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The Mad Hatter's tea party.In the late 1980s I edited The Harmonic Astrology Newsletter, founded by David Hamblin.  It had some distinguised contributors, including Mike Harding and Charles Harvey.  But possibly the most interesting contributor was Terry Dwyer.  He wrote a computer program, Starword, which created syntheses of people’s horoscopes.  Terry was also a sceptic, and I think that he had serious doubts about whether astrology was worth bothering with.  In one article he wrote, which I don’t have a copy of, he quoted from Shakespeare’s The Tempest:

But this rough magic
I here abjure, and when I have required
Some heavenly music, which even now I do,
To work mine end upon their senses that
This airy charm is for, I’ll break my staff,
Bury it certain fathoms in the earth,
And deeper than did ever plummet sound
I’ll drown my book.

Maybe he only quoted the last two lines, I can’t remember.  The lines were spoken by Prospero, who had decided to drown his book and break his staff – the symbols of the magic arts that he practiced.  In Terry Dwyer’s case this was astrology.  As far as I understand it, he gave it up because of the lack of scientific proof.

And in his article, Terry posed a question: What is the difference between an astronomer and an astrologer?

An astronomer is someone who looks into the skies and sometimes finds what they are looking for.  The astrologer is someone who looks down at the horoscope and always finds what they are looking for.  Which brings me to the subject of Chiron and the asteroids.

I remember when I first came across them.  I had been studying astrology for about a year, and I came across Demeter George’s book The Asteroid Goddesses.  At the back it has ephemerides for the four main asteroids, Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta.  And I think a few more.  These asteroids, along with Chiron, discovered in 1977, were interesting novelties.  I think you go through this phase, when you start studying a new subject.  You go for things that are glittery and slightly unusual.

Talking about Chiron, I think there was a brief time in the 1980s when it almost took over from Jupiter. People suggested that it might even be the ruler of Sagittarius.  It was the hot new thing in astrology, the wounded healer, the maverick, whatever.  And the fact that it was probably a comet, only 124 miles across, seemed to be forgotten.

The problem with asteroids can be demonstrated with reference to any horoscope.  For example, here is John F Kennedy’s chart, as it might have been seen before the discovery of Uranus in 1781:

JFK - traditional horoscope

The horoscope is clean and simple.  Saturn in Cancer is conjunct the Midheaven, indicating a position of leadership.  Saturn might be in the sign of its detriment, but it is a daytime planet, in a day time chart, above the horizon.  Also, at 27 10 Cancer, it is in its own terms.  We also see JFK’s intellect and oratory: Mercury is in mutual reception with Venus in Gemini, and is conjunct Mars and Jupiter.  In terms of JFK’s sex life, we have a packed Eighth House, and an exact Moon-Venus square.  This square is wonderfully Jungian.  The Madonna clashes with the Whore, Jackie clashes with Marilyn, who whoever else he slept with.

Essentially, we don’t need anything else to interpet the chart.  However, I understand that some people like to use Uranus, Neptune and Pluto:

JFK's chart, with Uranus, Neptune and Pluto

I am not sure if the addition of Uranus, Neptune and Pluto adds much.  Although in my experience, Uranus is more of an influence than Neptune and Pluto, and its squares to Mercury, Mars and Jupiter added punch and vitality to JFK’s communication style.  From an astronomical point of view, Uranus, unlike Neptune and Pluto, can sometimes be seen with the naked eye.  This fact may be signficant, in terms of how much weight we give this planet in our interpretations.

Unfortunately, some people want to go further than the ten usual planets.  They want to add the four main asteroids, Ceres, Juno, Pallas and Vesta.  They also want to add Chiron, and for good measure, the point in space known as Lilith:

JFK's horoscope, with Ceres, Pallas, Juno, Vesta, Chiron and Lilith. andlith

As you can see, the chart is starting to look cluttered.  The Eighth House, such a vital part of who JFK was, is starting to lose it dominance.  In other words, we’re getting distracted from the fundamental message of the chart.  Yes, there is a conjunction between Pallas and Lilith, which is square Kennedy’s Mars.  One might say that Mars square Lilith in a man’s chart represent the company of loose women.  However, we can get this from Moon square Venus, especially as the Eighth House is so strong.  So we don’t really need the extra points to tell us about JFK’s horoscope.

There is another problem.  Terry Dwyer defined an astrologer as a person who looks down at a horoscope and always finds what they are looking for.  Do you want to fall into this trap?  If you add the asteroids and other points, you will always find what you are looking for.  There will be little discernment in your readings, and your astrology will just become a meaning machine.  You’ll find meaning in everything, and value in nothing.

And as one adds things to the chart, one is like a kindergartener playing with paints.  It is fun to put a dash of green here, a dash of purple there… but eventually the colours merge into an amorphous brown mess.  Rather like the chart below, after you have plastered it with a few dozen asteroids and extra points:

JFK's horoscope - one big mess

You also have to look at the issue statistically.  Every time you add a new point to your chart, you are exponentially increasing the number of pairs to analyze.   Here’s the graph:

Astrological pairs

What this means is, that if you just use the seven traditional planets, you have the aspects between 21 pairs of planets to consider.  If you throw in the Ascendant and the Midheaven, the number goes up to 36.  Add Uranus, Neptune and Pluto and you’re on 66.  Add the four major asteroids, Chiron and Lilith, and it is 153.  In other words, you become over-saturated with possible combinations.

From the perspective of demonstrating that astrology works, this becomes a nightmare.  In terms of aspects, one might have 153 ways of demonstrating an astrological effect.  This creates the two problems of multiple comparison and cherry-picking.  With so many combinations, you are inevitably going to find random connections between a series of charts.  In the jargon, you’ll have an over-fitted solution, which will disappear when a test set is created, with multiple comparisons corrected for.  Even Michel Gauquelin, whose astrology was very conservative, fell into the trap of making uncorrected multiple comparisons.

So what do you do, if you’re a puer aeternus, or a puella aeterna, and you refuse to grow out of using asteroids?  What I suggest is that you take a leaf from statistics, and use a Bonferroni-style correction of your orbs.  In other words adjusting aspect orbs, depending on how many points you are using.

Let us say your starting point is the ten planets, plus the Ascendant and the Midheaven.  You are using an orb of 8 degrees for a conjunction or opposition, 5 degrees for a square or trine, 3 degrees for a sextile, and 1 degree 30 minutes for a semisquare, quincunx, semisquare or sesquiquadrate.  These orbs are a matter of personal preference, and they are not writ in stone.  However I would not suggest wider orbs, because otherwise you run into the usual problem of cluttering.  And of course aspects work best when the orbs are tight.

Now, you decide to add Ceres, Juno, Pallas and Vesta.   And Chiron and Lilith.  You have increased the possible pairs from 66 to 153.  This means you have to reduce your orb, using the fraction 66 divided by 153, which is .431.  This will keep the number of possible aspects constant.  Your new orbs will be:

Conjunction and Oppostion: 3 degrees 27 minutes

Square and trine: 2 degrees nine minutes

Sextile: 1 degree 18 minutes

Semisextile, quincunx, etc: 0 degrees 39 minutes.

If you plan on adding more points, you will have to reduce your orbs accordingly.

However, it would be much easier if you just stopped using the asteroids and other points.  Or even better, restrict yourself to the traditional planets, from the Sun through to Saturn, with Uranus on special occasions.

Note: The formula for the number of pairs is k(k-1)/2, where k is the number of planets and points you are using.  




Sambourne death - smallpox vaccination concernsThe week starting on March 30 2020 is dominated by a conjunction between Mars and Saturn, which is exact on Tuesday March 31 2020.  It is difficult to say anything about this conjunction which isn’t obvious.  Mars and Saturn are the lesser and greater malefics, and traditionally they are associated with death.  So obviously more people are going to die.  Though from a Vedic perspective, the conjunction started when Mars moved into sidereal Capricorn, on March 22.  The meant, using the sidereal Zodiac, that both planets are in the same sign, a situation which continues until May 4, when Mars moves into sidereal Aquarius.  It may therefore be the case that we’re moving into “peak death”, and it won’t be until after May 4 that things will start to improve.

There is nonetheless something interesting about the Mars-Saturn conjunction, even if its message is drowned out by everything else going on in the world.  It is in the first degree of Aquarius – the same degree as the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction that takes place on December 21 2020.  Events this week, particularly relating to death and disease, may not be immediately obvious.  But they have a long-term significance, as we might see at the end of the year.

At the end of the week Venus moves into Gemini, where it makes a trine aspect to Saturn.  Many of us are going to feel a great need to expand our social horizons, but Saturn will set clear limits on what we can do.  But through a disciplined and perhaps  online approach, we can concentrate our social life.  Getting rid of people who don’t matter, and strengthening the few friendships that we want to hang on to.

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The astrology of the collective: group composite charts

The BeatlesAstrology tends to focus on the individual.  I look at my horoscope, and my star sign.  I don’t care too much about the group.  However, astrologers will often be asked about relationships, and this means they have to use synastry.  The main technique in synastry is comparing one person’s planets with another person’s.  For example, Prince Harry’s Saturn in Scorpio is square Meghan’s Sun in Leo. There are other techniques which allow you to create charts that describe the relationship as a whole.  The chart most commonly used is the composite, where one creates a new chart on the basis of the midpoints of each planet.  So if one person has their Sun at 0 degrees Cancer, and another has their Sun at 0 degrees Virgo, the composite Sun would be the midpoint, at 0 degrees Leo.  Unfortunately composite charts are fake, in the sense that they are creating a picture of the Cosmos that is constructed by the astrologer, and which never existed in real time.

This leads to a different type of chart, which describes a real time and a real place.  It is a chart that describes the relationship as whole.  Astrologers call this chart the Davison relationship chart, named after the astrologer Ronald Davison.  You calculate this chart by finding the midpoint between two birth dates, and the midpoint between the longitude and latitude of the two locations.  Meghan was born on August 4 1981, Harry on September 15 1984.  The midpoint of these two dates was February 24 1983.  When you take into account their times and places of birth, the time becomes 1.33 pm GMT, somewhere in the Western Atlantic:

Harry and Meghan Davison chart

I don’t want to spend too much time on this chart.  There is a strong Moon in Cancer, conjunct the lower meridian.  Regardless of what Harry and Meghan are like as individuals, the relationship itself is private and clannish.  The couple want to escape, into a familiar and comfortable environment.  It is also worth noting that there is a close conjunction between Jupiter and Uranus.  Freedom really is important to them!  Their wedding was on May 19 2018.  At this time, Jupiter was at around 17 degrees 1 minute Scorpio – in other words right on the chart descendant, at 16 degrees 23 Scorpio.  At the same time, the Moon was in the 23rd degree of Cancer – close to the relationship chart’s Moon-IC conjunction.

What about if you have got more than two people?   No problem.  You just find the average time of all the births, and the average longitudes and latitudes.  We can do this with the Beatles – a convient group, because we know the times for all members.  When we average out all their times, we get September 22 1941, at 6.56 a.m. GMT in Liverpool.  It is in Liverpool because this is where all four of them were born.

Here’s the chart:

Beatles' Davison chart

This is the horoscope of the Beatles as a collective.  The Sun is in Virgo, the Moon rising in Libra, Mercury making a close opposition aspect to Mars in Aries, Jupiter trining Mercury and sextiling Mars.  A lot of this makes sense.  The Moon rising is great for dealing with the public – the Beatles as a group were able to understand changing moods and changing fashions.  Mercury was trine Jupiter, which again makes sense – good for communication, particularly of an inspirational and spiritual natural.  However, the most important aspect is a close opposition between Mercury and Mars.  This gave the Beatles a verbal edge, but it was also about conflict and tension, which may not have always been apparent to the wider public.

We then have the question of when the Beatles died.  The chart of the Beatles represents the way in which four people can interact.  While those four people walked the earth, there was the possibility of interaction.  Even if they appeared to go their separate ways.  On December 8 1980 John Lennon was murdered.  This was the end of all possibilities regarding this mini collective.  On that day, Saturn was at 8 degrees 19 minutes Libra.  The ascendant of the Beatles’ chart was at 8 degrees 11 minutes Libra.  That, I would argue, is a powerful signature of a final ending, and a possible suggestion that we should take Davison relationship charts seriously.

There is no reason why we can’t create collective charts for larger groups of people.  Recently, I created a collective chart for all the passengers on the Titanic, that was set for May 21 1881.  I derived this chart from the passenger list, by taking an average of all the ages.  This is the chart, with only the planets from Jupiter onwards included:

Titanic collective

The chart is not very accurate, and may not be particularly meaningful.  However, it illustrates a philosophical and spiritual point.  The collective has a life of its own, that in theory can be described.  Right now, at this precise millisecond, there exists a horoscope based on the mean of the date, place and time of birth of everyone on the planet.  But it’s a horoscope that it changing all the time, which only God can see.


Prince Charles, collective astrology and the Titanic

Prince CharlesPrince Charles has just been diagnosed with COVID-19.  Is this going to show up in his horoscope?  When you have a mass disaster, everyone gets affected, and it becomes something collective.  Think of the first day of the Battle of the Somme, on July 1 1916.  The British casulaties were huge: 57,470 wounded, 19,240 killed.  If we looked at the horoscope of every British soldier killed, do you think we would find anything interesting?  By chance, we should find a few who had perfect signatures of death, but overall, the exercise would be futile.  The Battle of the Somme was not about the individual, it was about the collective, and the only charts that might have been useful were the charts of the UK, or perhaps the charts of the regiments involved in the fighting.

Another famous disaster was the sinking of the Titanic, on April 15 1912.  One interesting feature of this disaster is that we have a passenger list.  I was able to download this list, and it gave me basic data on 1,310 of the 1,317 passengers.  The list doesn’t given me the dates of birth, but it does give me their ages.  We can create a histogram of these ages:

Titanic passengers

As you can see, the Titanic passengers were of all ages, the youngest being a two-month old baby girl travelling in Third Class, the oldest an eighty-year old woman travelling in First.  They both survived, by the way.  The passengers on the Titanic were a diverse group, in terms of a age, gender and wealth – more diverse than those who died at on the first day of the Somme.

However, I would argue that the 1,317 passengers formed a collective, and had a collective destiny.  And their individual horoscopes may have been saying very little about their destiny.  Yet I do believe that we can use astrological principles to understand this destiny.  If you look at the histogram, you will notice that most of the passengers were young – they were in their twenties, going to American to find their fortune.  We can go further, and find the average age of the passengers.  It was 29.8811, or twenty-nine years and eleven months.  This contrasts with the orbital period of Saturn , which is 29.457 years.

We can therefore say that the passengers on the Titanic were experiencing a collective Saturn return.  This is the point where Saturn returns to the position it was when we were born.  So actually, the collective would have had their Saturn Return five months earlier, in November 1911.  A group of people, all over Europe and America, making travel plans, and perhaps responding to big realizations about their life and future.  In particular, young people deciding that it is time to make the big journey.

Now we can create a collective birthdate.  We multiply 29.8811 by 365.25, to give us the age in days, which is 10914.06, and then we subtract those days from April 10 1912, which is when the Titanic started its voyage.  This gives us a date of May 21 1881, as the collective birthday of everyone on the Titanic.  We can set up a chart for this date – though because it is collective, and there are major doubts about its accuracy, we should not place too much emphasis on the inner planets.  It is Jupiter and beyond that we are interested in:

Titanic passengers' collective horoscope

We can see that as a collective, the passengers had a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Taurus.  They were practical and understood the importance of hard work.  Yet Jupiter at 9 Taurus made an exact trine to Uranus.  The collective valued their freedom, and as the Titanic set sale for the New World, there must have been a great sense of excitement.

Jupiter, at 9 degrees 25 minutes Taurus, is conjunct the Saturn-Neptune midpoint, which is at 10 degrees 11 minutes Taurus.  This Jupiter on the Saturn-Neptune midpoint is the hint that something was wrong.  It represents fear, and perhaps limitations (Saturn) coming through the sea (Neptune).  Jupiter is also the planet of release – and very often the final release, of death.  The Saturn-Neptune midpoint is where the Jupiter energy is at its most powerful, and the solar arc directed Saturn-Neptune mipoint was at 9 degrees 45 minutes Gemini on April 15 1912, the day of the sinking.  In other words, exactly square the collective birth chart’s Uranus, at 9 degrees 38 minutes Virgo.  Uranus is the planet of accidents and disaster, and this is the point where the expansive optimism of the passenger’s collective consciousness came to a grinding and watery halt.

As for the COVID-19 disaster, I don’t have the passenger list of the good ship United Kingdom, and I can’t construct a collective chart for its population.  As far as Prince Charles is concerned, he is the heir to the British throne, so perhaps the Universe considers him more important than most other people.  As Calpurnia said in Julius Caesar:

When beggars die there are no comets seen.
The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.
Beggars are the ordinary people, you and me.  If we get killed in collective events, such as the Titanic, the Somme, or the coronavirus epidemic, it might not show up in our charts.  We’re just fatality statistics.  On the other hand if someone important to the collective, like Prince Charles, is killed by coronavirus we might expect a clear signature in his horoscope, lit up with comets and fireworks.
I’ll look at this chart in a few days time.



Aquarius and the Russian decade

Soviet flagRussia is a disaster, right?  Since the fall of Communism, it has gone into steady decline.  Its wealth has been siphoned off by corrupt officials, and the country has been hollowed out by kleptocrats.  And unlike China, there is no discipline and no concept of society.  There are the very rich, flaunting their wealth, and everyone else, the suffering masses.  Not surprisingly, the current global crisis is going to make the situation far worse for this benighted nation.

Yet in spite of its poverty, Russia has been able to extend its power on the global stage.  It has annexed the Crimea, which has been a part of the Ukraine since the 1950s.  Furthermore, it has adopted an active foreign policy in the Middle East.  It has given its total support to the Assad regime in Syria, and along with Iran, has enabled the Syrian government to survive against the odds.  In terms of the economy, things may not be as bad as they seem.  Although the Russian government likes to interfere in most areas of the economy, the Russian Central Bank is relatively independent, and its Scorpio president, Elvira Nabiullina, was in 2017 named as European Central Banker of the Year.

The Financial Times, in a January 29 2020 article, wrote that the Russian economy was not actually in bad shape.  It has survived the sanctions imposed upon it after the Crimea episode, and industries have built up their internal markets to replace the overseas markets that they have been denied access to.  Furthermore, the agricultural sector is booming, and the country has a sovereign wealth fund of 124 billion dollars and growing gold reserves.  This means that if any country can survive a global shut down, it’s Russia.

As far as the coronavirus is concerned, Russia has remarkably few cases.  This may be because of poor health services and poor reporting.  This certainly feeds into the mainstream media’s narrative that Russia’s leaders are incompetent liars.  However CNN was prepared to concede that maybe Russia has got some things right.  At the end of January they shut their border with China, created quarantine zones and started widespread testing.  Somehow, communist and ex-communist countries are better able to deal with crises like coronavirus.  Perhaps, at a gut level, the collective is seen as being more important than the individual.  Which is a very Aquarian attitude.

Talking about Aquarius, there can be little doubt that Russia is an Aquarian country.  Not because of any horoscope, but because of the Classical, Ptolemaic way of looking at the world.  According to this view, the world is centred around the Meditteranean.  Regions to the North and West of the Mediterranean are ruled by Fire Signs, to the North and East Air signs, to the South and West Water signs, to the South and East Earth signs.

This gives us the following rulerships:

Fire (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius): Italy, France, Germany, Britain, Spain.

Earth (Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn): Iraq, Israel, India.

Air (Gemini, Libra, Aquarius): Poland, Russia, China.

Water (Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces): Morocco, Algeria, Libya.

Don’t ask question, don’t complain that the US and Australia aren’t on the list.  The traditional Ptolemaic set-up can be used to understand some countries, but not others.

Ptolemy drills into the elements further.  In terms of the Fire signs, Britain, France and Germany are covered by Aries, Italy by Leo and Spain by Sagittarius.  In terms of the Air signs, Ptolemy doesn’t mention Russia, but he wrote that Sauromatica, Oxiana and Sogdiana are covered by Aquarius.  Sauromatica is South West Russia and Belarus, and overall we can categorize Russia as an Aquarian country.

And right now, in March 2020, the planet Saturn is moving into Aquarius.  This puts the focus on Russia, and I think in a positive way.  Saturn functions well in Aquarius, and Russia is in a prime position to benefit from the recession, and probably depression, that is engulfing the world.  The situation is made more intense by the fact that in December there is a conjunction between Jupiter and Saturn, in the first degree of Aqurius.  Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions are not one-day wonders, and they set the scene for the next ten or twenty years.

If we go back to the early 1930s, Saturn entered Aquarius on November 20 1932.  The early 1930s were a mixed time for Russia.  Yes, there were purges, but from an economic point of view, Russia was relatively unaffected by the Great Depression.  Indeed, Russia was able to benefit through its commodity exports.  We’ve got the same situation coming up now, with the likelihood that non-oil commodity prices are likely to enjoy substantial and perhaps hyperflationary rises.  But I believe that the situation for Russia is potentially better than it was in the 1930s, because of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction.  Russia is not encumbered by democratic niceties, and I believe that in the next twenty years it will regain much of what it has lost since the fall of Communism.

One also has to bear in mind that Aquarius doesn’t just cover Russia, but also Belarus and the Ukraine.  The balance of power in Europe will shift, and the influence of continental Western Europe will start to wane.  This may be connected with the decline of the European Union, which will accelerate following the economic crisis.  Russia, helped by the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in December 2020, will be able to expand its influence, and take advantage of economic and political turmoil in Eastern Europe.

However, it is important that Russia is properly prepared for the opportunity.  It needs to be a model for a better future, as it was under Communism.  And that means finding a coherent ideology, which goes beyond the greed and materialism that has characterized Russia since the late 1980s.  But is the country’s leadership up to the challenge?  Can they show the world that they have got a better way of doing things?

Over to you, Vladimir.


Astrology for the week starting on Monday March 23 2020

MoneyIt is kind of ironic that Donald Trump is trying to be America’s first socialist president.  His government is intervening in the US economy like there is no tomorrow.  Money is being spent all over the place, there are industry bail outs and there is even a plan to give every American adult $1200.  I am not sure on the details, but I think you have to be earning less than $70,000.  Of course the situation isn’t unique to the United States, and in Europe and the UK governments are doing whatever is necessary.  This completely fits in with Saturn moving into Aquarius, which happened on March 22.  It is a time of government intervention, of the kind that was seen in Nazi Germany and the US from the early 1930s onwards.

Another thing that happened recently, on March 20, was the Aries ingress.  This is not a one-hit wonder.  It marks a new and dramatic phase in humanity’s evolution, and this week we may see some of its effects.   The chart for the Aries ingress contained an Mars-Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in Capricorn, so we are now living in explosive times.  Another thing to notice about the ingress was the midpoint configuration of the Aries point:


This configuration inclues PO and KR, which are the hypothetical planets Poseidon and Kronos.  Poseidon is still a fair way from the Aries point, but over the next few years we’ll start to feel its influence.  The world at sea, full of infection and fantasy.  The last time time Poseidon was aspecting the Aries point – at zero degrees Libra – was in 1929 and 1930, so it concided with the Great Depression.  Though the midpoint that is most relevant is Aries on the Neptune-Kronos midpoint, with a four minute orb.  Neptune represents chaos, and Kronos represents the authorities.  Witte and Lefeldt wrote of AR=NE/KR: “The general public lives under wrong impressions, is kept so the wrong impression is increased. Incompetence in ruling circles”.  Do you trust your government to do the right thing?  Do you trust your government to tell the truth?

As far as specific events are concerned, on Monday Mars makes a conjunction to Pluto, on Tuesday there is a New Moon.  The Mars-Pluto conjunction could make some of use feel crazy and resentful, and in a desperation to get what we want we could overstep the mark.  The New Moon doesn’t strike me as being particularly important, but for many of us it may act as a boost.  The last lunar cycle has been a real downer, and on Tuesday we can turn over a new leaf, and start taking definite action.  So if you’re feeling isolated and helpless,  there are thing you can do in your own home to make your life a whole lot better.



Astrology, statistics and the silver price

SilverWhen an astrologer is asked a question, they don’t just use astrology to answer it.  They also use plausibility.  For example, Seventeenth Century astrologer William Lilly was asked by a client whether he would find the philosopher’s stone, that dream object that could turn lead into gold.  Lilly politely told him that he should be worrying about other things, such as his health.  In the modern era, a fantasy that many people have is that silver will make them rich – especially when the world is collapsing.  Unfortunately, the recent fall in the stock market has led to a crash in silver prices – in a few weeks spot silver went from over $18 to under $12.

During this melt-down, I was asked when the price of SLV, an ETF which tracks the silver price, would be $20.  That equates to a price of about $21, in terms of the physical metal.  The last time silver was $21 was in 2014, though it got close in 2016.  Asking for silver to move from $12 to $21 was certainly optimistic.  Though it should be said that I wasn’t given a time limit – I might answer the question positively by saything that silver will hit $21 in ten years time.

At this stage I do what every other astrologer does.  I use logic.  We’re in a meltdown, and the dollar is super-strong.  When the dollar’s strong, precious metals tend to be weak, right?  If the dollar’s going to stay strong, then silver hasn’t got a chance of going to $21.  So I set up a scatter plot comparing silver with the dollar index, from 2007 inwards.  The chart doesn’t incude the last couple of weeks of data:

Silver and the dollar

The dollar index is now over a hundred, and you can see that the price of silver doesn’t prosper with a high dollar.  However, the correlation between the dollar and silver since 2007 is only -.44.  This means that less than 20% of the variance in the price of silver is account for by the dollar.  So a high dollar may not be the problem that many people suggest, especially as we have just had a reset, and the old financial relationships may no longer apply. Of course I realize that I am breezing over complicated statistical and mathematical details – we’re dealing with time series data, that has a non-linear relationship.  But you get the idea.

We then have to consider what is going on in the world.  Silver is a hybrid commodity, in the sense that it is both an industrial and a precious metal.  If industry is grinding to a halt, then industrial demand for silver crash.  And that should hit the price.  Except for the fact that most silver is mined as a by-product of base metals, rather than as an end in itself.  If demand for copper, zinc and lead dries up, then mining for these metals will no long be profitable, and less silver will be produced.

Unfortunately, being a precious metal doesn’t afford silver much protection, particularly at the beginning of a crisis.  Holders of silver may be running out of money, or facing margin calls, and they may have to sell their silver at any price.  At least that’s what happened in 2008.  Silver may be $12 today, but it could be $8 next week, as the liquidity crunch continues.

Yet this crisis is not the same as 2008.  At the moment, it feels as if it is about survival.  We’re stocking up on food.  And if we’re a prepper we’re also scrambling to get hold of ammunition… and silver.  That’s right, there is a frenzy to get hold of physical silver, and as a result the bullion dealers are facing huge shortages.  To give an idea of the problem, the Royal Canadian Mint is shutting down for a couple of weeks, and the U.S. Mint is out of silver coins.  Now it is possible that those buying coins are a lunatic fringe, but what if it becomes part of a larger trend?  What if big players decide to get on the bandwagon?  What if supply chains within the precious metals market collapse, and there are mine closures?  It is just possible that silver reverses direction, and one can see a scenario where it moves much, much higher.

As far as the astrology is concerned, I set up a horoscope for the moment I was asked the question “When will SLV go to $20?”  In other words, I was using horary astrology to answer the question, rather than individual horoscopes or an analysis of planetary cycles.  I should say that I thought it was a stupid question, given the dire position that silver currently finds itself in.  But as I have just explained, the situation may not be as dire as it seems.

The question was asked on March 17 2020, at 11.16 pm in Western Washington State.  The horoscope is as follows, using Regiomontanus cusps, with a nocturnal Part of Fortune:

Silver horary

Scorpio is rising, which means that the querent is represented by the planet ruling this sign.  In other words, Mars.  This planet is in a strong position – it is in Capricorn, the sign of its exaltation.  It is also conjunct the Part of Fortune and Jupiter.  The fact that Mars is in Capricorn indicates that the querent is not in bad shape.  Further, the SLV fund is not going to blow up – as many gold and silver bugs claim.

There is then the question of finding silver in the chart.  One could argue that it is ruler of the Second House of money, in which case it is Jupiter in Capricorn.  This is not good, because Jupiter is in its Fall, conjunct malefic Mars.  Yet the querent is Mars.  Alternatively, silver could be ruler of the Fourth House of treasure and fixed investments.  This makes it Saturn, about to change sign, from Capricorn to Aquarius.  Another possibility is that silver is the Moon – after all, the Moon is the natural ruler of silver.  The Moon’s condition is mixed.  It is in Capricorn, the sign of its detriment.  However, it is a nocturnal chart, and the Moon therefore rules the Earthy triplicity.  Furthermore, the Moon is in the Third House, which traditionally is the house of its joy.

Yet the strongest planet in the chart is Venus in Taurus, on the Seventh House cusp.  It is also ruler of the planetary hour.  This is important, because it accords with Scorpio, the rising sign – both Scorpio and Venus are cold and moist.  This suggests that the chart can be judged. The Moon is separating from Venus, and moving to a conjunct of Mars.  This means that the Moon is acting as a messenger between Venus and Mars, and is translating the light.  In order to do this, the Moon needs to have good relations with both Venus and Mars.  Mars is in the Earthy triplicity, while the Moon is in the sign of Mars’ exaltation.  In other words, the Moon and Mars have a mixed reception, by triplicity and exaltation.  Venus is in Taurus, the sign of the Moon’s exaltation, but the Moon is not in any of the dignities of Venus.  This is a problem, and may prevent a fortunate outcome to the question.

This brings me to a point of crisis.  When I studied astrology in the late 1980s and early 1990s with Olivia Barclay, she taught that we should follow William Lilly, and use the Chaldean terms.  The term is a minor dignity, and according to this system, the degrees of Capricorn between 19 and 25 are in the terms of Mars.  In other words, the Moon, Mars and Jupiter are in Mars’ terms.  However, there is an alternative arrange of the terms, the Egyptian one, which has the area between 14 and 22 Capricorn ruled by Venus.  Olivia Barclay addressed the problem as follows, in her book Horary Astrology Rediscovered:

“In fact, there has been confusion about terms since before Roman times.  Some astrologers used Ptolemy’s system, others used what are generally called Egyptian Terms… When more works of ancient astrologers have been translated we may have the opportunity to assess the value of their methods, for our present-day experience is inadequate”.

As Olivia envisioned, more work has been done, and a number of important Greek classics have been translated, by researchers sympathetic to astrology.  It now seems clear that the Egyptians terms are the ones to use.  This view is supported by the Arab astrologer Al-Biruni.  About a thousand years ago he wrote:

“People however differ in this matter, some holding to the Chaldean… while others again adopt the scheme of the Hindus.  None of these are employed by professional astrologers who are unanimous in using the Egyptian terms, because they are more correct”.

If we use the Egyptian terms, which I believe is the right thing to do, the Moon and Mars are in the terms of Venus.  This means that the Moon has a sympathy with Venus, as well as a mutual reception by term and exaltation with it.  The Moon is therefore able to take the strain, and translate the light of benefic Venus to Mars, the ruler of the querent.  That may be enough to raise the price of silver to $21.  Then once the Moon makes the aspect to Mars, it makes a conjunction to Jupiter.  I am thinking that this is probably favourable, because Jupiter is a benefic and it is in the exaltation sign of Mars.  Though I am nervous that it is also in it fall.

There are two other things to notice about the chart.  Firstly the Moon, Mars and the Part of Fortune are close to 20 degrees of the sign.  The question was about SLV going to $20!  Secondly, Saturn, ruler of the Fourth, and ruler of the part of fortune, is about to move from Capricorn to Aquarius.  Saturn rules Aquarius, and I have always associated Aquarius with metallic, silvery colours.

Overall, I think that SLV will go to $20.  As to when, I think the event is described by the conjunction between the Moon and Mars.  There is 1 degree and 7 seven minutes between the two, so if pushed for a time, it would say that it will be in one point.  That point could be a day, a week, a month, or a year.  One months seems the most plausible option, though timing is always difficult.  So rather than give a precise timing, I will say, in my opinion, that SLV will go to $20, sooner than most people think.


PoliceOn Sunday March 22 2020, at 3.58 am, Saturn moves into Aquarius.  It stays in this sign until July 1, and then goes back into Capricorn.  It returns to Aquarius on December 17.  In many ways this March 22 sign change is a preview of the future.  We won’t get the full Saturn in Aquarius experience until December.  We should also bear in mind that at the end of December there is a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction, in the first degree of Aquarius.  From then on, the world gets the full Aquarius treatment.

So what does it mean when Saturn goes into Aquarius?  It is something that happens every 29 years.  When you look back at previous ingresses, you don’t see an exact repetition of history.  Instead, you see different but perhaps rhyming themes.

On February 6 1991 Saturn went into Aquarius.  It was during the First Gulf War, and on the following day US troops began the ground war.  A week later the Americans fired two laser-guided bombs at a bunker in Baghdad, killing hundreds of people.  In a way this was a Saturn in Aquarius event.  The bombs were considered to be “smart”, and we have the image of technology being used to destroy people.  To deconstruct the imagery, Saturn is a malefic planet, which functions well in Aquarius.  And Aquarius is a sign connected with inventiveness and technology.

Flip back 29 years, and Saturn entered Aquarius on January 3 1962.  In the early 1960s we saw a more positive aspect of Aquarius.  It was a time when people wanted to be free, at least in the West.  Though it wasn’t until Saturn moved into Pisces that the sixties moved into top gear.  Yet the essence of Saturn in Aquarius was captured by British politician Harold Wilson, in a speech he made on October 1 1963:

“In all our plans for the future, we are re-defining and we are re-stating our Socialism in terms of the scientific revolution. But that revolution cannot become a reality unless we are prepared to make far-reaching changes in economic and social attitudes which permeate our whole system of society. The Britain that is going to be forged in the white heat of this revolution will be no place for restrictive practices or for outdated methods on either side of industry”.

This absolutely describes the positive side of Saturn in Aquarius.  You’ve got a revolution, which seeks to change society in a positive way.  It is a revolution that is based on science and technology.

Go back another 29 years, and in 1932 Saturn entered Aquarius – on February 24 and November 20.  The final entry was critical.  It brought to power two politicians, whose governments embodied the Aquarian principle. By November 20 1932 both politicians had won elections, but there was a delay before they came to power.  Adolf Hitler’s National Socalist Party was the largest party after the November 6 1932 German elections, and Franklin Roosevelt won the November 8 presidential election.  Hitler camer to power on January 30 1933, Roosevelt on March 4 1933.  FDR had his Sun in Aquarius, by the way.

There were definite similarities between Hitler and FDR’s first years in government.  They came to power on the back of the great depression, and they believed that the state could play a commanding role in the workings of society.  People and businesses were not as free as they had been, and grand plans were created for reforming society.

Which brings us forward to 2020.  The world is facing a crisis, and Saturn is about to move into Aquarius.  In the West, everyone is now relying on the government to sort things out – as was the case in Germany and the United States in 1933.  With Saturn moving into Aquarius, people are not going to be as free as they were, and as the world seeks to contain the coronavirus, further restraints will be put in place.  But is is not just about the virus.   With Saturn moving into Aquarius we will see technology having an increasing impact on our lives, and artificial intelligence will start taking centre stage.

As far as the coronavirus is concerned, Saturn’s movement from Capricorn to Aquarius is about a change from the acute to the chronic phase.  This is because Capricorn is a Cardinal sign, Aquarius a Fixed one.  There will be less emphasis on taking immediate action to stop an exponential threat, more emphasis on dealing with a disease which has taken root in the general population.  Everyone is at risk of getting the disease, and the focus will be on finding effective treatment, especially for the elderly.

Then there is Russia.  Russia is supposed to be an economic disaster, that hasn’t got the resources to support its expansionist aims.  Well, in the traditional Ptolemaic scheme Russia is covered by the sign Aquarius, and Saturn moving into Aquarius is going to show the world that the Bear is far from dead.  Russia is on the up, and over the next few years we’ll see its economic and political influence growing.  Especially in Eastern Europe, which may be the part of the world worst hit by the fallout from the unfolding economic crisis.

However, when looking at Saturn’s movement into Aquarius, remember that it is just a taster, because Saturn goes back into Capricorn in July.  The real deal doesn’t start until  December.


I have had a long standing view that astrology is in decline.  From my perspective, it peaked in the the mid 1980s, and went downhill ever since.  To illustrate this, in the 1980s you could go into a bookshop, and see shelves that were packed with astrology books, by mainstream publishers.  And subject matter was often technical – harmonics, midpoints, rectification.

This growth in astrology was driven by early baby-boomers.  When I was teaching astrology in the early 1990s, it was amazing how many of my students were born in 1946.  Their guru was also born in this year, and she was Liz Greene, who stormed into prominience in the late 1970s with her book Saturn: A new look at an old devil.  Being born in 1962, and a late baby-boomer, I wasn’t quite on the same wave length as my students, and I wasn’t a big fan of Liz Greene’s work.  Still, I did have the honour of shaking her hand.  It was in 1987, when she gave me my diploma at the Faculty of Astrological Studies’ Autumn conference.

The late 1980s was also interesting because it was peak psychology.  Those born in 1946 loved their Jungian astrology, and they were often in therapy themselves.  And of course Liz Greene, who herself is a Jungian analyst, ruled the roost.  However there were problems.  I went through the Faculty of Astrological Studies’ diploma course, and I remember seeing a client with an Indian background.  I waxed lyrical about his personality, and at the end of our reading, he asked me whether I could recommend a good astrologer.  The astrology of the 1980s had almost forgotten about prediction.  Though I should say, in defence of Liz Greene, that she did predict the collapse of Communism, on the basis of the outer planet aspects current in the late 1980s.

As we moved into the early 1990s, things started to change.  The consensus around psychological astrology was starting to break.  The person largely responsible for this break-up was an old woman called Olivia Barclay.  In terms of influence, she was probably one of the Twentieth Century’s most important astrologers.  She was a traditionalist, who publicized William Lilly’s Christian Astrology, that first came out in the 1640s.  Olivia, in spite of living in the UK, was probably more popular in the US, and she played a big role in the rediscovery of traditional astrology.

However, Olivia did have a negative influence.  She helped end the collegial spirit in astrology, the idea we are all working on the same wonderful project.  There was an increasing split between psychological and traditional astrology, and I believe that this fragmentation intensified over the following decades.  In terms of my own role in, I did Olivia’s correspondence course in horary astrology.  To begin with the course was one long argument.  I remember one comment she put on my homework: “You are only interested in arguments.  I am interested in the truth”.  She was a Sagittarian, by the way, and I am a Gemini.  But by the time I completed the course I was completely indoctrinated.  The psychological approach I had learned at the Faculty of Astrological Studies had been flushed out, and I was better able to deal with clients who wanted concrete predictions.  I also took any opportunity to attack psychological astrology, and for a year or two I took on the role of Olivia’s attack dog.  Mars rising in Taurus, I suppose.

The early 1990s was also important because there was a recession, certainly in the UK.  The First Gulf War was followed by a crash in property prices, and people had less money.  At the time I had my own astrology school.  I thought, after six months, that it was going well, with full classes.  Then suddenly, it fell off a cliff.  At the same time the astrological publishing industry collapsed.  It became virtually impossible to get books on astrology published, unless you did it yourself.  Actually, and amazingly, I did manage to get two books published by an imprint of Penguin in the mid-1990s.  This was because my co-author, Barbara Dunn, was astrologer for Cosmopolitan.

However, there was one area of astrology that did very well in the 1990s.  And that was premium rate horoscope phone lines.  If you were a newspaper or magazine astrologer, you recorded premium rate lines, which made a huge amount of money.  This meant that the only astrologers making a decent living were the ones who were doing columns.  And getting a column was like winning the lottery.  It didn’t help, in the UK, that a few famous names had the whole thing sewn up – for example Patric Walker and Jonathan Cainer.

Through the 1990s and 2000s there was a broad decline in astrology, though we did see Olivia Barclay’s vision starting to be realized.  Although I don’t know the full details, it was probably important that veteran astrologer Robert Hand and ARHAT took a big leadership in the rediscovery of traditional techniques.  I should also say that I am looking at things from a British perspective.  The US is a much larger territory, and it is easier in America for niche interests to survive and prosper.

Fast forward to 2020, and there is a evidence of a massive revival in astrology.  Recently the press has been full of articles about millennials getting into astrology, perhaps because it provides meaning in an uncertain world.  Furthermore, there has been an explosion in knowledge about traditional Greek techniques, that is often spear-headed by younger astrologers, such as Chris Brennan.  Olivia Barclay didn’t know about many of these techniques, but I do believe that modern traditional astrologers owe her a big debt, for starting the ball rolling.

You would have thought, as the world goes into crisis, that astrology is going to take off in a big way.  However, we shouldn’t forget the recession of the early 1990s.  It caused a huge amount of damage to astrology, as I have just described.  What about the 1929 recession?  That’s interesting.  In 1930 a British astrologer, R.H. Naylor, had a column in The Sunday Express.  In October 1930 he wrote “A British aircraft will be in danger”.  In fact, the paper with his prediction hit the stands on Sunday October 5.  That same day a British airship, the R101, exploded in flames in Beauvais, France.  Short-term, his career was made, and he got himself a regular sun sign column.  Maybe his star sign forecasts helped the British people make sense of the economic downturn, and how it affected their lives.

However, one could argue that sun sign astrology is not real astrology. At best it is a few wise words, which are appropriate to any situation, at worst it’s fluff. And when the real crisis came, in the form of the Second World War, Naylor lost his column.  War is a serious business, and astrology is an irrelevance.  However in Nazi Germany there were people who took astrology seriously, including top Nazi Rudolf Hess.  In 1942, on a whim, he got in a plane and flew to Scotland.  He thought he might be able to broker some kind of peace between Britain and Germany.  The Nazi regime thought that astrology might have influenced his decision, and as a result astrology was banned.

The present crisis is still to play out.  It will definitely cause a reset in the  astrology world.  The idea that astrology will become some millennial lifestyle accessory will bite the dust – because it is not a time for triviality.  And in the short-term, it will probably become more difficult to make money out of astrology, unless you’re an established player.  Also, with Saturn moving into Aquarius, and a Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in December 2020, styles and tastes are going to change.  The kind of astrology that is popular now may not be popular in a few years time.

I appreciate this article is full of generalizations.  Feel free to comment, correct and disagree.



Dr. FaustusThe Spring Equinox on Friday March 20 2020 is at 3.50 am GMT.  It is the moment when, from the Earth’s perspective, the Sun crosses the celestial equator, moving from South to North.  The hours of day and night are equal, and in the Northern Hemisphere it is the beginning of Spring.  From an occult perspective, the Spring Equinox is important.  It is a moment in time when a gateway opens, between the Earth down here and the Cosmos that’s all around us.

Now I do understand that people who are into spirituality and the occult like to celebrate the Equinox.  They might have a party on March 20, or perhaps some kind of ritual.  However, if you really want to engage with the power of the Universe, that’s not good enough.  You have to be there at the moment.  Which is 3.50 am London time – not five minutes earlier, or five minutes later.  That is the climax of the ritual, when whatever energy you are trying to invoke will manifest itself.  Mark that moment how you please, provided it’s safe, legal and ethical.

This means that if you’re in London you either don’t go to bed, or you get up early.  A good ritual has to be prepared, and you have to be awake.  I mean really awake.  Though to an extent that depends on what kind of ritual you are planning.  If you’re doing something new-agey, with music and flowers and perhaps affirmations, then you can probably do what you like.  If, on the other hand, you’re doing something scary, Aleister Crowley style, then you must be prepared to battle the Equinox demons, as they try to rush the magic circle.

If you’re not in the UK, then it is not so bad.  The Equinox is at 11.50 pm on March 19 in New York, 6.50 am on March 20 in Moscow.

So what kind of energies are going to pass through the gateway?  To work this out, we look at the astrological chart of the exact moment.  This is what it looks like set for London:

Spring Equinox 2020, London

When you look at this kind of chart, you need to distinguish between the planets and the angles.  The planets will be in the same place worldwide , but the angles are going to be restricted to certain locations.  In this chart, we see an exact conjunction between Mars and Jupiter, at 23 degrees Capricorn.  Everyone in the world will experience this.  Yet we also see Mars and Jupiter, and Pluto, conjunct the Ascendant.  This is specific to the location.  We can see this in terms of a map:


The Mars-Jupiter-Pluto conjunction crosses South East England, including London.  This would suggest that over the next three months, between now and the Summer Solistice, the UK, its government and its Prime Minister are going to be under enormous pressure.

But wherever you live, you are not going to escape the energies that pour through the open cosmic gateway at 3.50 a.m. GMT on March 20.  One particular energy that will come tumbling out of this gateway will be the Mars-Jupiter conjunction.  It will be nasty, almost demonic, and violence levels are likely to be elevated.  Aside from the UK, other areas that might be specially affected are Norway, California and Eastern Iran.

This means that you might want to think twice before conducting serious ritual magic at the time of the Equinox.  You could be bringing into your sphere more than you can handle, and all the banishing rituals in the world might not fend off what you have brought down.  Particularly if you’re an early rising magician in London.