Welcome to the latest Raphael’s Newsletter, bringing added depth to features on astrology, and valuable information to the art of forecasting. In this edition, there is another opportunity to download a free, digitally restored copy of Claudius Ptolemy’s Tetrabiblos – the cornerstone of much in today’s Western astrology, with its theory of sign characteristics (the Positive/Negative polarities) and planetary rulerships. The link is further down this page.
Plus, we have extended the tables of planetary information to include daily transits of personal planets, minor planets – including the asteroids – and the Void of Course Moon. (About which there is another special feature this month.) Plus, we have part eight of Raphael’s Guide to Transits. The next thirty days’ planetary phenomena is now listed at the end of the Newsletter. (The times are in ET – Ephemeris Time – which is virtually the same as GMT, in most cases differing only by 3 seconds of arc.)
WHAT’S HAPPENING IN TRANSITS …
The Saturn-Uranus trine (November 5th-14th )
Back in RN #19 I noted that this aspect can – in world affairs – embody the forces of ‘authoritarian control versus liberality’ and may see minor progress and breakthrough where ‘political deadlock’ has ensued in important negotiations. In short, it is about the essential clash between the forces of liberalism and so called progress; and those (on the ‘right’) who want things to stay the same. The trine may facilitate some mid-ground where governments and power structures (symbolised by Saturn) may have to back down on certain policies (even perform U turns) and where matters getting out of control (disgruntled populations protesting against injustice and violent flare ups) seem to settle down to the point where it seems peaceful negotiation is a real possibility. Thus, countries where there is serious political unrest may see some minor agreement between certain entrenched positions, though the overall political agendas on the part of the powers that be (i.e. governments) naturally remain the same as ever!
The United Kingdom held a referendum on June 23rd 2016 to decide whether or not it would remain in, or leave, the European Union. Astrologers in the UK were divided at the time when predicting the result – but this Newsletter correctly indicated that (due to the strong nationalism suggested by the progressions and solar return) that Britain would be opting out. If we look at the chart for the time of the polls closing on election day, then the Pluto sat obtrusively on the ascendant is a big clue to the nature of the beast. Plus, Capricorn rising broadly hints at a sense of ambition and desire to control. Hence, the whole Brexit ‘theme’ is all about power, and vested interests determined to have their own way. There is certainly no sense of working together to move the issue forward – and certainly not in the political party responsible for negotiating the exit of Britain from the EU – the Tories.
Uranus, furthermore, is making a potentially volatile square to the first house Pluto: energies for change and rebirth which manifest erratically and unpredictably. This is very much the kind of thing we have been seeing lately during recent Brexit negotiations, which – unsurprisingly – have failed to make satisfactory progress. But what really catches the eye is the Grand Cross consisting of Saturn’s opposition to Mercury, each planet receiving squares from Neptune (in the 2nd house) and Jupiter (in the 8th). The effect of the Mercury-Saturn opposition may be precision and logic, but it is also ‘textbook’ for a range of rigid opinions and an inability to see the other guy’s viewpoint, whilst the other opposition between Jupiter and Neptune is a classic case of high expectations and inflated ideals. The fact that they’re part of this Grand Cross means that such ideals cannot manifest as hoped for – the Saturn squares are always a heavy reality check! This is, again, something we are seeing in Brussels talks where it appears that the Conservative party Brexit negotiators are being derailed by EU recalcitrance as they reach a deadlock. (The next round is now scheduled for December – more of which, below.)
The UK press, at the time of writing (20th October), are asking of Brexit: What does a ‘no deal’ actually mean and, if this occurs, how bad could things get for dear old Blighty? The issue is whether or not talks break down completely and each party simply walks aay from them, but under scrutiny are matter such as free trade, the arrangements governing European travel, and UK immigration and customs. As the Independent recently put it:
‘In the absence of a deal to replace or extend the UK’s membership of the EU’s single market, Britain would begin trading with the EU on what are called “World Trade Organisation (WTO) terms. This is worse than it sounds: the WTO is known for its promotion of free trade, but the free trade it stipulates on its members is far less complete than Britain’s current arrangement with the EU – on which many businesses rely.’
The recent stalling in negotiations comes as no surprise to the astrologer, since on the Brexit chart (back in July) there has been a succession of transiting Mars squares to sensitive points – the MC, natal Mars, Saturn and Mercury. Furthermore, these are from transits through the natal seventh house, the area where we’re normally required to make compromises and reach some kind of parity. The original target date to complete the initial round of Brexit negotiations is the end of December 2017, with a draft of the deal put to the European council by January 2018, September 2018 is the EU target date fpr actually agreeing Brexit terms. The astrological picture suggests that the above is highly unrealistic – especially as transiting Saturn (that most intransigent of planets) is aspecting the sun by opposition in just those very months (mid January, and the final third of September)
If talks are actually taking place at this time, this suggests difficulties in communication, perhaps from neither party quite trusting the other one, and certainly with more accusations of excessive bureaucracy laid the feet of the EU. Interestingly the earliest birth chart for the EU, that for the Treaty of Rome in 1957, shows Virgo on the ascendant – a sign often accused of being pedantic and unduly concerned with minor details – in other words, bureaucracy! The chart also has the sun on the 7th house cusp (a subsuming of the ego into partnerships), Pluto (power) in the 11th house of groups and communities, and the moon in Aquarius, the sign of collectivisation per se. These positions are, no doubt highly appropriate for an abstract entity such as the European Union. However, the January 2018 transits (coincidentally) for the EU chart show a harsh aspect between the sun and Saturn – not the best time to be doing deals for either Britain, or the EU, then!
Moreover, November 2017 is a bad month for the Tory party with transiting Saturn (in the 11th) squaring Chiron, a reopening of old wounds, one might say – those divisions over Europe that surface from time to time. Not only that but there are Plus there are three harsh Mars transits (Uranus Neptune and the Asc,) throughout November to the Conservative party birth chart, on the 11th and the 21st (the 11th looks like being quite explosive for them – stay tuned to the TV news!) Pluto, the planet of irrevocable change actually is also crossing the Capricorn ascendant for most of December, suggesting a huge power shift of some kind – the ascendant is always about a new beginning, and Pluto the sweeping away of whatever is not working any longer. Either this means Mrs May is on her way out, or the recent problems (many of them out of public view, of course) merely intensify
However, throughout all of this, many leavers have still felt vindicated, but there is still hope for the Remainers. According to former Conservative minister Lord Patten, Britain will need to ‘rejoin’ the EU! Back in June, Patten told journalist Robert Peston that we are ‘in a mess, thanks to the calamitous errors of two Conservative PMs who thought they could manage the unmanageable – the right-wing nationalists of the Tory Party.’ (Obviously this was a savage criticism of Theresa May’s handling of the Brexit process.) Recently, Sir Richard Branson has agreed, noting something quite similar, that a new government further down the line may initiate a second referendum whose results may be vastly different from the last one. In next month’ Newsletter I will attempt to answer this question astrologically: Might Britain even return to the EU after Brexit?
WHAT IF YOU’RE BORN ON A VOID OF COURSE MOON?
In last month’s Newsletter we described the Void of Course Moon as a ‘brief astronomical period of time after the moon has made its last aspect (in one sign) before it enters the next sign.’ This has ramifications in interpretation, and can indicate times when the course of everyday life needs some kind of an adjustment: bad planning and oversights may mean there are setbacks and delays, not unlike the upsets to communication one often finds with Mercury retrograde. Last month I attributed this brief effect to the moon not being ‘anchored’ to anything else in the cosmos – a period of drift and uncertainty. This can actually be good news for us humans, as the VOC is one of those periods when it is best just to let go of worldly concerns and opt for some absolute relaxation, recreation and self indulgence. (Think 5th house, as opposed to 6th!)
But what if you are born during this period? What effect is it likely to have on your natal chart, and you as a person? Well let us, first, look further into the archetypal meaning of the moon – and as a kind of prelude to part eight of Raphaels’ Guide to Transits featured below, where I discuss the effect of transiting Mars to the natal Moon.
Even a collection of keywords/phrases is hardly sufficient to cover the range of human experience that the astrological moon entails. One of the keys to understanding it (and thus human beings) is the whole spectrum of psychological and emotional needs. On a birth chart the moon symbolises and refers to: childhood, nurture, the experience of mother (how much you’ve been conditioned by it.), instinctive reactions, habits and personal feelings. It is (along with Venus) on a male chart, his ‘feminine’ side; on a female chart her sense of her own femininity and the kind of mother she will make. It is – as noted – an emotional grounding place we require in order to feel secure and comfortable. It even says something about one’s eating habits, since emotional survival is so often translated into a physical ‘need’ – witness the phenomenon of ‘comfort eating’ where people fill their stomachs with food when depressed or feeling low. (When one is in high spirits and feeling good, this doesn’t occur.) The stomach, of course, is a part of the body ‘ruled’ by Cancer, the moon’s associated sign.
On the subject of what you cannot live without, Abraham Maslow, in his 1943 paper ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’, proposed a Hierarchy of Needs in the Psychological Review. This is often depicted graphically in pyramidal form with the largest, most basic needs at the surface and the ‘higher’ needs (like self-actualization and self-transcendence) at the apex. Physiological needs come first – being the main requirements for physical survival, like fresh air, clean water, and food plus a supportive and protective environment: clothing and shelter. Then, following on from this latter, comes Safety needs, which might entail personal and monetary security, and a sense of health and well-being. However, the next category in the pyramid is Self-Esteem needs, an emotionally based dimension: the need to ward off fear, sadness, loneliness, and the eternal seeking of human happiness and fulfilment.
We need not look any higher to see that these are universal needs – the impulse towards a basic sense of security, whether physical or emotional. We all require a sense of groundedness where our feelings are concerned, a kind of container or anchor that contributes to emotional stability. In short, they are the things humans cannot get by without – and the moon on the birth chart symbolises these essential emotional needs. Needs are what drive us, they’re what we have gotten used to, they are automatic, instinctive, the remnants or our childhood. Up until the age of about seven (the first Saturn square, incidentally) your emotional habits were being formed. And this doesn’t change much once you’re an adult.
When we look at individuals born on an aimless VOC moon we might expect something unorthodox about their patterns of emotional behaviour. In practice this does seem to happen – such people tend to have unpredictable reactions, and often surprise others with their responses. At the root of this ‘unanchored’ moon is a deep sensitivity to life in general – these people are over-sensitive to the point of being negatively affected by whatever is going on around them (and this is irrespective of sign and house placement.) Interestingly, there is some support for this condition outside of astrology.
According to therapist Ane Axford, ‘there are some 20% of people who have a genetic trait called sensory processing sensitivity … this means they have an even more highly sensitive nervous system that takes things in a little differently and a little more deeply, which leads to a whole different lifestyle.’ This is how people born with VOC operate, they seem unable to filter out unnecessary data coming to them from the environment. Their radar is too well tuned. As Axford says, ‘from day one, we are bombarded with this ocean of sensation. It is coming in at us and can lead us to feel passive. It can lead us to feel that we somehow have to find a way to manage the outside world. And, many of us can get pretty good at it. Or, we at least create pretty solid buffers to block it all out. Unfortunately this also blocks us off from who we are.’1
The VOC moon person has never learned to create those ‘solid buffers’ against the world. The American astrologer Debbi Kempton Smith notes that ‘void Moon folk may be getting on the bus like you and me, but they also have the birds singing and the clammy air and the distant siren and the red balloon in the sky and the blades of grass poking up through the pavement … they have to deal with these sensations on a constant minute by minute basis and have the exact change ready.’2 She goes on to say that the VOC moon individual, as we might infer, possesses superior perception. Consequently their reactions to life are idiosyncratic and unusual, to say the least. It is also a consciousness which tends to question ‘reality’ far more than do ‘normal’ people, leading to insights others cannot grasp. Debbi Kempton Smith thinks being born on the VOC moon is the seed for human genius. Are you one of these?
RAPHAEL’S PLANETARY TRANSIT GUIDE (PART EIGHT)
How To Use This Guide
Transits are by far the easiest astrological forecasting technique to use. Anyone who knows the degree/minute of their natal planets can at once – with access to an ephemeris like Raphael’s – see how the heavens are affecting their daily lives. If, for example, your natal Sun is at 15 degrees Scorpio and Saturn is at that same degree of zodiac in the sky today, transiting Saturn is conjunct your sun. It’s as simple as that. Of course, the effects of slower moving planets (from Saturn to Pluto) are more intense and (obviously) longer lasting. They are the more powerful forces that bring about change in your life, often peaking on days which coincide with inner planet transits – the sun and Mars often acting as a stimulus.
The influences of the inner, faster moving planets (the Sun to Mars) are themselves quite fleeting, and I will be omitting Moon and Mercury transits altogether as their effects are too short lived, and in some cases unnoticeable. (They are important, however, in techniques like Progressions and Solar Returns. You’ll also note I haven’t used the sextile in the interpretations, an aspect which I consider rather weak.) Below we continue with Mars (Venus will be included later), as one of the two main ‘triggers’ that help one to ‘time’ outer planetary transits. Use this Raphael’s Guide to see what astral forces you may have to deal with, when it may be a good time to forge ahead with plans, take major decisions, look within, meet new people, or perhaps just stay at home!
Mars conjunct Moon
The moon symbolises our natural ‘feminine’ responses to life; Mars, it can be said, does much the same but from a ‘masculine’ (that is, dynamic and egoic) place. Mars is really about our deeper sense of survival, where we take a definite stand on something in reaction to a threat. Don’t mess with me, it wants to say. Mars also has a quickening effect, hence its reputation for being impulsive and in a hurry. In other words, it releases its energies quickly, and conjunct the moon, one’s emotional reactions are sharp and ‘knee-jerk’. Due to the strong ego-side of Mars, one takes everything very personally, too. Consequently, you may find yourself far more short tempered and irritable than normal wit this transit.
When Mars crosses over the Moon in your birth chart, it may well be time to give vent to any repressed aggression and anger, but this should be done with some awareness of what is happening to you. You may respond very emotionally to life now, and if your reactions seem over the top, maybe there is some inner resentment that need airing constructively. This is how chronic depression can begin – psychotherapists are well aware that depression can be a manifestation of unresolved, buried anger (or rage) at life in general (which is to say, it needn’t be caused by a single event.) On the positive side you can channel your latent aggression and adrenaline storms into being productive, into getting things done. Just beware of that impulsive behaviour – its how accidents occur!
Mars square Moon
There is just as much volatility with this transit as the conjunction and you run the risk of harming your own interests by unpredictable, compulsive anger at this time. I have written elsewhere that hard aspects are difficult, mainly because of an excess of the planetary energies brought about by the aspect under consideration. The square between Mars and the moon involves a good deal of friction between the habit-bound Moon and ‘survival of the fittest’ Mars. The consequence is a lot of raw impulse, and even infantile behaviour, where – like a child – you simply want all of your own way, your needs met, and other people’s feelings are of no importance. Don’t allow this to happen!
As ever, with a hard Mars aspect, beware that these impulsive actions don’t lead to physical accidents – especially ones happening in the home. And in keeping with the symbolism of the moon, this transit may signify difficulties with women, and perhaps in particular your mother. Archetypally, the ‘feminine’ energy of the moon is in some way at odds now with the ego-based ‘masculine’ energy of Mars, where you want to assert yourself and make quick progress. Thus you may find yourself rather impatient with certain individuals for no good reason; individuals who may simply be trying to help.
Mars Trine Moon
As one might expect with these two planets, you go about your business today withth some degree of subjectivity – and perhaps it will be difficult to be even slightly objective about life now. Thankfully, this should not pose too many problems today – the energy levels associated with this transit are such that it is quite manageable. Thus, you should be able to progress nicely wherever there is a personal project or objective close to your heart. However, some work commitments may be somewhat more tiresome by comparison, as you resist being torn away from whatever is most familiar to you.
Then again, you will not become subsumed by your feelings; rather, you will enjoy the depth of emotion you do feel, but instead of ‘drowning’ you will simply enjoy the swim! Should anyone questions your views and opinions, you will defend them with plenty of vigour and passion. This is Mars rising to the surface – any issue on which you have taken a stand will be defended seriously because you have identified with the matter at hand. Others will come to admire your being true to how you feel, and you’re not about to say things just to please others, either. It certainly is one of the more pleasant moon-Mars aspects (trines have a 5th-9th house dynamic, recreation and the ‘higher mind’) and you can now find joy in much simpler, emotional issues, perhaps related to the past (nostalgia) and your personal world (home and family).
Mars Opposition Moon
Like all oppositions, this transit may lead to difficulties and tensions in personal relationships. This may be due to some issue that happened between both of you in the past, or it could be something new. The opposition is like an inverted conjunction – what is usually internalised in the conjunction is here made external. This means that you encounter the ‘difficult’ half of the opposition through other people via psychological projection – you ‘live out’ its energies as you encounter others, but the source is really you, or rather, your unconscious mind. Needless to say, there is the potential here for invoking the more belligerent side of Mars in your dealings with others, via your own emotional behaviour. Not because you are deliberately seeking conflict, or even trying to irritate others for the fun of it, but because you are totally unaware of this self-seeking ego within you today.
For example, do your actions and words completely disregard the feelings and sensitivities of others today? If so, you may be unaware of the extent to which they do – but someone will quickly remind you sooner or later. Perhaps in an unpleasant way, too! So this transit requires some awareness on your part – wherever you have to deal with others today, especially strangers, be careful not to take yourself too much for granted. This is merely asking for trouble. Remember that others have feelings too!
THE TETRABIBLOS BY CLAUDIUS PTOLEMY
The download link is here for another month, mainly for the benefit of those who missed it last time. (Next month there will be another digitally restored free ebook from Raphael’s Astrology Classics.) The Tetrabiblos, the first in our series, is generally regarded as an influential text on Western Astrology, the Tetrabiblos or ‘four books’, (Latin = Quadripartitum “Four Parts”) is a treatise on astrology, written in the 2nd century AD by the Alexandrian scholar Claudius Ptolemy (c. AD 90–c. AD 168). 21st-century astrological textbooks have described the Tetrabiblos as being “without a doubt, indispensable for any serious student of astrology”. The first English translation did not appear until the 18th century, but by the end of the 19th century the American astrologer Luke Broughton reported he had at least half a dozen different English translations in his possession. The English translation you have here, brought to you by Raphael’s, is by J.M. Ashmand, published in 1822. Click on the link below to download the file – then you can navigate chapters in your PDF reader, the application you use to open it. (If the link doesn’t work, copy and paste the link into the address bar of your browser and hit the Return or Enter key on the keyboard.)
PLANETARY ASPECTS AND PHENOMENA
These are the major aspects occurring between planets for the period under consideration, together with the dates/times of the Full and New Moons.
Oct 23rd 5:27 AM Sun enters Scorpio
Oct 26th 6:09 PM Sun conjunct Jupiter
Oct 28th 3:21 AM Venus square Pluto
Oct 28th 3:25 AM Mercury sextile Pluto
Nov 2nd 6:37 AM Mercury trine Chiron
Nov 2nd 9:56 PM Saturn square Chiron
Nov 2nd 10:56 PM Saturn square Chiron
Nov 3rd 7:23 PM Sun trine Neptune
Nov 4th 5:02 AM Venus opposition Uranus
Nov 4th 5:23 AM Full Moon 11°Taurus59′
Nov 5th 7:19 PM Mercury enters Sagittarius
Nov 7th 11:38 AM Venus enters Scorpio
Nov 11th 9:45 AM Saturn trine Uranus
Nov 13th 8:15 AM Venus conjunct Jupiter
Nov 16th 3:21 PM Venus trine Neptune
Nov 16th 3:48 PM Sun trine Chiron
Nov 18th 11:42 AM New Moon 26°Scorpio19′
Nov 19th 12:15 PM Mars square Pluto
VOID OF COURSE MOON
These are the times of the VOC Moon for the period under consideration; the first listed time is when the moon goes void, and the second when it ingresses the next sign.
Oct 22nd 11:35PM Until Oct 22nd 11:58PM Sagittarius
Oct 24th 4:46PM Until Oct 25th 12:12 AM Capricorn
Oct 27th 5:24AM Until Oct 27th 1:00PM Aquarius
Oct 29th 4:23PM Until Oct 30th 11:47 AM Pisces
Oct 31st 9:08AM Until Nov 1st 6:42PM Aries
Nov 3rd 3.03AM Until Nov 3rd 9:46AM Taurus
Nov 5th 9:28AM Until Nov 5th 10:26AM Gemini
Nov 7th 10:39AM Until Nov 7th 10:44PM Cancer
Nov 9th 5:14AM Until Nov 9th 12:29PM Leo
Nov 11th 8:55AM Until Nov 11th 4:42AM Virgo
Nov 13th 3:45PM Until Nov 13th 11:26PM Libra
Nov 16th 12:50AM Until Nov 16th 5:36PM Scorpio
Nov 18th 11:42AM Until Nov 18th 6:59PM Sagittarius
Nov 21st 12:26AM Until Nov21st 7:14AM Capricorn
Nov 23rd 10:33AM Until Nov 25th 8:13PM Aquarius
MINOR PLANET EPHEMERIS
The so called Kuiper Belt was discovered in 1992, named after the Dutch astronomer Gerald Kuiper (d. 1973) whose calculations had indicated its existence. It entails, perhaps, billions of tiny celestial bodies, some of which are now our ‘Centaur’ family in astrology. The most popular of these (and one which is being used regularly in chart interpretation) is Chiron. Many other Centaur planets, however, are now on the researcher’s radar – and some have been included here in this small ephemeris. We will be looking in more detail at what individual Centaurs actually mean on a birth chart in future editions of the Newsletter, but collectively – according to Juan Antonio Revilla – ‘they represent raw impulses and needs in man that clash with the normal order of things … making us face a lost part of ourselves, so that the experience becomes both intense and healing, making us more whole.’ This means they are about digging deep inside of our soul and accepting that we’re not perfect – that we all contain the flaws, scars and wounds that Chiron (and the other Centaurs) symbolise. In the end, they are ultimately about, as Revilla says, self healing and becoming whole, but the journey has to begin with self-acceptance.
Short Centaur Ephemeris
Chiron Pholus Nessus Asbolus Chariklo Hylonome
18 Oct 2017 25Pi19 26Sa36 4Pi35 17Ge50 9Cp38 5Cp01
28 Oct 2017 24Pi58 26Sa51 4Pi26 17Ge34 9Cp59 5Cp17
07 Nov 2017 24Pi41 27Sa09 4Pi21 17Ge14 10Cp27 5Cp36
17 Nov 2017 24Pi28 27Sa29 4Pi19 16Ge51 10Cp59 5Cp58
27 Nov 2017 24Pi21 27Sa51 4Pi20 16Ge26 11Cp35 6Cp23
The small cosmic bodies that make up the so called asteroid belt have been know to astrologers for a long time. They were first discovered in the early nineteenth century, and the more common of these (the first four discovered) were named after female deities in Gerek myth: Ceres (the goddess of the harvest), Pallas (a synonym for the Goodess of wisdom, Athene), Juno (the partner of Zeus/Jupiter) and the hearth goddess, Vesta. It should be noted, too, that Ceres (discovered in 1801) was upgraded to a minor planet in 2006. Below you will find an introduction to these fascinating cosmic bodies which may prove crucial to understanding your chart.
Short Asteroid Ephemeris
Ceres Pallas Juno Vesta
24 Oct 2017 9Le35 7Ta19 11Cp35 18Li07
28 Oct 2017 10Le41 6Ta04 12Cp42 20Li10
1 Nov 2017 11Le44 4Ta46 13Cp52 22Li13
5 Nov 2017 12Le43 3Ta27 15Cp05 24Li16
9 Nov 2017 13Le38 2Ta10 16Cp21 26Li19
13 Nov 2017 14Le29 0Ta55 17Cp39 28Li22
17 Nov 2017 15Le16 29Ar45 18Cp59 0Sc25
21 Nov 2017 15Le58 28Ar41 20Cp22 2Sc28
2. Smith, Secrets From A Stargazer’s Notebook, Topquark, 1999.