Magical Operations

Greetings, and welcome back to journeys! This month I will be expanding upon an article I published last September on the subject of Magical Timing.


In the previous article I discussed some of my method of ritual design, specifically the capturing of astrological meaning by tapping into it at a specific moment and how to identify that moment. In this article I will concentrate on the ritual or spell itself and share with you some of my own findings and some of the instructions I have been given by the beings of the zodiac and the planets on these matters. Like my previous article, I am writing this one with a wider audience in mind, not only initiated magicians capable of evocation and working with the Elements in a magical way – I’m going to be giving advice that you can adapt to your own level of working, but you will undoubtedly get the most out of this article if you have already worked through the first 7 or 8 steps of Initiation into Hermetics or have attained an equivalent degree of magical initiation. Every initiate can make use of what I am going to say by simply adapting it to their own practice.

For educational purposes (which do not always follow through in practice) we can differentiate the application of astrology in magic into two distinct and often connected branches, which I will call astromagical timing and astromagical operations. For the most part, we can regard astromagical timing as a form of magical divination since the primary objective is to identify a moment in time in which a specific essential meaning is being communicated with force by astrology. For example, if your magical intention is to communicate with the muses of dance, you will seek to identify a moment in which the astrological power of Venus is very strong and healthy, since Venus is connected with this art. The idea here is that your astromagical timing will make forming the connection with your intention far easier and well augured. This kind of magical divination has its flowering in astrology through its branch of electional astrology as well as its use of transits and progressions, about which much has been written and virtually all of this is useful to a practicing magician seeking to use astrology in their work. Astromagical operations, however, have a much wider array of potential uses beyond timing through divination, although they may include divination and most often do involve use of astromagical timing to support and enhance an effect.

In this article I will talk about the application of astrology in four branches of magical operation – summoning, binding, warding and banishing. I will define these four operations and each will be examined through a hermetic and astrological perspective referring to some of the analogies of the planets, signs and temples with respect to each. Before I get there however, it is necessary to talk about the different approaches a magician can take when seeking to perform one of these magical acts. These different approaches combine together with the four operations to provide numerous ways in which the magical operation can be conducted. In essence, the approaches differ from the four operations in that the approaches are methods and the operations are objectives. If we consider the subject matter of any magical act as the manipulation of essential meaning, then the operation is what we are intending to accomplish with that essential meaning and the approach is how we are doing it. I will discuss four approaches. Two of the approaches are inherently magical ones and the other two approaches are astrological ones.


Magical Approaches: Invocation and Evocation

The two complementary but different magical approaches, invocation and evocation, relate to the dimension of space or distance between the magician and the essential meaning. Simply put, when invoking essential meaning the magician subjects their own awareness to it, while in evocation the essential meaning becomes subject to the magicians awareness. The approach of invocation is an immersive one in which the magician invokes the essential meaning into the mental, astral and/or physical body of the magician themselves, and (at least to some degree) without completely losing control over their own awareness. Haitian Vodou for example makes use of invocation magic. The approach of evocation is to externally interact with the essential meaning, often by evoking it into a magic triangle or other receptacle such as a forest or a body of water, without losing control of what is evoked. Bardons second book is all about the practice of evocation magic, but it touches upon invocation. 

In invocations, the magicians invitation of the essential meaning often involves statements, chants or songs involving the phrase “I Am”, such as this invocation from the Egyptian Book of the Dead:

I am one with Atum when he still floated alone in Nun,
the waters of chaos,
before any of his strength had gone into creating the cosmos.
I am Atum at his most inexhaustible – the potence and potential of all that is to be.
This is my magic protection
and it is older and greater than all the gods together!

Here we see an example of an invocation that is both a summoning and a warding, the summoning of the Atum presence being its own form of protection. From here, the magician might continue invoking Atum as part of a ceremony delivering his power to the Guardians of the Quarters or the other ritualists, or they might then begin evoking a particular entity as Atum. In fact, many powerful spirits (for example, deities and some totem spirits) insist on this kind of procedure as a form of dignified and traditionally approved approach by the magician. Other beings have different requests of magicians seeking to invoke or evoke them. Whether the magician should do so is of course up to them. It doesn’t hurt to ask why a spirit requests a certain procedure, but you need to be able to reliably discern a deception from a transparent answer. When in doubt just refuse, and always give such matters deep thought before you go ahead with your decision. Unless you are either truly gifted or properly trained remember that to some degree you will interact with dimensions of your own being that you are unconscious of, whether they are invoked or evoked. The ability to perceive a spirit objectively begins with perceiving our own spirit objectively. This is what differentiates a genuine magical act from psychodrama.

Here is another invocation spell, this time from the Celtic tradition, the works of the Irish bard Amergin Glúingel, the ‘Song of Being’, which makes powerful use of the magic of the ‘I Am’ phrase:

I am a wind upon the sea,
I am a wave upon the ocean,
I am the sound of the sea,
I am a stag of seven tines,
I am a bull of seven battles,
I am a hawk upon a cliff,
I am a teardrop in the sun,
I am the fairest of blossoms,
I am a boar in its boldness,
I am a salmon in a pool,
I am a lake on a plain,
I am a tree upon a hill,
I am that which shapes,
I am myself shaped,
I am that which dreams,
I am myself a dreamer,
I am all beings,
And that which all beings become.

This particular invocation prepares the magicians awareness to be receptive to the being it is seeking to invoke, and it is a summoning invocation because it calls all of the named things into the magicians awareness – think of it as a magical warm up.


Talismans and amulets and other ceremonial objects like magical robes and belts which the magician adorns themselves with are also frequently part of invocation magic. For example, an Egyptian or Native American headdress in the form of an animal or a deity may literally have the power to invoke an entity into the awareness of whoever puts it on. In this way, sacred objects can become vessels of essential meaning that pass from one individual to another, and act to invoke specific magical effects when worn. A royal crown being ceremonially placed on someones head is another example of this kind of invocation magic being used.

Evocation is very different. In evocation the magician avoids calling the essential meaning into their own awareness, and instead directs their own awareness to interact with the essential meaning in an external form. The spirit is often summoned into a magic mirror and viewed, and there is a communion between the two beings but never any merging of the two. Sometimes an evoked entity will ask to be invoked, perhaps in order to share something that it cannot do through evocation, and sometimes an invocation can lead to an evocation, but there is still a clear distinction and one that needs to be understood. With evocation, information and discourse occurs in a sequential way similar to mundane interpersonal communication, but with invocation communication with the essential meaning is simultaneous and intrapersonal, it takes place in a way similar to the way we have internal dialog with ourselves.

Evocation does not generally use the phrasing I Am” in its operations, unless an invocation is part of how the magician is asserting their awareness over the essential meaning. For example, a magician might invoke their own mastery of the Fire Element when dealing with an evocation of a hot tempered Fire being. Generally the songs, spells and chants which are evocations offer praise, hailing, adoration, honour and tokens of respect to the essential meaning, they involve offerings of its incenses, its colours, sigils, its rituals, its atmospheres and plants or foods etc., and they frequently describe it and then objectify it in some external form or contain it within an area. A phrase often used,or one similar to it is “I Call”, “I Worship” ormore forcefully “I Command”, although again this is just a general point that often helps to identify the approach.

Here is an evocation of the Sun from the Egyptian Book of the Dead:

Hail Ra in your rising, Atum Horakhty,
I worship you, your beauty in my eyes,
your light unfurling on my breast.
You go, you rest in the evening boat,
your heart is elated in the morning boat,
you travel the sky in peace.
All your enemies are felled,
the untiring stars rejoice for you,
the undying stars worship you,
you rest in the horizon of the light-mountain,
beautiful as Ra every day,
alive and stable as my lord
Ra, true of voice

And here is an evocation from the Welsh bard Taliesin from the 6th century, ‘Song of the Winds’:

Who dreamt the wind?
Born before the dawn,
Without flesh, without bone,
Without vein, without blood,
Without head, without foot,
Without sickness, without sorrow.
Unborn, unseen,
Untamed, unknowable,
Hastening from every quarter,
Never older, never younger,
Never fearful, never dying,
Talkative, mute,
Wet, dry,
Good, evil,
Who dreamt the wind?

This beautiful evocation begins and ends with a question, a very apt way to evoke an Air being and one which incites a response, an answer from the entity being evoked. It could also be internally recited, leading to an invocation as the magician herself must then answer the question, having become unborn, unseen, etc. and therefore being in a position to know the answer to the question. In many cases such questions do not even need answers, the success of the evocation itself is the response, the appearance of the being in the mirror or triangle is the answer to the question – the candle gutters, and the breeze caresses your face as you finish the question. Of course, there are many ways in which evocation can be expressed, but this one example should establish the point that external factors become important, so the magicians perceptual senses must be keenly trained and applied. 


Astrological Approaches: Ambient and Individual Astrology

The two complementary but different astrological approaches, which I will term ambient and individual astrology, relate to the dimension of time and its relationship to the continually shifting sea of essential meaning available in any given moment. Specifically, from the magical point of view these two approaches relate directly to the ability of the magician to connect with the astrological factors. There is a natural affinity or analogous relationship between the two astrological approaches and the two magical approaches, as I will explain, but this is a loose relationship that does not need to be applied in practice.

Ambient astrology refers to the ambient essential meaning that is available to all beings upon the surface of the Earth for a limited period of time, and it draws heavily from astrological transits. For example, when Jupiter is in Sagittarius there is a period of about a year in which everyone has access to that essential meaning. This opportunity will end when Jupiter leaves Sagittarius and enters Capricorn. As another example, if Neptune is in a trine with Saturn for a few months, everyone in the world has an opportunity to work magically with this essential meaning.

From an astrological point of view, ambient astrology is made entirely of a) planets in signs and b) planets transiting in aspect to other transiting planets, with c) the ascendant as a timer. We can consider this a form of “floating” essential meaning that arises for a limited period of time, the length of which is determined by the faster of the planets involved. For example, a trine between Jupiter and Saturn can persist for up to a few months, while one between Venus and Jupiter usually only persists for several days. Similarly, the Moon takes about 60 hours to pass through one zodiacal sign, while Saturn takes about 30 months. Signs of the zodiac always take about 2 hours each day to rise, but this is an average and the time it takes a certain sign to completely rise depends on your location. 

The quality of ambient astrology is non-specific, meaning that while it will apply itself to individuals to a greater or lesser degree it still applies itself to every individual and does not really specify any particular group, except in the degree to which they are receptive to its influence. We can conceive of ambient astrology as an invisible ocean in which all life on Earth is swimming, an ocean which is always mysteriously changing and from within which things are continuously emerging, dissolving and re-emerging in cyclical patterns which never exactly repeat. Sometimes those things happen in our territory, sometimes in the territory of others, and we are free to respond to that as we will but we are always affected by what happens overall in the ocean since we are connected to it by life. Due to its universal availability and the fact that it has global effects, this form of astrology is from a magical point of view more powerful and is more analogous to the creation of external effects and evocation magic. For this reason ambient astrology is the traditional approach used in almost every magical operation utilizing astrology and shows up repeatedly in grimoires and instructional texts on magic that draw on astrology, especially those on evocation and talismanic magic, two of the magical areas about which many words were written. For this reason and others ambient astrology became the principal form of astrology used in magic.

Individual astrology on the other hand is highly specific and applies itself only to certain individuals or small groups of people, and is more analogous to internal effects (though not exclusively). From the astrological point of view what we are talking about here is a transiting planet (or a progressed one, or whatever other method you use) forming an aspect to the natal chart (or just generally affecting part of one) rather than to another transiting planet. It’s ambient astrology but with a natal chart focusing it. Essentially, individual astrology is a subset of ambient astrology, it encompasses the various territories of the ocean and how each of them are being affected in different ways by the ambient astrology. In other words, it’s a kind of “zoom in” on a specific area of the ocean, whether that area involves a large group of people or a small one. For example, if you are born on January 29th, then whenever January 29th comes around in the calendar the transiting Sun will be in the same place of the zodiac as it was when you were born, this being your birthday, and this is a form of individual astrology. You share this individual astrology with everyone born on January 29th in any year, but it is still specific only to these individuals and not to everybody else.


So individual astrology is basically the way we experience the ambient astrology from our own individual and personal perspective on it. Because it is inherently about the individual and the personal perspective it is more analogous to invocation magic, and also because it is specific and not universal or global in the same sense as ambient astrology is, it is considered to be a less powerful form from the magical point of view – but, and this is crucial, this is only from the point of view of what has been written about magic and is a product of the bias in western magic towards the creation of external effects and the pursuit of power and influence in the external realm. It was not always the case, however. Ancient Egyptian magic combined both invocation and evocation in its ritual science while as far as we know focusing itself on ambient astrology, especially in relation to stars, but they did not consider either invocation or evocation to be more or less important than the other. Individual astrology as far as we know emerges from the Mesopotamian tradition, because we trace the first birth charts to this era. We cannot be entirely sure of these facts since the record we have is murky, but what seems very clear at least is that the approach of using ambient astrology in magic came first and is far older. What we can also say with certainty is that the use of individual astrology in magic shows up far less often in the texts and grimoires than the use of ambient astrology does, which is basically universally present. In my book The 26 Keys I present a detailed, flexible system of magic by which you can interact with your own individual astrology. This system, unlike ambient astrology based systems, allows you to involve progressions as well as transits in your magical timing and operations because progressions require a natal chart to be calculated from, and therefore there are no ‘ambient progressions’ for the world, since it has no nativity – although the astrological tradition does hold some ‘world charts’ which are more symbolic of astrological philosophies about the creation of the universe than they are functional charts.

The advantage of individual astrology over ambient astrology is that the magician does not need to make much effort at all to make a direct connection with the essential meaning of the astrology involved. It is happening to them at that moment in time in a very specific and personal way. With ambient astrology, the magician must make a connection between themselves and the ‘floating’ essential meaning, even when seeking to evoke rather than invoke it. This is why there is great emphasis in the magical texts on placing planets on the ascendant or midheaven and ensuring that they are in favorable signs and without interfering aspects from elsewhere, or having certain signs rising when the operation is performed – these are ways in which the magician positions themself and manipulates essential meaning to arrive in their awareness with greater ease so that the connection is easy to form. With individual astrology such fine tuning has already been done by the presence of the natal chart, but intentionally and consciously adding this level of fine tuning to our individual astrology (e.g. timing a ritual so that an activating planet or a conductor is rising on the ascendant) can elevate it very successfully in terms of power. This is one of the secrets of what Franz Bardon enigmatically termed ‘synthetic astrology’ – its synthesis of ambient and individual astrology in a magical operation.

The advantage of ambient astrology over individual astrology is that it is more suited to creating global effects by manipulating the ocean of essential meaning so that it flows in a certain way from that point forwards, and also that it is more homogeneous than individual astrology and so easier to create universally applicable rituals and guidelines for. Since every individual natal chart is unique, every interpretation of an individuals astrology has to be uniquely tuned. Ambient astrology, on the other hand, invites generalizations and rules which can be applied universally to every chart or operation, and so it’s a lot easier to understand (although its admittedly still so complex that it can be baffling for a beginner). This makes more sense when you remember that ambient astrology spawns individual astrology, it is ambient astrology being cast through the prism of a birth chart, and so individual astrology is more complex in its nature. This is another reason why magic has focused on ambient astrology, at least in its texts. Another related reason is that using individual astrology instead of ambient astrology in magical operations requires the ability to decode a birth chart, which would turn every magician into a full fledged astrologer. The western tradition avoided this limitation by focusing on ambient astrology which, while still requiring an astrological education, did not require a deep dive into the matter. 

Combining Approaches

While there is a correlation between evocation/ambient astrology and invocation/individual astrology, the different approaches are all interchangeable. To my knowledge, nothing has been written on this topic to date. Additionally while ambient astrology has an advantage when seeking to create external effects and individual astrology has an advantage when seeking to create internal effects, neither astrological approach has a monopoly in this respect. Internal effects can generate external effects and vice versa. The important point here is that the internal and external worlds are reflections of one another, as every magician and astrologer knows. Magicians typically become adept with one particular magical approach but should learn how to do both of them, and astrologers in studying astrology also study both of the astrological approaches which I have outlined. As a magician you must find your own way. My own way is to make use of all the tools in my toolbox according to the situation. I don’t have any hard and fast rules about which combination of approaches I use for which situation, my process is intuitive. However, some of the suggestions I will put out there in this article may help you to figure out some of my intuitive process.


Operations: Summoning/Calling and Banishing/Dismissing

Summoning magic (I prefer the term Calling instead) and Banishing or Dismissing magic are obviously opposites of one another. Calling involves drawing essential meaning into a specific time and place while Dismissing operations send them away. Essentially these operations focus on the concept of a specific presence, either creating it or destroying it or just moving it.

Banishing is often important after a ritual space has been used while Calling is usually part of the beginning of a ritual. Dismissing can also involve exorcisms, cleansing or the banishment of our own bad habits. Calling magic is the primary operation of evocation and invocation and for obvious reasons virtually every magical operation will involve some kind of summoning of essential meaning either to inhabit an object, a magical triangle, the magician themselves or a priestess, priest or location, etc.

The approach of classical calling magic usually involves heavy use of ambient astrology. If, for example as we will see this June, Venus enters Taurus and therefore becomes powerful because she is leaving Aries (where she is in detriment) but is now moving in one of her own signs, this ambient astrology can be tapped into for any operation of Venus during that time and a magician will often try to pick a time when this strong and powerful Venus is also rising and relating to other positive chart influences like Jupiter or an exalted Moon in Taurus (as described in more detail in my previous article on magical timing). However, what is less widely written about in terms of calling spells and magic is that individual astrology can replace the role of ambient astrology or instead add to it.

In most cases you still want to be paying attention to the dignities of the planets so you want to be performing your magical operation whatever its nature when the planet you are seeking to connect with is in a happy place (in its rulership, exaltation, triplicity, decan and/or bounds, in this order). However, you can add individual timing if you have any natal object in the place which the planet you are seeking to work with is traveling through. For example, if you have the Sun in Taurus natally then you can time your transiting Venus in Taurus ritual for one of the days in which Venus activates your Sun key. Conduction using the Lights can also sometimes be timed to intersect in this way but you need to get lucky here and you are more likely to get lucky with Magnetic Conduction rather than Electric Conduction because the Sun moves more slowly than the Moon. Slow moving activators like Pluto and Neptune are more likely to give you a window of opportunity which overlaps with Electric Conduction dates in your Solar Map. Adding in Conduction to your timing when possible can dramatically increase the battery of energy supplied to the operation. If you cannot involve Conductors of individual astrology then default to the ambient astrology of the Lights as follows: the waxing Moon and the rising Sun lend themselves to calling and the waning Moon and setting Sun to banishing. Thus, choose a period when the Moon is waxing and do the ritual at or near dawn when seeking to emphasise the call, and during a waning Moon at dusk when seeking to emphasise the dismissing.

In terms of Elements and Signs there are no real affinities with calling or dismissing operations, the Elements and Signs usually relate to the kind of presence that is being subjected to the magic and/or the way in which the operation takes place. For example, something may be burned during the operation when something related to the Fire Element is being dismissed, or runes may be fired in a kiln when a spirit is being called. One ritual may call upon a being of Scorpio while another brings forth a being of Taurus, and these presences having different analogues will look, smell, feel, sound and play out very differently during the operation. An argument could be made that the signs of Mars (Aries and Scorpio) provide a generally useful boost in any summoning or calling and in any banishing or dismissing, simply because Mars is the ruler of the will and these operations often heavily depend upon the expression of the magicians will and its strength, but there is more than one way to peel the onion, much depends on the kind of magician you want to be.

I have found Neptune to be an extremely important ally when dealing with the summoning or dismissing (or exorcism) of any spirit. I will be much happier with in astrological moment that has Neptune in a favorable position. For several years now Neptune has been very strong while in Pisces and we have a few more years of that left, however for the last two years Saturn has been in Sagittarius which has kind of thrown a spanner in the works and resulted in all this confusion about “fake news” and generally a surreal level to reality that was not there before (like people chasing imaginary critters across the city, and many other examples of craziness we would not have believed before it actually happened). Later this year Saturn will finally exit Sagittarius and enter Capricorn, and the influence of Neptune in Pisces will have a dark cloud lifted from it and become less depressive, pessimistically clouded and disillusioning than it has been. When working with the influence of Neptune I just try to make sure that Neptune is in a good position for the ritual operation especially with regard to the Lights and the focus of the operation itself. I find that the positioning of Neptune in Pisces when it is favorable pleases the spirit and it is far more likely to be cooperative and understanding if you are seeking to dismiss it. In fact I have encountered many beings who wanted to ‘go’ and who have connected with me because they sense that I can release them. One of these was at Belas Knap in the UK, a spirit of an old barrow that had just had enough of watching over a land that few thought of as sacred any more, and where none of the rituals to honour it had been performed for centuries. Even barrow wights eventually tire of tourists, apparently.

The 12 temples or houses have more affinities in terms of calling and dismissing, however, particularly with regard to particular spirits. The 1st temple and especially the ascendant is the primary area for summoning or calling and is universally useful. The 2nd temple has an affinity for beings who work with the things that come out of the ground like gnomes or for spirits which will be required to imbue their essential meaning into portable solid objects like talismans. The 3rd temple has an affinity for calling, especially for local spirits and neighborhood beings (such as fairies). The 4th temple has an affinity for ancestral spirits and spirits of the land and hearth. The 5th temple has an affinity for spirits of love and pleasure as well as the muses of all the arts, but is more inclined to aid calling magic. The 6th temple has an affinity for spirits of sickness, disease and their remedies and can be a little help in banishing. The 7th temple like the 1st has a strong affinity for summoning or calling but is also useful in banishing something that is already present because it is place of both forming and sundering relationships, as well as the place the Sun sets. The 8th temple has an affinity for spirits of death and also for dismissing or banishing, so it is especially good for resolving hauntings. The 9th temple has an affinity for divinatory beings and for instruction by spirits, but is more suited to calling than dismissing. The 10th temple has an affinity for the beings of the sky and the stars as well as an affinity for the beings of fate, and is also biased towards calling. The 11th temple has an affinity for egregores and for calling and the 12th temple has an affinity for banishing and exorcism as well as for beings of sleep and rest.


Operations: Binding and Warding

While calling or dismissing essential meaning in a magical operation are basically concerned with the manipulation of its presence, binding and warding are complementary opposites related to distance from the essential meaning, similar to the way in which invocation and evocation relate to distance. Binding magic essentially keeps the essential meaning on a tight rein and close to you while warding keeps it away.

Binding is not just the act of forcing spirits to do your will, it is the act of containing the essential meaning and so is a part of all talismanic magic and magic which is to be fixed into a space or shape, as well as binding it to accomplish its tasks within a specified time frame. Additionally binding operations can also be used to bind the magician or another to a particular behaviour or set of circumstances, like a virtue. Warding on the other hand is not just about creating protective amulets and circles or other spaces that keep out unwanted forces and Intelligences, it is also about preventing people from taking certain courses or indulging in destructive habits. Binding contains the often leaky movement of essential meaning while warding can be used to direct its course and its shape. A reflective ward, for example, can send the essential meaning back where it came from, which is very different to a ward that neutralises it. Wards can also be created that trap psychic and magical attacks and transform them into other forms of essential meaning, as another example. If a magician comes under attack they can either bind the attacker, ward themselves against it, or do both. The attack can also be banished, or a counter could be called. Each of the operations tackles the attack in a different way, but those ways are not mutually exclusive, they are more often than not complementary or can easily be made to be.

Again, the magical literature that survives primarily makes use of ambient astrology for both binding and warding operations. In comparison, the use of individual astrology as an approach to both timing and the operation itself has hardly been addressed. It is a very personal thing after all, and any practitioners using this method probably did not feel much like sharing. So, many of the sigils, talismans and amulets etc. in grimoires that relate to binding and warding carry instructions that they are to be created when a certain planet is rising or culminating, or in a particular sign or when some other configuration is present in the sky. Again, there is no reason whatsover why individual astrology could not also supply the essential meaning necessary for the operation you have in mind, so long as the activation you are using is an appropriate one.

You may also wish to consider whether or not the activating planet and the key is in a sign which empowers it or one which weakens it. If either the activating planet or the key are in signs which debilitate their essential meaning, you probably only want to use the individual astrology for banishing operations and instead rely on the more traditional use of ambient astrology for working with that principle, unless you can find a way to link your individual natal chart in with a sextile or trine from the planet while it is in a good place. So for example with my natal Moon in Scorpio unless I have something specific in mind which warrants it (such as a Moon and Scorpio operation) I wont use my individual astrology, specifically transiting conjunctions to it, as a direct approach to a magical operation of the Moon, since the Moon in Scorpio is not very fruitful for the Moon. Instead, I will wait until the Moon is in Cancer, making a nice trine with my natal Moon and so still providing a form of individual astrology which I can use in my operation but which is primarily taking advantage of the ambient astrology of the Moon in Cancer, where it is very powerful. Since my Moon and Venus are in an almost exact conjunction and Venus is also not well placed in Scorpio, I will also use Venus in Cancer as a way to approach a Venus operation with my individual astrology, since Venus is exalted in Cancer and again makes a trine to Scorpio which I can make use of. In effect, I sidestep the lack of dignity of my natal Moon and Venus by calling upon the trines and sextiles from the sign they are in and looking for another sign in which they are instead exalted or in rulership. This allows me to make a Moon/Venus talsiman, for example, bringing in my own individual astrology during the operation which does not disrupt it. You won’t always be able to find these combinations but if you can they can help.

As far as binding and warding go the 12 signs have some slight affinities worth mentioning –

  • Aries (warding) 
  • Taurus (binding)
  • Gemini (binding, because of the Twins)
  • Cancer (both, as it is both protective and possessive)
  • Leo (both, as its power to command applies either way)
  • Virgo (warding, because of the purity)
  • Libra (binding, because of the connected pans of the scales)
  • Scorpio (binding)
  • Sagittarius (warding, because of the pointed arrow)
  • Capricorn (binding)
  •  Aquarius (warding, especially by sigil)
  • Pisces (binding, because of the chord linking the Fish).

These affinities are as I have said only very slight ones but they can sometimes also be useful to consider. Of the Elements the Earth Element is the most binding and the Fire Element as the most energetic and willful Element is the most suited to warding.

In terms of the planets Saturn is the primary planet for binding and Mars is the primary planet for warding. However other planets also have their varieties of bindings and wards which serve different purposes, for example a ward of Venus can deflect unwanted attention by bringing about repulsion rather than attraction and a binding of Mercury can commit you to learning a language or a science. The key notion to understand is that the ward of a planet keeps its influence and essential meaning at bay while the binding of a planet keeps its influence and essential meaning close at hand.


In considering the temples with binding and warding in mind several associations are worth mentioning:

  • The 1st temple: Binding the self to a course of action or protecting the self from particular influences.
  • The 2nd temple: Binding essential meaning to a possession or creating a ward against the loss of a possession.
  • The 3rd temple: Binding the thoughts or mental entities or creating a ward around specific knowledge or information.
  • The 4th temple: Binding essential meaning to a location or land or warding a location or land. Also, warding the family and binding them together in a crisis.
  • The 5th temple: Binding oneself to an art form or to a specific muse or warding a child or an area of recreation.
  • The 6th temple: Binding oneself to a schedule or daily routine, warding against illness and known sickness.
  • The 7th temple: Binding oneself to a partner or relationship, or a specific warding against an individual.
  • The 8th temple: Binding of sexual excess or predation, warding against losses or betrayal.
  • The 9th temple: Binding of self to a spiritual path of initiation, wards against dangers while traveling abroad or from religious persecution.
  • The 10th temple: Binding of self to an objective or ambition, wards against career rivals.
  • The 11th temple: Binding of self to an ideology or a group/society, wards against gossip and political rivals or those with opposing ideologies.
  • The 12 temple: Binding of self to a meditative practice or mystical school, warding against malevolent spirits and unknown illness and sickness.

A little reflection will show you that there are many more, the basic idea being that the activities of the temple can be warded against or bound to you and your destination in life. The strongest temples in magical work are always the 1st and the 10th, followed by the temple of the activity you are focusing on, and then the 7th and finally the 4th. Although you may adapt this order for a specific ritual such as one which is a blessing for the land where you will choose to emphasize the 4th temple, this basic order of importance or significance of the temples in magical operations is always reliable.

As this brief examination of the relationship between astrology and magical operations hopefully shows, there are many ways in which the two can come together and work something out. I sincerely hope  that this humble writing inspires you  in the creation of your own magical  rituals and spells and that you will be blessed  by the results.

That’s it for this month,  I hope you have  enjoyed reading this article.. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions below and if you like to encourage me to write more in the future please consider  becoming one of my patrons. Until next month, journey deeper! 

Scorpio: Magician of the Deeps

Greetings and welcome back to Journeys! This month I have a post for you about Scorpio. You may also like to read my posts about Saturn in Scorpio,  Uranus in Scorpio and Pluto in Scorpio.


For Scorpia

“Though lovers be lost love shall not”.

(Dylan Thomas)

Creeping mist crawls over the surface of the swamp at midnight. Curling tree branches throw shadows in the moonlight, illuminating a glistening world of wet, shining insects busy devouring an animal carcass. You hear the panting of an unknown animal approaching through the rustling of willowy vines. The bizarre footprints leading to the carcass and then away from it glisten with blood and your heart rises into your mouth as something steps out of the shadows…

The next night you are home and in the arms of a lover you just can’t get enough of and your being is exploding in ecstatic bliss. Your entire body has become an electrical current plugged into your lovers, throbbing and shaking with an uncontrollable pleasure that ends in an explosion that, for a timeless eternity lasting a few seconds, utterly obliterates your personality and all of your personal concerns.

Later you lay there thinking about how alike the last two nights have been, and it pleases you, you feel truly alive. You see the connection of hunger and desire like a tissue of significance threading the two nights, connecting you with your lover, you with your predator, and the symmetry of life and death is hinted at beneath the surface, like your lovers skin as it rises and then rests beneath the sheets while you watch. You know you would die for them and always have, because you live for them.

Welcome to the realm of the Scorpion. The world of high emotion, do or die, flight or fight, all or nothing. A world of gods and monsters, secrets and mysteries, demons and angels and those among us who gaze upon them, and so strip them all naked. Scorpio undresses the universe and delights in the eroticism of the naked truth revealed. Superficiality is shunned, ripped asunder and thrown aside like bothersome clothing. Arousal is ever intensely felt and hunger for more and deeper is a seemingly insatiable maw – the whole of reality calls out to be fucked, hard, meaning Scorpio is filled with the greatest lust for life in the zodiacal tribe. The more physical types want your body, but the more mysterious ones want more to penetrate the mysteries of existence. The irony that fuels this power is that this lust for life is fueled by a keen awareness of its natural termination in death. Pay heed, says the voice of Scorpio, for the end is ever nigh. It’s a knife edge to live upon, but it’s better than taking your eyes off the fact that its true. So man up and live like it is. This is the Scorpio credo. 

Dip your toes into this world and you know, somewhere buried inside, that to plunge deeper is to abandon yourself to the Mystery and lose your way in a profoundly beautiful and dangerous realm that nobody who enters ever leaves as the same person. To be touched by Scorpio is to know that you are consumed by something, something beyond your own comprehension, and to be thrilled into living harder and brighter by it. It is to master the passions or be mastered by them, and so to burn for eternity in the transformation from one state of being to another, always led on by the purified desire nature or being doomed to remain trapped by meaningless desires in an endless loop that brings only destruction and darkness.

Villain. Devil. Monster. Tags like these seem irrevocable stains on the nature of Scorpio. The trap is that the sign keeps its own counsel and shares its true feelings and thoughts only with the most trusted and loyal of its loved ones, leaving the rest of the world to imagine the rest, and what they generally imagine is a projection of all their own darkness. Scorpio is encouraged to speak up, to share its deeper insights, but all too often all it encounters is more shunning as the truths they reveal are often unpalatable. They cant win at the game the rest of the world plays, so they leave it behind, and the world grows much darker as a result because its the Scorpio in us that is capable of transforming darkness into light. In this way, Scorpio becomes the butt of a collective death wish, and boy do they know it!

Scorpio is a Fixed or Stable sign counted as the 8th sign of the zodiac and the second of the Water signs. A list of qualities generally attributed to the sign of Scorpio in modern astrological books and thinking includes the following –


Sex Appeal
Healthy Sexuality
Lust for Life
Depth Perception
Occult Faculties
Emotional Discipline
Immortal or Indestructible
Calm and Composed
Profoundly Empathic
Champion of Truth and Justice


Sex Starved
Unhealthy Sexuality
Hedonism and Debauchery
Secrecy and Manipulativeness
Shielded and Closed
Power Mad
Self Destructive, Mortally Afraid
Icy and Cold
Callous Towards Suffering
Vengeful, Spiteful and Vindictive
Emotionally Rigid or Stuck


Image by Gavin Heffernan and Harun Mehmedinovic

What Scorpio instinctively understands from a list like this is how one side can be coaxed into becoming the other, in other words Scorpio instinctively understands the art of transformation and transmutation, and not just of the human character but also of the universe. In contrast to its opposite partner, Taurus (which tries to simplify life) the presence of Scorpio instead continually complicates it because it reveals the complexities hidden beneath the surface and exposes them, mercilessly at times. It also has an innate sense for the presence of corruption and deception which brings a reputation for ruthlessness as well as innate detective talent.

I will spend some time in this article discussing the ins and outs of some of these qualities but I feel it is best left to you to reflect upon them for yourselves and try to add to them from your own observations of Scorpio at work. In this writing I would like to try to probe deeper into the lore and substance of Scorpio, in particular focusing upon the core mechanic which is the engine of many of its qualities, if not all. In short, I will try to strip the mystery of Scorpio itself so that it is a little more naked to all of our eyes.


“What do you want a meaning for? Life is a desire, not a meaning.”
(Charles Chaplin)

The first scorpions are believed to have evolved from water scorpions 425 to 450 million years ago in the Silurian period. It is suggested that they may have been the first animals to migrate from ocean life to habitation upon the land. Evidence for this lies in the fact that scorpions fluoresce under ultraviolet light, and during the Silurian period the ozone layer had yet to build up and hence the atmosphere was flooded with strong ultraviolet rays.

The stars of Scorpio, called Scorpius, were the stars seen to rise during the autumn equinox of the northern hemisphere from about 5000 to 1000 BCE, with Antares its major star in ascendance around 3700 to 3500 BCE, a time in which worship of Serqet became popular in Egypt. Serqet was a deification of Scorpius and possessed the magic of curing or inflicting poisons (her name can mean either “she who tightens the throat” or “she who causes the throat to breath”). She was a protective guardian against the forces of Apep. In this period Scorpius was regarded as a darkening gateway to the Underworld since at the autumn equinox the light failed rapidly as the Sun then began to move into the southern hemisphere. The Egyptian mythology of the divinely imbued Scorpion killing Osiris only for him to be reborn as Horus via Isis resonates with the annual journey of the Sun through this constellation – a time of darkness and death begins, only to lead inevitably to a time of renewal and rebirth.

To some of the Egyptians the scorpion was also the totemic entity which led the way into the Underworld – sometimes quite literally, as if you became lost in the caverns scorpions could often be found moving toward the warmth of the ceremonial rooms. Scorpius expressed the truth that there can be no life without death. As history and time advanced, other tales and versions were spun around this significance, such as the Greek tale of the giant Orion being slain by a scorpion, a tale which arises from the observation that the stars of Scorpius were seen to arise in the east just as those of Orion appeared to fall to the ground in the west. So, at least around 4,000 years ago and probably long before then, these stars were connected with darkness, death and resurrection, and they have been a scorpion for as long as we have records of them.


From Scorpius we can also trace a direct line of symbolic meaning that leads to the Archangel Gabriel; as a guardian of one of the four annual stations, the solstices and equinoxes, Scorpius was placed at one of the four cardinal points in Egyptian tombs, along with Aquarius, Taurus and Leo. Later, these celestial figures then gave form to the idea of Archangelic guardians of the stations, with Gabriel guarding the West as Scorpius once did. Church architecture is full of occulted astrological symbolism as a result. Take a closer look and in some places you will even see stained glass depictions of horoscopes. The occult connection with Gabriel eventually associated itself with a particular star in the constellation of Scorpius, one of the four Royal stars of Persia, Antares.

Not only are these stars a formative influence behind the symbolism of the Archangel Gabriel they are also intimately connected with the stars of Libra, to which they gave birth around the time of Ptolemy (circa AD 90 – AD 168). At this time, the claws of the great Scorpion notably detached themselves and gave rise to the independent stars of the two pans of Libras scales – stars which the Romans appropriated for their goddess of Justice. Before this time, for example in ancient Mesopotamia, the claws of Scorpius were also referred to as scales or weighing and balancing instruments (in the Babylonian culture, they were sacred to the Sun god Shamash who was also the patron of truth and justice), but by the early 2nd century the distance between the claws and the body of Scorpius was very notable. As a consequence, Scorpius lost much of its contact with the ecliptic – it started drifting away from the pathway the Sun takes through the heavens, and thus the great mysteries of Scorpius began sinking into the deeps of space. We started formulating intellectual laws to govern situations which were formerly instinctively understood, and we started looking outward to deep space with greater progress. Human collective awareness began to fall away from its embrace of both life and death, leading to the current endeavor to cheat and conquer it and the widespread fear of aging. In the current era, the Sun only spends about 9 days among the stars of Scorpius, leading to the further misapprehension of ‘the 13th sign’, postulated to exist through the stars of Ophiucus which is slowly moving into the region inhabited by Scorpius. But these are matters of the stars, not of signs, which are two different things. There is no 13th sign, because signs are not constellations. The only factor that could plausibly change this and alter the zodiac signs we use is a geophysical event like a significant tilt in the Earths axis, resulting in a complete disruption of the seasons, or an even more catastrophic dislodging of Earth from its orbit.

While we are discussing this and Scorpio in one place, I would like to suggest the possibility that the conflation of the two concepts is a deliberate ploy on the part of those who wish to discredit astrology and its use without ever looking at the matter seriously at all. This should not be dismissed as a conspiracy theory – it is a conspiracy theory, but ask any modern practitioner of astrology if they have ever encountered this bias, and listen to the reality we experience. The obfuscation of the 13th sign has been trundled out periodically for decades. Each time our efforts to draw attention to the facts are not taken up by any of the mainstream media who help to spread the disinformation. Each time the conflation displays either a greater ignorance of the subject of astrology or a greater determination to deliberately misrepresent it. Check out what Deborah Houlding has written on this matter following a recent incident in this saga. This may actually all be directly related to Scorpio in a strange twist of astrological fate, as attempts to discredit astrology may have been an underlying part of the motivation for astronomers to change the classification of Pluto, considered a modern ruler of Scorpio (again, not understanding the subject and so not realizing that astrologers would just shrug). Whatever the cause, astrologers can counter it by giving more consideration to the stars as separate but related symbol sets. By largely ignoring them we perpetuate the environment in which this confusion can exist.

Returning to mythic tales, even earlier than this deathlike transformation of Scorpius itself following the time of Christ, stretching back to before ancient Mesopotamia where recorded history begins, the stars of Scorpius were connected with the nameless divine predecessors of Erishkigal, the ‘Great Lady Under Earth’, a nominally feminine figure with great power over both life and death and whose sexual magnetism was the rival of Venus, Ishtar or Aphrodite, yet without their more submissive qualities. Such was the fury and power of this terrible beauty that she could raise the dead to eat the living if she so desired. Here again we see the ancient connection between the stars of Libra and the stars of Scorpio, with a pair of scorpion headed figures guarding the entrance to her realm at the gates of Kurnugi, the land of darkness. The scorpion men open the doors for Shamash (Sun) as he travels out each day, and close the doors after him when he returns to the underworld at night. They also warn travelers of the danger that lies beyond the portal. Their heads touch the sky, ‘their terror is awesome’ and ‘their glance is death’.

From Scorpius, then, comes resonance with the dark, the mysterious, the supernaturally deadly and magnetically attractive qualities of Scorpio, along with its occult faculties and powers of transformation and shape-shifting as well as its fascination with death and the afterlife. It illuminates the sign (a good way to think of the relationship between stars and signs) with an inherent awareness of its indestructibility, even in death, for it carries with it a connection to the truth that life is indeed inseparable from death and that the modern avoidance of such dark matters is unhealthy and even more dangerous than what may lie hidden. And so it probes and where others would turn away from uncovering the truth, Scorpio is compelled to go further, where necessary violating taboos at times, but quietly. Secretly. Scorpio has no desire to be discovered going where no-one has gone before. It knows that people step on you for that. It is not seeking attention at all, instead, it clings to the shadows, watching, observing, gathering information and waiting for opportunities to present themselves. It is the assassin or the guardian angel of the zodiac. Which of the two you are dealing with can be a problem for many people to figure out, but it’s an even bigger problem for the guardian angels among the sign, of which there are far more than the villains.



“In the dark times, if you have something to hold on to, which is yourself, you’ll survive.”
(Whoopi Goldberg)

Readers with some knowledge of modern astrology may have noted from the above that there is an interesting connection between Scorpio and Pluto that goes way, way beyond the more recent connection that has been made between them (and also that Pluto has had a gender change op). The naming is the basis for the association in the first place, meaning that the association between the planet Pluto and the sign of Scorpio arises because the planet was named Pluto and not, for example, Vulcan (Roman god of the forge and fires). By naming it Pluto, astrological thinking was shepherded towards all the connections with Scorpio – the underworld, death, sex, the occult, transformation. Given that Pluto undoubtedly does display astrological qualities that firmly resonate with Scorpio (the astrological community is pretty much settled on this) the question astrologers today should be asking is whether that naming was a synchronous happening or whether the human race is more involved in an inherently magical creation of astrological significance than it thinks it is. I will leave my thoughts on all this and the connection between Pluto and Scorpio for a later article on Pluto, in the meantime you may like to read my post on Pluto in Scorpio.

The traditional planet considered to rule the sign and the planet to lend it most of its substance is Mars, and the connection is still just as valid in my experience. Scorpio is the Magnetic (or if you prefer, nocturnal) expression of Mars. It is what we will bleed for. It expresses the binding power of the will and determination, the desires and the passions we feel. It is our passions and desires that bind our will firmly to our objectives and thus ensure that we will eventually manifest them. Yet the Magnetic application of the will is unlike the Electric, and so unlike its cousin Aries, Scorpio only ever takes the head-on approach if it is the only course. Instead it is a strategist possessed of great patience in the pursuit of its desires and schemes. It watches and analyzes the situation carefully, preferably from underneath the safety of a cool, sheltering rock, hence it cannot also be spied upon, and consequently it excels in the art of perception, especially of vulnerabilities and things that are hidden. When the time comes to make its move, which is usually when the prey is most vulnerable, Scorpio strikes with lightning speed. So the energy of Mars is coiled up like the tail but can launch swift and deadly attacks, and the claws are more than just a weapon to attack with they are instruments of manipulation and detection, forceps used to investigate and peel apart. These are scientific instruments as much as they are defensive and offensive tools. Scorpions also possess formidable instincts, impressive and beautifully coloured and shaped armour as well as acute psychic powers, traits which the sign of Scorpio gifts to any object it hosts. The Magnetic activity of Mars is busy focusing the will on pulling together the effort to manifest its desires, and its actions are often invisible and subtle, but it’s all about mastering the defensive strategies rather than the offensive ones. Hence the secrecy, because silence is power and the moment your objective is revealed your cards are on the table for all to see and you are exposed, naked. You have to make the other guy get naked first. This is the stimulus that endows Scorpio with an intimidating degree of ‘x-ray vision’. Nothing remains hidden from them for long. They are consummate occult researchers and practitioners, the archetypal magicians of the zodiac, and for more reasons than one. They know not just how to strip the mystery bare and reveal its naked secrets, but also how to apply the will to cause astral realities to wither, form or transform.

Thus not only the destructive but also the regenerative power of the sign is unmatched. This regeneration is instinctive like that of a reptilian creature, meaning it requires almost no conscious effort, which leads many to suppose Scorpio is indestructible – chop off the tail, they just grow a new one, or throw off the entire skin – and this aspect of Scorpios power lies in reserve, waiting for an appropriate and necessary time for emergence. Its power is legendary in tales of love gone tragically wrong, as Scorpio just transmutes itself into a new being, leaving the shell of old love behind it like a metamorphosed butterfly, and its partner wondering how it was so easy for them to let them go. The saying “Scorpio is loyal unto death. Until you aren’t” is very apt. Their power of transmutation into a new state is connected with their ability to withdraw from surface awareness and plunge into core consciousness. As Scorpio evolves by releasing its own petty urges to control things or take revenge it gains even more impressive storehouses of power and energy than it had before, becomes more deeply and powerfully mysterious to others, and thus feels more like its true self. Once they have learned to focus their intense will and passion to create positive internal transformations in their lives rather than pursuing self destructive behaviour and emotional overload, their power lifts them and they soar to the tops of the highest mountains, especially when everything goes down the tubes. You find the best of them right in the thick of one disaster after another, yet holding it together with the composure of an eagle. The task then is to continually surrender to the endless intensity, to surf the wave as it grows ever higher. With Scorpio, then, a planet has the potential to act as a channel for the power of transmutation and resurrection. This implies powerful healing energy, but it can also manifest as the ability to regenerate and transform anything. Scorpio, as the process of death and rebirth, holds deep mysteries to be explored.

In terms of analogies Scorpio is a sign linked in the physical body to the reproductive and sexual organs and the excretory system including the bladder but not the kidneys, as well as the nose. It has a connection to the immune system, and with arousal and procreation. By reflex association with Taurus it can manifest in the throat (for example, note how the voice drops when boys enter puberty and the sex organs develop). In the astral body Scorpio connects with the functions of the Muladhara or Root chakra (where it generates procreative and sexual desire and power, transformation and renewal and deep grounding) and the Svadhistana or Sacral chakra (where it generates sexual orientation, sensuality and the transformation of the personality). Its colours are deep and bright reds, black and rich purple and all colours with a deep, velvety sheen. In the Hebrew Tree Kabbalah, Scorpio resonates with the tone A, the Hebrew letter Nun (‘Fish’) and the 22nd Path (from Tiphareth to Hod), concerning the magic of mummification, essence multiplication and the mastery of multiplication of astral forms, magic which is symbolised by the Death Arcana of the Tarot (see below). In alchemy, Scorpio is the operation of separation. Its stones according to folklore are the bloodstone and the topaz, also any of the stones of Mars, its animals encompass the reptiles and insects and range from the lizard and scorpion to the eagle, serpent and phoenix, its direction is north-east, its season mid-autumn, it is akin to moist temperatures, its places are haunted castles, abandoned ruins, alchemical laboratories, magical ritual sites, standing stones, marshlands, lakes with monsters in them, ponds, swamps, bogs, glaciers, all places which are havens for insects, arachnids, rodents and reptiles, burial grounds, cavern entrances, prisons and all darkened, creepy environments. Inside buildings it is wherever water collects – drains, toilets, muddy garden patches, damp rooms – as well as subterranean, private or hidden rooms like cellars and secret passages, locked chambers and hidden compartments, the bedroom or sex dungeon or places where precious but secreted valuables are secured. Locations or entities signified by Scorpio according to their own current (2017) national charts include Hungary (1989), Panama (1903), Honduras (1838), Austria (1918), Turkey (1923), Dominica (1978), Zambia (1964), the United Nations (1945), and Turkish Cyprus (1983). Some famed individuals with Scorpio as their Sun sign include Pablo Picasso, Bill Gates, Winona Ryder, Julia Roberts, Hillary Clinton, Leonardo DiCaprio, Marie Antoinette, Marie Curie, Martin Scorsese, Sylvia Plath, Voltaire, George Eliot, Theodore Roosevelt, Neil Gaiman, Tilda Swinton, Matthew McConaughey and Ivanka Trump.

Scorpio is gifted with the binding power of the will, the power through which the individual spirit condenses an astral body for itself. This is the source of the signs deep and intense passion and its insight into astral reality. This binding power is like that of Taurus, its opposite sign, an Earth sign which acts to bind forms to Unity at the most fundamental level, where they are existent as Greater Selves. The difference is first that Scorpio is internally focused, whereas Taurus is externally focused, second that Scorpio is astrally and emotionally focused while Taurus is existentially and practically focused, and third that Scorpio is ruled by thrill-seeking Mars and Taurus by calm-loving Venus. As a Fixed or Stable expression of Water it is the most immobile and uncompromising of the Water signs, given to intense accumulations of emotion which can erupt with overwhelming passion and intensity, but such can be used for good or ill.



“There is no despair so absolute as that which comes with the first moments of our first great sorrow, when we have not yet known what it is to have suffered and be healed, to have despaired and have recovered hope.”

(George Eliot)

As a sign with a deep connection to the underworld Scorpio understands darkness of all kinds better than any other. This understanding often taints them with an aura of darkness that others frequently misunderstand or grow fearful of, Yet without it the world would paradoxically be plunged into even greater darkness as it is the scorpions among us who lead us through it to the warmth and golden light of subterranean ceremonial chambers, wherein we can perceive the eternal light of the core consciousness burning fiercely for all time and throughout all space. In other words it is the Scorpio within us that allows us to rise up when we are destroyed, to see through the darkness and to walk through hell with composure and dignity. It is the Scorpio within us, so innately connected to the darkness of life – the grief, the horror, the suffering and cruelty – that awakens our passion for caring and loving more intensely, more fully, as if there is no tomorrow. What the scorpion within us instinctively knows is that we are indestructible – our core consciousness, as spirit, has no beginning or end, only infinite transformations of form. It is the part of our soul that carries the awareness that our spirit has lived and died and lived and died and lived and died and will continue to do so for all eternity. It has experienced death again and again and again, not just of others but of itself. It knows that there is nothing to fear in death, and that our destruction – whether it be physical, financial or emotional – cannot ever extinguish our core consciousness, and thus we will rise from any tragedy. Scorpio is the part of us that has walked the surface of the Earth countless times and has made the journey between the Earth and what lies beyond for forgotten ages. It has seen for itself the indestructible nature of its being, its own ability to rise from ashes like a flaming Phoenix toward the stars. It has found complete trust in this undying fire.

The mysteries of existence thus begin to unravel before the gaze of Scorpio because they see through the thick clouds of fear that obscure our vision of the astral realm and its promise. Although many of the sign only instinctively sense these truths and act upon them unconsciously, there are also those who become conscious of this fact and begin to use this faculty for the betterment of other human beings. For this reason the sign makes not only an excellent detective but also a profound psychological therapist and analyst capable of deep and penetrating insight into the emotional life and the psyche. As a Water sign of the planet Mars it also understands the actions that are necessary to have an effect upon the emotional body. When Scorpio is hurt or defending itself, this can become a fatal weapon. The sting of the Scorpion in this case is loaded with a poison that slowly chokes the life out of the emotional body because it strikes at the Achilles heel of the soul. Scorpio is even capable of transmitting this kind of attack with a mere look, but a few well chosen words are usually involved. On the other hand, when used positively this quality of being able to understand the actions necessary to have an effect upon the emotional body can bring immediate calmness and comfort and even peace and wisdom to those in distress, even those in fresh trauma. The truth that Scorpio is able to penetrate is not only at times uncomfortable and dark, it can also be transformative and empowering – especially when the matter at hand is dark and terrible for the soul. For this reason, anyone who has a loyal Scorpio friend usually counts them among the most important advisers they have known. There is literally no mystery which Scorpio cannot unravel at least a little bit, perhaps even entirely, given enough time and intense determination, and no trauma their devotion cannot soothe. Once they have set their course on solving a particular mystery or transforming a particular feeling or situation for themselves or another, their innate defiance, willpower and the knowledge that so long as they are determined they can never be defeated, all in addition to their occult power, make them truly formidable and impressive human beings. Given enough reason to do so, i.e. given enough love and devotion by another, Scorpio would walk naked into hell for you. No darkness can deter them from honouring the passionate feelings of loyalty and love that they are capable of whenever given an opportunity to give them away to someone who can be trusted with them. And this is why they know darkness so well.

So, into the dark churning waters we dive as love calls to us from within the mysterious depths of being – this is the mantra of Scorpio dancing behind the hypnotic eyes that scan the ocean and all that moves within it. The sign has an innate radar for significance – the vast objects and bodies moving through the ocean of the astral realm. It can feel the behemoths and leviathans of the deep, the mysterious entities swirling in its current, the little movements that give away the predators and the prey, the answers that lurk in the sunken wrecks and caverns, the truths and treasures that emerge from the fathoms. Scorpio can sit and listen to the words other people say and sense the significance moving around them, so it can see slightly ahead as if psychically possessing the ability to know the future. Really, what they are doing is first feeling (like ripples) and then spotting the aquatic fin swimming invisibly towards you and figuring out whether it is a shark or a dolphin, and they are extremely good at this. They may not always be able to justify their feelings to others, because some of the feelings of Scorpio are so intense or profound that they defy description and some of their sources of those feelings are occulted even to them, but those feelings are always significant ones that are worth paying attention to. Scorpios who have developed their psychic and magical faculties understand these things at even deeper levels. They know that all beings are connected by the astral and that this connection has a life of its own that must be mastered or else it will master the magician. It has an innate understanding that there are demonic as well as angelic beings in this realm and that each of them has a role to play and a specific form which reveals that role. This brings us to consider the deepest or most essential magic of Scorpio. The magic of this sign often lies at the intersections of sex, death and power, or in binding spells (akin to Saturn magic), or in banishing and transmutation, but the really enlightening mystery is why.



This magic is akin to that of Capricorn in that it is involved in shaping astral form (and so also the reverse, disintegrating it). However, where Capricorn is a process concerned with the magic by which our physical-astral (or personal) experiences are formed through the existence of laws (such as karma), Scorpio is concerned with a more fundamental creation of pure astral form. Capricorn acts more to sculpt and design the personal experience we need in order to grow, to cause the significance of experience to build up into a lifetime of personal experience or wisdom, whereas Scorpio has a literal power of life and death over that personal body of experience. Of the two, Scorpio is the primal astral factor shaping the astral body, the individual will that sustains it, and Capricorn its ongoing development of its form in the astral, a more Earthy process of gradual shaping by time. This is the occult nature of the astrological sextile that exists between them, the magical nature of the stimulus between the two signs.

image by Rawn Clark

On the Gra Tree of Life, Scorpio is shown as the mental plane expression of Water into the astral plane, giving birth to Yesod, the seat of astral awareness. Thus, Scorpio assumes a formative and transformative power of influence over all astral matters and a depth of penetrating perception into its substance, significance, which lends it tremendous force of will and emotional intensity. It is in essence analogous to the formation of astral life. It is Scorpio more than any other sign that has insight into the nature of Water and the astral plane. No other sign employs a greater command of its feelings than Scorpio, and the sign is also gifted with the insight that allows it to perceive the deeper significance of things and even to manipulate the emotions and astral nature of others, faculties which can again be employed for good or ill. The beings of the astral are often in awe of someone with a strong emphasis on this sign, hence the intense hypnotic magnetism that surrounds these people. Scorpio is also the master of astral transformation and is able to take on many forms, it is the quintessential spy and an adept of self reinvention. The potential for Scorpio is intense – either it will rise to undreamed of heights, or stoop to new lows.

A key mystery to reflect upon here is how the process of decay and death enriches life and causes it to multiply rather than diminish and vanish. The corpse of the animal at the introduction to this post not only feeds the wriggling body of insects, but its decay and eventual disintegration feeds the soil and the plants and numerous other forms of life. In the same way, the death of not just the human body but also the human soul serves only to enrich life and cause its seed to multiply and propagate further. This mystery is the core magic encoded in the tarot Arcana called Death. The soul undergoes a second death following its physical death, because the soul is simply the conduit between the physical body and the spirit, which following death must return to its source, the Greater Self. Once the physical body can no longer house the spirit there is no longer a physical root for the soul or astral body to adhere to, and so it too gradually disintegrates just as the physical body is doing. However since there are no physical cells or organs, what must disintegrate are the astral cells and organs – the significance of our earthly experience, the personal dimension of our journey must be relived and that significance must be released, we must let go of this lifetime before we can move on to another. The personal experience of the soul – everything it has personally felt and thought and done and had done to it – must be returned to where we gathered it from. For the soul, this experience involves a kind of memory or reliving of all its experience, yet without the physical brain to interpret it, the raw significance is made intensely and undeniably clear. As our experiences are relived on this astral journey, the Elements of those experiences return to the Elements of the astral realm from which they were drawn. Thus, we must not only experience what we have felt and the significance this has had for us we must also experience what others have felt and the significance this has had for them. This last fact is what makes the journey perilous, and why great attention was given to this aspect of life in ritual Egyptian practice and in other cultures possessing this wisdom and magic. The process of these magical operations helps to educates the spirit in what its next incarnation must strive for as well as protecting it throughout the journey. A relationship to a deity, mentor or guru can also guide and protect the soul in this transition. Now this work is primarily and sometimes only done by Guardian Angels, the Greater Selves. 

Ultimately the soul eventually disintegrates leaving only the now naked spirit with its memories and lessons, but aspects of the souls existence can be preserved. This is the magic of mummification. In Egyptian ritual practice, the keeping of four canopic jars holding ritually removed and prepared physical organs (liver, intestines, lungs and stomach) was a magical practice designed to aid the journey the soul would make, and/or to preserve parts of the soul in the astral realm. These parts of the soul – the fundamental Elements – could then become separate entities with their own instructions, often to aid the soul in later incarnations or to protect those the soul cared for, for example. In this way, occult development could be preserved and remembered along with experiences, and a form of astral immortality attained. The heart was never removed because it was believed that this organ would have its astral counterpart weighed on the scales of Maat against a feather, representing cosmic truth (a metaphor for the entire process we are discussing here, but specifically its endpoint). Similar practices also occurred in other places where mummification was practiced, such as in South America and China. Today the journey each soul must make is far more perilous because we have not only abandoned these practices, but our entire attitude to death has become more ignorant and negative.

While this “astral death” is very profoundly analogous to Scorpio, what is often missed is that its reverse is also analogous to Scorpio. The creation of astral life and the birth of astral form is a process that occurs through concentrating and focusing the individuality of the spirit as it seeks incarnation. Its desire to have a particular incarnation following on from this intense experience draws to it the necessary astral Elements from within the astral plane as it prepares for incarnation on the mental plane. The spirit creates a soul by accumulating specific individual uniqueness that distinguishes it and differentiates it from every other incarnation that will ever exist. So, for example, it might start out with more general notions of needing to be born a particular race (let’s say a white supremacist has reincarnated and needs now to be a black African – ‘needs’ meaning there is a necessity that it recognizes). It might then perceive a need to be a particular gender as well. Other general choices and specifications will be conjured and blended together out of necessities and this process will continue in greater and finer detail so that each and every aspect of the individual spirit will be utterly unique and also a response to its former experience, its former astral death. When this process of concentrating the will of the spirit reaches a particular density it causes the formation of a new astral body, a tapestry of significance, to form around it. This is the point at which the wave collapses into a particle and starts resonating with other astral particles, clustering together into an astral form that will in turn guide the clustering of physical cells into physical forms. All of this happens concurrently in both the womb of the mother and in the astra-mental planes. Hence, there were companion rituals to the death rituals which nurtured the soul and spirit of the mother and child while they were making this journey together. This connection is the essence of the connection between Scorpio and the sex organs and sexual reproduction as well as all the magic of sex. 

Scorpio, then, is a magician of the deeps, a master of the creation and destruction of astral forms. It can feel when and what form of significance is present and it can feel its movement in people and things. It can arouse these forms and stimulate new astral life. It knows how the focusing of the mind draws to it that which it desires or dwells upon, as well as how it can banish feelings from its mind through acts of will. It understands the core astral mechanic which leads to the creation of physical transformation – the application of the true will (the magical will which is not deceived by personal subjectivity) can with enough intensity cause astral waves to collapse into particles, and control over the variables involved can bring about specific manifestations of significance. This is the core magic of Scorpio from which all of its qualities emerge – it’s passion and intensity, its ability to transform both itself and others as well as life in general, its ability to perceive deeply into astral significance and to match that significance in ways which cause it to transmute, its fascination with death and sex and the occult, and its keen sense of things that would otherwise remain hidden.

Astrology and Health (part 1)

Blessings, and welcome back to Journeys! Today I will put forward an approach for evaluating potential health problems from studying the birth chart and then treating them. It is a method that has taken me over two decades of practice and experimentation to evolve, and has been applied successfully in the lives of many of my friends and clients, but mostly myself. Due to the lengthy nature of this discussion it will be split into two parts, the first part on diagnosis is below and the next part on remedies will be published next month. Both articles are written with somewhat experienced astrologers in mind from the practical point of view, but anyone with an interest in astrology can draw something from them. You should be confident in reading the character nature of a chart and somewhat confident in handling transits and progressions/directions before you tackle this subject in anything other than a theoretical way. Journey deeper…

Happy Tracks

Exploring the Otherworlds through Astrology

Hello again and welcome back to journeys for 2016  🙂 For my first message this year I am going to share with you a method of interacting with your astrology that I have used in my own life and gradually developed. It is a highly adaptable method and my explanation should serve only as an example of the possibilities. Journey deeper…