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C:\Users\tian_\Pictures\Site Pictures\sign_blue_wborder.jpgMost of what I get called upon for sessions employs modern Western astrology. What follows is a little bit of the history of its evolution and then most of the various topics which it involves. Following the topics are hyperlinks to books for recommended reading. Of course, there are usually many more such books than those mentioned and most astrologers have their favorites. Those mentioned are some of mine. This section is largely for visitors to this site who are only beginning their journey into the stars or for those who are looking for something different.

Western astrology, as it is currently known and practised, is based upon 12 zodiacal signs, each of 30° of arc, 12 houses, and the motions of the planets and planetary bodies known to science. In some cases hypothetical planets are used, all of which (known and hypothetical) are projected through the signs. The signs themselves are named after the 12 major constellations that lie on the ecliptic (the apparent path of the sun through the heavens). There are actually more than 13 constellations through which a planet can pass, depending on its declination, and particularly south of the ecliptic. But those extra constellations are not used in modern Western astrology.

The signs themselves coincide with the major points of change in the seasons, as they are noted in the northern hemisphere. Thus, the sign Aries commences at the spring equinox (0 hours RA) in the northern hemisphere. However, the signs, starting at 0 hours of right ascension (the spring equinox) do not correspond with the constellation of Aries. This is due to the precession of the equinoxes over a cycle of 25,772 years. The precession is caused by the wobble of the Earth’s axis, inclined at 23.44°. Thus, Western astrology is based upon the seasons instead of the constellations.

Tetrabiblos (English Edition) eBook : Claudius Ptolemy: Amazon.it: Kindle Store
Western astrology has its roots in Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblios (Four Books), which in turn has elements of Hellenistic astrology and Babylonian astrology. Hellenistic astrology evolved in the Mediterranean region, especially in Egypt from the 2nd century BCE, practised until the 7th century CE. This is where we get the 12 signs, 12 houses and the horoscope itself. Prior to Hellenistic astrology, there was no Ascendant (hour marker) in a chart and thus no houses. Hellenistic astrology was the first horoscopic astrology.

Babylonian astrology evolved largely in the 2nd millennium BCE and was omen-based, but also value-free and objective, despite its reliance on magic:

Nergal The Great Twins Gemini Ancient Astrology Sidereal Astrology Babylonian Astrology
“…the most important distinction between ancient Babylonian astrology and other divinatory disciplines as being that the former was originally exclusively concerned with mundane astrology, being geographically oriented and specifically applied to countries cities and nations, and almost wholly concerned with the welfare of the state and the king as the governing head of the nation.”

That focus was also shared with ancient Chinese astrology, as used in the Imperial Court of China (see ‘Eastern Astrology’ page listed on Home Page of this site). Horoscopic astrology emerged solidly in the Hellenistic period of Egypt, where Babylonian and Egyptian astrology were mixed to give us Western astrology.

With that little bit of history, ‘Western astrology’ encompasses the following areas, distinct to its practice:

  • It is geocentric, meaning observer-based, and based upon one’s location.
  • It uses a system based on benefics and malefics, north and south, masculine and feminine, diurnal and nocturnal considerations. This is its binary basis. There are also trinary and quaternary divisions.
  • It uses a system of essential dignities (ruling, exalted, in debility and fall).
  1. Essential Dignities (J. Lee Lehman)
  • It focuses upon the angles (horizon and meridian axes) as the most important points in the chart aside from the luminaries.
  • It considers the fixed stars of greatest visual magnitude.
  1. Fixed Stars and Their Interpretation (Ebertin, Hoffman)
  2. The Fixed Stars and Constellations in Astrology (Vivien Robson)
  • It considers the angular relations between the planets (aspects) themselves and their relation to the angles.
  1. Dynamics of Aspect Analysis (Bil Tierney)
  2. Astrological Aspects (Dane Rudhyar)
  3. Astrological Aspects – The Art of Interpretation and Prediction (Robert Thibodeau)
  • It considers the triplicities (the elements of fire, earth, air and water) and the quadruplicities (cardinal, fixed and mutable)
  • It considers the placement of the planets in the houses of the horoscope, the latter defining the ‘field of experience’ for a person.
  1. Astrological Houses (Dane Rudhyar)
  2. The Twelve Houses: Introduction to the Houses in Astrological Interpretation (Sasportas)
  • It uses a system of planetary terms. ‘places’ and degrees of each planet in addition to essential dignities of their sign placement.
  1. The Degrees of Life (Chandra Dhi Manthri)
  2. An Astrological Mandala (Dane Rudhyar)
  • It enables the astrologer to forecast and analyse events by means of transits, primary directions, secondary progressions, solar arcs and other methods of forecasting
  1. Astrological Transits: The Beginner’s Guide… (April E. Kent)
  2. Progressions (Blaschke, Laferriere, Hand)
  3. Solar Arcs: Astrology’s Most Successful Predictive System (Noel Tyl)
  4. Llewellyn’s Complete Book of Predictive Astrology (Kris Riske)
  • It considers prenatal astrology, as well as the timing of death.
  1. The Prenatal Epoch (E.H. Bailey)
  2. Heaven Knows What by Grant LewiThe Astrology of Death (Richard Houck) Not a straightforward calculation.

The preceding points are all practised in what is known as Medieval, ‘Classical’ or ‘Traditional’ astrology. The preceding list is not all-inclusive. Modern Western astrology encompasses many sub-fields and factors. For beginners, two excellent sources to get one started on the road to chart interpretation are by American astrologer Grant Lewi: Heaven Knows What and Astrology for the Millions. Modern Western astrology covers the following topics, and then some, as follows:

  • Psychological astrology and the Huber School
  1. Piercing the Eggshell: The Hubers and their Astrological Psychology (Hopewell)
  2. Encyclopaedia of Psychological Astrology (C.E.O. Carter)
  3. Psychological Astrology: A Synthesis of Jungian Psychology and Astrology (Hamaker-Zondag)
  • Draconic astrology (the chart based upon the lunar nodes)
  1. Draconic Astrology (Pamela A.F. Crane)
  • Lunar and planetary nodes
  1. The Planetary Nodes and Collective Evolution (Mark Jones)
  2. The Planetary and Lunar Nodes (Dane Rudhyar)
  3. The Key of Life: Astrology of the Lunar Nodes (Prash Trivedi)
  4. Lunar Nodes: Discover Your Soul’s Karmic Mission (Celeste Teal)
  • Eris and Sedna Symbols
    Asteroids and dwarf planets
  1. Laurentia: Interpretations of 1000 Asteroids, 900 Cities, and a Quantum Mechanical Theory of Astrology and Spirituality (Ajani Abdul-Khaliq)
  2. Asteroid Goddesses: The Mythology, Psychology, and Astrology of the Re-Emerging Feminine (Demetra George)
  3. Centaurs, Damocloids & Scattered Disc Objects (Benjamin Adamah)
  • Midpoint astrology (based upon midpoints). Cosmobiology is purely midpoint-based and abandons the use of the hypothetical planets. Uranian astrology does not use houses or rulerships, but does use hypothetical planets. It was first developed in the Hamburg School.
  1. The Combination of Stellar Influences (Reinhold Ebertin)
  2. Cosmobiology for the 21st Century (Eleonora Kimmel)
  3. The Language Of Uranian Astrology (Roger Jacobson)
  • Harmonic astrology (resonance or ‘overtone’ astrology)
  1. Harmonics in Astrology (John Addey)
  • Financial astrology (the study of financial cycles)
  1. Financial Astrology (David Williams)
  2. Financial Astrology (Giacomo Albano)
  • Heliocentric astrology (with the sun as the observation point)
  1. The Sun at the Center (Philip Sedgwick)
  • Astrocartography (the astrology of placement)
  1. Finding your Best Places (Dan Furst)
  2. Astrocartography Book of Maps (Guttman, Lewis)
  • Synoptical astrology (using both the signs and the constellations)
  1. No books available. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synoptical_astrology (Site for the software: http://www.inner-sky.com/ )
  • Mundane astrology (see page on Home Page of this site)
  • Electional astrology (for choosing the timing of specific events) See page on Home Page of this site.
  1. Electional Astrology (Vivian Robson)

In general I do not use some of the techniques of Classical astrology and thus far have not found a need to do so. I also do not use hypothetical planets, and again, have found no need to do so. I do use the newer dwarf planets in interpretation, but only the named ones. The named dwarf planets are beginning to see expression through human experience, and mostly through collective human experience. Pluto and Ceres are both dwarf planets, for instance, as are others like Eris, Makemake, Haumea and so forth.

When I was sitting for the exam for my astrological certification, the moderator for the exam told attendees that if one has an accurate chart, then every factor should be there to explain an important event, without having to resort to hypotheticals and a host of other factors not normally seen in charts. He meant the major planets (dwarf planets were unknown at the time, except for Pluto), and that was one of the exam requirements – that only the major planets were to be used for the exam. His statement has always stuck with me, and it has been a guiding principle in my practice all along.

Every astrologer has their favoured factors they use in chart interpretation. But for whatever factors are used, a recorded time of birth to the minute is essential for an accurate chart reading. That time of birth to the minute is the very basis for Western astrology. If that is not available, the chart must be rectified by going back through life events before specific questions can be answered. Even with a recorded time, the chart should be checked for accuracy anyway. The planets, signs and houses, if properly constructed, will reveal the sought-for answers.

2014 in L'Alpe di Siusi, fresh from the US and Australia.

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