The Temples (Part 2)

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month we continue looking at the houses, discussing the 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th.

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The 5th Temple: Joy, Creativity, Self Expression and Luck.

Location: The 5th temple is a space half way between the nadir of the sky and the western horizon. This means it is a completely non-visible area of the sky that is always below the horizon and out of view.

Discussion: At the 5th temple our tour of the temples has traveled over one quarter of the way around the wheel of the chart and this means that we are approaching the second of the 3 temples focused on pure existence, life and being (the first such temple was the 1st), and it is a place where that light of being is expressed as spontaneous joy and fun. It is worthy of deep reflection that such a place as the Temple of Joy and Pleasure exists alongside a temple for acquisition, memory, being and communication. Fun, or leisure, is just as fundamental an ingredient in life experience as any of these things are. In fact it is something vital, as the temples of existence – the 1st, 5th and 9th – are fundamentally about the experience of being alive.

The 5th temple is a place of joy, co-creation and pleasure and it develops and harmonises with the expression of the previous temple of spirit or existence, the 1st, by channel ling self identity through our creative outpouring of the life force, securing our procreative and co-creative life essence in acts, so its core aim is ‘Security of the Awareness of Existence’, a search for some kind of affirmative display and sharing of the creative potential of our own truly unique inner light through an emanation of it into the world. Whereas in the 1st the task is simply to be who we are in the 5th the task is to create who we are, to externalise who we are as some kind of creative output. It is a region that often naturally aspects the ascendant by trine (120 degrees, a harmonious, flowing aspect) and is a succeedent temple (temples 2, 5, 8, and 11 are succeedent temples because by primary motion objects are succeeding to or moving to one of the places of power, the Angular temples) therefore any natal planetary occupants tend to experience a slow but steady re-vitalising climb in energy through the course of life (this only applies to the occupants of a temple, not their rulers, so Mercury is only succeedent if it is inside a succeedent temple, not if it rules one.). In the 5th objects get charged up by our inner creative light and take form in our creations. This is the temple of The Art, the temple of creative power in which our lives become our creations. This is why the ancients called this temple the ‘Good Fortune’ (for it is indeed a great fortune bestowed on us by life) and attributed it to matters of mundane (earthly rather than spiritual) luck and chance. It has some connection then with reputation, with fame, lucky wins, notability and notoriety, especially for entertainers, gigolos, lovers and sports enthusiasts, but really it is fundamentally about securing a sense of joy in life by expressing our own uniqueness brilliantly to the world. It proclaims “I exist, and I am uniquely creative in this way…”

The 5th temple on the surface then is simply about fun and creativity; it contains and gives active expression, identity and meaning to all our procreative and artistic efforts, from the birth of children to love affairs to competitions, practical jokes, art, sports, our natural talents and hobbies and dramatic or theatrical gifts. In no other area of life do we connect with the radiant feeling of being alive so directly and vitally than in the 5th. It’s why countries go crazy ape shit with happiness when they win the world cup. LIFE IS MEANT TO BE FUNDivine Providence has gifted each created thing with the capacity to enjoy all of creation. This is why the 5th is so fundamental a part of life experience, along with communication and memory and the other temples. When there are problems in this temple, the whole chart can suffer as the joy of life is felt to be missing. We can feel very dead inside and cursed with bad luck when the creative spark is dim. Usually it becomes this way because we do not nurture it like the child it is. Our child. It has to be regarded as if we were its parent.

As a temple which creatively expresses our unique experience of existing it is more objective than the 1st because the 1st temple planets are right in front of our nose, so to speak, and we can suffer from not being able to see the woods for the trees, we are them, whereas planets in the 5th are not so entwined with our identity but more with what it creates, though 5th temple influences can still become factors in our displays of ego through our expression of creativity and self confidence, especially in the form of a desire for fame and praise. Our creativity allows us some objectivity on our own identity, so there is greater objectivity on ourselves in this temple than in the 1st temple as we can externally perceive ourselves in our creative acts, but this objectivity can make disruptions here have greater effects on our sense of the joy of being alive since we will equate it more with fortunate and unfortunate external effects and conditions – ‘luck’, the ‘slings and arrows of outrageous fortune’ which either crush our creations or exalt them (with the danger that the ego will identify itself with its creations and grow self important). In this sense, working with the 5th temple can feel like falling in love or being heartbroken. In fact, those well known states are often very much to do with things stirring in the 5th. The joy of this temple is Venus, for here her essential meaning is strengthened by location in a region of sky that is fundamentally suitable to her principles, specifically, that of pleasure and romance, art and fun.

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In summation, because the successful and fortunate outcome of any creative effort is always joyous and uplifting for the human spirit this temple concerns our self confidence as well as our capacity to have fun, kick back, and amuse ourselves with recreation, hobbies and games, leisure time, sport, theatre, entertainment or art. In astrology it is therefore consulted in matters relating to ones own co-creations, our joys, creative acts, our children (and thus our fertility and issues involving pregnancy and parenthood) and in any matter in connection with fame, fun, games of luck and fortune, risk taking (which makes us feel alive) or following bliss, such as pleasurable hobbies and romantic flirtation and love affairs, gambling fortune and dating, but above all and most fundamentally, it is important to turn to whenever we are neglecting ourselves or life feels dull or overwhelmed with sorrows. Its planets and its key are the ones we should turn to when we cannot smile. The quest of the 5th temple is simply to live a happy and joyful existence and to express our unique creative power.

To truly know the joy of being alive and to unleash our creativity we have to express the highest creative power of:

1) The sign that opens this temple
2) The ruler of that sign
3) Any objects within the 5th temple, whether that be a natal placement or a temporary one

The secrets of the art of living are enacted here, and when we tap deep into them the inspiration is endless. Often we will sabotage this temple in the same way that we sabotage the inner child within us – we discipline it too much and keep it hidden away, because as every performer knows you make yourself vulnerable when you step into the spotlight. Yet this vulnerability is most often rooted in our need to impress the audience, and vanishes almost entirely when we focus on the creative flow, the art, the muse that is playing with us. Thats when we become extremely powerful, because we can allow the creation to happen without editorial gatekeeping – we become the creative power. Aside from this another major challenge of this temple is that we need to unlock our own point of contact with that creative power, a task which often involves ridding it of the narratives and stories of other creators. We have to overcome the tendency to copy our icons and heroes in order to reach our own creative inspiration. Its only when we do this that, magically, other people start to take notice because we are triggering in them their own embrace of their unique creative power – this is the greatest gift we can give to others through this temple.

Concepts: The art of living, eminence, creative self expression, dating and romance, gambling, fun and hobbies, leisure and sport, games, theatre and entertainment, fortune, procreation, our children.

Ancient terms: The Good Fortune, Place of Good Doing, Place of Freed Slaves.

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The 6th temple: Purification, Service, Daily Work, Apprenticeship, Skills

Location: The 6th temple is located just below the western horizon and is the place where everything in the sky goes to after it is seen to set and is no longer visible. It is therefore the place where the planets, Lights and stars visibly sink into the Earth like celestial seeds.

Discussion: At this point in our journey through all 12 temples which began at the eastern horizon (1st temple) and sank below it traveling through the non-visible portion of sky, first reaching the nadir at the 4th temple and then beginning to rise, we are now approaching the western horizon from underneath. This is the invisible region where planets and the Sun go after they completely set in the west, where they are buried like seeds each day by the turning of the Earth. It is the temple of physical service – the planets essential meaning is being absorbed into the Earth to be broken down and employed in natural processes, it is moving into the soil and the Plant and Elemental Realm, producing remedies – and it is the temple of the purification of flaws, a place where planetary energies tend to swiftly discorporate and become disembodied, just as the Suns light does when it sets here. The essential focus for the 6th temple is simply ‘Physical Awareness Learning’ but this simple phrase hides a complex set of expressions in human experiences. Here is where we learn to treat the physical body itself as a temple that receives Divine input and so discover the daily practices that are involved in maintaining it.

The cadent temples – the 3rd, 6th, 9th, and 12th – are traditionally the ‘weakest’ places in the sky because by primary motion they are places where planets and the Sun and Moon go after they have been in the places of power, the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th. What is really meant by this is that the objects in these regions are undergoing processes which tie up their energies, usually dissipating their effectiveness to some degree, draining them of substance but resulting in a learning experience. Thus they are busy places of learning. The 6th is the place where this learning is focused physically. It is not a place of high ambition (the 10th temple is that place) – here instead is the temple where we learn how to feed, clothe, clean and care for ourselves and other people in material terms and set about doing what needs doing to tend to such essential necessities. This is a temple that is grounding and habit forming for us. It is a place of apprenticeship, a place where we hone our skills.

Our learning process in respect of life in the material realm takes place chiefly through the acquired skills we develop and employ in daily acts of service and the toil we undertake in service to others and self while we are embodied here (any work and employment which does not directly further our ultimate goals – as noted above, those goals are symbolised by the 10th temple instead), also through our repetitive experience of humdrum routines (washing, cleaning, repairing), the mundane requirements of modern corporeal life, and through our experiences with the debility of health and the necessities of being tasked with the regular maintenance of a physical body (food, fitness, the prevention of and treatment of illness). All these areas embody the chief matters of the 6th temple.

Today this learning manifests in a truly vast variety of human expressions such as the countless fads in food and diet, physical illness and injuries sustained by accidents, toil and labour, workers rights and our employment of others (our servants and people we pay for services; in ancient days, also our slaves (with slavery in the ancient world being a matter of both the 6th and 12th houses), trade unions (in ages past, guilds), skills (practised abilities, rather than innate talents), tenants, hygiene and daily routine, servitude, any kind of daily work which holds little or no promise of advancement to our ulterior goals (scrubbing the kitchen dishes, cleaning the windows, taking out the garbage), the countless variety of remedies for the little things that ail us, our relationship to work colleagues, daily rituals, relations to pets and other small animals, and to cattle and farm animals, to name but a few. Along with poor maintenance of the body, work stress, unemployment and anxiety over day to day issues are fundamental causes of poor health and the 6th temple expresses this reality. There is a strong connection between the state of our health and the toil and labour we undertake every day.

The connection to small animals (‘pets’) and farmland animals is often taken as a “master and servant” relationship when in reality animals are far more than our servants and have much to teach us about material life. The truly magical expression of this temple towards domesticated animals is in allowing them to be what and who they are and respecting their spirit as equal, not training them to do whatever we command or using them as resources without respect, although some lines of communication must always be established within appropriate boundaries. In other words, our human perception of animals must often be purified of arrogant, superior human attitudes toward ‘lesser’ life forms in order to permit the magic to flow.

Some animals, though, have taken it upon themselves to gently remind us of our true significance…

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Mars has its joy in this temple not really because it accentuates his malevolence and ability to injure and sicken or because he indicates some form of enforced slavery as traditional books may indicate, but more because his energies and drive are given a regular outlet and because he gives such people a lot of energy to get their backs into labour at repetitive hard work, or for healing (many surgeons will have a prominent Mars here for example). Mars in this temple is also often a robust boon to physical repair or body strengthening – the blood is ruled by Mars and when found in the 6th, being ‘sunk’ into the flesh, Mars commonly purifies it via heat and more robust circulation, giving the cells of the body greater fighting spirit and empowering the muscular system. Being born with Mars in the 6th temple also busies our daily life and the drive of our will in helping other people, a focus which undermines the tendency of Mars to act selfishly, and at a more metaphysical level the cutting edge of what defines us as individuals (Mars) is what we achieve not for ourselves but for the benefit of other individuals. These are the real reasons Mars is given joy in this temple.

So the 6th temple represents all fields of life where we learn about the day to day realities of being in our body and in a physical world and so try to do things to keep it fit and running – it is where we learn about our basic physical condition and through this learning perform some kind of act of material service, a helpful contribution to or even a purification of physical matter. We get up early in the morning to bake bread for the town, we take the dog for a walk, we clean up the living room for guests, etc. It is more than our sweat and time that we must learn to physically give, as the Prophet of Orphalese in the well known book by Kahlil Gibran said –

“Work is love made visible….for if you bake bread with indifference, you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half man’s hunger”. –  Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

The ancient world was not a very comfortable or easy world in which to try to make a living or even to physically survive day by day. Plagues, quakes, fires, floods, storms, famines, droughts, wild animals, insurrections and all kinds of troubles assailed daily life, and there was little to nothing in the way of support when calamity fell, as it regularly did. Struggle, toil, hardship and the danger of being eaten by a hungry or pissed critter were widespread. There was frequently nothing to stop someone else claiming your body and using it as a commodity in the slave markets, especially if you were a woman. Most people had to find water every day. Hard won stocks spoiled easily. So in the ancient world this temple is called The Bad Fortune, because the facts of life were far harsher. Today, such ill fortune still exists for billions of people all over the world and ancient world slavery is still very much alive and well, contrary to popular belief – its just less visible in polite society – but modern astrology focuses on sickness and the drudgery of being a wage-slave as the chief misfortunes of this temple. Like all the temples this place is really neither good nor bad, troubles come from anywhere and there are many blessings to be found in each of the houses. We can see illness as a bane, or we can see it as a signpost calling for healing. A true healer has experienced pain and been healed. My mum, on the advice of my nan, let me play in the dirt. This was very wise as I grew stronger in constitution. My immune system was also made stronger after the measles, the chickenpox, and who knows what else. Your day job might suck the life out of you, but it pays for all your stuff, staves off hunger and thirst and puts clothes on your skin. So there is something of a trade-off in this temple and our attitude to that is important in terms of how much ‘bad fortune’ we will draw from it. I have met people crippled in wheelchairs with less ‘bad fortune’ than some healthy millionaires I have known. They might complain endlessly about their daily troubles, while the person in the chair has had to purify and transcend them. Trouble is character building, and taking the easy short cut is not always wise – ask the sorcerers apprentice!

Concepts: Daily chores, routines, skills, our employees, co-workers, apprenticeship, illness (diagnosis and/or remedy of health problems), services, animal companions.

Ancient terms: The Bad Fortune, Place of Slaves, Place of Sickness and Troubles.

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The 7th Temple: Partnership, Contract, Rivalry and Polarity.

Location: The 7th temple lies directly above the western horizon and is the first of the temples in these articles to be a completely visible area of the sky.

Discussion: This visibility shifts the focus from the private world of the individual (1-6) firmly into the court of the public areas of experience, the areas of life the rest of the world has a window on. They don’t see our family interaction, our creativity, our bank account, our state of health or our thoughts, or if they do its because something is up there and we are showing something that is usually private. From the 7th to the 12th temple, the houses are now about things that have more of a public edge to them. The heart of the private sphere is in temple 4, while the heart of the public sphere is the 10th.

Importantly, the quality of light now shifts too – if we are born in the night hours then the Sun has to be in the 1st – 6th temples, so that temples 7-12 will be without daylight, and conversely if we born in the day the Sun must be in temples 7-12, filling them with daylight, so that temples 1-6 are dark. Every chart is half light and half dark. The light of the Sun will then fill an entire hemisphere of the chart, indicating more of a broad life focus on public or private experience. If the placement of planets reinforces this, for example if all of our planets are above the horizon including the Sun, then that hemisphere becomes super emphasized and the other one is often underdeveloped.

So the 6 temples following govern realms of life which are more public and in general nature they involve the notion of public self and attitude to dealings with others (above the horizon), rather than focusing on the inner realms and personal resources of the private self (below the horizon). This temple therefore introduces the concept of temporal polarity, the stark difference between night and day, internal and external, private and public, self and other. It is the place where night and day exchange evening kisses in the twilight, where I become you and you become me and together we become something new. Its magic is a measure of our ability to co-operate with another.

This is the temple of partnership or relating and its key phrase could be described as ‘Mental Awareness in Action’. The mental awareness or mental body joins with whatever it focuses itself on. Through our interactions, partnerships and face to face relationships with others we learn about our own way of thinking, communicating and being and see ourselves reflected in the thoughts we think about others and the faces they present to us. Our face to face relationships are mirrors. The intellectual and social dimensions of this temple encompass our intimate relationships as well as our business partners and open opponents (known enemies and rivals, competitors etc.), because all face to face relationships are reflections of our own thinking processes, our conscious and unconscious awareness. This region of the sky is the place where our spirit of being is reflected in the people we pair with, who are in turn drawn to us for mutual contact in mental and social experiences, but it is also descriptive of the way we relate to relating itself.

More technically, the spirit or mental body has a component which is analogous to the Earth Element which Bardon calls the ‘I – Consciousness’, the mental awareness of the being as a discrete and physical self (this does not mean that the 7th temple is always ‘Earth Element’ because in the section under discussion Bardon is talking about the pristine Elements of the universal mental body, the spirit, and the astrological chart is a map of the soul). This ‘I Consciousness’ contains and gives form to all the other Elements of the spirit through its binding cohesion of the spirits intellect, will, and feelings and operates as a transceiver on the timeless mental planes, thereby materially attracting and binding to us other mental qualities – other minds and ideations – ‘Others’ – according to its maturity and development. Whatever we identify our Self with must, due to the law of polarity, have an opposite which is not identified with Self, but like two sides of the same coin or night and day these two concepts express a singular meaning or idea and are thus inseparable. What we see in others we must first have within ourselves and then see reflected in them in mirror form. If we think someone is jealous it must first belong to us on some level, otherwise how could we re-cognise it when it comes? Further, since within the mental plane like attracts like, having thoughts attracts experience to us that is similar in nature to that thought; it attracts to itself that which complements it. That is the deeper mystical meaning of the biblical words ‘Love thy neighbour as thy Self’. It is the understanding that we are all connected as unified expressions of the Eternal, and seeing this in its infinite variety as everyone and everything we interact with. Mind is One Mind, with an infinite number of unique facets, each refracting the light of singular awareness into infinitely varied prisms. This temple is positioned to teach us this truth and to explore it through our primary and most significant personal relationships. Simply put, it is the temple where we learn to walk in the shoes of an infinite multitude of others and to see the world from their perspective, as well as explore the mystery of how we open the doors that invite them to do the same, either with us or with other people in their lives.

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Thus, this temple – and so all human relationships, not just those we have with a singular but significant other – serve as a reflective mirror of being (a mirror of the 1st temple) in external forms which change shapes and appear as different ‘others’, different partners and opposite numbers who are drawn to us as complementary forces by the radiation of our whole Self and yet are also discrete and independent embodiments of awareness in themselves, drawing us to them at the same time but from within their own centre. There is much more meaning and wisdom in the old adage “When the student is ready the teacher will appear” than is at first apparent, but we might also say “When the teacher is ready the student will appear”.

When we say “This is who I am, this is my identity” we are speaking from the 1st temple, but this identification automatically imply an Other which we are not – “that is who you are” – which is to say, something we actually are in truth, because it is shown in our 7th temple, but we do not recognise it being so because we do not identify our own being with it, it becomes something ‘others are’. These others then seem to complete us.

Deeper thought on this reveals that identity does not take on mental form without another for a reference point. Many people experience this as a person who complements them, but for a magician, who must be whole in and of themselves, this is not satisfactory and a deeper exploration is required in order to own the projections and experience the partner objectively, as they truly are, as well as to own the whole self so that it can be gifted to them. This is sometimes called clearing the air in relationships. Others call it chemistry, the kind we commonly experience between people but which can also apply to things, places and concepts – it is possible to fall in love with an idea and to marry oneself to that idea for life. All are appropriate views of what the 7th temple is about, but 95% of the time people gravitate to another human being who can mirror their own complexity to them.

Although its form is as infinitely varied as the variety of individuals who come into being, the purpose or intention of this process is always the same: to relate to others in a way which fully expresses our own uniqueness and in a way that the uniqueness of the other person (or thing) can open itself up to, thus creating a mutual enhancement of both identities. We have to know ourselves and be ourselves (1st temple) and at the same time allow partners to be themselves, adapting our own uniqueness so that it can be understood by theirs, which means we have to know what their needs are too (7th). This is what ‘making love’ really is – two people consciously engaged in this process: I am loving you in the unique way that I have to give my love and in a way that your unique way of receiving love can appreciate, and vice versa. Its what elevates having sex to spiritual communion and connection.

So this temple describes our marriage partners, known enemies or major rivals in public life, the type of people we are attracted to and attract, and our associations (often unto death), because who we are attracted to, the quality that draws us to them, is precisely that quality which we ourselves feel a lack of – or antagonism towards – within our self projection or being; that is, it is the opposite quality to that of the ascendant, and thus a quality that is not easily recognised by or as the Self in the now moment and is thus sought for externally in others – a lesson in polarity. The 7th temple is a ‘mental magnet’ that pulls people into a close orbit of our chart and so these people offer us what we have denied ourselves while at the same time receiving from us that which they need. Yet more than that it is also a way we have of interacting with entities who we perceive to have a life outside of our awareness, so for a magician it has important connections to evocation as well as the wandering of the mental body.

If the 7th temple and its ruler is well supported, essentially and/or accidentally dignified and with easy to handle aspects, and no occupant of the 7th temple objects and overturns this, the chart typically has its general wishes for partnering heard easily and so this will come more smoothly. If all of these conditions applying to the ruler and occupants of the 7th show a lack of support – the 7th ruler has no essential or accidental dignity, no harmonising aspects and nothing in the 7th temple provides any of these either, then it means that even finding someone compatible to be with can present dramatic problems and relationships in general are fraught with complications and difficulties because they are necessary learning experiences. A Light or planet in the 7th temple will have an even more powerful role to play in this, because planets in this temple are often more manifest than the ruler is, especially when close to the opening degree. Still, with a well placed ruler of this temple we will more likely attract marriage and business partners who work well with us rather than known enemies who spur us on by challenging and competing.

It should also be explained here that, as has been noted earlier, this temple introduces polarity. It should be obvious from a study of the 1st and 7th temples that the cusps of these places delineate the primary way the chart has of expressing the total complex of the Self into the world, through the quality of the identity and the interactions it forms with others. The 1st is “my outlook on my self” and the 7th is “my outlook on other people”. Together they form a fundamental polarity, one that underpins our entire existence. The other temples also polarise in a similar fashion, though they are far less fundamental:

Polarities in Astrology

  • Self (1st) and Others (7th) – the identification polarity
  • Holding (2nd) and Releasing (8th) – the sensual polarity
  • Thinking (3rd) and Believing (9th) – the cognitive polarity
  • Memory (4th) and Aspiration (10th) – the temporal polarity
  • Making (5th) and Sharing (11th) – the co-creative polarity
  • Grounding (6th) and Transcending (12th) – the essential polarity (as in essence)

In the zodiac the Elements are arranged in the following scheme:

  • Fire polarises with Air
  • Water polarises with Earth

Please note that the Elements of astrology are arranged with Fire opposing Air, not Water, and that Water opposes Earth, not Fire. I call the (non-astrological) oppositions of Fire-Water and Air-Earth a magical opposition, and the astrological type of Fire-Air, Water-Earth a natural opposition. The difference between them is that a magical opposition of the Elements involves Elements of two differing Fluid qualities (it is either an Electric/Magnetic, or Neutral/ElectroMagnetic pairing) and a natural opposition involves Elements of a similar Fluid quality (Electric/Neutral or Magnetic/ElectroMagnetic). Looking at the symbols for the Elements this is clearer:

sign_firesign_air Fire and Air have a bias to upward pointing Electric Fluid

sign_watersign_earth Water and Earth have a bias to downward pointing Magnetic Fluid

So why is the zodiac arranged in a natural opposition of the Elements (similar Fluid) rather than a magical opposition (different Fluid)? The reason is because the origin of the zodiac and its formulation is tied to nature, to the cycle of the natural seasons marked off by the four major stations of light in the calendar year, which also rotate the Elements in a natural opposition sequence:

  • Fire (Aries, Spring Equinox)
  • Water (Cancer, Summer Solstice)
  • Air (Libra, Autumn Equinox)
  • Earth (Capricorn, Winter Solstice)

Another way to say this is that a natural opposition emphasises the Fluids while a magical opposition emphasises the Elements. The natural opposition sequence is rotating, while the magical sequence is radiating in nature. The alternating triangles of the natural opposition sequence of the Elements are more stable and cohesive than the magical opposition sequence, which is more energy releasing, more explosive.

The polarity of the 1st-7th I will call the ‘identification polarity’. This polarity encompasses the concept of what we identify with both in ourselves and in others. The Elements in control of this axis and the factors connected to it will contribute to revealing:

1) The Fluid which is most identified with.
2) The personal qualities we identify with.
3) The relative stability of our identity, i.e. whether it changes frequently or almost never.
4) The processes involved in forming identifications.
5) The basic Elemental qualities of all our relationships.

Concepts: Partnership, co-.operation, empathy, contracts, rivalry, every kind of significant other, from business partner to the love of your life.

Ancient terms: The Setting Place, The Dying Place (many ancient thinkers associate the 7th with death and the end of life, rather than the 8th).

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The 8th Temple: Release, Hidden Power, Rebirth, Compulsion, Debt.

Location: The 8th temple is a region of the sky about midway between the western horizon and the midheaven of the sky.

Discussion: Although this is a realm of sky above the horizon it is one with a reputation for growing darkness and concealment because when the Sun reaches this place each day its light begins to fade as it sinks into the twilight of the west and the shadows begin to lengthen, especially in winter. As the area which marks the creeping approach of twilight and the dawning of the night the 8th house is the temple of release in which life lets go of the day, governing the ending of things in loss and death but also rest and hence peace. It is also a magical temple in which shadows become animated and lengthened. Its essence is occulted and astral, related to the 4th and 12th temples in that it is also, like they are, somewhat mysterious and deep, each being concerned with matters that are concealed. Each of these temples lead to arenas of life which unlock the most secreted experience, the most hidden and occluded aspects of our awareness where things must first be detected before they can be transmuted, transcended or grown through in order to become personal gold (consciously realised), infused with their own concealed power. This action of wilfully transmuting the Elements of the soul is the heart of the modern perspective on the 8th temple, its key being ‘Awareness of Astral Security’.

What does this mean? It means realising – really knowing in every fibre of your soul – that you are ok and that when you die your awareness will not. It means being at peace with your deeper (feeling) self and with physical mortality and releasing compacted emotional traumas from the tortured places they hide away in. It means letting go of the inhibiting darkness of repression, guilt and shame and casting off our emotional baggage, being ready to face and process what needs to be changed in our psyche, and it often represents something we do not want to give up or go through and have an innate resistance to even looking at but find secretly or even shamefully compelling, something perhaps that is for us taboo, forbidden, but promises great ecstasies as its mystery is unveiled. Hence it is the temple of our sexuality but is also the temple of death (our experience with people dying, and eventually our own death) because it is where things go for regeneration and recycling. The most ancient texts on astrology which survive assert that the 8th temple is not the only temple which has strong ties to death, but the others have fallen out of favour in modern times. The 4th temple is associated with death through its connection with things which are beneath the Earth, hence the grave and the consequences following death. The 7th temple begins at the western horizon, where the Sun sets, and so visually it represents the end of life, nominally in old age. The 6th and 12th temples were also always looked on as abodes of unfortunate or evil occurrence that could result in death. These were more superstitious times. Additionally, the ancient texts make no connection of the 8th temple with sexuality – this is a modern (and somewhat controversial) addition that emerged with the arrival of Pluto. It lies opposite the temple of acquisitions and is all the experiences we have of letting things go, of giving them up – surrendering even – and so of sharing with others. So it shows what we must relinquish in ourselves and with other people, or what we must somehow completely let go of to uncover a deep hidden power within us far beyond that attachment, an encounter that transforms and offers rebirth on a deep emotional level and the experiences which can lead to this. We can say that above the 8th temple is written the phrase ‘Emergency Exit’ and that it avails us an instinctive way out of situations that have outlived their usefulness, often a final way out.

But leaving is often laced with sorrow and regret and the matters of the 8th strips away the superficial layers we have cloaked our deeper feelings in to reveal what is wriggling underneath. So the 8th temple involves us in the journey of feeling more and more deeply and thus securely through connecting with and exploring our own (largely hidden) psychic-emotional and psycho-sexual drives and complexes, especially those related to the 8th temple – death wishes, grief, orgasm and the onset and approach of all kinds of irreversible endings in the world around us, trauma and tragic losses which evoke deep inner demons that confront us with feelings we must give up but don’t really want to surrender or face because we feel powerless against them, through the compulsions or lusts of sexual energy and the private sex life, in material and emotional resources lost or given away to others (taxes, debts, things stolen or favours owed, wrongs done to us), the flowering and the development of occult faculties of the soul and its penetration into the deep mysteries of our own innate magical power. This is the sometimes macabre and unsettling garden of the temple of release.

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Its function is different from the preceding astrally focused temple, the 4th, in that its task is to secure a quality of tranquil rest for the soul not by working through or outgrowing habits ingrained in it by the past, but by separating or weeding out – often violently culling – those parts that are no longer valuable to its present security or growth, however painful and grievous that might be; it volcanically purges deep emotional substance, thereby consigning the old of the soul to a regeneration rather than to habitually acting out on the impulses that found its existence. “That which does not kill us makes us stronger”, wrote Nietzsche (who was born with Cancer over the 8th temple and its ruler the Moon rising in the 1st in Sagittarius – which is actually a hopeful and comforting outlook). And it differs from the 12th temple in that here in the 8th there will always be an often traumatic or at least difficult experiential process, a purge or transmutation to move through, a demon to face so that the power within will rise to meet it; with the 12th temple, there is the possibility of an absolution, an immediate transcendence from karmic entanglements; not so here. Here, we have to go through something visceral and intensely tumultuous often because we must give it up, let it go, but feel too attached to things the way they are or are afraid to surrender to its power, which is to say, to our own literally undying power. This is the place where we scare ourselves as we discover what we are capable of, which is always so much more than what we expected. It is also the place where things have to rot and decay, decomposing into sticky substances before they are regenerated. It seems to be a place of horrors, until we look deeper.

So it is an emotionally visceral temple. Here in the 8th, grief, pain and loss are inherent aspects of life itself that must be felt so that the process of purging or releasing the infinitely hidden can emerge. Often this purge is a frightening or even grievous journey because it involves confronting some of the deepest and most troubling aspects of self and our sense of power and, more significantly, powerlessness. Things left overflowing or hemorrhaging from previous lives often end up here. Things left undone or incomplete belong more to the 12th temple.

Just as the light of the Sun begins to wane when it reaches this temple so too do the influences of other planets, they surrender or release control to a transformative process that causes their energy to begin draining by flowing from one state into another – they yield to the horizon of the Earth and prepare to rest upon Her bosom. The Sun dims and falls faster and faster from its height as it moves through this region in the space of each day and as it does it bleeds spectacular colours into the sky. Thus in the texts we find that this temple shows things that are in spillage – either completely out of our direct control, in decay or decline – the inevitable approach of death (of self and others), debts, inheritance, taxation, emotional trauma, victimisation and abuse, the threat of oblivion (fear of armageddon, rape, murder, suicide), our taboos and in modern astrology our inner (often secret) sexuality – this temple is our (often concealed) sexual potency and drive, with our more conscious, openly flirtatious, procreative sexual energy and our degree of fertility belong to the 5th temple. Ancient texts would have sourced all eroticism in the 5th and with the sign Scorpio (as well as Taurus, but less so), and with Venus and Mars. It is also the place of our magical and occult (hidden) power, separation and loss, situations in which our loss becomes another’s gain, etc. All these things are connected here and call for some kind of surrender of our need to control and retain attachment to what we have, emotionally and materially. In essence this temple is an arena whose champions hold the key to understanding and perceiving the purpose of mortality and the nature of what we must give up to experience renewal at the deepest level, for the empowerment of the soul.

All the matters of this region heighten or intensify our astral awareness and put us in touch with potent emotional compulsions and a deep power to deal with attachments and control mechanisms which we need to outgrow, but this requires detection and probing of our deeper motives. Things are never just what they appear to be here. A chart with an emphasis on the 8th temple (natally or through its keys) will need to let go of an over-attachment to some physical or more often emotional things (often shown by planets here) and will either do this via the areas described above or a mix of them, and the sign here will colour our experience and assign its ruling planet these duties in the chart according to the maturity of the soul and what is necessary for its astral growth. But the sign also gives a key quality to use in effecting a deep transfiguration of the self through the separating out and transforming of inner qualities. Master this temple through its sign and planetary occupants and ruler and you experience a profound rebirth and discover your own hidden power. You exit the darkness in ways that will ripple throughout your lifetimes, forever. What other temple offers so great a treasure?

The axis of the 2nd/8th temples – which I define as the sensual polarity of ‘holding-releasing’ – is often associated with income and sex. That is, astrologers often talk about these two temples as being connected to financial and sexual affairs and the level of physical and astral security in our lives that these create. So it signifies a polarity connected with give and take, but fundamentally both the 2nd and the 8th concern themselves with building some kind of security, the 2nd in primarily a material form, the 8th in an astral. Both of these temples can influence our inherent sense of self worth, the worth we hold in our physical body and in our souls. When we are in debt or financially impoverished, when we have been traumatized or feel abused, self worth tends to plummet.

But the sensual polarity, as the name I chose for it implies, is about more than just material and emotional security, it is about sensuality, physical and emotional give and take on all levels. The 2nd temple provides material substance for sensual experience, the 8th emotional substance. Fundamentally, these two temples are about our approach to physical and emotional sensual experience of all kinds, from eating to buying to having sex or making love, and all the baggage we bring to the enjoyment and use of these things. Money is just our common medium of measuring access to sensory experience, a form of permission.

Concepts: Transformation, death and rebirth, survival instincts, debt and lending/borrowing, sexuality, the occult, counseling, natures secrets.

Ancient terms: The Idle Place, Place of Death.

Thats all for this moon, I hope you have enjoyed it and learned something! Next Moonth, the final part. 

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The Temples (part 1)

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! I have had repeated requests to say more about the 12 houses, and am planning a number of articles on the subject. Today I present the first part of a three part series on the houses (or temples as I call them) with parts 2 and 3 to follow in the coming months. I hope these will give learners at all stages something to think about. This month, temples 1-4 are under discussion.

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The 1st Temple: Being, Identity, Embodiment, Beginnings.

Location: The area of the sky that lies directly below the eastern horizon, upon which all celestial objects arise. The Sun is here every day in the hours before dawn – dawn actually marks the climactic end of the Suns daily passage through the 1st temple, as its light begins breaking the surface of the world in the east, heralding a new day. 

Discussion: Arguably this is the most important of the 12 temples because it is the front door to the chart and our primary way of influencing the Earth Zone (physical universe) and being influenced by it. This marks the point of entrance into life, the doorway into existence in the temporal sequential realm. From a hermetic standpoint at the moment of birth the individual physical, astral and mental body of the newborn emerges from the body of the mother still connected to her on the mental and astral planes. The mental body of the newborn separates from her with its first breath, and the astral body – which is the core transeiver of the substance of astral Light described by our astrology – remains connected to hers and does not begin to form its own discrete body until the umbilical cord is cut. This is the moment we should really be using as ‘birth’ from an astrological perspective, but emergence into the external material world is just as significant (astrology being a measurement of significance) and additionally the time between the two events is usually only a few seconds, and it would be extremely unusual for this amount of time to make a significant difference to the chart (although it might actually be up to as long as 20m before the cord is cut, in which case there is an issue). 

The degree of the ascendant that rises in the east at the place and time of this event delineates the 1st temple. Another way of saying this is that at the moment in which we took our first breath and the cord was then cut there was a particular zodiac sign placed in the east, rising into the sky. With the east being magically associated with the breath of life and the dawn or creation of things, this sign is ‘in the air’ at that time, being born with us, and so we inhale its essential meaning with our very first gasp of oxygen, and all of its significance acts to ‘close up’ the hole that once connected us to our mothers astral, at which point we become seperate people. The brain chemistry is imprinted with the occult significance of that moment and place, but this is just a product of the deeper astral conditioning which occurs. The sign that is on the 1st temple and all the qualities connected with the 1st temple in our chart describe the atmosphere in the room at this moment in time and space, the qualities of the observers, the events, the location, the overall impression that was present and became bound to the first experience of physical life. Thus it is our earliest and most primary astrological influence. It represents an astra-mental doorway into the physical universe, the living now moment and our deeply sourced memory of that cord to our mother being cut. That’s why it is so sensitive – it marks the beginning of time and independent existence, the birth of our unique and independent being. It says “I AM!”, and so it harbors truly tremendous creative power.

Astrologically (in many houses systems at least) the 1st temple opens with the degree of the ascendant which is a particularly powerful degree in the zodiac being the degree at the eastern horizon at the place and time we are born, so the 1st temple or house is the temple to bodily life itself. Its degree marks the metaphorical ‘place’ in the Earth Zone through which, with the help of our parents, our spirit-soul infused and crystallised its essence into our material form with the intake of our first breath. It is in a sense like the navel in the physical body, but is more like a knot or twist that is posited in our astra-mental body, a locus of attention in their Elements and in space-time. Our face, bodily gait, mannerisms, primary method of expression, degree and form of interaction with the outer world, what we are willing to consciously admit or show to others, quality of self sustainability, our overall health (as it is known to us – not unknown conditions) and the projection of our total character are among the primary relevant analogies here.

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More significantly, as the ascendant is the degree of the astrological zodiac rising on the eastern horizon at the moment you were born, the ascendant and to a degree the 1st temple are the symbolic ‘now’ moment in which you entered this world, the doorway through which you came into time, space and life, and this doorway is the framework or lens which you will always use in your perception of life and your expression of the total Self, the quality of ‘now’ moment in which your identity exists and is known to you (see this article by Leslie Polzer on the zodiac signs and the now moment). The ascendant and the 1st temple describe your experience of the now moment. This is a vital point to remember. As an angular temple (the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th, the ‘turning points’ of the sky) the 1st denotes action – these are places where the astrology is often obvious and is directly encountered as a highly active influence –  and as part of the trinity of the temples of existence (1st, 5th & 9th) its essence is therefore well described as “Awareness of Existence in Action”. It is thus the Temple of Being or Life, and was anciently called the Temple of Mercury, the planet which joys here, signifying (to the ancient mind) its connection to our spirit taking temporal form (the joy of a planet is the temple it naturally flourishes in). Other descriptions for it are the helm of the chart, the hour marker or the place of ascension.

The helm is a nice Mercurial word that aptly expresses the navigational power of this place. Objects here become so intrinsically a part of our being that we literally identify the self with them and their powers – our form of being becomes a living incarnation of their presence, thus we become a kind of planetary personification and navigate by that planets beacons. Think of the word ‘avatar’ here – a manifestation of a deity or spiritual being in bodily form on Earth. We are wearing a wardrobe that befits the planet and its beings are pleased with this, drawn to it – perhaps to our detriment. Such planets or stars are (often literally) ‘in our face’ throughout life and assume significance on a par with the Sun sign, especially if the planet (or star) is close to the ascendant. As old mythologies of personal human contact and union with the gods will attest, this is not always a good thing and it is never easy. Even Venus has her curse in the form of unwanted admirers, though some planets are more difficult for us mere mortals to be avatars of. Powerfully placed planets, like those in the 1st, can literally overpower and devour our own identities. This is not to say they must be tamed and made obedient as if they were unruly pets or demons, it is to say that you must be aware of a power within you which threatens to easily overpower your other motivations and character traits and that you must be consciously aware of that within your identity before you can master its amazingly positive potential.

Even when no planets are present in this area of the sky our relationship or connection to the sign of the ascendant and the Element it belongs to along with that signs planetary ruler (and the planets temporarily moving through the 1st temple as time passes) all become critical in terms of our overall vitality, our appearance, health and the way we project the energies of the entire horoscope directly onto the world at large, as well as how we view the external world and experience the now moment. This sign, Element and its planetary ruler become very dominant in our nature even when no other influences enforce it. They are the ones who open the doorway into physical life for our soul. The planet ruling the ascendant is the overall designer of our physical life, informed by our karma and by Divine Providence. It opens the double doors of the horizon, and the universe pours in. 

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For this reason this temple also has a direct relationship to our bodily wellbeing, our state of health. However, the analysis of health and the potential for illness in a chart is complex and involves many different considerations. The role of the 1st temple in health is in determining our conscious awareness of our well being, level of fortitude, our constitution and the conditions affecting our physical form which have a bearing on it such as our weight, bone structure, physique, etc. It also expresses our path to integrating the mental, astral and physical being into a consciously guided whole. The 1st temple provides us with vital powers with which to fight off disease and disturbance, so if there are strong planets here these can be used for self healing work, and sometimes also radiated to others through the aura, although this can be depletive and also result in transference of qualities we do not wish to transfer – we need a pure form of contact with that planet to conduct such healing safely.

In temple cycles we begin from the 1st temple because it has a direct connection to beginnings and the birth of things. When there are activations in the 1st temple key they result in not only changes to our identity but the new beginnings in life that naturally arise from such changes. Sometimes this happens in reverse, with changes in identity coming after major new life beginnings. We may try to figure out which causes what, but the truth is more that the true cause is an astral stimulus for a new beginning in life to take place, a new chapter to begin.

The trick with the 1st temple is to look within you seeking the connection you have with such influences (including the activators when they pass through here) and finding ways of bringing this awareness into the present moment of physical life. This increases the flow of you into life and thus the flow of life into you. You must work towards a place where these forces guide you in practical ways without leading to the self destructive pitfalls they can bring. This means you must raise your consciousness of them. For example, with Saturn you must introduce discipline but without becoming rigid, fearful, stern or inflexible, and you must try to embody the highest Saturnian virtues that you can. If you experience any of these negative things (being rigid, fearful, etc) disharmony in the health will be likely to follow, its a kind of indigestion as you are failing to absorb and process the raw essential meaning of the planet concerned and this leads to disruptions which attempt to clear the accumulated energy for you.

The sign that rises, the ascendant, will show the basic qualities we use to engage and interact with the world and its expression in our body form and astral aura, but these qualities will be slightly modified in most cases by the sign position of the planetary ruler of the ascendant and any planets in this temple or aspecting the ascendant.

Concepts: How we are seen by others, what we will admit to in ourselves, our image (hair, clothes, ‘look’), our mask, our constitution, our vitality, our mannerisms, our self expression, our way of interacting with the outer world, our general window of perception on life, our experience of the now moment. 
Ancient terms: hour marker, helm, place of ascension.

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The 2nd Temple: Worth, Value, Resources, Gear

Location: The area of sky approximately midway between the eastern horizon and the ‘bottom of the sky’, the IC (see 4th temple).

Discussion: This temple lies further below the horizon than the 1st and following on from it, so it is completely below the horizon. It is therefore an invisible region of the sky connected with things that are earthly (of the ground) and relates to private (unseen and personal) experiences. The key emphasis of the 2nd temple is ‘Awareness of Physical Security’ and I call it the Temple of Acquisitions. It says ‘I HAVE’. We could also call it the temple of property, values, receiving, providence and, most fundamentally of all, self worth and self esteem. On the most basic level it is about what we have to call on in terms of resources, what we value and what we use, have access to and own and the relationship we have to our own innate self worth as a result of our experience with physical needs. If you cannot feed yourself then your self worth is also impoverished. It is thus also the temple that relates to all those issues we have about the resources and physical needs of our material existence. It governs our attachments to material and physical being, how comfortable we are with being in possession of the body and all that this means – its capacity for sensual fulfillment and satisfaction, the attitude to possession, our resources and resourcefulness, income and earnings, our acquisitive need for certain solid objects, material security, savings and money, our tangible need for sensual contact and the sense of values which underlies all these things – anything that our physical experience tells us we need (food, water, shelter) or want (that new gadget) to have and hold onto in order to be physically secure. Planets here are like physical attachments, they often manifest as objects we own, income or resources, but they always represent something we value. And this temple also governs our self worth, how valued we feel and why. No planet has its joy in this temple; it is equally supportive of all planets natures.

Magically, then, this temple has a connection with the subterranean world, literal and metaphorical, it’s a place where things are literally coming out of the ground. It’s a place where things are coming towards the 1st temple (our being and identity) by primary motion (daily rotation of the Earth which causes all planets to cycle in a clockwise direction through all 12 houses in 24 hours) and this gives it its association with possessions, property, land, wealth, and the connections to material objects we bring with us into this life, all of which are extracted from the land. They are all things that come to us from out of the ground and so wealth and property are described here. If we accept the doctrine of reincarnation then it is possible for treasured objects to remain in our hands for many generations – a family heirloom, for example, passed down to a young grandson from his grandfather, may have been passed down to that grandfather by that grandson when he was his grandfather, for example. Objects can stay in families or just in our own hands for generations, magnetized by the astral connection that people create with them.They may even be destroyed and reform as something different that expresses the same significance, essentially reincarnating, surviving with us because the ideas and feelings that they represent as objects remain strong and magnetically bound to our spirit. For example, a person who loves transportation may have a treasured horse in one life, a much loved carriage in the next, and a valued car in the present. What reincarnates along with us here is the idea or spirit of an object and the feelings that accompany its possession. Yet, none of these things ever really belong to us; they are their own, bound to us only by the value we have placed in them, and our recognition of this is the magic that transforms the experience we have in this temple. It invests meaning into the things we receive and teaches us our most valuable lesson with respect to the matters of this house: everything is alive.

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All of this means the 2nd temple is primarily focused on the karma we have generated through experiences with being in a material body, specifically with wealth and poverty and the relationship these conditions have to the measurement of self esteem. If a person has powerful supportive influences in this temple it does not automatically make them prosperous and rich, but it does make them resourceful and it helps them to value themselves. If the influences in this temple are challenging and overbearing, it is because we have important lessons to learn about self worth and possibly karmic limitations on how much we can earn, perhaps so that we become more resourceful and learn how not to measure our self worth from what we own or earn. What is important in this temple, then, is not whether it shows whether we are going to make lots of money or be driven to material ruin, but what it reveals about what we find to be valuable and how much we recognize this as a part of our own inner nature. If we can see through the attachment to an object and perceive the attachment to the value that we see in that object and examine the value instead, we can perceive a map of the mind and soul in everything that we have surrounded ourselves with, a material representation of all the things we value, the feelings and thoughts they represent, and it is this that our astrology is revealing in the 2nd temple. The objects themselves act to secure this value in a form we can hold, touch and tangibly appreciate. They are material anchors for the significance we have invested into their essential meaning. Thus there is a tangible craving for the things represented by our astrology here, craving both for certain things and for a way of getting them.

This sensual, tangible craving is the tricky but juicy part of the 2nd temple to investigate– our senses are by their nature designed to gorge themselves on sensory input, our eyes are designed to see, our tongues to taste, our lips to kiss and our hands to hold. Our whole attitude to being in a physical body with all that implies is at the heart of this temple and when we perceive that we are also looking at what we value about it and thus what we value about physical life. For example, you might like a certain flavour of ice cream more than any other. When you examine that flavour and think about it, you find it says all kinds of things about you – perhaps you like the fruitiness and liveliness of mango, or the creamy cool of coconut. This is the 2nd temple and the entire mechanism of commerce and marketing is built upon it. In fact, consumerism blinds us to the true significance behind all these likes and dislikes and keeps us trapped in an endless hunger for more, better or next. This is a primary trap within the 2nd temple as it stands today.

Concepts: Possessions, manner or standard of living, attachments, receiving, self esteem, physical security, survival needs, stability, savings, resourcefulness, earning and spending habits.
Ancient Terms: Subterranean place, Gate of Hades, shadowy place

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The 3rd Temple: Siblings, Messages, Neighbourhoods, Whispers in the Wind

Location: The 3rd temple is an area that lies to one side of the nadir, next to the bottom of the sky, and so it is another buried place, hidden from view near the base of things.

Discussion: The 3rd temple is the Temple of Communication or Perception and of Thought Kinship (in the sense of ideas being siblings of one another via the law of attraction on the mental plane), and its key concept is ‘Mental Awareness Learning’, or mental and social integration with the local environment through private personal perceptions. This integration and learning takes place through areas of intellectual and social activity such as reading, writing, gossip, neighbouring and chatting, our earliest schooling and the mental behaviour we develop from any brothers and sisters, cousins or other ‘neighbourly’ family members. It also signifies short and accustomed journeys such as those in the car or train and those modes of transport or the non-exotic trips we make regularly. It is essentially all the fields of experience where we gather information from the local environment which shape the perceptions of our individual mental body, the integration of the different perspectives of the local mental realm as they manifest in the physical Earth nearby, in our neighbourhood. This is similar to the essential meaning of the planet Mercury but as a temple this place forms experience for us to encounter in the world rather than substance which we encounter within and around us, but there is an overlap between them. Broadly speaking, if Mercury is the way we think and its temple position is where we do our thinking and what we think about, then our 3rd temple is more descriptive of why we think what we do and the processing of localised information we undertake. If both Mercury and the 3rd temple are pumped with influences we will simply think far too much and encounter the problems that arise from this. Thoughts will be streaming, random and restless until we learn how to empty the mind completely, and then the disruptive effects cease and the sheer creativity can be expressed in an empowering way rather than a way which exhausts and scatters. Perhaps the easiest way to conceptualise what the 3rd temple expresses is to say that this part of our astrology is the running commentary in our head, the voice that we alone hear that is constantly reporting and chattering away about what it is currently witnessing, whereas Mercury is more about how we will pick it all apart later. I have seen this born out in people who have Mercury in the 3rd, because they have the quick witted kind of mind that is able to think and analyse on the fly. 

This region, which lies below the horizon and thus out of sight like our thoughts, is traditionally the place of the joy of the Moon and the temple of written and verbal communication, thus of letters and messages and of learning through the application of endless speculation and observation, opinion and reason, curiosity, gossip, the latest scandal or juicy tattle, short or regular trips, experiences with siblings and people in the neighbourhoods we inhabit. Today we can add text messages, emails, tweets and other more modern forms of fast, disposable communication. It may seem strange to us that Mercury is not the planet that joys here. The Moons joy in this region can be traced back to its role as messenger of astrological effects – as a satellite (sister) of the Earth the Moon is the transceiver between Earth and the rest of the solar system and this function is given free and joyous expression by the 3rd temple. Just as Luna collects, shapes and transmits the influence of the planets, touching each in every possible way every month, so too does our mental awareness collect, shape and transmit the intelligences of the mental plane around us.

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Another reason that the Moon joys in the 3rd temple is that very long ago the 3rd temple seems to have signified the influence of the private practice of religion and spirituality and (often but not always) the influence of a High Priestess and female wisdom in the community and the practise of lunar magic, thus it perhaps came to be known as the temple of the Moon Goddess for this reason. In other words it was about domestic and agricultural applications of spiritual wisdom, and so connected with midwifery and planting seeds. This also implies a connection to weather forecasting and the more traditional arts of divination that involve reading messages from clouds or birds in the sky. or the behaviour of wind. Its opposite, the 9th, is traditionally called the temple of the Sun God, the temple of solar worship. We can infer that this means that the 3rd temple can show our private spiritual and religious practices and the internal attitude we have to learning about the spiritual realms. The 3rd and 9th temples represent, for example, the complementary difference between book learning (3rd) and instruction by a guru or mentor at a temple (9th). Here in the 3rd there is also our long lost connection with nature spirits – the Tuatha de Danaan and the ‘little folk’, enshrined in the hearsay of folklore, to whom the Moon is as vital to life as the Sun is to us. In my experience it is by working with the 3rd temple that relations with these beings can be resumed, which means that you have to reopen the dialog with them which we closed ourselves off from (causing no small amount of offense, I might add).

The 3rd temple therefore polarises with the 9th temple (I will discuss polarity in the context of astrology in more detail in the discussion of the 7th temple). Where in the 3rd we learn information, opinion and facts, in the 9th we can place them in a broader context and hypothesize what they mean. Furthermore, because the 3rd temple influences our communicative mentality the forces in this region have an influence on the way we express our thinking, how we talk and speak and on the process of learning through communications (like our manner on telephones); and finally, since the nature of the mental plane itself is that like notions will attract one another, the 3rd temple brings us into contact with reflective images of our thoughts in the form of neighbours, and with a variety of different but sibling, twinned perspectives, – brother, sister (siblings are especially of the 3rd temple), next door neighbour, guy who bangs on the floor upstairs, book or magazine article, hidden faerie of the backyard who keeps unpegging your laundry – all of which are an emblematic representation reflecting our own conceptual thinking patterns back to us and allowing us to integrate them. But that doesn’t mean they are not alive and exist independently of us! Each of the mentally and socially focused temples – the 3rd, 7th and 11th – operate by this law of attraction on the mental plane but in different respects. The 7th focuses on our partners and face to face encounters; the 11th on our allies or groups with common ideals, our cohorts; the 3rd, virtually everyone else we encounter, even if we only hear their voices on the end of a phone line or receive regular spam email from them, but it specifically focuses on those we would call ‘brothers’ or ‘sisters’, regardless of blood ties.

In sum then, the 3rd temple is not only about the mysteries of why and how we communicate, the experience of schooling and early education and of siblings, but also of the mysteries of the mind, the magic of mental attraction whereby ideas which are like one another are drawn closer together, and the individuals task of finding a unique way to communicate their uniqueness to other minds. So it is the temple of sisterhood and brotherhood, the place where our activity on the mental plane is reflected in sibling relationships, the temple of communication where we discover our own power of mental transmission. The sign and Elemental and planetary qualities shaping life and expressing themselves through this region of the sky describe the activity and quality of our perception and our internal chatter, our ability to learn intellectually and interact socially at a local level and to grasp the connections between related notions.

Concepts: News, messages, book learning, study, regular or localised travel, siblings, neighbourhoods, covens, sacred places and nature spirits, means of conveyance of the mental body (mental wandering).
Ancient Terms: Place of the Goddess, Place of Brothers

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The 4th Temple: Memory, Lineage, Domain and Anchoring

Location: The region of the sky directly below the observers position where objects are turning towards the horizon to rise again.

Discussion: This region is the nadir or bottom of the horoscope, the underbelly of the chart, and I call it the Temple of Memory because it is the cargo hold of our history. Like the 1st temple cusp of the temple of being, known also as the ascendant or rising sign, this is one of the angles of the horoscope, a primary temple of power (the power being referred to here is in terms of ability to impact the physical dimension):

• Being (1st temple)
• Memory (4th temple)
• Partnership (7th temple)
• Destiny (10th temple)

This reflects the quadrapolar magnet in the realm of experiences as it is principally through these four sensitive degrees of the Earth Zone that the essential meaning of astrological influences held by planets and signs is transmitted and made physically manifest as experience in each person’s life. Essentially, regardless of which Elements control them, these 4 temples are the places of output where astrological influences have their greatest effects. So, as a place of power, its degree is one of the four most sensitive degrees in the Earth Zone. It is called the Imum Coeli, or IC – Latin for “bottom of the sky”. It is the place where the planets are at the lowest point in the sky beneath the Earth, the realm of the midnight Sun, but are approaching the point at which they will begin to arise again towards the eastern horizon. In mythic language, it is the place where the gods come to rest before they begin their journey back to the world of people. This is the realm of the ancestors, whose bones our present world stands upon and whose dust is in the air. It is a place to tread quietly, softly and with reverence.

This is a deep region which has an effect on the early shaping of the astral body, ingraining it with habits formed (at least on the surface) from parental mimicry or rebellion when we are young children – our relationship to our guardians is the mundane basis upon which the characterisation of the personal astral body proceeds. Regardless of which Element controls it, the essential quality of the 4th temple is “Astral Awareness in Action”. It is the realm of emotional or astral memory and habitual programmed response patterns, our fundamental connection to the history of our own soul. This is largely an area over which we have no conscious control; if an impulse passes through the astral and we have a strong memory and feeling inculcated into us by our past which matches that quality (or kicks against it) then there is always reciprocation, an automatic conditioned response which arises from this root. The fundamentals of this conditioning are inherited mainly from the soul’s inherent memory of its past and its childhood upbringing, and as time passes we experience it as a process whereby our adult persona forms from out of this nascent embryonic state, often meeting with realities through unfolding degrees of maturity, or repression. However, as we grow older this temple also begins to resonate will all past issues which we have not resolved, and so it can factor in ‘history is repeating’ experiences.

For example, first, we dream of and play at being an astronaut and exploring all the planets in the solar system as children; this is our 4th temple materia. As we grow, and wizen to the realities involved, we probably don’t get to become an astronaut but we might get to become an astrologer instead, perhaps a meteorologist, maybe simply a cashier in a late night store. We might even forget entirely that we ever dreamed of being an astronaut, but it is still there, and its astral impression inevitably informs where we are coming from. Whenever we look up at the stars we will stir this early memory, and we will get a whimsical feeling of something we cannot quite place. Any movie about space will stir this inner child. If we look deep enough, then, we see it is still there, and this awareness can then change the persistence and substance of the conditioning simply by unearthing it.

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This is a temple of memories, then, but more specifically, the persistence of memory as astral conditioning. Its challenge is to unearth the deeper, buried significance behind our habitual behaviour. In unearthing the root of our habitual behaviour, we find an even deeper level of memories and astral influences stirring below the surface, pulsing with life – an underworld of behaviour patterns layered upon deeper or older behaviour patterns. It is these most deeply rooted factors of the personality which are within the realm of the 4th temple, which appropriately lies at the base of every horoscope. In other words, this temple is like an archaeological dig, a site that can be continually excavated to unearth a deep wealth of self knowledge, and the main sites of initial exploration are our earliest memories of childhood and our parents and the feelings which grow from them, but it inevitably leads beyond the grave to the experiences of other lifetimes, lost worlds and the domain of our ancestral DNA. We find the fossils of creatures we never even knew existed, but they are there and we are a product of them.

However, this is usually not easy to confront; there is fear associated with this region, as the ancients gave it an association with death and the grave. The old cliché from horror films “don’t go into the cellar” aptly expresses this fear in modern terms. Yet if we do not go down into the cellar, the Thing in the basement will eventually come up the stairs for us or cause all hell to break loose down there…so we are forced to go down and find the heart of the mystery. We have to excavate the foundation of this temple to uncover all its bones so that we can see what we are resting our whole lives upon. This is somewhat like the 8th, but with an important difference – in the 8th, if the situation is ignored then what is hidden will ultimately arise from the deeps, uncontrolled, ravenous and starved of light, while in the 4th it will remain buried, rooting us in a blockage, and perhaps lead to a slow rot that eventually collapses the foundation of the house that is our life. And it is also somewhat like the 12th, but where the 12th leaves us with no other course but to accept the results of the past and chalk up any failures to experience, the 4th as an angular temple empowers us to do something with what we inherit from it. So, it says, your parents hit you when you were a kid? That sucks. What will you do about that now? Are you going to let that continue to hurt you, long after it is history?

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A large part of the initial part of this excavating is in coming to terms with our relationship to our parents and any experiences in our life with them that may have shaped us in a certain way. Traditionally this place is often called the place of the father, but this is clearly a product of the misogynistic way in which boys and girls were given different value by society. Some astrologers divide our mother and father between the 4th and the 10th temples, but they have differing philosophies and ideas about why and which parent belongs to which temple. In my experience the 10th temple does have a connection to our parents but it is much stronger and far more direct in the 4th, and it has always worked well for me to just consider both parents as being represented by the 4th, but especially the parent we bonded with or the one we had the most domestic time with.

Whatever the specifics, whether they are biological parents, adoptive parents, guardian angels or secret aunts, the 4th resonates with their early conditioning of our character. This includes their total absence because we are talking about the emotional needs of a child to be protected and nurtured here. Because this is a place of power the symbolism can be very literal in some cases. For instance, from my own father I learned about mortality because he died a week before I turned 13. I learned from him the fragility of life, how it can change in an instant and never be the same, and for many years the intensity of these impressions overwhelmed all other memories of him. Later, however, I was able to look back and uncover many memories and impressions that were made before he left, which lay beneath the emotive power of the memories surrounding his death. I could then remember the times he played with me and taught me how joyful and wondrous life was, without the pain of losing him overwhelming my emotions. I could remember him planting daffodil bulbs with me when I was 3 years old, showing me how deep they needed to be and which way they needed to be inserted, getting my hands and nails into the cold soil with glee, and then watching them grow day by day in the back of our garden with even more. So he gave me a very early appreciation of nature which has stayed with me ever since, but until I came to remember this gift it remained buried within me, underneath the disturbing memories of his death. I have Taurus on the cusp of the 4th temple, and Taurus is the sign of nature and planting. I also have Saturn on the cusp of this temple – the planet of separation, maturation and death. The consequences of his death – Saturn – had occluded my vision of the (Taurus themed) memory – I only knew it as ‘planting flowers makes me feel strangely sad’. It took a long time and lots of patient and continued effort (Saturn) but eventually I excavated those lost memories. So it is with every memory, not just those which make powerful impressions on our astral body. They are all infinitely deep. Our astral body is in effect the sum total of all our personal impressions of and reactions to personal events. ALL of them. When you think about that, its mind bogglingly complicated.

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When we genuflect on this it becomes quickly apparent that our parents also carried such conditioning and theirs too, and so on in a line we cannot trace back to its origins, for it stretches into complete obscurity, back beyond the recorded memories of even our most distant ancestors. Vast tapestries of connected memory palaces then reveal themselves, half hidden in the shade at all times but often anchored in place by family lines that can be traced and tell its tales. So our parents or more specifically our relationship to our early guardians and protectors and our progenitors are fundamental properties of this region of space, which lies below where we are born, in the direction of our ancestral bones in the ground. Yet even underneath this layer there are more, for the causes of our childhood experiences are not just the way our parents treat us but the way theirs treated them, and so on back, and we may then see the workings of karma in the 4th temple, because in large part its content must arise from the choices we have made in other lives, sometimes as our own ancestors. This is what is truly buried here – the complex foundation or memory of previous being, a staggering trove of treasures with which we have emerged into this world through having clothed ourselves in it pre-natally. Most people will only see their mother, father or guardians from childhood reflected here. Only the deepest introspection can lay a path to the deeper pre-natal memories, but they and the process of uncovering them are encoded here in astrological script. The other astrally focused temples – the 8th and 12th – are also founded in their own way on karmic circumstances arising from the past, but neither have the direct relevance and impact of the 4th as a place of power. It must also be made clear that all planets and all of astrology are rooted in past life memories and experiences, and that karma is therefore present in every part of the chart, however the 4th temple is especially concerned with the past and so with these matters and furthermore with the specific human experience of recovering memories of them. The Tail of the Dragon is another very significant point in this regard, as are the influences of Saturn.

Of course, our nationality is also a major theme of our early conditioning – a person born and raised in India will have a very different experience than one born in Brazil, for example, and while it does not show which culture we belong to, the 4th temple does show the connection we have to that native culture, our experience of being part of it, in much the same way as it shows our experience of being part of a family. This too is a very powerful factor in our lives overall and can be a major pattern in our incarnation cycle. We get karma with nations and tribes and families of all kinds. The ancient texts also attribute this place with the events that occur following ones death, when we are in the grave ourselves and observe events from the astral, but this has fallen out of use in modern astrology as our cultures have moved away from celebrating life in death towards a more fearful and taboo attitude to burial. In other words I suggest that our cultures move towards a less enlightened view of death (trying to forget it as soon as possible, and discarding most of the cultural rituals that honour our ancestors) has eroded our knowledge of this part of the 4th temples meaning, it is a part of the temple abandoned and in poor condition. This is partly why the meanings of astrological temples vary slightly from culture to culture and time to time – they are translated by human culture. The temples step down the vast cosmic play of forces (displayed by planets and signs and aspects) into temporal and spatial experience – consequently, we shape them as they shape us. Meditation on this matter considering that the temples are formed from the daily rotation of the Earth (primary motion) unfolds many deep mysteries on the nature of time, space and the mechanism by which astrological effects are produced. These revelations are not easy to put into words.

So in summation the 4th is the influence of the past, especially childhood and the guardians of childhood, the connection we have to our native culture and our buried memories of past lives which have a direct but often ‘underground’ bearing on the current one. Furthermore, since it is sourced in these foundational experiences the 4th temple is connected with establishing a base, hence, with our homes and our private life behind closed doors as adults, and with the basis or basics of anything. In a temple cycle, whatever was begun and born by the 1st temple lays a foundation – finds a home – in the 4th. In this way astrology draws a direct parallel between the place we call our own home, the influence of our parents in childhood, and the deep patterns of our incarnation history. Its challenge is to uncover the buried significance to our habits and early life experiences as a child. It shows us an ideal kind of home for our inner nature, one that will support and nurture us, the kind of quality we should invite into our homes in order for them to be healthy environments for us to live, and if we have an emphasis in this area of life (by the birth chart or through the 26 keys), we will spend our time laying down all kinds of platforms upon which future structures or even empires can be built. It can in adult life show our role as parents, based on our experience with our own parents – another example of how karmic influences shape family down generations, but our role as a parent shows up more directly in the 5th temple. Finally, from a hermetic perspective, and as the ancient texts state, this temple describes the qualities of the astral realm inhabited by the soul prior to and following its incarnation, the astral foundation of being which occurs before physical incarnation in the womb and its immediate resting place after death. In this temple we can investigate some of the reasons for our current incarnation, as it can reveal what they were and more significantly why they have a bearing now. We can see what we are founding this existence upon, the bottom line upon which it all rests. Without a strong anchor here, any chart will be cast adrift on the seas of change that life will inevitably bring, and there will be little we can call a haven from the storm. The sign opening this temple and its ruling planet as well as any planets found within this temple will be extremely sensitive to all these issues.

Concepts: Privacy, domestic life, family and parents, childhood, background, roots, basis, landed property, memories, influence of the past, end of life, way we may be remembered after death.
Ancient Terms: Underground Place, Bottom of the Heavens, Lake or Heart of Duat. 

On Conduction

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month I’m sharing with you a re-written and edited selection of some of the sections on conduction which I had to remove from The 26 Keys for space reasons and a discussion on involving astrological aspects in conduction which was completely removed for clarity reasons. See “Between the Lights” for more on this topic.

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WHAT IS CONDUCTION?

Conduction is the name I have given to a magical method of interacting with astrological forces. This method allows you to engage with the expression of your astrology as it happens and, with experience, to guide and shape its manifestation. Instead of a passive approach to astrology in which we study a chart or have someone else study a chart, conduction allows us to take an interactive approach which can be as active or as passive as we wish. It is also a simple method which can be used by anyone regardless of their degree of magical initiation.

Conduction is also uniquely and naturally tailored to the individual because its anchor or condenser is the birth chart. It leads the individual on an exploration of their astrology as well as an exploration of astrology in general and it does so in a way which is perfectly attuned to the individual’s rhythms and their awareness. The method of conduction which I outline is an entirely new approach for this century which transforms astrology into an interactive tool kit, but the essence and the philosophical approaches which underlie the method are extremely ancient and are rooted in practical magical traditions present throughout the history of the ancient world (predating the use of birth charts except for prominent leaders and historical figures). However this is nigh impossible to prove because the majority of places in recorded history where this kind of magical astrology was practiced were inside the various Mystery Schools, which kept their secrets tightly guarded. If you would like to learn this method you can find it in my free pdf, The 26 Keys Practice Manual, which contains all of the core techniques and the instructions for creating the astrological tools you will need to practice it.

The basic idea of conduction is that the two Lights – the Sun and the Moon – can be used to conduct the expression of astrological influences. This conduction is both in terms of the rhythm (like a musical conductor) and the power (like an electrical conductor). Each of the Lights conducts our astrology in a different way. The Sun conducts it in an Electrical way and with a rhythm of 12 months, while the Moon conducts it in a Magnetic way and with a rhythm of one month. The capital E and M are there to distinguish these terms from the electromagnetic force of physics – these are instead the Fluids, which are cosmic principles recognized in the east as Yin and Yang. There is a direct relation between electricity and the Electric Fluid and magnetism and the Magnetic Fluid, but they are very different things. One is the source, the other is a physical manifestation, and only one of them. The Sun and Moon are also physical manifestations of these Fluids.

The solar energy, the Electric Fluid, also feeds the vital spark of life, the spirit, while the lunar energy, the Magnetic Fluid, nourishes the existence of the soul and leads us to participation in the life we have, a factor which waxes and wanes like the Light of the Moon whereas the solar energy, while entering and exiting the sky, is always ‘on’. This means that the Electric Fluid and the Magnetic Fluid have an interaction wherein the Magnetic Fluid adapts itself to the radiation of the Electric Fluid, giving it fluidity and changing its shape. We see this explained to us on the cosmic chalkboard of the sky as the Moon alters its shape according to the illumination being received from the Sun, and the equality of the two – the fact that both are of equal importance to us – is expressed as the eclipse phenomena, probably the biggest miracle of nature that science still admits exists. It’s just chance, you see, but the chance of that happening is literally so astronomically remote that nobody can figure out how ridiculous it is that it actually happens.

From the basic idea that the two Lights are the fundamental objects in the sky which focus all the power of astrology (and probably form its core historically) we can add the idea that astrology is basically about the study of rhythms and cycles – seasons. Leaving aside the fact that we use the planets and other objects in the sky to map these cycles and the question of why that mapping should equate to our existence on Earth, it cannot be denied that nature is basically an interlocking matrix of countless cycles. Each breath you take, each beat of your heart, each rise of the Sun, each filling and cloaking of the Moon, each ripening seed, opening flower or sleeping of a tree is not only tied to a natural cycle (uniquely) but the uniqueness itself is the product of a complex interaction of cycles. Your body is filled with organic rhythms, emotional rhythms and mental rhythms, as is your life (a fact we all cannot deny as soon as we reach puberty) and it is what makes you who and what you are.

The idea of conduction then is that we can use the Lights to interact with these rhythms and cycles and eventually not only just learn from them but influence and manipulate them. The question of whether it is wise for us to do so is one that has to be carefully considered and on a case-by-case basis, but ultimately it is our own astrology that teaches us what is wise and unwise, and (according to astrology) nature would be doing this to us anyway. The difference in conduction is that we are awake and ready to engage with the cycles as they emerge, rather than just sitting passively and watching them come towards and away from our present, if we even see them at all. Conduction, however, is not a wish granting engine. It is a mechanism for self transformation and for opening dialog between that self and the perpetually transforming universe. It is certainly possible to transform external circumstances, especially when those external circumstances relate to us personally and individually (such as using conduction to improve our health or increase our chances of landing a job), and in fact such things naturally result as a consequence or side-effect of any self transformation, but the real treasure of this technique will always be in its capacity to reveal ourselves to us. In theory, and I say in theory because it has not been tested in practice yet, collective use of conduction could result in a collective transformation of the human experience through a collective transformation of its processing of astrology. I’ve devoted a large and ongoing series of articles to collective astrology for this reason, which you can find in the archives of this journal.

For example, next year (2018) Saturn will be in Capricorn. In the early 1990s, all the children being born all over the world had both Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn. This means that next year all of them will have Saturn influencing Uranus and Neptune in Capricorn in their astrology. If enough of them work together with Saturn to transform their experience of that part of their astrology, the collective experience of Saturn, Uranus, Neptune and Capricorn will shift, and with enough people working together towards the same ends it is certainly possible that they will be able to determine the outcome of that influence next year. This is because any one single astrological influence has a staggering array of possible manifestations. Beginners in astrology really need to dwell upon this and let it sink in because there is an assumption in the human collective awareness connected to the idea of astrology which equates it with an inescapable fate, a conditioning which is delusional.

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TERMINOLOGY

A conduction is applied to an activation of a key. The key is just an object in the birth chart when viewed through a prism of time – for example, if you have a Sun in Virgo 16°, then the key for your Sun is made up of all the times in your life in which a slow moving object in the solar system (Jupiter outwards) are at or near Virgo 16°. These slow movers are called the activators. So, every time Jupiter reaches Virgo 16° in your lifetime there will be an entry for Jupiter with a time and date next to it in your Sun key. Each of these entries (one every 11 to 12 years, the time it takes Jupiter to orbit the zodiac) is called an activation of the Sun key by Jupiter. The Sun key will be made up of activations by Jupiter, Saturn, Chiron, Uranus, Neptune and Pluto – the activators – because these objects move very slowly and therefore describe the major cycles of a lifetime. It will therefore show a tapestry of activations by these planets from the moment you are born until the end of your lifetime (I set that for 100 years). The key is therefore a chronology, a history of major influences occurring to your Sun. 

Since these activators each take radically different amounts of time to orbit the zodiac (Jupiter takes 11 to 12 years, Saturn 28 to 29 years and so on up to Pluto which takes over 240 years) their varying motion translates into varying amounts of time in which they influence each key. Pluto, being the slowest object, lingers for the longest amount of time over each key (a few years) while Jupiter being the fastest typically spends only a few months influencing each key. The time that an activation will last is called its “window of opportunity”. This window is the period of time in which you can begin conduction of the activation, in other words how long it will last for.

Windows of Opportunity (see pages 73 and 97 of The 26 Keys for more on this subject)

  • Jupiter: 1-2 months either side of the exact conjunction to the key
  • Saturn: 3-4 months either side of the exact conjunction to the key
  • Chiron: 4-6 months either side of the exact conjunction to the key
  • Uranus: 6-12 months either side of the exact conjunction to the key 
  • Neptune: 1-2 years either side of the exact conjunction to the key 
  • Pluto: 2-3 years either side of the exact conjunction to the key

These are not concrete time limits, they fluctuate, so treat these windows as a practical guide and investigate how it works in reality. One reliable observation is that the window is stronger before the activation rather than after, but strongest of all during the time the activator is exactly conjoined with the key

The total length of time that you will perform the conduction is tied to the life of the activation (once Jupiter has moved far enough, the activation is over) but beyond that limitation it is basically up to you, however it is recommended that you work in whole cycles, these being one month for lunar or Magnetic conduction and one year for solar or Electric conduction. This is because whole cycles create volts, accumulations of energy which are greater than the sum of their parts.

In the image below (Figure 1) you can see a complete natal chart presented on the inner wheel and in the outer wheel you can see positions representing the current location (called transits) of both the Sun and Uranus in Aries.

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Figure 1

You can see that the position of Uranus and the Sun on the outer wheel is lined up with the position of Mercury and Uranus in the inner wheel – all of the objects concerned are at 24° or 25° of Aries. What we are looking at here then is an activation of the Mercury (and Uranus) keys by Uranus, with the Sun ready to begin conducting it. This activation is the long term effect which the conduction will seek to work with (according to the window of opportunity provided by Uranus it can last several months). The process of conduction of this activation commences whenever the Sun or Moon also reaches 24° or 25° of Aries. In Figure 1 you can see the position of the Sun in Aries at 24°, so in this case the method of conduction will be Electric conduction using the Sun to conduct the influence around the birth chart for (ideally) about a year. Although the influence of the activation by Uranus will have probably ended by that time the fact that you have initiated it in this window of opportunity will allow you to work with it for some time afterward, but you will concentrate whatever effort you are putting into it during the window of opportunity. In the case of activations which are slower (Neptune and Pluto), the window of opportunity will actually be longer than a year, making Electric conduction even more effective.

Now look at the image below (Figure 2) for the same activation but using the Moon as the conductor. The principle is exactly the same – the Moon is lined up at 24° to 25° Aries, with Uranus, and both of those are affecting the inner wheel (the birthchart) via Mercury and Uranus in Aries. It’s the same activation but with a different conductor on the scene.

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Figure 2

The shorthand for describing this is “Uranus activating the Mercury and Uranus keys, conducted by the Moon” or “Magnetic conduction of Uranus activating the Mercury and Uranus keys”. This form of conduction will not take a year but a month, because this is the time that it takes the Moon to orbit the entire zodiac and come back to 24° to 25° of Aries. In this time Uranus will not have moved very much at all, and so throughout the entire period the window of opportunity will be wide open and in fact it will continue to be open for some months afterwards and therefore the Magnetic conduction can be chained together into a sequence which will create a Magnetic volt with the nature of Aries, Uranus and Mercury. This could be used to increase study in some area, quicken the mind which has slowed or aged, or any number a variety of effects that can come about through a combination of Uranus and Mercury in Aries. Through the work that you do with it over this period of time you can seed an intention into this volt so that it has a specific function and purpose. This will happen naturally as you work through the conduction.

These two methods – Electric and Magnetic conduction – are not exclusive but complementary and interchangeable, each teaches you about the same chart and the same activation but in a different way, so that with practice you can keep going with both forms of conduction at the same time, even with conducting different activations in each case, but this is a skill that is acquired through practice and familiarity and it’s best to learn how to juggle one ball first.

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TURNING THE KEY

The process of conducting an activation through a whole cycle around the chart using the Lights as conductors is called turning the key. In the examples above, we would be turning the Mercury and/or Uranus keys, for either 1 month+ or 1 year. In the turning of the key you will unlock the power of the activation, in particular at specific times, times when the conductor reaches a new object in the birth chart. So in the first example above, when the Sun reaches 17° of Taurus (as shown in the image below, Figure 3) there will be a powerful solar contribution to the turning of the key and the activation, a point at which you can do something solar with it or perceive it with your spirit, as a state of being, because the conduction is addressed to your natal Sun:

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Figure 3

Similarly, if you are using the Moon as the conductor then when the Moon reaches 17° of Taurus (as shown in Figure 4, below) there will be a powerful lunar contribution to the turning of the key and the activation, a point at which you can do something lunar with it or perceive it with your astral awareness, as a state of sensitivity:

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Figure 4

As the conductor leads you around the chart it teaches you about your own rhythms as things come to you at the appointed time according to their position in your chart. For example, once your conductor reaches the position of Mercury in your chart there will be a mental interaction with what you are doing and perhaps a message or information received connected to your intentions and what is happening because of your turning of the key. The different houses or temples of your chart will also become highlighted or illuminated by the conductor at specific periods during the month or the year, depending upon which conductor you are using. When the conductor reaches the same part of the zodiac it was in when you began, the cycle is closed and the turning of the key complete, but you can continue on afterward if the activation still has an open window of opportunity (which will very often be the case with the planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto, especially with Magnetic conduction). In Electric conduction the window of opportunity often closes before the cycle closes – it very rarely does this for Neptune or Pluto activations, sometimes for Uranus and often for Chiron, nearly always for Saturn and always for Jupiter. For these reasons Magnetic conduction is better for Jupiter and Saturn activations while Electric conduction is often more effective during Neptune and Pluto activations. In the middle there is Chiron and Uranus activation, but that is often better with Magnetic conduction too, unless they are retrograding (hovering back and forth around one place of the zodiac for a while) and so spending a long time activating the key. Even in cases where the window of opportunity closes before the cycle of Electric conduction closes you can continue on for the remainder of the cycle because you have set something in motion, but once the window of opportunity closes you will be developing it under your own steam without the assistance of the astrology that was once there.

You could not only begin the conduction from an activation of one of the objects in your birth chart such as Mercury, but also from the 1st temple or 1st house, following the journey of the Sun and/or Moon around the chart until it reaches the ascendant again so that you visit all 12 houses/temples in turn and therefore visit every single object in the chart as well. I call this type of conduction a temple cycle and the others (which begin from any other object in the chart except one of the house cusps) a planet cycle (although the word planet can also refer to the Sun or the Moon in your chart or some other object which is not classified as a planet by astronomers but which is used in astrology).

In the beginning, what happens is that you gain education in your astrology as you encounter each of the objects for the first time at the appropriate time and your awareness that this is what is happening reveals to you what that part of your astrology is all about. After a little practice and experience however you can begin to reform and reshape the way that the individual parts of your astrology express themselves. For example, if you note that when the Sun moves onto the Moon in the conduction cycle that you get edgy and nervous for some reason, the next time you come round to that time of the month you can do something to counter it. You will learn very quickly in this method where and when the most sensitive parts of your astrology are located, and if you keep journals recording your experiences in conduction and also analysing how you have handled previous activations in the same key, you can quickly build up a very, very detailed and uniquely specific picture of your historical interaction with astrology that will be invaluable to you in the future.

Furthermore, conduction slots into almost any other kind of activity or practice as an enhancement – you can use it to plan out your fitness activities, your diet, the social life, your initiation, your dancing – the technique slots smoothly into literally any activity, but each time it does so in a way that uniquely tailors itself to you and is harmonized perfectly with your own cycles and rhythms. And as your direct experience of your own astrology grows, your knowledge of astrology and of yourself blossoms into understanding born not of reading and thinking but of being and encountering. Astrology has for an untold age been a largely intellectual pursuit, but conduction opens a door to a less cerebral appreciation of its truth.

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LUNAR PHASES

As we all know, the Moon changes its shape and has different phases over the course of the month. Magnetic conduction can use this as a structure instead of the birth chart. The easiest way to do this is just to observe the Moon (preferably but not necessarily starting with the New Moon) as it changes its shape in the sky over the course of the month noting how it changes the expression of a particular activation that is happening to one of your keys. For example if you have Saturn activating the Venus key, then you will just observe the way that the waxing and waning of the Moon during the window of opportunity changes what you experience about Saturn activating the Venus key. You will need to know beforehand a little bit about astrology in order to take this course because you will need to know what Venus represents and what Saturn represents just a little bit in order to know what you are supposed to be observing in the period concerned, but it is still a very valid and workable method of Magnetic conduction. In fact you can combine this lunar phase approach with the birth chart approach outlined above because the two are very complimentary and the phases just add more detail and granularity to the Magnetic conduction around the chart. The phases of the Moon, especially the Full Moon and the two Half Moons, represent turning points in the cycle. These turning points can be plotted onto the birth chart and placed in houses/temples and signs to delineate what that time of the conduction signifies or can produce.

For example, the chart below (Figure 5) is the same chart and moment as that presented as Figure 4 above, but I have added the position of the Sun to the outer wheel so that you can also see where the Sun is when the Moon reaches 17° of Taurus.

MC3

Figure 5

You can see that it is at 7° Taurus and so very close to the Moon  – 10° behind the Moon in the zodiac – and so the Moon has just passed the Sun, in other words it is just after the New Moon (which happens when the Sun and Moon occupy the same degree of the zodiac). What this tells us is that the New Moon energy is focused on that area of the chart (Taurus, and in this case also the 8th temple), and so the point at which the conduction reaches the Sun is configured with New Moon qualities (beginning, mystery, emptiness, darkness, seeding), Taurus qualities (physicality, sensuality, material things and qualities like patience, practicality and endurance) and 8th temple qualities (deep survival and reproductive instincts, psychological complexes, transformation and renewal or recycling). Relating that back to the starting point and the activation being conducted (Uranus activating the Mercury key) gives you more information about this period of time which you can use to adapt what you do at that time to shepherd the manifestation of events. You might, for example, see the potential in this time for probing the mysteries of the psychological complexes surrounding your birth chart Mercury, complexes which are being potentially stirred up by the activator Uranus during this window of opportunity. Many other possibilities may merge or suggest themselves to you.

When we move ahead in time following the Moon until it becomes Full we arrive at the chart below, Figure 6:

EMC

Figure 6

You can see how much more speedy the Moon is than the Sun because whereas the Sun has only made it to 20° of Taurus the Moon has made it all the way around to 20° of Scorpio and is now in the 2nd temple. This is the time of the Full Moon because the Sun and the Moon are directly opposite one another in the zodiac. So now we can see that the qualities of the Full Moon during this Magnetic conduction cycle are focused on Scorpio and the 2nd temple of the chart, and again we can relate this back to the start of the cycle and the activation we are working with, Uranus activation of the Mercury key. In some way, the conduction cycle will reach high tide in Scorpio in the 2nd temple. Whatever we are doing with it or whatever exploration is occurring with it will reach an astral maximum in that period and in that area of the chart. So we can think of the phases of the Moon and the different stages of the conduction around the birth chart as conditions or stages of the work that we are doing with the activation. They add detail and information to the monthly cycle, the conduction.

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ELECTRO-MAGNETIC CONDUCTION

The practice of using the phases of the Moon in this way brings us to look at the method of combining Electric and Magnetic conduction as an Electro-Magnetic cycle. This is simply following both the Sun and the Moon at the same time and working with both conductors together. Sometimes, the Sun and Moon will coincidentally reach objects and sensitive places at the same time – for example, you might have the conduction by the Moon reach the position of Venus in your birth chart on the same day that the Sun reaches the position of Mars. You can see an example of this in the chart above Figure 6, where during the Full Moon the Sun at 20° of Taurus is only a few degrees away from the birth chart Sun at 17° of Taurus. You then have even more information to work with concerning that day – it’s not only about the Full Moon in Scorpio in the 2nd temple, it is also about your birthday (the Sun reaches the same place in the zodiac it was in when we were born for each birthday that we have). Since the Sun travels about 1° every day, we know that this event is about two or three days after your birthday (Taurus 17° plus 3 equals Taurus 20°) and that this period carries a very strong solar energy as a result, a solar energy which is being expressed as Taurus and the 8th temple. All of this additional detail will be related back to the activation you are exploring, in this example the Uranus activation of the Mercury key.

Once you understand this and it does not confuse you, the insight and detail you gain can lead to an extremely well prepared and advantaged plan for what you do during that month. Personally nuanced and powerful rituals can be designed this way, but you can also use this information to add detail to any activity that you are doing. The essence of the understanding that you gain from this form of conduction is that the Electric method of conducting the chart is akin to the natural cycle of the seasons throughout the year – broad, powerful phases of nature which have a highly regular rhythm and appear at the same time in very similar ways every year, only changing through the backdrop of activations which change every year – and the Magnetic method of conducting the chart is far more fluid and akin to the natural cycle of planting and growing, the cycle of agriculture and farming methods which are affected by more transient circumstances like the weather and events happening in the environment. Solar conduction is regular and predictable, while lunar conduction is by comparison highly rhythmic but slightly irregular and unpredictable, yet far more adaptable and flexible. Solar or Electric conduction often tends to manifest as daily events and happenings or states of being (having more or less energy for a day or two, for example), while lunar or Magnetic conduction often tends to manifest as moods and sensitivities (feeling grumpy or needing to eat ice cream, for example) which have a shelf life of only a few hours or a day at most. The essential difference is very much like the difference between the way the seasons change behaviour and the way the weather changes behaviour.

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ASPECTS DURING CONDUCTION

Yet further layers of detail can be added to a conduction cycle by involving the sextile, trine, square and opposition aspects of astrology. Conduction by the Lights is focused on conjunction aspects (0° of distance) with objects in the chart because the Lights resonate most strongly with the conjunction aspect – the eclipses demonstrate this very clearly. Other aspects can also be involved, however, both those in the natal chart and those which are not.

In Electric conduction, the Sun acts to energize and centralize attention and gravity in a particular area of the chart. For an object in the birth chart it will bear an influence over that object for about a day, with a day either side also carrying a strong aura (a sort of mini window of opportunity for conductors). Since, as was explained above, the Sun is regular and predictable in its annular cycles, it will reach the same degree of the zodiac on roundabout the same day every single year, with some greater variation in leap years. However this variation is not considerable in relation to the practice of conduction because the variance is only about a single day or two at most and therefore the aura will always be around at the same time. Your birthday for example occurs when the Sun returns to the degree in the zodiac it was in when you were born, and this always happens at the same day or around the same day every year with a variance of only a day or sometimes two either side. Because of this we can make an Electric conductor, a list of all the dates in the year when the Sun is at a particular place highlighted by the objects in our birth chart and this list will be applicable to every single year of our lives. I call this a “solar map”. For the astrologically minded among my readers it is basically a list of all the conjunction aspects that the transiting Sun make to all of the house cusps and all of the objects in the birth chart – it’s a list of all of their ‘birthdays’. The solar map, however, can be expanded to include not only the conjunction aspects that the transiting Sun makes to all of the house cusps and objects in the birth chart, but also all of the major aspects – the sextile, the square, the trine and the opposition – and all of these events will happen on the same day every year. For example, the date which is exactly 6 months away from your birthday is the day at which the Sun opposition Sun aspect occurs every year.

The Magnetic conductor, being irregular and unpredictable, does not yield a “lunar map”. The speed of the Moon through the zodiac averages out at about 11° every day but it can vary somewhat from this average. Additionally, Luna takes around 28 days to orbit the zodiac once, but each of our months is either 30 or 31 days, except for February, which has 28 but sometimes has 29. This lack of synchronization between the Moon’s orbit and the awkward length of our calendar months along with the varying speed of the Moon means that each Magnetic conductor has to be created individually, so each month that you want to work with the Moon as the conductor you have to figure out from your ephemeris or your software or your favourite astrologer where the Moon is on a particular day and when it will be attending to certain parts of the zodiac. However, as a rule of thumb the Moon basically orbits the zodiac once every month and will therefore touch every part of it every four weeks. It will also form all the major aspects to every object in the chart during that period as well as form all the major aspects to every objects current position in the solar system.

So in one month the Moon will make every possible conjunction, sextile, trine, square and opposition aspect to every object in your chart, and every possible conjunction, sextile, trine, square and opposition aspect to every objects current position in the sky. The Sun will do exactly the same over the course of a year, but with the Sun it will always do so on or near to the same day every year.

What this provides you with are a pair of complementary methods of adding aspects to your conduction, both Electric and Magnetic. The first includes all of the dates when the Sun and/or Moon make a conjunction, sextile, trine, square and opposition aspect to every objects position in your chart (i.e to each key), while the second includes all of the dates when the Sun and/or Moon make a conjunction, sextile, trine, square and opposition aspect to every objects current position in the sky.

Adding just one of these layers to one method of conduction results in an enormous increase of detail for that conduction cycle, and this can be overwhelming at first. One way in which you can break this down so that it is more easily manageable is to understand that the conduction cycle is broken down into four distinct quarters. Each of these quarters is a turning point in the cycle and each quarter is positioned 90° or exactly 3 signs away from the last and the next. So for example the turning points for anything positioned at Aries 24° are located at Cancer 24° (three signs on), Libra 24° (another three signs on), and at Capricorn 24°, three signs on from Libra 24° and three behind Aries 24°.  If you look at Figure 7 below you can see how I have divided the example chart into these 4 quarters, measured from the natal position of Mercury at Aries 24°:

quarters

The first of these quarters is the building up phase of the conduction cycle, and within this part of the cycle the conductor will make a sextile (two signs on) to the place where the conduction began from and thus also to the activator. In the example using Aries 24°, this sextile will occur when the conductor is at Gemini 24°. This sextile will provide a positive stimulus to the conduction which leads into the turning point because this sextile will then turn into a square to the point of origin and the activator. At this point it will be a challenge or a breakthrough or something which is of the nature of a square aspect. This is the first turning point. In the Aries 24° example, this square occurs when the conductor is at Cancer 24°. For Electric conduction it is always about 3 months after you start, with the sextile at about 2 months. For Magnetic conduction it is about a week after you start, with the sextile happening about 2-3 days before then.

The second of these quarters extends from that square by the conductor to the opposition it makes towards the origin or starting point of the conduction cycle. Within this part of the cycle the conductor will make a trine (four signs on) to the place where the conduction began from and thus also to the activator. This will happen in Electric conduction near to exactly 4 months after you begin. In Magnetic conduction this will happen about 2 to 3 days after the first turning point. In the example using Aries 24°, this trine will occur when the conductor is at Leo 24°. At this point in the cycle you gain the assistance of Elemental beings and so this is one of the most important points in the conduction cycle if you are seeking to work with the Elements and their beings. The nature of this point of the cycle is to make it easier and to cause the process to flow and to grow more smoothly overall. This influence carries the conduction forwards until it meets the opposition with the place where the conduction began from and thus also opposition to the activator (except for some cases of Electric conduction – mainly Jupiter and Saturn activations – because after 6 months those faster activators may have significantly moved on from where they were when you began). This is the second turning point and for Electric conduction it occurs almost exactly 6 months after you begin while for Magnetic conduction it is approximately 2 weeks after you begin. The nature of this turning point can be contrary. Sometimes, this turning point can lead to a great achievement or a materialisation of a goal, especially if you have been putting in a lot of effort. At other times, however, it presents an impassible obstacle, a drain on our resources or some other non-negotiable occurrence which we must face. The task at these times is to listen to what the universe is telling us and try to go around the obstacles rather than trying to blast them out of the way. The challenge which occurs at the first turning point (as well as the 3rd) can sometimes be met with pure will and determination and literally knocked aside, but the challenge which arises at this second turning point does not have this quality. This turning point also marks the time in which the cycle begins to fold back in on itself as the conductor begins to return to its starting position having orbited half of the zodiac. This can be significant in a number of ways – it can lead events to proceed from an external to an internal focus, or to begin returning to us, or to undergo some other significant change of direction.

The third quarter extends from the opposition by the conductor to the second square it makes towards the origin or starting point of the conduction cycle. This third quarter of the conduction brings another trine to the origin or starting point of the cycle and thus also to the activator. Again, the conduction receives Elemental assistance. To be a little clearer about this, in the example where we are talking about an activation happening at Aries 24°, the assistance flowing into the conduction will come from the Fire Element, because Aries is a Fire sign. This second trine will be released at Sagittarius 24°. In the case of the Sun this will occur 8 months into the conduction while in the case of the Moon it will take place sometime around 19-20 days into the cycle. Again we will experience a more flowing and easy interaction which will lead into a third and final turning point before the cycle closes when the conductor reaches the second square towards the origin or starting point of the conduction cycle (and thus often to the activator). This second square occurs exactly 3 signs before the origin or starting point of the cycle, so in the case of Aries 24° it will happen at Capricorn 24° because counting three signs on from Capricorn 24° we arrive at Aries 24°. For the Sun this will occur 9 months after the beginning of the conduction cycle and for the Moon it will occur around about three weeks after the beginning of the conduction cycle. The nature of this turning point is also somewhat contrary, because it very much depends on how we have been handling what has happened prior. Often, a further challenge will be presented just to make sure that we really understand what we need to have understood or we will be challenged one more time but at a deeper level and with greater understanding so that we do not make the choices we made before. We may also experience a reaction from others or from life in general towards what we have set in motion. Another common manifestation of this turning point is a sense of failure or exhaustion, but this is often just a natural winding down of the cycle as it approaches its end. The essence of this turning point is that it allows us to reflect upon the cycle and what we have done with it so far and to make any last adjustments before we bring it to a close.

The final quarter extends from this second square by the conductor to the place where it began. This fourth quarter of the conduction brings a final sextile to the origin or starting point of the cycle and thus also to the activator. Here the cycle receives a final stimulus, often manifesting as new opportunities emerging or answers to questions which have been unanswered becoming clearer as the cycle nears its end. For Electric conduction this will happen 10 months after you begin (thus two months before you end) while for Magnetic conduction it will happen at around 23-24 days in, about 4-5 days before the cycle closes. In the case of our example using an activated key at Aries 24°, the final sextile will happen whenever the conductor is Aquarius 24°. After this sextile, the cycle will begin to wind down as the conductor returns to the place where it began and at this point you may be able to draw some conclusions about what you have experienced. If the activator is slow (Uranus, Neptune or Pluto) and you have been using Magnetic conduction, the closing of the cycle can lead to a spike in intensity. This is the nature of the Magnetic/astral volt you are creating. 

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You can add further detail to these quarters by considering the placement of objects in your birth chart within each of them. Every object in your birth chart will divide the chart into four equal quarters when measured this way and each of those quarters will have things in them that makes it unique to you – for example you might find that your natal Jupiter lies in the 1st quarter of the conduction, your natal Saturn in the 2nd, and everything else is in the 3rd quarter. In the example chart used here, Figure 7 shows Mars and the Sun located in the 1st quarter of the conduction cycle. Because the different objects in your birth chart are in different places, each object in your birth chart will have the other objects placed in different quarters of the conduction cycle. This adds a very personal factor to each quarter described above.

An even deeper and far more complicated way to involve aspects in your conduction is to take note of the aspects the conductor/s will make to the other current positions of objects in the solar system, for example the current position of Jupiter and Saturn rather than their position in your birth chart. You need an ephemeris or an astrologer to help you do this, and the level of detail that you add can be overwhelming especially if you include aspects to natal planets as described above. Probably the easiest way to do this is to look at the major aspect patterns that are currently occupying the sky and note the positions and days when a conductor will emphasize that pattern, for example currently there is a long ongoing square between the planets Uranus and Pluto, a high stress aspect the has bought a great deal of upheaval to the world since appearing at the start of this decade. When the conductor begins to interact with either Uranus or Pluto as they stand in the sky tonight, the powerful and often disruptive influence of this aspect can manifest itself in your conduction. Some of the positive uses of this aspect include making a major breakthrough which leads to a complete transformation of something, but not without stress and struggle. By anticipating these moments in the conduction you can prepare for them ahead of time – or just take the day off work, but remember that there is opportunity in such aspects. Uranus square Pluto is a pretty extreme example, and there are many aspect patterns that do not contribute stress, so don’t be put off. However, to avoid being overwhelmed with considerations at this stage it is wise to be selective about which influences you are going to focus on. Choosing one planet as a focal point, like Mercury, means you only have to look at interaction between the Lights and Mercury, and it helps you draw clarity from the conduction.

Conduction has as many adaptations as it has applications and uses. Many of these, such as the ones I have described above, reveal themselves to practitioners. As you realise how the mechanics of a chart work and what that looks like when you meet it in life, you can even begin to evolve your own unique approaches to specific areas of your astrology. You might find, for example, that your Neptune responds well to listening to music, or that your Mercury responds well to organising your schedule. Conversely, you may also find that some objects don’t respond very well to certain approaches or tactics. Your Moon may not respond all that well to efforts at forming new habits, or your Venus being emphasized may screw with your ability to add up numbers. Every person will have an individual response, but some of the things which we learn can be shared with others and be useful to them, as I have done here. What can you find out about conduction, and what can it teach you about yourself?


 

The Butterflies of Ma’at: On Libra

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month I’m talking to you about Libra. You can find previous articles discussing Libra in some detail here and here. If this post is valuable to you and you would like to help to ensure the continuation of this journal please consider becoming one of my patrons.

Regno_di_sethy_I,_frammento_di_rilievo_con_dea_maat,_da_tomba_di_sethy_I,_1289-1279_ac_ca

If you understand or if you don’t
If you believe or if you doubt
There’s a universal justice
And the eyes of truth
Are always watching you.

– Enigma, The Cross of Changes

For Erve

Upon first opening the box of Libra the eyes are greeted with a shining golden light, for inside sit a pair of ancient world market scales polished to aesthetic perfection. They are simple and unadorned but this simplicity, like their loving polish, is its own beauty. Unlike the other thrones of the zodiac, what leaps out is not a breathing animal or creature of myth but instead an object. Next to this lie other equally beautiful and artfully formed objects – a sublimely soft ostrich feather, an ornately carved spirit level, a silk blindfold, a quill, an ornate hand mirror, a spinning gyroscope, a pair of interlinked rings elegantly inscribed with an ancient script and a piercingly sharp sword with an emerald hilt. The mystery of what connects these objects together leads us further into the box where we come to understand the significance behind them, and the living truth hiding in the bottom, beneath the symbols that are its body and appendages. For there is indeed a living breathing animal dwelling in the depths of the sign, but to truly find it we will need not only to understand the magic of the Air Element, but also the more mysterious enchantment of Venus, we will need to strike a perfect balance between these two things and we will need to overcome our intellectual prejudices and our human biases in order to even perceive it.

In modern astrology Libra is perhaps the most virtuously portrayed of the signs, with most of its negative and destructive qualities being of a soft and Venusian nature. It’s important to understand however that these softer and often more socially polite vices can be just as devastating and destructive as the more recognizable and dramatic problems of (for example) Aries and Scorpio. Ask any Libra person just how problematic some of these issues can be and they will eagerly explain how they have impacted their lives. They just do so in a way which is more seductive and pleasing to those around us, factors which make it that much harder to transform them.

While it is by no means exhaustive the two columns below represent some of the more common manifestations of Libra in the human character. They are signposts and guides, not definitive or comprehensive facts. As I said before in previous articles note that these qualities are not opposites of one another like night and day, they are instead examples of how Libran qualities can manifest on a continuum of extremes. The opposite of being lonely is not ‘being cooperative’ – the undesirable result of ‘lonely’ is instead what we feel as a result of not being able to be cooperative at all, or cooperating with everyone and thus becoming untrustworthy when a dispute or difference emerges. ‘Moderate’ when taken to its extreme leads us to become negatively ‘uninvolved’. It is the stretching of a quality to its extreme which causes it to venture into its own negative territory. This is because the universe is fundamentally interconnected as a singular thing which encompasses all polarities and divisions and so any one thing exists alongside an equal and opposite partner which is its ever present and equally true shadow. Libra is The Balancer, perpetually engaged in a restoration of order to the scales of life. Ones greatest strength is invariably ones greatest weakness – everything depends on the context. More than any other lesson or truth, this is what Libra knows – any notion or idea, no matter how logical, valid or legal, not only has equal and opposite partners but actually becomes its opposites when taken to its extreme, like day into night and night into day. There isn’t any clear moment when this happens – there is instead a transition period of dusk or dawn – but the differences between one side and another are obvious. The end result of too much narcissism is in getting lessons that teach you about seeking real and genuine beauty in life and the end result of seeking beauty exclusively is a venture into narcissism. When you get to the end point of what makes you feel you are indecisive you have discovered a lot about being fair, but being excessively attached to being fair leads round to indecisive again. The rings are looped. The place of balance between the two is thus the refuge in which clear and fair choices and notions emerge, but more importantly it is the place of calm that is not torn between polarities, the point of equipoise in which grace and truth can flow. So, to watch the stars shining for brief minutes at dawn, to be the dusky mist hovering between activity and rest, earth and sky – this is the territory of Libra. Finding this ever shifting zone of twilight is much easier said than done, as we shall see. 

WHITE MIRROR

Compassionate
Adaptable
Impartial
Pleasant
Cooperative
Harmonious
Just
Seeking Beauty
Fair
Considerate
Equal
Polite
Moderate
Diplomatic
Sociable
Credulous
Lighthearted
Serene

BLACK MIRROR

Excessive consideration of others
Easily Influenced
Fence Sitting
Boring
Lonely
Dormant
Supercilious
Narcissistic
Indecisive
Sheepish
Divisive
Unassertive
Uninvolved
Hypocritical
Dependant and Clingy
Gullible
Refusal of Negativity
Timid

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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LORE

The lore of a sign is intimately connected to the constellation of stars which share its name, even though they are not the same thing. In the case of Libra we have an interesting and unique situation to consider and one which helps us to understand the nature of Libra, as the story of these stars through time aptly symbolises the essential nature involved.

First, it is frequently said that the constellation of Libra came about at some point during the Roman era. It is not clearly known if this was the work of a single individual or something which occurred over a period of time but at some stage in this period of history the notion that the stars were a pair of scales connected to a goddess of Justice established firm roots in western astrology. Before this time the scales are often referred to as the claws of the scorpion, Scorpius. Note that I said ‘often’ – there is a commonly held misconception that the Romans “invented” the scales of Libra as a concept when in fact the reality is that they had already been known as, referred to or connected with scales and the concept of cosmic truth for thousands of years before then. We see this in the astrology practiced in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt and India and in rare cases in the time of the Greeks. It seems more accurate to say that the Romans formalized a much more ancient tradition in their own way, as was there cultural practice with many of the things that appeal to them.

The Romans associated these stars with their goddess of Justice, Justicia, who often appeared with her sister Prudentia (Prudence). These deities were based on the Greek equivalents Astraea, Themis and Dike, who in turn were probably based on or shared a common origin with the Egyptian goddesses, Ma’at and Isis (in ancient Egypt the stars of Libra are formed into a boat, the vessel which delivers the soul to the judgment of Osiris, or as a scale beam, representing the magic technology which tracked the level of the Nile). Well before the time of the Romans this part of the sky was associated with the idea of light or a lamp representing the Assyrian God Nusku, a god of fire and light believed to inhabit the stars. From what we know of the Assyrian people, which is extremely fragmentary, the closest analogy we have is probably a mix of two deities, Shamash (god of truth and justice who holds the scales as a sacred symbol) and Nusku (god of light and patron of the arts and civilization). Rome largely reduces these mostly feminine figures to objects, but retains the feminine figure wielding them – a sword of truth, scales of justice and balance, philosophical robes and a blindfold to signify not blindness but an inner eye with the ability to see the truth behind appearances, the truth within.

So in an earlier time the Scorpion either held the scales in its claws or the claws were themselves the scales by which things were measured. To understand this connection you must consider the way a scorpion uses its own claws to investigate things and peel them apart. The connection with the Scorpion is deeply significant in terms of the understanding of Libra because it also shows that the sign has a connection in ancient thought to the mysteries of death, the afterlife and the judgment of the soul that is to come for all of us. In more ancient cultures the concept of justice and truth was connected to this, but by the Roman era this concept has become distinct and separate all of its own and this is the period in which our modern legal structures emerged, institutions which are dedicated to seeing that justice is done. Faith had withered and systems were perceived to be necessary in order to see that the will of the gods was done upon the Earth. In this respect it’s interesting to note that the Romans also tell a tale about Astraea being the last of the gods to leave the Earth following the disappointment heaped upon them by the actions of humanity. This is an important point to understand if you are a Libra – it’s the Romans that made you responsible for seeing that justice is done! Before that time, the role of Libra was a spiritual one focused on revealing truth through an understanding of cosmic laws.

Justicia, Astraea, Dike, Themis, Isis and Ma’at are all associated with a pair of scales, but in ancient times the celestial form of these goddesses was often more represented by the constellation of Virgo (a powerful, wise woman). So what we can understand from this is that the constellation of Virgo was mythologically associated with scales many thousands of years before the Roman period, and that during the Roman period there was a conflation of different deities into a more homogeneous one. Part of this was that there was not just a conversion of the spiritual claws of Scorpius into the more mundane scales of Libra, there was also a borrowing of the scales from the concept associated with the constellation of Virgo.

In effect, Libra’s creation borrowed something from each of its neighbours – claws from Scorpius and a pair of scales from Virgo – and its essential nature is a balanced and equal infusion of both halves. This balanced fusion of qualities from each of its neighbors encapsulates not just its stellar nature but also it’s zodiacal nature.

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SUBSTANCE

“I is another” –  Arthur Rimbaud

Libra the balancer is the sign of equality and even splits, the pioneer of the Air Element and its aspiration for total neutrality. It is an Active (Cardinal) Air sign and the Electric expression of Venus and it symbolises a creative astra-mental process which leads to balance and harmonisation on the astral (i.e. personal) level of experience. It is among all the Air signs the most Neutrally charged (referring to the Fluids) because it seeks to find the middle ground between all couples and pairs of things, but behind the cool and often calm exterior there is an emotional heart, as sensitive as a Stradivaris violin and easily offended and upset, merely pretending to be indifferent to matters. Libra maintains composure in us. It’s what we need when our day goes down in flames because there was no coffee that morning, the car window is fucked and we can’t afford to pay for it, we lost our house keys and the police have just stopped to hassle us. Wherever it falls in a chart (check the temples) and whatever planet it processes it is much harder to fluster us there, and there is a greater spirit of compromise, tact, poise, serenity and equanimity, but problems of nervousness and extreme indecision arise from taking too Airy an attitude and not paying enough heed (or the wrong kind of heed) to the whispering song of Venus in the wind – the feelings. It implies a subtle but divisive distrust of feelings (because being subjective they lack a balanced objectivity on judging what is factual and therefore true) when the feelings are in fact a source of strength that need to be trusted because the feelings are just as much a vehicle of truth as the facts are, they just communicate another equally important side of it. We understand and possibly even pardon it when a person being tortured kills their tormentor. We do not understand it when they kill out of boredom or fun. What people feel as they act places judgment of their actions and of facts in context. Sunder one from the other and you no longer have justice. So there are two equal sides here too, one concerned with keeping a level head, the other concerned with discerning what people feel about things, and the two must work in tandem without interfering with one another for the scales to balance properly. It is true for personal relationships and it is the same in the law courts which are almost everywhere adorned with the symbols of this signs essential meaning. You are Air, dear Libra, but your heart is Venusian and it is beautiful and trustworthy. Embrace it. There is spiritual equipoise there, not chaos.

The typical approach of a Libran planet is to be fair and balanced taking into consideration the thoughts and feelings of others with a view to exploring and embodying principles of balance, justice and harmony. It tries to remain calm and tranquil at all times. This is a big reason why Mars is kind of chained up by love here. Libra needs to acquire the ability to be assertive and make firmer decisions, avoiding procrastination and fence sitting in its desire to be fair and impartial. It is an Air sign and thus naturally attuned to mental levels of awareness so it will tend to approach things with a view to the ideas and thoughts that it conjures, in particular weighing things up as if evaluating their measure on a pair of scales. This polarity of thought, a division between one thing and another, is always viewed from the perspective of bringing together into harmony, of similarity and degree of balance. It is a romantic and just perspective that seeks to give everything its proper place and consideration.

However, looking at life this way can lead to doubt and confusion about decisions that seem pressing or serious, since there is a sense of no turning back with dire consequences in such cases, and Libra is in love with turning back or at least being able to turn back, and shrivels from visiting dire consequences on anybody even in a polite and socially acceptable form such as a competitive game. The Libran in us does not want to do anything to others that we would not want done to ourselves, and so it is often timid in acting at all. A time inevitably comes to act, and this exposes the Libran Achilles heel. Mistakes or poor decisions are felt as miscarriages of justice since the Libran outlook is to be as impartial, diplomatic and fair as possible. The thought of a ‘wrong’ decision is often enough to paralyze the entire personality into inactivity, which can ironically be worse than either choice before it. Even with a ‘right’ decision (you went right in Firetop Mountain and missed the deathtrap!), Libra is still haunted by the equal potential of the other choice (“what was the deathrap guarding, what was at the end of the left corridor?”), and with severe moral dilemmas it often seems to have no option but to pretend to itself that there was no choice. And so often the Libran dance is a graceful but dizzying waltz from yes to no and back again, with no end in sight until something acts upon the paralysis to cause a definitive and long dreaded choice to be made, often at a time where it feels like the worst time to make the choice. It is, because the right time to choose was long before it reaches that point.

682px-Themis_HK_LegCoConnection to Libra often also brings involvement in the arts, in music especially, but also to all forms of expressing aesthetic beauty or feelings, such as cosmetics, marriage guidance, or care work. This is the influence of the signs planetary ruler. Ruled by Venus, Libra is the equalising aspect of Air and is appropriately even-handed, charming, harmonious, artistic, tactful, balancing, gentle, diplomatic, and possessing an integral and strong sense of fairness. It can be over- compromising, indecisive, appeasing, pleasure seeking, judgmental, and too inclined to sit in the middle ground doing nothing, just sitting on the fence between two sides. It relates to the sacrum chakra (as attention to ones self, relationships based on sensuality, creativity), and to the heart centre (as loving contact, balanced force bringing circulation of energy, and harmonization). In the body it resonates with the buttocks, kidneys, adrenals, ovaries, fallopian tubes, urinary system, excretion through skin and skin tone, lumbar vertebrae and the circulatory system (what goes around comes around). In colour it is typically pale, pastel and subtle in tone and has analogies to yellow, orange, olive green and black/white combos, among others. Its astrological direction is due west, its season in the northern hemisphere is autumn, its musical tone is F and its places include bridges, arches, portals, pillars, art museums, cultural centres, quiet places like libraries, all places where there is an airy, light, open and spacious atmosphere so that the air is crisp and clear, thus to mountains and places where the activating power of the wind is harnessed like windmill farms, as well as being traditionally linked to places where wood is cut or stored such as barns or outhouses. Indoors it points to places near windows, chambers and rooms within rooms (such as walk in wardrobes or larders in a kitchen), the upper rooms and the air conditioning or ventilation ducts, dressing tables, mirrors and cosy sofas for two. Libra also connects on the Hebrew Tree to the Hebrew letter Lamed (meaning ‘Ox-goad’ or more profoundly ‘instruction’), the 20th Path of Wisdom (the ‘consciousness of Will’) and the magic of Justice (major arcana of the tarot, depicting the magic of illuminating and transforming the emotional nature through the light of the Individual will, the ‘consciousness of Will’), also with all flowing or gentle music, a light easy feeling, alchemical sublimation (the transition of a substance directly from the solid to the gas state without passing through an intermediate liquid phase) and beautiful works of art. In mundane astrology it is connected with the Sun sign in the current charts for Cambodia (1993), New Zealand (1907), North Yemen (1962), Botswana (1966), Tuvalu (1978), Belgium (1830), Fiji (1970), Uganda (1962) and Lesotho (1966). Well known individuals with strong Libra in their astrology include Arthur Rimbaud (Sun, Moon and ascendant), Louis XIII of France (Sun and Moon), Jimmy Carter (Sun and ascendant), Derek Jacobi, Lech Walesa, Bruce Springsteen (Sun and Moon), T.S. Eliot (Sun and ascendant), Leonardo DiCaprio (Moon and ascendant), Rudolph Valentino (Moon and ascendant), Karen Silkwood (Moon and ascendant), Elizabeth Barret Browning (Moon), Emily Dickinson (Moon), Nikola Tesla (Moon), Henri Toulouse-Lautrec (Moon), Bertrand Russell (Moon), H.P. Lovecraft (Moon), Agathie Christie (Moon), Walt Disney (Moon) and Justin Bieber (Moon).

Charming, artful, reconciliatory and serene, Libra is perhaps the most composed sign of the zodiac – whereas its opposite partner, Aries, concerns itself with raising a ruckus in order to get things started, Libra is about calming things down so that creative power can emerge through cooperating in harmony. It is very concerned with how the personality is perceived by others and seeks to be involved in relationship or partnership for maximum self expression of being and life – it is itself one half of something and so it seeks completion and wholeness. Thus, it is prone to feel the touch of loneliness and isolation that much more acutely than other signs and to agree when it really thinks that it does not, for the sake of peace.

Emotions as I have indicated are usually a source of confusion because they muck up the delicate balance of the scales, the mind which weighs everything in the balance being inadequate for objectively assessing the weight and value of even the most seemingly trivial feeling. Libra thus needs to learn that feelings and passions cannot be weighed and judged objectively like this, or that this weighing establishes little of significance. Concepts, ideas and thoughts can be weighed up on the scales, but personal emotions break them or just give off wacky readings. The only way to know if a feeling is really ‘from the heart’ is to embrace it wholeheartedly, like Scorpio, the sign that follows Libra, but Libra is very often afraid of losing its valued objectivity in such passion and fears losing its ability to judge correctly without the golden scales to guide it. It has too much Virgo to be Scorpio and too much Scorpio to be Virgo.

As an Active sign Libra understands that the peace and tranquility it seeks is not won without some kind of action. The act of balancing the scales is an act, they will not balance themselves, therefore Libra is not to be dismissed as a passive witness to events, it is a participant in the truest sense of the word since a participant is a partner in something and Libra is most definitely the partner of the zodiac. The serenity of Libra is therefore not an innate quality but one which they must tinker with. They have to constantly take into account the reactions to their actions and adjust their behaviour accordingly. They are for this reason consummate people watchers who spend much of their time studying the behaviour of other people and their reactions to events. Unlike its sibling Air sign, Gemini, Libra is not just a social butterfly flirting with one flower to the next out of curiosity (although it is subtle and graceful enough to make it appear that way), it is instead involved in activity designed to bring harmony and reconciliation where there is difference and discord. Even when it is not consciously trying to make things smoother for everyone around it, it is unconsciously doing so both internally and externally. It is exhausting and draining work, just as sparring and being combative is draining for Aries. The most tiring days are those which involve having to make lots and lots of difficult decisions involving different people, especially under pressure. For a Libran, this is like being in a war zone.

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In ‘The 26 Keys’ I tag Libra as a “Creative, Internalizing, Force emanating, Air, Active sign of the Astra-Mental plane”. Along with Aries it is a creative sign involving itself in acts of creation. The process with Aries is like a blastoff or an explosive burst of energy at the beginning of creation, while the process of Libra is more of an ongoing act of beautifying creation, aesthetically readjusting creative self-expression in harmony with a creative expression of others or a muse. Libra adores its muses and they love it back, rewarding it with its greatest treasure – a moment of peace. The creative impulse of Libra is deeply connected to its need for peace and serenity, because when we look upon, smell, or otherwise perceive beautiful things we feel an immediate relaxation and sense of tranquility. Libra spends a great deal of its creative energy beautifying its environment, needing clean sheets and clothes and a pleasant environment much more than other signs, and there are definitely exceptionally talented artists in the tribe. However, the primary act of creation which Libra involves itself in is the creative act of relating to others, and it is often the most draining too. It is an internalising sign (Gemini, Cancer, Libra, Scorpio, Aquarius and Pisces) because it references the external world and then makes an internal adjustment based upon what it encounters – the flow is from the external towards the internal, towards a centre of power rather than away from one. This internalizing nature is very aptly shown by the blindfold on the goddess of Justice. There are deeper layers to this internal focus however which we will come to at the end of this message. Force emanating signs (Aries, Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius and Aquarius) are involved in organizing essential meaning into manifestation as energy output rather than as a forms and structures. We can think of Force emanating signs as quantum wave states and Form building signs (the other 6) as particle states. Note that the other two Air signs are Force emanating and internalizing too, because the four Elements actually draw many of their shared qualities from these relationships (all Fire signs are externalising and Force emanating, all Water signs are internalising and Form building, all Air signs are internalising and Force emanating and all Earth signs are externalising and Form building). To my knowledge this is not something you will read about in any other astrological books of today because it is an insight that arises from the practice of magic. I will go into this in more detail later, for now it’s important to know because this is the reason why I have tagged Libra as an astra-mental sign. The Active or cardinal nature of Libra has already been discussed – peace and harmony do not just ‘happen’ but require our agency and activity, relationships being a prime example of this.

The two squares from Libra to Cancer and Capricorn are actually very different. The first square that Libra throws behind itself towards Cancer is simply loaded with sensitivity and vulnerability and is prone to troubles between family and intimate partners, or to be torn between a need for privacy and a need for close company. This square plays upon the emotional nature of Libra, throwing Venus into a turmoil of worry and anxiety about the future and her ability to protect herself and/or those she loves from a turbulent and chaotic world. The other square which Libra throws forwards into Capricorn is instead loaded with responsibility and the need to keep things orderly and running smoothly. There is often an excessive emphasis on the need for wisdom which can easily become preachy or sanctimonious and supercilious. It seems more prone to produce troubles in balancing ambitions with relationships. In both types of square the natural skepticism of Capricorn or the extreme caution of Cancer act to complicate the indecisiveness of Libra to degrees where nature sometimes has to field a lot of pressure to force a choice to be made. The opposition to Aries is probably one of the easiest oppositions to understand – Aries is about doing what it wants, Libra is about doing what other people want. The tension between these two signs is ripe for creating problems and troubles when it comes to relating to other people and being ourselves.

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DARKNESS

“The soul is so far from being a monad that we have not only to interpret other souls to ourself but to interpret ourself to ourself”.
                                                                                               – T. S. Eliot

We’ve already touched upon some of the darkness in this sign – indecision and nervousness, difficulty asserting itself over others, haunting loneliness and a restless search for calm and peace in a turbulent and chaotic world – and in my examples at the top of this article I provided a list of some of the more destructive vices of the sign. In many ways, the problem of Libra with darkness and tragedy is that they exist – despite the signs ability to embrace polarities and equal halves the human management of the sign invariably results in a reticence and sometimes an extreme terror when it comes to facing up to negative possibilities. It’s almost as if looking ahead of itself Libra gazes upon Scorpio and recoils from the swirling darkness of Mars, while behind it Virgo is busy prognosticating everything that can and probably will go wrong. This is very often then the arena in which much of Libra’s battles to win that calm and tranquility are fought. If a Libra person can actively win through to the point where they are no longer troubled constantly by thoughts of unhappy endings to happy situations they will have made a great stride towards overcoming much of the darkness that they encounter. Reaching a place where you are able to feel calm under any circumstances is like drinking from the holy grail of life itself for this sign.

Another key factor in undoing the hold of darkness over the sign is to let go – to a degree – of the impulse to micromanage the fairness and justness of events in the external world and instead look within to the equilibria that exist unending within the human awareness and to set about bringing balance there. When the individual reaches a place of balance within itself the Libra within us is that part which reaches out automatically into the world to also bring it into balance, both with us and with itself. A magician with a strong emphasis on the sign can act harmoniously with others in a way which encourages them to find their own equilibrium. She or he can bring into balance the energies of the physical, astral and mental body of other individuals or things simply through the strength of their own Elemental equilibrium. Thus, the problem solves itself by reversing the polarity from being focused on the dilemma riddled task of making adjustments on the scales to simply being the balance.

Earlier I said that there is too much Scorpio in Libra for it to be Virgo, hinting that there is a sterner edge to its character, and indeed hidden within the soft velvet glove there lies an iron fist (or claw). Libra is no pushover. It may be gullible in romance, have difficulty asserting its desires over the desires of others and problems with conviction, but it is no sap. Push it far enough and it will push back, just like a seesaw. Unfairness, rudeness, inconsiderate behaviour and cheating will cause the placid, easy-going nature of Libra to evaporate in a second. They will not sit idly by and watch others be taken advantage of, mistreated or abused. Their first concern will typically be for the victim of such behaviour, but they will initially show this by countering the threat as much as they can. Direct assault is more the style of Mars in Aries, instead Libra prefers to lay down the law and when that fails to either attempt negotiation or to neutralise the danger. Neutralising things is one of Airs major tactics. Sadly, the power to neutralise things is often a negative trait – Air can dismiss serious matters with “it doesn’t matter”, “I’m not talking about that”, or just plain saying nothing when an awkward question is asked – but when used strategically the trait can be a virtuous one that neutralises danger, such as when the Libra person neutralises a domestic fight by letting someone sleep over on their sofa.

This brings up the question of timing, because it is good timing that makes neutralization strategic and helpful, and it is also the secret of good timing that can help Libra to overcome its indecisive potential. In every situation there comes a time when a choice must be made and Libra must learn to recognise when these times have come and accept them as the way to move forwards, without regrets. A verdict must be delivered before justice can be served. Therefore, the timing issue with Libra is to do with knowing when enough evidence has been collected in order to form that verdict. At this point, Libra must not waver. There will be time for further cogitation later, but these moments are not those times. These are the times for the sword and the quill, for the signing of contracts and the delivery of judgment. Without a verdict a trial is a torment for all concerned, thus it is an act of mercy when done correctly.

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To remain calm and yet to be sensitive like Libra is its own puzzling challenge. It is exhausting work because the awareness is not only vulnerable to the radiations of others (even other objects) but also has to keep a lid on its own emotional distress. Libra has to continually monitor its stresses and induce relaxation when the warning signs light up (first having learned what those are) so that a chain reaction of tension and frayed nerves does not disable it. When you consider the many other delicate balancing acts that Libra has to pull off on a daily basis – the balance between its Air and its Venus and the balance needed in various relationships that exist in any individual’s life, for example – you can begin to appreciate what Libra has to deal with. It becomes hugely important for the Libra in us to restore its equilibrium once it has been disturbed, and this is usually done by retreating to a place of peace and quiet or to a trusted significant other. Without this retreat when it becomes necessary the imbalance in one area of life can quickly cause every other area of life to go out of kilter. In some ways, the Active nature of Libra is like a toddler in a room full of spinning tops that they have to continuously pump fresh energy into in order to keep all of the tops spinning at once. When things go bad, for example when going through a rough patch in a relationship, Libra can just stop pumping all of the tops and then when they start winding down without their input they get depressed and ask themselves why they have to be the one who keeps pumping all of the tops. These are signs that the Libra person has not taken enough time out to restore their own inner balance, that motivation has been eroded by unpleasantness and disappointment. When the environment is in disharmony (i.e. when all of the tops have stopped moving) there is no beauty and therefore there is no peace or calm, so the degeneration of Libra’s motivation is a vicious cycle – the inner being of the Libra within us is linked to the harmony present in our external environment, so external disorder and discord and mess bring no internal peace. The room must be tidy before you can really relax in it.

But which spinning tops to pump? That’s the nub. Does she have feelings for me? Is this relationship worth it? Will this job satisfy me? Knowing something about the answers to these questions before you start pumping on the spinning top connected to it is the key, because once started it’s hard to stop, that feels unfair to others involved. Then there is knowing when to just let the energy wind down on something and focus on something else. This too is a skill that would greatly benefit Libra in facing its darkness. All of this has to do with cultivating the discernment required to judge when, where and how to invest ones own precious energy. It is the Venus side of Libra that plays the most important part in gathering this discernment, but over time the Air contributes a great deal of insight into human nature and ones own needs that also helps to move the Libra through this area.

Perhaps trickiest of all for Libra is the difficulty of living with the knowledge that truth, like beauty, seems to exist only in the eye of the beholder. What is true for me may not be true for you, and will not be true for everyone. This is a disaster to Libra because it means that objective truth is either elusive or, catastrophically worse, a non-entity. Even what might seem obvious truth to others is fraught with doubts to Libra . Sure, red is red and you and I can agree on whether or not a thing looks red. But we have no way of concretely knowing whether what you see as red is exactly the same as what I see, we just assume that. Furthermore, red can have a hugely different significance to different people. When you think about less material objects like relationships, feelings and ideas, you realize that the truth of these is even more subjective, but Libra sees that phenomena at work everywhere. When you feel that it is your task to promote fairness and equality and justice, not being able to know what the essential truth of anything is becomes a major handicap. If other peoples lives hang in the balance as a result of your decisions, that can be hell. Yet Libra will still step up to the podium and hear the arguments for and against, because it feels there is no one better suited to the task, and it is most often correct in this.

Ambiguous truths, then, are a terrible bane that fuels many of the Libran quandaries and problems. In the face of it Libra largely resigns itself to the fact that there is no solution to the dilemma, and you just have to do the best you can. However, mercifully that is not all there is to do – objective truth is merely elusive not non-existent, and Venus has prepared a bridge to it in Libra.

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MYSTERIES & MAGIC

“We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles”
                                                                                                                                        – Jimmy Carter

Earlier traditions (primarily the Egyptians, but basically pre-zodiac era) see the stars of Libra as a gateway to the underworld, the entrance to the mental and astral realm inhabited by the recently deceased. This is partly because the Sun passes through these stars as it approaches Antares, the heart star of Scorpius, by which point the landscape of the northern hemisphere had been touched by decay as autumn is in full swing. At least, that is the thinking today as we do not really know why the association with the underworld came to pass.

Along with this came the connection to truth and justice formerly mentioned, since the soul would be judged truly and fairly. Given that Libra is awareness that all wholes are composed of complementary halves – every truth is balanced by an equal but opposite truth – there is an essential meaning of things tipping in the balance, of equilibrium and judgment following on from endings and decay, of shedding light into dark caverns and passages and of justice and fairness. We also see a theme of things being divided and weighed up. This essential meaning is the astrological root of the sign of Libra.

The second and midpoint of the Air signs (as well as of the zodiac), Libra has a unique position in the wheel of the zodiac, as it has two special properties. First, as the 7th sign, Libra is the midpoint of the energy flow around the zodiac and also within the moderating Air triplicate, which puts it at the midpoint of the cycle of the zodiac, as much as the continuous infinity of a circle can be measurable; it thus marks the point of exchange between the inner ‘self focused’ first six signs to the outer ‘other self focus’ of the last six. As an example, Aries, the first sign in the natural zodiac, and Libra’s polar opposite across the wheel, is primarily concerned with personal goals and individual achievements, (I am, I will) whereas Libra is concerned with relationships of all kinds and the balancing of opinions and partnerships (We are, we shall). Libras unique function as the balancing point between the two halves of the zodiac must be understood if one is to grasp the deeper occult significance of the sign. The very first Sabian symbol of 01° Libra expresses this midworld energy very strongly: “Pierced by a dart of light, a butterfly is ‘made perfect’.” Note that this is not a dead butterfly pinned into a macabre collection, it is a butterfly pierced by a dart of light that perfects. Here the Sabian oracle is hinting at a deeply esoteric and magical dimension of Libra which the Gra Tree also sheds light upon.

The Air Element, being ElectroMagnetic, mediates between the extremes of the Fire (pushing apart) and Water (filling up) poles of the Creation, being the ephemeral middle ground (the space that is created by the Fire for the Water to fill), and this is embodied in its role as an equalizer or moderator by Libra. Libra is conscious of the dangers of too much and too little, and always tries to find the perfect balance. Libra tries to mediate between opposites and bring them into harmony, being motivated by a feeling that fairness and equanimity are important, and does this excellently in the human social sphere for example when diplomatically defusing a tense argument, but Libra does not do so well when it comes to weighing up and evaluating ideas or in decision making, because it tends to get hung up on endless evaluation seeking the ‘middle ground’. In terms of a firm decision and generally as a concept, ‘middle ground’ is nebulous and has no precise boundaries (like Air).

Libras connection to this Air leads to a perception of basic polarities in the universe – men/women, good/bad, fair/unfair, you/me, us/them – and the guidance of ruling planet Venus leads to an effort to smooth over the differences implicit in these polarities and consequently to an approach that is always trying to find the perfect balance and peace between them. However, there is no point at which this process comes to rest, it is a butterfly, a perpetually moving and infinitely creative balance, not a static one that can be reasoned out or measured, but one which requires an emotional, feeling based approach. As I have said earlier this is the source of a large part of Libra people’s dilemmas. They try to reason out the answer to dilemmas and choices, the most fair and harmonious and balanced response, when they should really just trust the feeling of fairness that guides them, the dart of light, and go with it. This is often manifest in situations which challenge Libran senses of fairness, justice and equality and is the source of the uncertainty and doubt and indecisiveness that can plague them. Libra is conscious of the polarity existing in all things and seeks to balance and equalize it. This leads to a quest for fairness and skill with diplomacy, as well as giving them a strong moral sense of justice and the importance of truth telling.

Further clues to these mysteries of Libra are found in an exploration of Libras second unique property in the zodiac – its inanimate nature. Of all the signs (which are centres of living meaning focused as symbols which show their essential qualities), Libra is the only one represented by an inanimate object – a pair of balancing scales. The others are all living, breathing beings. It lies opposite the most active and energized sign, Aries. Here is hinted at some secret detached objectivity within (or aspired to) by the sign itself, as if it is the only one capable of impartially weighing up the living animal-emotional matters of the others, which goes some way to explain why Libra involves itself so frequently and sincerely in the affairs of companions. The search for this ultimate objectivity, the ability to perfectly and precisely weigh things up, without personal emotional or mental bias tipping the scales, is a part of the secret heart of Libra intelligence. It knows itself to be tactful, impartial, cooperative and considerate of others and is offended when others suggest otherwise.

Cygnus Wall NGC7000

The butterfly may well be Libras secret animal, but the plethora of inanimate objects associated with Libra point to a deeper truth hidden beneath them. It is perhaps Libra’s ultimate gift. When we look upon these objects – the golden scales, the soft feather, the shining sword with emerald hilt, the blindfold and the mirror, the interlinked rings inscribed with a promise – they have no mouths but they speak to us, do they not? They are symbols of things which live in their inanimate nature. The rock, the sky, the violin, the book, the tree, the pen, the thing – it’s all alive. The magician knows this, and so does Libra. Objects may not be animals in the sense that you and I and the monkeys are, but they are still animated by an inner Light and are aware of their own existence. When you can treat all things as equally alive, then and only then have you entered the heart of Libra. Within this sacred chamber of awareness, we can look out upon the gyrating and ever-changing universe as our co-creative partner and all things we perceive become inseparable and equal parts of our own being. As the magician develops and grows she or he learns how to adapt to changing circumstances and what results is a continual flow of magic between them and everything that they interact with, not just in their human relationships but in their relationship to all things. To some degree, I believe that the Libra in us comes prepared to meet this reality altering truth. I think it’s the real reason that Libran people get upset when other people smash things against walls in frustration.

Karmically, Libra is about all forms of opposite number, so its fundamentally about the choices we have made in relationships and often embodies as ones enemies, opposite numbers of all kinds, lovers and partners from previous lives, relationships which need balancing, and the search for justice and equality in some area – encounters which lead to atonement (at-one-ment) with the principles of peaceful emotional accord, balance, and individual beauty. In all areas of life but especially in relationships Libra is learning to assert its instinctual emotional nature by expressing its individual consciousness and bringing it to life by shining its individual will through it. The sign is a process of transforming our emotional nature through bringing peace to it and reflecting this serenity in our relationships, and in this way with every new person we meet we are continually learning about how to be at peace with ourselves through our interactions with others and learning about ideas by weighing them against their opposite.

As the astral principle of karmic balance, universal Justice and Harmony, the forces which automatically adjust and maintain equilibrium throughout the multiverse, Libra has its hands full on Earth right now. The relationship between self and other is one of the human manifestations of these balancing laws in action, for none of us can escape the truth that we are all interconnected as one, and therefore what is done to you or by you is done to us all and resonates throughout the multiverse. What we see in one another is first perceived within us, or we could not recognize it.

The Scales of Maat of Egyptian temple lore are the scales that weighed the hearts of the Egyptian dead against a feather, an act which either released the enlightened soul to the freedom of the cosmic heavens or stripped it of all unnecessary weights before reincarnating the soul in a new body on Earth. This is symbolic of the weighing and eventual equalisation of the souls’ mental and emotional qualities as the spirit refines what is inharmonious and unjust (in other words, what is not expressive of its Light) until it reaches a point of balance with the cosmic order. Unfortunately, once struck, such balance is rarely maintained for long for balance is not the same as equilibrium, being a see-saw which can easily be acted upon at any point at which point the balance will be lost. Equilibrium, on the other hand, resists such influence because it is present at every point along the scale, rather than just struck at a midpoint between two ends. Thus, in essence Libras mission is not just to balance and equalise but to move beyond such temporary states of balance into a state of equilibrium by living in greater emotional harmony with the universe, i.e. with the inner and outer self. That is why it is so important for Libra people to listen to their feelings.

Gra01.pdf-40On the Gra Tree, Libra is shown positioned as a path emanating down from Gedulah (Mercy) to Yesod (Foundation). This shows its origin in the forces of the mental plane (Gedulah) and its destination in the heart or core of the astral plane (Yesod). In other words it is one of the influx of energies that power the astral realm. The particular influx of energy that Libra brings to the astral plane stems from the property of the mental plane which causes things to be like one another or similar to one another and to thereby find a connection (Gedulah), and so what it brings to the seat of the astral awareness (this being the heart of the soul in terms of an individual, or the entire astral realm in a universal sense) is a sense of mercy or compassion, because that which we find connection to and a sense of similarity with evokes empathic responses in us. On a universal level this influx of Libra into the astral plane holds the entire astral realm in equilibrium, one action always leading to an equal and opposite reaction on an infinite scale. At the collective and individual human level this influx of empathy from the mental realm is hugely significant because the astral realm is dominated by polarizing personal concerns.

Gra01.pdf-15Furthermore, we can understand this matter more deeply by considering the influx of Leo into Gedulah from Tiphareth and the emanation of Sagittarius from Yesod to Netzach. From the Leo path the Light of the individual Self (the radiance of our spirit, the force of our unique being) is radiated outward to find connection and similarity with other individual selves. In other words, the shining of the individual self illuminates the connectivity of that self to other selves, forming Gedulah, which in turn transmits this Light to Yesod (the personal self) via Libra (the ‘dart of light’). In this first arc the Light of the individual self is transmitted to the personal self and so the task of the personal self is to receive that instruction (’Ox-goad’) and adapt its personal expression to that teaching or goading. Gra01.pdf-72The result of this is then radiated ‘down’ towards Netzach via Sagittarius, and so the second arc sees the Light that has been adapted to reflect the individuals merciful nature in the astral realm being cast throughout the astral. For any practicing magician of IiH, there are clear parallels with the practice of maintaining the Elemental equilibrium, the source of all true magic. Note that both Leo and Sagittarius are in sextile to Libra astrologically.

The magic of Libra is often said to be in forming lasting bonds or breaking couplings, hence to binding, to bringing about a swift and fair verdict in a trial or court of law, to reconcile or to dispense diplomacy, to calm things down or to contact artistic muses, but in essence what we encounter in the magic of Libra is a communication from the spirit to the soul about how to live in harmony with other beings. Libra is equilibrium through the shaping of the individuality of the soul by its harmonics and commonalities. When we wander up this path the astral awareness loses its sense of personal isolation and begins to perceive its deep and majestic connection to all that is, while returning the other way brings an acute awareness of the importance of that connection in our personal expression. This is the heart of the magic of Libra and justice, art, partnership, equilibrium and peace are its children. The Libra in us is that which Ma’at has placed in our breasts to lead us there, an inner eye which recognizes the objective truth within itself and so within all things.

Seekers of the Soul Mate: Neptune in Libra

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! 🙂 This month I’m exploring Neptune in Libra with you –

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To Kiss the Sky: Uranus in Gemini

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! My latest sharing with you is an in-depth look at 1200 years of Uranus in Gemini, looking for the patterns and themes within and how they play themselves out in the lives of its children. journey deeper…