The outer planets… aren’t

Traditional astrology views the planets in a very different way than modern astrology does.  This is related to the concept of planetary dignity, which doesn’t mean a lot in modern astrology.

In traditional astrology, each of the seven classical planets rules one or more signs. This is not a matter of simple affinity. It means that the planet is responsible for the affairs of the house(s) it rules.

There are a lot of ways that traditional astrology measures the effectiveness of a planet, how well it is able to do its job. The different dignities are different ways of judging how the planets can function, and different ways they interact. Think of the dignities as like the different ways that the planets fit within the citizenship of the overall world of the chart.

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Astrology and a Yearly Checkup

Many people think of astrology as just referring to your sun sign, which is the sort that shows up in newspapers and on ‘pop’ sites. (“Love your blood red nails… you must be a Scorpio…”)

Other people are aware of natal astrology, which means reading a chart of the planetary configuration for the day and time you were born. A lot of astrology begins there… but does not end there. Continue reading

But Why Stoicism?

I had a rather unpleasant interchange at an astrology discussion group this week. We were talking about different ways of understanding doing astrology, and I was talking about Stoicism.

Stoicism, which was a very prevelant philosophy when astrology was first developed in the West, views the universe as structured and largely if not completely deterministic or fated. Reading an astrology chart is an attempt to divine that order – to find out the will of the Gods for you – so that you can work with that order.

When I finished my sentence someone turned to me and said,

“But why?”

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Asking Questions with Horary Astrology

Most people think of astrology in connection with reading the chart of the time of your birth, called a natal chart.

There is an older form of astrology that is gaining popularity, called Horary Astrology, which is designed to give answers to specific questions. The word Horary is from the Latin word for hour, and it answers a specific question by interpreting a chart for the time of the question.

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William Lilly’s Cheate Sheete

William Lilly’s Christian Astrology is the most famous and influential work on astrology in the English language.

Like most famous books, it is mentioned and revered much more often than it is read and studied.

There is a table in that book, which is labeled as, A Ready Table Wherefore to examine the Fortitudes and Debilities of the Planets.

This scoring system has become well known and is often copied, and computer programs that ‘score’ the planet’s dignities often use this table of values. So, the modern astrologer can enter a chart, print out a page, and there are all the scores already tallied.

Which is completely missing the point. Continue reading

Good, Evil, Positive, Negative

Older astrology is sometimes criticized as being overly negative, or fatalistic, or judgemental.


It seems to me that some modern astrology has gone too far in the other direction – in the name of being ‘positive’ it can become unrealistic and unbalanced.

It might be true to say that there are no ‘good’ or ‘evil’ planets, or transits, or aspects.

Maybe. Continue reading