Monday, October 11, 2010

"Mystery" Horoscope

This horoscope does not have a known time of birth. It belongs to a man who arguably has become the most well-known member of my graduating class of Walt Whitman High School Class of 1988. He is now a comedian and performance artist who lives in LA and goes by the name of Bad Ass Frank.

Here is a link to his website:

Be sure to read some of his articles, which are wonderfully funny. Frank is no feminist. In fact, he is currently "channeling" Pluto in Capricorn to the core, and has a beautiful "Persephone" named Lisa Marie to prove it. According to Frank, she is 17 years younger than he is. He appears very devoted to Lisa, just as Hades was devoted to Persephone.

Frank wrote a book called "Pimpin' Aint Easy", which is available on the website. Most pimps are too busy dominating their girls to be funny, but Frank made plenty of money with one foot planted in a seamy subculture, and the other foot in more respectable mainstream media. I learned a lot about porn from reading this book. I also noticed how much writing craft goes into making porn into takes more mental effort and careful editing than one might assume.

Originally, I posted this "Mystery Horoscope" on the forum at, Deborah Houlding's website. Readers there had little interest in a horoscope with no birth time, and lost no time in telling me so. However, my description of the native and the resulting comments is interesting reading, if I may toot my own horn a little.

Look for the "Mystery Horoscope" thread under "Nativities and General Astrology" in the forum at

By the way, Bad Ass doesn't like astrology or astrologers, and loses no opportunity when it comes to mocking us or having fun at our expense. So I'm sure he won't mind seeing himself on a blog like this. If he doesn't sue me, he'll find a way to roast me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Which Vedic Techniques Actually Work?

Beginners in Vedic astrology get exposed to so many different Vedic techniques, but a lot of novices may wonder how many of them “actually work”. This is a good question from a sharp mind – because Vedic wisdom was collected from respected sages over the centuries in India, but it was also a racket in which techniques of questionable value were passed down from father to son in order to preserve the reputation of families who did astrology for a living. Over the centuries, useful techniques got mixed up with those that don’t appear to work very often, and it is now a challenge for modern Vedic astrologers to figure out the difference.

The problem is that a lot of Vedic students are more interested in learning all the obscure features of a tradition than learning whether or not they actually work. James Braha writes about this phenomenon, and James Kelleher mentions it frequently as well. To get respect in Vedic astrology, you need to be familiar with all of the intricacies of the system. To appeal to clients who want a traditional reading with all of the typical Vedic techniques interpreted in the context of their horoscope, you need to know the jargon. But it also helps if you “don’t outsmart your common sense” - these techniques actually have to work for them to be valuable, and unless you’ve made careful comparisons on at least a couple of hundred charts you may not be certain about some of them.

So, here’s a quick guide to what works and what doesn’t:


1. Ruling planets, exalted planets, and fallen planets work. Understanding how these planets impact the house they reside in and the houses they rule is the most crucial skill needed to accurately interpret a horoscope. Try to remember that there is no such thing as a “debilitated” planet, at least not in the western sense of the term. Vedic astrology uses fallen planets, but not debilitated ones.

2.Traditionally, the navamsa is a chart that describes a woman’s first husband. In a modern context, it has been shown to represent a general description of the lives of both men and women from the age of 35 to roughly retirement. This technique is one that I have used often enough that I would stake my reputation as an astrologer on its accuracy.

3.The nakshatras are an amazing technique for pulling out small details that will be very meaningful to the individual born under each asterism. The novice would do well to study the nakshatras thoroughly, before even thinking about learning other Vedic techniques.


1. The degrees of exaltation do not appear to make a planet any more exceptional in a native’s life. Example: The Moon is said to be exalted at 2 to 3 degrees Taurus. I have also read that the Moon is considered exceptionally powerful in the last degrees of Aries, because it is so close to the degrees of exaltation in early Taurus. In practice, I haven’t seen any difference between a native who had the Moon in its degree of exaltation, and those who have the Moon anywhere else in Taurus.

2.The concept of “moolatrikona” does not work. James Braha first observed this, and he appears to be correct.

3.Rahu is not “exalted” in four different signs; it probably isn’t exalted in any of them. This is a modern technique that doesn’t hold up. In traditional Vedic astrology, Rahu and Ketu had no lordships at all.

Rahu does have a strong association with air travel and advanced technology. Originally, it was said to be especially strong in Gemini, and many astrologers do feel that Rahu has a particular strength in the third house. Unfortunately, astrological “creep” set in after this. Rahu is said to be “like Saturn”, so folks started saying that Rahu must have special strength in the air signs of Libra, where Saturn is exalted, and in the air sign of Aquarius, where Saturn is lord. Then came the idea that Rahu must be powerful in Scorpio, because the western associations of Scorpio are so similar to Rahu’s qualities.

There is no traditional basis for any of this. This author has Rahu in Aquarius, and has compared it against other charts with Rahu placed in average signs, and also in the air signs or Scorpio. No difference is apparent. Rahu will manifest more strongly when it is tightly conjunct a planet or an angle. The sign has nothing to do with it.


They work. That’s not the point.

During traditional Vedic instruction, students had to memorize hundreds of yogas before they were ever allowed to interpret a horoscope – mastery of the jargon shaped the discipline and became its overarching principle. The “common sense” approach to interpretation got lost somewhere during the centuries – many yogas are combinations of two planets in a ruling, exalted, or fallen position. It’s not the yoga that matters in many cases – it’s all about the underlying planets.

The student who really understands how a ruling, exalted, or fallen planet behaves in the house that it resides, and also in the houses that it rules, is ahead of the game. He or she can accurately interpret a Vedic chart without ever resorting to a single yoga. I would never say that it is a waste of time to learn the formal intricacies of the Vedic system with regard to yogas. That said, I have never memorized even fifty yogas, and I probably never will.

Being familiar with yogas helps to preserve the tradition in it entirety – they were such an important part of traditional astrology that forgetting them does a disservice to the profession. Yet it is possible to competently interpret a Vedic horoscope without knowing a Satkalatra yoga from a Downward Dog – I do it all the time.

Yogas do yield up some very specific insight if we know the lore associated with each one. For example, I have some obscure yoga which promises that I will “maintain the archives for the common man” at age 39. Sure enough – I started this blog right on schedule. But I also have a yoga which should have brought about a marriage at age 24 – and this never happened. Knowing how to determine which yogas are true for the native and which are never destined to manifest is the real issue behind using yogas. The gap in our knowledge in this area is huge.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mayan Day-Counters...Some Background

The final article on “The Jagaur Magicians – Mayan Day-Counters” will be published at some point this fall. Meanwhile, I came across some background material on the Maya that does a good job of explaining the context in which they developed their calendar and their astrology. What follows is excerpted from Susan Wise Bauer’s History of The Medieval World.


Both the Maya and the Zapotec wrote. The development of writing in much of the world was driven by economics, by the need to keep track of goods and payments. But for the Maya, writing was developed to keep track of time.

The Mayan calendar had a sacred calendar that placed great importance on birth dates and auspicious days. Its core was a series of twenty days, each with a different name. Each one of these days occurred thirteen times during the Central American “year”, each time paired with a different number and a different name (example: 5 Deer, 12 Flower). This yielded a total of 260 days before the sequence of names and numbers began to repeat again.

The 260 day calendar ran side by side with a 365 day calendar. It took 18,930 days, approximately 52 years – for each permutation of the two calendars to play themselves out, and each of those days had significance. The skimpy records of the Maya and the Zapotec fit each birth and death, each marriage and conquest, the ascension of each ruler, into this framework. The passage of time, and the connection between the day and its sacred meaning, was at the center of each kingdom’s history. Every creative act, every god, and every human came into being already slotted into the intricate patterns of the calendar.

On the day of his coronation, a king might glance at the written chronologies and see that on the very same day, in a previous cycle, a king had died or been born. Each of the 18,930 days of the cycle was the site of both past and present events. (See the source for Boone below.)

In this way of thinking, the past was always present; and the rulers of Central America kept their power by connecting themselves to the legendary beginnings of their world.


In 500, Teotihuacan was the 6th largest city in the world. It was home to 125,000 people who probably spoke a range of languages. They lived almost entirely within the city walls. It had the densest occupation of any Central American city. Observation of sacred time was built directly into the streets and walls. Its map was not shaped by rivers or the rise of land, but by the phases of the moon and the places of the stars.

The city’s main thoroughfare, the Avenue of the Dead, ran from the Pyramid of the Moon, on one end, to the Pyramid of the Feather Serpent (later known as Quetzacoatl). His greatest deed was to restore life to humanity after all men and women had been destroyed in a battle between rival gods.

My NOTE: There is an interesting parallel between this myth and the Norse belief that a man and a woman are said to shelter in the World Tree, and repopulate the world after the total destruction of Ragnarok.

Quetzacoatl went down into the Land of the Dead, ruled by the Bone Lord Mictlantecuhtli, and retrieved the bones of a man and a woman. He then slashed his own penis, dripped blood over the bones, and restored them to life. In the view of the Mayan and the Zapotec, bloodshed generated life.

The people of Teotihuacan, like the Maya and the Zapotec to the east, believed in a force called tonalli, a sort of radiance or animating heat that brings life. In the words of religion scholar Richard Haly, tonalli was the “blood link that binds generation to generation”; it “comes down to humans at the time of their birth, linking the newborn to the ancestors.” In return, humans offer blood back to the sky, in order to complete they cycle.

Carvings and pictographs hinted at complicated bloodletting rituals, echoing the shedding of blood that first gave life to humanity, carried out by kings. The king who cut himself on the top of a pyramid was not simply copying Quetzacoatl’s actions in the distant past; he was with Quetzacoatl, acting alongside of him, as his representative – and perhaps even as his incarnation.

There was a LOT of blood sacrifice in this culture. Some of it was voluntary and non-fatal. From what we know, however, much of it was coerced, performed on captives, and fatal in outcome. For example, Chichen Itza had one of the most elaborate ball courts of any Mayan city, a court where players who represented life and death battled to slam a ball through a stone ring in a sacred ritual that remains obscure to us (although reliefs of decapitated players suggest that bloodshed played a large role).

Most of the Mayan records – the elaborate calendars, genealogies, and chronologies – break off at 534, and the silence lasts for nearly a century. Archaeology must fill the gap: outlying fortresses of the larger Mayan cities were burned, the population dwindled, tree-rings show long, cool, wet summers. Hunger stalked the Maya as well –skeletons show malnutrition dating back to around 540. Susan Wise Bauer connects this decline with the explosion of the volcano Krakatoa in Indonesia in 535. (See my note below.)

The eruption had a devastating effect on the Mayan culture, which may have collapsed due to malnutrition and internal dissension. People voted with their feet and left the major Mayan cities to return to farms in the hinterland where they might have a better chance of eating. The people survived, but the kingdom died.


Southwest of the Mayan territory, in the fertile plain of what is now Oaxaca, lived another people, the Zapotec. Monte Alban was the capital city. It was occupied by over 20,000 people and extended for fifteen miles across ridges and valleys.

Contemporary reports from around the world point to climatic devastation caused by the eruption of Krakatoa, most likely in 535.

Krakatoa darkened the Sun for four to five years, which caused major famine in many parts of the world. Procopius reports in 536 that the sun “gave forth light without brightness, like the moon…and it seemed exceedingly like the Sun in eclipse, for its beams were not clear”. Michael the Syrian writes, “The sun was dark and its darkness lasted for eighteen months; each day it shone for about four hours, and still this light was only a feeble shadow…the fruits did not ripen…”

In early 538, the Roman Senator Cassiodorus, serving at the Ostrogoth court in Ravenna, writes, “We marvel to see no shadows of our bodies at noon…and the phenomena which accompanies a transitory eclipse prolonged through an entire year. The Moon too, even when her orb is full, is empty of her natural splendor. We have had a winter without storms, a spring without mildness, and a summer without heat. Whence can we look for the harvest, since the months which should have been maturing the corn have been chilled?”


Elizabeth Hill Boone, Cycles of Time and Meaning In The Mexican Books of Fate(2007), p 14

Richard Haly, “Bare Bones: Rethinking Mesoamerican Divinity,” History of Religions, 31:3 (1992), pgs 280-281.

Susan Wise Bauer,The History of the Medieval World: From the Conversion of Constantine to the First Crusade (2010), pgs 187-190.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Obama and the 2012 Election

Just thinking ahead, as my brain turns on the giant wheel of time. I want a drama-filled election, even better than the last one, don’t you? There’s not much to do when the economy is this bad, and its not like the American people can afford a lot of entertainment these days, so the thought of politics over two years away is the most exciting thing on the plate.

Now, I think we all know the election is going to be VERY CLOSE. Don’t need astrology for this. Pluto goes opposite the U.S. Sibley Jupiter in 2012 – all of our emotions are going to be coming straight out of hell by then. Another contested election would be so exciting, but I don’t think the Supreme Court wants the precedent of getting involved again. We’ve got European astrologers predicting that states will start seceding from the Union in fury – they don’t know anything about how we States really operate. I bet Arizona is cooking up secession right now as we speak, but it will never happen. Mexico would invade immediately, and before the Tea Party could raise a militia, they’d be looking at annexation!

Now, Obama has Pluto trine natal Pluto during 2012 – possibly one of the most powerful transits of his life – he is really going to be on top of all the rabbit holes to underground power in this country during this year.
Plus Neptune is making a trine to his natal Venus – and if you have any doubt about what that means, take a good look at how cute he is without a shirt on in Hawaii!

But there is one whammy of an astrological detail that no celestial bean-counter had better miss – Obama’s progressed Sun is at 29 Virgo two years from now – and the U.S. Sibley MC is at 1 degree Libra. Talk about magnetic attraction. Talk about soul mate synastry. It doesn’t seem possible, given how much the American people are blaming him for the atrocious economy. But as a wise astrologer (Dr. Z) once pointed out, there’s nothing to stop soul mates from killing each other. Still, any Republican candidate is going to have to go one better with his natal chart and the U.S. Sibley, or else I fear The Big O may have it in the bag…


Those who want to better understand the love affair between Barack Obama and the American people (represented by the U.S. Sibley Chart) should check out the first item titled "Magnetic Attraction" at the recent article Dr. Z's Top Six Soulmate Clues in Astrology on his website.

This is reinforced by a partile conjunction between Barack Obama's natal Ketu and the U.S. Sibley Moon. In electional astrology, the Moon represents the people. In Vedic astrology, when Ketu conjuncts any planet, it is said to make it behave in a weird, unexplaniable way.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Jaguar Magicians: Mayan Day-Counters...Part Two

NOTE: Readers may understand this article more easily by first reading
Part One, published June 21, 2010.

The paintings of Juan Fermin Gonzalez Morales accurately capture the details of the way of life of Maya people, a way of life that is changing as the young people leave the villages for life in the city, and many traditions disappear.


IMIX (ee-MISH) Earth Dragon (Mayan) Crocodile (Aztec)
IK (eek) Breath, air, life (Mayan) Wind (Aztec)
AKBAL (a.k.a. UOTAN) Night, darkness (Mayan) House (Aztec)
KAN Ripe Corn (Mayan) Lizard (Aztec)
CHICCHAN Celestial serpent (Mayan) Celestial Serpent (Aztec)
CIMI Death, owl (Mayan) Death (Aztec)
MANIK Grasping hand, deer (Mayan) Deer (Aztec)
LAMAT Venus (Mayan) Rabbit (Aztec)
MULUC (moo-LUKE) Water, rain (Mayan) Rain (Aztec)
OC Dog (Mayan) Dog (Aztec)
CHUEN (chew-EN) Howling monkey (Mayan) Monkey (Aztec)
EB (abe) Tooth (Mayan) Grass (Aztec)
BEN Reed, cane (Mayan) Reed (Aztec)
IX (eesh) Jaguar magician (Mayan) Jaguar (Aztec)
MEN Eagle (Mayan) Eagle (Aztec)
CIB (keeb) Vulture, ancestor (Mayan) Vulture (Aztec)
CA BAN Earthquake (Mayan) Earthquake (Aztec)
ETZ’NAB Flint Knife(Mayan) Flint Knife (Aztec)
CAUAC Storm, Rain (Mayan) Storm, Rain (Aztec)
AHAU (ah-HAW) Lord, Chief (Mayan) Flower (Aztec)


The universe of the Maya was centered on a tieredpyramid, and rest upon a crocodillian cosmic sea. Recall that the first nagua, Imix, is the crocodile.
Each quarter of the earth was associated with color, and the center of the earth was a "fifth direction".

Four sacred beings supported the dome of heaven, illustrated as a two-headed dragon, which had a body as a sky band of celestial symbols. Recall that the fifth nagual, Chicchan, is the celestial serpent, located at the four quarters.

It is arched over the moon goddess, who is holding the rabbit discerned in the moon's face, and a skeletal Venus. From the chart above, we see that the eighth nagual Lamat is associated with both the rabbit and Venus. Venus in this tradition was male. He was associated with a quick, energetic, competitive personality type, and also carried associations with the occult, drunkenness, and death.

Creation of both sun and probably the planet Venus was explained with a legend of Hero twins who vied with the Lords of Death during a series of ball games. The victorious twins became these celestial bodies.

The Mayan Moon was linked with the goddess Ix Chel (esh chelle), or "Lady Rainbow", the wife of the supreme god. She ruled over a woman's world of weaving, childbirth, and healing.


Mayan day-counters use their astrology loosely, as a point of departure. They have a “natal chart”, a 9-nagual diagram (more on this later). They also have twenty personality archetypes, called naguals. Twenty blocks of thirteen days go into a calendar of 260 days – one that appears to be closely associated with the synodic cycle of Mercury.

They also manipulate 260 red tzinte beads to answer a specific question (this sounds a lot like the diloggun, or Vodoun divination), and obtain direct knowing during a Mayan ceremony – all of this is channeled from the Mayan spirits.

Most often, they receive this information as pulses in their veins, which they learn how to interpret with experience. A pulse in the left shoulder means such-and-such, a pulse in the right wrist means something else (somewhat similar to traditional Chinese medicine). The Mayan day-counter knows he is on the right track with the pulses – the astrology part is just an adjunct aid to intuition.


The nagual on the day of one’s birth is the “heart” nagual. It is the foundation nagual that sums up youth and much of adulthood, and the core of one’s personality.

Each nagual is preceded by a numerical coefficient, from 1 to 13:

1-3 are considered timid, immature, and hesitant.
11-13 are considered stronger and more extreme.
The number 8 is the ideal number, and 8 of any nagual, even an unfavorable one, becomes fortunate.

Prior to the Spanish conquest, it was normal for people to be named for their birth nagual; thus the hero of the Popul Vuh legend is named Hun(1)Ajpu.

Mandala painting of animals in the Mayan and Aztec zodiacs by Peter Eglington.

Click on this graphic to enlarge it. The artist's depiction includes animal variants that differ for some of the naguals in this article.

Unlike our Western zodiacal signs, these naguals are considered to be alive and petitionable (the ruling deities of the Vedic nakshatras are also alive and petitionable). One invokes one’s birth nagual for protection, guidance, and blessing. Traditional Mayans still do special propitiatory rituals every 260 days when the nagual and its numerical coefficient coincide.


This is another way that Mayan astrology faintly overlaps with Vedic astrology, which is also based on a lunar cycle. In lunar Vedic astrology, each nakshatra spans 13.20 degrees of the zodiac, for a total of twenty-seven nakshatras (plus a lost nakshatra, the mysterious 28th nakshatra known as Abijit). In Mayan astrology, the bundle of thirteen days is what mattered.

Each block of time, known in Spanish as a trecana (meaning thirteenths) took on the meaning of the nagual generated by the first day of the cycle. A birth occurring during this thirteen-day period is strongly influenced by that trecana.

This means that each birth is designated not only a day-sign, but also by its position within a thirteen day period. (Those of you who are now curious about your own Mayan profile can head to, click on “Maya-Aztec Report” on the top banner, and calculate a free horoscope. Remember that if you were born later than 8:30 pm, you should input the date following your birthday and use that as your day-sign.)

Below is an example which illustrates the trecana and day sign in action.


As in any system, at least a couple of the signs were considered unfortunate, and in Mayan astrology, this lot fell to the 9th nagual, Muluc, and the 19th nagual, Cauac.

Princess Diana was born on the first day of the trecana Cauac, and therefore under the day-sign Cauac. (So was the author of this blog, so you all know why I chose her for the example.) She got a double dose of an unfortunate nagual, yet managed to have a positive impact on millions, before dying at the very young age of thirty-six. Cauac projects youthfulness and compassion, and inclines one toward the healing professions. Diana was concerned for the less fortunate, and made them the focus of her public role. In other circumstances, she might have become a nurse or a teacher.

Further, Venus was in its morning star phase on the day of her birth, a position that inclined Diana toward a social life full of risks. Cauac has an independent streak that causes one to desire time apart from intimates, but it is also a sensitive sign that is overly dependent on family. Taken together with the Morning Star, this meant that Diana could never accept the traditional rules of social interaction, and found herself pushing the social envelope, right up until her death. (p 80 How To Practice Mayan Astrology)

A beautiful turquoise blue color survived the centuries due to its unique chemical characteristics. The use of Mayan Blue survived until the sixteenth century, when the technique was lost.


The Mayan tradition is scattered and fragmentary, and it doesn’t all line up neatly. The Mayan people of Mexico had different naguals from the Mayan people in Guatemala. The Aztec had a different lore and divination traditions, some of which contributed to Mayan astrology. By now, some of you must be wondering how much of this is a reconstructed tradition, and how much of it can be traced to pre-Conquest sources.

Bruce Scofield is upfront about the fact that his book is a reconstruction, and that many of the personality associations with each of the naguals are his interpretation.

The modern delineations presented here are based on comparisons of many people born under each day-sign as well as interpretations of Mayan and Aztec symbolism. They were developed by Bruce Scofield in the late 1980’s and have proven to be accurate and reliable indicators for hundreds of people who have applied them since.

P 16 How To Practice Mayan Astrology


A native’s astrological profile also includes one of four possible positions of Venus with respect to the Sun, and another constant repeating cycle of nine night deities known as the Lords of the Night, each of which impart a different cast of character to the native. A detailed explanation is beyond the scope of this article - for those who run a free profile at and find that they simply must know the meaning, I highly recommend getting a Full Report or, better yet, a copy of “How To Practice Mayan Astrology”.

Buying the book is a better deal, in my opinion, because it has an ephemeris from 1919 – 2021 that lists everything – day-signs, trecanas, Night Lords, Venus phases, you name it. This will allow the reader to look up everybody they know, and not just get a profile for themselves.


Bruce Scofield explains how the events of the Quetzalcoatl myth were associated by the ancient Mayans with components of the astronomical cycle of Venus. He also does a clever, insightful analysis of the similarities between the Mayan view of Venus and the great Western astrologer Dane Rudhyar’s observations about Venus as a morning star or an evening star in natal charts that anyone who is even mildly interested in Rudhyar will most likely appreciate.


The nine Lords of the Night were ruling gods of the Underworld, gods that humanity had to contend with in order to find everlasting life. Not much is known about them – it is possible that they only applied to night births, when the gods of the underworld were dominant. Even many of the Mayan names for these Lords have been lost. Scofield does a good job of explaining what little scholars do know about them.

Hunahphu killing Itzam from the Popol Vuh

Scholars do know that the Maya had these lords tagged to the Long Count, which makes it possible to assign them accurately to any given day in the Western calendar. The Lords of the Night also have their counterparts in the Lords of Death of the Popol Vuh, one of the most important Mayan texts to have the destruction of Mayan culture which followed the Conquest.

One would think that a native with a night birth, say one after 8:30 pm or so, would use the Lord of the Night for the day on which they were born, even if they are using the day-sign for the following day. From what I have observed, however, the Lord of the Night associated with the following day seems to make more sense in most horoscopes.

Like many other ancient cultures, one Mayan creation story involves a World tree, or tree of life. The Mayan World Tree, often represented as a ceiba tree or “Wacah Chan”, embodies the 4 cardinal directions and 4 ordinal directions. North / NE/ East / SE / South / SW / West/ NW


Right arm -14 days, Head -8 days, Left arm -2 days
Right waist -6 days, Heart = Birthday, Left waist +6 days
Right leg +2 days, Feet +8 days, Left leg +14 days

The three naguals in the center column are the most important – these are the ones that I look at first when developing a Mayan natal chart. If I am not going to do a full diagram for someone, I will always at least glance at these three naguals.

As mentioned earlier, the “heart” nagual is the foundation nagual that sums up youth and much of adulthood, and the core of one’s personality.

The “head” nagual shows what is in your mind, how you are thinking, and what you are thinking about. Because it shows how your mind works, it is very important in determining character and destiny.

The” feet” nagual symbolizes what the person seeks and also where the person is going: his destiny, the end of this his life, and his death. It reveals the qualities the person has as he ages. Some people will start manifesting more of this nagual by middle age, but others will see more of it after they retire from their primary careers. The age at which this final nagual starts to manifest noticeably is widely variable, in my experience.


The “right arm” nagual is the person’s force of achievement, his motivation and power, the strength of his personality to reach out and take what he wants.

The “left arm” nagual symbolizes the person’s worries and problems, what impedes or weakens him.

Both right and left waist naguals symbolize duties and obligations. The right side is positive energy, and the left is negative. The left waist shows how one is burdened, held back, or loses what he has won.

The legs show how you move forward through life. The right leg is how you get ahead in life, while the left leg can lead you down the garden path, if you are not careful.

El Parto [Childbirth] 2007. Antonio Vasquez Yojcom paints original themes rather than repetitiously painting the several themes that are sold to tourists around Santiago Atitlan in Guatemala.


There is a reason why I focus primarily on the “heart”, “head”, and “feet” naguals. The “right leg” nagual and the “left arm” nagual also make sense in terms of the person’s life experience. But the remaining four naguals aren’t all that meaningful when delineating a natal chart, because they tend to contradict each other.

There is a nagging problem of duplication in the numerical sequence of the natal diagram which makes it difficult to interpret. Using the example of Princess Diana again, we see that the “right arm” nagual (-14 days) is the same as the “left waist” nagual (+6 days), and the “right waist” nagual (-6 days) is the same as the “left leg” nagual (+14 days). Only the numerical coefficients are different. This is true for any diagram drawn using this method, and is not unique to the date of birth of Princess Diana (or the blog author’s).


Right arm -14 days
Head -8 days
Left arm -2 days
Right waist -6 days
Heart = Birthday 1-CAUAC
Left waist +6 days
Right leg +2 days
Feet +8 days
Left leg +14 days

If the right arm is the force and motivation to get ahead, to reach out and get what you want – then why should it be the same as the left waist, the responsibilities and obligations that hold you back? The same contradiction emerges with the “right waist” and the “left leg” naguals.

Good luck trying to explain how opposite interpretations both apply to a person’s life. The differing coefficients don’t offer enough of a distinction to be meaningful. I have a feeling that this system worked for the ancient day-counters who used it, but not enough of it is left for us to figure out how they got around the apparent discrepancy noted above.


This is what most readers probably want to know, so I won’t disappoint you. Her unfortunate “heart” nagual, Cauac, has already been discussed .

Her “mind” nagual was the 11th nagual, Chuen, the howling monkey. It is associated with the soul of the artist or craftsman. It is an attention-getting, clever, demonstrative archetype that is often found working or at least interested in the performing or communication industries. Chuen likes to “play the field”, which is just another way of getting attention, as Scofield points out. People with this nagual influencing their minds learn at a fast pace, and are interested in almost everything around them, but tend to have a problem with commitment in relationships.

Her “right leg” nagual was the first nagual, Imix, the fertile crocodile that is most associated with parenthood and acting as a steward for the next generation. It is certainly true that Princess Diana got ahead in life by becoming the mother of the future King of England. Motherhood is what secured her position in the Palace, rather than any emotion she may have felt toward her ex-husband, Prince Charles.

Her “left arm” nagual was the 17th nagual, Caban, the earthquake. The “left arm” impedes or weakens the native. One thinks of unexpected catastrophes, and circumstances completely beyond one’s control, and this nagual does fit the circumstances of her death very well.

Her “feet” or destiny nagual would hardly have had time to take effect at the young age that Princess Diana died, but to some onlookers, glimpses of it may already have been evident. Her destiny nagual was Manik, the sign of a personality who struggles with issues of freedom versus security. Manik displays an urge to take off for parts unknown, but balances with it a desire to care for their loved ones. Equality of the sexes emerges as the signature of this nagual, as does creating somewhat unconventional personal lifestyles.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Golf Ball Theory of Astrology...

The seven traditional planets of classic astrology, all lined up in the grass before God gets a good whack at them.

Did you ever think the karmic gods were out playing golf in the stars on the day you were born? Can you picture them (tee hee) at the tee just hitting stars randomly out into the universe, and that pattern in the night sky ends up becoming your horoscope? Well, folks, you are not alone...there are days when the irony of this just kills me (and I have a lot of respect for God (and gods) mind you).

No, this isn't just Tiger Woods birthchart. From space, I bet all of our horoscopes look just like this.

Friday, July 9, 2010

July, 2010 Solar Eclipse and Other Thoughts

Well, folks, the old wisdom about eclipse is bearing up! You don’t have to worry about them unless they make a hard angle (meaning a square or opposition) or a conjunction to a personal planet within, say, a degree and a half of orb. And if that happens, you should really worry!


Remember, we had a bad-ass lunar eclipse back in January. In my experience, the two to seven days before the eclipse are when problems occur. By the date of the actual eclipse, the trouble-making energy has often (but not always) spent itself.

Poor Haiti along with their terrible earthquake was strongly associated with the January 2010 eclipse. This earthquake occurred several days before an eclipse that took place at 25 degrees Capricorn (around January 14 or January 15, 2010, depending on your location on Earth). This eclipse took place on my birthday this year, and it has not been a great year (that’s putting it mildly). Yet at the time, it was Haiti I was crying for. My own problems didn’t really get triggered for at least a few months after the eclipse occurred.

My natal Sun is in the 5th House, but I haven’t really seen eclipse events show up in personal experiences in terms of house associations. Just thought I’d throw this in the pot, in case anyone is curious.


The July 11 eclipse is at 19 degrees Cancer, and it makes a tight opposition to my natal Mercury at 20 degrees Capricorn. Oh, a tight angle or a conjunction with two eclipses in one year isn’t something I would wish on anybody…

On July 6, I fell for no reason in front of Border Books (nothing wrong with their sidewalk, so no lawsuit in it for me) and sprained my left foot. I’m going to be on crutches for at least three weeks. I had a little summer job lined up that was supposed to help me eat and pay bills, but I lost it because I can’t even walk, let alone stand up at a cash register all day long.

This is after falling last December, spraining my left knee, and being in a full-length leg brace for eight weeks. That fall had nothing to do with the January eclipse, but it burns me up that a second fall in less than a year is looking like the nasty karmic leftover of this eclipse.


Well, I have a real good excuse for being so late in getting around to it, now don’t I? It takes forever to do anything on crutches, and it is miserable going outside on crutches in 100+ degree heat.

But now that I’m sitting here in nice air-conditioned Border Books with no summer job, and no prospects in sight, I might as well try to get around to the second part of the article soon. At least my blog followers would be learning something (hopefully) if I did get my butt in gear and write it…


While my mind is fried from this Solar Eclipse opposite my poor Mercury, I figure this would be about as good a time as any for an astrological prediction on the U.S. economy for the next several years…

The double-dip recession was predicted by a lot of astrologers for the summer of 2010, including Tem Tarriktar, editor-in-chief of The Mountain Astrologer magazine, and it turns out they were right. Now I see that some astro-folks are trying to line up a triple-dip recession for December 21, 2012 to supposedly coincide with the culmination of the Mayan Calendar. Those of you who tuned in to my articles on Mayan astrology will have a better sense of my opinion on this – I don’t think it will be this neat or convenient, and I don’t think it has much to do with the way Mayan day-counters originally interpreted this time period.

I DO think there is a very good likelihood of a triple-dip sometime in 2012, though. We are looking at a very long recession that is going to rival the decade-long Great Depression of 1929-1939. Our Great Recession will probably be 2008-2016(we don't call it a Depression anymore because we've all had too much psychology). Perhaps this is because the Pluto-in-Cancer phase of the Great Depression is starting to look a whole lot like the Pluto-in-Capricorn phase of our current era – its as good a guess as any.

In 2014, we may start to see the beginnings of a turn-around in the U.S. economy. Regrettably, I think this will be because large businesses and small business owners perk up due to an anticipated end of the Obama presidency in 2016. Unless the Republicans can field a very strong candidate in 2012, they are not going to shove Obama out after one term. Failing this, they will be so dejected that the economy won’t do much between 2012 and 2014.

This isn’t really fair to Obama, who has had Bush’s and BP’s messes to clean up, and who doesn’t have the clout to give Wall Street the ass-whupping it deserves. All Democrats are hoping that health care reform will be Obama’s lasting legacy, but the truth is that a President gets remembered on the economy more than anything.


Now, why do I think this?

Uranus is sprinting during the next four years, and will be at 14 degrees Aries by July 2014 (in other words, it will have passed the opposition to U.S. Saturn, which is going to hurt, and on its way to the U.S. Chiron at 20 degrees Aries, which I think is going to heal.)

Neptune should get left out of this. It is making trines to all the U.S. Sibley planets in Cancer, and all that does is make us lazy. Artsy and creative, yes, but LAAAZZZY!

Right around this time in 2014, Jupiter will be at 28 degrees Cancer. Remember, the U.S. Sibley Pluto is at 27 degrees Capricon. A Jupiter-Pluto opposition, and the energy that leads into the applying aspect, just isn’t good for a country. Once Jupiter moves past the Sibley Pluto, we just need Pluto to do its part and get moving, too.

Pluto is retrograding at 12 degrees Capricorn, in a T-Square with U.S. Sibley Saturn Sun at 13 degrees Cancer and U.S. Sibley Saturn at 14 degrees Libra (oh, are we going to be hurting by then –the Underworld God’s whip is going to sting), but as soon as Pluto moves past that Saturn (end of 2016) we will feel the relief.

In 2016, the economy will swing around just as a Republican president enters office –one doesn’t really need astrology to see this, only common sense.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Jaguar Magicians: Mayan Day-Counters...Part One

In case anyone is curious, this is my day-sign, known as "Cauac" or Rain nagual. This is my "heart" nagual, associated with the day of my birth.


•Youthful personality, very likely involved with teaching or healing in some way. Rain is more inclined to imitate than to innovate, which is why many of its natives become teachers or instructors.

•Acts like a child even as an adult. Restless mind – constantly needs exercise in some way. Compassionate personality – acquired through a lot of personal hardship and pain. Rain is considered an unfortunate nagual for this reason. It was also feared in traditional Mayan culture because it was said to be a time when sorcerers were born and demons came to earth.


There's a new article in the works on Mayan astrology, and I'm hoping to have it up by early July, depending on my work schedule, and a lot of other daily, ongoing annoyances=]

Mayan astrology is a quirky blend of both astrology and numerology, in my opinion. This article will only briefly touch on the numerology, and focus instead on personality delineation associated with natal astrology.

Mayan astrology has a wonderfully detailed system of "naguals", or day-signs, that describe personality, and an interesting system for describing the qualities of a subject's mind, and the personality that one grows into as one ages. Mayan astrology is one of those fascinating areas outside the mainstream that often gets ignored (and it always surprises me how many people have never heard of it at all), so I think it is an excellent topic for a blog dedicated to alternative, under-appreciated areas of astrology.

"Mayan" astrology is also a blend of Mayan and Aztec astrological traditions. Both systems are fragmented, and probably represent a fraction of what was originally practiced by traditional day-counters, or astrologers. The naguals available to us today have been reinterpreted by astrologers who practice in a modern context. There is a lot of debate among practitioners among which of the competing traditions is most valid - getting too caught up in this is counter-productive, in my opinion.

This article is not going to be an introduction to Mayan astrology - that is beyond the scope of this blog. Rather, it will focus on my observations on how to actually use the system - some parts of the system are more applicable than others for quick, at-a-glance insight, particularly if one is not a practicing Mayan astrologer or researcher and does not have extensive knowledge of Mayan mythology.

For this reason, I am going to put the sources up front in this "teaser" article, in hopes that readers will do some reading up on the basics before they jump into the upcoming main article.

The first thing that most readers will want to do is to find out their day-sign. Bruce Scofield has a free report available on his website that everyone should check out. Folks born after 8:00 pm at night should use the next day as their birthdate - trust me on this! Folks born between 7:00 and 8:00 pm should try out the nagual of their birth date, and the one for the following day, and pick the one with the closest fit. Other than this, Mayan astrology is not dependent on birth time.


Click on "Mayan-Aztec Report" located on the top banner across the home page, and then click on "Order Maya-Aztec Astro-Report". Choose the option of a "Free Sample Report" or a "Full Report for $14.95"

Scofield, Bruce & Orr, Barry C.How To Practice Mayan Astrology: The Tzolkin Calendar and Your Life Path,Bear & Company; First Edition, 2006.

This book is highly recommended. It will teach you a lot about the Mayan naguals, in a far more thorough fashion than I can do in this article. Also, anyone wishing to understand why the Mayan calendar did not predict a new era beginning in 2012 (a popular New Age belief) should definitely take a careful look at this book. In fact, Scofield and Orr argue that the tradition points to a culminating period of tremendous change occuring between 2012 and 2032.

Maransky, Bob.Barack Obama's Mayan Horoscope, The Mountain Astrologer Magazine, February/March 2010.

This article explains how naguals corresponding with body parts such as the heart, feet, and head are used to develop a full profile for each native, using Barack Obama as an example. Wonderful example of what is likely to be a significant Aztec innovation to Mayan astrology.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Neptune, the 12th House, and Pisces by Maurice Fernandez

There is a discussion on Neptune, the 12th House, and Pisces by Maurice Fernandez going on over at the forum at that folks may be interested in.

Click on Neptune, the 12th House, and Pisces

Fernandez presents an interesting alternative that Neptune is related to career placement - an idea I was fascinated with. His book isn't that easy to read, but it may reward the persistent reader with a whole new way to look at Neptune. Summaries of Neptune in the various houses are included in this thread, as well as samples from my files which suggest that natal Neptunes definitely do influence career preferences.

BTW: I go by the name of "Evescaduceus" on this forum, or just plain "Eve". I love hearing from my readers (I almost always learn something from all of you), so say hello.

SOURCE: Fernandez, Maurice. Neptune, the 12th House, and Pisces, Trafford Publishing, 2006.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Genesis 49: Jacob "Blesses" His Sons

Esau embraces his brother Jacob while Jacob's wives and young sons watch their unexpected rendez-vous.

Were the Twelve Tribes of Israel evenly distributed among the twelve signs of the Zodiac? Lore outside of the Bible suggests that Abraham, Jacob’s grandfather, may have interacted with or even lived near the Chaldeans for a period of time. The Chaldeans were said to be a small tribe known for ancient astrological wisdom. Theoretically, Abraham and his immediate descendents could have had some exposure to Chaldean methods, and at least one chapter in Genesis gives clear hints of this(although the evidence is fragmentary).

The title is significant. Jacob isn’t “blessing” his sons so much as prophesying the future of their descendents, but prophesy was often described as “blessing” when an important Biblical figure like Jacob engaged in it. Some of Jacob’s “blessings” are downright negative and seem more like judgments or curses. More than half the “blessings” strongly suggest that Jacob used astrological archetypes to describe his sons and, in some cases, their descendents. Some of the blessings are ambiguous, however, and a couple of them don’t seem to have much to do with a recognizable western astrology. But taken together, his “blessings” form one of the most enigmatic and intriguing chapters in the Book of Genesis.

Even more irony is attached to the title when one considers that a younger Jacob wrestled earlier with the Angel and would not give up until the Angel had given Jacob his blessing. The back story is that Jacob had treated his brother Esau in a wretched manner, and was now afraid of him, so he needed the Angel’s blessing. When it becomes his own turn to confer blessings upon his sons as an old man, Jacob appears to forget that some of his sons may also feel a strong need for his blessing.

(Interestingly, there is a parallel tradition of double-tongued “blessings” in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad was said to have offered the blessings of Paradise to many of his key associates before major battles, and they knew that this meant Muhammad had already accurately anticipated their imminent death and martyrdom.)

Jacob calls his sons to him, saying. “Gather around so that I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.” He starts with his oldest son, Reuben.

Unfortunately, Jacob is still furious with him because Reuben intruded on his sexual privacy, and his “blessing” turns into a curse which focuses sorely on an incident that occurred many years before.

Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, the first sign of my strength, excelling in honor, excelling in power.
Turbulent as the water(indecisive), you will no longer excel, for you went up onto your father’s bed, onto my couch and defiled it. –Gen 49:3

There is a very slight suggestion of an Aries/Libra polarity in this description. As I see it, “the first sign of my strength” points to Aries, and “turbulent as the water” suggests Libran indecisiveness. It is not much to go on, and it doesn’t associate Reuben with a specific zodiac sign.

However, when viewed alongside descriptions of his other sons that do seem to delineate particular signs, this verse does seem to possess an astrological core. It is almost as if Jacob is trying to figure out where Reuben’s nativity lies in the zodiac, as he pronounces his “best guess”.

Jacob curses his next two sons, Simon and Levi, in no uncertain terms. Simeon and Levi were the children of Leah, and they killed all the males of Shechem, because their sister Dinah had unmarried sex with a man known only as “Shechem” after falling in love with him. Their revenge was totally outside the bounds of what was considered normal in this culture, and the impression is that Simeon and Levi were sociopaths.

Their swords are weapons of violence. Let me not enter their council, let me not join their assembly, for they have killed men in their anger…cursed be their anger, so fierce, and their fury, so cruel. I will scatter them in Jacob and disperse them in Israel. -Gen 49:5

In the verse above, note that Jacob describes his territory by his own name “Jacob” and also by the name “Israel”. Joseph’s name was changed to Israel when he wrestled with the divine visitor at Peniel.

In this painting by Paul Gauguin, Jacob wrestles the angel while pretty girls watch.

There is little obvious astrology in this verse, but to some observers, there is still a “shadow” of Gemini lurking beneath Jacob’s depiction. He describes them as brothers (sharing the traits of brutality, anger, and cruelty). He doesn’t do this for any of his other sons, even though four of them were full brothers of this pair. Modern astrologers have also described Gemini as capable of great cruelty. Once again, this isn’t much to go on. Here, the reader who seeks a one-on-one association between the sons and the zodiac signs is deconstructing some very slim clues.

We do know that the people of Levi were not included among the tribes given land allotments following the conquest of Canaan. Moses designated the Levites apart for priestly duty as belonging to the Lord (Nu 3:1-4, 49). Joshua awarded them 48 towns scattered throughout Israel (Jos 21: 1-45)

Jacob’s blessings are mostly short and to the point. He gives only two of his sons a somewhat lengthier blessing, Judah and Joseph, both of whom are fire signs and natural leaders. With Judah’s blessing, the reader doesn’t have to “stretch” very far to see that Jacob is talking about a Leo.

You are a lion’s cub, O Judah, you return from the prey, my son. Like a lion he crouches and lies down, like a lioness – who dares to rouse him? -Gen 49:9

Jacob describes his lion son as a predator, and also at rest. In modern astrology, Leo is described by the core attributes of the Sun, which both rises and sets. The rising sun is said to be active and life-giving, while the setting sun is thought to recuperate its energy “offstage” in preparation for a time when it will once again hopefully be the center of attention (see Endnote). The lion and the sun share this quality of vibrant activity alternating with quiet withdrawal.

The next line in this verse simultaneously describes Judah and his descendents, and is widely considered to be one of the most controversial statements in the entire Old Testament.

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor the ruler’s staff, until Shiloh comes, and unto him shall the gathering of the people be. -Gen 49:10

The scepter and the ruler’s staff are the symbols of kingship. Jesus will be descended from the lineage of Judah, and this is what all Christians are intended to recall when they read this prediction of Jacob’s.

Shiloh is a shadowy figure in the Old Testament, and there is probably good reason for this. Shiloh as a place-name is described several times in later books of the Old Testament. As with other place-names in the Old Testament, the name is often intended to refer to both a place and a person.

There is more than one translation of this verse, since the Old Testament available to us today has been transcribed across many languages.

The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes, unto whom tribute belongs. -Gen 49:10

So who was Shiloh? Was it Jesus, the distant descendant of Judah? Or could Joseph have been predicting a later prophet and law-giver to whom the Jews would (and did) actually have to pay tribute to, in other words, the prophet Muhammed? Shiloh is not synonymous with the territory that the Prophet Muhammad emerges from. Nor was Muhammad descended from Judah, but rather from his great-uncle, Ishmael. Nevertheless, the parsing of this spare description about the nearly invisible and forgotten Shiloh has given rise to more speculation in modern times than any of Jacob’s other blessings.

Zebulon is described very suggestively as a water sign in a single line of verse.

Zebulon will live by the seashore, and become a haven for ships. -Gen 49:13

Pisces is clearly symbolized by the sea and ships, but Alan Oken leans toward the association with Cancer because Jacob’s use of the word “haven” also describes a nurturing man who protects his descendents. (Jacob blesses his sons as an old man, and it is presumed that all of his sons were adults who very likely had sons of their own.) Moon-ruled Cancer is also associated with the sea, and the descendents of Zebulon were close enough to the Mediterranean to “feast on the abundance of the seas”. Dt 33:19

Jacob bluntly tells poor Issachar that his descendents will end up as slaves because he is so lazy!

Issachar is a rawboned donkey lying down between two saddlebags. When he sees how good is his resting place and how pleasant is his land, he will bend his shoulder to the burden and submit to forced labor. -Gen49:14-15

Issachar was probably born under a Saturn-ruled sign (sigh), but the description of his brother Naphtali fits Capricorn more closely. The more critical Jacob is of his sons, the less obvious is any evidence of his astrological judgment regarding them. In my opinion, Issachar is anybody’s guess…

Jacob sums up his son Dan with praise, but the two verses suggest two different signs (Could Dan’s nativity have been on the cusp?)

Dan will provide justice for his people as one of the tribes of Israel. Gen 49:16

In the line above, Dan personifies the highest manifestation of justice-loving Libra. If I had to bet, I’d wager that Jacob is telling us Dan’s sign in the first verse. Yet the following verse has strong Scorpio overtones.

Dan will be a serpent by the roadside, a viper along the path, that bites the horses heels, so that its rider tumbles backwards. -Gen 49:17

The verse above is a prediction for a celebrated hero destined to be born in Dan’s lineage. Samson, from the tribe of Dan, would single-handedly keep the Philistines at bay. Simultaneously, the serpent imagery is strongly suggestive of Scorpio, although another one of Jacob’s sons will fit the Scorpio archetype more closely, as we shall see.

Alan Oken is spot-on about Jacob’s description of Gad as a Scorpio. Oken points out that when Gad was born, Leah cried out, “A troop cometh”. (Mars was the classical ruler of Scorpio.) When Jacob was an old man, he said of Gad:

“A troop shall overcome him; but he shall overcome at the last.” Gen 49:19 (An allusion to the great recuperative powers of this sign, usually associated with the modern ruler, Pluto.)

There couldn’t be a more generous description of Virgo, and we suspect that Jacob must have really cherished his son Asher.

Asher’s bread will be fat; he will provide delicacies fit for a king. Gen49:20

Jacob’s praise of Naphtali comes down to us in at least two very different versions. The first translation is one that I associate strongly with Capricorn, being one myself.

Naphtali is a hind let loose: he giveth good words.” -Gen 49:21

(In other words, Capricorn can be fucking nuts and not especially chaste, but he may make a good writer.)
Naphtali depicted as a goat in The Tribe of Naphtali, from the Twelve Maquettes of Stained Glass Windows for Jerusalem (1964) by Marc Chagall.

Think of Capricorn, and one thinks of the Greek god Pan. Pan had a body with a lower half like a goat, plus he was wild and erotic, like a “hind let loose”. Capricorn is also known for its dry, understated humor, and Jacob expresses this idea with understated praise, “he giveth good words”.

Overtones of Saturn are admittedly more characteristic of Jacob’s description of his slave son, Iccashar. Capricorn is not an easy zodiac sign to live under. Yet with Naphtali, we see the fun-loving, sly-tongued reaction to living under all these Saturnine obstacles.

A very different translation of this brief verse is more enigmatic:

Naphtali is a graceful doe that gives birth to beautiful fawns. -Gen49:21

In this interpretation, Jacob appears more focused on predicting a handsome tribe of descendents for Naphtali. Interestingly, there is a Vedic asterism called Mrigashira that is symbolized by a deer, and those born under this cluster of stars are also said to be very clever with words. There is no evidence that Jacob would have had any knowledge of Vedic astrology, even from sources of lore outside the Bible, but I did find it fascinating that Jacob’s carefully chosen words of praise could possibly be interpreted in a Vedic context.

Jacob’s son Joseph became prime minister and lawgiver to the Egyptian pharaoh.
This is James Patterson's painting of Joseph and his Coat of Many Colors.

Jacob gives Joseph one of the lengthier blessings, and as with most of his other ones, it combines astrological imagery with a prediction for Joseph’s descendents.

Joseph is a fruitful bough (bow) by a well, whose branches run over the wall (an allusion to the limitless expanse of the Sagittarian mind). The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: But his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the mighty God. -Gen 49:22-24

The bow as a symbol of the Sagittarian archer is pretty hard to miss. Joseph is also “fruitful” and his “branches run over the wall” – his numerous descendents are everywhere in Israel. Joseph is described as king-like, a strong bow “made strong by the mighty God”, which fits the Sagittarian archetype very well.

The final blessing for Jacob’s youngest son, Benjamin, is more than a little intriging. The blessing is ominous, and does not use an image from recognizable western astrology.

Benjamin is a ravenous wolf; in the morning he devours the prey, in the evening he divides the plunder. -Gen 49:27

What is known about Benjamin is that his mother Rachel died soon after giving birth, and knowing that she would die of his delivery, she gave him the name “Benoni”, which means “son of my sorrow”.

When Jacob predicts the future of his lineage as an old man, he is referring to a series of horrible incidents involving his descendents (the Benjamites). Most of them were slaughtered by the Israelites after an incident where they were responsible for raping a Levite’s concubine to death in Judges 19. In retaliation, the Israelites (mostly descendents of Judah) kill almost all of the Benjamite men, women, and children, with the exception of an unspecified number of men and four hundred young girls who had never slept with a man. These girls were given to the remaining Benjamite men, so that the tribe could be “reseeded”.

Apparently, there are still not enough women left to propagate a new tribe, and it is decided that the remaining Benjamite survivors must have heirs, so that a tribe of Israel will not be wiped out. The Israelites couldn’t give them their own daughters as wives because they had already taken an oath to the Lord to abstain from doing so. So they instructed the Benjamites to hide in the vineyards of Shiloh, and seize the girls who came out to join in the dancing.

Western astrology doesn’t speak to this image, but the wolf seems cursed, and it doesn’t seem too far-fetched to call him demonic. For some reason, it brought to mind the demon-like qualities of Vedic Rahu, who is said to be a forest-dweller, among other attributes. The day that I wrote this article, I was looking over my notes on Norse runes. The tradition of Norse runes extends far back into the past, although it is impossible to know if it was ever contemporary with the events of the Old Testament. Nonetheless, I was more than a little surprised to find this Norwegian rune fragment for Fehu (note the linguistic similarity with Rahu).

Wealth is a source of discord among kinsmen;
the wolf lives in the forest.

Oken, Alan. Alan Oken’s Complete Astrology: The Classic Guide to Modern Astrology, Nicolas Hays, Inc., 2006. (Much of this book was originally published as three separate titles in the 1970’s.)

Lings, Martin. Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources, Inner Traditions; Revised edition, 2006. Originally published 1983. (The new edition of this classic title was approved by the author in 2005 before his death at the age of ninety-six.)

The blessings are quoted from various translations of the Bible. Some of these versions are far more amenable to astrological interpretation than others.

1 For an excellent article on Leo in its alternating phases of activity and withdrawn repose, see “The Offstage Leo” by Moll Frothingham in the Dec 2009/Jan 2010 issue of TMA.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Astrology in the Old Testament

There is a new article in the works about the zodiac signs and the sons of Jacob. I hope to have it up in another week or so. I'm working two jobs besides writing here from time to time, so ideas for articles don't bubble up to the surface quite as rapidly as I hoped, and they don't magically take shape in neatly edited articles either (darn them!). But I think that anyone who has ever been interested in astrology as it was briefly recorded in the Bible will be interested in this upcoming essay. Thanks to everyone for their patience.

-Sunny Dawn

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Good Idea Not Forgotten: Social Vampires and Black Holes

Artist's rendition of a black hole.

Every once in a while, I come across an astrological theory or concept that is worthwhile, but is in danger of being forgotten. It could be because the author is obscure, or because the idea wasn’t packaged properly, so the astrology community never became aware of it. When I find an astrological technique that I know is worth a second look, I am going to include it in a series called “Good Idea Not Forgotten”. “Social Vampires and Black Holes” is the second article in this series.


I love the wild “trickiness” of this theory – even though I know there are folks out there who will not find this an application of astrology worth embracing. Take it too literally, and the vampire phenomenon looks like a bunch of human leeches that are looking for attention. Look beneath the obvious, however, and a connection between black holes and a particular type of personality begins to seem possible. The possibility of this teases and “fools” you. Publishing on April Fool’s Day seemed appropriate.


The idea, and the book that it was published in, is about the farthest thing you can get from “mainstream astrology”. The book is The Ethical Psychic Vampire, by Raven Kaldera, and the section of particular interest is, “Chapter 12: The Astrological Vampire” You won’t find this author, or his book, reviewed by The Mountain Astrologer magazine.

Yet the premise is fascinating. Kaldera theorized that those who are adept at “sucking” energy from others and then “recycling” it into their own endeavors, or possibly for the benefit of others, may have personal and generational planets that are tightly conjunct black holes.

The idea goes beyond the psychological concept of co-dependency, a common phenomenon. Vampires are co-dependents, but a more potent variety. They are, in fact, a pretty rare breed, according to the author and his peers. After comparing the data against every chart that I follow, I only came up with one individual who had four natal planets tightly conjunct black holes. Because the data set is so specific (see the table below), and the applicable orbs are so narrow, most of us don’t fall into these categories. Also, the effect appears to be cumulative – the subject with four planets tightly conjunct black holes is far more likely to manifest this vampire power than someone who merely has a Sun or Ascendant tightly conjunct a black hole.


Raven Kaldera is a female-to-male (FTM) trans-gendered activist, shaman, and author who is also considered a spiritual founder of the Northern Tradition, an unorthodox offshoot of Norse paganism, or Asatru, which is itself considered a highly alternative religious practice in the United States.

Raven Kaldera is in a consensual master-slave relationship with FTM Joshua Tenpenny, a Buddhist who does a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes work at Cauldron Farm, the homestead and spiritual center of the Northern Tradition.I mention this fact up front because it always seems to become an object of trepidation, disgust, or dissension among those who have a hard time distinguishing an author’s personal practices from his ideas.

I met Joshua at a workshop that I attended with Raven at Free Spirit Alliance in Maryland, and I can tell you that he is a caring, dedicated, very hardworking individual. People are immediately drawn to him. Without his prodigious effort, I am certain that Cauldron Farm and the Northern Tradition would not be as productive or influential as it is in the pagan community.

Kaldera is also married to male-to-female (MTF) Bella, whom I have not met, because she is less likely to travel to workshops or large pagan events.

Kaldera hasn’t written much on astrological theory. He has written an application book for pagans who want to incorporate astrology in their devotional practice, but the main focus of his output is on the gods and goddesses of the Northern Tradition. He made a tremendous wealth of material available to anyone in the Archives of his website

Scroll down to the bottom of the main page on the website to find the link for the Archives.

It was here that I first became acquainted with Raven and his work. His website served as the inspiration for this blog. After seeing how much material Kaldera made free to anyone who was interested, I decided that I needed to attempt something like this for the astrological community.

While this article is devoted to Kaldera’s theory on vampires and black holes, he is particularly proud of his theory that tight aspects between personal planets and the asteroid Pallas Athene are a signature of the trans-gendered. You may want to poke around on his website to see if you can locate it there. I didn't have any luck last time I perused the Archives, but I know its in there somewhere.


Much of The Ethical Psychic Vampire has nothing to do with astrology. The vampire phenomenon was very much in vogue five years ago with the publication of Michelle Bellanger’s Vampire Codex series, but self-identification as a vampire did not catch on heavily in the pagan community (which may be for the best). Raven Kaldera published a more intimate “insider view” of this phenomenon in Ethical Psychic Vampire, introducing some readers to an exotic, unfamiliar, and frightening world. Parts of it are very graphic, and leave the reader with the feeling of needing to come up for air. Here’s a sample passage:

Don’t drink a lot of blood. First of all, you shouldn’t be taking that much anyway. Second, blood is very rich and tends to curdle in the stomach. If you drink more than, say, an ounce, you may well get sick and throw up, which isn’t going to make your donor very happy, or you for that matter. Human blood passes through the body undigested. No, you won’t get nutrients from it like you would [from] animal blood. Your body is designed like that, so that you won’t digest yourself in the case of a peritoneal leak. The blood may show up in your fecal matter later as a dark color, so be warned.
-“Chapter Seven: The Blood is the Life”, Ethical Psychic Vampire, p 91.

Clearly, the author knows how to cultivate shock value, and seems to enjoy it. The motto which serves as a tagline on the back jacket of many of his books is, ‘Tis an ill wind that blows no minds.


The majority of this book has to do with blood-drinking and non blood-drinking vampire practice, the difference between primary and secondary vampires (primary vampires are born that way, and secondary ones are “made”), and the link between vampires and shamanic practitioners. There are some fascinating ideas here, even if one is not inclined to take them all literally.

From my perspective, it is possible to engage this book on both a literal and a metaphorical level. You could pursue the literal route, if drinking other people’s blood is your thing. It isn’t mine. Or you could examine people who feed off the energy of others in less dramatic ways - what I would call “social vampires”. Are storm-chasers a form of vampires? What makes a vampire different from anyone else who is skilled at psychic perception and energy work? What makes a vampire more of a nuisance than a mere co-dependent? What does one do with the vampire child, otherwise known as the “psi-vamp” kid? (Parents will find a cleverly titled chapter, “The Family Vampire: Bringing Up the Next Generation”.) Kaldera attempts to answer most of these questions.

You could engage with this world-view as the author’s delusion, which it might well be, and still come away with some thought-provoking ideas. In particular, I was looking for something that would validate the vampire experience unrelated to the self-reported perceptions of the participants engaged in the vampire sub-culture.

What I came up with was the astrological data, and the perspective it afforded me. While it isn’t appropriate data for a scientist who is solely limited to an empirical framework (and who doesn’t take much stock in vampires), it was a highly original viewpoint from an author who believes an empirical mindset can be applied to astrology, and creatively used it to come up with an explanation for the “born” vampire, or possibly as an explanation for the talent of a secondary vampire. I liked the idea enough to want to give it a second viewing, since I have a feeling that The Ethical Psychic Vampire did not make it on to the bookshelves of a lot of practicing astrologers.


Black hole energy does seem to be present in certain people. Frequently, they are people that others are drawn to without understanding why. They are very likely to be leaders of their social circles. People with the power of black holes do seem to get energy from those around them. Often they have a small “orbit” of dedicated friends who seem to hover on their edges – the same way that some objects will orbit a black hole for a long time before finally being overcome by the awesome gravitational force.

Substitute the word “vampire” for the expression “black hole energy”. Friends of such an individual don’t report feeling drained by the vampire; most seem to benefit from his or her company. Friends of the vampire may only feel the black hole energy when they fall out of friendship (or love) with the vampire, and start to resist his or her orbit. Black holes are said to be very hard to detect in the visible universe. People with black hole energy can be subtle customers, too.

When it manifests negatively, people with “black hole energy” are very likely to be at the center of cults. Since many people have difficulty perceiving the nature of this energy in a group leader, there tends to be a very “fine line” between an insular spiritual community and a true cult. Those who feel victimized by a tightly-knit spiritual group are often the first to defend its leader by saying that it is not a cult. Most of the time, they are right. Yet it may still “look and feel” a little bit like a cult to the victim, particularly if leaving is traumatic.


It is almost as if the chapter was a bit of an afterthought. Kaldera sketches his impressions, and it only takes him four slim pages to do it.

Born vampires have a strongly aspected Pluto. He doesn’t elaborate, so I will. If Pluto is the most heavily aspected planet in your horoscope, you may not be a “born” vampire, but perhaps some milder vampire tendencies are a part of your personality.

A well-aspected Saturn is a boon to vampires – it gives them the discipline to stay ethical. Kaldera has a way of expressing wisdom unrelated to the topic at hand, and he does it here when he writes, “It is not uncommon for Saturn to deliver someone into Pluto’s hands.” Any observer of the current Pluto-in-Capricorn era will be aware of the pithy wisdom behind this observation.

By contrast, Neptune is the nemesis of an ethical vampire because it doesn’t like to respect boundaries. A vampire with a Saturn that has not caught up with his or her Neptune needs to be warded off with garlic, to say the least!

He then takes a look at black holes, and mentions that Philip Sedgwick is one of the few mainstream astrologers who emphasize their meaning in chart interpretation, although he does it “with such variable concepts as time travel, karmic flashbacks, and higher wisdom”.

Finally, he explains his theory that planetary conjunction with black holes in a natal chart infuse the subject with a large dose of black hole energy. This allows the native to personify the magnetic or terrible energy of a black hole, usually with regard to people he or she knows intimately, but sometimes on a wider scale. Those conscious of the power may develop it ethically by using healing modalities that encourage them to recycle it to the “donor” for his or her benefit.

He includes personal data, his own and his daughter’s. “I have three of the sixteen possible black holes in a cluster within a couple of degrees of my Sun, and one directly on my ascendant; my daughter has black holes conjunct her Jupiter, Mars, Mercury, and Uranus”, he writes.

Among all of the folks whose charts I follow, there was one person with his Mercury, Venus, Neptune, and Pluto tightly conjunct black holes. Like Raven Kaldera, he is the leader of a small spiritual community.


1950 1980 2000
Cygnus X-1 12 Aquarius 56 13 Aquarius 21 13 Aquarius 38
Cas A 26 Aries 42 27 Aries 07 27 Aries 24
Virga A 1 Libra 05 1 Libra 30 1 Libra 47
M-82 28 Can 17 28 Can 42 28 Can 59
Vela XR-1 2 Leo 43 3 Leo 08 3 Leo 25
3UO900-40 6 Virgo 22 6 Virgo 47 7 Virgo 09
Cen 3-X 28 Libra 31 28 Libra 56 29 Libra 13
Cen-A 6 Sco 56 7 Sco 21 7 Sco 38
Circinius X-1 3 Sag 25 3 Sag 50 4 Sag 12
Hercules X-1 4 Sag 11 4 Sag 36 4 Sag 53
Sco X-1 5 Sag 09 5 Sag 34 5 Sag 51
3U1700-37 17 Sag 52 18 Sag 17 18 Sag 34
GX339-4 18 Sag 53 19 Sag 18 19 Sag 35
SGR X-4 4 Cap 26 4 Cap 51 5 Cap 08
SMC X-1 11 Aqu 39 12 Aqu 04 12 Aqu 31
Cygnus X-3 27 Aqu 53 28 Aqu 18 28 Aqu 35

MY NOTES: Note the “Black Hole Belt” in Sagittarius. People with focal planets in Sagittarius should check to see if those planets are conjunct a black hole. This “Black Hole Heaven” is associated with very specific range of degrees – Sagittarius 3 through Sagittarius 6, and Sagittarius 17 through Sagittarius 19. By contrast, no black holes of note in Taurus, Gemini, or Pisces, apparently.

Black holes are like fixed stars. I usually use an orb of one degree with fixed stars. At first, the skeptic in me only wanted to allow a one-half to three-quarter degree orb. Then I flip-flopped, and decided to use a one degree orb. Despite this, my sample size remains miniscule, because almost everyone gets excluded. Others who have come to their own conclusions after comparing this data against the horoscopes of those they know well should feel free to comment on my method.

Note the red pointer on the constellation of Scorpio, where a series of malefic fixed stars known as the Via Dolorosa is located. If Kaldera and Philip Sedgwick are correct, there is a cluster of power-suckers right next door in Sagittarius. Of course, black holes are located throughout the constellations - those in the table above are probably a fraction of what is actually out there. But it does seem to imply some sinister powers for some of the Sagittarian people we know - they may have more personality traits in common with Scorpios than we once realized.

Kaldera, Raven. The Ethical Psychic Vampire, Xlibris Corporation, 2005.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Woefully Misunderstood Capricorn (Drum Roll, Please)

A demon baby - how cute! How Capricorn!

People born under this western zodiac sign are the hardest to characterize. I ought to know, because I am one.

Keywords used to describe us on are tenacious, conservative, resourceful, disciplined, ambitious and prudent, for what it is worth.

The stereotype is that we are all ambitious. I would say that’s half true – like a lot of stereotypes. When I was teaching myself astrology a decade ago, I read about Capricorn having three archetypes – the mountain goat, the Pan goat, and the scapegoat. The mountain goat is the ambitious one in terms of what they want to get out of life. The Pan goat is a lot more laid back and fun-loving. He or she may be a nature-lover, a country gardener and home-crafting type, or simply a partier. The scapegoat archetype seemed to show up most in childhood. Capricorn kids tend to feel victimized by their parents, and girls in particular tend to be victimized by their mothers. Capricorn children grow out of this archetype as they get older, but some of the psychological damage tends to stay with them through adulthood.

(Pan was the goat-footed god of erotic ecstasy who was worshipped in ancient Greece. He was said to love nature and country life and strongly distrust civilized ways and cities. Later Christians may have associated Pan with the Devil.)

Pan was known more for his promiscuity than for anything else. This is key to understanding those who subconsciously personify this god. Tiger Woods has his Sun and Mercury in Capricorn. Brad Pitt falls back on his old love, Jennifer Aniston, when he needs to put wife Angelina Jolie in her place. Brad Pitt has his Moon, Mercury, Venus, and Mars in Capricorn.

A lot of Capricorn men are said to manifest the Pan goat (which may or may not mean acting out the promiscuity), while women are thought to manifest the mountain goat more often, but I have always suspected that could go "either way".

The men work to achieve a certain status at their job or in terms of career, and then they sit back and relax. They are said to be not all that concerned about reaching the top. They may want to focus more on extra-curricular activities, and just maintain the job at a level that pays the bills. Despite stereotypical wisdom, this may be true of a lot of Capricorn women, too. Results of a salary survey that tracked respondents by birth date often report more people working for $35,000 or less born under Capricorn and Aquarius (the Saturn-ruled signs) than other any other zodiac sign.

The ambitious Capricorn archetype is a fairly old one. Caesar Augustus was said to have minted coins which depicted him as having been born a Capricorn because he wanted to send an ambitious, aggressive message. In fact, Augustus was a Libra. (He may have been tapping his unconscious Saturn, because Saturn is exalted in Libra.)

The other stereotype has to do with the dry wit that Capricorn is said to be famous for. A lot of us do have it, in one way or another. Sometimes it’s a quiet or soft wit, and it may only manifest from time to time. Other times it is a distinct talent for sarcasm or bon mots – these are the charismatic Capricorns that tend to have lots of friends, and are often associated with the Pan archetype.

Astrologically, the dry wit is associated with having both the Sun and Mercury in Capricorn (since Mercury is fairly close to the Sun in most nativities, many Capricorn Sun-signs will also have Mercury placed here). One famous Roman Capricorn whose terse wit and wisdom is still widely quoted today was Cicero.

In a modern context, the raunchy Howard Stern has his Sun, Mercury and Venus in Capricorn (this dude is a modern-day Pan if there ever was one), and Michelle Obama, whose mouth has gotten her into trouble on more than one occasion, has a Capricorn Sun and Mercury.

If I was to sum up my Capricorn compatriots quickly, I would say that we are always sizing up people (this makes some of us “natural” astrologers). Defensive. A lot like Scorpio, really. We lighten it up by being funny, and we use that sarcastic, dry, cynical wit if we have it. A Capricorn Sun and Mercury may sound bossy even if the owner isn’t, much like the author of this post.

One shrewd observer remarked that Capricorn women could be bodybuilders if they stayed in shape as they got older. There has to be some truth to this – a lot of Capricorn women are overweight as they get older. Those who do stay in shape often have a noticeable bone structure. Even if they are very thin, they are often medium or large-boned, and able to carry their weight easily. The taller Capricorn women with full breasts look amazing if they can battle the bulge, but a lot of us do end up looking like a Modigliani painting. The effect shows up sometimes with Aquarius women as well – think of Oprah.

One trend I see with many Capricorns that is too common to ignore has to do with how their personality changes over time (Saturn himself was the Greek and Roman god associated with time). When we are young, a lot of us are serious, responsible, sensible types – we understand implicitly that if you give a dance, you’ve got to pay the band. But once we hit forty (or even before then), a lot of us mellow out and become more relaxed. Liberal or conservative, we start to ponder the shades of gray a little more, even if things did seem very black or white to us when we were younger.

Astrologically, this may have to do with the Capricorn Sun progressing into Pisces (something that happens to Capricorns as early as their mid-thirties or as late as their early sixties). Pisces has a watery sensitivity and creative receptivity that feels very foreign to a pure Capricorn type, but we do incorporate the Piscean energy somehow because we don’t have a choice. The ancients may have recognized this by associating Capricorn with the Babylonian god Ea, who is depicted with the tail of a fish!

Weirdly opposite to Aquarius - who are rebellious and free-spirited and “visionary” when younger, but once they hit their thirties, they slowly become quite conservative and traditionalist! Aquarius folks have suns which progress into Aries as they get older, and the blended energy of Saturn (the co-ruler of both Aquarius and Capricorn) and aggressive, leadership-oriented, Mars-like Aries produces a far different outcome.

Everitt, Anthony.Cicero: The Life and Times of Rome’s Greatest Politician, Random House, 2003.

Everitt, Anthony.Augustus: The Life of Rome’s First Emperor,Random House, 2007.

A summary of the salary survey was published in a recent issue ofThe Mountain Astrologer Magazine. When I lay my hands on it, I will update.