter return (and the girl laughed at his vow to get his own back), and then he went to a museum and saw statues of Zeus and Adonis, followed by a trip to the zoo where a caged lion taught him his famous technique for body building. This is a good example of how Jupiter rising responds to setbacks and humiliation – get better in a big way. Unlike Mars rising this is non-combative for the most part (although Atlas was motivated to get his own back because he has Aries rising, and so the bully received one of the most famous ass kickings in history). Instead with Jupiter rising the comeback response is motivated by volume and quality of belief in oneself and one’s capabilities and potentials. The sign does seem to play a role in this, however, as I have seen many more people with Jupiter in indulgent signs (like Cancer and Pisces rising) gaining fat or liquid easily, and more with Aries and Virgo rising going on health binges instead, for example.

The ability to find easy connections between your own identity and what is happening in the present moment around you also leads to a blossoming of empathy, which helps to explain why Jupiter rising is thought of as philanthropic and sensitive to those who are less fortunate or in need. A compassionate and merciful approach needs to also be directed towards the self, but in this case it’s often about being more merciful to yourself through the development of discipline rather than being too strict and judgmental of your own behaviour. Jupiter rising often leads to problems which develop because we are given too much leniency – it’s a case of being given enough rope to hang yourself with so we often need to discipline our behaviour as an act of compassion towards ourselves.

Jupiter is the great finger of change and its positioning here shows that our way of expressing ourself will go through a huge alteration in life. We will expand and become more gregarious as time passes, and a positive, more optimistic outlook on life will develop. But we may also become more self indulgent, lazier and less prudent at the same time, doing nothing in moderation. We will bear disappointment more easily and adopt more of an attitude that things will always turn out right, but at the same time a tendency to exaggerate our own importance may grow. Additionally, we may become so identified with a belief system that it becomes a dogmatic caricature in our identity.

However it must be said that Jupiter rising generally enlarges and emphasizes the better part of the sign it is in. Those with Jupiter rising in Sagittarius or Pisces are the most noticeable examples of this, with those with Jupiter in Cancer just behind them, while those with Jupiter in Gemini, Virgo or Capricorn have some difficulty showing us just how Jovian they are. People with Jupiter rising can be the epitome of optimism, displaying a cheerful attitude that is loving and kind to others. The only negative side to this is that they can promise more than they can deliver. They are always willing to improve and boost other peoples efforts, and this is a source of great and ever growing good fortune. There is great generosity in these people and a benevolence, a kind of joy of living that is infectious and irrepressible, and an apt descriptor of them all is that they are in some way “larger than life”. While Jupiter rising tends toward inflating its own importance, it never loses sight of the bigger picture which establishes that it is but a small part of a greater whole.

FACES: Julian Assange (Jupiter in Scorpio with Sagittarius rising), Christopher Lee (Libra), Reinhold Ebertin (Capricorn), Johannes Brahms (Aries), Jane Fonda (Capricorn rising with Jupiter in Aquarius), Greta Garbo (Gemini), River Phoenix (Scorpio), Mae West (Taurus), Hugo Chavez (Cancer), Oliver Stone (Scorpio rising with Jupiter in Libra), Dustin Hoffman (Capricorn), Paul Newman (Capricorn), Rutger Hauer (Leo), Kevin Kline (Sagittarius), Montgomery Clift (Virgo), Pope Benedict XVI (Pisces), Phyllis Diller (Gemini), Charles Atlas (Aries) and Tony Blair (Gemini rising with Jupiter in Taurus).

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SATURN

Gravitas, sobriety, solemnity and sternness characterize the rising of Saturn, giving us individuals who are serious realists in direct counterpoint to the irrepressible optimism and humour of Jupiter rising. Frivolous and facetious behaviour is pared back. When Saturn colours the way of presenting ourselves to the outside world we give the impression of being straight laced, reserved, retentive and firm, are generally more afraid to let go and have fun and view people and experiences pessimistically behind a rather hard, tightly controlled or cold front. We are obligated, responsible, mature and patient but more inflexible, rigid, traditional and restricted. Saturn is not a planet that leads us to abandon our responsibilities or caution in favour of enthusiasm or exuberance so they like to test the rope bridge over any canyons very carefully before crossing it. Safety first is the mantra of Saturn rising, and follow the rulebook on the way at every step. The world sees these qualities in Saturn rising people very soon after meeting them as they are also coded into their physical appearance.

For example, a much greater weight of responsibility and obligations can fall on them than is the norm and if they internalize this and compact around it, the weight of responsibility that weighs on them is sometimes expressed physically as a stoop, as if they have literally taken a cross or burden upon their back. Sometimes, especially if Saturn is receiving other aspects of a difficult nature, this placement can lead to a lack of mobility and things like arthritis. Saturn rising on the ascendant also slows down the flow of energy in and out of the chart as a whole, which can lead to blockages of all kinds. The appearance is often bony, gaunt, thin, angular and willowy, but this isn’t necessarily a sign of poor health. This is one of the interesting things to realise about astrology and the ascendant, because we each have a unique shape our being is naturally suited to. It is not just that no body is the perfect picture of health but that each body has a shape that is its own and which it finds comfortable.

The physical effect of Saturn as it rises on the ascendant of newborns is to make them ultimately if not immediately skinnier and bonier or with more visible bone structure, to darken or narrow the eyes and hairline, and it frequently affects teeth and bonesespecially later in life in the part of the body ruled by the sign of Saturn. Their dress is classical, authoritarian, traditional and conservative and expresses status, power and maturity. Saturn rising pales the complexion and lengthens the nose. Aging applies in a very interesting way to these people – time itself seems to be contracted or slowed around their forms, so that they do not age at the same rate as everyone else. They often begin life looking older or more mature than they actually are, and behave that way too. As they advance in years they tend to retain their hair colour and volume long after their friends lose all of theirs and to effortlessly adapt to being in older bodies. The body can get more crooked and burdened by time and advance time rapidly, going the complete other way, but this tends to happen only when Saturn is mishandled (usually by taking on too many of the wrong kinds of responsibilities, or being extremely mean in spirit).

Thatcher

“The Iron Lady” who was “not for turning”.

Having this planet rising is in essence indicative of a series of lessons in life through which you have to continually prune and cut away old parts of yourself and gradually restructure both your awareness of who you are and the manner in which you put this across. These people do not often reveal what is going on inside and therefore place themselves in isolated or alienating positions. People have difficulty in getting to know them and their own defensiveness is responsible for the fact that they can be plagued by loneliness and insecurity, a sense that they are not good enough, that things never measure up to strict standards they have for themselves and others. It is not that these people are not good enough but that they do not allow themselves to be good enough. Their standards are too high, their rulebook too hefty. They need to accept themselves – and others – for who they are warts and all instead of concentrating on failures and faults, and they can only do this slowly, through the passing of time which brings experience.

There is a step-by-step approach which comes from an astute concentration on realities. Saturn rising is grounded and rooted and so not convinced by wild stories or speculation. It is innately focused on what works and so has little time for abstractions and theories. It would prefer to focus on the physical steps of what needs to be done in order to attain a goal rather than analyse things. It is also one of the most ambitious aspects in astrology, as Saturn rising is a mountain climbing asset with lofty heights in its sights. It understands that time is its most precious resource and that in order to make use of time effectively when climbing mountains, you have to learn how to pace yourself appropriately and carefully account for every use of your resources. As time passes through the awareness of the present moment Saturn rising is made aware of its ripples of consequence both in terms of the past and the future, in other words it can sense what actions have caused the present ones and what actions in the present will cause certain reactions or consequences further down the line. This can lead to great mastery of time in the awareness, especially for a magician.

Saturn rising people must work on inhibitions, shyness, being too serious and having a sense of frustration in life from all the restrictions, rules, regulations and blocks. Planets on the eastern horizon at the time and place of our birth watch over us all our lives and are involved in many major new beginnings because of their proximity to the ascendant. Those who are watched over by the Lord of Time (Saturn) do not have it easy, for he is a hard taskmaster who requires us to work persistently and patiently, but the results of all our hard work are that much greater, and equal to the energy and effort we put in. Do not be dismayed when life throws failures in your face – there is no failure and no success, only experiences which lead to growth and when embraced growth leads to freedom and understanding for the soul. Look closely at the position of Saturn in your work with its principle to try to focus on discovering how you can express the Saturnine side of yourself more fully, healthily and completely.

Additionally, in considering this aspect look at the temple position of Uranus and the effect this has as it is in direct contradiction to the influence of this aspect – it doesn’t like obligations at all, is free spirited and determined to stay that way, breaks rules, disregards authority and tradition and likes to shatter the preconceptions and assumptions people make. This area is where Saturn rising does not get its way and its desire for order is disrupted. The Saturn influence is often stronger because of Saturn’s positioning near the ascendant, but the Uranian impulse can also be quite strong depending on its placement. These two planets can actually help each other by compensating for each others excesses and weaknesses, but they can also turn into a see-saw which results in us losing the sense of who we really are and the kind of self identity we possess. The answer is a blend of both, but with Saturn rising it is more often a balance emphasising order over chaos and thus Saturn over Uranus.

The overall path for people of Saturn rising is to overcome any fear, integrate the teachings of Saturn into their conscious identity and make them a part of the being that they show to others. Since the lessons of Saturn are often the hardest lessons that we have to learn, the importance of how we handle failure (especially when young) plays a prominent role in how we cope with this aspect. If a person with Saturn rising is crushed by their failure or sense of inadequacy in the face of reality, and then sinks into a depressive and skeptical, cynical way of being, then the lessons will be slow in learning. A better attitude is to embrace failure as an opportunity to learn and thus an opportunity to gain greater understanding. By learning the lessons of failure and disappointment, not just in their lives but in the lives of those around them, Saturn rising can gain access to a wealth of wisdom and practical assistance which establishes greater security for themselves and the people around them. When our attitude to Saturn is problematic and unhealthy then we will eventually become depressed and pessimistic, but when it is healthy and beneficial then Saturn becomes a backbone upon which everything else in the chart can depend for support. For people with Saturn rising this endeavor is vital to the health and to the identity. The list below shows plenty of examples of people with an authority and austerity to them which is immediately present when we look at them or hear them speak – if Jupiter rising is ‘larger than life’ then Saturn rising is ‘a heavy hitter’, someone whose importance or power is not easy to dismiss, and so another important part of the path is in how we wield that aura of authority, not just over others but primarily over ourselves. Self discipline and a strong moral compass is key.

FACES: Jamie Lee Curtis (Sagittarius), Christopher Lee (Libra), Goethe (Scorpio), Louis Braille (Scorpio rising with Saturn in Sagittarius), Margaret Thatcher (Scorpio), Nina Simone (Aquarius), Percy Bysshe Shelley (Taurus), Mary Shelley (Cancer), Thomas Tycho (Sagittarius), Indira Gandhi (Leo), James Madison (Sagittarius), Edward VII of the UK (Sagittarius rising with Saturn in Capricorn), Donna Summer (Virgo), Eartha Kitt ( Sagittarius), Phil Donahue (Pisces), Agatha Christie (Virgo), Humphry Davy (Scorpio), Orson Welles (Gemini), Hunter S. Thompson (Aries), James Earl Jones (Capricorn), Sean Connery (Capricorn) and Doris Day (Virgo rising with Saturn in Libra).

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CHIRON

As a relatively recent discovery astrologers do not have as much to go on with Chiron as they have with other objects. We need more data from actual experience. Our awareness of what Chiron signifies is still developing and for individuals born with strong connections to Chiron this means that there is exploration and discovery to undertake. Although we do not yet have a complete awareness of what Chiron signifies it is at present possible to outline what his essential meaning is and therefore what his purpose in our life is. I will spend some time here doing this before talking about Chiron rising and refer you to my other articles about Chiron for further details. Just enter ‘Chiron’ in the search field for this journal.

Essentially Chiron represents a pathway we must walk towards being made more whole, more integrated with life at every level of being. In order for this path to be made clear a diagnosis of what needs to occur must be made so he relates this information to us and it is often painful to wake up to. So he brings about a painful awareness of what is flawed, wrong or just plain sick in our lives so that we will attend to it. The overall purpose of this attention is to reintegrate the aspects of being which have become fragmentary or split off so that – ultimately – we are as an individual a suitable vessel for a collective awareness to inhabit. On a broader level our dysfunctional society is an expression of our broken collective awareness and must also be corrected if we are to continue existing as a species. This in essence is the agenda of Chiron and he employs his essential meaning of integration and diagnosis towards this goal at the physical, astral and mental level of awareness but focuses his effects in the astra-mental planes.

Chiron rising leads you down a path of thorns towards a garden of roses. His place of power at the ascendant gives him a direct line into our awareness, a voice in our head watching each and every present moment. He whispers to us about what is wrong, what will fail, what must be changed, what will crumble and where the cracks will begin to show. This is his Saturnine voice. He makes us wise in the ways of animals (who live in a fully conscious collective awareness) and sharpens our mind for all kinds of diagnostics. He teaches us medicine, whether this is physical, astral or mental/spiritual medicine, and he does not allow us to wallow in pity when we are hurt or defeated – instead, he urges us to accept and bite through the pain into true healing born of wisdom. Only then do we suddenly stumble upon a proper remedy. Much of this is his Uranian voice.

With Chiron it is most often that small measures are applied expertly to bring about a big reaction. He is a master of identifying the sorest spot, the place of infection or source of dis-integration and stimulating it homeopathically. A small amount of pressure in the right place at the right time tips things over the edge, the wave crests and falls, crashing. In this way he is like the journey of the wave of Uranian potential collapsing into a Saturnine particle. So the pain brought to awareness by Chiron is often layered, acute and can persist to excruciating degrees if we try to block or contain the healing process, but if we work with it it’s often relatively brief and transitory, a message we assimilate and integrate into our awareness as a powerful teaching before moving on.

He is also a maverick figure, someone who does not align themselves with any factions but instead is intent on going their own way. This is a quality he needs to be able to bring about integration of the individual and the collective, a breaking of patterns and the freedom to opt out of all available camps, political parties or paradigms. This brings him into contact with all kinds of ‘fringe’ groups who welcome the ideas he proposes since the law of attraction on the mental plane draws them towards him. Yet he never completely abandons the orthodox as Uranus does, instead he has the task of bringing negative disparity and division to an end and thus draws upon sources of both conventional and unconventional thought for his wisdom.

BobGeldof2014_2Because in our modern society our fragmented collective awareness is reflected in and made physically dense through the distance that exists between different human cultures and societies, Chiron is also given to marauding beyond these artificial borders for his medicine and insight. A strong Chironic influence in the chart therefore often indicates a person who has no problems intermingling with people from other backgrounds and indeed will often be empowered by it in some way. This is an empowerment given by Chiron to individuals who have shown that they have work to do in bringing about the disintegration of corrosive boundaries.

With Chiron on the region of the ascendant there is near complete identification with these principles. If he is above the ascendant, i.e. technically in the area of the 12th temple, there will be a twinge of the subconscious to this identification and it will tend to be less driven, but when below the ascendant and properly inside the 1st temple the identification is more conscious and we would freely admit to possessing the qualities of Chiron described above. In either case the identification is so great that it will show itself in our physical awareness of the present moment, i.e. in every waking moment of life and even in some astral states. In each moment we will have an awareness of the flaws and wounded nature of that present moment, but also of the path that leads it to wholeness, and we will seek to present this to the world. Such things will reveal themselves even as part of our initial impression, our mere presence in a room. We will present insight into any lack of integration and be sensitive to any pain being felt in that moment in the environment.

Added to this out of our own struggles with pain and wounds we have an inclination to help other people discover their true potentials and face their troubles, so we magnetize painful situations. If we are not aware of this it can be very confusing and more problematic. Being aware of it is the first step with this conjunction. The awareness of the present moment must be trained. By concentrating your perceptions to stay rooted in the ever changing now moment you will eventually grow more sensitive to the voice of Chiron within you. As you cultivate this awareness you will naturally learn how to monitor the influence from the environment and find your own unique way to deal with it. Healing energy of some kind will flow through you into the world.

It is really the complete fusion of Chiron to present moment awareness that is the problem, at least in the beginning, because until we learn how to distinguish the influence of this centaur by discerning it we cannot be entirely objective about it and will tend to act as if possessed by it in some way. Pain will then tend to surround us, being perceived everywhere in everything. Birth, life and death become defined by the pain required to move through them. We will feel our fate is akin to that of Chiron’s, who was immortal but inflicted with a tiny wound on the foot infected with the Hydra’s blood, and thereby doomed to an eternal torment until an act of mercy by the gods made him mortal and he died.

Once we have learned to observe the voice of this centaur guiding us in healing things in the present moment we can follow him on a journey which leads towards wholeness and greater integration with the human collective awareness. We will be given a way through life that is uniquely our own and then Chiron will ask us to lead the way for others while he follows on slightly behind. His voice will retreat to the background slightly and we will then be on a path towards teaching what we are learning as we go. This is the point at which he is capable of escorting us to the outer and mythic worlds of awareness as I explain in my book “The 26 Keys”. Much of this contact, too, will occur in forms appropriate to the sign that is rising (for example Aquarius rising with Chiron in Aquarius will often take the form of telepathic contact with Chiron).

Until this time of integration there will be frequent and acute encounters with pain of all kinds as a way to become aware of the need for integration and as a method of revealing the secrets of natural healing, and many impulses to do something different but never knowing precisely what it is. The turning of the Chiron key is one way people with Chiron rising can contribute to and direct this development, but given that Chiron is bound up with the ascendant he has a powerful role to play in any kind of temple conduction they undertake as he is encountered at the very beginning and thereby travels around the entire chart with you (and of course the same is true of all rising planets). People can also explore the activations Chiron makes to any other keys or any activation of the 1st temple key, as all of these can help us to understand what Chiron brings.

FACES: Uri Geller (Libra), Bob Geldof (Sagittarius), Neil Kinnock (Leo), Helmut Kohl (Taurus), Ian McShane (Leo), John Hinckley (Aquarius), Whitney Houston (Pisces), Karen Silkwood (Libra), Rudolph Valentino (Libra), Reinhold Ebertin (Capricorn), André Masson (Scorpio rising with Chiron in Libra), Burt Reynolds (Gemini), Vincent Price (Pisces), Paul Williams (journalist and writer who created the first national US magazine of rock music criticism, Scorpio), William Defoe (Aquarius), Antonio Banderas (Pisces), Maximilian I the Holy Roman Emperor (Virgo), Nancy Kerrigan (Aries), Dan Rather (Taurus), Belinda Carlisle (Aquarius), Lily Tomlin (Cancer), Billy Graham (Aries rising with Chiron in Pisces) and Dennis Nilsen (Libra).

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URANUS

Uranian energy is resistant to bottling and defining, it is volatile, chaotic, unpredictable and frenetic in character and tends to be hyper active and highly strung or easily upset. Yet it is also inspirational, refreshing, enlivening and liberating and so offers us a surprising way out of situations that seem intractable and resistant to change. Similar to Jupiter it has an expansive quality to it, but whereas the expansiveness of Jupiter is a potentially empathic one where we feel ourselves to be like something else, the Uranian expansiveness comes from connecting the dots between completely different things in a more intellectual exercise, it’s more about the network than the individual nodes in the network. Contrasts and paradoxes are fertile ground for the Uranian intelligences to operate in as they love making fresh connections between new concepts as well as unexpected ones between old concepts. Additionally, identification with this planet often brings about a strong connection with the power of technology and scientific thinking (so long as that scientific thinking is not blinkered or closed to extreme possibilities). Many people with this aspect have had profound group or crowd experiences (frequently in other lifetimes) which they are processing – for example they may have been in a military platoon that operated under extreme pressures, or a sports team that won something, in a hostage situation with many other people, or simply in a line of work where they were laid off along with thousands of others when something was invented. Whatever it was the situation tied the fate of the identity to the fate of other human beings in a complicated and irreversible way, and it has had a potent (often shocking) impact on our identity and experience of life. Now the task can be either to seek out that group connection and re-enact or explore certain things (not necessarily with the same people), or to break completely away from it.

Most of these people display obvious eccentricity or oddity. There can be a zany, offbeat or weird way of expressing themselves in clothing or style or just in the eyes and mannerisms which convey strangeness or originality (see Spike Milligan, for example). They have to stand out in a crowd because their identity depends upon both autonomy and independence, but at the same time these are social creatures who need to find a place within their community. The urge to be free and able to express oneself as an independent and unique being is so heightened in these people that it can become a maze which they are constantly moving through, never quite finding out who they really are for very long before restlessly moving on. The many facets of identity are continuously cascading into their present moment awareness, dazzling them with insights into themselves and others which never quite coalesce but instead continuously swirl in a kaleidoscope of shifting identity. It can be ridiculous, giddily sickening, absurd and bewildering while at the same time being liberating, enlivening and enlightening to everyone affected.

So Uranus conjunct the ascendant makes us more excitable, inspired and attached to our individual freedoms. We like to be free to express our individuality, and may rebel if anyone attempts to stifle our independence. We will prefer to go our own way even when it contradicts common sense, and reject the traditional paths in favour of the new and experimental. We like to meet life in our own unique manner, and have plenty of original and exciting ideas to share with humanity. With Uranus rising we are an awakener and we have an electrical effect on our environment. We stir things up by introducing weird concepts and rebel against rules and regulations. We always try to think outside the box and are stirred by the unusual. We see life either as an absurd joke or as a fascinating puzzle. Often as stated earlier there will be great technological or scientific ability conferred, and alongside this modern communications and inventions will frequently play a major role in life.

The mental and physical reflexes are quickened and there is a heightening of wits which can lead not only to swift comprehension of things, but also to nervous disorders and mental breakdowns. The health is either greatly enlivened with energy or greatly shattered, and the changes between the two may occur most unexpectedly. The eyes are made brighter and the surface tension of the skin becomes more sensitive. Greater mobility and flexibility is given to the area of the body ruled by the sign of the ascendant provided other aspects to the ascendant do not inhibit these things.

SpikeQuick mental reflexes not only equate to being able to make decisions on the fly but also making quick judgments about whether you like people or not, and the same is true in reverse as people with this placement will find people decide quite quickly whether they like them or not. There is something electric about the way we present ourselves which allows people to make such judgments, and given that Uranus tends towards wanting to shock this can result in some interesting expressions. In other situations however Uranus on the ascendant is less than straightforward and tends to make puzzles out of things that are uncomplicated. Often it will do this just to be contrary or because it is bored and wants to stir things up.

Focus and dedication are key qualities for these people to develop or find elsewhere in the chart, because without them they will constantly change their minds about who they are, what they want, need to do or are curious about. Without focus or dedication people with Uranus rising fail to hit their targets again and again because they never concentrate their effort in a key area and so their ambitions are short lived. This turns out to be a tremendous waste of their potential as their ideas are usually inspired and original. The great difficulty with acquiring such focus and dedication if it is not present elsewhere in the chart is that the awareness of the present moment is continuously being stimulated by new thoughts, feelings and developments which are continuously pulling us out of the present as we speculate on the future. Therefore, a routine involving a disciplined form of meditation in which the mind is harnessed and focused can be a great asset to these people which unlocks their genius.

A common touch with these people is to have the ability to read the behaviour of others, especially of crowds and in terms of trends moving through them. They are well-connected not only in terms of the people they can get into contact with (which encompass a great variety of different areas) but also in terms of the collective mind and where it is situated, and in particular where it is headed. Futurists and utopians are strongly numbered among them. Uranus rising on the ascendant connects the awareness of the present moment with its future, so that there is always a need for these people to pull their awareness out of the future and into the present moment bringing with them the insights they gain while traveling ahead.

There is gifted a latent capacity for telepathy and mental wandering which is sourced in the individuals close connection to the universal mind and the collective consciousness of humanity. These gifts emerge as they progress in maturity but they are ever present throughout life and can be detected in the aura, which is charged with bright energy and is greatly affected by their thoughts. They may find it harder than most to concentrate the mind on one spot, as it tends to teleport from one notion to another quite naturally, a factor which is the course of the great inspiration and even genius this aspect can convey.

Overall the path of this aspect is to minimise the effect of chaos that an emphasis on seeking freedom and change brings so that disruption is contained and the energy is channeled into inspiration and sudden enlightenment. To grasp the lightning of Uranus on the ascendant the mind must be opened to the infinite and receive a shock, the repercussions of which must be handled in a positive way, which requires a strong grounding through Saturn. Otherwise, there is danger of becoming unhinged and descending into madness, paranoia, confusion and conflation, or worse (see Charles Manson and Ian Brady). If the individual is gifted with a position to influence the lives of others through the media or has some other way of influencing mass opinion, then what they do with this influence becomes a part of their karma, but at some point they are likely to lose control of that in some way and to find themselves being defined and shaped in turn by the collective awareness. Usually this turns out to have unexpected consequences.

FACES: Spike Milligan (Aquarius), Tennessee Williams (Capricorn), Kurt Cobain (Virgo), Franklin D. Roosevelt (Virgo), Carl Lewis (Leo), James Valliere (Taurus), Prince Andrew the UK (Leo), Princess Margaret of the UK (Aries), Ian Brady (Taurus), Johanna Kinkel (Scorpio), Charles Manson (Taurus rising with Uranus in Aries), Charles de Gaulle (Libra), Rene Magritte (Sagittarius), Karen Carpenter (Cancer), Dionne Warwick (Taurus), John Denver (Gemini), Allen Ginsberg (Pisces), Eric Honecker (Capricorn rising with Uranus in Aquarius) and Philip K. Dick (Pisces rising with Uranus in Aries).

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NEPTUNE

Any planet on the ascendant is a rare gift because such a powerful position occurs at its height for only about 30 minutes each day, depending on our location. In this window of time each day Neptune (and every other planet when it rises) has the chance to take form or birth itself throughout the present moment in the physical world, just as the Sun imprints itself onto the physical world at dawn by ushering in the hours of daylight. Within this window a powerful presence of Neptune is evoked into a particular place. As this occurs, souls with a strong connection with Neptune are drawn forwards into the moment for incarnation, bringing the Neptune within them forward in time and space and seeking to learn the lessons of living in this world with that connection intact. This is true of all planets rising but with Neptune this brings with it enormous sensitivity and empathy as well as near total immersion in the realm of the invisible and intangible. Many of these people have had transcendent, mystical or psychoactive encounters (frequently in former lives) which they are processing in this one.

Appearance wise these people have lighter colouredreflective eyes that seem soft and gentle, like a deers or a fishes, and there is a much more passive form of self expression and often a softer voice. They often have a dreamy, far-off look to them and prefer subtler tones and colours that put others at ease and are loosely comfortable. Men like their collars to be open and without a tie and women prefer longer, more flowing garments and subtle makeup. The hair is frequently wavy and the body is lean with clear skin. 

As a baby and in very early childhood there is frequently a strong imagination belying a deep immersion in the astral realm, as these infants perceive many ‘imaginary’ friends and beings and this early exposure to the astral realm can forever after leave them with a feeling that things are not what they seem. They can learn an early distrust of adults and experience early confusion when they perceive that adults live in a different reality which does not recognize the existence or validity of their own. However, and this is critical, the vehicle of imagination which enables contact with these invisible intelligences also heavily distorts that contact. Thus the work here is to clean the windows to allow the source to be clearly seen, and often this is never undertaken because the delusions set in and seemingly become insoluble. A common theme here is for the individual to develop a savior complex that transforms their life into an act of martyrdom and playing the victim, sometimes with a spiral into sheer madness. Even when the individual manages to gain the upper hand in this feat the reactions of society to what they perceive teaches them very quickly to keep it secret and sometimes to engage in deception and lies in order to avoid being thought of as mad, and so the path is an extremely tricky one that requires careful calibration. Involvement in high arts or music helps them because it gives them a way to practically and positively channel the muses through the identity, and this is a key accomplishment to aim for when Neptune rises.

Neptune is very often a subtle background influence in astrology but as these children grow up they come to identify with the Neptune within them perhaps more than any others. This identification is at first not a problem, as when we are children we are given permissions and freedoms to explore the imagination, so we often find ourselves drawn to ways in which to do that. But then puberty arrives, things change and the real problems of this aspect begin, largely because of the unhealthy way many adults look upon those with imagination or sensitivity. As adults, if we have imagination we are supposed to do something responsible with it, like become an artist or a philosopher, or more ideally an inventor. It is not ‘adult’ or ‘mature’ to simply play with the imagination, to toy with it and simply enjoy it. Similarly, the universal empathy and connection to everything gifted by Neptune, a gift that was given free expression as children, becomes vulnerability and a complicated set of rules when we are growing up. We need to learn how to establish boundaries for our identity. Thus, a repression of both imagination and empathy occurs that people with this aspect can pay a heavy price for later because in doing so they deny a core element of their own identity.

Michael_Fassbender_by_Gage_Skidmore_2015As adults, then, part of the challenge is in finding some way to live with the immersion we have in a way of seeing things that does not hold much value in modern society. This way of seeing things is essentially immaterial, focusing on matters such as spirituality, dreams and symbols, fantasy worlds and imaginary situations. We cannot not wonder – “What if…?” – which leads to all kinds of problems until we find the dimmer switch for this behaviour. It is easy, for example, to arrive at all kinds of illusionary ideas simply by following the imagination where it will lead, ideas about other people and what they really want, ideas about what is really going on in all the conspiracies about the world, ideas even about who we are. These are the people who can end up really believing that they are from other planets because they had dreams or visions when they were young and last night the Voice of Metatron, Supreme Commander of the Niburian Fleet, activated their DNA and took them on a trip through time to the moment when the dinosaurs triggered the first atomic explosion, and told them that they are the messiah for a race of ETs. This is total escape from reality into the worlds of the imagination and represents a failure to handle the energy of Neptune, a failure to gift them to Earth in real terms. This is an extreme (made up) example and most people with this aspect will not go this far but at some level there will always be some confusion or idealism resulting from being saturated in the astral imagination, situations which stand in the way of the great gifts of Neptune being bestowed upon the world.

The confusion arising in life takes many forms but at its root it also stems from two main sources, one which I will discuss shortly, and the other is confusion about symbols and their signifcance. For Neptune rising a symbol that appears can have almost any meaning, depending on what the imagination personally perceives in it at the time. A blue flame seen in the campfire can be the body of the avatar or guru you are thinking of at the time, and a chance word overheard on a random TV screen in a bar can be the signal that your marriage or even the world is about to end. This fact causes confusion because the identity does not interpret symbols and signs effectively or objectively until it has purified its imagination of things like fear, persecution complex, wish fulfillment and narcissism, factors which saturate the identity of Neptune rising, and so it leads people astray.

The other main source of confusion is the lack of a defined and solid identity – the porous lack of boundaries mentioned earlier. This is perhaps the more important source of confusion because it is one that requires a self transformation to occur rather than being addressed through a rethink of concepts and some meditation, as the confusion arising from symbols can be. The first thing that I would like to note here is the connection between compassion and identity. This connection is essential to understand if we are to comprehend the influence of Neptune on the ascendant. Neptune on the ascendant brings a fountain of compassion into the present moment using our eyes, ears, heart and mind as a channel. The experience of Neptune is that of a dissolving of all boundaries into the ethers, a disentangling, disintegrating force that unbinds the illusions of separation perceived in the infinite forms of the material world. It coalesces, merges, mixes and unites all things into a nameless, nebulous field of One-ness. When Neptune is placed on the ascendant, the plane of identity in the present, it then becomes unavoidable that we will end up identifying with everyone and everything around us that we focus upon – compassion then overwhelms us even if we are not aware of it. We can easily identify with absolutely everything and everyone, and really experience this connection as a reality, not just as a fantasy; in other words we can with practice connect with the objectively real essence of Neptune and truly experience and perceive other worlds and other realities, but only when we have both learned to interpret symbols properly and we have a solid and authentic grasp of our identity. Very few actually accomplish this.

The problem of course is that when the identity experiences a flowing connection of unity to everyone our own identity goes out of focus. We do not know who we are because we cannot easily separate it from what everyone and everything else is. Our identity blends mysteriously into theirs and we discover with unsettling regularity that what we had supposed was true is not or that the person we thought we were is a fake or a reflection of what others are. Additionally our fear and the other negative things twisting our imagination continually warp all of this until we clear it up. It becomes imperative to define what we are not, to establish boundaries. The whole question of identity can become plagued with mystery, misapprehension, disillusionment and pretense until we do. Acquiring this solidity of identity is critical because without a clear identity we cannot perceive the essential meaning of symbols, perceiving only what we ourselves bring to them, and symbols are continually showing up for us in the present moment awareness we have. So the crux being established by this aspect is to gain a firmer and more solid grasp of your own identity and to exercise the gifts of Neptune with great care, which means handling all of the above issues, undoing any repression and distortion of imagination that was taken on board through the process. When this is done, many visionary and psychic gifts begin to emerge and the imagination becomes their tool and not their mutator.

FACES: Paul McCartney (Virgo), Cat Stevens (Libra), Immanuel Kant (Taurus), Julian Assange (Sagittarius), Bill Clinton (Libra), Tracey Ullman (Scorpio), Michael Fassbender (Sagittarius), Roger Moore (Leo), Marcel Proust (Aries), Chrissie Hynde (Libra), Matthew Mitcham (Capricorn), Harrison Ford (Libra rising with Neptune in Virgo), Aaron Spelling (Leo), Gates McFadden (Libra), Josef Mengele (Cancer), Johannes Kepler (Gemini) and Auguste Renoir (Aquarius).

pluto Credit NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI)

Credit: NASA, ESA and G. Bacon (STScI)

PLUTO

When Pluto rises intensity and magnetism surround us wherever we go. There is something of the Scorpio sign in us and so even if our ascendant is something completely different Pluto will add passion, personal power and insight to the sign, dramatically intensifying its nature. These people are powerful and insightful but that has all come at a heavy price. Other people will sit up and take notice when they are around and they have an intense side which will make an impact on their surroundings. Many of the individuals with this placement attract controversy and violate taboos of behaviour which magnetize massive (often overblown) reactions from others. Some Pluto rising people are tempted to court this outcome, often because it seems to inevitably happen anyway.

There is no getting away from the presence of darkness in life when Pluto rises – it makes the identity fully aware that horrible things happen out there. This doesn’t mean the life is destined for tragedy, it just means it is aware that mortality has the last laugh on all human efforts, and thus that there are what we can only call horrors to face in life. Pluto rising looks deep into the abyss, facing the demons within head on, and because it possesses this incredible courage it is very often demonised, condemned and feared. Only Scorpio can understand that by gazing into oblivion, the Pluto rising person is reborn from mortality to immortality. The mysterious way in which this aspect allows us to fully shed our identity as if it were merely the skin of a snake, leaving behind only a lifeless husk while we move onto a new life, is just the start of the magic that Pluto rising can display.

This ability to undergo repeated rebirth (especially in terms of our appearance and image) can become addictive and compulsive for Pluto rising as it is literally like quaffing from the nectar of eternal life, defying death through continuous transformation. This means the aspect can become compulsively destructive, addicted to the thrill of watching buildings blow up or perpetually sabotaging any hope of a less intense life. Others can be driven away, unable to keep up with the sheer intensity of the way we life and continually transform. So the dual gift being conferred here is both destruction and transformation, a deeply powerful gift that has to be wielded with extreme care.

madonnaPositions of power can be presented to these people – we should not forget that the word plutocracy is related here, nor that Pluto is God of the underworld and thus a keeper of many treasures buried in the ground as well as many lost sacred artifacts of legend, objects with such profound magical power that they have to be kept hidden away. Occult and magical power as well as psychological power must also be included here, and Pluto rising can gift these individuals with any combination of these forms of power over others and themselves. Whatever gifts Pluto rising confers they will be infused with a desire to uncover even deeper secrets and further mysteries with them, and this lore will be jealously guarded and hoarded by the identity.

Compulsive interest in Plutonian subjects like the occult, death, sex and other taboos are very common among these people but they are rarely advertised. These are extremely good people to tell secrets to because they will not only keep those secrets under great duress and probably even torture, but they will also have a profound and penetrating insight into the situation which can help you to transform it for yourself. In some cases this same ability can be used to help keep secrets for others or to work in a profession or line of duty connected to finding or keeping secrets. Sometimes the ability to keep secrets is something that we have to learn as a survival mechanism, for example if we have been sexually abused and we don’t want the world to know our private life so that it can continually remind us. Whatever the reason is to develop the secretive identity, the Pluto rising person conceals themselves very effectively.

The secretive nature of these people is expressed in their bodies in some way, often through an intense gaze that bores into people’s souls, a mysterious or shadowy aura, sunglasses or hoods covering the features, dark clothing or heavy make up. There is frequently a smoldering sexual quality which attracts interest even though the Pluto rising person is generally very private and withdrawn – at least until they volcanically explode with some pent-up emotion. When this happens Pluto rising can lose control of its destructive power and inflict a lot of collateral damage beyond that which has caused it to erupt. For this reason it is often very important for these people to find a way to release pent-up emotions before they become destructive and erupt in an uncontrolled way.

The detective power of this aspect is extraordinary – these are definitely people you want on your team or helping you when you are looking for something or trying to figure out something mysterious. This is the ‘Colombo’ superpower – they have an innate power to penetrate to the heart of the mystery and to unravel it by asking the right questions, but in cases where personal feelings are involved this can become extremely uncomfortable as the relentless probing  of Pluto can bring up the deepest, most denied feelings that we have. We can gain a lot more empathy and respect for these people by understanding that they live a life in which this is constantly turned upon themselves, they literally have no choice in the matter because Pluto is present in every single moment that they experience.

With Pluto rising we lack awareness of just how intense we are and can express ourselves far too forcefully than is necessary, igniting explosive conflict and destructive sequences of events if we are not careful to control our tempers or passions. We often find ourselves engaged in power struggles with people in positions of superiority and are known for bringing about all kinds of transformations, improvements and changes in our environment, as well as being a bit of a control freak. All of this can bring us into confrontation with authorities who either get in our way or intervene when we step over the line. Yet because of the intensity which we radiate, direct confrontation is unlikely unless the other person is equally Plutonian or feels they have enough backup – in most cases we will find people take a more manipulative and subtly secretive approach to undermining our efforts, but Pluto rising is no stranger to this and knows the game back to front. It’s very hard to pull the wool over these people’s eyes, their bullshit detector is way too advanced.

Relationships could suffer through their own actions as they can sometimes be very demanding and possessive, with the consequence that the partner feels manipulated or controlled. Every planet that rises on the ascendant also has a direct impact upon our relationship dynamic because it will oppose the cusp of the 7th temple and potentially any planets or objects within that temple. The connection between our identity as it is and the identity of our closest partner, as well as how those two identities affect one another, is the obvious thing being represented by astrology here. When we are a certain person ourselves we will tend to attract certain relationships because of that identity, while on the other hand relationships that come into our lives will also act to shape our identity in very direct ways. So when Pluto is rising our relationships become characterised with Plutonian themes, and when Neptune is rising with net Neptunian themes, and so on. What the Pluto rising person needs is a partner who can interact with them at the intense level that will be required, which often means a serious and profound commitment. Although Pluto rising can manifest as a compulsive attraction to sex and sexual relationships with many partners, especially when that is leading us into taboo territory, what it yearns for on the deepest level is the kind of commitment wherein it can give itself completely to another human being. Pluto wants to consume and be consumed.

Learning to control emotions and the intensity of feelings is absolutely crucial to success in life for these people. There needs to be away for them to express what they feel in the present moment and because what they feel is intense they have to find a way to do it safely. If the Pluto rising individual can do this, the awesome power of Pluto will be unleashed, an absolutely unstoppable force which strengthens the will and its power to shape reality, puts us in touch with precious and potent inner resources which enable us to withstand great pressures, and reveals many secrets that cannot be put into words.

FACES: John Fitzgerald Kennedy Jr (Virgo), Richard Branson (Leo), Nikola Tesla (Taurus), Kurt Cobain (Virgo), Peter Gabriel (Leo), James Madison (Sagittarius), k.d. Lang (Virgo), Jeffrey Archer (Cancer rising with Pluto in Leo), Neil Kinnock (Leo), David Frost (Cancer), Julie Walters (Leo), Christopher Reeve (Leo), Michael Moore (Leo), George W. Bush (Leo), Madonna (Virgo), Justin Bieber (Scorpio), Katy Perry (Scorpio), Laurence Olivier (Gemini), Johannes Brahms (Aries), Al Gore (Leo), Judy Garland (Cancer), George Galloway (Leo), Marie I of England (Capricorn), Gene Roddenberry (Cancer), Al Pacino (Leo), Leonardo DiCaprio (Libra), Glenn Close (Leo), Steve Martin (Leo) and Jerry Lewis (Cancer).

 


 

This concludes this two-part series, I hope you have enjoyed it and found it helpful. Of course, there are many more ways in which planets on the ascendant can manifest themselves other than the ways I have covered in these brief descriptions, but I hope to have provided some fertile ground for you to make your own discoveries through experience. If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts about the subject matter in his articles please feel free to leave a comment below.

Arising Worlds I

Greetings! Welcome back to Journeys for another month. This month at the request of a patron I am writing a two part message about planets in conjunction or aspect with the ascendant. This month I cover the two Lights and the rocky worlds Mercury, Venus and Mars. I hope you will enjoy!

orbital sunrise

The ascendant is an area of the chart which varies from location to location and minute to minute, and which determines the boundaries of other house cusps in many house systems, particularly the equal house system. The simplest way to understand the ascendant is to look directly east of where you are right now, or just watch the dawn one morning – whatever you can see close to the horizon where land meets sky is at the ascendant or part of it.

With a little thought you will quickly realise that our Sun appears here every morning, so that if you have the Sun on the ascendant it means you were born at dawn. The Sun doesn’t stay here for very long, however, as it begins its climb up the stairway of the heavens and has moved on within an hour or two. Sometimes, depending upon its size and position in the sky, you can also see the Moon rising here during the day or night. This is an important distinction to make and observe – the Sun can only be on the ascendant at dawn, while the Moon can be on the ascendant at any time of day or night, and is in fact more dramatic at night. The same is true of all the other objects used in astrology – only the Sun is tied to the ascendant at dawn and is never seen there at night (wow if you do!), but the other objects are more visible there at night.

The ascendant gives us a rising sign, a sign of the zodiac that is in the east at the time we are born, rising into the sky. The ascendant is a point of focus in the horoscope, like the lens of an eye or pair of spectacles through which we see everything, but this is only the tip of a bigger structure with much to offer us. The truth is that the ascendant is always one of the most powerfully sensitive areas of the zodiac and along with the Sun and Moon can be considered one of a trinity of astrological factors upon which the expression of an entire chart is formulated. In terms which are readily accessible to hermetic thinkers we can say that the Sun represents our individual spirit or temporal mental body, the Moon represents our personal soul or astral awareness and the ascendant represents the physical body and its awareness. Yet because physical matter depends upon the animating principle of the astral and the mental to give it life, the ascendant really has no physical awareness of its own (it is not an object floating in space like the Lights) and is instead more like a filter through which other things pass in both directions. These things colour it and give it a nature while also forcing the rest of our astrology to conform to its perception.

Diving deeper into this, the ascendant is like the navel in the physical body which marks the moment when we became independent physical beings, separated from the flesh of our mother, but it is within the astra-mental body rather than in the physical body that this navel is located. It ties the astral, mental and physical awareness together in time and space, and this is why it is so incredibly sensitive in terms of astrology. This function of the ascendant is clearer when we understand that the time of our birth and our location on the globe are what determine what the ascendant is – if the zodiac were a clock the rising degree of the zodiac is a recording of the time and space in which we were born, the time we became physically independent and started our own unique life journey. Before this time we are aware and alive, but inside of another physical form. This is why the ascendant and planets rising there describe what is happening in the room as we are being born. 

This leads us to one the most important understandings of the ascendant I can bring to you – it is our embodied experience of the now moment, the eternally moving experience of being present and physically alive. This moment continues to emerge once birth occurs until we die, and it is all ours, 100% unique and ultimately not completely shareable. Your string of now moments leading up to the present moment in which you are reading this may have some similarities with some of the now moments I experienced leading up to writing this, but both are utterly unique and will never be duplicated. Sit with this for a muinute or two and let it really sink in. 

However, it is or should be very clear that there are broad groups of people among us who have similar approaches to how they interact with the now moment. Some of us may come at life seeing it as a vast world of feelings and emotions that we have to navigate through, both ours and others. Another group of people throw questions at life and must navigate the maze of answers in search of truth. Then there are those people that look at life as a world of duties, responsibilities and things that need to be done while another large group of people see their life as an expression their own identity and seek to impress their will upon it. In astrological terms these are the 4 Elements interacting with the ascendant. Zodiac signs add more specific qualities and show how people can find common interests in how they process the world within these broader categories, for example two people who have the Earth sign of Capricorn rising on the ascendant will find that they not only perceive the present moment in terms of a string of duties and responsibilities (an Earth sign is rising) but that they also share some of the Capricorn assessment of the now moment, for example they might both be incredibly patient with waiting for things to unfold.

Part of what differentiates a rising sign from a Sun or Moon sign is that the former is far more adaptable than the latter and is therefore made responsive to the Sun and Moon signs as well as to other influences which shape it. This is where things get interesting for astrologers because a person can have any Sun sign and any Moon sign with any sign on the ascendant. The blending of these three indicators, this essential astrological trinity, gives rise to a potential combination of 1,728 archetypes (goodbye forever, 12 Sun signs) which form the basis of all astrological chemistry. This does not even consider the position of the Lights in the temples/houses, which send the combinations through the roof to reach almost a quarter of a million possible combinations, and if you then add in every other planet we use…Thus we can see that even at this very basic level of astrology, the complexity is vast and so come to understand the task involved in knowing the self at even just this basic level of human nature. Spiritual seed is planted in the astrologers awareness by this realisation as they come to comprehend the sacredness of every life. The flower of life blossoms ever anew and in infinite forms, but it is ALL the same life, the life of the universe.

Given this reality and getting back to planets on the ascendant, there is a further factor in astrology which can greatly change the way we express our ascendant, and that is when planets or the Lights are at the ascendant, rising in the east at the time when we draw our first breath and become independent physical beings. These objects impress themselves onto the first moment of life and so become intertwined with our own identity and *never* vacate the now moment, at least while we are awake. The simplest example here will help – let’s imagine someone born with the Sun in Pisces born at dawn, meaning that Pisces is also rising on the ascendant. Let’s also imagine that the Moon is somewhere else, say Aquarius. What will happen in this case is that (very probably, because other astrological factors can weigh in here) greater emphasis will be placed on Pisces than on Aquarius because there is more weight and focus there, and how that pans out will depend on what else is happening in the chart but the basic reality will be that the person will identify far less with their Moon in Aquarius and much more with their Sun and ascendant in Pisces. Additionally, on top of the identification with Pisces, the person will feel a strong identification with the solar rather than with the lunar. The ascendant will always colour the outlook on life with the Sun in Pisces qualities and the person will immediately recognize the Pisces side of their nature. When they read about Pisces in a Sun sign book, it will immediately resonate,. However if we instead imagine that it is the Moon in Pisces on the ascendant and the Sun is in Aquarius, then the Moon and Pisces will gain an edge over the Sun in our identity and basic astrological chemistry will shift towards those qualities. Thus, when we come to look up our Aquarius Sun sign, we might not identify very much with it and conclude that astrology is a load of garbage, but this would be from looking just at the surface of it. For a long while I did not understand this, but now I think I do – astrology touches the Mystery, and the Mystery has subtle ways of protecting itself from the uninitiated.

What this means for the ascendant is that a planet rising can dramatically alter the tone of the zodiac sign that is rising, so that a person with Cancer rising which is usually soft and sensitive and caring might not display that if they have Mars rising in Cancer because the power of a planet is superior to the power of a sign. In this case it is not so much a Cancer/Water quality that the person will identify with, but a Martian one that somehow tries to dominate it. Sometimes this can make the astrological analysis easier because the nature of the planet just reinforces the nature of the sign that is rising, especially if that planet rules that sign, but in other cases it complicates things. What is true in all cases however is that the planetary force that is rising is stronger and more dominant than any zodiac sign.

Because the ascendant covers our interaction with the present moment and our ability to identify ourselves to others it is often referenced when looking at the way people dress, the colours they like to wear and the fashions and fads they identify with to others, the relationship we have to being in a physical body and the condition of our health, the way we initiate and begin things and what we lead with in life as well as how others perceive us when we walk into a room, revealing that these things are all directly related. This means that the planet rising has a powerful impact on the first impressions we make on other people, on the person we identify ourselves as being, on our processing of life and our holistic well-being. In the sections that follow I will talk about how each of the planets used in astrology interact with the ascendant when they are rising, how they alter the way we express our identity and what we identify with, how they might influence our health and how they lead us towards interaction with the world. While the focus will be on conjunctions to the ascendant you could also use this information as a starting point for analysing a planet in some other aspect to the degree of the ascendant, as all the aspects of the ascendant must be taken together in its evaluation.

With any conjunction to the ascendant there is an urgent need to express the planet in everyday life. It is widely known that any planet rising in the east is visually swollen or enlarged (think of what a harvest moon looks like, for example), but this magnifying effect is commonly thought to be caused by celestial or atmospheric effects. Actually, the less known truth is that it is caused by human perception, by the human brain and the mechanisms of human sight – its an optical illusion. In terms of astrology, a conjunction to the ascendant is an extremely powerful influence that is intrinsic to our self expression and cannot easily be distanced from. Just like the way objects appear to be magnified by the horizon, planets in this place become magnified in our lives, they are literally and/or metaphorically ‘in our faces’ the whole time, meaning that they can reveal themselves in the shape of our body and our face, in things which are wired into our biology, or simply assume so much prominence in our self expression that we come to completely identify ourselves with them and continually interact with the outside world through them. Depending on the nature of the planet, how we handle our close relationship to it and the condition of its aspects, this can be beneficial or problematic. Everything depends on how well we get along with the relevant planetary intelligence.

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SUN RISING

As explained above if you have the Sun rising on the ascendant it means that you are born at sunrise. The ascendant is a place of power where the charts greatest output lies, and so this is a very radiant conjunction that releases solar energy. Born at sunrise. you will carry the energy of the morning with you throughout your life, with all that this entails.

The effect of magnifying the Sun in our identity causes the Sun sign nature to shine outwardly in our external appearance, giving it a powerful place in the chart from which to go into the world, and this can result in both problems and benefits. The typical feature we note, however, is the literal ‘sunny disposition’. Note that this is a disposition, a demeanor or mask, like all things of the ascendant it is a formally and consciously adopted mode of expression that may not accord with our true nature. That radiant, sunny disposition can shield a tortured creature.

The process for sunrise people to go through is one of obtaining some distance from the solar dimension of awareness so that they can perceive it more objectively and with less identification. Once this is achieved, the drawbacks of this relationship are removed. In essence they need to become more objective about their own Sun sign because they see themselves in some way as its living embodiment and this perception will eventually blind them as surely as gazing into the heart of the Sun will.

The Sun as the symbol of individual conscious being is the source of life and light in our astrology. It is the star of life within us, the radiant jewel of consciousness, and the aspects it is involved in relate to what we are conscious of or not conscious of and so circumscribe the qualities which are expressed by our own living light. They display the fundamental characteristics of our spirit, our individual mental body. When we are born at sunrise with the Sun rising, our Sun sign characteristics are doubly emphasised because a conduit in time and space is opened which allows the expression of the solar sphere to manifest itself in physical form. This is the magic we sense at sunrise, as the world comes to life at the touch of the light of Sol, and we feel and see a certain vibrant energy or spirit pervading the world. The animals – who have no trouble perceiving this magic – respond to it with morning songs and activities which serve to herald it in harmony. The plants open and receive the majesty of a distant star, instinctively responding to the touch of the solar radiance. The spirit of the moment manifests itself in a coming to life, an animation as diurnal creatures awaken and become active.

Being born at this time captures the essence of this magic in your bodies and allows the spirit or consciousness to more fully inhabit the material world and bring it to life through the physical body, it impresses the qualities of the mental body fully into the physical body so that the two become intricately related, and this means that the body expresses the spirit more completely, taking on a form and kind that is a clear expression of the solar self. Additionally, things wake up around us – there is a warmth and a creative energy to our presence, a brightness when we arrive. We don’t even have to try because this phenomena happens all the time without any effort as an extension of our existence. We easily attract attention and draw things into gravitational orbit around us, so in many cases we have something like a charisma or a charm or humour which facilitates this. Many people with this placement have a powerful ability to cheer others up. The key here is that we have a commanding power of some kind that cannot be switched off, and it is a warming one. 

So this aspect denotes a direct manifestation of the conscious self upon the outside world and environment, a presence that makes itself felt. We normally radiate self confidence and possess strong leadership qualities and our health and physical constitution are boosted by the vital life energy continually conferred by the Sun, which warms us and keeps the process of combustion in our body robust. This adds to the dryness in the body and can therefore result in problems with a lack of moisture and absorbency. The heart is made stronger and the eyes brighter (even when they are dark) and the complexion less pale.

Greater physical energy and vitality is provided to the chart and these people can find that they can physically keep going long after they expected to collapse, over and over again, but that this drains their spirit of its colour and life. The other cost of all this energy is that it becomes difficult for them to switch off and so they may have difficulties just relaxing, getting to sleep or resting. The awareness is so awake and wired into physical existence in the here and now (which gives the ability to figure out what’s going on in the body and what it needs) that detaching from life and surrendering to the unconscious can become more challenging (it may be more difficult for them to separate their mental body from the physical body for example). When they do sleep there is still a strong tendency for the body to be semi-active, which means they can end up thrashing in their sleep, burning up, sleep walking, or just having extremely vivid and colourful dreams.

Psychologically the sunrise people like to shine in whatever they do, and this is one of their best paths to self-discovery. So long as they are wary of the urge to command attention (to be the only star in the sky) and check the involvement of ego (meaning, pride in themselves), they should be quite likable to most people because they radiate warmth and can have the effect of energising other people with their spirit. In the hands of a trained magician this aspect can be of great benefit in any magic involving the vital energy, especially healing, because it assists a more substantial accumulation of vital energy and the ability to radiate it (for example, into a room full of sick people). For obvious reasons it also helps with work involving the Sun sphere, especially its evocation into a Magic Triangle.

The urge for the gaining of recognition for our own individuality and the desire to be important will filter itself through the sign rising on the horizon, so that the person will want to be seen in the way described by the Sun sign. Curiously, even though they are easily seen for who they are by others they will not be sure if they are seen this way and will have uncertainty about how others do see them. The reason for this is that they are blinded by the Sun; it is in their face and projects or radiates outward from there, with them looking on from behind it. Everything they see in the world is illuminated by and so filtered through the perception of the solar nature, and this means they are too close to their own solar nature to regard it objectively. They can’t see what others make of them and they have equal trouble or more seeing themselves for who they really are, because everything is translated through their own individual light of being in a way that is blinding. So while it is easy for others to see our essential nature (the Sun sign nature is visible in first impressions), it is not easy for these people to see this understanding, and changes in their own identity can be harder to perceive.

All the problems described in this discussion can be remedied and prevented through work with the Sun key and 1st temple key, by following the solar map or by employing the Sun as the translator of astral light; all these methods will develop your connection to the Suns essential principles and can be of great effect in transforming it. As the connection to the Sun becomes free of these hindrances health is made stronger, our body is imbued with vitality and our constitution becomes more robust, so that we will rarely become sick and when we do our recuperative powers will be good. Honesty and integrity – being true to your own identity, your own self – are some of the virtues you must continually introduce into your self expression, so that it becomes a more brilliant and beautiful manifestation of your inner nature. Overall you must become conscious of the fact that you are a spirit inhabiting a body and in each and every moment operate with the awareness that this is so in order to bring about the full benefit of your natural connection to the Sun.

Faces: Queen Victoria (Gemini), Prince Albert (Virgo), Alexander Graham Bell (Pisces), Claude Debussy (Leo), Lyndon B. Johnson (Virgo), Jimmy Hoffer (Aquarius), Ingmar Bergman (Cancer), Benny Hill (Aquarius), Peter Sellers (Virgo), Alan Whicker (Leo), Johnny Carson (Scorpio rising with Sun in Libra), Miles Davis (Gemini), Gene Wilder (Gemini), Barry Humphries (Aquarius), Bruce Lee (Sagittarius), Olivia Newton John (Virgo rising with a Libra), David Copperfield (Virgo) and Freddie Mercury (Virgo).

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MOON RISING

This aspect emphasizes and fuses the energies of the Moon with our embodied identity, so that our aura is permeated by lunar vibrations. The activities of the Moon are magnified, focused and intensified. They become essential to our self expression. In our identity we are the Moon – there is no separation. Our astral awareness – our ability to operate on hunches and instincts and impressions – is thus promoted to a more prominent part of our awareness, we are sensitive and intuitive, and will find that others respond readily to us personally. These souls instinctively sense what is happening in the astral, what people are feeling and what is going on between things at the personal level, and are so sensitive to this that it can alter their own moods without them correctly sourcing it – it feels like them but is in fact something they are encountering in their environment. They may not really see the extent to which all this applies because it is right in front of their face. They will learn much about themselves through exploring their moods, especially if they also make a conscious effort to study the lunar calendar and pay special attention to when the Moon is in their rising sign each month. To such people the secrets of the astral world reveal themselves willingly.

Unlike the disc of the Sun which is never varying in its size the shape of the Moon is given the appearance of constant flux from dark to full and back to dark again. When the Moon is completely dark or ‘New’ it is because it is between the Earth and the Sun and so all of the sunlight is falling upon the side of the Moon facing away from the Earth. Effectively she disappears from sight entirely because she is so close to the Sun in terms of her position in the sky that she is lost in the blinding solar corona of light for a few days. At sunrise on these days both the Sun and the Moon will be on the ascendant and so there will be a triple conjunction of these three factors. Most of the time this will happen in a single sign of the zodiac but sometimes it will be spread out over two because the Sun is near the beginning or the end of a sign, but this is uncommon. In the much more common cases of a New Moon rising on the ascendant the emphasis on one particular zodiac sign is often extremely strong and recognizable. It is also often extremely recognizable when there is a Full Moon rising on the ascendant, simply because the Full Moon is filled with energy and visibility. So the particular phase of the Moon is an important factor in the quality of lunar energy the Moon rising person is working with. Essentially, they have fused a specific lunar field to their body in order to explore it very personally. This unique property of the Moon adds a further layer of subtlety to its interpretation, a factor which must be considered in addition to its sign and aspects and the temples it rules in the chart. It gives the Moon a far broader range of expression than any other object in astrology, which combines with its swift motion to aptly embody the flux of the astral realm.

The Moon rising personifies as a touch of lunacy in the face, especially in the light of the eyes, although it is not usually of the menacing kind. It confers an instictive need for independence and autonomy, but at the same time cravings to be cared for and nurtured. To these people personal self-expression is a way of nurturing the identity, in other words they understand that life is a journey of personal self-discovery, a wisdom distilled from the soul’s long and ingrained experience. Deeply private and sensitive, in times of crisis they may instinctively withdraw and spend time on their own, getting to know their own feelings again. They are unconsciously responsive and instinctively react to situations very sensitively, at times overly so, and will need to obtain detachment and a more consciously aware sense of their immediate surroundings and personal response reactions to them. There is an unusual sensitivity to their own physical body and they are in tune with its changing needs, and its health is quite sensitive to the astral plane. Their moods powerfully inform their flesh and its countenance, and the mood is often determined by undercurrents in the environment.

When the Moon is here the soul is quite strongly consciously influenced by the Magnetic, emotional and gravitational tides of the Moon, and are often fluctuating through moods to reflect different moments and environments. This can put the awareness in touch with life in a very intimate and personal way, allowing the soul to feel the mood in a room, the hidden emotional rhythms in a poem, the cyclical dance of societies, to sense the emotional undercurrents in an exchange, etc. The rhythm and the pulse of life is felt physically moving through the body, and the needs and urges represented by the Moon are always present because they are a fundamental part of the self expression in action. In fact the health and the wholeness of being depend upon a conscious, creative output of the Moon. If the soul does not do this, strain is placed on the body areas connected with the rising sign as the awareness will feel the burden of being increasingly cut off from life.

Generally these people are very easy or simple people to get to know in the sense that when others first meet them (ascendant) they show their Moon qualities, a side of our nature we often keep private. What this means is that these people are private, insular beings who still show a lot of personal qualities when first met. They give of the personal self to the world in a direct way, and must often keep doing so, because it is who they really need to be. People can meet them and be struck by a very friendly, personal manner, the way they come across as someone who is what they are, someone they can trust because they actually do what it says on the label. But even so they are so emotionally vulnerable that it can take time to break through the initial shell of privacy they shroud themselves in. The Moon rising can make us a bit of a shy wallflower. This results in someone many people think they really know well personally, but whom few actually do. Yet at the same time as it feels emotionally vulnerable enough to keep people at bay, this Moon will also crave to be cared for and nurtured by another. This internal conflict can create emotionally rooted dis-ease and problems in relationships.

If you are lucky enough to be a moonrise soul, whenever the Moon is Full or New and in your rising sign or its opposite (about four times a year, when the Sun is also present in those signs), then the influence of lunar energy will be stronger for you. If you are a magician you can make optimal use of these times in any work with the Magnetic Fluid or the magic of the Moon sphere. With your astral senses you will be able to more deeply feel the ‘pull’ of the Moon over your astral materia. If you know how to sense them, beings will draw near, beckoned by their own curiosity. These can be good times for looking more thoroughly at the black and white mirrors with the help of these beings. You will also experience a strong point of contact with lunar energy whenever the 1st temple key is activated.

In the end this is the path of a soul that is seeking to know the soul and the secrets of adventures in the astral wonderland, a mystery that will not stop in its quest at self comprehension, especially in the area of instinct, reaction and the need to delve into the past and to feel right about ourselves. It is a life of integrating and finally uniting the Moon principle with the embodied identity. The soul does not clearly see the degree of its own emotionality because it is pressed right up against it – the astral awareness is so present that it interferes with our evaluation of people opinions and their motives become unclear, and the sensitivity we have to being loved and accepted and fitting in ends up distorting our self image, so we lose sight of who we really are through just reacting to what people are feeling. We need therefore to take a step way back here and put things lunar into their proper perspective – we can become ‘possessed’ by the spirit of the Moon, with all that this entails. The key to avoiding that fate is to know our own personal shit so thoroughly that we can never conflate it with what belongs to others.

Faces: Queen Victoria (Gemini), Mary II of England (Aquarius), Paul Guaquin (Leo rising with Moon in Virgo), Isambard Kingdom Brunel (Sagittarius), H.G. Wells (Aquarius), Lyndon B. Johnson (Virgo), Phil Collins (Libra rising with Moon in Scorpio), Barbara Cartland (Aries), Audrey Hepburn (Aquarius rising with Moon in Pisces), Yehudi Menuhin (Capricorn), Madonna (Virgo – “Like a Virgin”), George Harrison (Libra rising with Moon in Scorpio), James Earl Jones (Capricorn), Lewis Carroll (Sagittarius), Douglas Fairbanks (Scorpio), Charles Chaplin (Scorpio), Dionne Warwick (Taurus), Hugo Chavez (Cancer), Susan Sarandon (Capricorn), Lucille Ball (Capricorn).

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MERCURY RISING

When Mercury is the rising planet, thinking and intellectual behaviour can become so life affirming that they become too dominant, leading us in ways that diminish meaning rather than enriching it. The sign qualities of Mercury become the major characteristics of our embodied identity and rise to prominence in the character, and we are more likely to display some of its virtues like increased intelligence, the persuasive charm of a silver tongue, astute analytical thinking, aptitude with puzzles and words, etc. This often makes us a quick witted, intelligent, wordy, talkative, changeable (mercurial) ideas person. We become adept at navigating the world of thought and the mental plane, but can become trapped by the infinite splendour of the Mercury sphere. If too much importance is attached to any idea it will grow until it becomes our entire world, we will lose touch with our feelings and be subjected to the cutting edge of Mercury, which leaves us exhausted, bewildered, mentally fried by the ongoing onslaught of mental stimulation. Many of the more powerful spirits of this sphere cause insanity, madness and other forms of mental trauma simply through the ideas and notions they expose the frail human mind to.

The universe of ideas is a beautiful, spectacular thing; as David Lynch says “a new idea is like a present on Christmas morning”. It’s a boundless realm teeming with countless living beings, all of which communicate to our minds specific thoughts when they interact with our awareness. The vast majority of these beings that we commune with live on the surface levels of this realm, by which I mean the areas of the realm of ideas which overlap with our physical realm. Everything in the physical realm begins with an idea, but most of the ideas that are traded between us and these other beings are commonplace ones – we think about taking a shower before we have a shower, or driving the car before we get into it. However, the deeper we go into this beautiful, spectacular realm, the more we find ourselves encountering truly exotic and bewildering ideas which have artistic and creative power and which communicate profound and deep truths about the nature of the universe and its organisation. People who have Mercury rising are equipped with a kind of atmospheric suit which allows them to venture deeper into these dimensions then ordinary mortals. This “suit” can be equipped with a variety of instruments suited for interactions with specific classes of beings, for example one person’s Mercury rising may equip them to deal with the sciences or with a specific science, while another may equip them to deal with mechanics or engineering. Such a suit can be outfitted to work with any kind of idea, any kind of knowledge, and so the variety of specific types of Mercury rising is literally infinite. 

Whatever the specific attitude or mental skill is, the person with Mercury rising will understand how to increase their knowledge. In fact, the present moment will continually present them with more information and data with which they can do so and with opinions they can debate with others. For this reason they make excellent researchers and archivists, and are frequently a font of information on the subjects which they specialise in. Much of this will be trivia or seemingly trivial, since they make very little effort in the area of gatekeeping to exclude information preferring to gather as much as possible so that they do not miss any potentially significant detail. Nevertheless, it is quite a gift to encounter someone who is a walking encyclopaedia of facts about a topic you share an interest in and these people are generally treasured within certain sectors of the intellectual community.

Communication is often a vital ingredient in the way this person sees themselves and expresses their identity in the environment around them. If these people are not born to be talkative they are born to be in love with words as a means of conveying ideas to others. It’s one thing to get a great catch, to hook onto an idea that is truly beautiful and to be led forward in exploring it, but it’s quite another to be able to share that with other people. One might say the former is spellbinding, but the latter is transcendent. So the people of Mercury rising usually either love to talk or to read and write, but there are a few who use their bodies but not their voices directly as a means of communication to achieve the same ends, such as dancers or mimes. Even if other chart factors cause the person to be less talkative, there is going to be something notable about the sound of their voice (James Earl Jones is the perfect example of this).

I said previously that we traded with the beings of the Mercury sphere, and this was not a metaphor. In fact, the commerce of ideas is the primary currency which drives the evolutionary progress of our universe and it is probably for this reason that the planet Mercury is also associated with business and commerce, especially in the current age where the value of information is growing. Speculation upon which ideas are growing in popularity and which are not or which ideas are pristine ideas and which are not are popular pastimes of Mercury rising people, but in some of them the focus is on literal stock markets. So in some people with Mercury rising we see a special gift in business matters, especially in persuasion and planning, and in some people the combination of great knowledge and persuasive power become tempting aphrodisiacs of the mind. The tendency for Mercury to behave like a trickster or to bend the rules will tend to be used to great advantage, and in extreme cases Mercury rising produces liars who come to believe their own narrative and their own PR.

Physically Mercury rising symbolises increased nerve impulses to the brain (increasing activity overall but especially in the cerebral cortex) and enhances the sensitivity of the nervous system down the spine so that the reflex actions of the body become sharper and the nerves edgier, more responsive to the brain and its thoughts. This means that thoughts can be carried throughout the body very quickly by the nervous system, communicating rapidly to cells and organs, resulting in better co-ordination and responses, as well as facilitating mind over body magic. This is a blessing for dancers and others who rely on dexterity or who seek the union of mind and matter, such as certain martial artists, but also for anything connected to hand-eye co-ordination and the combination of mental and physical focus. The problem with this is that if this is continuous and ongoing, as is the case with any conjunction to the ascendant, the lack of an off switch leads to a wearing down of the nervous system more quickly, and to tiredness and mental-physical exhaustion. These people are wired. They get edgy and nervous when they are overloaded. Every thought they have is transmitted through the nervous system in electrical pulses that can eventually do damage, especially if the mental nature of that pulse is informed with the idea of dysfunction, worry or anxiety. These people can become ill through thinking too much and through stressing too much. They can also weaken their health through clumsiness and by being accident prone when their mental energy is very high and lacks an outlet, such as when in a panic or when driving or travelling under duress.

So they need to learn how to observe the activity of thought in their minds and often to turn its volume down, and this will help them gain some distance from Mercury so that they can regard it more objectively and its influence over their actions slows down. At this point they will have learned to separate from Mercury slightly so that they do not instantly identify with its ideas so much but their connection will still be very strong and so they will still receive the benefit of that, just without the drawbacks. Being able to observe how your own thought processes develop and where they come from will also lead to deeper insight and a more complete picture of the connections between the ideas.

More importantly this constitutes a defence against falling into the trap of the enchantment of the Mercury sphere, the fascination with new ideas, which can lead us along from one new idea to another, never really grasping anything too deeply because it is replaced by another before that can happen, and in this way we become enslaved by our own fascination with everything that Mercury represents to the point where we can now see nothing without it. We can also intellectualize everything so much that we cannot have real emotional connection, or real physical connection. Evolving and mastering our relationship to Mercury through the Mercury key has enormous benefits on the life as a whole for these people and should be a priority. Transformation of their relationship with Mercury is called for to unlock the potential of the mind and to use it to advance human understanding in answering the biggest and most puzzling questions. Until then this is an aspect which keeps Mercury rising people on the move physically and mentally, gathering perspective, and so it can keep life interesting, fresh and stimulating. Once they have learned to turn down the volume and frequency of thoughts and addressed any negative qualities of their ascendant the virtues of Mercury flow through their embodied identity into the life of everyone they meet and every mind that connects with theirs, whether that is through their spoken words or their written works. They make everyone who knows them more intelligent. Navigation through the world of ideas as they emerge into the present moment so that we quickly become aware of them or can reach other people with them is the primary characteristic of this placement of Mercury.

Faces: Johannes Brahms (Aries), Alexander Graham Bell (Pisces), Alexander Fleming (Cancer), T.S. Eliot (Libra), Lyndon B. Johnson (Virgo), Jimmy Hoffer (Aquarius), Paul Newman (Capricorn), Johnny Carson (Scorpio), Michel Foucault (Scorpio), Grace Kelly (Scorpio), Charlotte Rampling (Aquarius), Freddie Mercury (Virgo), Madonna (Virgo) and Tom Waits (Sagittarius).

Venus-pacific-levelled

VENUS RISING

Where Mercury rising thrusts us into the world of ideas and the beings which generate them or embody them, Venus rising throws us deep into the oceanic realm of emotions and feelings. Here the danger is not so much of being enchanted and spellbound by dazzling ideas but seduced and beguiled by the whims of powerful muses and longings. With Venus rising on the ascendant the embodied identity is intricately defined by what it feels and by what others feel about it. The journey of life in this case leads us through tangled forests of feelings with mysterious origin and to adventure with the vagaries of love. If Mercury rising is a puzzling journey Venus rising is an inexplicable one, because while an intellectual question can have a satisfactorily if not complete answer, there really is no definitive answer to the call of the heart – love is its own answer.

Venus rising makes it easier to fall in love and to express love as well as to engage in relationship of all kinds, not just romantic ones, because there is greater facility with the world of emotions in general. The flow of the emotional world through the present moment is captured and becomes available to the awareness of these people, giving them a greater advantage in all matters where this is a factor. In general life this is of inestimable value in personal relationships because it helps to untangle the often messy and confusing experience of emotional experiences, but it is also an asset in specific cases such as in counseling, the arts and the entertainment industry. The ability to engage others on an emotional level flows into the world and supplies permission to others to open up emotionally where they might not have otherwise done so, who then encourage others to open up, and so the power of the spirits or muses which are moving through such a person can be awe inspiring. Just as with Mercury rising there can be a specific focus for the Venus skill with appropriate apparatus for dealing with it, such as dancing or singing or playing a particular musical instrument, and often this will be shown by the zodiac sign Venus is in and other aspects which she receives.

The embodiment of Venus leads to some of the most beautiful physical bodies that walk upon the surface of the planet. Venus rising is simply beautiful to behold, and here I am just not talking about classical beauty but more essentially about inner beauty and the spirit of lovingness. Certainly there are many people with astonishingly aesthetic appearances who have Venus rising to thank for it, often in the smile and in the eyes there will be a loveliness that others recognise but in typical Venus fashion cannot quite bottle in words, but the more essential feature is that the person radiates an acceptance of what others feel and of what they feel which puts others at ease and which unruffles feathers where they feel ruffled. The magic of this Venus is that it can bring peace as well as love simply through being fully present in the now moment and expressing what is coming through.

Venus rising can lead to searching for some kind of perfect relationship or perfect justice and fairness in life which leads to disappointment when it proves to be elusive. The conditioning of Venus rising leads us to see love and affection as being vital to a healthy expression of identity but the problem is that our society does not foster a feeling of loving affection but one of competitiveness and Martian desire, so the identity is left feeling bereft of what it needs and must somehow generate that feeling around it. For this reason these people tend to be very choosy of the quality of the people that they let into their emotional world and then in some cases this can become a kind of snobbishness where some people are deemed to be too low down the social ladder to be part of the exclusive circle. These attitudes can become quite toxic and drive genuinely good people away while leaving us surrounded by sycophants who say what we want to hear. Another trap with Venus rising is that we can become addicted to feeling good things to such a degree that we refuse to feel any bad things and so do not deal with our darker emotions. Obviously, this will come back to bite us painfully in the end.

Appearance wise, apart from the good-looking trend Venus rising tends to dress to impress and is frequently attracted to adornment of its body with jewelries or make up, with regular style overhauls or haircuts. As far as Venus rising is concerned putting your best impression first is extremely important and that includes not just your dress and appearance but also your manners and degree of politeness. There are only a very few Venus rising people who swear profusely because such language is too coarse. There is no need to be uncivil. Whatever the appearance is it is designed to lead with an emotional impression and to stir that specific emotional impression, to generate a feeling in the eye of the beholder. It has the power of glamour.

The need to express and channel the spirits of Venus often leads to people who become involved in art or in some work which permits them a degree of emotional expression, but if their journey through life does not take them into such a role they will generally carve this out around them in some other way that allows them to let go with what they feel. Art and relationships are not the only ways in which you can express our emotional selves, of course, and so any activity which is pleasurable will allow these people to offload their excess of Venus. One person I knew, for example, found this outlet through playing role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons. The emotional release came from being able to play different characters much like an actor experiences. The simplest and most passive way to offload your Venus energy is to go to a movie or watch a show, but for this to really be effective has to engage you on an emotional level and not just be a boring three hour slugfest in brightly coloured tights. The catharsis has to release or trigger a strong feeling in order to genuinely connect us with the Venus sphere. One of the dangers here however is that we will come to identify our own selves with something artistic and that this identification will come too easily and with problems. It is one thing to go and see the story told in sound and light and connect it with your own reality, and quite another to mistake your own reality for the one depicted in the sound and light. This is a far bigger problem in our society then we recognise at this time, as the sophistication of the technology behind our storytelling is advancing rapidly towards the point where it becomes indistinguishable from so-called “real experiences”. This is a situation we will all have to deal with in the future, but for Venus rising it has been an ongoing problem throughout history. The power of the emotionally charged imagination is profound and has led many astray from true spiritual realisation, which is part of the agenda of Venus rising.

The sign in which Venus and the ascendant fall will colour the embodied identity so that it will seek to bring harmony and beauty into its surroundings through that sign, and the presence of the person in the now moment will ooze sweet reasonableness, friendliness and charm. The love of pleasure, however, may make for an over indulgent or complacent approach to engaging in life, and a saccharine, vain outlook which others find too naive and narcissistic, too superficial to take seriously. Gender issues can also complicate both Venus and Mars rising. It really is a man’s world still, and if you doubt that consider the difference between how much more challenging it would be to have a groundbreaking idea in physics and to be taken seriously for it as a sexy blond woman than as an average male. In the former case you definitely have to put up with a lot of attention that you would not get as the latter. The curse of Venus rising is often that ones own beauty or attractiveness is a distraction from what you really have to offer and that you have to overcome the unwanted attention of others.

Faces: T.S. Eliot (Libra), Clark Gable (Capricorn), Gregory Peck (Gemini), Judy Garland (Cancer), Paul Newman (Capricorn), Gore Vidal (Scorpio), Grace Kelly (Scorpio), Danny DeVito (Sagittarius rising with Venus in Capricorn), Bill Clinton (Libra), Oliver Stone (Scorpio), Jeremy Irons (Leo), Arnold Schwarzenegger (Cancer), David Cameron (Libra), Shirley Conran (Leo), Edward VI of England (Virgo) and H.P. Lovecraft (Libra).

watery mars

MARS RISING

Severity, directness, a cutting approach to life and forceful thrust direct the Mars rising identity. Mars is the god of war and victory in combat. His spirit is competitive, militaristic, masculine, brash, hot – headed, and emboldened. Mars is also extremely passionate and coupled frequently with Venus. From these mythic archetypes, we associate Mars with desire, assertiveness, courage, anger, force and passion, violence, heat and flame, and these are apt expressions of the rising Mars temperament. Indeed, everything we do may become supercharged with a force majeure, driven by an urge to conquer and overpower. We will tend to advance in life through force of will and engage in competitive relationships which test our strength and prowess because we are literally possessed by a fighting spirit. This fighting spirit will be much easier to handle if Mars is below the horizon, in the 1st temple; when Mars is in the 12th temple we may be destined to encounter defeats as above the lip of the Earth the psychic impact of the planet is so raw that it becomes embedded deep in the subconscious and is therefore primed to erupt from within as repressed anger and force at later points in life. This can have a debilitating effect on health, creating greater chance of highly feverish conditions and exposing us to the danger of accidents involving fire and sharp edges. On the other hand the rising nature of Mars in a visible part of the sky can really help it to make an impact in the ways that are meaningful to it, i.e. in ways that get it noticed in the world whereas Mars in the 1st temple tends to be more internally focused.

The touch of Mars on the ascendant gives the embodied identity a much easier time when it comes to asserting itself and pressing it’s will into the world, provided the aspects to Mars are not too problematic. It will be a battle anyway, but if they are problematic then this process becomes much more of a battle for the person but the battle is in itself the reward because it hones the fighting spirit into a legendary blade. Victories become much sweeter in these cases because the struggle being overcome is what feeds the Mars spirit within us. It’s the struggle and not the attainment of the goal that matters to these beings the most. You can fight and fail but if you fight and you improve while failing you can just try again from a stronger position. Please understand that I’m not saying that these beings are violent or that they enjoy conquering; only the lower Mars beings embody these concepts. Instead what I am getting at here is that these beings feed on the challenges of life and see it as an arena in which the will and the spirit are strengthened by overcoming their weaknesses and vanquishing problems. They spur us on when we feel daunted by the prospect of what lies before us, whispering to us “you can do it”, “just keep going, don’t give up”, or simply “fuck them”. In this respect these beings are absolutely necessary to get through life, as without them we would lack the courage to face things about ourselves and to overcome that which oppresses us. Yet, if we listen too intently to their stirring and cheer-leading they are sure to sorely tempt us and to lead us astray, even into violence and destruction of that which gets in our way. Everybody must deal with these situations but when you live in the present moment with the beings of Mars throughout the course of your life, when you live and breathe what they live and breathe, the problem is paramount to address. Therefore, the taming of the Mars spirit within us when Mars is rising becomes a central point of drama in the life story and how we handle that drama will determine whether we rocket ahead or explode on the launchpad.

Interestingly a large number of people with Mars on the ascendant have good health because Mars is a very robust force that bolsters the immune system, the blood and the way the body deals with invasion. In general, Mars rising increases physical strength, stamina, and endurance, particularly in men, and has been found in a statistically improbable number of charts of people involved in the armed forces (research by Michel Gauquelin). There is a look of someone with an imposing will, a more piercing or sharp gaze, and we can suffer more from rashes or dry skin irritations, blood conditions, heatstroke, sunburn, cuts and burns by accidents (actually, excessive restlessness or anger breaking free), fevers and sweats. The complexion is often redder or ruddier, and some people are fond of displaying their connection to Mars and its cutting spirit through their piercings, tattoos and scars. Curiously but logically a lot of them also blush easily as the blood comes quickly to the surface of the face and so they are often easily embarrassed or humiliated despite being strong willed and assertive. It’s dangerous to fool or humiliate them too much, however, as their identity is not able to take it lying down or in good humour. Military uniform is almost too stereotypical to mention, but it does play a role as many people with Mars on the ascendant are drawn into the armed forces, and in general there will be a highly controlled and sharp appearance. Other forms of dress which Mars rising people are often seen attired in include anything which strikes a strong tone, immediately draws attention to itself, looks like it doesn’t give a shit what you think, carries provocative slogans or is designed to intimidate.

With Mars rising we need to learn to look before we leap, be far less severe and harsh on ourselves and others, control our base impulses (sexual and willful), and consider welcoming the assistance of others more when they try to help. We have to learn that every hero has company and does not vanquish the kaiju alone. We have a tendency to make an impression on others that is more abrasive than we think, and like Mars the god if our desires are thwarted or put on hold we can become angered and respond with deadly swiftness. This rashness can destroy relationships so we need to temper our spontaneity with restraint. The urge to hit back when injured or defeated must be reigned in and directed to more creative efforts at working around difficulties. Rivals must not be defeated and humiliated, they must be educated. Differences must not divide and conquer, they must serve to emphasise individual uniqueness. Comparisons and competitive evaluations that result in sinking self confidence must be set aside in place of an awareness of our own powerfully unique potential. The Mars principle – its whole essential meaning – must become a part of our identity without subsuming or consuming it. The sword must be wielded with care and love. We must be a warrior, but what we fight for and why and how we do it are the important things.

Faces: Piero di Cosimo (Aquarius), Christian Dior (Scorpio), Lyndon B. Johnson (Virgo), Henry Kissinger (Gemini), Ronald Reagan (Sagittarius rising with Mars in Capricorn), Donald Trump (Leo), Bill Clinton (Libra), Admiral Nelson (Scorpio), Tony Blair (Gemini), Peter Sellers (Virgo), Derek Jacobi (Virgo), Francis Ford Coppola (Capricorn), Stephen King (Cancer) and Kathy Bates (Virgo).

Next month we check out Jupiter to Pluto, see you there and thanks for reading!