Eclipse 2017: The Beginning of the Pathway

As noted in the last post in mundane astrology there are always loads and loads of charts to consider. This is reasonable as one is not dealing with a single question as in a horary chart but with a collective. The more charts, the more detail and the more possiblity of observing a development. We will look here at a limited set of three charts for the first state that is in the eclipse path. These are the Grand Conjunction chart, the spring equinox 2017 chart and the eclipse chart for the capital of Oregon (Salem).

Traditionally an eclipse is an ominous event. What we want to look at here is what will the event leave as potential in its trail?

Salem, Oregon:

Salem Oregon_grandConjunction2000

Salem, Oregon: Grand Conjunction, 28 May 2000, 16:05 GMT

Salem Oregon_springEquino2017

Salem, Oregon: Spring Equinox, 20 March 2017, 10:29 GMT

Salem Oregon_eclipse2017

Salem Oregon: Solar Eclipse 2017, 21 August 2017, 18:26 GMT

Where do we begin?

We will keep it simple at the moment and only look at the climatic condition. That means we will focus on the 1st house. It might be helpful to envision a best case and worst case scenario before you look at the charts. If for example we look at the climatic/geological situation; the best case is beautiful weather, the worst case is seismic activity, storm, floods or some other form of upheaval. For the latter to happen there must be strongly debilitated planets and these are triggered in most of the charts you look at. Generally you will find that nothing is triggered. The status quo is maintained. Nothing happens – or at least nothing noticeable.

No matter where you are the planetary alignments for each of the three charts is the same for any location on earth.The difference is in the angles and the house rulerships.That is where we will start. The chart for Salem, Oregon will look different from that of Columbia, South Carolina the state at the end of the eclipse path because the angles will be different.

Let us look at the angles (Note: only close aspects within 1 degree are considered here as significant). In the GC (Grand Conjunction) chart 25 deg 21 Cancer is on the Asc and 5 deg 08 Aries on the MC. Also on the angles are the nodes of the Moon (SN on Asc) and the Moon is 2 degrees from the MC. On the Spring Equinox (SEq) 06 deg 21 Capricorn is on the Asc and 04 deg 37 Scorpio on the MC. There are no planets on the angles. In the eclipse 2017 chart 25 deg 34 Libra is on the Asc and 01 deg 29 Leo is on the MC. There are no planets directly on the angles.

The GC Jupiter/Saturn at 22 deg 43 Taurus is not activated in the SEq or the eclipse chart.

There is only one trigger point and that is Venus at 24 deg 44 Cancer during the solar eclipse. The Asc of the GC chart is within one degree of conjunction. Venus is the highest elevated planet in the eclipse chart and is not debilitated (she is in her triplicity). She is also Lady of the Asc in the eclipse chart.

We might also want to note that the Moon the Lady of the Asc in the GC chart is in a similar position to that of Venus in the eclipse chart. She too is the most highly elevated planet and close to the MC.

What does all of this tell us about the condition of the land and its inhabitants – the 1st house? From what we can see the Asc of the GC is activated in the eclipse chart by Venus who is also Lady of the Ascendant in the eclipse chart. Venus is benevolent and not debilitated. She has accidental dignity by being the highest elevated planet and close to the MC. The land and its inhabitants are quiet and content – from the point of view of the climate. Nothing even close to the worst case scenario mentioned above is expected.

Prologue: The 2017 Solar Eclipse

I hope to look more closely at the 2017 solar eclipse before the event itself takes place! As you may have noticed posts have been few and far between since May 2014. Not without reason. But dear reader I haven’t forgotten you.

Here a few thoughts.

First. Mundane astrology is a convoluted affair. All of those charts.

Let me see.

For starters there is the last grand conjunction (Saturn/Jupiter), the last Jupiter/Mars conjunction, the vernal equinox for 2017, the previous solstice, the previous full moon and the eclipse chart itself  for the capital of the country ‘hosting’ the eclipse. In this case Washington D.C. Then there are the players that the ‘host’ country is involved with (Moscow, Beijing, Brussels, Riyadh, Teheran, Tokyo, Canberra, Brasilia, Damascus, the capital of your own country …).

Second. The reading of the charts commands maintaining a neutrality that is very difficult to achieve. Who isn’t tempted to write the sensational prediction of the decade and become the William Lilly of the 21st century? Who can look at the charts as if dealing with an historical event that took place ten years ago particulary in light, or in dark (?) of the path of the eclipse  (from the west coast of the United States to the east coast) and the current climate (political and otherwise)? Whose vision isn’t coloured by his or her background and expectations. An American will treat the eclipse differently than a Swede or someone from Vietnam.

Third. Where should the focus be and from whose standpoint. The people of the country, the leaders, the economy, the climate? If you consider these four you already have 12 different flavours of interpretation.

Let’s take the climate for example. Let’s call her Gaia. What is the expected interaction with the people of the country? Do they treat her well? How will she respond to their treatment? What about the economy? Will she wreak havoc with the countries trade in futures? What about the leaders? How do they view her? Is she respected? Does she respect them?

I wonder if I am up to it 🙂 Are you?

Venus and Mars

After such a long pause I thought I would try an experiment. The old technique of choosing a topic from a text at random. The text chosen from a random book, in this case Titus Burckhardt’s, Alchemie (German edition). The random text from the book is about how the planetary symbols are composed of the circle, cross and the semicircle. (Interesting isn’t it? I just happened to open the chapter on the planets and the metals, where astrology and alchemy meet 🙂 )

From the alchemical point of view the Sun and Moon form two poles, male and female. Each works on or can be bound to indifferent matter (represented by the cross) in the center. So each of the five metals other than gold (☉) and silver (☽), each have a different ‘combination’ of solar and lunar influences on indifferent matter. Copper (♀) and Iron (♀ reversed – see below) both have solar influence. Tin (♃) and Lead (♄) have lunar influence. And not surprisingly Quicksilver (☿) has both lunar and solar influences.



Notice the old symbol for Mars – no arrow. Instead having the cross of matter above the solar circle makes more sense astrologically. In the order of the planets seen geocentrically

 ☽    ☿   ♀   ☉   ♂    ♃    ♄

 Venus and Mars are closest to the Sun. Venus has a dominant solar circle. Venus/copper shows cosmic influence flowing into matter. Mars has a dominant cross of matter. Mars/iron shows material influence flowing into the cosmos.

Think about it. Iron is the metal that has made it possible for human beings to push matter into the cosmos. How? by surrounding/encasing ideas/vision with technology.

Titus Burkhardt refers to Basilius Valentinus when speaking about Venus or copper. Valentinus says that copper contains an abundance of unbound solar power much like a tree that has too much resin. Mars or iron is solar power that has become buried in the darkness of matter.

We can’t go into too much detail here. Consider this food for thought. You just might see Venus and Mars from an entirely new standpoint.

The Astronomical Square

Let us explore the square. We will tie in astronomical and numerical considerations as we go along.

A square is a two dimensional representation of embodiment. It is the four directions that an incarnated human being is embedded in or bound to (front, back, right, left). When projected into three dimensions as a cube, the directions of above and below complete the picture. The square can then be said to signify all of the manifested cosmos, all that is bound by form. This includes galaxies, stars, planets or any other body. The square is a symbol of form. Matter. And matter is subject to time.

the cosmic square

the cosmic square

If we wish to signify the earth we must insert a smaller square. Thus:

The earth as our focus in the cosmos (Not proportional :-) )

The earth as our focus in the cosmos (Not proportional 🙂 )

We have said that matter or form is subject to time. Time becomes visible to us through the cycle of day and night, which is marked by the presence or absence of the sun in the sky. Let us add a vertical line to our diagram to illustrate this. Since we are ‘facing’ the square the top represents sunrise or the east. The bottom, our ‘back’ represents sunset or west.

Division by day and night

Division by day and night

If we are perceptive we will note that at one point in the day the sun is at its highest and the midpoint of the day is reached. After sunset we may count the time and halfway through it is midnight. This is the complementary point to mid-day. We represent this with an additional, horizontal, line. So we now have the four divisions of the day; sunrise, mid-day, sunset and mid-night (I, II, III and IV respectively).

The cycle of day and night

The cycle of day and night

 If we count accurately and for a longer period of time we notice that day and night are never equal except for two times during the year. These are the equinoxes. We also will observe that after one of the equinoxes the days become longer and the nights shorter, the sun’s path across the sky is longer during the day. At one point the longest day is reached this is the summer solstice. After the solstice the days begin to shorten until an equinox is reached. After this equinox the days continue to decrease until at one point they are at their shortest and night is at its longest. This is the winter solstice. Again the days lengthen until the next equinox is reached. This cycle of light, which can be likened to breathing, marks the four seasons and also one solar year. It is not surprising then that the sun is described as square in Indian astrology. Not because he appears square in the sky but because his path is ‘square’! The inner square represents  one revolution of the earth around its axis and the outer square one revolution of the earth around the sun.

The solstices and the equinoxes are the turning points of the year. They are the ‘turning points’ or in Greek the τρόπος (tropos or ‘turn’). This is where the english word ‘tropical’ comes from. The corner points of the inner square mark the hinges. Corner 1 marks the spring equinox, corner 2 the summer solstice, corner 3 the autumn equinox and corner 4 the winter solstice. We can give these corner points names. Traditionally these points are also called the beginning of Aries (1), Cancer (2), Libra (3) and Capricorn (4).

The corner points or equinoxes and solstices

The corner points or equinoxes and solstices

 Just as we divided the inner square into four parts, we can also divide each of the four larger divisions into four parts, leaving 12 equal divisions surrounding the four inner divisions. (We have an interesting progression of 12, 22, 42, 42 −22 ) We can represent this division thus:

The 12 divisions of the solar path and space around the earth

The 12 divisions of the solar path and space around the earth

 Each of these 12 boxes divides the cosmos around the earth into, let us call them 12 quadrants. These quadrants are empty. They represent the sky without stars. No cosmic body has yet been mapped into them. Remember this. These 12 quadrants are also known as the tropical zodiac and each traditionally has a name. So a is Aries, b is Taurus and so on. With this diagram we have arrived at the South Indian chart which surprisingly is an ideal representation of the tropical zodiac! Unfortunately these names are also used to describe collections of stars or constellations and much confusion arises. The Sanskrit word ‘rasi’ is actually better because it simply describes what the boxes contain: a heap, mass, quantity, number, collection. So in each box there is a collection of galaxies, stars, planets, asteroids, or cosmic dust if you wish. There are two contending viewpoints as to how the position of planets and sensitive points should be mapped into the rasis. I leave you dear reader to draw your own conclusions as it is possible to use both methods, the so-called tropical and so-called sidereal zodiac, to map the positions into this chart.

Now these quadrants are very interesting. Quadrants a and b face the East,  d and e the South, g and h the west and j and k the North, if you remember our earlier exposition. They also have a correspondence with sunrise/Spring, mid-day/summer, sunset/autumn and mid-night/winter. Quadrant a is after the ‘turning’ and is therefore the pivotal part of the season of Spring. It can also be called ‘cardinal’ which means the same as ‘pivotal.’ In quadrant b Spring has established itself and is therefore ‘fixed’. In the corner quadrant c Spring begins to change direction, it is the period leading up to Summer the next turning point Quadrant c, being in a corner has two directions, East and South. It is ‘dual’. Quadrants a, d, g and j may be called cardinal. Quadrants b, e, h and k may be called fixed. Quadrants c, f, i and l may be called dual.

Round or Square?

Most standard texts on astrology, from the more ancient to the recent, western or Indian begin with a description of the signs, planets and houses. Indian texts often add a description of the nakshatra or lunar mansions. Quickly an example is introduced in which the combination of the three for a particular time is presented. This may be called a figure, a diagram, a chart, a horoscope, a chakra, a wheel or in a specialised form, cosmogram. Some texts provide a description of the, let us call it chart. Other texts don’t. Usually the student adopts what is presented, and later, what seems more convenient. Generally no further thought is given to the matter. So the answer to the question whether the choice of round or square is through convention or tradition can be answered that it is generally through convention. The form first encountered or a software default seems to decide the issue. Yet, the chart is a potent astrological image. And in my opinion greater care should be given in its choice. In fact, depending on the focus, the appropriate form should be used! Do you know what the twelve divisions in your favourite chart form represent? Are they signs? Constellations? Houses?

There is also the other side of the question. Is there such a thing as a traditional chart? Modern western astrology has adopted a round chart form. But is this the traditional form? O. Neugebauer and H. B. van Housen in their book on Greek Horoscopes include a drawing after the Oxyrhynchus 235 papyrus which shows a lopsided, wobbly, hand drawn circle divided by a horizontal and intersecting vertical line that represent the axis of the horizon and the zenith. It is a chart for a person born between 15 and 37 AD. They also say that such diagrams are very rare and that only later in Byzantine codices do diagrams appear with greater frequency. There, however, various forms of the square chart are used. It seems that up to the 19th century the square chart was the dominant form in the West. It is still the dominant form in India.

The chart is a map of the heavens for a certain moment of time at a particular location. It can be for a person, an event or even for the moment of a question. Just how the heavens are depicted remains to be explored. The planets can be mapped against the constellations or using the tropical zodiac. This is also where we have to be absolutely sure what is meant by ‘sign’ or in Indian astrology ‘rasi.’  We’ll explore this later in more detail.

For the moment location is of interest to us. It can be described as the intersection of two imaginary great circles known as the longitude and latitude or as being situated in an area between two longitudinal and latitudinal sections which we can call a quadrant. In fact one of the few situations where circles may form a square is in mapping in two dimensions. Keep this in mind when we explore the construction of square and round charts in the next articles.