AN ECLECTIC APPROACH TO ASTROLOGY

By Glenn Blakesley (Co-founder and Western Co-ordinator of the Canadian Independent Astrologers Order, LaSalle, Manitoba)

As most people-loving astrologers know, few things are as exciting as setting up a horoscope for a new acquaintance, the rising sign and the wheel of houses, the planets in pattern amongst the signs, and so on. This kind of feeling is what makes astrology alive and fresh and gives it a living significance, a here-and-­now-ness. It’s a wonderful exhilaration and revelation seeing one’s own chart for the first time. Nevertheless, as time goes by, and one gets to know his chart like the back of his hand, it can at times cease to be charged with this magnetic significance. Sometimes you can look at the chart and simply draw a blank. All novelty will fade into commonness unless we continually invest new and deeper meaning into our lives and regen­erate and broaden our horizons of significance.

This essay deals with using astrology and the birthchart in ever new and interesting ways. The horoscope, like a life, contains an infinity of meaning. We shall seek here to evoke a maximum of meaningful potential from the simplicity of the birthchart. We call it an eclectic approach to astrology because we’re selecting the essential best from many different sources, with the purposes of honing our intuition to a holistic perceptivity. We’ll look at the ramifications of the horoscopic methods presented by many excellent author/ astrologers. We’ll aim at an experimental thoroughness in working with the chart potential, looking at it from here, then there, now this way, now that, turn it insi­de out and upside down, and come out the other side with a dimensional understanding of birthcharts, and thereby people, that we never conceived of formerly.

This approach provides a great discipline for the mind, incidentally. To hold many different and seemingly unrelated factors suspended for relativity within the mind, is difficult and rewarding exercise. Astrology is perfect for this kind of mental discipline, and eclect­ic astrology is even better.

Every astrologer develops his own methods through experience. Once he hits upon practical systems of insight that work, he develops these and sticks to them. He learns and accepts, or rejects other systems as he sees fit, incorporating what suits him and ignoring the rest. This is the experimentative approach. If it works, use it. If it doesn’t, cast it out, or rework and improve it. We recognize that a confusion of many meth­odologies may be spreading ourselves too thin, and could lead to a hodge-podge or randomness that loses its effective sharpness in the delineation and ordering of true astrological significance. Nonetheless, we recognize and encourage an eclectic approach to astrol­ogy and life itself, selecting what appears to be the best for our purposes, because we believe that every method has some merit and significance, and selective experimentation appears to be the best way to keep astrology alive, original and lucid.

House Systems:  A lot of controversy currently exists in relation to the various and proliferating house systems. Our advice: try them all. Each has its own frame of reference, its own method of insight. Use Placidus for timing and the progressions and transits in dynamic horoscopy. Use Campanus for a psychological

‘space’ view of a native. Campanus tends to squeeze the zodiac at the horizon, giving greater intensity of pure character and scope in relationships. If you want to get to know somebody subjectively, as it were, use the space systems, especially Campanus. Birth place Table of Houses can be used in lieu of Placidius for interesting results, supposedly more accurate. We know of a friend who uses up to fifty variations of houses. The eclectic approach will be to experiment with as many as you can find and select the best of them for yourself. Take out a blank, put your planets in using Regiomontanus, Zariel, Natural Graduation, 24 half­houses, or what have you. Study them, meditate on them. “Feel” the differences, draw your own conclusions, and communicate them.

The great thing about being an astrologer and having astrological friends, is that you can use your art to turn on your friends, something new, inventive, and original to share with them each time you get together.

Astrometry: Lets talk about aspects and orbs. We feel that Marc Edmund Jones, the dean of living astrol­ogers, has penetrated to the essence of this field of approach with his lessons on Pythagorean Astrology, thus circumventing the confusion and speculative uncertainty that exists in this area. He points out that every asp­ect, each arc between points on the zodiacal wheel is significant, no matter what arc that is. He goes furth­er to take each degree of inexactness, i.e. conjunction sub. 1, or square sub. 3, or trine sub. 9 as significant to the planetary relationship in terms of pure number, thus supplementing the meaning of the aspect with numerological import.

So take out your chart, and on a separate sheet, list the exact number of degrees and minutes between every planet and every other planet, cusp, node, part, whatever. Then for each, put in the little sub number to indicate the degree of inexactness from the partile of the major and minor series of aspects. Analyze your new table. See what numbers predominate or are absent.

Then, while you’re at it, you mathematical wizards can figure out the midpoints of all these factors. This will be a handy table and will see much practical use. Mid­points, of course, are balancing points of resolution between any two factors, an integrating fulcrum point between planets, the focal points of activity in cons­ciousness. Transits over and progressions to these midpoints, especially the departmental ones like Sun/Moon, Moon/Saturn, Uranus/Neptune, and so forth, are very revealing for prediction and development of the inner life.

Returning to the matter of orbs. There is not much empty space in the zodiac. Between zero and 180 degrees, we can include no less than nineteen aspects, which leaves very little unrelatable area, about thirty degrees in total. Its a tight circle. The square and trine have orbs of ten degrees either side, the conjun­ction and opposition, fifteen degrees; the sextile,

ten degrees, with allowance for the special sextiles, i.e. the septile 48.5 – 54.5 degrees, and the quintile 69 – 75 degrees. The nine principal minors have 3 deg­ree orbs, and the other five have 2 degree orbs. This is astrometry. Just about every degree of arc has its own thing. Then again there are the Uranian and Cosmobiological schools of thought which use the half-­sums, the 90 degree graph and only the multiples of 45 degrees with the aspects. And their research in these areas has rendered some very practical astrological data. Germany has always produced great and inventive minds, no less in astrology than elsewhere. So we recommend a thorough study of Ebertin and the Uranian school as well.

Progressions/ Transits: So you’re sitting there looking at your birthchart again. Let’s see what else we can find. Pullout another sheet of paper and do your prog­ressions. This means taking each of the ten planets as a separate activity facet, and listing from birth every aspect and the approximate date of culmination that each planet makes throughout the entire lifetime. Do it for 84 or even 100 years. Some very interesting flashes come out of this. It’s like looking at the unrolled scroll of your life. We call this perspective. You can include in these lists planetary ingresses and/or stat­ions. Distinguish the major aspects from the minors and take a look at what Jones calls the psychological trend to balance, noting the type and occurance of aspect.

Plot this on a graph, if you like. Now you have a roadmap of the soul. You can see in advance the signs, the crossroads, the momentums and crises as the case may be.

For you really zealous students, you can do the same with your converse progressions to get a look at the karmic shadow of your life. Then also is the more immediate method of progressions, listing the progress­ions monthly for a five year sequence, with each of the planets up to Saturn and including the progressed Ascendant and Midheaven. The aspects major and minor, can then be listed as they culminate in order, each planet moving at its own rate, itself an interesting observable in terms of, character and activity. This me­thod of listing progressions keeps one in tune with his monthly and yearly experience in the very context of his planetary involvement and provides a practical key to making and taking the best of the astrological opportunities. This along with transits; especially of the planets Jupiter through Pluto, is the essence of self guidance by astrology. The progressions will show the inner unfoldment of natal potential, while the transits give the nature and occurance of outer influences. Of course, there are a score of methods of direction. Primaries, with the help of a computer are a gas to look over and compare with secondaries. Solar arc directions bear out some interesting facts. We suggest you scrutinize them all and use those that comply with your life and experience. We recommend deLuce and R.C. Davison in these areas.

We can superimpose a list of planets for the year on the progression chart. Furthermore a five year graphic ephemeris blank is purchasable, and again, in terms of a perspective look at things, is a fine visual aid to the intuition of the eclectic astrologer. In it, we can see how the planets wind and weave their way through the zodiacal degrees, direct, retrograde, and direct again. The stations of the transitting planets are especially important in transit analysis, especial­ly if occurring within a degree of a natal planet or cusp, by conjunction or opposition. Most major transits have a triple whammy effect, the first one usually introducing a new element to the life and catching even a prepared native by the collar, while the second and retrograde transit provides opportunity for a more reflective inner search into the meaning of the time, in preparation for the third and final or usually final transit, a full-steam ahead situation, in which the changes indicated by the transit as a whole have alrea­dy gone down, and it becomes time to make the best advantage of the further changes ahead. Transit squares are challenging times full of developmental tension, as Noel Tyl would have it, while the conjunctions point to a subjective emphasis or a new starting point, and the oppositions to an objective type of fulfillment, an awareness of where things have been and where they are going, perhaps a separation or a new relationship. The transit trines and sextiles can pass by unnoticed, usually as stabilizing influences.

These are suggestions. We suggest further that you make and compare your own notes, constantly measuring and balancing these dynamic factors in your chart with the actual experiences in your life eclectically.

Heliocentric Charts:  From the McCraig ephemerides we can get our heliocentric positions of the planets, and draw up these on our own blanks or on circular graphs. In them, the Earth occupies the point opposite the geocentric Sun, the moon loses its significance and the planets from Jupiter to Pluto are quite similar by place. The helio chart represents the nature of the soul, as it were, prior to incarnation on the Earth. It can be called a spiritual chart, in as much as the Sun as central will and purpose symbolizes the essent­ial spiritual ego manifesting through the solar system at the time. Helio charts are rather interesting to the esoteric astrologer — looking at life from the Sun’s point of view; he can see the balance of planetary wei­ght in the distribution around the solar core, and get an intuitive look at the nature of the soul.

Astrological Spectacles: Back to the birth chart. Put the Sun on the Ascendant, make equal houses, and take a look at your solar chart. The one popular astrology deals with. Yet it’s revealing as a general destiny chart, with its resulting and different house distrib­ution of the planets. Go further, put the Moon on the Ascendant for a lunar horoscope, and then take a look through this lunar lens for domestic and emotional considerations. Put up a chart with each of the planets on the ascendant, or on the Midheaven, if you like, and see what you come up with. Try looking at your chart from the Descendant or the Nadir, or from the point of view of anyone of the house cusps. You’ll come to know yourself more fully.

The turning of the dial of the houses in this usa­ge of the derivative house meanings is an effective and purely astrological tool to work with. The fourth house, for instance, is second from the third, twelfth from the fifth, tenth from the seventh, the seventh to the MC, and so on for each of the houses. One can find just about anything, putting experience into place, by this method of house interrelationship. What at first glance to the novice in astrology is a wheel of twelve conventional houses, becomes a complex of ramifying circumstantial relationships to the trained eye of the eclectic astrologer. After practice with these methods, a simple glance through your “astrological spectacles” will reveal the infinity of insight contained in the horoscope.

Try a “spirit-space” chart. Eliminate all the planets except Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto with the Sun. This chart simply shows the will or purpose in combin­ation with the transcendental or collective factors in life. Try other combinations. Or do a quadrant chart, i.e. eliminate the intermediate house cusps, leaving just horizon and meridian. This is another tactic to the eclectic approach — simplification, elimination of obscuring factors. Simple aesthetic perception.

Enter the fixed stars into your chart, the promin­ent ones. Conjunctions or oppositions to them uncover toe more cosmic features of influence in your life. Celestial influences from deep outer space upon the equally deep inner space of the individual. Macrocosm unto microcosm. Practicing with the fixed stars and with the major asteroids, will add to the relative lack of good modern information on the effects of these greater and lesser centres of focalized cosmic energy. The more research, the more practice, the more knowledge, the more wisdom.

The Nodes: The planetary and lunar nodes are fun to play with. Don your astrological spectacles, and take a look at the hemispheres into which the various nodes divide your planets. This is the astro-mental discipli­ne again of seeing more than meets the eye in an astro­logical chart, and with it you can grok the planetary distribution in terms of each of the planet’s orbital plane of activity. For example, looking at your chart from the point of view of Uranus’ nodes will measure to the original, unexpected, revolutionary and regener­ative changes in your life. One can take house posit­ion and hemisphere division into account, as well as coincidence with the horizon, meridian, or any line of cusps as indicating a powerful effect of the particular planet in a certain area of life. The north node is an integrating, future-oriented directive, a challenge to explore uncharted areas; while the south node is a dis­integrating, “let it happen” type of effect, referring to the wherefrom rather than the whereto in each case.

Returns, Relocations: Return charts, solar and lunar are fun to collect and evaluate. Some solar return experts do them on the basis of the place of residence, some on the birthplace, some take precession into con­sideration, still others cast a sentimental chart, regardless of the Sun’s actual return. A friend once showed us a method of prediction for the year by simply entering the transits on the birthday into the natal chart, taking the Midheaven as Dec. 21, the Ascendant as Spring and so on around the chart, getting a timed symbolic description of the ensuing year.

Relocation or locality charts are very important. One casts his chart for the new location as if he were born there at the time corresponding to the time of actual birth. Moving East turns the wheel clockwise. Trips to foreign countries can be given greater sig­nificance by relocating the birth chart. It’ll show you astrologically how the foreign environment can literally turn your life upside down, and give you a totally different outlook and perspective on life. Chart comparison with cities and countries of desired residence will always show more or less how one will fare there. Relocation charts are a type of personal electional astrology. Want to have the Sun in the tenth house? Go to Istanbul, for instance.

Miscellany: Diligent students will calculate all their Arabic parts, antiscion points, natal and progressed declinations, latitudes, co-ascendant and co-descendant, vertex and anti-vertex, east point, cusp midpoints, a complete speculum no less, including right ascensions, semi-arcs, etc. This is really getting into your chart, mathematically, thoroughly, and hopefully eclectically. There is always something to do with it and more. Bring it to life:

Have you ever checked out your planetary distance values? These are given in the Ebertin ephemerides. Each planet has an intensity value from zero to one hundred according to whether it is apogee or perigee in its elliptical orbit round the Sun. This, combined with the old traditional methods, helps to give an over-all assessment of relative planetary strength. An analysis of the lunar mansions and critical degrees provides further astrological food for thought.

Make a list of all the conjunctions before birth, including of course, a chart for the pre-birth lunat­ion. All planets are in aspect phase with all others and each relationship had its beginning at the prior conjunction of the two. Scouting these out provides fresh insight into where it all began and what part of the entire cycle we’re expressing it from. Multi­dimensional self understanding: Rudhyar brings this out beautifully in Lunation Cycle, giving the eight lunation types. Yeat’s “A Vision” is an astrological gem on the same theme and there are recent expansions on each day of the Moon as significant to personality type.

The Sabian symbols are an endless source of inspi­ring information as to the particular significance of the zodiacal degrees, whether day-by-day guidance or in natal, horary and electional astrology. Many female astrologers or male practioners with female friends will be interested in the ABC charts that are the Astro­logical Birth Control as given through the work of Czechoslovakian Dr. Jonas and associates. In any case, these researches postulate a second fertile period monthly, in addition to the rhythm method. This is when the Sun-Moon angle from the nativity recurs every month. Sex determination, birth control, and promotion can be used profitably from the use of these charts.

Biorhythm charts make a great supplement to the regular planetary cycles. These consist of three inter­relating wave rhythms, a physical cycle of 23 days, an emotional cycle of 28 days, and a mental cycle of 33 days from birth. Certain days will see the intersect­ion of two or all three of these wave patterns arid indicate critical or sensitive action-reaction periods within the individual. Combining this with transits and progressions can prove helpful in understanding and dealing with our changes. Bring colour to your astrolo­gical interpretation of charts, that is, use the king and queen colour scales to the signs and/or planets on special horoscope blanks. These make beautifully artistic charts and aid the intuition through the visual medium of delineation. The Queen scale gives pure red for Aries, through orange to pure yellow for Leo, through green to blue for Sagittarius, through purple to magenta in Pisces.

Many of you astrologers interested in the Oriental systems may want to read Robert deLuce’s “Constellation­al Astrology” to become acquainted with the Eastern art of astrology. And then there are the Siderealists who can give the planetary picture against the background of the fixed stars as they really appear in the sky. In fact, it is rather an interesting controversy that exists among astrologers re the tropical versus the fixed zodiacs. Yet this is nothing more than the result of precession and the Ages of the Great Sidereal Year or polar cycle of twenty-five-plus thousand years. Cyril Fagan was the expert in the field of sidereal astrology, and his book on “Astrological Origins” may inspire many eclectic astrologers to cast their sider­eal charts, and judge for themselves.

Astrology and numerology combine rather well, as developed in A.G.S. Norris’ “Transcendental Astrology” in which he indicates the method of linking the soul with the astrological chart by deriving the native’s four basic numbers from the full name and birth date. Take the vowels to a digit for the mental body, the consonants for the astral body, the two together for the physical body, and the birth date numbers for the major birth path of experiences, or the lesson in life. These and other digits provide an esoteric look at the corresponding planets and their roles in the growth of the soul.

Of course we have many favourite authors in the field of astrology naturally Jones and Rudhyar, R.C. Davison and Marcia Moore, the late Alan Leo and Carter and deLuce, along with more recent works by Noel Tyl, Michael Myer, Marc Robertson, Jinni and Joanne, then again Ebertin, George, and Ivy Jacobsen, just to name a few. There are many fine lecturers and article writ­ers around the continent and the world. And there are many good writers still living between the lines. So many!

Astrology is still in the youth of its renaissance…….

The purpose of this paper has been simply to bring to light some old and new methods of evoking greater significance from the conventional form of the horos­cope, and to encourage a broader, more inclusively thorough approach to analysis by astrology. There is such great potential in Astrology now, with more and better research going on all the time. We dig in for periods with great intensity, and come around to share with our peers the treasures we’ve discovered. We’re looking forward to the inevitable marriage of Astrology with Medicine, with Law, with Psychology and Modern Science, and with the Humanities in general. A lot of work is yet ahead of us. But we’ve had our first taste of Uranus in Scorpio, and we can look forward with great and exalted confidence.

We can maintain this promise of progress with this most ancient of arts and sciences. We can do it by persistently applying Astrology to every walk of life, by accepting and respecting the ongoing work of our Aquarian Brotherhood, and by developing an ever more thorough, all-inclusive, experimental and yet eclectic approach to Astrology.

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