A Readers’ Question: Foodpoisoning?

Recently a reader of Altair Astrology approached me with a question that had puzzled him. As it is a health question, I must add a disclaimer that the presentation of this chart is for entertainment purposes only, and that I make no pretence of understanding medicine as it is practised today. With that said, let as look at the question and at the charts. There are two charts, as this person uses the whole sign house system for horary questions, should there be any discussion in that line. Both charts more or less show the same situation and I will concentrate on the 1st chart. I would like to remark that it puzzles me why anyone should exclusively use whole signs. Why limit oneself to only one tool when there are also others available?

He had been asked by someone who had been feeling sick in the last two or three days whether she could have had food-poisoning. At the time of the question she felt better. His question was whether there is an astrological connection between eating and any house or planet.

Let us look at the charts first:

Foodpoisoning, Regiomontanus houses

Chart 1: Foodpoisoning?, Regiomontanus houses

Foodpoisoning, whole sign

Chart 2: Foodpoisoning, whole sign

Now one of the first things to look at in any health question is whether or not the person is healthy. This is shown by the condition of the Lord of the Ascendant. In this chart L1 is Saturn. Saturn a cold and dry sign is quite cosy in Virgo a cold and dry sign. So although peregrine in the 8th house of chart 1 (cadent in the 9th in chart 2). The querant is healthy and this is supported moreover by the North Node in the first house (both charts) and close to the ascendant. So the answer is no, it wasn’t food-poisoning, just a minor disturbance in the digestion. If we look at the Moon’s motion, we see that there was a recent contact with Mercury, Lord 6 (both charts). Now this was a sextile, and so one might think, “hey, isn’t a sextile a good aspect?” Well, yes it is, which means that all is not as bad as it seemed. The Moon however provides us not only the timing (recent focus on health) but also reveals something of the querant’s perception of the situation. The Moon is peregrine and in Saturn’s detriment, her antiscion is very close to Algol and she receives Saturn from the 8th house (in chart 2 she is in the 8th house and receives Saturn from the 9th), so the perception of the discomfort has a more grim quality. After all the querant could have asked, “what is wrong with me?” Instead she immediately asked about food-poisoning. If we look at the reception between L1 and L6 we see that there is very strong reception. Saturn is in Mercury’s domicile, exaltation and face. Mercury is in Saturn’s, exaltation, triplicity and term. So we see that querant has an unusual interest in her health and is likely to notice the slightest change to her well-being.

The answer for the querant is: No, it wasn’t food-poisoning, it was a passing condition and you are healthy. The rest may be told at the astrologer’s discretion.

Now what about the astrological connection between eating and any house or planet. Yes. The second house. What we eat is property that we ingest. (by the way kitchens also belong to the second house). But the question was about the feeling of unwellness and stomach or belly problems. So looking at what was ingested might just lead off into a tangent and complicate the answer. If we wish for more detail we might look up Wm. Lilly’s  planetary significations for parts of the body in each of the signs of the zodiac on p. 119 of CA. We discover that Moon, Mercury and Venus (dispositor of L6) are all in signs that point to the stomach or belly.

Let in the Rain…

One of the central interests of Astro-Meteorology, and probably  the oldest field of astrological interest, is which planetary configurations favour rain. The first level is knowing which planets are wet and which dry. The next level is how they interact with one another. The fluctuation between temperature and moisture and their planetary connection was noted by Johannes Kepler, though he was by far not the first, nor the last to discuss this. (We speak nowadays mostly of the interaction of cold and warm fronts, although usually no planetary connection is taken into consideration.) The third level is of course how planetary configurations effect local conditions. This is important as any single planetary configuration applies to all of the earth. Methods of localization need to be taken into consideration here.

Of the traditional planets, along with the Moon, Venus is considered to be the wettest. Saturn also plays a role because of his crystallizing tendencies. He causes moisture to condense. In modern Astro-Meteorology Neptune is also considered to be a very ‘wet’ planet, though interestingly enough after his discovery Astro-Meteorologists first explored the possibility of his being warm, dry and stormy. They did however add that such “…predictions must be to some extent speculative.” (Alfred Pearce’s discussion of Neptune around 1863). More recently George McCormack wrote of Neptune being, “the most pluvial of all the celestial bodies.”

There are of course many configurations between wet and dry planets. Let us choose one. Venus in configuration with either Mars or the Sun. I’ll note it as:
Venus : Mars/Sun,
where the configuration, “:” can be an aspect by longitude or declination.

Take a peek into your ephemeris and look for the next significant configuration between Venus to either Mars or the Sun. You will find it on the 13th of October, 2009. Venus sextiles Mars on this day, and not only that she has just previously, in the same degree, also conjuncted Saturn. This is an intensive conjunction as she is also at the same declination of Saturn and is therefore parallel. Let us note it thus:
Venus : Mars + Venus :: Saturn
we can expect this aspect to be very pluvial. But that doesn’t mean everywhere. There we need to place it into the locality. This is best done by casting a chart for the location when this aspect is exact. From my previous discussion on expecting more from aspects we may also take the standpoint that the effectiveness of this aspect is not only on the day it takes place but already begins one to two days before (application) and will last for two days afterwards (separation). So we are looking at the period from the 11th of October to the 15th.

I will be looking at three charts for my location. These are the previous lunar phase (Last Quarter on the 11th of October), the partile Venus/Mars sextile and the preceding partile Venus/Saturn conjunction and parallel within 29 seconds of arc. You might want to cast these three charts for your location (I am using GMT so you can take the GMT time for your location) and then observe what the weather conditions were in this period. It would certainly be very interesting if these observations were to be posted as a comment here when the time comes.

Last Quarter Moon:

Last Quarter Moon, Oct. 11, 2009, 10:55 am GMT

Last Quarter Moon, Oct. 11, 2009 8:55 am GMT

Important for location are the 4th house and Ascendant, respectively. The Moon/Sun square is not predominant in this chart. The Lords of both the 4th and 1st house are also not prominently placed. Uranus is in the 4th house and Venus, Saturn and Mercury occupy the 10th house, with Venus and Saturn being in the same sign as the MC and Mercury in the following sign.

Venus/Saturn conjunction:

Venus/Saturn Conjunction, Oct. 13, 2009 10:51 GMT

Venus/Saturn Conjunction, Oct. 13, 2009 10:51 GMT

In this chart the 4th house is immediately brought into focus by the trine of the Moon at 17 Leo 37. Also Lord 4 is Mars, who is already in sextile to the Venus/Saturn conjunction. Jupiter, Lord 1 is also exactly in sextile with the IC. So we can definitely speak of an activation of the locality.

Venus/Mars sextile:

Venus/Mars Sextile, Oct. 13, 2009 5:50 GMT

Venus/Mars Sextile, Oct. 13, 2009 5:50 GMT

Here the Mars/IC conjunction is immediately noticed. This particular aspect is focused on the locality, that is for sure!

Now what does it all mean? The Venus : Mars configuration occurs when Mars is focused on a locality with a cold and moist sign on the IC. So cold rainy and slightly stormy weather should be expected.

I’ll keep you posted around the 15th of October and then we can look at the charts with hindsight!

Weather: the Big Three

There are three factors that determine the weather, each in its own way and each in combination with the other. These are warmth, moisture and the movement of the atmosphere, wind. In Astro-meteorology each has a ruler. These are the Sun for warmth, the Moon for moisture and Mercury for wind. Each shows both a general weather pattern and in a particular weather chart can also provide specific information.

True to mundane astrological practice the charts that show a general weather pattern are either ingress charts (for the Sun and Mercury) or Lunar phase charts. So the general pattern of warmth is shown by the ingress of the Sun into Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn; the solstice and equinox points. The general moisture pattern can be read from the Lunar Phase, most importantly the New and Full Moon. The general wind pattern can be read from the ingress of Mercury into a sign. This is generally monthly.

Let us look at some charts:

Solar Ingress into Cancer, 2009

Solar Ingress into Cancer, 2009

Here is the Solar Ingress into Cancer on the 21st of June for my location (Bavaria, Germany). Unlike a natal chart, the most important house in a weather chart is not the Ascendant (the Ascendant has only secondary importance) but the 4th house. This is the location, the place where the weather will be happening. So, what information does the 4th house give us? Libra, a warm and moist sign is on the cusp. This promises some warmth for the summer season, but also moisture. But there are modifying factors. The first being the condition of the Ruler, in this chart Venus, and the second any direct aspects to the cusp, in this chart, the trine from the Moon/Mercury conjunction. Cool Venus in domicile in Taurus, a cold and dry sign in conjunction to warm Mars in detriment in cold and dry Taurus promises a cooler summer. Venus generally enhances any moisture and the conjunction with Mars suggests the collision of a warm and cold fronts, which in the summer season usually generate thunderstorms.  The Moon/Mercury conjunction promises plenty of moisture and wind so the general forecast will include plenty thunderstorms and more then enough wind and rain. The general warmth pattern is constant alternation between warm and cool. It might also be noted that the 12th house position of the Sun also hinders a full development of its nature.  No BBQ summer for Bavaria!

Now let us look at the moisture pattern for the end of June. Here we use the New Moon chart, which also is a solar eclipse chart:

New Moon 21st June 2009 (solar eclipse)

New Moon 22nd July 2009 (solar eclipse)

Here cold and dry Virgo is on the IC. Cold Saturn is conjunct the IC. Mercury, L4 is in warm and dry Leo separating from a sextile to Mars. Venus in warm and moist Gemini squares the IC. The Moon eclipses the Sun at the very end of cold and moist Cancer. Also to be noted is how Mercury L4 picks up on or reactivates (by sextile) the Mercury/Moon conjunction of the Ingress chart. So what does this tell us about the moisture situation? At first glance we might be inclined to say dry. But there are important factors against this. First the Moon is in her own sign, and Cancer is wet. Secondly Venus square Saturn on the IC tends to condense any available moisture. Low and dark clouds pregnant with moisture and the winds to carry them! Particularly through the reactivation of the Ingress Moon/Mercury conjunction. Mercury L4 in hot Leo, enhances summer thunderstorm activity. So the amount of moisture to be expected is above average.

And what about the wind situation?

Mercury Ingress, July 18, 2009

Mercury Ingress, July 18, 2009

And what is the situation in the 4th house? Though not L4, Mercury is in the 4th house but not in the same sign (please note, my software absolutely insists on placing the ingress at 29 Cancer 59!). So the wind potential is somewhat lessened. The Sun in the 4th house in Cancer and Moon L4 in Taurus in the 1st house favour winds carrying low-lying moisture laden clouds.

During this period in July it was generally rainy, with some very hot days, quickly followed by thunderstorms. Generally, for July it was very cool with average temperatures of around 18* C only a few days had temperatures above 25*C.

Dear reader, of course it is justified to say that I am writing out of hindsight. If you want to read a weather forecast for the season for Devonshire, using the method demonstrated above, please visit Caroline Allen’s site. She has written an excellent weather forecast for her location and she has been more accurate so far than the British Met who predicted a BBQ Summer! Here is the link.

A Visit to Potsdam: a Weather Horary

My wife and I recently visited Potsdam, renowned for the Sans Souci summer palace built by the Prussian king, Frederick the Great. About a week before leaving I took the opportunity to ask a horary on what the weather would be like during our visit.

Here is the chart:

Weather in Potsdam for June 8-12

Weather in Potsdam for June 8-12

It always fascinates me how often a horary chart reflects a clearly formulated question (of course the opposite is usually true, a fuzzy question  has a fuzzy chart). The question was a ‘we’ question and so it is not surprising that a double-bodied sign is on the Ascendant and that the ruler, Mercury should also be placed in the 9th house of journeys. Taurus a cold and dry sign is on the cusp of the 9th house. Along with Mercury, the Sun is also in the 9th, but in the warm and moist sign, Gemini. What interested me in this chart was whether Mercury could be used not only as the Significator of my wife and myself but also as a Significator for the weather as well.

I predicted cool but dry weather with some stormy weather, little rain. Cool means cool for the season. If it had been winter than freezing weather could have been expected. But in summer this means temperatures that are below normal. I was also interested to see if it would also be stormy.

How was the weather in Potsdam? It was partly cloudy with the Sun peeking through. The clouds were low, but there was little rain. There were also longer sunny gaps inbetween. The temperatures were between 14-21 * C (57 –  70* F). Only on Thursday was there really stormy weather with rain. Where did the rainy day come from? Mercury is applying square to Jupiter at 26*53 Aquarius and interestingly enough when partile also conjuncts Algol.

Here is a photo that pretty much sums up how the weather was:



Getting Started with Rectification: the First Steps with Primary Directions

Not too far back a reader asked for a demonstration of calculating primary directions by hand. It would be far to wearisome, and very boring reading to demonstrate all of the calculations, all at once. Instead I will only give them piecemeal, enough for anyone to gain confidence in trying the calculations themselves and with a bit more explanation as to what is being done. If you do have problems there is always the comments section to express what the problem is.

We will be concentrating our attention first on the MC and in the next article on the Moon. As both of these belong to the ‘big five’ Significators of directions, the other three being Sun, Ascendant and Part of Fortune.

Now the MC is probably the simplest Significator as only right ascension is considered when directing to it. And it is very easy to discover the RA (right ascension) of the MC or any other position with respect to the MC. If you look into your Tables of Houses, here those published by the Otto Wilhelm Barth Verlag, publishers of the Deutsche Ephemeride:

Tables of Houses caption

Tables of Houses caption

You will find at the top of each page the sidereal time, the longitude of the MC and its right ascension or RAMC. It is simply a matter of interpolation to calculate the exact degree of the RAMC. Our sample chart has 25 Sagittarius 07 on the MC. So we take the difference between 25 Sag 07 and 24 Sag 30 (0 deg 38) multiply by 60 (the difference in minutes between RAMC 265 and RAMC 264) and divide by the difference between 25 Sag 25 and 24 Sag 30 (0 deg 55). This gives us 0 deg 41 which we add to the earlier RAMC. So the RAMC of 25 Sag 07 is 264 deg 41.

If you refer to Wm. Lilly’s Christian Astrology you will see that he made a speculum (table) of the position of all major planetary aspects, antiscia and term positions. It is a very good idea. So for our example chart we have the antiscion of Jupiter at 28 Capricorn 31 and the sextile of Mercury at 2 Aquarius 12, to take two examples. Using the above method the RA position with respect to the MC would be 300 deg 38 and 304 deg 28 respectively. If we were to direct them to the MC the difference in arc would be:

antiscion Jupiter at 28 Cap 31, RA = 300 deg 38 – RAMC 264 deg 41 = 35 deg 57
sextile Mercury at 2 Sag 12, RA = 304 deg 28– RAMC 264 deg 41 = 39 deg 47

If we use the Ptolomaic Key of 1 deg = 1 year then the first direction would occur at the age of 36 (in 1995) and the second at roughly 40 years (1999)

According to Wm. Lilly the direction of Jupiter (either in body or by antiscion) gives “everyone preferment according to capacity” and the sextile of Mercury advances the native “in the study of Learning…” As you note the emphasis is always on 10th house affairs. So Jupiter will be beneficial and help expand one’s professional affairs, according to capacity. So a crown prince might find himself king and someone in higher management might find themselves head of the board of directors. Someone unemployed might finally be given employment. The same with Mercury. The sextile encourages learning in respect to profession. So the crown prince might find himself motivated to study the laws of the land more closely. The head of the board to learn the language of his major foreign customer and the newly employed person the chance to qualify themselves by going to evening school. Then of course the condition of the chart must be accounted for. What are Jupiter and Mercury Lords of? What is their celestial state in the radix? Are they dignified and well placed or the opposite? All of these factors modify the general statement. So Jupiter in bad celestial state might offer the opportunity but it might not be strong enough to give the crown prince the crown, he might just add another order to his collection of honours or the manager becomes vice chairman instead of chairman of the board or the newly employed person gets the secondbest job on his list.