Thursday, 28 May 2009

Planets as Symbols, not Causal Agents

People have a lot of ideas about Astrology. Not all of those ideas always match! The view that has always made the most sense to me is of Astrology as a symbolic language - at least in the modern way that we tend to use it today.

A symbolic language means that, quite simply, the symbols used in Astrology tell us something. There are various symbols including signs (signs of the zodiac) and planetary symbols and even the individual shapes that make these up - the lines, circles, semicircles, for example - even these symbolise something. Each symbol stands for something and when we translate the meaning of that symbol and make the something relevant in a context, then we can start to make Astrology useful.

There are two views that frequently come across from people who are curious about Astrology, or have formulated some ideas about it, but who may not have looked into it in any great depth - for whatever reason. And why should they, unless it's something they want to use in some particular way?

The first view probably comes from ideas about ancient cultures and this is that the planets in Astrology have some sort of power within them, which gives them a causal relationship with people and events here on Earth. The danger of this view is that, reducing it down, it can make it seem as though people are just victims of fated. The idea that everything is "written in the stars" is linked with this view. It is perhaps quite a romantic view, some would say spiritual - but it cannot be more than a view or belief, because there is no scientific evidence to support the theory that planets (or stars) cause anything. There is some argument for a relationship between the Moon and the tides - and this can be stretched to maybe make a link between the Moon and water in humans - but this really is unique to the Moon alone!

The second view is more typically modern and that is that Astrology is somehow scientific. It is a view usually not held by scientists! However, that does not mean that every single scientist puts no store by Astrology - just that they would be unlikely to associate it with being scientific. It is perhaps easy to see why anyone might assume that there is some sort of relationship between Astrology and science, though. After all, the Greek's who contributed a great amount to the subject historically, thought they were treating it that way. It is perhaps also easy to assume that Astronomy and Astrology are one and the same thing. The fact is that, for ancient people, for a time, they were. But there has been a schism in the history of Astrology, which means that it is considered as a separate subject from Astronomy.

It is important for us to remember, then, in any modern practise of Astrology, that planets are first of all observed through the practice of Astronomy (as physical objects in the sky) and then studied by Astrologers and understood symbolically through the practice of Astrology - the reading of the language of the planets, signs, houses etc. This is usually through numbers and symbols in charts (circular diagrams plotting out the placement of planets in zodiac signs at any one time) or in tables and books such as Raphael's Astrological ephemeris, which list out those planetary positions on any particular date.

Conclusion: As Astrologers, if we are asked are planets causal agents, we really have to admit that no, they are not. Sometimes the way we talk about them - and even think about them - can make it sound like we're saying that they are causing something. But it is not true to say that a planet causes anything. Astrology is a symbolic language and it reflects what is happening around us. It is descriptive of situations, characteristics and energies. It may sum up the flavour of a situation, if we choose to read its language and interpret it. But it does not cause the situation. If we are asked if Astrology is scientific, equally, we have to say no, it is not. There is a lot of recording of data, tabulating and mathematics involved in the gathering the information we need in order to cast a chart, ready for our interpretation of its symbols. And, over time, we may observe similarities with regard to the translation of those symbols. In fact, Astrologers have done this for years and some of them have written down and passed on agreed "meanings" or interpretations for specific sets of symbols. We can read these in our text books and through other literature, or we may observe and share them in our discussions with one another about our practise of Astrology. Planets are simply part of the symbolic language of Astrology that Astrologers can become fluent in - with practice!

Celestial Blessings!
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Monday, 9 February 2009

Bad Moon Rising - Full Moon Astrology

Bad Moon Rising – Full Moon Astrology

What is a Bad Moon? What were Creedence Clearwater Revival talking about in their famous song, Bad Moon Rising, which features in the 1981 film An American Werewolf in London? The film features another topical song: Blue Moon. Most people know the expression “once in a blue moon”, meaning that something happens rarely. But what happens around bad moons?

There are various interpretations regarding Creedence Clearwater’s intentions behind the song lyrics. My favourite association is the one to do with the Werewolves. We know that Werewolves don’t really exist, but their symbolism is a way of describing what happens to human nature and emotions – particularly around the time of the full Moon. So that’s probably the “bad moon” referred to in the song.

It is a statistical fact that there are higher incidences of difficulties in asylums and prisons when we have full Moons. Scientists associate the Moon with the tides. Astrologers associate the Moon with cycles of experience and daily changes. We talk about the Waxing Moon and the Waning Moon, as we contemplate the lunar cycle, noting the rising and ebbing of human emotions, motivation, enthusiasm and purpose.

Whatever drives us at a full Moon time may need to be carefully examined, because at this time we don’t necessarily see the whole picture. It may be a very FULL time, but it’s probably full of too much stress and emotion! As a result, we may be off beam, feel off balance and see things in the wrong perspective.

What are the facts of the Astronomy and Astrology of a full Moon? The Moon reflects the Sun’s light. Sections of the Moon are in shadow as it moves through its “phases” and, as we head up to full Moon, more of the Moon is visible to us – it may be lower in the sky, look larger and become more obviously lit up.

The Moon symbolises the unconscious, subconscious, hidden part of the mind where all memories and repressed feelings are stored. Hence it’s a bit like having a spotlight, or a full beam on our emotions and our unconscious. It may be an emotionally overwhelming time.

Today there has been a Full Moon in the sign of Leo and anyone with the Sun, Moon or personal planets in Leo or Aquarius in their birth chart is likely to have felt something strongly. Other Fixed signs, Taurus and Scorpio may also have felt a bit flooded lately. Not to worry, though: this too will pass!

Fun links for American Werewolf in London and Creedence Clearwater/Bad Moon Rising fans:

Images of Locations from the Film:
Creedence Forum:

Celestial blessings!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Angel Cards & Index for The Angel Oracle Deck

If you like the idea of Angel oracles, you may have a deck of your own or even a variety of decks or you may be happy for other people to share their favourite cards in readings with you. There are several popular Angel authors around and various systems taught for working with angel cards plus you may have developed your own. My favourite Angel oracle decks are ones that I have come across more by chance than plan - they crossed my path, either in a reading, in a chat within an E-Group or when looking around a shop or online source for something else. They include Healing with the Angels by Doreen Virtue, Angels, Gods and Goddesses by Toni Carmine Salerno and The Angle Oracle Deck by Ambika Wauters.

The last of these, rather like some Tarot cards, is available both as a deck with booklet and a larger, deck with book set. For some reason I have ended up with both in my collection and recently noticed that the index is not very detailed in either set. These are beautiful, golden cards, with radiant, vibrant angel images, yet they are all quite similar in appearance. In the past I have studied and written about the angel hierarchy but it is not information that I necessarily keep permanently logged in my thoughts all of the time. Maybe that's true for you, too?

So I can find that, if I want to look at an Angel reading for myself, it's a reading I am going to want to do with reference to the book. With this deck I found I was struggling to find the reference pages for the cards in the book/let. These cards are not like the Tarot where if you learn one deck you've pretty much learned them all (give or take variations to do with Rider Waite vs Thoth approach, the difference between ceremonial high magick and pagan white magic etc...).

Putting such concerns aside for a moment, it is the case with the Tarot that there's a basic system in place, which offers common denominators across the majority of decks. This means that if I pick up a Tarot deck that is new to me, whilst the imagery may present new ideas, often I can at least relate each card to its matching card in another deck - because in Tarot there are 78 cards consisting of 22 Major Arcana and 56 Minor, of which 16 are Court cards. Even though the names may change and the images could be different, the basic place in the deck does not change. And therein lies a clue to transferring a basic core Tarot meaning from one deck to another, in spite of any additional or intrinsic meaning that may belong to each separate, new deck. With Angel cards it is different. Some writers theme them on the angel hierarchy; others use Key words such as Compassion or Faith; others group angels with other heavenly or spiritual figures.

For me, learning how to read Angel cards was something that happened in quite recent years. Like many people, I thought that Angel cards were just the tiny little cards with a brief, written phrase or message. There ARE cards like that around and they ARE called Angel Cards! But the cards I use for meditation and in my readings practice, to help myself and other people connect more with positive energy, are much larger and they feature beautiful, colourful art images as well as uplifting words, titles and/or phrases.

Some of the readings I give purely use Angel cards and I find they are very helpful for people dealing with delicate issues, grief and bereavement - although they do have a wider application than this, as well. Quite often I also give combined readings, frequently featuring a mix of Astrology and Tarot - and sometimes, if there is time, I also offer the opportunity for a client to select an Angel card for a positive message. There is a great deal of multi-tasking involved in this kind of reading context, bearing in mind I might be looking at tarot and angel cards whilst also looking at an astrology chart and discussing all sorts of life issues and connections. In which case, I know I would find it helpful if I could instantly access a meaning for an angel card in any deck, in the given book, if I don't have that information in my head at the time. With this in mind, I have created a more expanded index that can be used with the Ambika Wauters Angle Oracle and thought I would share it here in case anyone else might also be able to benefit from it, in their own practice. I have included a few notes about the major functions of the Archangels. You will find two sets of numbers; the first apply to the small booklet (LWB equivalent, for Tarot readers!), the second are the page references for the larger, gold, hard backed book. The formatting from Word probably won't carry over into this blog, so I have divided them with a forward slash:/ rather than tabbed spacing. There are three "Heavens" listed in this deck, under which the angels operate and you will find the names of those in the long headings above each collection of angels:

The Angel Oracle: Index to Page References
Author: Ambika Wauters - Publisher: Connections Book Publishing, UK

Booklet Page #s/Gold Book Page #s (notes)

Heaven of Form: Archangels, Guardians, Angel Princes - Protection and Love

Archangels: 8-10/20-29

Metatron 8/20 (Witness to virtue)
Michael 8/22 (Protector/Slayer of Dragons)
Gabriel 9/24 (Communication)
Raphael 9/26 (Healing)
Uriel 10/28 (Lightbringer/Sunray)

Guardian Angels 10-14/30-47

Of Children 10/30
Of Youth 11/32
Of Young Love 11/34
Of Young Adults 12/36
Of Maturity 12/38
Of Health 13/40
Of Creativity 13/42
Of Spiritual Growth 13/44
Of Service 13/46

Angel Princes 15-16/48-55

The South 15/48
The North 15/50
The East 16/52
The West 16/54

Heaven of Creation: Powers, Virtues, Dominions - Tender & Merciful Energies

Powers 17-18/60-65

Angel of Peace 17/60
Angel of Serenity 17/62
Angel of Harmony 18/64

Virtues 18-19/66-71

Angel of Freedom 18/66
Angel of Trust 19/68
Angel of Faith 19/70

Dominions 20-21/72-77

A. of Reconciliation 20/72
Angel of Mercy 20/74
A. of Forgiveness 21/76

Heaven of Paradise: Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones - Love & Awareness

Seraphim 21-22/82-87

A. Miracle of Love 21/82
A. Essence of Love 22/84
A. of Eternal Love 22/86

Cherubim 23-24/88-93

Angel of Wisdom 23/88
A. of Discernment 23/90
Angel of Knowing 24/92

Thrones 24-25/94-99

Angel of Being 24/94
Angel of Power 25/96
Angel of Glory 25/98

Card Spreads 26-31/100-110

Enjoy your contact with Angel energy!!


Thursday, 8 January 2009

Maya Prophecy 2012 - A Book Review

And now for something completely different - a book review with a 2012/Maya flavour....

Maya Prophecy - Discover what 2012 holds for you
Author: Dr Ronald Bonewitz
Book Review by: Diana McMahon-Collis

Everyone is talking, lately, about 2012 and the Maya Prophecy. This slim volume publication bearing that name should not be underestimated as its author, Dr Ronald Bonewitz, has packed a lot into its 164 pages. In fact he begins by including an additional guide to pronunciation of the Maya language, which comes in very handy for when he later discusses specific people, places and literature titles. Many readers will recognise a few of the names: Lake Titicaca might not present too many challenges, for example, But many could be glad for the inbuilt mini-dictionary when faced with how to pronounce the name of the hero god Xbalanque or the father of astronomy, Itzamna, it being that neither name is pronounced quite as it appears.

It is attention to detail that makes this book a winner. It seems obvious that Dr Bonewitz lives and believes in his work. He takes the time to go over small but important points, such as that, whilst the language is termed Mayan, the Prophecy and the people are “Maya”. He also has the vision to include a helpful index in this book so that, if you thought you had found something (or someone) useful, you can look it up again easily – a feature all too often overlooked in books of this type.

At its heart, the Maya Prophecy is not so much a text book as a story book – basically, an adventure story and a chunk of ancient history, woven in together with a mix of supposition, speculation and imagination – which, overall, makes for very interesting reading.

It is a wide ranging book in that, in various areas, the author explores wide stretches of the world; geography is charted, from continents as distant as Asia, Europe and the Americas, covering places like China, Indonesia, Egypt and Mexico. The author even touches on the lost land of Atlantis. As Maya and other cultures seem to have been referring to the same lost land, it would appear that myth is not so much myth as ancient historic reality. So this book might add something further for the reader looking to understand more about connections with Atlantis, Mu and the Lemurians. Culturally, there are many civilizations and peoples involved, including the Olmecs, Toltecs, and Aztecs as well as Africans and Mediterraneans.

That it is a timely book is obvious in the subtitle: “Discover what 2012 holds for you”. Many authors have been focussing on 2012 and many people in the spiritual arena are talking about it currently. Those who have looked at all into the Maya Prophecy and 2012 may have already decided that 2012 is not the key date, although it is an important date.

Dr Bonewitz, as might be expected, goes into much detail about the Long Count Calendar, the Maya method of counting time. Particularly interesting is his understanding of how the calendar is primarily linked to rulers and gods, perhaps not unlike the ancient Egyptian calendar. Indeed, he spends some time in the book going over the history behind Maya civilisation and Mesoamerica in general, all of which seems necessary in order to appreciate how the Prophecy has been handed down.

This is not necessarily a simple story but the author is effective at bringing together all the strands that make sense of what the Prophecy means and why it is important in our modern times. We may take calendars for granted but Bonewitz makes it clear that it is the effectiveness of this ancient people, through mathematics and dedication to the calendar, that makes it possible for us to consider the relevance of an impact event today – an “impact event” typically being a comet or meteorite that will devastate the area where it lands. In this book it suddenly becomes possible to see how much time itself is a construct and that we have developed a fairly complex way of organising our sense of reality according to the time comparisons that we regularly tend to make. Other, inter- related areas covered in depth are astronomy and numbers.

This quality of the book to move from historical events to an appreciation of the workings of the mind is extended in an unexpected way into a series of exercises, meditations and guided visualisations, which can be experimented practically with, intended to “connect the reader experientially with the ancient knowledge of the Maya”. Dr Bonewitz says the exercises include sacred imagery, incorporating universal archetypes and may trigger memories of past life experiences. For anyone interested in these areas, it is hard to resist having such “toys” to play with! Hence this writer did try out one of the early exercises, the Pyramid Visualization – and recorded a highly significant dream had that night, as a result. This was tried on two occasions with similar positive, powerful results.

Overall, the Maya Prophecy draws together factors that influence spiritual, sacred and divinatory ideas through many disciplines. Focuses included are: cardinal direction duality and the Mother archetype, showing the way that symbols can encompass so much for us. Such inclusions may have special interest for readers of Tarot cards whilst other disciplines are directly or indirectly referred to, such as numerology (ritual numbers) and astrology/astronomy.

The subtitle of the book is “Discover what 2012 holds for you”, hinting that the Maya Prophecy has a special, personal message. What is that message? You will have to read the book to find out! It is worth having your own copy, in any case, for the practical exercises, which are a real bonus with this volume.

Fully revised edition, expanded and updated to include the latest research;
Published by Piatkus November 2008
ISBN 978-0-7499-2987-9 RRP £7.99

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Jupiter into Aquarius January 2009

This is the real signature of the New Year in 2009. Although Mercury is going to be retrograde again from 11th-31st January (see the previous post for more info on Mercury Rx) Jupiter's January 5th move into Aquarius points to a great many things going forward. Aquarius is a forward thinking sign by and large - although this is tempered by a dual rulership by two planets: Uranus and Saturn. Uranus is linked with revolutions whilst Saturn is much more traditional and reserved by nature. So we may see a little of both of those themes as we experience the reflection of Jupiter's change of sign. Some people will want to hold on to the status quo and will be conserving energy and giving blessings for what they already have. Others will be keen - or even forced - to make a brand new start. This could coincide with great upheaval at one end of the scale and refusing to do anything other than stay put at the other! But there is a revolutionary spirit to Jupiter in Aquarius, either way and many people will no doubt think of just reasons for their choices, either as change goes on around them or as they become the instigators of change.

The theme of 2012, its planetary picture and the changes predicted by the Maya peoples many years back is being much discussed in astrological and spiritual circles at this time, too. Look out for more on this in the near future!

A Happy New Year to All from Celestia