Reading the Stars

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Astrology has been studied for more than 8000 years; most of the world’s greatest thinkers have studied it to some degree. Many today refer to astrology, as a pseudo science and a derivative of astronomy. My opinion is that both astronomy and astrology are legitimate sciences. Astronomy locates and names celestial forms and bodies using physical observation and mathematic procedures, describing physical characteristics. Astrology studies the relationships between eleven celestial bodies and events or tendencies using statistical analysis. Both sciences use good and proper methods producing valid results; neither is without flaw.

The most significant area of derision used by detractors of astrology is the fact that observations are geocentric (Earth centered) in astrology and heliocentric (Sun centered) in astronomy); neither is factually significant. Copernicus showed that the planets revolved around the Sun, 90 years later Galileo confirmed this through physical observation, (telescope), later this was reaffirmed by Sir Isaac Newton; all of these men were astrologers. Taking the Earth as center enables the observer to establish a higher degree of precision for the timing of events.

The method of astrology we will discuss is referred to as Placidus, named after the monk who developed it. The twelve signs of the zodiac refer to the twelve constellations found on the circle on the plane of the equator of our planet, called the ecliptic. Each of the signs has been assigned attributes alleged to the creatures bearing their names.

There are ten bodies we refer to as planets; although they may not fit astronomy’s definition of planets, each of these has been designated as ruler to at least one of the signs of the zodiac and assigned traits appropriate to the planet. When a horoscope, or chart, is drawn it is referred to as having been cast or erected, this is done using the time and place of the event or birth. Each chart will have twelve divisions called houses. Each house will indicate specific areas of the subject’s life and will be given the name of the sign in natural sequence, beginning with the sign on the eastern horizon ant the time of birth.

These positions are determined by astronomic data assembled at the US Naval observatory in Washington D.C, or the Greenwich Observatory in the U.K., both sources are equally accurate. The planetary positions are published in an ephemeris, and the house borders, or cusps in a table of houses. The times are calculated by means of conversion from Common time to Sidereal time and adjusted to local time. Planets are placed in these signs or houses based on calculations from information found in an ephemeris.

The interpretation, or delineation, of a chart is done by considering: which planets are in what sign; what sign is in which house; how planets are placed in chart; and how planets are placed in aspect to each other.
The aspects are:

Conjunction, within six degrees of separation
Opposition, 180 plus or minus six degrees of separation
Sextile, 60 plus or minus six degrees of separation
Trine, 120 plus or minus six degrees of separation

The plus or minus six degrees of separation is referred to as being within orb, an exception to the six degree orb is, with the Moon involved the orb is considered twelve degrees, due to the mass, proximity and influence of that planet.

While learning these factors may require a little time, knowing them can have a significant result on any spells or rituals you might endeavor to perform; and are also important factors that have been taken into account since before the Renaissance. Astrology and magick are links between universal forces and earthly experience. Like many other contributing factors they help up us interact with the devine.

An open mind is the only prerequisite to studdying either and or both astrology and magick. Natural magick is reliant on the elements and occult properties of material things requiring a knowledge of natural philosophy. Celestial magick relies on the spiritual connections and causality imposed by the Zodiacal powers again requiring a knowledge of astrology.

Astrological magick consists of two divisions. The first uses astrology to elect times for spellwork and ritual. The second might be the planetary hours and there affect on the creation of charms. We live in a magickal universe of unlimited potential, a universe of both the seen and unseen. That said, Astrology is not a science or philosophy that should be over looked.

If you don't have the inclination to learn everything about the subject, no-one will blame you, its a lot to learn, but there are hundreds of books and websites available that are designed to be used as an "As You Go" reference.

Learn more about Magickal Astrology with some of our in depth reference information.

© 2007 Alan L. Robertson
Please do not redistribute, copy, market, or change in any way without express permission from the author.

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