Category Archives: Astrology Blog


The Wickedest Man in the World, through astrological eyes

Aleister Crowley, “the wickedest man in the world”, intrigued and slightly scared me as teenager, fascinated as I was by magic and mysticism of every kind. You had to admire his brazen honesty, his daring willingness to go deeply into places angels fear to tread, and to seem so smugly comfortable and successful there.

I must have been maybe 16 years old when two naughty girls I knew (aptly I suppose) stole a copy of his Magic in Theory and Practice for me from a bookstore in Pretoria. I didn’t know quite what to do with it, but it oozed a palpable power for me (I was under Transiting Neptune Square Sun around that time) and I held onto it for a while as a type of talisman. I eventually sold it to someone who had a similar desire to get intimate with its dark power.

Happily my obsession with that sort of magic mellowed before long and I was left loving and pursuing astrology. Now, two decades after “meeting” Crowley (and with Neptune curiously 45 degrees further ahead in the zodiac) I visit his horoscope with, I would like to think, a more detached and objective curiosity.

I gather from’s Astro-databank that the Confessions of Aleister Crowley records a birth time of between 11:00pm and midnight (on the 12th of October 1875, in Leamington Spa, England). It is further noted there that Crowley published a chart in Equinox of the Gods for 11:50pm. Other astrologers have apparently rectified his time of birth to various slightly earlier times. I suspect that 11:50pm is more likely to be correct, since only around 11:46pm, according to Vedic astrology, the Ascendant changed from Pushya to Ashlesha Nakshatra. Pushya is symbolised as a cow’s udder and is all about nurture and caring, whereas Ashlesha Nakshatra is symbolised as a serpent and is associated with cunning and deep insight. Ashlesha people are intelligent, shrewd, magnetic, hypnotic and often mystical. They are fascinated by sexuality and there is a specific association also with poisons. Light on Life (by Hart de Fouw and Robert Svoboda) associates Ashlesha with:

people who deal with poisons, like chemical engineers, druggists and junkies…. people who are very self-serving… behind the scenes manipulators …. those who deal in and gain through sex… insightful but controversial people… primordial energy.

 This sounds very much like Aleister Crowley! Amoung the things Crowley could be considered famous (or rather, infamous) for, sex, drugs and magic (normally partaken of together) loom large.

Western astrology places his Ascendant in the sign Leo, and I guess that’s quite believable, since he was without a doubt something of a show-off and very egocentric, but this boldness that one may be naturally tempted to associate with his Tropical Leo Ascendant could arguably be an expression of Uranus in the 1st House, and, in fact, this may be a more fitting symbol of his fearlessly unconventional personality. The Sun, Uranus and Saturn are all in near exact aspect, making this a very significant triangle in his chart. The Sun/Uranus Sextile without a doubt describes not only his openness to ideas that others may find radical, it also points to a life of vibrant and stimulating social connections, friendships and group activities; Crowley certainly wasn’t a hermit!

Although Aleister Crowley is known for his extremism, and although he was without doubt a hedonist, it can’t be said that he was incapable of discipline, as the Sun/Saturn Trine in his chart testifies. Saturn/Uranus aspects can indicate an ability to master difficult techniques, since it can enable one to hold the tension involved in applying oneself in a structured way to a task requiring great alertness and flexibility. This Sun/Saturn/Uranus triangle in his chart seems to be a description of this capacity of his to learn complex systems fairly quickly, and to use them boldly and innovatively. In my experience Sun/Uranus types believe in their abilities, without arrogance necessarily, and this absence of self doubt or self restraint results in them experimenting with a variety ideas or lifestyles, and so their lives are often freer than most peoples’. Crowley clearly respected established traditions enough to submit to the authority of teachers and to accept the conditions attached to receiving training from them. That he would thereafter defy traditional protocols is unambiguously shown in the tight Opposition of Saturn and Uranus in angular houses.

Vedic astrology places the Ascendant in the sign Cancer, making the Moon the Ascendant ruler. We find the Moon at the first degree of Sidereal Pisces, in the 9th House. This way in which the 9th House comes into sharp focus does aptly reflect the importance of travel and exploration, on all levels, for Crowley. Rahu shares the 9th House with the Moon, in a sense ‘eclipsing’ the luminary, and Vedic astrologers would see in this an indication of a tarnished quality of religion, truth or ‘higher learning’. The person may have ‘bad gurus’ and/or have a negative attitude towards religion or spiritual teachers. However, James Braha suggests that Rahu in the 9th House gives a powerful craving for higher learning. All of these angles seem somewhat true and relevant.

The Nakshatra placement of the Moon in Purva Bhadrapada is extremely interesting; Light on Life gives it the following interpretation:

… passion, impetuousness and anger are all strongly associated with Purva Bhadrapada, which rules cynacism, harsh words, greediness, and a fascination for the ecstasy of evil and the darker side of life… people who are cruel in deed and word…. radicals, fanatics and terrorists. Those, like ascetics, who self-torment and self-mortify. Black magicians…”

Note, again, that in the Vedic chart, the Moon (whose Nakshatra position is always important) is here the Ascendant ruler, making its Nakshatra position all the more primary, as Nakshatra placements go.

Mercury, Venus and Jupiter, in the Vedic chart, are all three located in the 4th House, and this more or less creates Saraswati Yoga (which indicates intellectual, educational or artistic gifts and achievements), except that Jupiter being in the sign of an enemy (Venus in Jyotish is the enemy of Jupiter) weakens the yoga. Nontheless, this angularity of these three cultured planets shows that Crowley can become very learned, which he was, in his way. Mercury and Jupiter are in close Conjunction, which reinforces the idea that Crowley will be intelligent and well educated, and that he will be interested in philosophy, religion and metaphysics.

Crowley has three Mahapurusha Yogas (combinations indicative of a ‘great being’) in his Vedic chart: Malavya yoga is formed by Venus being in her own sign in an angular house, Shasha Yoga is formed by Saturn being in its own sign in an angular house, and Ruchaka Yoga is formed by Mars being exalted and in an angular house.

Ruchaka Yoga makes you “powerful and arrogant” and likely to peform “many daring deeds”. Shasha Yoga makes makes for one who is “wicked in disposition… usurps the wealth of others, has intrigues with partners not his own…”. Malavya Yoga ensures that he would “enjoy pleasures” and become “famous and learned”. Having three Mahapurusha Yogas in the chart is impressive and accounts for Crowley’s strong personality that would rarely fail to leave an impression, albeit that, with two of these Mahapurusha Yogas being formed by malefic, this may not always have been a pleasant one.

Crowley’s sexual exploits are legendary! He enthusiastically practiced sexual magic, often with prostitutes, and he was able to lure women into his bed long after his physical attractiveness had faded. He had numerous homesexual affairs, and, in short, he had absolutely no inhibitions or scruples in the realm of sexuality. The strength of Venus, for one, certainly made him amorous and sensuous, and would no doubt have added to his charm. Venus and Mars are less than two degrees from an exact Square, which clearly indicates a fiery libido that could easily manifest as a coarse form of lust (both western and Vedic astrology would Venus and Mars in Libra and Capricorn respectively, in which they are exceptionally powerful). Mars and Saturn, both powerfully placed by sign, occupy the 7th House of ‘marriage’ and sexual desire. The strength of these planets show that he is able to succeed in affairs of that house, but they are both malefics, which points to the likelihood of perversions and harsh or discordant manifestation (in this case in the realm of ‘marital relations’). Mars is the ‘Yoga karaka’ for the Cancer Ascendant (because it rules one angular and one ‘trinal’ house), in Vedic terms, and this gives Mars a special benefic status. The fact that Mars is exalted (as the Yoga Karaka, being lord of the 10th and 5th) again generally strengthens Crowley’s capacity to command respect and achieve his goals (though Neptune in the 10th House of both the western and Vedic charts points to a somewhat fragile social status and a vague and perhaps dubious reputation, apart form the fact that in itself it indicates a ‘spiritual’ or artistic career). Neptune in the 10th House furthermore seems to fit the fact that Crowley was often dissapointed that he was not more fully publicly acknowledged for his genius; he felt that his poetry, for example, was worthy of greater praise than he received, and despite enjoying occassional patches of celebrity, he experienced his share of discouraging setbacks in the pursuit of his ambitions.

Whatever you think of him, Crowley was anything but mediocre, and that alone, I think, makes him worthy of some respect.

In his own invariably inimitable words:

“After five years of folly and weakness, miscalled politeness, tact, discretion, care for the feeling of others, I am weary of it. I say today: the hell with Christianity, Rationalism, Buddhism, all the lumber of the centuries. I bring you a positive and primaeval fact, Magick by name; and with this I will build me a new Heaven and a new Earth. I want none of your faint approval or faint dispraise; I want blasphemy, murder, rape, revolution, anything, bad or good, but strong.”

Joseph Campbell, a hero

This evening a friend of mine mentioned Joseph Campbell in the context of storytelling, and I remembered seeing his chart once and being struck by the tight Conjunction of Mercury and Jupiter, describing a wise, learned and philosophical person. I’ve just dug it out again for another look. I don’t know nearly as much about him and his work as I’d like to. Here’s to taking that journey a little further!

Joseph Campbell’s fascination with the hero motif seems perfectly represented by the Sun and Jupiter in close Conjunction (not to speak of Mars on an angle). Sun Conjunct Jupiter is all about finding a meaningful role, being a saviour, redeemer, healer or teacher. This role intrigued him, but he managed to become an embodiment of it too.

The Moon is closely Trine the Sun, Mercury and Jupiter. This 5/9 relationship between the Sun and Moon is very auspicious and points to a naturally intuitive and sincere quality; this idea strongly reinforced by Jupiter being so intimately involved with both luminaries.

All these planets connect powerfully with Neptune: the Sun, Mercury and Jupiter are Square Neptune, and there is a Semi-Sextile aspect between the Moon and Neptune. Joseph Campbell is absorbed in what some would call a fantasy world of myth, but it seems he’s able to articulate how these archetypal dramas are reflected in, and can give meaning to, our ‘commonplace’ stories.

In Vedic terms the Sun, Mercury and Jupiter are all in Pisces in the 7th House, with Mercury the lord of a Virgo Ascendant. The debilitation of Mercury is cancelled by the fact that its dispositor, Jupiter, is so strong (Jupiter being in its own sign in an angular house and forming Hamsa Yoga by Jyotish criteria). However, as is the case with Einstein, who also has Mercury in Sidereal Pisces as Ascendant lord, Jospeh Campbell’s intellect is preoccupied with abstract and universal ideas, and this is not typical of Mercury.

With Jupiter so powerful (in own sign and angular from the Ascendant and in the 9th from the Moon), Joseph Campbell is a celebrated ‘guru’. In fact, Jupiter becomes a dominant planet in the chart due to it’s many layers of strength. The fact that Jupiter is so much stronger than Mercury is reflected in the fact that he’s not essentially interested in data, he’s interested in the broader understanding and wisdom that Jupiter represents.

If the Sun is the archetypal ‘hero’, its Conjunction with Jupiter describes its noblest purpose, and its fullest and most meaningful social contribution. Would it be too much to say that in his own way Joseph Campbell in some measure heals and redeems the archetypal hero from obscurity and distortion in the collective psyche?

This is just what I’m noticing at first glance. I look forward to delving more deeply into this chart. What do you see in it?

The Sun

Many eyes may see the same sunset

Sending signals to their many brains,

Which will all register a visual impression

All approximately the same.


But then is may happen

One unexpected afternoon,

When you go outside

After shuffling around in your room.


That that bright

And awesomely magnificent light

The pierces the gloom

Of the darkest night;


That that glorious golden

Incandescent flame

Will be unveiled to your eyes

And breathe

…Its Name

What is an Astrologer Doing?

As astrologers, are we there simply as neutral translators of what we read in the heavens, impartially relaying a message? Do we simply let the chart do the talking, or, are we as ‘wise individuals’ being consulted; ‘wise individuals’ who just happen to be using astrology as a tool? Is a client consulting Astrology or an Astrologer? What do you think?

Sometimes, as an astrologer (being a mere human being) you can’t always discern what is and isn’t important, and by getting yourself out of the way and simply relaying what you see in the chart by following the rules of the astrology game, you may unknowingly reveal something valuable to the recipient/client, something that may have been beyond your powers of discernment to identify as important to them. It’s also possible that preoccupation with ‘chart reading’ can make for a barrage of mere information that lacks any real wisdom and may, truth be told, be more sensational entertainment than anything else (and all too often pandering to a rather idle curiosity).

If the person is there to see an the astrologer as a ‘wise person’, the wise person may recognize that it will take only a little astrology (and I think this is often the case), to identify and clarify the nature of the client’s issue. The astrologer may have to, for the rest, draw on other sources of wisdom (which they may or may not possess) to guide their client. So the focus is not then on chart reading, but on guiding, using the chart only as needed, and not necessarily as the central frame of reference. The chart may in fact be quite disposable after just a few minutes…. but don’t we too often assume we’re supposed to keep mining that chart for more ‘stuff’?

Are we as mindful as we should be of these different ways of approaching what we do?

‘you are the light of the world…’

“The “sphere of radiation” (aura) is easily determined by those who seek it out, and who watch the effect of the radiation upon people in their community and environment. One highly emotional person, working through an overdeveloped and uncontrolled solar plexus centre, can wreck a home or an institution. I give this as an illustration. One radiant, creative life, consciously using the heart or the throat centres, can carry inspiration to hundreds. These are points well worth careful consideration. You must, however, bear in mind that these centres are brought into activity by the cultivation of certain major virtues, and not by meditation, or concentration upon the centres. They are brought automatically into the needed radiatory condition, by right living, high thinking, and loving activity. These virtues may seem to you dull and uninteresting, but they are most potent and scientifically effective in bringing the centres into the desired radiatory activity…“

-Telepathy and the Etheric Vehicle; Alice Bailey

The real world tends to be hidden from our view, and likewise, we tend to underestimate our influence, and our responsibility… and our present opportunity!

The Music of the Spheres

“There’s not the smallest orb which thou behold’st
But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins;
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.”


Here’s something of an anology which may be close to literally true….

Chakra means wheel; you are a little solar system; your chakras are your spinning planets, little spinning wheels. Every degree of the zodiac is like a key on a grand piano; when you are born the degree of the zodiac a planet is located at sets its tone, its note. Like a tuning fork, it’s permanently set to that pitch. Every planet in your birth chart (or chakra in your subtle body) is ‘set’ to one such key, note or tone.

After your birth the planets continue to move through the degrees of the zodiac, or the keys of the grand cosmic piano, so to speak, sending out different notes or vibrations as they move along.  Our natal (birth) planets/chakras are activated by resonance with the ‘transiting tones’, and in this way the frequencies radiated by the transiting planets set off our chakras, and who knows what that does?!

Astrological transits seem to demonstrate this; that’s why transiting Mars at 10 degrees Libra, for example, may produce huge results for me but not for you. My planets/chakras resonate with that particular vibration and yours may not, just as a specific musical note activates one tuning fork but not another next to it set to a different pitch.

When someone enters the room whose chakras are set at pitches resonant with yours (which you see in the birth charts a conspicuous synastry connections), you are ‘stirred’, there’s a connection. Your chakras are both transmitters and receivers. For example, if my Sun is located at 14 degrees Libra and your Moon is located at that same degree, we sense there’s a connection when we meet; it’s almost telepathic. My ‘Sun chakra’ and your ‘Moon chakra’ (whichever they may be, I’m not sure), have the same vibration, and respond to the same frequencies. When (transiting, moving) Venus arrives at 14 degrees Libra there is great affection between us, because we simultaneously respond to that vibration, and it rings along the channel between our chakras….

This quick sketch may give a tiny glimpse into the way the stories of our lives are the byproduct of a cosmic symphony!

Mercury has turned Retrograde!!!

I pride myself in being pragmatic! Unlike many of my new age friends I’m not excited, intimidated or awed, normally, by Mercury going Retrograde. While others plot and scheme on how to get some emailing or paperwork through the Retrograde Mercury firewall, I go ahead as usual, and, for example, recently didn’t hesitate to schedule two webinars for this weekend, as Mercury turns on his winged heel ….

I stand chastised!

There was some confusion around time zones that effectively aborted Saturday’s lesson, and today, presenting a webinar on the astrology of relationship dynamics (and after boasting about how auspicious it was to be doing so under a Moon/Venus Conjunction in Sidereal Taurus), I found, to my dismay, that I just wasn’t my usual brilliant, eloquent, and dazzlingly informative self. In this instance I was half relieved that Mercury had seen fit to interfere with the internet connections and computer functionality of a few of the attendees- a few less to lose face with!

Folks, sorry to break it to you, but between now and 8 August it’s best you close those laptops and put away those tabs and phones, and try keep your mouth shut: the time is again upon us when no attempt at coherent articulation will succeed or go unpunished!

P.S. – You think a cheeky little blog post like this would slip through the cracks? No! My computer crashed (first time ever) while composing it!! I’m not kidding!

The Force, with Us, may It be!!


Grand Cross 17 July 2012

Wow! Look at this astrological configuration for 17 July 2012 (roughly during the afternoon, GMT/UT)! If you have planets in your chart around 6-8 degrees of Cardinal Signs (Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn) this may be an unleashing of pent up high voltage energy, for better or worse.  Actually, no matter who or where you are you may want to fasten your seatbelt!

The whole of next week (roughly 16-20 July) is pretty intense astrologically, with Mars Opposing Uranus and Squaring Pluto, but on Tuesday the 17th it seems to be the climax. I’ve already briefly sketched the general character of the core energies of this configuration elsewhere- the Moon simply brings it all into sharp focus during this particular afternoon:

This Cosmic Dream

Astrology describes— can we call it “reality”?— using a small handful of symbols that each have various possible typical meanings and levels of manifestation. Although each symbol, or combination of symbols, could be read in a number of ways, it’s certainly not true that you can read any old thing into any astrological symbol. Saturn represents something very clearly distinct from the Moon or Venus, for example, and there’s no mistaking the differences. It is truly amazing to see this core set of archetypes manifesting in a myriad of ways consistent with their core attributes. If life is a bewildering movie in a foreign language, astrology is the subtitles!

The question is, where exactly is life happening? Is it really “out there”, as it seems to be, with things happening to us?

a sensuous snooze

Many years ago, I must have been in my early 20’s, I found myself pondering the question of what happens to those short-lived Lunar Transits, that can come and go in the space of an hour or two, when you’re asleep? Obviously one would speculate that the energy may manifest in and through your dreams, but I hadn’t yet experienced any impressive evidence of this. Well, it’s amazing how things happen, you wonder about something and the answer appears; “ask and it shall be given to you”.

I was visiting my mother around the time that I first posed myself this question, and I happened to notice one fine afternoon that the (Transiting) Moon would be forming a strong Aspect to my Natal Venus around 10:00pm that evening. It looked an opportune time to hit the town and socialize, and I decided there and then that I would do just that. As it happened, perhaps around 8:00pm that evening, I fell very comfortably asleep on my mother’s couch and didn’t make it to town. Although I couldn’t remember anything that I dreamt that night, I apparently didn’t miss out on much.

The next morning my mother, completely out of the blue, asked me, “what were you dreaming last night, because around 10:00pm you had such a broad smile on your face, you must have been experiencing something very enjoyable?”. She actually used slightly more explicit language which it would not be seemly to repeat here verbatim.

I was overjoyed! The time she mentioned and what she thought I must have been dreaming unambiguously affirmed that my Moon/Venus Transit was not lost to me just because I was asleep.

mars in dreamtime

Around 16-17 June 2010 Transiting Mars arrived within orb of a Square to my natal Neptune.

I was inspired on the evening of the 16th of June to paint an “Astrology Readings” sign on a square piece of board (for an upcoming arts festival where I do readings), and worked on it almost obsessively till after 2am. I woke up feeling quite exhausted, but pleased with the result.

It had been a while since I’d smeared colours around with a brush, and although it wasn’t intended to be a work of art, I think there was a hint of artistic sensibility involved in the process. 

Mars is action, Neptune is imagination; combining the two often manifests as an alignment of physical action and an attunement to an ethereal, subtle or intangible world. Artistic self-expression is a natural outlet or result. However, this is not all. That night I had a bizarre dream. I was in some sort of vault or hall that seemed to be made of a yellowish stone surface, a bit like some ancient Egyptian temple, and there were snakes and strange salamander or lizard like creatures in various nooks and crannies. Then I found myself in a large open room with three or four men who all seemed to be similar in that they all possessed varying forms of magical weapons. Then one of these men, who may or may not have been me (I couldn’t differentiate between what I was doing and what I was observing) brandished something that sort of released energy, but I understood that he was controlling something invisible at a distance, and then I saw a blade suddenly slit the throats of the three other men. I also either heard this man say or think that it had to be done and couldn’t be delayed any longer, as if it was a case of slay or be slain. I awoke from this dream rather shaken and it took me a while to get back to sleep.

Mars and Neptune are very different. While they can manifest positively through artistic or “soulful” activities, they also seem prone to potentially “hazardous mystical experiences”, which my dream seemed to verge on.


For at least a week or so I’ve been aware that roundabout now Transiting Mars would be Conjunct my Natal Pluto and Square my Natal Saturn. That’s a hard core transit by any standards!

It didn’t surprise me to find myself, during the past two days or so, in a situation where I need to be quite forceful and assertive in a group project, but I think it’s been fairly constructive!

Last night, however, in dreamland, I found myself in a police station where some policemen were brutally beating someone, and I was one of a few people who were totally shocked and trying to get as far away from these people as possible, since there was no telling who they would be picking on next. I don’t remember much more, but it was very intense and unpleasant!! Very much the image of Mars, Pluto and Saturn in hard aspect in full force!!

Isn’t it intriguing that we dream our stars, pretty much exactly as we “live” them in the “real” waking world?! What’s the difference really between being awake and sleeping? Where is the “real” world really, and what is it??!

One thing seems certain: what we experience seems to be almost entirely subjective, and to a large extent our personal “dreams” (and that includes what we think is happening outside ourselves while we’re awake) are in fact manifestations of fluctuating tides of consciousness in the cosmos… how wonderfully mysterious, being a droplet in this cosmic ocean!