Spatial Astrology

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month we look into the astrology of space and location.

Just over 10 years ago I opened this blog with a post titled “Journeys with the Astral Light” in which I discussed the concept of astrolocality, the idea that a chart manifests itself geographically in specific locations, using the astrology of Paramahansa Yogananda as an example. In this inaugural post I briefly explained the use of culminating, anti-culminating, rising, setting and paran lines and made some suggestions for their use in magical practice with astrology. Today I want to expand on that, adding what I have learned since then as well as diving more deeply into the topic than I have before. I want to show you this very exciting and very powerful technique which opens up many fertile areas of research, and will likely become an important element of future astrology. Using this technique we can add a new sentence to the meaning of any particular part of our chart – I can say, for example, that I have Neptune in Scorpio, Neptune in the 10th house, Neptune in conjunction with Moon and Venus, and I can also say I have Neptune in Berlin. This last statement may seem strange at first but it is as valid as any of the others and in my case it also describes my experience with Neptune more aptly than the others and is more concrete, less symbolic. When I first came to Berlin I was profoundly drawn to a particular fountain in the city centre, the Neptune Fountain showing Neptune surrounded by aquatic creatures and water nymphs. It sits just next to the tallest building visible anywhere in the city, the (very phallic) TV tower which can be seen anywhere and provides the most elevated view of the city. I didn’t know it then, but through astrolocality I have Neptune on the midheaven in Berlin – it picks up the energy of my natal Neptune and transfers it to the highest point in the chart, the midheaven, a place which can also be said to fountain, in a way, much like the invisible TV transmissions (Scorpio?). I met with a literal manifestation of the astrology in the landscape. Interesting though this is, however, it’s just the beginning of the discoveries awaiting astrologers who venture into this field. So let’s explore!


Firstly, this use of astrology isn’t new, but in modern times it is being radically reinvented. This is due to the late astrologer Jim Lewis who pioneered the innovations in the late 1970s and patented his system as astro-cartography (ACG). The idea of astrolocality has been a traditional one for millennia, with the practice being to simply change the location of birth, keeping the time and date and thus all of the planetary aspects, and to interpret the new chart both independently and in comparison with the natal chart. If, for example, you are born in Rome then to find out what kind of conditions you meet in any given place we would recast your birth chart for that place instead of Rome and if the new chart put Venus or Jupiter on the ascendant or midheaven, and those planets were not terribly afflicted in the natal chart, then it would be seen as a beneficial place to visit, marry into, do business with, etc. Conversely, if Saturn or Mars was on the ascendant or midheaven, war or adversarial conditions might be expected, especially if these were planets that were harshly aspected in the natal chart. Houses and angular cusps become important in this interpretation as these are the ways in which planets change from one geographic location to another – for instance, today (March 29th) the Moon is in Cancer. It will be in Cancer wherever we are in the world (also with the same aspects), but our location will place it in one of the 12 houses. If that placing by house is also angular (conjunct the 1st, 4th, 7th or 10th house cusp) it will be especially powerful in that geographical place, just like it would be if it were so in a natal chart.

What this means is that if, for example, you have ever wondered what it would be like to have had the Sun on the ascendant, or Venus on the midheaven, you can. It’s possible to simulate and thus cultivate it by living in a place that carried that resonance at birth. Or, lets assume you have Venus in Libra, a good placement for relationships, but she is in the 12th house of your natal chart, something indirect that brings a feeling of loneliness and isolation or shyness, and you have always wondered how it would be if she were instead more powerfully placed on the descendant, the cusp of the 7th, which is all about direct, open relationship. Again, you can have that experience, you just have to know where in the world you can find it. This is what astrolocality does. The reverse is also true – there are some places that we do not thrive in. Saturn/Pluto for example can be very harsh, like hard labour and extreme transformation that comes with a heavy price. If we have a Saturn/Pluto hard aspect in our natal chart, moving to a location that makes it angular could be devastating.

Importantly this does not negate anything in the birth chart, that remains our primary pattern, but what occurs when we travel is that we encounter our chart in the larger body of space that is the Earth, which is in effect a meta-body for everything that lives here, an expression of our being on a higher level. We are part of the life and body of the planet Earth and are entangled with it at the astral level of being, just like the solar system is. Also importantly, we can encounter this resonance in two ways, by going to it or having it come to us. That 12th house Venus person seeking a loving relationship may not have to travel to a place where Venus sets, they might just meet someone from there. Conversely, doing business with a company that has its head offices in that Saturn/Pluto location may not be a great idea.

Traditionally this practice has been limited by the fact that a new chart needs to be drawn for every location. Additionally, the traditional approach did not (really could not, practically speaking) take latitude into account – only zodiacal longitude was used, which is important because the true rising and setting of planets are also determined by how far away they are from the celestial equator (you can read more about this here). The use of computers and the work of Jim Lewis means we have now transcended these limitations and in the process we now have many new astrolocality techniques available, with further advances in technology still ahead suggesting that this will become a hot field of study in the future once more people catch on to it. The biggest transformation by far is that we can now project the entirety of our astrolocality onto a global map where the contacts planets make with various places emerge as continuous rings or lines that wrap around the globe. Essentially we can now visually see all of our astrolocality at once, as well as being able to filter and sort it. In the journey ahead I will explain the lines and present you with some examples of their importance. There are four types of lines to understand and work with, with two of the types splitting into two further subgroups each:

Planet Direction Lines – lines that amplify a planets natal position
Rising/Setting Lines – lines that simulate a planet being on the ascendant or descendent
Culminating/Anti-Culminating Lines – lines that simulate a planet being on the midheaven or IC
Paran Lines – lines that bring planetary relationships into manifest potential

The spatial power of these lines varies according to the dignity of the planet and (I suspect) the type of line, with rising and culminating lines gaining the edge, and lines connected with the Lights and a chart ruling planet having greater presence, but as a general rule of thumb a radius of 500 miles (about 800km) is average, with something like up to twice that range for a planet in rulership and on the ascendant in the natal chart. This is a long way so be sure so keep it in mind when looking at maps, as a simple natural or national border does not stop astral resonance! However the closer you are to the line, the stronger all effects become. Also, bear in mind that the geographical surface of the planet has changed considerably in human history – not only do national borders and identities change but the land too (most of Europe and North America were covered in ice up to about 12,000 years ago, for example) – something that is especially important when studying places for potential past lives, which are often the lines connected to the Lights (as symbols of life), Saturn and the Dragon (as symbols of karma).


Imagine that you are transported back to the time and place of your birth and that as you stand there you turn 360° scanning the horizon. The various planets in your birth chart will be positioned in certain directions. The Moon, for instance, might be located directly west of you. A planet direction line is a line that is created if you were to walk in the direction of a particular planet from this position. It’s the simplest line to understand as it is literally the direction in which the planet is located from the place and time of your birth. This is literally what the three wise men did in following the star (a bright Jupiter/Saturn conjunction in Virgo) to Bethlehem. If you keep going west following that Moon or star, you will of course eventually just circle the world and return to where you started from the east. When plotted onto a flat map of the Earth these lines appear to curve but they are in fact perfect circles which encompass the globe. Take a look at the image below:

This is a map of the southeast of the USA and these are the planet direction lines for Elvis Presley (January 8th 1935, 4:35am, Tupelo, Mississippi) who was born with Sagittarius rising and chart ruler Jupiter in Scorpio on the cusp of the 12th. Jupiter is also ruler of his 4th house. Jupiter was a big issue for Elvis (the rhinestones, sequins and sexually charged flambuoyance should give that away – his Jupiter rising line, explained below, goes through it). The place where they all fountain from is his birthplace. Notice the blue line that is connected to Jupiter that extends in a north-west and south-east direction. It goes directly through Memphis Tennessee, the location of Graceland, his ostentatious home. Presley died and is buried there, as are his parents, paternal grandmother, grandson, and daughter (Jupiter in Scorpio, a palatial mausoleum). Presley’s Sun and Mercury in Capricorn in the 2nd house, as well as his Pluto in Cancer in the 8th, have lines that pass through the Hawaiian islands where he made many financially successful films. The same lines also go through San Diego where he performed on live television with grinding, sexual movements that seemed shockingly vulgar at the time.His Moon in Pisces line goes through Paris, where he used to take leave as a soldier while posted as a young man in Germany. His Neptune line goes by New Orleans which greatly influenced his musical style.

Below you can see the planet direction lines for Cassius Clay (better known as Mohammad Ali), born January 17th 1942 at 6:35pm in Louisville, Kentucky:

His natal Saturn in Taurus in the 10th goes through Miami, Florida (where he won the heavyweight title aged 22 and declared “I am the greatest!”) and his Capricorn Sun (chart ruler with Leo rising) and Chiron (in Leo in the 12th) both go through Zaire (“The Rumble in the Jungle” where he regained the title through taunting his opponent into a knockout). His Mercury in Aquarius, which is closely conjunct his Moon with both square his midheaven and tightly opposite his Pluto and Chiron, leads all of these lines directly through New York City (“The Fight of the Century” where he suffered his first professional defeat, although he refused to accept the result and called it a ‘white mans decision’).

The literal interpretation of a planet direction line is “go here to meet me”. These lines carry the energy of the natal chart, so they embody all of the aspects as well as the sign and house of a given planet, basically amplifying the total natal effect of that planet and making it easier to manifest in concrete ways. It is like there is no getting away from that planets significance. On the opposite side of the world to where we were born these lines will all converge just as they do at our birth place, but I have no experience to share with you on that as nobody I know has visited such a place (often they are in the middle of the ocean anyway). Such a place might offer us an interesting new perspective on the totality of our life, as if seen in a mirror or upside down.

For practitioners of the approach I set out in The 26 Keys these lines can help you to locate places to go if you’re seeking to explore a particular activation. For example, if you want to get more out of a Saturn activation of the Moon key, interact with or travel along the Moon direction line, or possibly Saturn, at the appropriate time. They can also be good places to explore your natal planets even when there isn’t an activation of their key happening.

Another way you can use these lines is as a type of Feng Shui in the planning of your home and interior spaces such as altars or temples – simply transfer the lines onto a plan of your dwelling and place objects in the appropriate directions that act to capture and express (or perhaps contain and limit) that planets energy. For example if your Moon line heads west, think about aligning either your bedroom or the bed itself in a westerly direction, or placing plants of the Moon in the western parts, or if you have Jupiter in the 2nd house and its line moves northeast, place a pot of coins or some other symbol of income in the northeast. These objects then become your ritual tools for interacting with specific planetary energies in your birth chart. Colour and decoration can be creatively employed here too. In a way, this is a form of bringing the location to you rather than going to the location. You will notice however, that each planet will have two directions, and they will be opposite one another, since the world is a globe while your home is (probably) not spherical. In other words your Moon line will go west and east, your Jupiter line northeast and southwest, etc. You have to adapt the situation to the location, perhaps placing different but analogous things in the opposing directions (such as Moon plants in one area because it is a garden and moonstone at the other as it is a mantel over a fireplace). This duality can actually be a useful feature if you place objects with an affinity for the two binary Fluids as well as a planetary resonance, for example a masculine/force and a feminine/form object or thing for each planet.


Probably the easiest way to grasp what these lines are is to think for a moment about the fact that because the Earth is round, it is always sunrise and also sunset somewhere on the surface at any given moment. Right now, it is dawn somewhere and dusk somewhere else, as well as being midday and midnight in other locations. With rising/setting lines we are looking for the places where the planets were rising or setting elsewhere in the world for the time and place of your birth. So if you are born at dawn then your Sun rising line will pass through your birthplace and if you are born at sunset then your Sun setting line will pass through your birthplace. Being born at other times of day means the Sun was rising or setting somewhere else and it is this line that your Sun rising and setting lines will follow. By interacting with these lines you can have an experience of what a particular planet is like when it is placed on the ascendant or descendant of your chart instead of where it actually is. This is how you can have that experience of Venus in Libra in the 12th transferred to the 7th house – you travel to or interact with the locations along your Venus setting line, for example.

Rising lines can affect our appearance (like the kind of clothes we wear), our health and our identity. In evocation work the rising line for a planet will facilitate a more powerful manifestation of beings from the relevant planetary sphere, but it also useful for invocation. These lines are possibly the most powerful of all since they have an innate ability to manifest a planet’s potential in ways we consciously recognise as well as in physical and material space. They can be overwhelming if the planet is particularly strong in our natal chart, causing our identity to become flooded with the planets significance as well as heightening it. If we are seeking a closer merging of our identity with a particular planets function or a healing or rebirth experience with that planet this an ideal line to work with.

Setting lines often manifest themselves through our relationships either in the people that we meet who are connected to these locations or in the way influences from these places shape our relationships and empathy. They also shape our need for relationship. They have an astral power that externalizes itself in our interactions and therefore have greater objectivity than the rising lines where our identity merges with the planet, setting lines allowing us to instead have some kind of intercourse with that planet, a face-to-face confrontation, which makes them also useful in evocation, especially with troublesome entities that require control. If we have a strong Venus the setting lines will make ideal locations for things like honeymoons or romantic getaways or artistic inspiration. A strong Mars will instead make for thrill and adventure and the need for confidence on its rising line while its setting line might bring us into conflict and competition with others more readily.

These are the rising and setting lines for Queen Victoria of England (May 24th 1819, 4:15am, London UK):

The black lines are setting lines, the white lines are rising lines. Her Eris setting line goes through India, which rebelled against her and which she enslaved, similarly her Sun and Moon rising lines dominate the parts of Africa her empire extended into. Australia is dominated by both Saturn and Chiron setting. She inherited it as a penal colony but phased out and eventually ended this practice while seeking to unify the colonies, for which she is still remembered there. She also established the continents first university, in Melbourne. Her Uranus and Neptune rising lines lead toward Canada and the United States – she united Canada for the first time (thereby becoming the Mother of Confederation for Canadians) and while her relationship with the States was fraught with economic rivalry and suspicions following war she was committed to good relations and expressed personal interest in the inventiveness of Charles Morse (known for his development of the telegraph industry, not for inventing Morse code – that was Samuel Morse) and Washington Irving (author of ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’ and ‘Rip Van Winkle’). These are very apt Uranus/Neptune connections!


These lines are the same conceptually as the rising/setting lines – they pass through all the places where a particular planet would be either on the midheaven or on the IC of the chart, the cusps of the 4th and 10th houses in many systems – but they differ in form because these circles circumnavigate the globe north/south rather than east/west and thus on a flat map they appear as straight lines that run from top to bottom. Here the energy of a particular planet is again heightened because it is angular but on the culminating lines which relate to the planet being on the midheaven there is a strong focus on attainment, ambition and public status and so these lines are very strongly connected with career interests and also with reputation or notoriety, with how we are seen by the public, while the anti-culminating lines are concerned with planting things, laying down foundations and building bases as well as with uncovering matters of the past and exploring family, national, cultural or clan identity. Culminating lines can provide a clear or higher perspective on a planets significance, clarifying its meaning in the mental realm, while anti-culminating lines ground and earth planetary energies and make ideal locations for temples, geomancy, the burial of ritual objects, burial of the dead, or giving things to the land. These are astra-physical places that also resonate with ancestry and past lives.

Albert Einstein (May 14th 1879, 11:30am, Ulm, Germany) moved to the USA from Switzerland and became a professor of physics at Princeton University – his culminating line for his natal Moon in Sagittarius (university) passing directly through the location.

Born in Europe, Audrey Hepburn (May 4th 1929, 3am, Ixelles, Belgium) became a beloved Hollywood icon and a humanitarian activist after moving to the United States. Her natal Neptune (film, humanitarianism) in Leo (glamour, spotlight, cats) moves to the midheaven there (one of her most famous photographs, the poster for “Breakfast at Tiffanys” literally shows her in glamorous evening wear with a cat on her shoulder):

Ernest Hemingway (July 21st 1899, 8am, Oak Park, Illinois), born with a powerful stellium of Saturn/Chiron/Uranus in Sagittarius, has this configuration transferred to the IC and grounded in 4th house concerns in Cuba, where he moved to spend much of his later life and where he wrote some of his most famous works, including “The Old Man and the Sea,” which won the Pulitzer Prize and the Nobel Prize for Literature. Hemingway’s time in Cuba is reflected in his writing, which often captures the rhythms and moods of the island’s culture and people:


Paran lines are easier to explain visually, so look at the image below:

These are the rising, setting, culminating and anti-culminating lines for Frank Sinatra (December 12th 1915, 3am, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA), but only the Sun and Moon lines are shown to make it easier for you to see what a paran line is. Turn your attention to Rio in Brazil and you will see that his Sun rising line (a wavy white line) passes almost directly through it. Notice also that there is a Moon anti–culminating line (a dotted straight line in purple) running north to south which bisects the Sun line just south of Rio. At the point of the intersection a solid straight yellow line extends in a ring East/West around the globe – this is a Sun/Moon paran line. A paran line forms at the intersection of any two of the rising, setting, culminating and anti-culminating lines, provided the planets are different ones. Notice that another paran line is generated just south of Japan (at the intersection of his Moon culminating and Sun setting lines) and that this line is the same distance from the equator as the previous line – paran lines exists in a mirror relationship with the equator as the mirroring line. Also note that a second pair of lines emerge from the intersections of his Moon rising/setting and Sun culminating/anti-culminating lines, located in Russia and the extreme South Pacific ocean. Notice how these yellow Sun/Moon paran lines highlight Hong Kong, Brisbane, Miami, Lisbon, Paris and London – all places where he gave memorable performances, mostly away from home. His Sun/setting line also passes close to Beijing, China, where he gave a concert that opened the way for other western musicians.

Paran lines are always horizontal and always come in pairs positioned on equidistant sides of the equator as explained and they can also be formed between planets and stars (or stars and stars) which opens up powerful possibilities for research into stars and their effects. I gave some examples of this in my analysis of the coronavirus pandemic. These lines indicate a potential for a planet to be at one of the angles in a 24 hour period (one rotation of Earth) using the degree of separation between these angles at the birth place (i.e. in the natal chart) as a basis. This means that if my midheaven is at 15° of Scorpio and my ascendant is 15° of Capricorn then an angle of 60° (the distance between them) will be used to figure out paran lines, but the software will do more than this as it will also take into account more complex factors which determine where planets are seen to rise, culminate, etc. Consequently these lines vary greatly from chart to chart in what is potentially possible as a paran.

An important word in the above is “potential” – a paran carries the potential for both objects to be angular, the potential for enhancement. This potential translates into practical experience as well, since around these lines we have to do something to coax out the influence, it won’t emerge to meet us unless it is being activated by another more fundamental nearby line, including planet direction lines. So they tend to activate or trigger more powerful lines, especially when there is a matching resonance (for example when a Venus paran line bisects Venus setting, or a Venus planetary direction line) and at other times they require us to make some effort to activate the potential that exists. They become stronger when there is a natal aspect between the two planets as the paran will then work off of that innate potential, especially when the aspect is a square, conjunction or opposition. This makes them quite important in working with both challenging aspects as well as transits, and to show this I will present two case studies that include all of these lines with transits – the mysterious disappearance of Amelia Earhart and the destruction of Pompeii.


Amelia Earhart (July 24th 1897, 11:30pm, Atchison, Kansas) was an American aviation pioneer who developed a fascination with flying at an early age and in 1921 began taking flying lessons, soon becoming an accomplished pilot. She set several aviation records over the course of her career, including becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932 and records for altitude and speed, and was known for her skill as a navigator and her courage in the face of danger. In addition to her achievements as a pilot Earhart was also a tireless advocate for women’s rights and gender equality. Tragically her life was cut short when she disappeared on July 2nd 1937 while attempting to fly around the world. Despite an extensive search, no trace of Earhart and her navigator or her plane were ever found. This is Amelias natal chart:

Note the difficult squares, especially the Moon/Pluto/Venus/Neptune conjunction in Gemini square Mars/Jupiter in Virgo and the stubborn-minded Fixed grand square involving Sun/Mercury/Chiron/ascendant and the Dragon. She did not have a troubled life, although being a tomboy (and possibly lesbian) in that era must have been challenging at times. She was instead raised in a family that moved a lot (her father worked in the train industry) and had parents who encouraged her passion for exploration and adventure instead of fearing it, bringing out the more positive potential in such squares. Also note the conjunction of Saturn with Uranus in Scorpio.

Earhart and Noonan had encountered a number of challenges and setbacks on their journey, including technical problems with their plane, difficulty navigating over long distances, and poor weather conditions. Despite these challenges, they had successfully completed most of their journey and were just a few thousand miles away from their final destination and completing their journey when they disappeared. They were last seen in Lae, New Guinea:

The location of Lae is circled. The island is about 1000 miles across, so even lines on the far western side could be factors in Lae. We see that her Moon/Pluto/Venus/Neptune conjunction in Gemini is setting (the four black lines – is this Gemini setting symbolism not an apt omen of falling from the sky?) and her Mars/Jupiter in Virgo has moved to the midheaven (technical failure?). The location captures and manifests the square between these parts of her natal astrology, making it immediately dangerous. We also see yellow paran lines going directly through Lae – Sun/Chiron and Chiron/Dragon – bringing out the natal square between Sun in Leo and Chiron in Scorpio (and Dragon and Chiron) – and north of these lines we see Moon/Mars and Moon/Jupiter parans (again highlighting those natal Moon squares from Gemini) as well as another Sun/Chiron paran. To the south there are also Mars/Pluto and Jupiter/Pluto lines, which are also quite threatening. It looks like a very difficult location indeed when you consider it in the context of her natal chart.

The location where they both disappeared is somewhere near to Howland Island, approximately circled to the right of New Guinea in the map below:

We see Chiron in Scorpio moved to the top, the MC, the Sun and Mercury in Leo setting, the Dragons Head in Aquarius rising and paran lines for Saturn/Uranus in Scorpio. Lots of Scorpio, indications of overheating, fuel problems or engine failure (Sun/Mercury square Chiron in Scorpio and Saturn conjunct Uranus in Scorpio all being emphasised). Its very likely the aircraft ran out of gas and that they were both killed in the water or from an explosion or fire, or the consequences of both fire and water. When we add the transits that were affecting Amelia at the time the picture is even more concerning – she was having Uranus in Taurus square Mercury in Leo and Mars in conjunction with Saturn/Uranus in Scorpio (and it was retrograding over them, which helps to explain the previous troubles in the journey). So those Saturn/Uranus in Scorpio paran lines were being energised by Mars while the Mercury setting line over the area of disappearance was being squared by Uranus. Radio communication was disrupted during their last contact with the world.

Pompeii was an ancient Roman city located near modern-day Naples, Italy. It was destroyed and buried under volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. The eruption occurred on August 24th and it is estimated that around 16,000 people were in the city at the time. The event was sudden and violent, with a column of ash and pumice reaching heights of up to 33 kilometers (20 miles) in the air. The ash and pumice from the eruption were carried by the wind and the volcanic cloud traveled as far as the eastern Mediterranean and parts of the Middle East. The city was buried under a layer of this ash and pumice, which preserved many of the buildings and artifacts as well as the (sterilised) bodies of the people, many of whom died instantly. Here is the chart for the eruption (we only know from ancient reports by Pliny who witnessed it that it began sometime in the afternoon of August 24th, but one look at this chart set for 2pm leaves little doubt as to the approximate timing):

It is very striking – a Mutable grand square with the Moon rising in Sagittarius, squared by an opposition of Uranus in Pisces and Mercury in Virgo, and opposed by Jupiter in Gemini (a huge plume of smoke obscured the Sun for days afterward). The Sun in late Leo also manages to add to the heat by being in conjunction with Mercury. Additionally, Mars is in Aries and angular, conjunct the Dragons Tail, and he is finding an easy way out into the world through a trine to the Moon and ascendant. Its all so hot and gaseous! The Moon rising in Sagittarius is a critical time-piece that triggers the pent up tension of Mercury/Jupiter/Uranus. I think this chart not only captures the eruption event but also the panic of people hastily fleeing the area.

Here we can see the same chart expressed on the map, with paran lines added:

The scale of this map from east to west is just over 1000 miles, the location of Pompeii circled in red. We see that Moon rising in Sagittarius line close by, and about 300 miles to its left is the black Jupiter setting line with the Mars/IC line (the red dotted straight line, north to south) about the same distance to the right, along with the Dragon MC/IC line. But we also see two very strong paran lines, Venus/Eris and Eris/Neptune, both just about 20 miles from Pompeii. The addition of Eris energy is very interesting, especially as Eris is in Scorpio, but the Venus/Neptune is a bit mysterious until you remember that the sterilization and preservation of the bodies in their moment of agonizing death is actually a unique and macabre kind of art. With Venus in Cancer, the destruction turned into an emotion tugging glimpse into history.

Pompeii was rediscovered on April 12th 1748, nearly 1700 years after it was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius. The rediscovery of Pompeii was accidental and occurred during the construction of a summer palace for the King of Naples. While digging a well, workers uncovered the remains of ancient walls and buildings, which were eventually identified as the lost city. During this time, Pluto in Scorpio was square the Sun of the Pompeii eruption chart (thus also in reach of a square with Mercury and square the position of Pluto in the eruption chart) and Saturn in Scorpio was square the charts natal Saturn in Aquarius – a powerful energy of Saturn in rulership and a powerful Pluto transit led to the discovery of the preserved bodies. What is more Mars was also in Taurus, squaring the eruptions Sun and Pluto.

There are many more things to discover in astrolocality and as technology enables more and more ways to display information we may well see a surge in the popularity and interest in this field. If you would like to explore your astrology in this way with me, I am open for business at Patrons at the 5 dollar or more tier are also welcome to request maps to be sent to them at any time. Thanks for reading!

On Psychic and Magical Shields

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This Samhain, popularly known as Halloween, we will look at psychic self defence – why it is necessary and how to do it.

The word occult literally means “hidden”. Within the world of the occult, then, it should be no surprise that it is full of hidden things. These things range from the familiar – our own soul and spirit for example are hidden from normal awareness and therefore occulted – to the utterly unfamiliar and strange, including the many invisible and intelligent entities we call spirits. In the Western magical tradition this time of year is known as the time when the veil between our physical and material existence and the occult world – the astral and mental planes – thins, allowing greater sight in both directions and permitting spirits greater freedom to roam in our realm for a period of time. In the past among these traditions this was a time of lighting lamps and candles in windows to guide the spirits, especially of the recently departed, but also to ward them away from human domiciles. It was a ritual acknowledgment of the invisible, hidden world that surrounds us. Scorpio takes much of its connection to the occult from this festival.

In the bright, modern world of neon lights and the internet and constant connection to others through wireless technology this belief may seem quaint at best, more like superstitious nonsense for dark autumn nights, but the reality is that we are constantly immersed in a hidden world where hidden influences interact with us without our awareness and some of those influences are not welcome ones. There is far more hidden from our perception than what we typically perceive around us (if we even notice that, given our current pre-occupation with looking at screens). To make matters worse, the vast majority of human beings have minimal defences against these factors and their bodies natural defences are also coming under constant assault in the modern environment (from pollutants, modern stresses, etc.). If we were to lift the veil on the occult world we would see that it is a major factor in many social ills such as addiction, suicide, violence, mental health disturbances and emotional disorders as well as many physical ones. It isn’t just hauntings we are dealing with here. It is, quite literally, in every facet of society and culture and all of the troubles we meet with in the course of life that these occult factors play a significant role. Many animals have not lost their senses as we have, and so pet cats and dogs often form a front line of defence that keep many such unwanted and unseen influences at bay, but many wild animals do this too. Wolves, coyotes, crows, owls (indeed most birds), for example, use sound to ward areas or harry spirits they do not like. They also help us to relax and unwind, which helps us in other ways as the lessening of tensions reduces the potential we have for creating personal entities, thought forms that feed on our anxieties, hurts, etc. Many traditions also hold lore concerning the innate protective properties of certain plants, for example onion and garlic are renowned for their ability to absorb negative or toxic energies and would sometimes be strewn about a home for a while and then burned.

The sources of negative influences are varied. Sometimes (most often it seems to me) they are initiated by other human beings, sometimes they are locked into certain locations or spaces or objects like curses or hauntings, sometimes they arise from our own karma, sometimes from the interference of entities, of which there are also many varieties. Sometimes this source will be obvious, like a creepy painting or a body buried under the floorboards, but more often it is occulted. Even weak spirits have a strong self preservation instinct just as we do and this is in many cases a primary motivation for their activities, meaning they tend to conceal themselves, especially in the presence of someone who can recognise and deal with them. Fortunately, it is often not necessary to identify the source of whatever is involved as even more fortunately they can almost always be dealt with in the same way. In other words, you only have to learn one way of creating your occult shield and that one way will probably be all you ever need as it will be effective against every kind of threat whether it is a curse or a spirit. The only thing your shield will not protect you from is your own karma or stupidity. However the power and strength of your shield is a factor that needs continuous attention.

Before getting to that, however, I would like to talk about the things your shield is protecting you from because the understanding of what you are dealing with is itself a form of protection. Ignorance is most definately not bliss in this area.


As I said above most attacks come from people, with intentional psychic attack being pretty rare – many attacks are to some degree unintentional. This becomes even more the case once you understand the nature of many of the invisible entities that we deal with, as I will explain shortly. In my experience about 80-90% of cases where people feel that they are under psychic attack arise from their own imaginations or the unconscious, in other words we attack ourselves most frequently. We have unhealthy mental and emotional habits that manifest our magical potential in hidden, unwelcome ways – how often do you hear yourself or other people saying “This makes me sick!” with real passion, for example? Such thoughts and words contribute towards eventually making us sick. Better instead to express “I don’t like this”, or something less impactive to our being. In extreme cases, this factor can easily be so severe that it seems no different to a curse or a spirit. In reality it often is all of the above as spirits and curses operate effectively through our unconscious and are drawn toward thinking that is alike to their own nature. Identifying a source can therefore be problematic, like a chicken and egg conundrum.

However regardless of the source the key aspect of the attack to deal with is always at hand because it is within us. All forms of astral and mental assault exploit weaknesses in our own psyches. Our own negative qualities, our darkness, is what enables the attack to land and take root. An entity or thought-form in the vicinity of humans will seek out a resonant mental or astral body, looking for a match like a human on a dating app. If we do not have such a hook in the first place the attack will be repelled and if it lands and we then later uproot its hold over our psyche it will stop affecting us. For example a being that feeds on anger will gravitate towards the angriest people in its vicinity, while those who have mastered their anger will be immune to its attachment, and an angry person who works through their anger issues will cause any entities that feed on that anger to migrate, just like any animal. This means that the key to never being psychically attacked at all in the first place is self awareness and self-knowledge as well as the commitment to work through our own negative character qualities. Unfortunately, nobody is perfect and the psyche is immensely complex and so we always have to deal with the potential for the unconscious to expose us, and so the use of a magical shield to guard against such situations is necessary. However it cannot replace the real work of making ourselves invulnerable to such attacks – self tranformation towards a better version of ourselves. Its function is merely to supplement and support that work. Aside from a purity of being the bedrock of any impenetrable psychic defence is the conviction that you cannot be attacked at all. If you have no belief in the power of a curse, for instance, not even an unconscious one, it cannot land before that conviction is shaken or removed. This means that many people who do not believe in any supernatural or occult factors have some degree of natural defence but it is a very fragile one that can be easily negated. The strongest forms of psychic defence are based not on ignorance but on knowledge, self knowledge. Working to the point where you have transformed the majority of your unknown darkness into known darkness and then into something positive and developing a strong will is not only essential to effective psychic defense but to progress in magic as well. Ultimately with self knowledge we reach the realisation that the unity of our consciousness with all other things makes the very idea of an attack itself utterly void. The idea of evil as an external force also disintegrates.

Ultimately you are a sovereign being which means that you are always in a position of control, but many ‘dark’ entities will try to convince you that this is not the case as a way to get their hooks into your psyche. By generating experiences of terror, helplessness, fear and doubt, by sowing dissent and playing little tricks, by displaying violence and power, or simply by slowly leeching you of life and vital energy, such entities not only feed on what they create (growing more powerful) but also use it to erode the sense of control people have which is a key part of the attack. Once this sense of control is removed the person (or group) is much easier to manipulate and it is much harder to deal with the issues. For this reason it is also quite difficult for many entities to attach themselves to people with strong willpower, composure, self discipline and will to live such as members of the Armed Forces, emergency services, or similarly trained individuals – once the initial connection is made with the psyche it will take longer for the entity to wear down the will and the sense of sovereignty and control over life situations. However the exposure to negative or traumatic situations such people often have and the way those experiences are suppressed also makes plenty of fertile ground for that initial connection to be made.

Many places where people work are crowded with negative beings, additionally hospitals, prisons and places where people grieve or suffer like war-zones. Such places used to be more protected by the spiritual traditions of their cultures, but this is no longer the case. Cities everywhere are similarly crowded with negative beings for what I think should be obvious reasons but which will become clearer once I explain what we have to deal with spiritually. People seek the solace and comfort of nature on regular vacations for many reasons. Moving through such spaces on a regular basis with unregenerate and unknown darkness within us we become like sponges soaking up these entities, which ultimately helps to create more. Some places become breeding grounds. Beings can also hitchhike on us from these places back into our homes or other locations where we spend time or migrate from person to person like birds moving their nests from tree to tree. Especially sensitive, empathic and unconsciously psychic people (Pisces or Neptune attuned souls especially) can have severe issues with this situation and never know why. It is possible for this problem to become chronic enough to affect us physically, disturbing our sleep, draining our energy generally and potentially harming the organs of the body as time passes. All of this is often extremely worrying and concerning for people to learn, leading to fear and paranoia, but really there is no reason for that, you might just as well spend your entire life worrying yourself sick about the influence of microscopic bacteria everywhere. These creatures are a part of the natural way of things and we are better off being aware of them and taking appropriate precautions, measures that serve to increase our self confidence, not reduce it.

The beings of the astra mental universe or ‘spirits’ are literally infinite and beyond description but we can understand that vast scope according to certain types of entity that exist in close proximity to us. In the Step 6 physical training of ‘Initiation into Hermetics‘ Franz Bardon groups these beings into elementals, larvae, phantoms and phantasms or shadows, in Step 7 he discusses elementaries (which are magically distinct from elementals) and in ‘The Practice of Magical Evocation‘ he discusses the hierarchy of Divinely created Intelligences in the spheres that make up the astra-mental universe surrounding the Earth. There are also beings outside of this framework who are either inhabitants or travelers through the astra-mental realms such as magicians wandering in their astral or mental bodies and visitors from other physical worlds. All of these things can be categorized as ‘spirits’ in some sense or another. Of these the most relevant to psychic attack and defence are larvae, phantoms and phantasms. Some of these entities are extremely ancient, having been fed collectively for many thousands of years, others are modern arrivals or beings with very little relative power. What follows is a brief description of each of these types.

Larvae and Elementals are both formed by human beings and represent a vast number of the problematic beings we deal with on a regular basis. Larvae are more common than elementals. They are practically identical with the only difference between them being that larvae are created unconsciously while elementals are the same type of being created consciously by a magician. These beings are formed on the mental plane and live out their existence there but if they gain enough density they are capable of manifesting astrally and even physically as well – some orbs of light that people see are elementals or larvae. Larvae are the problem entity here but, like all negative forces, once properly understood the nature of these beings reveals itself to be a spiritual teaching for the soul since the presence of a larvae in your life serves to teach you about yourself. It has attached itself to you because you were somehow a match. Human beings are continuously creating these entities, which some traditions refer to as thought forms, through their passions, excitements and the intense empowerment of their thoughts through the feelings – it is a natural thing that humans cannot help but do all the time but the involuntary nature by which we do it becomes a major problem when coupled with the darker urges in the human psyche. These beings feed from a particular thought-feeling, the substance which created them, and their self-preservation instinct causes them to seek richer and greater sources of that substance so that they can grow in size and power. Aside from this they are mostly mindless, unintelligent entities with purpose but no life force of their own, akin to parasites in the physical world except that they can grow very large. The form of a larva symbolically reflects the substance which created them and which they feed from, for example larvae created from loving feelings may appear as a cupid or as a love heart while hate as arrows or flashes or burning light. This form, along with the mental force needed to create it, is drawn from the unconscious of the creator of the larva. Thus the form of the being not only reveals its nature but also potentially the identity of its original creator and in the mental realm we witness a constant stream of larvae being created and sustained by human beings, the larvae interacting with human mental bodies in ways that stimulate the mind of the person in a particular way, usually by drawing attention to the subject matter it feeds upon. We can notice the coming and going, the constant traffic of these entities in our awareness, simply by being present and taking note of the train of thoughts arriving and bringing with them various emotional attachments. Through mental discipline such as that gained through meditation we learn to take control of this phenomena and to lessen its negative impact not just in our lives but in the entire world, and the universe. Bardon mentions these larvae in connection with the Inquisition and the burning of many innocent people as witches, but this is clearly just a horrific example (as well as a warning to fellow magicians) and not a special case. The early and ongoing life process of initiation, which involves continuous self reflection and introspection and grappling with the soul seeking to transform and master it, leads to the natural purging of these negative entities from the magicians bodies, since they no longer find a source of food to sustain them and either die or detach themselves. Thus the key to dealing with destructive larvae is to transform the negative character trait that acted as bait or as a creator for them in the first place. The science of affirmation, hypnosis and other methods can help here. Stop telling yourself that terrible thing and replace it with something that feels better for you.

Phantoms or spectres are similar to larvae, being created by humans in a mostly involuntary way, but instead of drawing their forms and life force from the unconscious mind of their creator they draw it from the conscious imagination of the person, from their dreams and fantasies. Hence there are many of these with an erotic charge to them, beings who have been created through the constant fantasies of people sleeping with specific celebrities or ‘sex symbols’, for example (traditionally a type of demon called a succubus or incubus, depending on their apparent gender), but there are many other kinds formed from all kinds of conscious fantasizing. Players of role playing games create such beings as ways of exploring their own psyches and authors do the same with characters they imagine – even with worlds. Some of us create epic phantoms that try to take over our lives and they often succeed because we are willing. When these beings grow strong enough they can start dictating their own stories, taking control of the stories they are in – our story! Other, darker, phantoms are created from horror movies and the minds of serial killers. These beings have more intelligence than unconsciously created larvae because of the involvement of a degree of conscious imagination. They are bound by the rules of the imaginer and behave as they have been imagined to behave. They can interact with us more cleverly, using our dreams for example to stimulate activity that feeds them, and then cause an orgasm in order to feed on the vital energy, which can be very draining for the person. They can therefore be very dangerous. Bardon gives two examples of these entities, one concerning a situation in which a perfectly mundane and not at all magical person is mistaken by another person for a black magician because of the way they look (clearly, this poor dude is a Scorpio!), leading to the eventual suicide or mental degeneration of the second person as the phantom created by their thoughts grows stronger, only for the soul to realise after death that they have committed an elaborate kind of magical suicide. The other example given is of a succubus or incubus. Other examples of this entity are doppelgängers (doubles of people we know that appear when the person is far away, often when they are in some kind of trouble) and beings born out of memes or urban legends. Entities we would think of as demons are very often just powerful phantoms bloated and gluttoned by millennia of collective imagination – ‘the devil’, for example. Some of these entities can become powerful enough to enact forms of possession on the most vulnerable human beings. They have no existence outside of the human world but they are powerful enough to be real to us and that matters. They are obviously a major problem in our society, like larvae, but like larvae they also serve to teach us about ourselves, since we actually created them all. Think of what we could do with elementals and phantoms if we were all responsible with it.

Phantasms or shadows/shades are similar to phantoms but their image is drawn from that of a deceased person, specifically from the remembering and mourning of the deceased by the living. These are the beings that most frequently manifest themselves to spiritualists and mediums (sometimes to different mediums in different places at the same time). They are quite intelligent and adept at trickery. Bardon tells us that it is very sad that these phantoms are always mistaken for the real dead persons by the spiritualists. They have the same memories as the people who remember that person (who are its creators) and due to the long time in which people are remembered they can exist for centuries, even thousands of years. Statues, monuments and images of ancient dead rulers were specifically designed to create powerful shades that would then be used to guide and influence cultures after their deaths. Mummification magic, in which the astral body is preserved alongside the physical body, is different to the creation of a phantasm but related. In mummification the objective was to preserve the astral body, which would disintegrate following the physical body’s death, enabling the spirit of the departed to influence the physical world for a time after its passing. However the vast majority of people pass beyond this world immediately following their death and the apparitions which we see of them after that point are mostly phantasms. Not always, as the departed may still be contacted through the Akasha, but in the majority of cases, contact with the dead is actually with a shade. Phantoms and phantasms can also be consciously created by magicians but their employment in intentional psychic attack is rare.

Elementaries are intentionally created beings that differ substantially from elementals. Elementals are composed of consciously condensed mental light while an elementary is composed of the Elements and therefore has a more complex occult anatomy with more potential, and it is invested with life from its creators life energy. The creation of an elementary is an act of magic and is only possible by a well trained initiate. A physical representation of the beings body – like a doll – is constructed and ritually prepared so that it is brought to life astrally and mentally. Many varieties exist, from the crudest and simplest (corn dolls and scarecrows used by magician farmers) to the most advanced and mystical. A Golem is an advanced and extemely powerful type of elementary that has been imbued with Divine power through ritual kabbalah and evocation so that its physical form is animate, for example. Despite the prevalence of this trope in horror stories the practice of creating elementaries is very rarely an issue in psychic attacks as it requires a well trained black magician. Most people are attacked instead by larvae or phantoms.

Intelligences are Divinely ordained entities not created by human beings. They have a role in the natural order, a function and meaning that they embody and personify. These come in countless types but they exist in a hierarchy. In hermetics this hierarchy of Intelligences is expressed as spheres that are named after the objects in the solar system – the Sun sphere, the Moon sphere, etc Included in this category are the Intelligences of the Elements (from which magical elementaries are created), beings of the pure Elements such as the gnomes and sylphs and many nature spirits. These are different from the phantasms humans have created by imagining these beings – another reason why dealing with the spirit world requires a keen discernment. Magical shielding will protect you against these if it is ever necessary, but only if it is not karmic for you to deal with it. Specific magical shields can be crafted for resisting the oscillations of these spheres and are some of the secrets first learned by magicians from these spirits in evocation. There are positive entities and negative entities, with the negative ones being called contra-Intelligences and representing the opposite of their positive counterpart, the destructive power of their principle. These beings are part of the natural order of things (things have to be destroyed as well as created) and assist us in our incarnation but not necessarily in ways we would like. Many of them are aware of us and can interact with our world in various ways, sometimes even visiting it or even taking us to visit theirs (faerie lore is full of such encounters, for example). They take forms that express their innate being, what they are in essence, but also ones that communicate that to us specifically through symbols, thus it is possible for two people (or cultures) to see the same Intelligence differently, even at the same time.

Curses are actually quite common, since they can be placed upon people through the unconscious creation of larvae and phantoms, but as I hope I have made clear most often we have done so to ourselves, not to another human being, and we can also see that many curses arise from repeated use of a building or place for acts which generate and nurture such beings. Objects can also carry residues from human use, persistent influences that bring either good or bad luck. The same principle is used by magicians in the conscious creation of a talisman or amulet and you can employ the same idea in your psychic shield.


There are as many ways of doing this as there are traditions – they exist for every kind of religion, mysticism, magic, culture, etc. In finding your own occult shield I suggest you begin where you are comfortable meaning that if you have a particular leaning towards a particular spiritual tradition then you should examine how that tradition views psychic self protection and shielding and become familiar with the symbols that tradition uses in this respect. For example if you are drawn towards the Egyptian tradition then consider using the Eye of Horus, while if you are drawn towards the Norse tradition then use Thor’s Hammer as a warding symbol, if you are Christian, use the cross instead, etc. Animal totems, religious icons, magical sigils, mantras, words of power, gestures, incantations, guardian spirits and whatever your personal tradition provides can be involved in the ritual you design to create your shield. The magical power of symbols is in what they signify to us, so select symbols that speak directly to you. This also means creating your own is a wise strategy but these will lack the weight and substance of centuries of use by other humans, which can be considerable. A self created, original symbol relies more on the power that we invest into them, meaning they are often better for those with more practice in the occult. Whatever tradition we use it provides a framework and a support structure for our shield, anchoring it in that traditions power and philosophy, in its history as a successful counter to unwanted influences. Employing no tradition at all frees our creative power but leaves the shielding dependent on the power of our own will, our conviction in the protection, and without a strong support structure backing it up. This is part of why many banishings, exorcisms and wardings follow a strict ritual process. You don’t need to learn any of these to create an effective magical shield, though.

The process of creating a magical shield is relatively simple and can be accomplished without much effort or training, however its effectiveness will dramatically increase if you do have some skill in meditation and mental discipline as well as creative imagination. If you lack this skill or feel that your shield is not strong enough you will need to continuously replenish it to offset this weakness. Additionally there are certain extra steps you can take to strengthen and empower your shield as well as to make it easily accessible in an emergency. You do not have to follow all the steps outlined below, you can just concentrate on the creation of the shield itself if you wish, but if you do follow these steps your shield will be much more effective.

Preparations: Banishing, Cleansing and Blessing

Before you create your shield it is a very good idea to dismiss from yourself or the area you are shielding any negative influences that already dwell there. If you do not do this you run the risk of shielding yourself in with something, especially if your shield is to encompass your home or vehicle. This would lead to a psychic battle with that entity. In the case of a personal shield being made for your own bodies a cleansing and banishing ritual prepares your space and will give the shield a stronger basis to ground itself in.

If you are clearing a space such as your home or vehicle then the first part of the banishing and cleansing is to literally clean up the physical space, removing all clutter, dust, webbing, untidiness, garbage, etc. If you have to, let go of old objects anchoring things to you or your space – have a clear out and pass things on. Then your space should be astrally and mentally cleared of influences, something that is often accomplished through incense, music and chanting or through the creative imagination of a bright, cleansing positive light filling the space or surrounding your body and driving out anything negative that is hiding within. However you do it the key point is to summon all of your conviction and all of your willpower and shoo all negativity away. It’s worth noting at this point that there are other things that act as banishing and cleansing factors – humour and laughter is an incredibly powerful force here, as are wild parties and celebrations, sometimes. It depends on the party. However a party thrown with the intent of banishing away evil spirits is a time-honoured way of doing this. I’m often amused that the materialistic expression of Samhain as Halloween, a time of crazy and fun parties, laughter at the spooky side of life and sweet treats, seems designed with the lurking fear of the truth in the back of the collective mind. Try as we might, we cannot stamp out the natural instincts that tie us to the invisible world. After all, as I have hopefully pointed out already, many of its local inhabitants are our spiritual kin or the spiritual children of our ancestors, and such familial bonds are of the strongest kind.

If you are creating a shield for yourself then I would recommend that before the first time you do so you have a ritual magical bath, if possible. This is a powerful banishing and cleansing ceremony in which you bathe not to clean your physical body but your astral and mental bodies. You shower and clean your physical body before the bath, making the focus the process of cleansing your subtle bodies. You can employ bath salts, candles, oils, incense, music and other ritual elements as you wish. I cannot do better than point you in the direction of Kaitlin Coppocks article on this subject:

In her article you will find a most excellent and extensive set of instructions on magical baths, including what to do if you have no bath. I recommend you read it and create your own version of it with the tools you have at hand or can obtain in a reasonable amount of time. Undergoing a magical bath before you create your magical shield will greatly enhance your experience and empower your shield to be more effective. If you do not have the time or the means for a ritual bath then instead you can perform a banishing and cleansing of your bodies using the simple method of imagining yourself in a universe filled with white light that drives away all darkness, or you can use the more involved meditation that follows (you could also make this a part of your magical bath ritual if you wish):

Sit or lie down in a comfortable position and begin to relax, focusing on your breathing. Breathe normally and naturally as you relax each of the muscles in your body in turn, noting where the greatest tension lies. When you are ready begin to imagine a golden light above your head beginning to descend into its top. As this beautiful golden light descends into your head it gradually fills up the inside of your body like warm golden honey. Take your time feeling it moving slowly into every crevice inside your head. The pulsing, warm light continues to pour down and the golden liquid gradually descends into your throat and shoulders, chest and upper arms, flows over your elbows and into your stomach and abdomen, trickles towards the end of every finger and over the edge of your hips, down towards your feet, until your entire body is filled with this golden fluid. As it passes through your body it takes with it all negativity and all disharmony and dysfunction and breaks it down until it is nothing. When the inside of your body is entirely filled from head to tips of toes and soles of feet, imagine that the liquid begins to transmute and ooze out of the tips of your toes as a gaseous golden mist that begins to float upwards. This beautiful golden cloud returns to your head slowly, filtering through your astral and mental bodies and your aura as it does so and removing negativity and disharmony from them and your space. When it reaches the top of your head where the light began to descend into your body it seals you completely in a bubble, front and back, left and right sides, leaving you wrapped in an egg shaped golden mist and all negativity has been removed from your being. Give thanks that it is so.

These examples exist alongside many other methods of accomplishing the same goal of banishing and cleansing. You might go to see a professional such as a shaman or a medical practitioner such as an acupuncturist to accomplish the same ends.

Creation of the Magic Shield around a Person

Once again, sit or lie down in a comfortable position and relax, focusing on your breathing. I prefer to be sitting because the spine is straight and vertical, but comfort for you is the main thing. Before you begin, affirm silently in your mind that this process will bring an increase in self confidence. Be certain that your shield is not established based on fear or paranoia but instead is founded on empowerment. Additionally, and perhaps even before you begin, give some time to contemplating how your shield will behave toward negative influences. Does it drain them, reflect them back at their source, make you invisible to them, trap them, destroy them, notify you or not, does it give you an option to let them in so that you can examine them? How long is it meant to last for, and in what situations or places is it meant to be present? Does it behave differently toward different entities or sources of attack, for example does it notify you when it specifically comes from an individual known to you or does it destroy one kind of entity but trap another? This is an important design step that should be a reflection of your intentions and also your morality. These are after all, living beings like us – many are our unwanted children! Human beings do an enormous number of negative things but that doesn’t mean all entities need to be destroyed.

The shield you will be creating utilizes a very common energy source for this purpose, the universal Light. It relies on the fact that every individual human being (indeed, all beings) has a connection to the highest spiritual realms that they can call upon at any time. The Light will be drawn down from above your head into your bodies and circulated around them with the instruction that it protect you as you intend it to. When the process is complete you will then ensure its supply of energy by connecting it to the universal storehouse of Light from which it will be continually replenished.

Begin by relaxing deeply, then imagine a white light above your head beginning to move down into your crown from which it begins to overflow like a fountain. As this white light flows from above into and out of your crown it begins to move in a clockwise direction around the top of your head, very slowly and gracefully. Affirm that as it does so it protects you in the way that you have intended and be sure to continually press this idea into the Light as it moves. Be sure to visualise and feel its movement around the back of your head as it crosses in front of your eyes and brow, ears, nose and mouth, and finally wraps itself around your chin and neck. It makes contact with your skin because it envelopes you internally as well but its boundary extends slightly beyond your skin into the space you consider your own personal space. With the shield now formed as a kind of hood or helmet around your head region pause for a while and again affirm your will and desire that the shield protect you in the way you design it to. It begins to broaden out to encompass the space around your shoulders and then spirals down your upper arms to your elbows and around your chest and back, wrapping your upper body. Take your time and be sure to continually focus on the idea of your magical shield and its protection. Breathe normally and naturally and feel the protective layer of the shield encompassing the whole upper half of your body. When you’re ready mentally affirm once again the purpose of the shield and remind yourself that it will lead to an increase in confidence as you direct the Light to continue circulating in a clockwise direction around your abdomen and lower body, shielding your belly and stomach, and wrapping itself around your hips, always pressing the intention of the magical shield into it as it passes around you. You want to calmly know that absolutely no negative influence can get past it. Continue to let the light circulate in this way until you reach the soles of your feet. At this point, sit within your shield and feel its presence, try to get used to its energy so that you can recognise it when it is activated. Enjoy being in the safe space for a while. When you’re ready, simply instruct your shield to begin drawing its energy from the universal storehouse of Light that is available at all times in all places. Imagine that the original portal to this Light above your head slowly fades and disappears and place yourself in an entire universe of this Light stretching in every direction. Instruct the universal Light to then begin to pour into your shield from every direction continuously, and include the thought that this connection can only be severed by you. Know that this is true. Now go and have a cup of tea or coffee and watch a movie or read a book – anything that takes your mind off the shield for a number of hours, so that you forget about it. This helps the shield to establish itself. Beyond that, from time to time give attention to your shield and replenish it by repeating the ritual.

If you wish you may repeat the process two more times, making the first shield for your mental body, the second for your astral body and the third for your physical body. The process is exactly the same, all that changes is that you make sure to impress the shield with the idea that it is protecting a specific body. A single shield works to protect you on all three levels but separate shields allow you to distinguish more between influences that affect different bodies and the act of repetition makes them generally sturdier as well.

On that note there are other things you can do to make your shield even stronger. First, learn to utilize all of your astral and mental senses in the shields creation, not just visualizing it but smelling, hearing, tasting and feeling it as well. For me this is actually the really fun part of the process where you get to employ the creative side of your creative imagination. What is the smell of protection for you? Look back into your memories and you will find an archive of aromas and odors that you have mostly ignored in favour of visual stimuli. These are literal treasure troves waiting assignment to some kind of magical operation, all you have to do is consciously recall them with your imagination. The journey of just discovering these things is itself a magical one. For example, most people have a long buried memory of the smell of their mother’s skin when they were babies. If you can remember this smell and creatively imagine it as the smell of your shield while you are wrapping it around you it will greatly empower that shield (unless perhaps the shield is for use against your own mother!). Similarly, give your shield a presence in imagined sound (an instrument, a musical tone, birdsong, an alarm bell, etc.), a taste and a feeling as well (hard, smooth, rough, spiky, hot, cold, etc.). You can also instruct your shield to bring these sensations into your awareness under specific trigger conditions, for example you can instruct it to give you a bitter taste or the sound of an owl when a specific entity tries to interfere with you. These are more advanced shielding techniques for people more familiar with the practice but in the beginning simply personalizing your shield by adding all of your senses in these ways is one of the most powerful techniques you can use to increase its strength and effectiveness. The more personal your connection is to your own shield, the more it protects you. Always keep the personal details of your shield a secret to preserve its power.

Secondly you can ground your shield, giving it a material object to root itself in. Very often this will be some kind of jewellery, a ring or necklace that you wear that is specifically worn only as a part of your shielding and which you do not have to take off in bed or when washing. By touching the object you can activate the shield at will or strengthen it. By turning it or otherwise physically manipulating it you can also cause your shield to enter different configurations. The problem with this is if you lose the object. At that point you have to construct a new shield for yourself or modify the old one so that it is not dependent upon the object if that was the case. Losing our protective items is sometimes a profoundly deep lesson for us. Specials words or phrases can serve the same functions as can certain hand gestures. Grounding your shield can also be done in another way, by planting a magical tree or plant which you nurture as its physical form. Fruit trees can be especially useful in this respect as their fruit can be eaten and their seeds given to others or planted in a protective circle around an area.

Creation of the Magic Shield around a Space or Object

When it comes to creating a shield for a location or object such as a vehicle or something that is to be sent in the post the process is exactly the same but you must ensure that the Light is circulated around the object itself, from whatever its top seems to be to its bottom. Special attention must be given to all of the doorways and windows, chimneys, vents and any other entrances into the building or space as well as the four cardinal directions of east, west, north and south. Don’t forget that many things come into the home through the computer and the internet now – we have portals into digital spaces and the news isn’t good lately. It is customary and beneficial to begin with the east (where sunlight becomes visible each day) and rotate the Light in a clockwise direction from there (or in the direction the Sun travels in the day), so around the space from east to south, south to west, then west to north and back to the east again. Make sure that you cover underneath the area and above it so that is encompassed in a sphere. Begin at the top of the area or structure and rotate down into the ground beneath it. If you have land or a garden, extend the protection to the boundary and not just the building walls. If you have a garage or parking space treat that as part of the boundary of your shield and make sure it covers them too. You can do this room to room or cover the entire building and location in one go as you wish. Afterward or during it is a good idea to ground the shield by placing symbols or guardian objects in the cardinal directions or entryways of your home, over the doors or facing them or on window sills. I like to use wooden objects because wood is alive in a very special way for me.

If the object is to be used as a grounding object and a material representation of your shield, like a ring you want to wear, you simply have to hold the object in your hands while you perform your shielding and from time to time remember to put your attention on the held object and instruct it to behave in the way you wish. Make sure that your object is saturated in the universal Light of your shield.

The creation of a shield around your space constitutes a clear signal in the astra-mental planes that says “Caution! Conscious humans live here!” and this alone serves to protect you. The vast majority of our abodes, with no such spiritual protection placed around them, appear to many entities as open territories that they are free to move through at will, perhaps even live in. By establishing a boundary and signaling that it is our own astra-mental territory many negative entities are discouraged from coming near. If this seems familiar to you it’s because it is – it’s the tradition of lighting jack-o’-lanterns in your windows on Halloween, an occult tradition that is ironically itself heavily occulted. The lantern can become the object which grounds the shielding of your home, the pumpkin and its face the spirit of your home itself, warding intruders away, the candle flame the Light. This is why the tradition involves making the lantern a fun activity with children, because their natural magic is invested into it. As I have said before, adults may have largely lost (actually, misplaced) their psychic senses, but not entirely. They operate through the unconscious until they are consciously re-claimed and trained. They are occulted but still there. If you want to make this a true magical operation involving your children, I suggest you leave them to hollow out the pumpkins while you focus on impressing the Light of protection into the candles that will be used.

That’s all for now, be safe out there and don’t be afraid, one of the things I hope you take away from this post is just how powerful we all are. Let’s realise it together. In a previous journey I have discussed the use of astrology in warding and banishing magic and I suggest you read this article after this one if you’re interested in learning more about that.

My love to all of you!

The Lost System of Hermes

Greetings, and welcome back to Journeys! This month we journey into the past to explore the possibility that an entire tier of astrological knowledge has been lost, one that we can only now observe gradually returning.

“How a person masters his fate is more important than what his fate is.”

– Wilhelm von Humboldt, 18th and 19th century philosopher and linguist

Every practicing astrologer knows many variations of the following problem – your clients chart has Venus in a configuration which suggests emotional trouble and conflict connected to their siblings, or Jupiter strongly placed in the 9th house, indicating growth and spiritual expansion of horizons through faith or exploration of the world. However, the client with the troubled Venus has a brother and a sister and only gets along badly with one of them, or the person with the strong Jupiter has absolutely no interest in faith or travel but is instead a lawyer, yet another signification of the 9th house and Jupiter. There seems to be no mechanism in astrology for delineating which of these outcomes will manifest itself. The modern practice of astrology, with its great emphasis on the worship of free will and human psychology, approaches this problem by emphasising that a chart exists within a context which is provided by the choices we make, tasking the astrologer with ascertaining through consultation how the person is manifesting the archetypal energies. To put this more simply, we assume (correctly), for example, that the way that a dancer manifests their Venus will be different to the way that a banker does and it is not really the astrologers job to guess but to adapt the charts pattern to the life circumstances. The problem remains however – the astrologer is faced with a daunting task in interpreting not just one planet with many possible manifestations but an entire chart full of them (and rapidly overflowing with modern discoveries), and that is just planets – the signs, houses and aspects also manifest with spectacular scope. Even a square between planets can signify either continuous trouble or perpetual energy and stimulation.

This context in which astrology operates is composed of what are sometimes called “co-determining factors”. A good example of a co-determining factor is your biological gender. It is not readable from your birth chart. Nor is your skin colour, the cultural background you are born into (your nationality or race). Clearly these are major factors influencing your life, but astrology or your natal chart doesn’t seem to care, only showing our relationship to archetypes. Other co-determining factors are currently up for debate – sexuality is a big one, disability is another. As modern attitudes towards these topics evolves and changes it is forcing a re-evaluation of basic astrological principles. Whereas, for example, in the past it might have seemed acceptable to assign the hard aspects of Saturn to mobility issues or Uranus with homosexuality and lesbianism, shifts in the collective paradigm now bring such judgments into question. The outdated and historical treatment of homosexuality as a perversion, for example, clearly underlies part of this assignment to the planet Uranus, while the emerging maturity with which we treat the disabled now perceives their situation as a social disability involving lack of access and recognition rather than a physical disability which invites pity, a shift which calls into question the idea that disability by necessity has to be represented by ‘hard’ or ‘bad’ or ‘malefic’ planets and influences. Here, again, we touch upon the same issue – why do only some people manifest such aspects as homosexuality, for example, while others do not?

The ancient world had simpler words for many of these ‘co-determining factors’ – fate. The concept of fate, however, was extremely developed and multivalent, requiring several words to describe the different kinds of fate which existed in a metaphysical model that had many deep roots in hermetics, especially in reference to the planetary spheres, the three realms or planes (four if you include the Divine) and the three bodies which act as the vehicles for their realms. This philosophy of fate is at least as extensive as our modern psychology and defies easy summary, so you will need to do more research in this area as it is beyond the scope of this journey, but I will give some explanation here because it is important for understanding what follows:

Pronoia is Divine will, Divine Providence, the fate of implicit order, of universal principles, and it relates to foresight in the human being. Night follows day, day follows night; spring follows winter and is followed by summer, etc. It is the fate of the nature of things as they are, the fate of a human being differing, say, from that of an acorn seed, or a star. It is universal, hierarchical, orderly, with that which is closer to the Divine being ‘higher’ in this hierarchy and that which is more material being ‘lower’, with the important addition that what is ‘above’ is like that which is ‘below’. Possessing foresight permits us to perceive how fate will play out based on our understanding of the natural order of things. It is a part of being. This is an expression of fate in the mental realm, i.e. of spiritual fate. We can say, for example, that the Pronoia of Venus is that it is connected to love and to feelings. It is part of the essential meaning of Venus. Every human being has a specific set of archetypes, the same signs, planets, potential aspects, etc., which is also an expression of Pronoia.

Heimarmene or ‘incarnation of destiny’ is astrological fate, the fact that each thing is born into a certain set of astrological conditions which shape its experience, and is closest to our modern definition of fate. It can be adapted to, escaped or worked out through effort and spiritual maturation and is a part of becoming. A seed must contend with the cycle of the seasons over many years in order to reach its full potential. This is an expression of astral fate, i.e. the fate of the soul, of things at work within it. Venus gets two signs, Taurus and Libra, which acts as another allotment of fate. Thats the Heimarmene of Venus. Valens tells us ‘the planets are servants of Heimarmene. Your specific astrological chart, with its seeding of the universal archetypes in a specific, personal configuration or mandala is an expression of fate at this level too.

Ananke (necessity) is the fate of inevitability and compulsion, the fact that if you jump off a cliff you will not fly but will fall to the rocks below (unless you are winged like a bird and thus fated to fly by virtue of the nature of your being at the higher order of Pronoia). It is the fate of reality and coercion, of things working upon the soul. It can be manipulated with magic or technology so that what is necessary to happen does not transpire or occurs in a particular way. Ananke is a constraining force that embodies the densest form of fate in the material plane, i.e. allotted fate. It represents the fact that we have to operate in a world where things happen independent of our own actions or designs. It is not under our conscious control and has inevitability attached but it is not necessarily bad for us – hunger, for example, prevents us from starving to death. By Ananke the seed falls on a certain type of ground, as in the parable of the sower, and thus meets with this third order of fate – it is eaten by birds, strangled by thorns, burned by the Sun, or grows into full life as a tree. Ananke manifests in human beings as hindsight – shit happens and we learn from it for later – and in modern astrology as things like transits, synastry and the overall way that happenings and the context provided by those co-determining factors and a persons choices in expressing the archetypes in the chart manifest themselves.

This is a super gross simplification of an elaborate philosophy but it illustrates the essential thinking on fate as having multiple levels and forms of mnifestation, represented by different deifications of fate, not just in the ancient Greek world but in other old mythologies like the three Norse Norns. A thing has the mental fate of being what it is (which it cannot change), the astral fate of contending with becoming what it is (which it is born into but can influence), and the material fate of contending with necessary and constraining events in the world it seems to have no control over and can do nothing or little about but can learn from anyway. In modern astrology we could also say that the third level of fate, Ananke, is connected not just to transits and so on but to the house that Venus falls in and all of her aspects. This makes a lot of sense because the house cusps are determined by the time and place of your birth and are the most personal parts of your astrology, so the ascendant literally allots all the planets and signs a particular power and duty according to where they fall, like scattered seeds. Yet the ancient world had a much more developed system for analysing this level of fate, one that practically disappeared but is now being revived: the Lots.


Like almost all, of astrology we have only the vaguest idea of the origins of the Lots. This fact alone is testament to their antiquity. It’s very unlikely that they were just discovered by noticing things happening in people’s lives and events. Its much more likely the system was received through direct inspiration and/or systematic development with intent by an individual or group. The earliest significant record of them (earlier mentions exist without giving great details) comes from the Tetrabiblos written by Ptolemy in the 2nd century but it is of course well known that he was in the business of cataloging and compiling as well as streamlining, not inventing, and he repeatedly tells us that he is drawing on Egyptian and Chaldean sources for his information. Later writers also tell us the Lots (which became known as Parts) were used extensively by the Egyptians and Babylonians as evidenced in books by them that they were reading but which have not survived down to the present day. It is very unclear whether this is actually true or just a fable from the ancient world. The notion of Lots could have been imported from India, for example.

Regardless of their origin they were an almost universal part of the practice of Hellenistic astrology for many centuries and it seems that they became popular in Arabic practice around the 7th century, leading to the mistaken idea that they were invented at this time and thus being given the alternative name ‘Arabic parts’ by which they are more commonly called today. Use of these Lots continue to be popular after the fall of Rome and throughout the medieval period until the Renaissance in the 15th and 16th centuries (take that in, it’s at least 1500 years of use, much more if you source them in Egypt or India), when astrology as a whole came under attack as a result of the shift in the paradigm towards rationality and reason together with the still powerful influence of the Church and faith. It seems to me that these factors led to the eventual abandonment of the Lots as astrologers (trying to avoid fatal heresy and blasphemy charges) sought to justify their practice and art more scientifically and the Lots lacked a firm basis in astronomy, physics and reason, concerning themselves more with the concept of fate as a metaphysical force. Without power or influence to shield you it became lethally unfashionable to believe in fate, as either the rationalists would humiliate and dismiss you as superstitious and fatalistic or the Church would kill you for trucking with evil spirits. Since that time the Lots have been largely forgotten, the Part of Fortune somehow weathering the purge but remaining a minor factor not used by many astrologers, although knowledge of their use and examples of that use existed in texts that lay untranslated until the late 20th century. Beginning in the early 1990s, a project was begun to translate these texts for modern astrologers and since that time great advances have been made in recovering the knowledge that has been lost. However, we are still unclear about many issues related to their use and there are even controversies about their calculation. This isn’t too surprising when you consider the fact that thousands of years have passed, for many centuries of which the ideas were lost, and even when they were popular and widely used there was still a lot of debate (pun unintended) about them and their origins. The ideas have probably been resurrected and reconstructed more than once, with the Hellenistic astrologers having to do much the same with holes in their understanding and being just as baffled about where they came from as we are. However, thanks to the work of astrologers at Project Hindsight, many of these treasures are now being unearthed and re-examined and have started to find their place in modern astrology.


Remember the problem raised when we began this journey? Planets are literally godlike, world spanning properties, with Venus representing every kind of feeling and emotion, as well as the arts, beauty, women, sugary treats and more specific things like roses, fashion shows and emeralds, to name just a few. Planets represent a huge number of things through the law of analogy, which is a problem when it comes to interpretation.

The ancients used Lots to solve this problem. A Lot is basically a degree somewhere in the zodiac that represents a single topic related to a particular planet. This means that there are literally countless Lots, with some being more archetypal and thus more commonly used. There are Lots connected to each of the houses with their large scope of concepts and to planets with theirs. Thus, the troubled Venus showing sibling dramas can be further delineated by generating the Lot of Brothers and the Lot of Sisters, which will fall in separate places, and a distinction can then be made between them, or the strong Jupiter can be delineated by looking at Lots related to religion, law or travel which, in theory, will then show the Lot of lawyers to be more favorably placed.

A Lot is generated from the position of three different points in the chart. The practice is always the same – the distance between two objects is calculated and this same arc is then projected from the third, which is most often the ascendant. This locates the Lot. The formulae for any Lot can therefore be expressed algebraically:

Lot = A + B – C (where A is nearly always the ascendant while B and C are usually planets or other Lots)

For example:

“If you want to know the market for wine, which is had from the condition of the grapes, take the place of Saturn from the place of Venus and add the degree of the sign of the ascendant to the remainder”

– Guido Bonatti, the most famed court astrologer of the 13th century, adviser of the Holy Roman Emperor

This means the formula for the Lot of wine is Ascendant + Venus – Saturn. To find it, you would add the zodiac degree position of Venus to the zodiacal degree of the ascendant, and then subtract the zodiac degree position of Saturn to arrive at the Lot for wine.

Example: Venus is at 10 ° Taurus, Saturn at 20° Taurus, and the ascendant at 10° Aries. Taurus 10° (Venus) is 40° of the zodiac, and Aries 10° (ascendant) is 10° of the zodiac. First we add these together to get to 50°. Then, we have to deduct the position of Saturn – Taurus 20° is 50° of the zodiac – which puts the score at. The Lot is thus located at 0° of the zodiac, or 0° Aries.

This gets problematic when you end up with a negative number like -50° and then have to add 360 to find the zodiacal position of the Lot, making them a little more mysterious and tricky to work out sometimes. The ancients expressed the Lots geometrically rather than algebraically, as the quote from Bonatti illustrates. Understanding how to find Lots the way they did not only preserves the thinking of the system, it is also easier. The instructions sometimes take the format of saying to start from a certain planet and project or count to another. You always count in zodiacal order, counting from Aries to Taurus, Taurus to Gemini, etc, and always project from the ascendant in zodiacal order, too. So in the quote above Bonatti would be telling us to start from wherever Saturn is (Taurus 20°), go forward in the order of the zodiac signs to wherever Venus is (Taurus 10°), figure out what that distance is (350°), and then add it to the ascendant (Aries 10°), also moving forward in order of zodiac signs. This lands at 360°, which is 0° Aries but by another route.

Ignoring all of this altogether, an easy way to do this in your head is to start from point C in the formula, count the shortest distance to point B, and then move the same amount and in the same direction from the position of point A, which is almost always the ascendant. In the example, point C is Saturn. The shortest distance to Venus (point B) is 10°, and we went backwards in the zodiac. So we just do the same from the ascendant of Aries 10°, move back 10, and we get to the same answer of 0° Aries for the Lot of wine.

Modern technology and software give us an even easier way to visually locate any Lot quickly. We just have to move point C to the ascendant, preserving the relationship between all the objects in the chart, and when we do that the location of point B (which has moved the same distance) will locate the Lot. So when we move Saturn to 10° of Aries in our example, placing it at the ascendant, we will see Venus 10° behind it at 0° Aries, the place of the Lot we are seeking. We can also use software to calculate the Lots for us.


This is a very important aspect of working with Lots to grasp because it enables you to interpret them and also to create your own Lots. The first point in the formula of A + B – C, the A, is usually the ascendant because this is a deeply personal degree determined by the location and exact moment of your birth. It is philosophically and astronomically the place where things first appear or arise and in the formula it projects and personalises the matter at hand, applying it to you, causing it to show itself. It is therefore revelatory and a primary reference point. If another part of the chart is used as point A then the Lot is derivative of that specific point rather than of the chart as a whole. Point C in the formula is the planet of the main or general topic being considered, while point B of the formula, is a specifier, a descriptor and definer of that topic. The formula of the Lot for wine is therefore a topic of Saturn (agriculture, harvesting, the ripeness and condition of things, wine because it matures with age) defined more specifically by a topic of Venus (grapes, wine because it brings pleasure, parties, etc). This understanding will be important later when we look at 7 powerful and commonly used Lots.

A great deal of thought was put into this matter and the many hundreds of agreed upon formulas we have had handed down are far from arbitrary, in fact they reveal a deep subtlety of thought and a sophisticated philosophical position, especially in the early Greek and later Arabic traditions. These were all considered to be astrological operations upon fate, which is why the term Lots, as in a lottery, for there is no telling where the various Lots of your life will fall, and this places the outcome in the hands of Divine Providence like any divination does.


Once a Lot has been determined its position in the chart is evaluated in much the same way as other positions, however the way that astrology operates and the various systems attached to it have changed greatly over the millennia and so the descriptions of how to use the Lots are all based on the more traditional Hellenistic system. This means that they use sign based aspects rather than degree based aspects – a planet in Scorpio is always opposite one in Taurus regardless of degrees, while Virgo is always square Gemini and Sagittarius for example – and many used a whole sign house system which does away with the problem of house cusps – if you have Capricorn rising, Aquarius is the sign of your 2nd house, Pisces your 3rd, Aries your 4th, and so on. In essence the emphasis on degrees is minimised, although certain emphasis did exist such as with the position of the ascendant, exaltation degrees for the planets, actual degrees for the planets, etc. These changes are easy for us to mentally compute and visualise without needing to recalculate a chart.

The system for analysing anything present in the chart is remarkably consistent and is one of the features of Hellenistic astrology we can be confident about. Being concerned much more with fate it is mostly a process aimed at evaluating whether a planet or Lot will be beneficial or malefic towards us, strong or weak, well placed or not. The first step is to look at the sign and to consider how that sign shapes the object, with planets becoming stronger in the signs of their rulership and exhaltation and weaker in the signs of their fall and detriment. Since, unlike planets, Lots do not have these attributions among the signs the process at this point for a Lot is mostly for the astrologer to consider how well the sign expresses the concept of the Lot and to gather clues and hints about what it might contribute, for example a Lot of children in a masculine sign (Fire or Air) would be symbolising boys, with Aries more specifically suggesting boys who are born soldiers. Judgments like these are gathered and layered together at each step to form an answer. Next the house position of the object is considered. In this respect the ancients evaluation operated quite differently to ours with some houses being clearly worse and some better than others. The strongest houses are the 1st, 4th, 7th and 10th places of the chart (angular houses) while the weakest are those which are cadent, the 3rd, 6th, 9th and 12th, with succeedent houses (the 2nd, 5th, 8th and 11th) all having an intermediate power. Houses are also strengthened if they form a major aspect to the ascendant – the 3rd and 11th are sextile the 1st, the 5th and 9th are both trine, while the 4th, 7th and 10th are all square or opposite it. Taken all together, and there was some variation on this, this resulted in an order of power from greatest to least as follows: 1st, 10th, 7th, 4th, 11th, 5th, 9th, 3rd, 2nd, 8th, 6th, 12th. The placement of the Lot would be evaluated according to the strength of the house it fell in, often with more attention than the sign, and the nature of the house would provide further information for the answer. Next, the Lot or planet would be evaluated according to the other planets and Lots in its sign as well as the planets which were in major aspect to it by sign, with the malefic planets Mars and Saturn always harming what they aspect (especially in a hard aspect) and the benefic planets Venus and Jupiter increasing the fortunes of the Lot or planet (especially in a soft aspect). Aspects were seen as testimonies or planets witnessing one another (part of a prevalent judicial paradigm) and more generally as having vision of, seeing one another. A planet or Lot that is not seen at all by Mars or Saturn but is seen by both Jupiter and Venus, especially by trine or sextile, has a lot of good going its way and much less bad. Mercury and the Lights are generally neutral to positive influences that only cause trouble when the aspect is a square or opposition. Conjunctions were a special case, not considered an aspect as such because the planets were not beholding one another, they were more closely bonded in some kind of union like a marriage. Finally, the ruler of the sign that the Lot or planet falls in is evaluated, following exactly the same procedure, starting from its sign position. You get a secondary full layer of interpretative context from this ruler. This was really the main function of the sign the Lot falls in, to identify its planetary ruler, the one responsible for responding to the allotment. This means that, for example, if the Lot falls in one of the signs of Saturn then the person should take a responsible and enduring approach to the Lot, but their ability to do so will rest upon the condition of Saturn in the chart. In other words, the position of the ruler of the Lot or planet modifies both the outcome of how the situation fares (it gets worse or better) as well as how well situated we are to be able to deal with it (which is perhaps why it gets worse or better).

Sometimes the Lot position is also used to generate a new subsidiary chart by considering its sign as a 1st house and reading the natal chart accordingly. This is called turning the chart and was most frequently used with the Lots of Fortune and Spirit, described below. For example, if your natal chart has Leo rising with the Sun in Leo in the 1st house and the Lot of Fortune in Gemini in the 11th, the chart will be turned so that Gemini is instead the rising sign, placing the Sun in Leo in the 3rd house of the Fortune chart. As you can see when this is done the planets of the natal chart end up in new houses relative to the Lot, changing their strength, unless of course the Lot in question happens to fall in the native charts 1st house. The position of the Lot will then be evaluated in both charts according to the same general rules described above, adding even more complexity and nuance to the system.

Many considerations were involved in all of this, including whether a planet was retrograde, in reception, combust, in some form of essential dignity or debility, rises before or ahead of the Sun, whether a planet is in sect or not, etc. Some of these considerations would be familiar to us, others completely unfamiliar. In fact these considerations are so many that they present one of the more cryptic aspects of the entire system as different astrologers noted different considerations at different times. It’s in these considerations that much of the present confusion for us arises, as it did for them, as evidenced by some of the texts where authors remark on the controversies of their time and the missing information they have from ancient sources which for us are now completely lost or hidden in private collections. There was further controversy over some of the technical aspects of astrology such as the calculations for various Lots, as there always are in scholarly matters, and these are worth looking into if you want to go deeper.

An astrologer, then, when faced with a soldier going to war, might first look at the natal chart Mars, perhaps also at Saturn and Jupiter to consider the innate likelihood of defeat, death or victory in the natives chart, these being natural to consider in all matters of war, then might consider the ruler of the 8th (again because that might show death) or the 9th if it is a crusade oveseas, perhaps the ruler of the 1st house if the war is initiated by the soldier or the 7th ruler if they are being invaded, but then finally would also examine the Lots, probably Fortune, Spirit, Courage, Victory, Nemesis and Necessity (described below), as well as any other Lots they considered specific to the war. They might do all this for charts they construct for the nations or the war itself as well as for the soldier. They also had their own sophisticated forecasting techniques added on to this (the equivalent of progressions and transits today). If all indicators pointed in the same direction, the strongest warnings or encouragements would be given. Most often this did not occur of course, and a more nuanced and carefully judged interpretation had to be arrived at. Lives and reputations were often at stake, including the astrologers.


Seven of the Lots have a special place as the Lots of the visible objects in the sky, the Sun, Moon and planets out to Saturn. These Lots are given descriptive names like the Lot of Eros for Venus and the Lot of Courage for Mars. Some of this is a bit cryptic to us now as the use of dead language, several paradigm ending cultural shifts and the perils of translation get in the way. The primary Lots in the entire system are two of these Lots, the ones for the Lights, and the Lots for the luminaries are used to calculate the Lots for the other planets, so must be calculated first. The Lot for the Moon is called the Lot of Fortune (in modern parlance the Part of Fortune) while the Lot for the Sun is called the Lot of Spirit or Daimon. These were the two Lots that were most commonly used to turn a chart as described above.

These Lots are called the Hermetic Lots because according to ancient texts (Paulus and Olympiodorus) we are told that they originate from a book called the ‘Panaretus’ which was written by Hermes Trismegistus. It is possible, in my view likely, that this text or one of its companions, all lost, is the source for the entire system of Lots, a seed that was developed over the many centuries that followed. We may never know.

The fact that there are Lots for the planets raises a question – why do we need them? If the use of other Lots is to treat the vast array of topics given to a planet as individual concerns, what does a Lot for Venus mean that differentiates it from the natal position of Venus? What we are told in answer to this question in the ancient texts (as well as the way history went down as I mentioned earlier) indicates that we are dealing with an entirely separate tier of astrological interpretation, one that deals head on with fate and destiny. That is, the Lots are potentially like the signs, houses, planets and aspects, a fundamental component of the whole, generated at a planetary, astral level but applying themselves to worldly, physical experience, a more concrete level that is closer in nature to the way houses shape things but actually at a more granular and differentiated, i.e. incarnated, level than houses. In fact it could be argued that the Lots are a subset of the house system since they often project from the ascendant, and additionally the placement of a Lot in a house acts to modify the natural significations of that house, adding something potentially foreign to it. For example, your 10th house might contain Lots for captives, soldiers, kings and cucumbers. These don’t necessarily naturally belong to the 10th (kings does) but in your case your lottery draw places them there. You are reputed (10th) as the king of cucumbers who will go to war and be captured! I joke of course, because in reality only Lots of concern to a matter at hand were usually given attention.

In this scheme, then, the position of planets is an astral situation and the planets become more about what we experience of that planets principle being placed within us (its presence in our soul) while its Lot expresses how that planets essential meaning operates upon us, as an allotment of fate in the Akasha (its presence in the world at large), and how well we are equipped to respond to these happenings. The experiential difference is that the planet itself represents our innate inborn connection to that principle, a relationship we can work upon and change, while the Lot is what we experience of that principle in the external world, the way that a planets stuff interacts with us outside of our intention or action. This, to me, is one of the most fascinating revelations of the Lots.


Before looking in detail at each of the seven hermetic Lots we need to address an important curve ball thrown in by the doctrine of astrological sect, the idea that astrology functions differently during the day and night. This was an important consideration throughout the astrology of the ancient world and according to what we are told we must reverse the formulas we are given if a person is born during the night, exchanging B and C. This does not seem to apply to all of the formulas but it does apply to the hermetic Lots and many of the older ones. For example the formula for calculating the Lot of Fortune is given as Ascendant + Moon – Sun. However, if instead you were born at night the formula is changed to Ascendant + Sun – Moon.

The problem with this is that reversing the formulas interchanges the general and main topic with the specific one, as explained earlier in Understanding the Formulas, which obscures our ability to understand what the Lot is actually about and over time occults our ability to perceive the underlying philosophy of the formulas as well as how to formulate our own. This is not the only philosophy underpinning the Lots that helps to explain the formulas, there are others which don’t necessarily contradict one another, revealing the underlying thought behind the system to be extremely sophisticated. Ultimately, lurking in the depths where we cannot go in this article, there is esoteric and magical thinking on the power of number behind the entire system, even behind all of astrology. If you’re interested in exploring this further I recommend you read my journey on harmonic charts.

In any case, when reversing the formula as described, remember that it is the original day formula that identifies the general topic and specific topic, with C being the general and B the specific.


Lot of Fortune (Moon) : In a day chart you measure the distance from the Sun to the Moon and then add that same distance to the degree of the ascendant. By night you measure the distance from the Moon to the Sun and do the same.

Day Formula: Asc. + Moon – Sun
Night Formula: Asc. + Sun – Moon

The general topic is related to the Sun (life, vitality, enthusiasm, spirit, consciousness and being) and the specific topic is the Moon (change, the soul, the astral realm). This Lot is about how being alive and constantly exposed to the ebb and flow of fortune and change in the world around us personally affects and shapes our life story, causing us to act or shine. Interestingly, the ancients connect it to the body (the Moon was taken generally as the body, the Sun as the soul, with spirit or conscious presence being represented somewhat by its Lot rather than the Sun), with the formula neatly expressing the hermetic philosophy of the three bodies, since the formula (as well as Spirit, below) is composed of Sun, Moon and ascendant, the three representatives of the spirit, soul and physical body in the chart, suggesting the Lot is connected to the astral matrix or silver cord which connects the physical and astral bodies and also therefore with the karma of the soul in its earthly incarnation (the cord or matrix is set to naturally expire at a certain time from birth according to the needs of the incarnation). Other significations for this Lot given include possessions, the way we make a living, reputation and how much privilege we enjoy. It is taken as a general indicator of fortune and its positional strength and that of its ruler indicators of how much favour we enjoy generally.

Lot of Spirit or Daimon (Sun): In a day chart you measure the distance from the Moon to the Sun and then add the same distance to the degree of the ascendant. By night you measure the distance from the Sun to the Moon and then add the same distance to the degree of the ascendant.

Day Formula: Asc. + Sun – Moon
Night Formula: Asc. + Moon – Sun

Notice that this is the reverse of the formula for Fortune. This means that both of these Lots will be equal distances from the ascendant but on the other side, like a mirror with the ascendant as the reflector, the midpoint. The general topic is related to the Moon (the soul, astral realm, change) and the specific topic is the Sun (life events, consciousness and being). This is a more spiritual Lot connected to the enlightenment and awakening of spiritual powers within the soul. It characterizes how life will present us with events that are tailored towards our own personal spiritual evolution according to our fate in the Akasha and the needs of the soul. This Lot both awakens and inspires us to take some kind of action and can be interpreted as the fortune we are fated to create through our own actions. It is the nature of the Sun to invigorate and enliven, to bring about action, and so we can interpret this Lot as being about how life events in general happening around us are fated to cause us to take action that results in changes within our soul, adaptation and personal change – to astrally respond to the light. It therefore also connects with the mental matrix or golden/violet cord that binds the astral and mental body together and which naturally expires when the souls return journey is complete. Paulus writes that it signifies the exercise of every power. The world changes according to our actions and this Lot connects with that power.

Lot of Necessity (Mercury): For a day chart you measure from Mercury to the Lot of Fortune and by night you go from the Lot of Fortune to Mercury, and then project the same distance from the degree of the ascendant.

Day Formula: Asc. + Lot of Fortune – Mercury
Night Formula: Asc. + Mercury – Lot of Fortune

The general topic is related to the planet Mercury while the specific focus is the Lot of Fortune. This Lot is about our fortune, fate and karma with Mercury. It is about how interaction in the world with all Mercurial things brings either what we would call fortune or misfortune, trouble and strife or agreement and alignment. In the ancient texts we see this Lot is given many malefic qualities like imprisonment, exile, enmity, poverty, a lack of education, battle and disagreements and in general is delineated as being about restrictive and difficult situations, bringing about the necessity for adaptation and mercurial inventiveness (“Necessity is the Mother of invention.”). The world is bothersome, we get into all kids of trouble, there are countless problems, things we must learn about, controversies, opinions and factors to consider, and overwhelming input like this forces us to make choices and develop our own viewpoints. Knowledge itself is part of this as from the earliest age we must learn number, letters, and all the subjects to study and lessons just multiply from there. The Lot shows the outcome of our pursuit of knowledge, the way our own mental viewpoint can imprison our thinking and how we are fated to experience being affected by all this, all of which expresses the trickster side of Mercury who delights equally in creating problems and solving them.

Lot of Eros (Venus): For a day chart measure the distance from the Lot of Spirit to Venus but by night measure it from Venus to the Lot of Spirit, then project the same distance from the ascendant degree.

Day Formula: Asc. + Venus – Lot of Spirit
Night Formula: Asc. + Lot of Spirit – Venus

The general topic is the Lot of Spirit (things that happen to inspire you to take a course of action and which serve as spiritual instruction or awakening) while the specific topic is Venus (emotions and desires, the Venus sphere), so this Lot is about the outcome of pursuing those things we cant help but set our hearts on firmly, the Venus things in and of the world (really, the universe) which inspire us to take action, to live life and embrace it as a lover by pursuing them. Do we attain them, and is that attainment to our satisfaction? Remember though that Venus is as much about attraction as she is about repulsion. Eros is about how the sensation of being alive in a world where everything else is alive and expressing stimulus towards us goes down according to our destiny or fate, the karma we have with Venus, and about what happens concerning those things we cannot help but desire. It connects with how Cupid’s arrows will strike us unawares or without our intention and the responsiveness we have to artistic muses. The ancient texts say it is connected with appetites and desires that arise by choice and voluntary association or friendship.

Lot of Courage (Mars): Measure from Mars to the Lot of Fortune for a day chart but from the Lot of Fortune to Mars in a night chart and add the same distance to the degree of the ascendant.

Day Formula: Asc. + Lot of Fortune – Mars
Night Formula: Asc. + Mars – Lot of Fortune

Here the general topic is connected to Mars while the specifics are connected to Fortune. This Lot is about those events and happenings in the world which force us to draw upon courage in situations where we would not normally feel courageous in and expresses our souls karma that is connected to our use of power and strength – Mars. Thus it is often connected to calamities and very dire situations such as treachery, plotting and “all kinds of evil doing” in the ancient texts, as well as with boldness and conviction, which seem positive but it is important to understand that these qualities can also be employed toward acts of great cruelty. Esoterically Mars is connected to individuation (it emphasises difference, specialness) and what the Lot expresses is how we are fated to encounter risk, danger, battles and struggles as a result of fortune and how this will shape and define the uniqueness of our individual nature as well as awaken inner strength we did not know we had. This differs from Mars because Mars in our chart represents how we initiate such situations and how we tend to handle them. This Lot is about the battles that seek us out, not the ones we seek.

Lot of Victory (Jupiter): Measure from the Lot of Spirit to Jupiter for a day nativity and for a night chart from Jupiter to the Lot of Spirit and then project this distance from the ascendant.

Day Formula: Asc. + Jupiter – Lot of Spirit
Night Formula: Asc. + Lot of Spirit – Jupiter

The general topic is the Lot of Spirit (spiritual awakening, the impetus to take part in life, self awareness and presence) and the specific topic is Jupiter (spiritual truths and laws, connection to a greater and larger whole, deity), so Victory is about those (positive) happenings which inspire us to have faith and hope and to act upon the spiritual laws which lead to the awakening of the spirit. We are told in the ancient texts that it brings about successful and satisfying conclusions to enterprises, success and all kinds of generosity, winnings and contests and things which inspire us to be hopeful. The Lot is about how we are fated to encounter these situations seemingly at random, seemingly by the spinning of the wheel, as it were, but really arising as an impetus for our own awakening and as a broadening and deepening of our awareness of natural law and spiritual truth. It is in essence not the Jupiter within us but what we are alloted to encounter of the Jupiter principle in the world and how this will lead us to be more active as a positive force in life as an active manifestation of Divine laws.

Lot of Nemesis (Saturn): Find this in a day chart by measuring from Saturn to the Lot of Fortune and in a night chart measure from the Lot of Fortune to Saturn and project the same distance from the degree of the ascendant.

Day Formula: Asc. + Lot of Fortune – Saturn
Night Formula: Asc. + Saturn – Lot of Fortune

The general focus here is Saturn and the specific descriptor is Fortune. This sobering Lot is about how we are seemingly randomly fated to encounter very difficult situations, the most difficult kind, some of us more than others, situations we can do nothing about and must simply be endured and learned from as aspects of our karma and as situations which potentially embroil us in new karma. We each come into this material existence prior to earthly life understanding that the conditions of physical life increase the problems and difficulties that we will have to contend with and this is a feature, not a bug, one that draws us towards earthly incarnation again and again seeking the precious opportunities for growth that it offers our being. The ancients say in the texts that this Lot relates to spirits of the underworld (ghosts, demons, evil spirits like vampires, witches and werewolves too, I think in modern times we would also include malevolent aliens as well) and all things that remain concealed or hidden, which we may say in our modern language means those things we are fated to encounter as a result of the unconscious, but I would say we have to add this to what was said before, not replace it with it. The texts also say that this Lot symbolises the quality of death as well as the degree of sorrow and burdens we will face along the way to that nemesis. The frail, mortal, temporal world is full of sorrows, an endless parade of them, just as it is an endless parade of other things too, and how we are allotted to experience this is expressed in this Lot. Yet instead of death as the nemesis of this lot we could also say that it is time and that the lesson is for us to mature through the ever-changing circumstances of the world, especially through the suffering we witness in the world which can serve to awaken us to more enduring things within us.

As you can hopefully see from this brief exploration the system of Lots was/is very intricate and well thought out and presents the modern mind with some uncomfortable notions that can make working with them difficult but this perception can be overcome if you understand the core principles being communicated. While we are all furnished with the same archetypal forces – a zodiac, a complex solar system, houses and aspects – and we all differ from one another in the specifics of those archetypes and the aspects which arise from a universe constantly in motion, we all also differ according to the way we meet with more or less of certain kinds of experiences as we journey through a world where there are billions of other souls at the same time, leading to so many happenings, and we each have to deal with a different set of experiences as a result. In modern astrology the planets take all of these responsibilities, they signify the principle within us and the principle as we encounter it in the world as well as all of the topics that each planet must represent, but in the ancient word the latter factors – how we encounter the planet while incarnated and the specific individual topics of each planet – seem to have been taken up more specifically by the Lots, as tokens of fate.

As always, I suggest that you learn from direct experience and calculate your own Lots as well as the Lots of other people you know to evaluate their effectiveness, remembering that you would be best served by switching to a whole sign house system and adopting sign based aspects rather than a degree aspect approach, as it seems this is how they were looking at things much of the time. Maybe not, but I am not getting into that controversy here though! So, where are your Lots? Do they reflect your worldly reality? How do my interpretations of the Lots match up with your experience? Have fun exploring!


Project Hindsight:

The Arabic Parts in Astrology, a Lost Key to Prediction (Robert Zoller)
Hellenistic Astrology, the Study of Fate and Fortune (Chris Brennan)