Thursday, July 17, 2014

The Astrological Year, Part 2

OK, so where did we leave off? Oh yes...the astrological year!

So we know that 1) each astrological sign has an element, 2) each astrological sign has a quality, 3) one of those qualities is cardinal, and 4) a cardinal sign begins every season.

Most of you understand the concept of elements, but to make sure we're all on the same page, each sign is associated with one element--fire, earth, air, or water. Most of you know which element your sun sign is already, but for those of you who don't, they're below:

Fire--Aries, Leo, Sagittarius
Earth--Taurus, Virgo, Capricorn
Air--Gemini, Libra, Aquarius
Water--Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces

Now let's talk about the qualities in more detail, but before we do, here's an important point:

Every sign is a UNIQUE combination of an element and a quality, and there are NO repeats.

Here's what I mean. If we didn't have the qualities, then all three fire signs would be the same, right? The same could be said of the other elements. Sure, there are some "fiery", "earthy", "airy" and "watery" traits that all signs of an element share. But the quality makes them very different. 

You know that there are cardinal signs, which begin every season. If you recall from our last lesson, they are Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Capricorn. 

Generally speaking, cardinal signs are powerful and tend toward leadership. They like to be in control and are normally good at starting things. But they're not as good at taking orders or following through on long term projects. Each season begins with a cardinal sign because they get things started! They also are considered the purest form of the element. 

We have two other qualities of sign: fixed and mutable.

Fixed signs are in the middle of each season, and they tend to be your "middle management" types. They're good at long-term projects and following up, and while they can be good leaders, they tend to be stubborn (fixed) and are not as open to new ideas, thoughts, and opinions. They're perfect in the middle of each season--they "anchor" each season as it takes hold.

Mutable signs end each season, and they're the flexible followers of the signs. They tend more toward being able to do more different things and adapt than either of the other two signs, but they're not as good at taking a project and running with it on their own, nor are they as likely to want a leadership role. 

Let's recap. Each season has a cardinal sign, a fixed sign, and a mutable sign, in that order. So you know already that the four cardinal signs are NEVER going to be next to each other in the astrological year. 

Going further, each element has three signs associated with it, and each sign has a different quality. If we know that Aries is a fire sign, and it begins a season, we can deduce that Aries is the cardinal fire sign. There are no other cardinal fire signs; that's why I said "THE". Make sense?

The elements also go in the same order in the astrological year: Fire, earth, air and water. So if we know that Aries begins spring, and it's cardinal fire, then what sign comes next? It's the fixed earth sign, Taurus the Bull. Spring has got to end with a mutable sign, and if we just had fixed earth, then we've got to have mutable air, Gemini the Twins. 

Because of the way it is set up, each season will lack one element. In this case, you noticed that there was no water sign in spring. Our first sign of the summer, however, is cardinal water, and it's Cancer the Crab. Since we just had cardinal water, fixed fire is next, Leo the Lion, followed by mutable earth, Virgo the Virgin. We don't have any air signs in the summer. 

But the fall begins with cardinal air, Libra the Scales. Fixed water must follow in Scorpio the Scorpion. And fall ends with mutable fire, Sagittarius the Archer. There are no earth signs in the fall. 

Finally, we end the astrological year with cardinal earth, Capricorn the sea-goat, followed by fixed air, Aquarius the Water-Bearer. We end our year with mutable water, Pisces the Fish. There's no fire signs in the winter. (NOTE: Aquarius may be the "water bearer" but it is NOT a water sign.)

And what comes after Pisces? We start all over again with Aries the Ram. 

I know the astrological year seems complicated, but if you can remember the qualities and the elements, you'll have a lot easier time knowing what comes next. It's pretty logical, actually. 

Thanks as always for tuning in! 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Astrological Year, Part 1

Many of us can't keep the astrological year straight. It starts in March and so that throws off a lot of people right away. And the dates aren't the same every year, so that's a problem, too. So how do you keep track of what's going on?

Well, let's start at the beginning. Western astrology is based on the seasons. Generally speaking, people know when the seasons begin and end, so that's where we'll commence.

The astrological year begins when the sun arrives in Aries, at the vernal equinox, also known as the beginning of spring. When we arrive at the Summer Solstice, Cancer begins. At the Autumnal Equinox, Libra begins. And when the Winter Solstice comes, Capricorn begins. In other words, a new sign begins each season.

The dates the seasons begin can't be the same every year, though, because the sun moves about 1 degree a day through the sky. So we know approximately when a season will start, but we have to check out the exact moment when the sun moves into that particular sign. 

Astrologers of old used to use what's called an ephemeris, a chart filled with tables listing the various times that planets will move into their various signs.

Nowadays computers do the heavy lifting for us. With a few mouse clicks I can tell you that the next season, Fall, will begin when the sun enters Libra at 10:30pm on September 22, 2014 in Occoquan, VA. Winter begins when the sun enters Capricorn on December 21, 2014, at 6:04pm in Occoquan, VA.

[To be a certified astrologer with any reputable organization, however, you must be able to cast a chart by hand. It's a challenge I'd like to be able to take on someday!]

Note for Witches and Wiccans: When the sun moves into a cardinal sign at the beginning of each season, that's the day we celebrate a Sabbat. So this year Mabon is on September 22, and Yule is on December 21.

So you've already got four of the signs. Each of the signs I listed begins a season.

Now, let's talk about the elements: fire, earth, air and water. They are a concept many of you are familiar with. We've got four seasons, and to balance things out, each season begins with an astrological sign in a particular element. Aries = fire, Cancer = water, Libra = air, Capricorn = earth. These four signs are actually known as cardinal signs. We'll talk more about what that means in a future blog. Just know that they are important. But every season begins with a cardinal sign. 

Each element has a complementary element, one it works with better than the others. Earth and water complement each other, as do fire and air. These elements will NEVER be next to each other in the astrological year. In other words, if there's a fire sign, an air sign will never come before it or after it. The opposite is also true. Earth signs will never be preceded by or followed by water signs as well. It's to keep everything in balance. 

To take it a little further, you know that Aries is a fire sign and begins spring. So if you remember nothing else, you know that there won't be two fire signs in a row, nor can there be an air sign next. So by elimination you know that the next sign of spring has to be earth or water!

Thanks for tuning in! I hope to have another blog for you soon!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Random Meanderings for Your Return to Work

1) OK, so July 4th was a really amazing weekend overall. But it sounded like a war zone at my house! Seriously, people...I'm all for embracing the holiday but after 10:30-11:00pm people want to go to bed. And how much do you want to freak out my cats?! If that was your goal, you were wildly successful. I can only imagine what people with PTSD from our various wars think of it. 

2) If you have never attended a "quote along" movie at the Alamo Draft House--for NOVA peeps, it's up in Ashburn, but they have them all over--you really should! It was a whole lot of fun. One of my all-time favorites, "Team America: World Police", was the quote-along movie for July 4th weekend and it was AMAZING! I don't know if I should be impressed or concerned that I know the words to all the songs by heart, especially when the lyrics include "so lick my butt and suck on my balls!" But there it is. 

3) More posts are planned on basic astrology. There's only 2300 years worth of stuff to look at, so I'm pretty sure I won't run out of material. 

4) I love animals very much, and would love to see all stray cats and dogs get homes and not languish  in shelters. With that said, I don't need to see evidence of abused or neglected animals on my social media feeds. I get that you're going for shock value. On my FaceBook, that gets your ass hidden. Thanks for understanding. 

5) I'm always wary of donating money to causes, and you should be as well. Make sure to the extent you can that the funds you donate are going to organizations that are worthy and manage their money well. Way too many of them don't take their role seriously. Just because they are not for profit doesn't mean that the people who run them are trustworthy, ethical or upstanding. 

6) "Glove and Boots" is a YouTube video series that I have totally fallen in love with. It's definitely bizarre but I get a good laugh every time. If you haven't discovered them yet, I encourage you to take a look. I must admit that "Johnny T" is my favorite character. For a more dark humored set of videos, I'd check out "Llamas with Hats", which is funny for all the wrong reasons. 

7) If there's some metaphysical topic you want to see addressed on this blog, folks, it couldn't be simpler. Write a comment or write me an email at hierophant@cox.net.

8) Saturn is applauding my recent increase in blog posts, but he is still upset that there's no discernible pattern. I guess my problem is that I'm still trying to make the Old Man happy. Perhaps we'll hear from him again soon. 

9) WARNING--SHAMELESS MARKETING: The dates and times I am reading tarot at 13 Magickal Moons in Occoquan, VA, are now also listed on a page in this blog. Take a look! 

Hope your 4th was awesome! See you soon. :)

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Birthday, America! A Look at The Sibly Chart

Happy Birthday to the United States of America! I've decided that today I'll put up the chart of the USA, originally done by Ebenezer Sibly, a famous astrologer from the 18th century. You'll find it below. The chart was cast for 5:10pm, July 4, 1776, in Philadelphia, PA, and is one of the most well-known charts in the astrological world.



This is the "natal chart" for our nation, and there's a whole lot here to check out. But first, a quote about the Sibly Chart from Benson Bobrick's work, The Fated Sky, which gives an interesting astrological perspective on events throughout our recorded history (and a book a highly recommend!):

"On July 4, 1776, at 5:10pm, in Philadelphia, Sagittarius, ruled by Jupiter, was rising, the fixed star Regulus--which signified kings--was setting, and the Sun in Cancer conjunct [next to] the fortunate fixed star Sirius, which, by tradition, gave success in war and business as well as faithfulness and devotion, honor and renown. By accident or design, the moment Hancock picked up his pen was both stupendously propitious and symbolically apt, for it would notably link the revolution with energy and enterprise and the decline of royal power."

Here are a few things to think about.

1) Sun in Cancer--The USA was born with the sun in Cancer, and shares many traits of that sign. We're always willing to help, and take the time to "mother" other nations in difficulty. Part of the problem is, like meddling parents, we don't know when to let go. We're always trying to keep other nations from harm. The suffering of others also galvanizes us into action. We also are very warm, just the type of country to welcome others in need. I don't think I need to delve into our history too much to prove those points, right? ("Give me your tired, your poor...")

2) Sagittarius Rising--One of the most important parts of Sagittarius as a sign is freedom. The rising sign, or ascendant, is the mask through which we see the world. We believe in freedom for all to pursue what they will. And Sagittarius loves riding over the next hill just to see what is there! Think out about our movements to the west and into the Pacific. "Don't fence me in!" is an unofficial Sagittarius motto. We're always seeking, looking for what's next. Sagittarius is also a very spiritual sign, ruled by Jupiter, the planet of spirituality and religion as well as the rule of law, and our nation was founded on the principle of...religious freedom. Interesting, no? (Incidentally, ancient Romans used to swear to Jupiter when giving testimony!)

3) Regulus--A fixed star near the very end of Leo (29 Leo). It is considered to be one of the four "royal stars" of ancient astrology. This royal star was taking his leave when our nation was born.

4) Sirius--Another fixed star, Sirius heightens beneficial qualities in planets near to it and can help you go further than you even dreamed you would. Of course, it also has an excessive side. But our nation has come a long way in what is comparatively a short amount of time, hasn't it?

Astrologers are like any other experts in their field; they disagree all the time! And one of the big points of contention in this chart is the time; why 5:10pm, and how did anyone know exactly when John Hancock put his...well, John Hancock...on the line to finish the document? Bobrick suggests that Sibly's "Masonic connections" probably helped; many of the founding fathers were Masons, as was Sibly. So Bobrick theorizes that Sibly came by the exact time that way.

Here's another quote from Bobrick, this time quoting Sibly himself as he [Sibly] made judgments based on his famous chart. Remember, he made these predictions in 1784.

"On the basis of it [the chart for the USA], Sibly declared that America would one day 'have an extensive and flourishing commerce; advantageous and universal traffic to every quarter of the globe, with great security and prosperity amongst its people,' and still more, eventually constitute, 'a new Empire that shall soon or late give laws to the whole world.'"


JFK had it right when he said, "We dare not forget today that we are the heirs of that first revolution." With all the fireworks and parades, cookouts with friends and family, and other events, I hope you will take a moment to remember just how far we've come. And no matter where you are politically, spiritually, or otherwise, if you're a citizen of the United States, I hope you realize and appreciate how lucky you are today. 

Hope you enjoy the holiday!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

What is an Astrology Chart? Part 2

As we saw in our last lesson, an astrology chart is a complex little beast. At a glance, it can show you:

  • The 10 planets--the "what" of astrology since the energy comes from them;
  • The signs these planets are in--"the how" of astrology because a sign is the "style" in which the planetary energy manifests itself; and
  • The houses and their cusps--the "where" of astrology.
In a chart, you'll find the locations of the following planets based on their symbols. 


Each planet has its own function, and the chart will tell you not only what sign and house each planet is in, but its relationship to other planets, known as aspects, which can significantly change the size and scope of the planet's role in the chart. 

A chart is cast for a specific event, such as a person's birth, known as a natal chart, and while that is one of the most common reasons to cast a chart, it's far from the only one. You can cast one for any event you choose--your wedding, compatibility with another person, the date you started your first job, etc.--in the past, present, or future. 

Astrologers love to look over charts of famous people, for example, but we also like to see what's coming in the form of progressions and returns. That way we can help people plan out when would be a good time to try to have a baby, open a business, start a product line, etc. 

The reason why a lot of people look at charts and get nervous is because it LOOKS complicated. If you've ever played craps in a casino, you'll probably think the same thing. Take a look at this layout. 


Unless you're familiar with craps, you're looking at this going "Holy shit! How can people possibly understand this, much less find this fun?" It's actually a really fun game once you learn the moving parts. Astrology is the same way. 

Don't get me wrong...it can be challenging to INTERPRET an astrology chart, and it takes a long time to learn to do it well. But that's just experience, and there's no substitute for it, in astrology or playing craps or anything else. This was a lesson I was reminded of very recently as I struggled with a particular chart. 

Anyway, the point is that if astrology interests you, start looking at some charts. You're not going to know much about what they mean at the beginning, but take a gander over a few, starting with your own. 

Once you get over the fear of the chart and start to recognize some of the symbols, then you can start asking some questions about what's going on. If you're at all like me, at that point you're hooked and you just want to learn more. 

Astrology is a fascinating discipline with 2,300 years of study and material to work with. Don't let that stop you from taking that first step. 

Many Web sites will do your chart for free, but if you'd like your natal chart done professionally I hope you'll consider contacting me. 

Friday's blog will contain a famous astrological chart: The chart for the birth of the United States, known as the "Sibley Chart". I hope you'll tune in for some insights about this great nation. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Mercury Goes Direct: And There Was MUCH Rejoicing!

I'm totally thrilled to say that as of 8:50 EDT this morning Mercury will be moving forward again. Can we hear an AMEN?? 

This one has been rough, I'm not going to lie. Hopefully it wasn't too bad for you. 

Don't break out the party horns and hats yet...Mercury will still be moving slowly as he gets back up to speed, so keep your eyes peeled until July 9. Then we're out of the woods. 

I've got a doctor's appointment tomorrow and a very packed day so hopefully everything will go smoothly. Here's to hoping you weather the Mercury storm with no damage.

I think that news is enough for today! Drink it in!

Monday, June 30, 2014

What is an Astrological Chart? Part 1

Many of you know the 12 astrological signs. But a lot of people have never seen one before, or look at one and get confused. So I'm going to break down some of the basics for you, slowly, so you can get a feel for it. I'm not talking about interpreting a chart, which takes a long time to learn. I mean just getting the very basic lay of the land so they won't seem like hieroglyphics.

An astrological chart is a snapshot in time for a person or an event showing planetary positions, and it's a circle. As circles have 360 degrees, if you divide it up into 12 parts--one for each sign--these divisions are called houses. More on the houses and how we decide where the houses begin and end in a later blog. For now, know that those lines from the center to the outer part of the circle are called houses, and the edge of the house is called a "cusp".

Anyway, there are 30 degrees of each sign (12 x 30 = 360). So when the sun enters a sign it's at 0 degrees. Last Saturday, at the Summer Solstice, the sun was at 0 degrees Cancer. The sun moves through 30 degrees of Cancer, and once it gets to 29 degrees Cancer, it will be about a day or so until the sun enters 0 degrees Leo. Then we start again and move through Leo. That's why if you look at the dates for when a sign begins, there is always some variation because it's the degree that determines when the sign changes, NOT our calendar. Make sense?

Check out the chart below, taken when the sun was at 0 degrees Cancer this year and plotted for Occoquan, VA:


Let's take it further. I just said there are 30 degrees of each sign, right? Well, if you do a quick and dirty calculation, the sun is in each sign for about...30 days. So doing the math, the sun moves about one degree a day. Of course, there are always slight variations. But if you are born on the first day of a sign, likely your sun was at 0-1 degrees of that sign. You can have your chart done professionally or consult a free online chart maker to find out exactly what degree the sun was at the moment of your birth, but it's easy to make a somewhat educated guess. You'll need the date, time, and place of your birth, but if you don't have your birth time then estimate as best you can. 

Sometimes it's a challenge to find out what sun sign someone is if they are born close to a cusp. If you look up the beginning date for Aries, for example, usually it's March 19-20. I know someone born on March 21, and in that particular year she was still a Pisces. The sun hadn't left Pisces yet; likely it was at 29 degrees Pisces, and was only a few short hours away from moving into a new astrological year in Aries.

Some people will tell you if they're close to a cusp that they consider themselves part one sign and part another. Bullshit, people! If you're not sure what sign you are, look it up. Your sun sign is not the be all and the end all of astrology, but it is important and it's a place to start. If you're on the cusp of Gemini and Cancer, you're not part of each sign. The sun was either in one of the later degrees of Gemini or one of the earliest degrees of Cancer; the sun can't be in two places at once.

These degree measurements are VERY important also because astrologers use them to determine the relationships between planets, called aspects, which we also won't talk about today. Just know that they are.

Luckily, planetary motion with the sun is easy to work with. 30 degrees = approximately 30 days. All the other heavenly bodies move at different speeds, some fast and some slow. And neither the sun nor moon goes retrograde (backwards) so that makes the motion much easier to predict.

Anyway, that's it for now. We'll do some more work on this in future blogs, but I hope this makes you understand a little more about an astrological chart and what it can show you.