Astrology done well, wrestles the “Time Space Monster” and in this effort we see that Saturn is the essential key. The riddle of time, ironically enough, is referred to in Harry Potter where readers are introduced to Tom Riddle, who of course is also known by that other name as well.
Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that Tom’s birthday, December 31, 1926, is the same year that marks the beginning of the Age of Aquarius? Oh, and Tom was a Capricorn, the Sign ruled by Saturn. But wait! It gets better! Tom died in 1998, the same year that there was a significant shift in the world, and we aren’t just talking about watershed moments like the first woman of color being granted tenure at Harvard as the Bennet Boskey Professor of Law. No, there was that, but so much more going on, including but not limited to researchers in Texas claiming they found the cellular equivalent of the “fountain of youth.” Changes at the cellular level that “signaled” the end of the first “trisamsa” of the Age, the keynote degree, in Cancer (“the fall of creation”). A pivotal period came to an end, and the second “trisamsa,” the second degree of the Age, was just getting underway, in Gemini. Tom died exactly as he was entering the 4 Point on The Gnostic Circle, where Virgo lies at the bottom of time’s bend into the 4/5 Point (the Belly of the Beast) and Libra. He was not yet 72. It was May of 1998. Of note is the significance of the number 72 which in cosmology corresponds to the time it takes for the Precession of the Equinox to move 1 degree.
The crux of the Harry Potter story (or should I say horcrux?), is a classic battle between “good and evil,” that involves the transformation of Tom Marvolo Riddle who becomes Voldemort, the Dark Lord. His quest is to exceed the limits of magic and achieve Immortality, to conquer Time. But Tom’s proclamation that “I am Lord Voldemort” reveals an identity crisis of sorts, eh? He thinks he can be someone he’s not, merely by rearranging the letters of his name, by calling himself something other than he is…
“It is at this point when we must develop a skill for deeper analysis and judgment, when we must hone our critical faculties and see the reality
of the marketplace for what it is, and not be fixed upon what it should be.”1
de-emphasis & emphasis mine
I open this essay with an aside, giving a nod to J.K. Rowling, and half wondering what else she possibly knew? Honestly, I wasn’t able to actually read the books myself, finding the first book dreadful and couldn’t muscle through the first two chapters. But the movies were entertaining as hell, and fun to watch with my kids who ate them up faster than a fist full of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans. I really do need to give the books another “go” I think, and especially after this curious discovery about the Dark Lord. Plus, there is all that Dumbledore iconography alluding to our 9th Manifestation and the Sign Sagittarius, which in and of itself is intimately connected with Saturn and the birthing of True Knowledge in the present Age. “Bloody Hell!” Ron Weasely might yell. But no spoiler from me. You’ll have to get the book yourself, pull out the map that explains it all, put it on the wall and stare at it for 9 years like I did. Below, I drew an embarrassingly simply diagram of the map. A guide. A map to the map if you like, where “X” marks the spot.2
Most of us in Astrology learned that Saturn is about structure and order, and while this is true, Saturn is also about Time-Spirit. In its most crystalized form, Time is matter. Not to put too fine a point on it, but dear Tom was born in an Earth Sign (Capricorn), and died in an Earth Sign (Taurus) as well. Perhaps even more significantly, he “transitioned” from life while traversing Virgo on The Gnostic Circle. “Bloody Hell!” Time IS Matter! To an astrologer, Earth Signs are connected to matter in both practical terms but in esoteric ways as well. Time is also energy, and Rowling makes constant allusions to the importance of mastering “energy” in order to master the lessons of witchcraft and wizardry. The ultimate show down in the story of course is determined not only by the mastery of these lessons, but also by which side does so in the Spirit of Light (Expecto Patronum). Interesting, since Saturn is also Spirit, a revelation I’ve not seen disclosed by any astrologer anywhere, save one. Traditional Astrology, on the other hand, does assign Saturn to “spirit” but it is “spirit” with a little “s”, the one of demonic possession, the devil and all that “rot.” An archetype that has carried over into our modern nomenclature with loaded constructs that use words like “maelefic.” There is a connotation being made here, that if you say the word slowly, and ominously enough, that it will harken back to HE-WHO-MUST-NOT-BE-NAMED. Interestingly, individuals who were considered “possessed” in the heyday of traditional Astrology were also considered “not responsible” for being possessed. I guess “the devil made me do it” applied in the most literal sense of the word.
Astrology has come a long way since and updating the symbols of Astrology has taken a whole-step toward a more Spiritual form of expression. That’s Spirit with a capital “S”, but practitioners of Humanistic Astrology, by example, may not represent the perfect manifestation of this whole-step, not by half. However, Humanistic Astrology does appear to be moving in the right direction. Humanistic Astrology seeks to upgrade the human code by working with definitions of Saturn and other symbols that reflect Astrology rooted in the reality of the world. Today, Saturn can also mean “taking responsibility,” for example. Still, tough medicine irrespective of the retrograde backward looking obsession practitioners sometimes have with past meanings. Willy-nilly, Saturn is serious stuff, and if responsibility is not taken then there will be “hell” to pay, consequences and outcomes that indeed can feel fated.
We can think of time as consciousness-force, and the Harry Potter stories do a pretty good job of conveying some of these thorny philosophical riddles but “unscrambling” the meaning Tom brings to the story is the least of them. While it is good fun to SEE certain correspondences pop up in popular literature or in current events circulating in the news, we can also sometimes get carried away with such inventions.
This note is about seasons. Seasons refer to the time of year, or more colloquially refer to the seasons of our lives. We might even feel a sense of season in a day, or in an hour, so I get it if someone wants to say “Virgo Season.” Fine! But to comprehend the true meaning of the seasons we only need to step outside, look up at the sky, and use our eyes, like Hipparchus, or any of our ancestors before us. What we see is “Time’s Riddle.” What we see coincident with the arc of the Sun is a lessening of light beyond the Summer Solstice, and an increase of light beyond the Winter Solstice. We see a story unfolding that describes The Light overcome by dark forces, only to be conquered by a Return to Light once more. It’s the same old story. In Harry Potter, for example, literary allusions are made to the Iliad, the Bible, the Tragedies written by Aeschylus, and of course Astrology which Mr. Harrington doesn’t happen to mention. But the bigger arc of the story, the meta story if you will, i.e., are the Season of the Ages, and this measure cannot easily be seen just by stepping outside and looking up at the sky.
We cannot really ‘see’ the precession without reference made to the pole stars, without recognizing the “displacement” Hipparchus discovered, or without a tool to better guide our understanding of Time. Astronomers “lost the measure” and so cannot “SEE” this movement even with all the high-powered telescopes in the world trained together on the problem at once, nor with their advanced mathematics. A new map is necessary that precisely measures this movement according to cosmic harmonies, based on what we SEE when we follow the Sun. What we notice, in addition to the extremes of light and darkness, is that the length of day does not remain unbalanced forever. Between extremes that exaggerates the inequity between light and darkness, the seasons change and the day (or the Age) eventually reflects balance again, an equilibrium, a steadiness of light. We know this in our experience each spring and fall, when a temporary hush and calm settle over creation at the equinoxes, just before and abrupt and all-encompassing change begins. A New Beginning!
The sky presents quite a drama that becomes a narrative reflected in the stories we tell ourselves and each other. But more so, the patterns in the heavens reflect patterns of behavior that appear to be based on those stories, stories that are at once personal and at the same time shared. Perhaps the allure for works like Harry Potter, the Lord of the Rings, or more recently, Game of Thrones, is an insatiable desire for a new story. A new myth! Perhaps we are tired of the old stories we’ve inherited, and feel no longer apply. Like the 4 GB or 8 GB technology in the iPhone that was introduced to the world in January 2007. Technology ages like everything else and outlives its usefulness. Today both our phones as well as our Astrology, needs updating. It doesn’t make much epistemological sense to trade my iPhone 12 in for a rotary dial, just because the rotary phone “still works.” I can and do change my technology, but Changing My Story is probably a more critical first step. (Stay tuned for a future note on this topic).
After the spring equinox, illumination builds along the ecliptic toward maximum light at the summer solstice, on the “longest day.” There is a lessening of light beyond this solstice point, and as we approach the fall equinox on the circle (ecliptic), we reach a second point of balance, of equal day and night opposite the spring equinox, the initial point of balance. Beyond the fall equinox the light continues to fade as the length of night increases until maximum darkness is reached at the winter solstice, on the “longest night.” We can see these seasonal “shifts” on the graph easily enough, but we also recognize these “shifts” in our everyday lived experience and can feel the change in energy “signaled” by seasonal weather patterns; however, it is essential from an esoteric standpoint that we are not simply describing the physical changes of weather. Each season goes through a progression, from start to finish, following a specific sequence. Like the plot of a good story, a “shift” in energy occurs that is different in kind (different elements) but similar in type (same modes). Comparable perhaps to the scene changes of a play. We are watching the same play from the audience, but the setting of the stage has changed, and somehow character “development” reveals something new. There is a change in behavior, or identity, and the plot thickens. Still, it is the same play.
Astrologers recognize these “shifts” when the Sun (or any planet) ingresses into a new zodiac Sign. The energy proceeds across the seasons flowing from Cardinal Sign to Fixed Sign, to Mutable Sign, always in that order. These “energies” are the “modalities,” and represent a “new beginning,” a “new” season that differs only by the “nature” (Element) of the energy expressed. The “initial quality” (Modality) of a particular Season is always the same, but the “initial element” determined by the Season within which a Sign falls, is dependent upon the distribution of light from the Sun due to where the Earth is in its orbit, its angle to the Sun. To speak of the “season” of a Sign, for example “Virgo Season,” is inaccurate. A Sign cannot be a season. A Season is made up of 3 Signs and results from the division of the Circle by 4.
What is important to realize is that this esoteric view of “dividing the circle” is taken from the perspective of the Sun, as if one were standing on the Sun and observing the actual ‘movement’ corresponding to the cyclical motion of Earth in its orbit. Thus, ever arriving at the same point, the Zero Point, or 0 degrees Aries, each spring. Subsequently the other Cardinal Signs, Libra, Cancer, and Capricorn, each register a NEW BEGINNING, at the fall equinox and the solstices respectively. These are foundational precepts, or pillars of mystery teachings that assumes the One Path initiates follow. They are unshakeable. The stars are merely quivering in the background, important post marks in their own right, but a distraction from the premise of the Solar Year. Ancient astronomer confused the the “science of stars” with the natural flow of time that follows the Sun.
Certain eternal worlds…are these which have come into being,
their doors are shut to you (or opened) by the months and the years;
without effort one (world) moves in the other, and it is these that
Brahmanaspati makes manifest to knowledge.
A ‘competing’ form of Astrology that attempts to challenge the Tropical view is the Sidereal zodiac, which is most popular in India. Sidereal Astrology, also called Jyotish Astrology, is referred to as the “science of light” by some Indian astrologers, which is perhaps a rephrasing of Monier-Williams definition. In any event, Joytish aligns with the fixed stars in such a way so as to adjust the start of the year, thereby separating the Solstices from the natural Solar Year, the Tropical Zodiac.
Ancient Vedic Rishis shared the Tropical Solar view, but ancient astronomers broke from tradition thousands of years ago, near the time material (scientific) thought was flourishing in Ancient Greece. Instead of using the ecliptic plane of the Earth’s orbit as a reference, they established a ‘new’ scientific viewpoint that skewed perception toward the fixed stars and away from the natural seasonality of the year (Not all of India however made the shift, astrologers in Tamil for example still adheres to the traditional view, as it is “Vedic to the core”). Of course, the initial argument for doing this was an attempt to ‘correct’ the distortion believed to exist in the traditional Solar based system, and to account for the wobbling of the Earth’s tilt on its axis (23 ½ degrees). The adjustment that was made realigned the zodiac to fixed stars so as to provide a more ‘scientific’ measure of Time. The contention was/is that this approach measures the “ages” of the universe more precisely.
Modern Vedic astrologers believe their system is an improvement over the traditional Vedic Tropical system, but apparently cannot agree on “which” Ayanâṁúâ, to use. According to Robert Wilkerson there are up to 30 different ayanamsas. So, when discussing the efficacy of sidereal Astrology, it’s impossible to agree on which “one” we are talking about specifically. Which is the “precise” ayanamsas? Most critiques of sidereal Astrology lump these differences into “one” distinct system when in fact there are “many” since each approach has its own starting point, and some vary wildly from the others. From this perspective it is self-evident that Sidereal Astrology, not Tropical Astrology, is the moving target.
One of the most significant impressions ever imprinted on my heart and mind is the idea that the Zodiac Signs relate to the Ages (1 age = 2,160 years), analogous in a way to how the Signs relate to the months. “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven,” sang the Mamas and the Papas, riffing on Ecclesiastes 3 from the Bible. The Age we are born to has its own distinct “personality,” like the month corresponding to a particular Zodiac Sign. People do seem to share certain “personality” traits when they are born under the same Sign. Zooming in from a meta-macro view, and down to the minutia of a daily view, we know the position of the Sun in our chart based on the hour of day we are born, and we gain a sense of how strong the Life-Force is, based on a correspondence of Sign, and Sect.3 We are making connections across time, how the age corresponds to the year, how the year corresponds to the month, the month to the day, and the day to the hour. There is a correlation of cycles that compares one day, one rotation of the Earth on its axis, as equivalent to one year, or one revolution of the Earth around the Sun. In both instances all twelve Signs of the zodiac are traversed. The premise that One Day = One Year reveals a logical equivalence that connects our measure of time to our experience of time, in a manner of degree, so to speak. And in so doing, One Degree = One Year, but on a cosmological scale that same One Degree = 72 Years. [insert the mind blown emoji so that your astronomer friends laugh, or at least send back an eye roll emoji…] These nested constructs give meaning to the “our story” of creation, our history, both personal and collective. The moment of one’s birth, the day you were born, where you were born. The moment of your first breath, and by extension, every breath after, and every breath ever breathed, is projected and captured on the map.
“The past is never dead. It’s not even past,” William Faulkner said. Not exactly a ringing endorsement of the proverbial lore, “history never repeats, but it rhymes,” which according to quote investigator, is erroneously attributed to Mark Twain. In this way we are challenged to build an accurate account of the past exactly as it was because of these types of attributions. We know that some lore handed down is intentionally “invented,” propagating false or pseudohistorical records that are misleading, and misattributions are an easy target to demonstrate this phenomenon. Imagine though, reconstructing a narrative around authors that have been dead for 2,000 years! A difficult, but a very important exercise, because even in the case of accurate analysis we quickly discover layers upon layers of interpretation, that we understand require herculean efforts to sort out. So, we imagine the truth.
On Russ Roberts EconTalk podcast recently, Dr. Bret C. Devereaux puts forth two main reasons for setting the record of the past straight, or at least make it as close to the truth as we can:
1.) The past informs the present. Dr. Devereaux uses the “hot stove” analogy to describe the way we learn. Thucydides said that history was, “the setting out so that people will have an exact record to inform future actions. This will be not an essay for the moment but a treasure for all time.” Getting the past “right” and “accurate” is important in terms of making valid comparisons that are helpful to the present.4
2.) “We live both fistically and metaphorically atop the ruins of the past, and if we want to understand those foundations then we need to understand the past as it was rather than the past as it makes for a good Hollywood movie.” 5
So, the past is helpful in a way because where we’ve been can tell us something about where we are going? I think most people would agree that this is a helpful mindset. Whenever I travel somewhere I’ve never been before it is incredibly useful to plug the coordinates into my phone and have “Karen” or “Siri,” depending on whether I am using Google Maps or Apple Maps, tell me which way to turn. For the very same reason people MAKE AN APPOINTMENT with their astrologer! As we stated in the previous post, all Astrology works to one degree or another, but we are making a case here that the advances in what we have learned and what we now know about people and about life, is just as important, or more so, than what we know about Astrology. This is true now, and it was true then.
Even though Tom Riddle is a fictional character, there is a very strange correspondence between his struggle in the Harry Potter series and the collective struggle of humanity. Technology aims to disrupt everything! Including DEATH! Apparently immortality is not just a spiritual fantasy anymore, or a plot twist in the mind of a writer of fiction. Tom Riddle was on to something and astrologers have a tall task ahead if our “sacred science” is to keep up with the changes that are already here. Contradicting previously held belief systems like the Hayflick Limit or Gompertz Law requires an upgrade to the Consciousness-Force and our conception of Saturn. How can archaic Length of Life techniques for example work when Aubrey de Grey predicts that the first person to live to age 1,000 has already been born, and is alive today? How does the consciousness of a Cro-Magnon whose life expectancy according to Ray Kurzweil (Director of Engineering at Google) was 18 years, compare to some today whose life expectancy is 78 years? The future may not care about what you believe! But as astrologers we’ll need the whole array of the Solar System, all 9 planets, to guide us, not just 7 planets. Ray is a typical Aquarian futurist, and suggests ‘immortality’ is within reach and soon, by the year 2029 in fact. Imagine reading such an declaration way back in the 1970’s, when Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet wrote that “illness is an illusion,” and that immortality would not only be attained, but that it was the Goal. There weren’t too many comments “Thea” made that threw me, but this was certainly one that did. Now I SEE what she meant. She had the consciousness-force to see much further ahead than erstwhile science fiction writers, further even than Kurzweil’s or de Grey’s view of progress in the world. Indeed we are hurtling toward a New Beginning and Astrology Needs an Upgrade. We must consider where Astrology is going more than where it has been. Saturn is the key.
*trisamsa is an “individual degree” and found in the blue outer most ring of The Gnostic Circle. P. 170
1.Merriman, R (2021). Merriman on Cycles: The Basics. Seek-It Publications. P. 17
2.Norelli-Bachelet, P. (2020). The Gnostic Circle: A Synthesis in the Harmonies of the Cosmos. White Falcon Publishing.
3.Brennan, C. (2017). Hellenistic Astrology: The Study of Fate and Fortune (First Edition). Amor Fati Publications. p. 190 I think one of the most important contributions of Chris Brenan’s work is the concept of Sect.
4. This is an excellent show on Russ Roberts incredibly long running EconTalk: Brett Devereaux on Ancient Greece and Rome Devereaux’s closing remarks with some paraphrasing.
5.You will find a treasure trove of interesting essays on the blog A Collection of Unmitigated Pedantry by Dr. Bret C. Devereaux