Modern Mind, Traditional Technique

Modern Mind, Traditional Technique

by Wonder Bright

One of the great advents of modern astrology was its merger with 20th century psychology.  Certainly when I first studied the subject this connection is what drew me in.  I’m driven by the need to understand others and when I can, to help them.  Astrology cast those efforts in a totally new light.  Suddenly, behavior in others I previously found confusing occurred to me as natural and even admirable.  Better yet, astrology provided practical tools, right out of the box, which guided my efforts to listen, empathize, and advise.

Having caught the bug, I decided to attend Kepler College.  There I studied the history of our craft, and also the techniques original to it.  Being totally new to the astrological community, and certainly to the ancient teachings. my studies there were my first introduction to the differences in thinking between modern astrologers and the emerging traditional community.  However, though the techniques were new to me, the use to which I wanted to put them remained the same.  My interest was wholly practical: what were the Hellenistic techniques and how could I put them to use within a modern consulting practice grounded in character analysis?

You can imagine my delight when using traditional techniques caused a shift in perception similar to the one that occurred when I first discovered astrology.  My ability to identify the core essence of a chart and what mattered to the native increased tenfold.  The methods simplified my search for the strongest conflicts of the chart and brought past wounds and patterns firmly into view.  While it’s true that traditional techniques were, in many ways, designed for prediction and certainly can be used for that, predicting events is not their limit, nor their sole power.  If what you’re after is what matters most to your clients, and helping them play to their strengths whilst minimizing weakness, then traditional methods are hard to beat.

In my lecture at the 2013 NCGR Astrology Conference: Everything Under The Sun, I will address three components of the ancient framework that render traditional techniques perfectly suited for the modern practitioner:


-Hellenistic astrology is derived from a philosophical model that perceived the universe as perfect and sym

metrical – created by Divinity and rendered flawlessly.

-This “perfect cosmos” is illustrated by the way in which the ancients conceived of the zodiac, as a 360 degree circle divided into 12 equal parts with each sign opposing its polarity.  This zodiac, which astrologers still use today, has an interdependent counterpart in traditional methods via their elegantly simple house system.  The whole sign house system underscores the dynamics of polarity by bringing them directly into focus within a chart, whereby each sign equals a house.

-The ancient system of planetary rulerships beautifully illustrates the fundamental perfection of the cosmos as envisioned by the ancient mind, bringing to life hidden interactions between the houses and the areas of life most important to the native.

During the lecture, I will illustrate these principles using the charts of people in the audience. The technical focus will be on finding the Sun and its location relative to the Ascendant, as well as to notice the sign/house placement that is ruled by the Sun.  Through this simple process, the elegance of the ancient methods will be revealed to be of tremendous value and benefit to the modern practitioner.

Wonder Bright (yes, that’s her real name) studied astrology at Kepler College and has also tutored privately with Demetra George. She has been seeing clients for over a decade and divides her time between analyzing people and taking photographs of them. You can read all about her adventures on her blog at  

Jupiter in Leo – Spiritual Courage, Pt. 2 of 2

Jupiter in Leo – symbol of spirituality or spiritual courage?

Part Two

by Marko Obranović

India and its gurus

When we think about the most spiritual places in the world, the majority of people will put India at the top of their list. This magnificently colorful country is recognized a fertile land for export of all types of religious teachers and gurus. The relationship between the cultures of India and the Western world started in the 19th century, but the real breakthrough came in second half of the 20th century. Yoga, Jyotish, Ayurveda…they’re everywhere now, but somebody had to bring them to us.

An interesting group of gurus from India, whose teachings are famous and popular in West, have the natal position of Jupiter in Leo. Spirituality gained at home or by roots (Cancer) expanded through individual efforts further in the world (Leo and Jupiter).

The Indian professor of philosophy, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, known as Osho is first of these examples. During his life he raised controversy by his outspoken criticism of politicians and institutionalized religion (Saturn in Capricorn). In his last phase of life, and his last Jupiter cycle, he moved to Oregon in the U.S., where he founded an utopian ashram but eventually was forced to go back to India where he died. Despite all this, his legacy in the world is even stronger now than when he was alive (14, 15).

Founder of Sidha Yoga, Swami Muktananda, had Jupiter in Leo with Saturn in Aries. He was spreading his teachings through the U.S. during the 1970’s. At the beginning of his fifth Jupiter cycle in 1956, Bhagawan Nityananda acknowledged the culmination of Muktananda’s spiritual journey, and gave him a small piece of land at Ganeshpuri near Bombay, on which Muktananda developed an ashram (18).

The first non-European winner of the Nobel Prize in literature, poet and polymath Rabindrantah Tagore, was born with Jupiter in Leo and Saturn in Virgo (28). Tagore’s influence on binding the  cultures of India and the West is immeasurable. His beginning Jupiter cycles mostly are connected with publishing some of the most famous works – in 1884, “The Songs of Bhanushingho Thakur”; in 1895 finished most of his short stories in “Galpaguchchha,” while the last one marked the end of his long travels with final visits to Iran (1932) and Sri Lanka (1933) (19, 20).

Natal chart of modern India:

Modern India celebrates its independence day on August 15th, 1947. The day has a strong stellium with four planets in Leo. The Sun is a part of this stellium, and the natal Sun emanates its energy or individual purpose through space expanded by Jupiter until the borders set by Saturn. What I was trying to point out here is significant relation with energy of the particular Sun of one county or culture (in this case, India,) and the spreading of that energy through its “children” by the power of guru-Jupiter traveling in the world.


There are two interesting examples of rulers who are not remembered as much as an individual rebels against inherited religion but as a rulers who helped new or emerging religions in their establishment and emancipation.

Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor

Born on 28th July 1552 in Vienna, with Jupiter and Sun close together in Leo and retrograde Saturn in Pisces. His birthchart has a Rodden Rating of DD, but most of the sources consider it correct, especially when we combine his rulership with his Jupiter cycle. He was crowned at the start of his third Jupiter cycle as the Holy Roman Emperor on October 12th, 1576 and was forced to leave the throne in 1612, at the start of sixth cycle, soon after which he died. Despite his traditional religious upbringing for that time, he distanced himself from the church and showed high tolerance towards Protestantism and Judaism. Jupiter in Leo was pushing the institutional borders of Saturn in Pisces. One of the main representatives of his legacy is the document, “Letter of Majesty” from 1609, in which he gave religious tolerance to both Protestant and Catholic citizens living on the estates of Bohemia. The document was the main spark for one of the most destructive religious conflicts in European history – Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648). In May 1618, at the very beginning of the war, Jupiter just entered Pisces and crossed over Rudolf’s natal Saturn (22, 23).

Constantine the Great

The last example of Jupiter in Leo comes from a very uncertain source, but its attractiveness is way too enticing to be avoided as a final curiosity. Constantine the Great (February 27th, 272? – May 22nd , 337), was Roman Emperor from 306 to 337. Historians state his birthday was around 272. For the sake of argument, we can suppose they were correct. Jupiter was retrograde, as well as Saturn in Virgo. Constantine was brought up mostly by his Christian mother, Helena Constantine, and was the first emperor to stop Christian persecutions and to legalize Christianity along with all the other cults in the Roman Empire. During his rule, Christianity became the main religion in the Roman Empire (24, 25).

A person can use the energy of Jupiter in Leo in a variety of ways. Hopefully more and more people will become aware of it and start using it creatively and constructively, not just as a melodramatic show of when his or her ego was hurt. To take a step further from inherited cultural patterns, this takes a huge amount of inner bravery and  puts an individual in a position which risks ostracization by his Saturnian community. This is clearly a time when inner battles around the world are fought alongside organized religions and the need for individual rebellion against it is as strong as ever. To follow the trodden path of your ancestors and to make a spectacle out of it or to go one step into the  unknown, where you are not protected by your society? The choice is ours. Can we manifest a true Jupiter in Leo, which is in tune with the vibrations of the outer planets Uranus, Neptune and Pluto?


Pope Joh Paul II, May 18, 1920; 5:30 p.m. EET; Wadowice, Poland; A: Biography: George Weigel, “Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II,” Cliff St Books, 1999.

Thomas Henry Huxley, May 4, 1825; 09:30 a.m. LMT; Ealing, England; AA: Sy Scholfield provides two references: “Life and Letters of Thomas Henry Huxley” by Leonardo Huxley (2006), p. 14: “Thomas Henry Huxley was born at Ealing on May 4, 1825, “about eight o’clock in the morning.” (So in the Autobiography, but 9.30 according to the Family Bible.)”

Voltaire, November 21, 1694 (greg.) 5:30 p.m. LMT; Paris, France; C: Penfield Collection quotes Matthews for “Gemini Asc.” Brittanica gives the same date “according to his birth certificate, though he kept the date secret and stated several times that it was February 20, 1694.”

Søren Kierkegaard, May 5, 1813, Copenhagen, Denmark; X: Paul Mahler Dam has a spec time of 1:00 p.m.

Victor Hugo, February 26, 1802; 10:30 p.m. LMT; Besançon, France; AA: Gauquelin Vol. 6/423 and Sy Scholfield downloaded a copy of the BC from Wikimedia Commons:

Sinéad O’Connor, December 8, 1966, 7:37 a.m. LMT; Dublin, Ireland; C: from’Connor and states her time birth as 7:37 Standard Time without giving its source

Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), December 11, 1931, 5:13 p.m. IST; Kutchwada, India; A: Steinbrecher quotes correspondence with the Ashram, 5:13 pm, data from his mom’s memory. (Sam Gunderson taught a class in Oregon and has the same data from one of the disciples of the Rajneesh ashram.)

Sri Aurobindo, August 15, 1872, 5:00 a.m. LMT; Calcutta, India; B: Marion March quotes “Auroville: City of the Future” (Fisher Books)

Swami Muktananda, May 16, 1908, 5:11:38 a.m. IST; Dharmasthala, India; A: Steinbrecher quotes a copy of his chart sent by a Swami in the Ashram

Rabindrantah Tagore, May 7, 1861, 4:02 a.m. LMT; Calcutta, India; C: B.V. Ramon in AA 6/1948; same in Sabian Symbols No.887

Kotamraju Narayana Rao, October 12, 1931, 7:54 a.m. LMT; Machilipatnam, India; A: Filipe Ferreira quotes a letter from Rao to B.V. Raman given in Rao’s book “Planets and Children,” p.159, S. Kumar and Associates, Lucknow, India, 1993.

Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor, July 18, 1552 (Julian cal.) or July 28, 1552 (Greg.), 7:35 p.m. LMT; Vienna, Austria; DD: Leo’s Notable Nativity No.570 gives July 18, 1556 OS; original source not known. Most other sources say he was born in 1552 in Vienna.

Constantine the Great, February 27, 272 (Julian cal.) or March 9, 272 (Greg.); Niš, Serbia; XX: Birth dates vary but most modern historians use c. 272. From “The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Constantine” by Noel Lenski (2012)

India, August 15, 1947, 12:01 a.m. LMT; New Delhi, India; AA


  • Alexander Ruperti, Cycles of Becoming: The Planetary Pattern of Growth, CRCS Publicationsns, 1978, pp. 114-132
  • See, “Pope Joh Paul II” (accessed October 6, 2014).
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, “Saint John Paul II” (accessed October 6, 2014).
  • See, “Thomas Henry Huxley” (accessed October 6, 2014).
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, “Thomas Henry Huxley” (accessed October 6, 2014).
  • See, “Voltaire” (accessed October 6, 2014).
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, “Voltaire” (accessed October 6, 2014).
  • See, “Søren Kierkegaard” (accessed October 6, 2014).
  • Søren Kierkegaard, “Second Period: Indirect Communication (1843-46)” (accessed October 6, 2014).
  • See, “Victor Hugo” (accessed October 6, 2014).
  • Project Gutenberg, “Le droit et la loi” (accessed October 6, 2014).
  • See, “List of authors and works on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum” (accessed October 8, 2014).
  • See, “Sinéad O’Connor” (accessed October 8, 2014).
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, “Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh” (accessed October 6, 2014).
  • See, “Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh” (accessed October 8, 2014).
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, “Śrī Aurobindo” (accessed October 8, 2014).
  • See, “Śrī Aurobindo” (accessed October 8, 2014).
  • See, “Muktananda” (accessed October 8, 2014).
  • See, “Rabindranath Tagore” (accessed October 8, 2014).
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, “Rabindranath Tagore” (accessed October 8, 2014).
  • See, “Kotamraju Narayana Rao” (accessed October 8, 2014).
  • See, “Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor” (accessed October 8, 2014).
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, “Rudolf II, Holy Roman Emperor” (accessed October 8, 2014).
  • See, “Constantine the Great” (accessed October 8, 2014).
  • Encyclopedia Britannica, “Constantine the Great” (accessed October 8, 2014).

Houses of Horror

Our first guest blogger is AYA’s very own Nick Civitello. Nick is a playwright and astrologer living in New York City. His blog, Nerdcore Astrotypes, details correlations between archetypes found in astrology and those in pop-culture.

True to his pop-culture style,  Nick uses the tropes of horror  stories to explain Saturn in Scorpio in all 12 houses.  Bridging the gap between Halloween horror and the real fears that Saturn’s time in Scorpio will evoke, the AYA is proud to feature Nick’s brilliant article.

Happy almost Halloween, dear readers.

The greatest and best holiday of the year is nearly upon us, and I hope that you’re all doing your due diligence: psyching up with horror movies on Netflix, stocking up on candy corn and Jameson, and of course, putting the finishing touches on your costumes. The origins of Halloween are disputed, but an across-the-board hallmark of this time of year is the conceit that dialogue with “the other side” is possible. Whether this just means taking a moment to honor and celebrate the souls of the dearly departed, or whether one believes that ghouls and goblins will walk the Earth, it’s a time for confronting the dark and fearful side of things.

We wear masks in order to either externalize these fears and blend in with the creepy crawlies (ala Batman,) or to project the image of a champion who can stand up to them (ala all other superhero costumes,) or to do a bit of both through the mockery of a gag costume. Because societal transgressions are normally fraught with fear and anxiety, we see a lot of transgressive attitudes externalized during this time, as well. (ala, girls in skimpy clothes. Transgressions are awesome.)

Saturn already represents a lot of fear for most folk. It was known as “The Greater Malefic” to classical astrologers, and was the seventh and last planet, representing the furthest reaches of the cosmos, the crossroads, a gatekeeper between this world and the next.

While modern astrology has made efforts to shine a more positive light on the curmudgeonly old bastard, there’s still no getting around that Saturn represents some pretty dark stuff, such as structure, boundaries, work, and life purpose. That may seem benign enough laid out like that, but structure can be grotesque – skeletons and innards and dank, smelly caves. Boundaries (whether personal or societal) are necessary and helpful, but the anxiety involved in either overcoming or working within boundaries can be maddening. Work is a real horror show for many people, and usually has nothing to do with fulfillment of a life purpose. And even that fulfillment itself carries with it a fear of success, which carries transformation on its broad back. Unpleasant experiences are almost always required in order for one to get where they need to be, and some are required to do the unspeakable.

Since Saturn’s ingress into Scorpio a few weeks ago, it is this darker side of Saturn that’s had its slimy underbelly exposed. As AYA President Austin Coppock remarked, “It sort of feels like it’s going to be Halloween for a couple of years.” Now the Sun’s annual trek into the same sign will throw on the high beams, especially since horror is Scorpio’s bread and butter. The Mars-ruled Water sign is a big fan of emotion as a weapon, and fear is usually the first dagger to fly from its scabbard when the scorpion is on the attack. Its sneaky nature also means that blending in is second nature, so costumes (disguises) are a must…however, to paraphrase the very foxy Irene Adler from BBC’s Sherlock, “no matter how you hard you try, disguise is always a self-portrait.”

With this in mind, let’s jump to a solar breakdown of the character of fear that Saturn  will represent for you until it leaves Scorpio. What mask should you wear for the next couple of years?

*Please note that many of the best horror stories are multi-faceted. So for the spookiest possible costume, please read the sign of your Ascendant/Rising sign, as well as your Sun and Moon sign. Add sugar and mind-altering substances, mix well, bake at 666 degrees, and let cool.

 Aries – Deceitful Predators

Fear isn’t something Aries likes to admit to. Like Scorpio, it is ruled by Mars, but its energy tends to ignite in a more obvious, visible fashion. It’s the gladiator, the samurai, the swaggering badass. It’s the sign of willpower and bravery, but also of their lame cousin, bravado. But there are some monsters that are simply stronger than you, and worse yet, most monsters don’t believe in a fair fight. Poisons, stealth assassination, mind-control, transformation and shape-shifting – these are all ways to fight too, but they’re not “honorable.” It’s the monsters without scruples who you’ll be learning to deal with this next couple of years.

Saturn will be transiting Aries’ 8th House, the place of death, sex, business deals, shared energy, absences. This is one of the three most-maligned houses of the twelve, as it represents a bunch of dark and shady stuff already. If functioning optimally, this is a place of wonderful give and take with others, where a loop of pooled resources is used to create growth and ecstasy through letting go and the processes of receptivity and openness. The reason this house is considered so dark, however, is that it’s very easy for give-and-take to turn into hostile takeover, and many predators will attempt to lure you into a process of sharing only to go back on their word and take everything. Just like Pennywise the Dancing Clown led little Georgie into the sewers with promises of sailboats, the predator dazzles with a colorful and attractive display, puts on welcoming face, and gets you close enough to rip your arm off.

Take, for instance, the xenomorph. This is the titular Alien from Ridley Scott’s 1979 space horror classic. The futuristic story has the crew of the Nostromo, a commercial towing spaceship, making an unplanned landing on a remote planetoid on orders from their employers. There, they stumble across a number of large eggs. One of these eggs opens, and a small creature, a “face-hugger” springs out and attaches itself to the face of the ship’s XO. It eventually detaches on its own and falls dead, and the crew believes that the horror is over. Then, during a meal, a creature bursts forth from the officer’s chest and runs into the bowels of the ship, where it quickly grows into a nightmarish super-predator and begins to hunt them all down. They are trapped on-board with an extremely dangerous animal that has no interest or capacity for dialogue, an alien that only knows how to take. It’s first step in its species’ proliferation is to use its host as an incubator, and then kill them.

Another example: probably the best and most classic example of this type of monster is Bram Stoker’s  Dracula. The vampire, of course, can only exist off of others’ life-force. They attempt to blend in and act like normal humans where possible, and lure their prey do their deaths with seductions of comfort, sex, and wealth. In the case of Count Dracula, Jonathan Harker is lured to Transylvania on the promise of a career-making business deal (once again, an 8th House affair,) where Dracula, in the guise of a kindly old man, uses him to find out all about London, which he plans to use as his new dwelling place and hunting ground. In some ways, a more sinister monster is at work here, as the vampire has cognizance of its actions, and because it used to be a human being. But like a sick addict, it is compelled by the hunger to take life. Even when it is able to share something, its tainted sharing usually results in a sort of mental infection, where they recruit others to do their bidding. We can see this at play in the character of Renfield, or in the more recent Swedish hit, Let The Right One In.

I’d be remiss to not include a different perspective: as the 8th is also the house of sex, any sexually transgressive horror stories belong here, too. I Spit On Your Grave falls into this category, centering on a woman who is raped by a gang and left for dead, only to return and exact her vengeance on them in a really brutal (though totally deserved) way. For a slightly different reason, all of the good Hellraiser titles seem to fall here too, exploring the horrible flipside of a successful shared energy. Here, what is shared is not pleasure, but terrible pain, and the place between the two concepts where the line gets blurry.

The good news is that these stories are full of champions, those who’ve learned the strengths and weaknesses of these predators and have devoted their lives to hunting them. For guys, see Abraham Van Helsing, Ash Williams of the Evil Dead series, the Frog Bros. from The Lost Boys, and others who stand up against the scourge of the undead. For ladies, Ellen Ripley from Alien is probably the best example…though there is something to be said for Carrie and Charlene McGee from Firestarter, both powerful psychics who lashed out against a corrupt system (“corrupt system” is a Saturn in Scorpio key phrase) which promised to share gifts with them, then reneged in a lethal way.

Taurus – Jilted, Scorned, Obsessed

While grinding through the 7th House, Saturn in Scorpio is likely to drudge up issues with open partnerships. “Open partnerships” are just what they sound like – could be a business partner, a partner in the workplace (like buddy cops,) or even an enemy with whom you have an open understanding of enmity. But most of all, astrologers use this place to talk about romantic partners, relationships and spouses. Therefore, the monsters you’re likely to encounter here are the ones you’re closest to, as Saturn in Scorpio teaches hard lessons about the structure of partnership.

There are a number of examples of monstrous stalkers, psycho exes, and lovers with a darkside populating the realm of horror. Because there’s rarely a supernatural element at play in these stories, they’re often billed as “thrillers” more than specifically within the horror genre, but the focus is still on fear and tension. Glenn Close’s rabbit-boiling turn in Fatal Attraction springs to mind, as does Marky Mark’s early role as an obsessed boyfriend in the 1996 film, Fear. The recently popular internet meme/series of videos centering around the “Overly Attached Girlfriend” is another good one, as are the Japanese concept of the “yandere” woman – one who is obsessed with her mate to a murderous degree – and the Hannya mask, which was used in Noh theatre to represent the spirit of a jealous woman-turned-demon. We’ve also got The Bride of Frankenstein, which in its way deals with the horror of arranged marriage and rejected affections. Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven is worth mentioning here too, as it deals with a lonely lover’s anguish over both wanting to remember and also to forget his lost love, and how terrible it can be to be bound to someone’s heart forever.

Being that we’ve got a lot of female examples, let’s focus for a moment on The Phantom of The Opera. Before becoming a Broadway musical hit, the story was first a novel, and then a 1925 silent film starring Lon Cheney, which went down as a classic Universal monster picture. The plot focuses on a young singer named Christine, an up-and-coming understudy to the prima donna who has made great improvements since beginning a musical partnership with The Phantom, a shadowy man with an ingenious musical sensibility who lives in the bowels of the Paris Grand Opera. The Phantom, who terrorizes the management of the theatre into bowing to numerous demands, sees promise in Christine, and works from the shadows to help her. He also grows infatuated with her, and kidnaps her, “Rape of Persephone”-style, bringing her down into his lair. Here, she discovers that underneath his mask is a horribly disfigured face, just as his beautiful music masks his often ruthless and dastardly intentions.

This is especially apropos within this discussion, given that Taurus and Scorpio are opposite signs. With any axis such as this, there is a truth to the “opposites attract” axiom, as surface-level similarities with draw these types of people close to one another, and the subtle differences will seem fascinating. But when you get up close and rip the mask off, you may be utterly horrified to discover that you could not be more different. Both of these signs are obstinate, emotional, and like to hold a steady course through life. But where Taurus natives treasure Earthly, placid comforts, Scorpios often crave transcendence and power, or lapse into self-destruction and apathy. There’s a level of intensity that may be too much to hang with for the gentle, giant Taurean sensibility.

Also worth noting: while the 7th is generally considered a strong and positive house, being angular and the home of the Descendent power point, the Hellenists did caution that it is the setting place of the Sun, and thus, could be seen as the place where the ego goes to die. This is appropriate, given that partnerships require more than just one person’s will, effort, and input. At least, healthy partnerships do. In an unhealthy partnership, you might find yourself dominated and disintegrated by someone with a stronger personality. So be careful with that.

Gemini – Brains, Bodies, and Evil Monkeys

A lot of horror to be had in the 6th House, the place where Saturn will transit for Gemini. The 6th is widely considered one of the darker, less-fortunate houses. Its significations include work and daily life, slaves, and pets. But its primary signification will take the spotlight here, and that’s the realm of health and sickness. You can take your pick of epidemic flicks, from Outbreak to Contagion to the Japanese Infection. Poe’s Masque of Red Death belongs here, and Stephen King’s The Stand starts from this place, though it ends up opening up to a wider realm of horror as the story progresses. All portray a wide-spread disease that causes a terrible, fatal corruption to the body.  Disease is also the most common explanation for zombie outbreak, such as the T-Virus of Resident Evil.

Zombie apocalypse is particularly appropriate here, because in the 6th House, Saturn in Scorpio will teach Geminis how to deal with corruption as part of a daily routine. A single zombie on its own is usually not that big of a threat – the real threat is infection, and the problems caused by epidemic. The corruption to structure is not only evident in the zombies themselves, but in the way the survivors must now adapt to every day life (“Was anyone bitten? What’s that wound from? Where can we get food and water next? What’s the best place to hole up, where would be easiest to defend?,) and in the shaky group dynamic often present in these sorts of stories (“Who’s leading this group? Can we trust them? Who’s the resident Starscream? Who’s having sex with who, and what problems will this potentially cause?”) Gemini is inherently cerebral and adaptable, so these concerns are workable so long as the cooler-headed Twin prevails.

Pets are also in the dominion of the 6th House, and stories like Cujo and Monkey Shines show how horribly wrong that can go. A synthesis of these two horrible concepts can be seen at work in Pet Sematary, where pets (and later, people,) buried on a certain spot return as evil versions of themselves. Although it’s worth noting that the most horrific thing in the story (at least in the movie version,) is the screeching, contorted form of Aunt Zelda, who is seen in flashbacks suffering from spinal meningitis, a regular, old disease that has nothing to do with zombies or the supernatural.

In any event, be on the lookout for cough and colds, as well as rotting structures within your daily life and workplace. Is there a gangrenous limb that needs to be severed?

Cancer – Far From The Tree

Like Scorpio, Cancer is one of the three Water signs, and as such, may be particularly receptive to the lessons of Saturn in Scorpio as it transits the 5th. Cancer, ruled by the Moon, is the most naturally nurturing sign in the zodiac, and tends to put the whole of its heart into projects – or people – that they are trying to raise up. This results in some controlling mommies and daddies, and the horror we’ll focus on here is that of the child who somehow goes bad. They are still your child, and yet, on their way to becoming their own person, they’ve seriously deviated from the flight plan, and in some ways it feels like they are no longer – or were never – yours to begin with. The Omen is a prime example, wherein an adopted child’s parentage is revealed to be Hellish indeed.

It may also be that the horror is not from the child going wrong so much as the fact that someone is threatening your child. We can see things like this in the recent Ethan Hawke film, Sinister, which features a fictional Pagan deity called “Bughuul, Eater of Children.” (Which is also something Saturn is known for. Excepting Zeus, he swallowed all his godling children whole to prevent a prophesy that foretold his down fall.) A more mundane version of this can be seen in thrillers like Ransom, or even in the action film, Taken. It may also not be an issue of child-rearing so much as the innocence of childlike figure arousing a parental instinct and masking malicious intentions. We see this at play in The Ring, as well as in Children of The Corn.

Moving away from children for a moment, the 5th is also a place of creative works, and corruption within the structure of creativity can be a lethal poison to the artist or craftsman. Maybe a short story you’ve been working on is taking on a character very different than what was intended, or is being co-opted and transformed by an aggressive collaborator. Or maybe like the Dr. Victor Frankensteins of the world, you’ll find that the success of your grand work is having terrible repercussions. Misery is another good example here, as an author’s success results in a crazy fan’s wrath when the story doesn’t go the way she wants it to. Be careful what you wish for, as good fortunes are just a coin flip away from a less desirable outcome.

Leo – Broken Homes

In the 4th House, Saturn in Scorpio will bring focus to hearth and home, to foundations. Is your doorstep unclean? The proud lions don’t like to admit that there may be dirt on their faces, let alone disrepair on the home front, so this might be a difficult transit.

There are a few different ways that this tends to manifest in horror stories. The most well-known is that of a bad place, a haunted house, and the disintegration of the family unit upon inhabiting this den of evil. The Shining, The Amityville Horror, and the less-impressive Burnt Offerings are all fine examples here. It may be, instead, that the whole family was corrupt and proud of it from the get-go, though this is obviously more horrible for hapless outsiders who stumble into their territory than it is for the family. Examples include the families from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, House of 1,000 Corpses, and on a sillier level, The Addams Family. The Munsters probably qualify too, but I never watched that show. Mrs. Bates and her scion from Psycho must be mentioned here, too.

Synthesizing both of these ideas is one of the most shocking movies I’ve ever seen, Takashi Miike’s Visitor Q. Not quite a horror movie, Visitor Q begins with a family unit that’s become fractured to a nigh-irreparable degree: the daughter has run away and fallen into prostitution. The father is one of her johns, is having an affair with a co-worker, and is on the verge of being fired from his already pathetic job. The mother is routinely beaten by the teenage son, who vents his frustration from being bullied back on the family. A mysterious visitor enters the picture, silently arranging circumstances that will cause the family to become closer to one another. In the process of healing their bond, however, they are forced to do more unspeakably horrible things than they ever did apart from one another. But at the end of the day, their  familial love is reinvigorated, as is their twisted pride. The lesson seems clear: family above all else, even in the most disgusting and unforgivable circumstances. So roll up those sleeves, get your hands dirty, and root through that emotional garbage to find what’s important.

Virgo – Siblings and Silence

The 3rd House deals with making the rounds in one’s neighborhood, with siblings (or friends close enough to be siblings,) and with expressing the contents of one’s mind. Virgo, already sort of twitchy and nervous, may find that with Saturn in Scorpio, the caution will be the potential horror caused by making one’s voice heard. Saying the wrong thing at the wrong time can cause a domino effect of destruction in a social setting. Moreover, writers may fear causing offense with their work, being ostracized because of it, or in more oppressive environs, may fear imprisonment for airing their thoughts.

One of my favorite plays, Martin McDonagh’s The Pillowman, deals with this exact topic. I try to stick to movies, being more widely accessible to most folks, but I think this example hits the nail on the head. The plot centers around a man named Katurian, who has been brought in for questioning by the police in a fictional totalitarian stare. Katurian is a very prolific, if not widely-published writer of grotesque children’s stories. Nearly all of his stories feature children dying horrible deaths. Not a crime to write about that…at least, not until children start dying in the exact same manner that his non-published stories detail, and he’s held as the prime suspect in the investigation. He works frantically to clear his name and to figure out how this could possibly be happening, but there’s no denying that the origin of these crimes lies with the tales that poured forth from his mind, riddled with childhood trauma.

A more obvious and accessible angle can be found in the film Dead Silence, wherein a vengeful ghost will only murder those who scream or speak in her presence. Mary Shaw was a talented ventriloquist, who was heckled viciously by a local boy one night during performance. Though she stunned the audience with an impressive display of ventriloquism that put the boy in his place.  He later went missing, and the townsfolk accused Mary of the crime, murdering her by cutting her tongue out. The focus here is certainly on thinking before speaking, especially with regard to the destructive nature of uniformed criticism.

The 3rd is also about twins and siblings. Dopplegangers and evil twins come into play here, as well as brothers and sisters with axes to grind. Michael Myers, of the Halloween films, is essentially a modern-day Cain to his sister’s Abel, a figure meant to be a natural compatriot and defender who instead hunts her down…and who never speaks.

Libra – The Precious

In the 2nd House, the focus of fear centers around the corrupting influence of worldly possessions and those who wield them. Anything you can own that others may covet, or which you go too far to defend, or which causes unnecessary worry or obsession. These are the things that Saturn in Scorpio will focus on for Libras these next two years. “Money is the root of all evil,” is a phrase to remember here, as greed and jealousy are primary symptoms of a corrupt element.

We see this manifest in a few different ways. Maybe the fear is of a plutocrat, controlling everything with their influence and leaving nothing for the rest of the world. This is The Devil card from the Tarot: the corrupt politician, the evil businessman, the mafia boss. Or maybe that same powerful person is willing to give you your heart’s desire if you will only accomplish a menial task for them, one that violates your morals as in Needful Things. It could be that the object or artifact itself holds some sinister power, like in the animated Heavy Metal, or as we see with the One True Ring. Do you go all Gollum over a particular possession? A car or computer, your wardrobe, a set of books?

On the subject of books, one of my personal favorite horror movies (and a less appreciated one to boot,) is The Ninth Gate. It deals with possessions as a corrupting influence, as Johnny Depp plays a rare books dealer who is commissioned to locate an original copy of a true Satanic Bible, one supposedly penned by Lucifer himself. He, like all the other dangerous characters pursuing the book, falls under its spell as he searches, growing closer to evil as he draws nearer to the book.

Some horror stories showcase this idea in a more overt way. While the Child’s Play films eventually turned into schlock-fests about dolls having murder sex, the original film holds up pretty nicely as a chilling example of a treasured object attaining malicious sentience. Christine features a murderous car, and of course, there’s always Deathbed: The Bed That Eats People to consider.

Scorpio – What Am I?

Scorpio, you’re a ruthless, guilt-stricken monster that puts everyone around you at risk. But you knew that already. Let’s discuss what Saturn’s going to put you through while transiting your sign.

Saturn’s about structure, rules, and responsibility. And as much as many of Saturn’s darker elements seem inherently Scorpionic, the fact is that Scorpio’s “ends justify the means” character often rationalizes boundaries away, whether the imperatives be lawful, moral, or personal. Getting the job done, killing the problem – this almost always takes precedence, but bending the rules is a slippery slope, can lead to a habit of ignoring structure where it might be beneficial.

Embracing structure, knowing when it can and can’t be avoided, knowing when it can be harnessed to beneficial effect and when you’re headed into a trap – these are all things that can help you do what you do.

Without these things, your Mars-ruled predilection may see you doing harm to yourself and others where none was even intended. A werewolf, transforming when your emotional full moon comes around and ripping everything to shreds, only to wake up with torn clothes and eviscerated loved ones. The fear here is of the self unrestrained, and the balancing act of putting a leash on that wolf. Too tight a grip makes a weak and domesticated wolfman, ineffective and not at all scary. And we know you’ve got to be able to use fear at times, so that won’t do. It’ll take a lot of hard work to find the right amount of slack to give yourself.

Another example, somewhat more relevant example of a monster without restraint would be the monster in Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. We’ve already discussed Dr. Frankenstein’s horror under the Cancer/5th House section, but the monster himself is experiencing a different sort of horror. Cobbled together from pieces of dead people, Frankenstein’s monster doesn’t know why he’s alive. All he wants to do is find family, friends, people to connect with and share himself with. But he conjures such terror and loathing in those that he encounters, that he lashes out.

Such is often the case with the Scorpio heart, seeking connection but harming instead. Again, this is something that can be amended through proper boundaries, and through an installation of a life purpose or mission, another hard gift that Saturn offers. For example, Dexter Morgan from Showtime’s Dexter. His father recognized what he was from an early age, knew he’d grow to be a ruthless killer no matter what. Instead of shunning him, driving him further into the darkness, he showed him love and gave him structure. Thus, Miami gained an avenger rather than another aimless killer. Sayid from Lost is another great television example of a Scorpio struggling to abide by a moral code.

Of course, the best example is probably Batman, another traumatized child who molded himself into an avatar of fear, but who wields that fear as a tool for justice. Batman’s moral code is so rigorous that, despite regularly butting heads with perhaps the most vicious and murderous rogue’s gallery in all of comics, he refuses to take a life himself for fear that he would not be able to stop. Again, wielding fear as a restrictive element, a building block in the skeleton of his moral boundaries.

So while Saturn’s making himself at home in your shadowy hidey-hole, sheathe your claws and take a listen. The things that terrify you may become your best tools.

Sagittarius – Unfinished Business and Dark Recesses

The 12th House is thought by many to be the most horrific house out of the twelve. They saved the best for last…just for you, Sag! The twelfth represents things you feel bound to or trapped by, imprisoned by. Sometimes this imprisonment is self-imposed, as with those seeking the divine who cloister themselves into monasteries. The fear here, though, is of that which cannot be escaped. Of personal histories, of skeletons in the closet, of things that make it harder for a person to live with what they’ve said or done.

Wow, take your pick. There are so many horror stories explore this concept, from The Tell-Tale Heart to I Know What You Did Last Summer. So many slashers or monsters come back to avenge a wrong done to them by the protagonists – here we have something the person or group has done that comes back to haunt them, as with Valentine’s Day, or the Friday the 13th movies, where Jason Vorhees (and originally, his mother,) seek to kill those who they think have done them wrong: the teenagers who, as camp counselors, were supposed to looking after Jason in life. As a result, his grudge extends to any teens unfortunate enough to come to his stomping grounds down at Camp Crystal Lake. (And then later, he goes to Manhattan for some reason. And then outer space…) The Japanese “onryo” ghost follows this pattern too, an undying curse that strikes out at whoever they perceive as those who have wronged them. We see this happen in Ju-On, as well as in the crappier American remake, The Grudge. Actually, the Japanese are really fond of this, so you see this in Shutter, One Missed Call, and probably scores of other similar films.

Jason and his fellow slashers really bring this concept to a Sagittarian place, though. They are usually hulking behemoths, slow-moving executioners who cannot be stopped. In the same way the Sagittarius fervently pursues a singular path, so do the Jasons of the horror world slowly but surely creep towards their doomed target. They’re sort of like the Tonberry from Final Fantasy, if any RPG nerds are reading and get that reference.

I group Freddy Krueger in here too, along with any other mind-flaying characters. Now, Freddy does have a vengeance grudge, but he was sort of a scummy child-murderer in life, long before the parents of Elm Street lynched him. For that reason, I’d normally group him in the 8th House, but the method of execution he uses is decidedly 12th House stuff. Freddy attacks through his targets’ dreams, a place they’re bound to and cannot escape from, a place where personal histories, relationships, and characteristics can be used against them. Same can be said for 1408, an evil hotel room which traps its inhabitants inside and forces them to relive the same hour over and over, an hour where the room subjects them to a barrage of hallucinations and horrors that usually include some deeply personal issues that the target would rather forget about.

The Saw franchise fits this mold too, possibly best of all. Jigsaw isn’t just senselessly murdering folks  – in his own messed up way, he’s trying to help them by binding in these elaborate murder traps. He takes the time to learn all about his target’s life, the ways that they’re wasting it or going astray, and then tests them accordingly. That the killer uses traps exclusively is indicative of the 12th House, as is the fact that each survival test is customized to the target’s personal failings.

And just as Jigsaw tests these people to see if they’re really willing to live, Saturn in Scorpio will ask Sagittarians to own up to the things they’ve done, to make peace with the closet full of skeletons, and muster the will to survive the transformative experience.

Capricorn – Hell Is Other People

The 11th is the House of friends and good fortunes. When fear is thrown into the mix, it calls for a restructuring of social circles which may result in a panicked frenzy of bridge-burning, and may leave the native a paranoid recluse.

The horror of this transit is perhaps best exemplified by The Invasion of The Body Snatchers. There have been a number of iterations of this classic story, wherein a town’s residents are slowly replaced by alien duplicates, but the creepiest version has to be 1978 film starring Donald Sutherland. The terrifying part about the invasion is how slowly and subtly it begins – an acquaintance suddenly acting strangely, like a new person. Then a small group who seems to be conspiring with one another. Suddenly, there’s a mob overrunning the town, and you and a small group are the only ones not pointing and hissing in a horrible, alien screech. Various other horror stories ape this pattern, like The Faculty and Stephen King’s Tommyknockers.

A slightly different way that this can manifest is in the fear of a welcoming group, wherein the fear is based on what they represent, and what you will therefore become by counting yourself among their ranks. Best example of this is the 1932 classic, Freaks, well-known for its famous, “One of us! One of us!” scene. The plot centers around a beautiful trapeze artist named Cleopatra, who seduces a sideshow midget after learning that he’s due a large inheritance. The titular sideshow freaks, frightening in appearance, but large in heart, make attempts to support their midget friend and welcome his new love into the fold. When her deception is finally uncovered, the group bands together to exact carnie justice, and it’s a pretty unforgettable cinematic moment.

Saturn is typically Capricorn’s homeboy. Make sure to listen up when he’s expounding on your social circles and your motivations for involvement therein.

Aquarius – In For a Penny

In the 10th House of career and honors, Saturn in Scorpio exposes the corrupting influence of the drive to achieve. Success is a frightening concept in many ways because driving toward it ups the stakes for a person, applying pressure to a life that might’ve been lived simply and with minimal ambition. The terror here is three-fold: the fear of what it takes to get to your goal, the fear of what happens if you don’t reach it, and the fear of what happens if you do. The fact that “success” is so nebulously defined by many is an additional cause for heartache and horror, as the societal idea of success may not fit a personal definition of what one would like to achieve.

American Psycho seems a commentary on what kind of person it takes to reach the general idea of American affluence and “success.” The protagonist, Patrick Bateman, is as mad as the title implies: a young Manhattanite investment banker of the 80’s Wall Street boom who gets his kicks by committing acts of serial murder. Obsessing over the peculiar, mundane aspects of his professional life, Bateman analyzes the color and texture of colleagues’ business cards (and, thus, their implied status,) praises and ridicules others on their fashion sense, and maintains a joylessly rigorous physical fitness routine. Indeed, the only things that seem to make him happy are Huey Lewis records and killing prostitutes. And yet, he thrives in this setting, continuing his rise to prestige even after attempting to confess all of his crimes to a colleague.

For a more classical and Aquarian look at the horror of success, consider H.G. Wells’ The Invisible Man, wherein a mocked scientist named Griffin alters his body’s refractive index, rendering himself effectively invisible. Here we see success of a goal, but not the honors that are supposed to go along with 10th House fare, as Griffin is unable to reverse the process or to enlist the aid of others to help him do so. Forced to choose between a life of invisibility or the life of a pariah (he has already assaulted several townspeople in a frantic attempt to make himself understood,) Griffin goes on a reign of terror against the society which refused to give him due credit for his Promethean discovery. A modern-day, less fantastic version of this personal horror can be seen in the Michael Douglas film Falling Down, where a laid-off, recently divorced engineer abandons his car in traffic and begins a shotgun rampage through Los Angeles. The honors he was due were revoked after years of work, and he became an “invisible.” He snapped under the pressure and lashed out, just like Griffin.

A final example is that of Charles Foster Kane, the lead character in Citizen Kane, a newspaper mogul so driven toward conventional ideas of success that he failed to note the corruption overtaking the structure of his personal life. Growing too obsessed with this area of life destroyed the rest of it, and left him a lonely shell of a man, despite his palatial estate, vast resources, and the power his name would evoke.

This may be a difficult transit for Aquarians. Though they have an affinity with Saturn through rulership, Saturn in Scorpio demands some work on the structure of the heart, a place many Aquarians are too heady to locate. Specifically, the lesson seems to be focused on emotional investment involved in professional matters, and the toll it may take on the rest of one’s life.

 Pisces – Belief System Meltdown

Finally, we have Saturn in Scorpio transiting the 9th House of Pisces. The 9th, despite being cadent, is generally considered to be a beneficial house, signifying spirituality, long journeys, higher education. Referred to by Hellenistic astrologers as the House of the God, it is on personally-held beliefs and their challenges that we will focus here. Though I can think of a few examples for the other significations…

Heart of Darkness seems a meditation on the fearful nature of a long journey into wild territory, and Final Destination begins as, and remains, one of the many films that make one think twice about stepping onto an airplane. Compulsory education is an unpleasant and fearful endeavor, but higher education implies that the student has sought out knowledge, though what will that knowledge turn them into? Apt Pupil explores this line of questioning, as an American teen discovers that his neighbor is a retired Nazi in hiding, and blackmails him into sharing his experiences from his time at the death camps. The boy grows obsessed with Nazism, and in turn, the Nazi persuades him to achieve in high school. He emerges as a well-educated instrument of malice.

Back to belief. Religion often plays a key role in horror, being that the dark forces ]manifest from a place of “opposite.” Most often, they spring from demons and Satan, opposite of angels and God, though that gets flipped on its head in films like The Prophecy or Legion, where angels become the demons who want to exterminate humanity. Sometimes it is the fear of persecution and dogma that drives the story, like in The Pit and The Pendulum, which centers around the horrors committed by the Spanish Inquisition. Witches and heretics represent challenges to widely-held beliefs, and thus, were hunted. The Crucible is a chilling look at the way that mass belief can be wielded as a weapon.

The best of the bunch seem to merge these two ideas, though. The Exorcist, and all pretenders to the throne, centers on a priest whose belief system is fractured, who is going through a crisis of faith. There is an idea put forth by the Catholic Church that demonic possessions occur because God wants to temper and fortify the souls of the righteous in order to perfect them, and the ordeal of possession coupled with the rite of exorcism is one way to do this. In the case of this film, this would focus not just on Regan, the possessed child, but on the young priest, Father Damien Karras, whose dogma-weary faith is bolstered by seeing God’s dark opposite. For if the Devil exists, then God must be there, too

Subsequent exorcism movies like The Rite, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, and The Last Exorcism similarly explore these concepts. From a different angle, so does Candyman, the black, male, hook-handed Bloody Mary, who survives through legend and mythos, and who emerges to kill again when that myth is waning.

Lastly, fear of a foreign belief system is relevant here, as the 9th House is indicative of long journeys, and thus, foreign travel. Another favorite of mine is the 1973 film, The Wicker Man, which stars Christopher Lee (not the godawful Neil Labute/Nic Cage remake.) In this tale, a very upright, uptight Christian police officer from mainland England flies out to Summerisle, a remote island off Britain’s coast, in order to investigate the reported disappearance of a little girl. Once there, he finds that all the residents are incredibly unhelpful, playing dumb at times and outright mocking his search at others, providing contradictory answers and doing everything to confound him. Undeterred, he continues his search of the island only to discover that all its residents hold nature-based Pagan beliefs, including the rite of ritual sacrifice in order to appease the harvest gods. Learning that they had a bad harvest the previous year and that their annual festival is to be held soon, he suspects that they intend to sacrifice the girl, and moves to intercede.

Our protagonist’s disgust at the Pagan practices of the Summerisle residents causes him to dehumanize them and consider them monstrous barbarians. This assumption blinds him to a much more sinister plot, and in the end, holding fast to his beliefs ends up being the source of his greatest horror.

And so, with Saturn in Scorpio here, the focus must be on an evaluation of corruption of belief. Too much of this can lead to a disintegration and plunge one into Nihilism, but refusing to investigate at all will keep one entrenched in the realm of blind faith, and ensure that they either become a monster who persecutes or be persecuted themselves. True faith takes temperance and sincere emotional investment, and Saturn’s transit through Scorpio asks Pisces to meditate on these matters.

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Jupiter in Leo – Spiritual Courage, Pt. 1 of 2

Jupiter in Leo – symbol of spirituality or spiritual courage?

by Marko Obranović

Jupiter is on its way through Leo on August 11th, 2015 and is reminding us of all the famous media start born under this configuration. It is a divine combination for someone wishing to be on a shining world stage. It can be found in natal charts of famous directors, actors and music performers. But this is, more or less, information known in the astrological community, general knowledge. The question is: are there any other traits that can be connected with fiery Leo and expanding Jupiter?

Astrologers have written extensively on the Jupiter Cycle and its approximate 12 years of traveling through the Zodiac. For each individual cycle begins from the position Jupiter occupied in the natal chart and from there it travels roughly 30° per year which marks 1/12 of its cycle. Step by step it expands, organizes and socializes the areas of personal charts which he transits (1). His influence is modified by Saturn, limiting, but also a constructive partner. Very often expectations from Jupiter’s transits are overstated or make us think something much bigger will happen than eventually does, but he brings hope that things will be better.

Hope is one of the strongholds of organized religions. Just endure something; sickness, poverty, lack of love or place to stay, and in the future a divine hand will touch you and grant your wishes. Jupiter compensates what Saturn has rigidly denied. You just have to believe, be part of our community and belong to us, to the organized religion whose borders and laws are strictly set by sacred ancestors with Saturn’s face. Inside this set community, Jupiter is a high priest, the one that preaches and promises salvation and organizes the faithful ones.

The beginning of current Zodiac is set at the first degree of Aries. This is an appropriate start when we look on evolution of humanity through an individualistic angle. Taking this into account, we can observe evolution of religious beliefs of an individual from that starting point. When Jupiter crosses the Vernal Equinox, it marks some sort of spark for religious development. From beginning of Aries until the end of Gemini, this process is strongly individualistic when it is transformed from strictly personal to a group or family level in Cancer. We can argue to some extent that relative freedom in developing a personal approach to religion exists in the first three signs of the Zodiac. This freedom is just relative, as the new cycle brings with it residues or karma from the previous one which ended in Pisces.

In Aries, a need for religious quest is awakened, Taurus focuses the need, in Gemini we learn about the religion and finally in Cancer it is set as some sort of foundation with which we go through life hoping for the best.

What happens in Leo?

Contrary to its opposite sign, Aquarius, Leo is not often regarded as a rebellious character. Maybe this is correct in the matters of social rebellion, but Leo confronts every time his ego is hurt. This rebellion is often evoked by selfish reasons which mostly bring personal gain or defeat but in certain cases they are indications of wider social changes starting from a single individual.

To the most of us religion inherited from family (Cancer) is something we take for granted. People continue the religious rituals in the same or similar way they ancestors did. But, Jupiter in Leo is the first step after the family and a time to take one step further. This step is sometimes a revolt and sometimes an effort to show the world that what we received in the private circumstances of home life deserves to be shown to a wider audience.

This article will present a number of examples of famous historical or contemporary personalities born with Jupiter in Leo whose influence manifested in their lives in three distinct fashions. Every group of examples has a few things in common which can be connected with basic symbolism of Jupiter and Leo; organized religion and/or individual rebellion against it, emancipation of a particular group inside organized religion and expansion of spirituality learned inside a family or some other wider community (Leo as a next step after Cancer). In most cases, actions were personally motivated and can, to some extent, be explained with Saturn’s natal chart impact, but the end results had far more social sway.

  1. Rebels against and critics of traditional religion

Before the rebellion there has to be something or someone to rebel against, there has to be an example which shows that Jupiter in Leo is strongly connected with traditional religion.

Probably the best example is the late Pope John Paul II born with culminate conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune in Leo. It is relatively easy to notice the strong influence of this configuration throughout his life. Based on his biography, at the beginning of his third Jupiter cycle, on February 29th 1944 he was hit by a Nazi army truck which caused him severe injuries. Survival and recovery marks some sort of inner conformation of his vocation as a priest. This cycle was in the last phase as Jupiter was passing through Cancer when he earned his PhD in Sacred Theology in 1954. Political struggles inside Poland prevented him from receiving that degree until 1957, at the start of his fourth Jupiter cycle. In June of 1967, at the start of his fifth cycle he was promoted to the Sacred College of Cardinals, an advisory college in the Vatican from which a new Pope is selected. At the start of his sixth cycle he was elected as Pope John Paul II (2, 3).

His life path was very much connected with the Jupiter cycle but he also tried to transcend exclusivity of one inherited religion with the help of universal Neptune. All this under strong influence of Saturn in Virgo with his apparent effort to develop servitude and humility.

But, who were the rebels?

Thomas Henry Huxley was a 19th century English biologist and grandfather of famous writer Aldous Huxley. History remembers him from various scientific work but the fact that stands out is his famous debate with Samuel Wilberforce in 1860 which was the key moment for acceptance of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. Thomas was born with Jupiter in Leo conjunct his ASC and Saturn in Gemini in the 11th house. He called himself “Darwin’s bulldog” and through a battle for scientific appreciation of Darwin’s work, he purely reflected his natal chart. Outspoken Jupiter on an academic stage was pushing intellectual borders of knowledge set by Saturn in Gemini and the teachings of creationism. He is the one that coined the term “agnostic,” representing his religious beliefs, an individual statement which can be explained as “someone who neither believes nor disbelieves in the existence of a deity or deities”. Just as a final curiosity, a famous debate of his took place at the Oxford University Museum in Oxford, England, on June 30th of 1860, a few hours after Jupiter entered Leo and was crossing his ASC (4, 5).

Interesting fact:

In 1873, at the start of his fifth Jupiter cycle, the King of Sweden made Huxley a Knight of the Order of the Polar Star (4).

Famous French writer, historian and philosopher Voltaire was born with Jupiter in Leo and Saturn in Capricorn. His natal chart battle between these two planetary positions is clearly seen in his work through attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state. Ha was one of the key thinkers of The Enlightenment, battling superstition and supporting religious tolerance. This was a battle for an individual freedom from old dogmas and tradition, not a revolution, but it is interesting to note here that the flashpoint for the French Revolution, the storming of the Bastille, happened on July 14th, 1789 during Jupiter in Leo.

With theatrical Jupiter in Leo, he used his satires to uncover true weaknesses of the organized state and religion (Saturn in Capricorn). The Age of Enlightenment was sparked in late 17th century by the ones like Descartes and Bacon (with Jupiter in Aries,) more thoroughly developed in works of Baruch Spinoza and John Locke (Jupiter in Taurus,) and some sort of literary statement, sum or peak of those ideas was presented in famous French “Encyclopédie” published between 1751 (Jupiter in Gemini from 29th June) and 1772. Voltaire was one of the main contributors in this enormous collection of 28 volumes written, for the first time in Western civilization from the point of individual or intellectual authority, not religious dogmas (6, 7).

Interesting fact:

Jean-François Lefebvre de la Barre (September 12, 1745 – July 1, 1766; during Jupiter in Leo) was a young French nobleman, famous for having been tortured and beheaded before his body was burnt on a pyre along with Voltaire’s Philosophical Dictionary. La Barre is often said to have been executed for not saluting a Roman Catholic religious procession, but the elements of the case were far more complex (6).

Søren Kierkegaard, 19th century Danish philosopher, is another famous example of the combination of Jupiter in Leo and Saturn in Capricorn. Considered to be the first existentialist philosopher, he wrote critical texts on organized religion, Christendom, morality, ethics, psychology and philosophy of religion. The foundation of his philosophical thinking was “living human individual” and its relationship to life. His open attack on the Danish Church started in the last years of his life and were provoked with a speech held for the deceased Bishop Jacob Peter Mynster (here is an example of Jupiter in Leo rebelling against authority of Saturn in Capricorn,) after which he strongly objected to the idealized presentation of the bishop’s religious actions and public image. Kierkegaard’s stressed individual relation to Christianity (Jupiter in Leo) contrary to organized bureaucratic church controlled by the state (Saturn in Capricorn). His vast writings on religion are fascinating examples of questions and thoughts on individual sincerity in relation with Christianity (8).

“…it should immediately be borne in mind that the issue is not about the truth of Christianity but about the individual’s relation to Christianity, consequently not about the indifferent individual’s systematic eagerness to arrange the truths of Christianity in paragraphs but rather about the concern of the infinitely interested individual with regard to his own relation to such a doctrine.” (9)

One of the most famous 19th century French novelists and poets, Victor Hugo, was born with Jupiter in Leo (culminate, on Regulus) in conjunction with Saturn in Virgo; both retrograde in opposition with Sun, Venus and Pluto in 4th. He was brought up by a strongly religious mother, but his religious views changed radically throughout his life. From strong identification with his family Catholic religion in his youth to election for parliament as a conservative during the end of his third Jupiter return in 1848 and breaking off with conservatives after a speech for the end of poverty and misery in 1849 at a beginning of his fourth Jupiter cycle. Soon after the beginning of his fourth Jupiter cycle Hugo was forced into political exile, where he continued his estrangement from traditional religion, frequenting Spiritism and settling in Rational Deism, similar to Voltaire. After the return from exile, at the beginning of his sixth Jupiter cycle in 1872, after being asked if he was a Catholic, his answer was “No, a Freethinker”. He insisted on burying his sons without religious symbol and demanded the same procedure for his funeral (10, 11).

Interesting fact:

His famous book, Les Miserables, was published during his exile in spring of 1862, at the beginning of his fifth Jupiter cycle. The book appeared in Index Librorum Prohibitorum – a list of publications deemed heretical, anti-clerical or lascivious, and therefore banned by the Catholic Church. He passed away on May 22nd 1885 with transiting Jupiter in Leo on 27° conjunct his natal Jupiter on 29° closing in on his final cycle (10, 12).

One of the more contemporary examples of natal Jupiter in Leo rebelling against religious institutions can be found in Sinead O’Connor and her Saturday Night Live performance in October of 1992, when she tore up a photo of Pope John Paul II as a protest against sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Her Saturn is in last degrees of Pisces (symbol of institutions) and part of a complex T-square involving Venus in Sagittarius and Pluto and Uranus in Virgo. Her Jupiter is retrograde and alone in the half of the Zodiac separated with a Saturn-Uranus conjunction opposing Pluto. She stood alone on that Leo’s stage on Saturday Night Live. Her actions had deeply personal motivation as she was physically abused as a child by her mother, who she left in 1979 at the beginning of her second Jupiter cycle. This cycle got its conclusion or reaping of the benefits in its last stage during transition of Jupiter from Cancer to Leo in 1990 when she reached global success with her hit song “Nothing Compares 2 U” (13).


Marko Obranović is a university food scientist with a lifelong passion for astrology. He combines these two subjects on his bilingual blog, Terra Astrology (, sometimes as individual topics or together as a “from the stars” view on contemporary health nutrition. For personal consultation or other discussion, he can be reached through email ( or Skype (mobranovic).

Planetary Reception, Part I

by Ryhan Butler

Reception, as an astrological technique and philosophy, has mostly fallen to the wayside in modern astrological literature.  This is partially due to the rearrangement of the classical dignity scheme to make room for the modern planets, but misinformation has also played a big part.  This is unfortunate because reception and the associated concepts serve to enrich our understanding of aspects and the accuracy of our delineations.In this short three part series we’re going to cover reception with great detail, but in this first part the focus is going to be on a medieval technique referred to as pushing.

Pushing is a medieval concept that, like the rest of reception, is mostly absent from modern astrological vernacular.  This is somewhat understandable considering pushing is something that is only applies to aspects, so it tends to get overshadowed by the grandiosity of the aspect philosophy and doctrine as it operates mostly in the background and doesn’t need to be mentioned for an aspect to have meaning, but it plays an important part in it.  There are several types of pushing (management, nature, and power), but the most common is management, which is also referred to as counsel.

Pushing management occurs during any applying aspect.  The basic idea is that faster planets (classically thought of as “inferior” due to their placement in the Ptolemaic Spheres) will push their significations to the heavier or superior planets they apply to.  These significations depend on numerous variables and are unique to each chart, though some generalizations still apply.  For example, a planet that rules the Fifth house is going to signify children, creativity and good fortune. When the faster planet applies to the heavier planet, it implores the heavier planet to assist it in bringing its significations to pass.

The success or failure of pushing is determined by several factors including, but not limited to, the aspect type involved and the heavier planet’s nature.  This calls for close scrutiny of both planets involved to determine if an aspect is going to have a desired effect.  A good modern day analogy would be asking a favor of a stranger.  The likelihood of this stranger assisting you is going to be determined by the same factors as pushing; how you approach them (aspect type), if they are generally friendly or unfriendly (their nature), if the two of you are in some shared circumstance (reception), and if they have the ability to do the job requested of them (placement).

In this example, the Moon applies to Venus through an opposition aspect, or, said another way, the Moon pushes her significations to Venus through an opposition.  The questions an astrologer needs to ask in this situation are “Will Venus accept the Moon’s significations?” and “Will Venus be able to assist the Moon in bringing what she wants about?” So let’s look into those.

The type of aspect describes the manner in which the faster planet approaches the slower, so here the Moon has approached Venus with an opposition, which is the most inherently adversarial.  This already colors this relationship with some difficulty.  After this we need to consider the superior planet’s nature; Venus is an inherently benefic planet and will naturally try to assist other planets, so this is positive.  Another consideration (which will be discussed in more depth later) is reception and here Venus receives the Moon into her exaltation, which is positive as Venus has opened herself up to the Moon and grants permission to what she signifies.  So, will Venus accept the Moon’s significations?  Yes, though the opposition will make it more difficult.

The second question still needs to be answered “Can Venus help?”  The answer to this is no, since Venus is in her Fall in Virgo and lacks strength to assist or resources to provide.  An analogy would be as if the Moon asked Venus to help her with an assignment and Venus agreed, only to find out the assignment was to translate something from Chinese and Venus doesn’t know how to read that language.

So what does this mean?  How is this synthesized into an interpretation?  If we were to imagine the example as a horary chart with Venus ruling the Seventh, we could take it as a question about a potential relationship.  The potential partner would be open to the romantic advances of our querent since Venus receives the Moon and naturally seeks to unify, but would be unable to commit (due to the lack of dignity) to them perhaps due to something involving their career or some perceived status (being placed in the Tenth).  It can be considered similarly in a natal chart with Venus ruling the Seventh and the Moon ruling the Ninth.  Perhaps the native’s spouse is open to supporting the native’s religious practice, but is unable or unwilling to follow it themselves.

Pushing management implies that lighter planets rarely manifest their significations alone, and this is correct.  This only occurs a couple of ways, the first being when a planet is not currently making any applying aspects.  Not having a heavier planet to pass their significations onto a planet will try to do it themselves based on their own strength and nature.  Another circumstance in which a planet must manifest its significations all on its own is if the lighter planet is applying to a heavier planet which is retrograde or Combust.

Applying to a retrograde planet results in what is called a return of light.  Since the two planets are applying to one another, they essentially play a game of celestial hot potato with the significations.  In the end, the significations remain with the originator, who gets them back with a big “Return to Sender” sticker.  This is considered unfortunate unless the originating planet is dignified which gives them strength to accomplish their signification.  Finally, applying to a Combust planet results in the light implied in the aspect getting lost in the brilliance of the nearby Sun.  The message is lost.  This can be mitigated if the heavier planet is Combust in its domicile or exaltation (being in its Chariot, and thereby protected from the Sun’s rays.)

A wealth of detail unfolds when we analyze aspects in respect to pushing. It also adds greater depth to our understanding of the general aspect doctrine. Still, it can only take us so far.  The next step in understanding planetary relationships is to investigate reception. Reception is the reason why some squares succeed and others fail. It also has much larger implications on a planet’s overall health.  Both the technical definition of Reception and its philosophical implications will be discussed in the next installment, Planetary Reception, Part II:  Guests and Hosts.

About Ryhan Butler:

Ryhan is the creator of Medieval Astrology Guide, and has studied classical astrological techniques with an emphasis on medieval astrology for just short of a decade.  He has lectured locally and as a part of national conferences, working to spread the techniques of medieval astrology to those who would otherwise not encounter them or may not immediately see their value.  He is also an active member of the Association for Young Astrologers and is currently serving on the steering committee of the Association for Astrological Networking.


Interview With Astrologer Leisa Schaim

Leisa Schaim is a professional astrologer based out of Denver, Colorado. Her recent article on the ancient concept of sect, and its role in interpreting the Saturn return, was featured in last year’s premier issue of The Ascendant – AYA’s official journal. In this interview, Leisa speaks with AYA VP Nick Civitello on her experiences with Saturn as a tempering force, and how it shaped her role as an astrologer.

NC: Saturn’s on the rising here in New York as I type this, so let’s start there. Saturn returns have become a specialty topic of yours in the last few years. What drew you to this topic in particular?

LS: Well, I became interested in the Saturn return very early in my process of learning astrology. I had started to notice how pivotal that period of time was in so many people’s lives – that things that ended up defining their adult lives for decades afterwards would often have either their beginning or a defining turning point then. I’d always been sort of fascinated by the very different paths that people’s lives take, even before I was introduced to astrology, so this seemed like a major puzzle piece of how that happens.

At the same time, I’d also seen more than a few instances of tragedy or inordinate difficulty befalling people around this time. And as someone with a rather melancholic temperament, this had been a longtime preoccupation of mine more generally, that whole ‘why do bad things happen to good people’ question. So I guess that made me initially keep thinking about and watching the Saturn return phenomenon, to see if it could help me understand anything more about that question.

NC: And yet, cross-culturally, it doesn’t seem like there is any sort of adulthood ritual that centers around this time of life. In honesty, I hadn’t observed this make-or-break threshold period before I began studying astrology. What do you think it is about this time of life that is so crucial, and why do you think it’s not prominently recognized outside of our community?

LS: There have begun to be some pop culture references, especially the ’27 Club’ and so forth (musicians who died at age 27), and some references to the ‘quarter-life crisis’ (seems to be referring to either mid-20s or late 20s, depending on the author). But you’re right, it doesn’t seem to be a prominently recognized marker outside of astrology. I think this is partially due to it having such different specific manifestations in different people’s lives depending on their specific chart placements. Also, in terms of adulthood rituals, they traditionally would have been held so much sooner than the end of one’s 20s. So I think that another part of why it doesn’t have a recognized, fixed meaning in the larger culture has to do with longevity increasing so much over the last century or so; the late 20s occupies quite a different space than it used to, in which it’s almost acceptable to still be figuring out your place in the world, rather than having to be settled into that for a decade or longer already. So you’ll see Saturnian effects happening either way, but ones that seem to interact some with the cultural space of that age. Also, remembering back to my undergrad social sciences days, it was considered notable to even talk about adult developmental stages at all, and the models that did look at that included large age ranges together, like Erik Erikson’s young adult stage spanning 18-40 – they were really concerned with broader strokes of adult life stages than the Saturn return would be describing.

NC: As we’ve discussed, you’re well-known for working with Kronos. In fact, you co-write a blog named “Saturn Return Stories.” I don’t know your chart well. Is Saturn prominently placed? Do you consider yourself Saturnine in character?

LS: Saturn is near the top of my chart, so yes, somewhat prominently placed. It’s not the only planet that I’d consider prominent, but one of them. My primary temperament is melancholic, which is considered the Saturnine one. I’d say more life experiences than character, but that definitely becomes a bit circular.

NC: How did you come to astrology?

LS: I was always someone who wondered about the big picture of life, the ‘why’ behind everything. So I had done some searching, including living in Buddhist meditation centers towards the end of my college years. Around the same time, I found my first astrology book that went beyond sun signs and was temporarily very excited, but then put it aside.

Perhaps appropriately for the continuing Saturn theme, I returned to astrology through suffering. At one point in my early twenties I had gotten suddenly very ill, and I stayed that way for quite a while. Eventually I got a lot better, though not completely, and I thought it was behind me. But then a few years later I had a relapse, and consequently had a lot of free time alone. Browsing the internet, I came upon sites that featured full astrological charts, and I curiously started looking at my own to see if it could answer why I was going through hell. It seemed to match up with my experience, and so I kept learning from there.

NC: And what keeps you involved?

LS: I’d say what keeps me involved is that astrology continues to match up so well with life, and I find that fascinating. It’s remarkable that there are these maps of how we experience our lives, ourselves, and other people, that can show both the arcs of decades as well as the quality of a brief part of a day. In addition, I’ve had the experience of occasionally learning a new technique that gives new insight into the structure of how life and time actually operate, and I find that so fulfilling and kind of mind-blowing. I’ve always been a person who is both spiritually interested but also skeptical/wanting proof for things, and astrology is positioned so well at that exact overlap between the two.

NC: Out of curiosity, what was that first astrology book that went beyond Sun signs?

LS: That first astrology book was one that some astrologers like to laugh about, The Only Astrology Book You’ll Ever Need – because of course, it’s hardly the only one you’ll need. But it does introduce a lot if you’ve only known about sun signs before that.

NC: I’ve only thumbed through that one, but I’ve heard other astrologers cite it as a great beginner text. Any other influences that you’d like to give some love to?

LS: Early on, I read pretty widely amongst the common modern astrology books and websites – Steven Forrest, Stephen Arroyo, Rob Hand, many others. I later studied Hellenistic astrology with Chris Brennan, which initially gave me quite the paradigm crisis, because the fact that those principles and techniques worked as well as they did led to immediate philosophical implications that changed my entire orientation to astrology. However, I now find that learning invaluable for accurately understanding concrete areas of a person’s life, as well as providing some eerily specific timing techniques; I currently focus more on that side of things in consultations, though I appreciate knowing psychological approaches as well to bring in when relevant.

NC: What do you think the astrology world needs now?

LS: In my dream world, there would be colleges offering financial aid where one could learn astrology, much like Kepler College was trying to do before with earning accreditation. That is pretty near impossible right now given the status of astrology in the larger culture, but I say that because otherwise the path to comprehensively learning astrology well can be extremely piecemeal and take longer than it needs to. Of course there are some schools, but then you need the money to attend, which not everyone has.

NC: Any advice that you could offer to young astrologers and aspirants?

LS: There are two main pieces of advice I would offer to younger people interested in astrology.

The first is to meet other astrologers. You can learn so much more quickly when not in a vacuum, and it helps more quickly filter out the non-essential or questionable things out there. The internet is great resource of free information, but the quality completely spans the spectrum, and on your own you can waste a lot of time sorting through it all. So I’d say go to conferences and join dedicated astrology forums, and then you can continue those conversations when you’re back home.

The second would be to always test what you read against real life. Astrology, at its best, puts our lives into a greater meaningful perspective and offers insights we might not have realized on our own. But the flip side of that is that spiritual/metaphysical theories can be put forth that may or may not line up with reality. So it’s an important discernment process to try on what you’re reading and see if it does line up or not with your life and those of others you know well, and what you know non-astrologically of the wider world.

NC: Thanks very much for talking with us, Leisa.

Leisa’s website is, where she can be reached regarding consultations. Read more of her writing on Saturn Return Stories –


Mars in the House of Death

Our guest blogger this time is  Dr. Jennifer Zahrt, who completed her PhD in German literature and film at UC  Berkeley.  She is the senior book editor at Sophia Centre Press,  and the deputy editor of  “Culture and Cosmos,” a journal of the history of astrology and cultural astronomy.  

Elsbeth Ebertin (1880–1944) was a German graphologist and astrologer famous for once predicting the rise of Hitler to power in Germany, as well as for being the mother of cosmobiologist Reinhold Ebertin (1901–1988). Few people know, however, that she also wrote a novel.

Ebertin began her career as a writer and graphologist but quickly became a prolific and prominent astrologer, covering topics such as the astrology of Jacob Böhme, for example.[1] In 1924, she tried her hand at fiction producing the novel Mars in the House of Death (Der Mars im Todeshause), wherein she attempted to persuade readers of the validity of astrology by depicting a couple’s experience with an astrological prediction.

The novel carries the subtitle “An Astrological Film-novel Based on an Actual Event,” and in 1925 the text was filmed as It Is Written in the Stars (In den Sternen steht’s geschrieben) by Münchner Lichtspielkunst AG (Emelka) in Munich.[2] That Ebertin’s novel was translated to film reveals the affinity between astrological narratives and visual forms, even though the title of her film—It Is Written in the Stars—also belies the underlying primacy of textuality in celestial and early cinematic legibility. Unfortunately, the film version of Ebertin’s novel has been lost. However, copies of the novel remain, and the first-edition cover reveals a compelling mixture of astrological symbol with celestial vision (Figure 1). It depicts the glyph of Mars suspended in space, as if the glyph itself were the actual planet.

Set entirely in the later years of Wilhelmine Germany, the story opens with the discussion of Herr Heinz von Behren’s horoscope. A circular graphic of his natal chart appears on the third page to illuminate the reading. Von Behren’s wife, Adele, is taken aback when she reads the prediction that her husband will be killed suddenly. The von Behrens allude to this prediction throughout the text as if it were some kind of curse hanging over their marriage. Neither character practices astrology directly in the text, nor do they have any direct narrative dialogue with astrologers. Interestingly, though, the husband visits a male astrologer (the one who predicts his death), and the wife begins to learn astrological symbolism from a female astrologer. Adele never learns the technical side of astrology, for at the end of the novel, when a more detailed interpretation of her husband’s horoscope is revealed to her and the reader, she maintains that she cannot understand the technical astrological terminology.

The astrologer’s final interpretation of von Behren’s horoscope enhances the stress on astrology as a diagnostic tool. Even though the interpretation includes a prediction, it only serves its purpose in the narrative after the plot event—the death of the husband (no surprise!)—has passed. There is a tension between the novel’s explicit desire to prove that the astrologer issued a successful prediction and the novel format itself which betrays a fundamental determinism—the plot is already written. The result is that the astrological prediction can only ever really be diagnostic in this narrative form, as persuasive as it might be to want to believe that the prediction was accurate. Ultimately, despite its own intentions, Ebertin’s novel shows that the practice of astrology in Germany was moving in the direction of becoming a diagnostic art aimed at unlocking the riddles of human psychology.

Even though her own astrology is informed by Theosophical interpretations, Ebertin takes part in the early twentieth-century trend in Germany of using astrology as a psychological diagnostic tool to aid the individual in developing self-understanding. She joins authors and astrologers such as Oscar A. H. Schmitz, Count Hermann Keyserling, Fritz Werle, Herbert von Klöckler, and Olga von Ungern-Sternberg, among others, whose narratives of astrological experience provide evidence of the significant role astrology played in the lives of individuals during the Weimar Republic.


[1] See her Historische und zeitgenössiche Charackterbilder nach Handschrift, Bild, Nativität, und Lebenswerken bedeutender Denker und Dichter [wie: Dante Alighieri, J. Wolfgang v. Goethe, Friedr. Nietzsche, Aug. Strindberg, Oscar Wilde, Gust. Meyrink, Joseph Aug. Lux] (Freiburg [Baden]: Fr. P. Lorenz, 1921). I find it interesting that she includes Meyrink in the same lineup as Dante, Goethe, and Nietzsche. Most of Ebertin’s texts were published through the Regulus Verlag in Görlitz. Later this press would be abused by British psychological warfare in WWII. See, Howe, Astrology: A Recent History, esp. 116, 218.

[2] Willy Reiber directed the film, and the cinematographer was Franz Koch. See “Vom Sternen zum Stern,” Die Filmwoche 19 (1925): 449.

Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Religion

Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Religion

By: June Rose Trimbach

This article is about the relationship between Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Religion. Meaning can be derived from studying the symbolism of the planets. The planetary symbols are all created from the interplay of 3 base symbols:

1. the Spirit: symbolized by a circle; the Sun is pure spirit

2. the Soul: symbolized by a crescent; the Moon is pure soul.

3. the Cross of Matter: symbolized by a cross; the Elements, i.e. the building blocks of the manifest world are material.

These three planets, Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune, hold the same two symbolic components: the Cross of Matter and the Soul as represented by the Moon. They are the only planets that hold exclusively these two components, which link their meanings together. We will explore the inherent difference in Spirit and Soul in order to gain insight into why these planets are composed of Soul and not Spirit. These three planets show the relationship of the soul to the material world: the longing for meaning on planet Earth; through this symbolism we can see the connected meaning in the concept of Religion.

I find myself, as I study astrology, getting deeper and deeper into Christianity. I was raised atheist, so this discovery of religion is both puzzling and deeply exciting. As I contemplated certain planetary energies in my chart, I started to find myself crossing my heart naturally without conscious intent: a reaction, and a clue to myself that this study of Christianity had begun to sink in. So what is the act of crossing yourself anyway? It’s a reminder to be aligned with the Christ principles: forgiving love and service. The experience of crossing planetary energy that exists within the body is aligning oneself with Christian ideals, and that comes with its own set of things to ponder.

The Cross in Christianity is definitely related to the Cross of Matter as seen in the idiom “we all have our own cross to bare.” The phrase inspires a bit of a fatalistic feeling mixed with honor in dealing with your own problems. This is very Saturnine, and it is not surprising that Saturn is the first planet to arise when contemplating a religion. Saturn’s relationship to religion is in its authority and its requirement of upholding tradition. His symbol is the Cross of Matter put above the Crescent of the Soul. Tradition and authority either dominate Soul through the Greater Malefic Saturn, or the Soul bows down and holds up the tradition. The adherence to a higher principle is the duty bestowed on oneself with the gesture of a cross; the adherence to compassion, temperance, etc. This adherence is upheld through ritual and routine: going to church every Sunday, meditating every day, prayer. There is also often a boundary put up through these rituals that separates you from that which you do not wish to be; an example would be crossing yourself whenever you see a sinner. Through the adherence to higher principles, Saturn puts a boundary up that confines one within the beliefs of a certain religion through any ritual or holy gesture. And you can feel the weight of a religious tradition when you immerse yourself in it; that weight is also Saturn. It is Saturn who bears the full weight of the cross. He is the one who asks your devotion to him and not your own spiritual freedom.

Jupiter is your own spiritual freedom, and the underlying principle that Saturn enforces. Jupiter is the one who discovers the moral principle. He is the aspiring principle, the one who seeks God. In Jupiter the Soul is held up by the Cross of Matter, or the Soul is reaching beyond it; above, into new heights of enlightenment. When the Soul triumphs over the material in Jupiter, the Greater Benefic is born and with him hope. Jupiter finds meaning; finds the principle that will spawn a religion. He is really about emotional faith and the restorative moments in life; Jupiter has a strong relationship to water in his traditional rulership of Pisces and exaltation in Cancer. He can be zealous, but Jupiter would continue searching for meaning endlessly without Saturn; there is not tradition here. Both Jupiter and Saturn speak of God as something outside of yourself: as something you seek, and as something to which you adhere, respectively.

The symbol for Neptune shows the Soul impaled on the Cross of Matter. What does it mean for the Soul to be impaled on the Cross of Matter? It means that the Soul is in utter devotion and service to the manifest universe. However, Neptune speaks to our illusions, and this can be explained by the Eastern idea that the manifest universe is illusion. If illusion is the material world, and our souls are impaled by the material world, we have been permeated by matter; thus, our soul is permeated by illusion. In Neptune, we are completely susceptible to our material situation, and this is the Ultimate Illusion. Because many believe the manifest universe to be a representation of spiritual energy, there is a highly spiritual component to Neptune: sometimes the Soul gives in completely to Illusion and experiences its own karmic lessons fully; others times the Soul seeks liberation from the Cross of Matter and seeks Cosmic experience through ego-death. The connection to religion is in the idea of unyielding devotion to the illusion/manifestation of a religious ideal, along with the ecstasy of that immersion. Neptune is the image of Christ himself; his soul impaled on the Cross of Matter. Christ was physically impaled on a material cross, but the real idea is that he was in utter devotion to a religious ideal. He was actually able to alter the manifest universe in establishing a religious faction and healing people because of his devotion: the Soul’s integration into the illusion of religion enables the manifest world to match that illusion. We can manifest our own morality through Neptune. However, because we believe our situation to be right, Neptune is fanaticism and devotion; dying for the sake of a cause, self-sacrifice. Again, the connection to Pisces in the modern view is here.

Much of the symbolism of these planets is dependent on the Moon as the representation of pure Soul, so we should evaluate her character. In Horary, the Moon can be seen as the common people: the Moon is the common emotions of everyday life, human drama, the mediocrity of the ups and downs in life. But when you combine the Moon with the Cross of Matter, you get the meaning ascribed to everyday life through spiritual and religious experience. So the Moon also has a meaning-making quality; assigning meaning to personal experience through the emotions. This “meaning in personal experience” is experienced by Jupiter, made concrete through Saturn and is all-consuming in Neptune. When the Moon or Soul interacts with the Cross of Matter, they create extremes: the Greater Benefic and Greater Malefic; the Soul is even impaled in Neptune. These religious planets are often related to outer experiences: spirituality that is brought on by some new experience like Saturn in his teaching through blockages or mentors. It seems the Soul, when co-existing with the Cross of Matter, creates a meaning that is often bigger than oneself, which is different from our modern understanding of the Moon or Soul. It appears when Soul is alone, as in the Moon, she creates much personal significance, but when interacting with the material world, applies meaning to that material world with more cosmic significance. We can also see that the Moon is highly receptive and sensitive, and is about reactions; so she reacts to the material world by prescribing meaning to it.

The question remains, why is it that the when the Soul (Crescent) interacts with the Cross of Matter, religion is born, and when the Spirit (Circle) interacts with the Cross of Matter, as with Mars and Venus, the result is much more personal? Well, this boils down to the difference between Soul and Spirit. The Sun or Spirit is about the individual. The Spirit, no doubt, has a natural meaning-making capability as well, but the meaning is much more personal. When it combines with the Cross of Matter, they create the Lesser Benefic Venus and Lesser Malefic Mars, which means the reaction is less extreme than it was with the Soul. We can see that the Sun seeks to alter matter through Mars, and benefit from it through Venus. The Sun is much about the meaning inherent in personal gratification and taking action to achieve personal gratification; while the Soul reacts to make meaning, and has a greater affinity with collective experience.

What does this say about religion? Religion is a lunar, meaning-making function based around your reactions to the material world. Jupiter is when we are having a spiritual reaction, something has happened to us, we are changed and have renewed hope; we react to the world no longer with fear, because our hearts are free to believe what they wish to believe. Our reaction to Matter must be vigilant with Saturn; he is used to solidify reactionary states through cultivating ritualistic lunar reactions. Neptune, of course, is the full investment of the Soul in matter: the reaction is no longer a reaction; you are united in purpose with reality/illusion, so there is no separating matter and reaction. Simply stated, these three planets describe our functions in Religion as seeking new reactionary states (Jupiter), upholding reactionary states through disciplined ritual (Saturn), and immersion in a reactionary state (Neptune). So we can all think about our own lunar states, how we react to the Cross of Matter, and how religion might effect this. The function of religion is to provide stability and comfort to the Soul while it is residing in the material world, but also allow her to grow into new reactionary states of awareness, which can also be called emotional awareness. When this emotional awareness is applied to the manifest world, you experience Wisdom, for better or for worse. Taken to its extreme, an applied emotional state alters the manifest universe. The ultimate function of religion is to allow the Soul to reach and maintain heightened states of emotional awareness through the functions described by Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune.

June Trimbach is an astrology student and musician. She gives in-person and long distance readings. She is especially interested in esoteric and magical astrology. June also has an astrological radio show on Hollow Earth Radio on Tuesdays at 9am PST. You can reach her by e-mail at

Roles of Destiny

While I was researching and writing on different astrological aspects, I found some interesting coincidences with actors that played out the essence of an astrological aspect in a movie.  Those that had the same aspect in the natal chart were able to really portray the energy in an effective manner, which makes sense because they understand the flavor of the dynamics and probably have experienced and played out the role in some form or the other.

The first person that came to mind in relation to the deep analytical nature of Mercury Pluto aspects was Agatha Christie, the crime novelist.  Her stories were very skillfully designed, as she uses a combination of circumstances, personality and motive to build the profile of the criminal.  But the real success of her stories in the big screen goes to actor David Suchet, who portrays the detective Hercule Poirot.  So it was very interesting to find out that both Agatha Christie and David Suchet had Mercury Trine Pluto and were able to reflect this energy through their writing and acting respectively.  In 1991 David Suchet received the British Academy Television Award (BAFTA) for his role as Hercule Poirot.

Glenn Close, in the movie “Fatal Attraction,” plays the role of Alex Forrest, a neurotic and complex single woman who has an affair with Michael Douglas and eventually tries to kill him. This role reflects the negative manifestation of a Venus Pluto aspect with the jealousy, manipulation, and intense obsessions.  Glenn Close played this role to a hilt and was nominated for best leading actress in 1987 for this movie.  Not surprisingly, she has a Venus Pluto square in her natal chart and hence was able to accurately feel and express the emotions behind this character.  This is not an easy role to play.  From the chilling smile to the menacing looks, she really understood this character, as there was a part of it within her.

Saturn Neptune aspects are sometimes about being there but without a sense of belonging, having but not owning, an ego that needs to be surrendered and a reality that eventually disappears.  This energy was wonderfully captured in the Oscar winning movie “Last Emperor” which is the story of “Puyi,” the last emperor of China.  Although he becomes emperor at the age of 2, he has no real power and is protected by the staff from being exposed to the real world outside the walls of his palace.  He has no real knowledge or strength in defending himself or his country and ends up becoming a puppet emperor for the Japanese. When the Japanese lost to Russia, Puyi was imprisoned and forced into a communist reform program for many years.  When he was eventually released, he took up a job as a gardener in a botanical garden.  What an amazing journey in one lifetime! This character was wonderfully played by John Lone who won the Golden Globe award for best actor for this movie and has a Saturn Neptune conjunction with the Sun at the midpoint of the aspect.  Throughout the movie he expresses the subtle discomfort involved in realizing that he has no real power. With Saturn Neptune aspects, real power is found by being of service, and Puyi only finds that when he finally becomes a gardener.  The Emperor Puyi himself had a Saturn Neptune trine and hence was able to flow though this aspect without much resistance.

These instances show that aspects in our natal chart in many ways define the energy we express and what people see in us.  It therefore makes sense that actors are often chosen for roles that are symbolic of a particular aspect in their birth chart, especially in situations where there is a good fit.  Also, when we watch movies, we may be more appreciative of actors that exude energy that is reflective of aspects in our own birth charts.  I admire Agatha Christie and the lead actor, David Suchet, as I share the Mercury Pluto trine with them.  These studies repeatedly confirm that energies seen in our birth chart are archetypal and hence can recognize and connect with similar archetypes all around them.

About Manda Selva

Manda Selva is a professional NCGR certified astrologer who lives and practices in San Francisco Bay Area.  She also has a website and blog, where she can be contacted for chart readings.  In her practice, Manda uses the principles of Psychological Astrology in combination with the Uranian technique of midpoints.

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