Friday 28 October 2022

Planet-Sign Affinity According to Temperament and Essential Dignity

Lately, I have been considering some models of planetary temperament and affinity between a planet’s innate temperament to sign placement, according to element.

Whenever we're talking about 'planets in signs', essential dignity must be considered. Essential dignity is a system wherein we take in account a planet's placement in a certain sign, or region within a sign. This is done in order to determine how advantageous, or disadvantageous, the position is for that planet. In this short article, only the three primary forms of essential dignities will be explored (domicile, exaltation and triplicity) as they stretch all the way through a sign, from beginning to end.

The gist of the article is a table with all the possible placements of 'planet to sign interaction'. The table was created in order to check which combinations are more and which are less beneficial for the individual planets, when we take in account both temperament and essential dignity considerations. 

*See the table below, and click on it for an enlarged version*

For the purposes of this article I’ve used the most popular and widespread scheme of planetary temperament, as shown here:

Mars & Sun – Hot + Dry
Moon & Venus – Cold +Wet
Mercury & Saturn – Cold + Dry
Jupiter – Hot + Wet

Fire - Hot + Dry
Water - Cold + Wet
Earth - Cold + Dry
Air - Hot + Wet

Some Examples:
Mars is a hot and dry planet, so whenever Mars is in a fire sign there’s affinity between Mars’ temperament and him being in Aries/Leo/Sag. Thus, Mars is ‘boosted’ and can act more naturally and organically, you can say. I consider it as a form of accidental dignity.
The contrary is also true. Since Mars is hot and dry and water signs are cold and wet, Mars would feel hampered in Cancer/Scorpio/Pisces. I would consider it as a form of accidental debility.
This model gets more interesting when you combine it with essential dignity, and especially domicile, exaltation and triplicity rulerships (the ones which go through the entire sign). All manner of interaction ensues, in such a way.
For example, Mars in Scorpio is both in domicile and in triplicity dignities, but mars would be accidentally weak according to the temperament condition. So you get a mixed bag of sorts.

With other planets, like Mercury for example, you get a strong boost via both essential dignity and temperament. Say Mercury in Virgo (Mercury being cold and dry, in a cold and dry sign, and in domicile plus exaltation).
Or strong debility according to both conditions, like in the case of Jupiter in Capricorn (Jupiter being hot and wet, in a cold and dry sign, plus the fall condition in Capricorn).

* Click on the Table for an enlarged view*

Note that 'temperament offset' refers to cases in which the planet is strong in a sign, by essential dignity, but the temperament condition detracts from that strength. On the other hand the 'temperament boost' condition refers to cases in which the planet is weak in a sign, by essential dignity, but the temperament condition somewhat ameliorates that ordeal.

One interesting conclusion which is derived from the table is in the middle columns of “average signs”, that is, cases in which we have a combo of essential dignity and temperament which go in different directions. Or maybe the signs in which a planet is ‘doubly harmed’, both by essential debility and temperament incompatibility. That is, in the left columns of “bad for planet”.

Another interesting conclusion is the disparity which emerges concerning apparent lack of compatibility between the cold and dry planets (Mercury and Saturn) to the signs of their triplicity (Air, which is hot and wet).
That is, the fact that Mercury and Saturn both suffer (temperament wise) in the air element, but in the triplicity model they excel in air. Also in terms of the domicile and exaltation placements of Saturn and Mercury, there's a disparity along the same lines.
This is certainly 'food for thought'. A possible solution is that despite the emphasis we have in the air element on logic, thinking, rationality and wit, we have a marked drawback as well. The fact that those cold and dry planets are thrown into an arena, in which they have to be social, cordial, fun, upbeat and other none cold and dry qualities of expression.
This may account for some of the disparities in terms of Saturn affiliated Aquarius and Libra, and Mercury affiliated Gemini, being both *sociable* but simultaneously *rules-centered, and sticklers for doing things properly*.


Concerning the topic of Sect, I've received some suggestions to incorporate it into the model. That seems impossible to me as the Sect condition would 'stack' on top of the other conditions. Let's examine Mars in Scorpio in a night chart vs. Mars in Scorpio in a day chart. That same Mars in a night chart would be the stronger mars, as it's in sect, but that wouldn't change the fact Mars in Scorpio is strong by essential dignity (domicile and triplicity) but weak according to the condition of temperament, in both cases. Sect is another important factor, no doubt, but it just 'stacks' on top of the other conditions.

Another point which needs addressing is the fact that in the triplicity model of essential dignity, Saturn and Mars are associated with Fire and Water respectively, due to a balancing factor. That Saturn would be too dry and restrictive in Earth and Mars would be too hot and volatile in Fire. Probably, this would often be the case in natal charts, where we'd like to balance our Saturn or our Mars. Despite those facts, not all charts are natal charts, and we may also consider horary, electional, mundane and other branches of astrology. Implications within each of these may be slightly different, although triplicity scoring remains the same.
Example: if in horary two people ask about a winning horse, and the horse is signified by Mars in Sagittarius in one chart and Mars in Pisces in the other. Here the temperament model may do us more good than the triplicity model. The hot and dry horse being more of a 'winning material' than the 'cold and wet' horse, not regarding the triplicity advantage of Mars in Pisces.


(*) I use the Hellenistic model of triplicity scoring; +3 to all three planets.
(*) Mercury's intrinsic temperament is somewhat disputed, though authors such as Al-Biruni, Lilly and Culpeper consider it to be cold and dry.  
(*) A 'thank you' is owed to Charles Obert, who was first to make me aware of these interesting interactions, through his book Using Dignity in Astrology.
(*) Also, I want to express my gratitude to members of the Traditional Astrologers FB group, which helped me hone my ideas on this tricky topic. Here's the thread.


Tuesday 1 March 2022

Russian Invasion of Ukraine - An Astrological Perspective (November 2022 Update)

In the early morning hours of the 24th of February 2022, Vladimir Putin has ordered an
invasion of Ukraine. This short article is aimed at dissecting the astrology behind this major geopolitical event. The main focus is on the event chart of the Russian invasion, set for 5:00 AM, Kiev time.

It has been jokingly commented online, at the beginning of the war, that “the Kremlin has damn good astrologers”. The invasion chart seemed to act like a decent election which favors the Russian side. In the invasion chart, shown below, we can see that Russia is represented by the rising sign, as it has initiated the war. Additionally, the 10th house is the house of victory for Russia. The opposite is also true as the DSC represents Ukraine, and the 4th house is the house of Ukraine’s victory. Some astrologers also associate the Sun with the favorite (Russia) and the Moon with the underdog (Ukraine). Moreover, we’ll trace the aspects the main significators make in order to try and understand the flow of events.

In the chart below we can see how Saturn, which is the ascendant ruler, is essentially and accidentally dignified. Saturn is in domicile, triplicity, in an angular house and oriental. This shows that Russia is in a position of strength, both in terms of its forces and in terms of taking advantage of circumstances. A small point of consideration is that Saturn is making a partile contra-antiscia aspect to Uranus, this may show that the overtaking of Ukraine won’t go as smoothly, and surprises are in store for Putin. If we also consider the Sun as the co-significator of the Russians, its conjunction to Jupiter with reception is probably an auspicious sign. Jupiter rules the 2nd house of revenue but also the 12th house of hidden enemies.   

Simultaneously, we see that the ruler of the 7th house is the Moon, which represents Ukraine. It is strong accidentally as it’s in a good house and in sect but weak essentially as it is peregrine. Additionally, the Moon is the most elevated planet which also rises first in the chart, which gives it initiative. It’s also conjunct the fixed star Antares, which symbolizes wars, honors, obstinance, ruin and endings (a mixed bag of sorts). Also, we can see that the Moon is in an antiscia aspect to Mars, which represents conflict and increases the viral power of Ukraine. Moreover, the Moon is decreasing in light, which may be a sign of slowly wearing out. It's interesting to note that if we would have used whole sign houses, then the Moon would have been cadent and weak, but we're using Regiomontanus. Concerning the nodes, we may point out the fact that the lucky north node is in the 4th house of Kiev’s victory. However, we must also allude to the fact that it’s tightly conjunct Algol, which is described by one source as “piles of corpses”, so in a way it’s a blessing with a course. A very costly victory maybe, lots of deaths and destruction. 

Examining the turned chart, from Ukraine’s perspective, it’s interesting to note that Ukraine’s 2nd and 11th houses are ruled by the same planet. This of course, shows that Ukraine is being supplied by many countries which are sympathetic to its cause. 

If we would calculate lots, which may be connected to times of war, a few extra details would be revealed. The part of victory is at 26 degrees of Leo, and despite it being located in the turned 1st house, its ruler is the Sun which may be tied to Russia. The part of Success is at 21 degrees of Aquarius, conjuncting the main significator of Russia, and this may hint at Russia's chance of victory (or partial victory). Lastly, the part of glory is at 13 Cancer near the DSC, which may show that the Ukrainians will valiantly defend their country, despite the overwhelming odds. In summary, the parts show a hodgepodge of testimonies. Seems rather equal. 

The overall picture which emerges is probably a slight advantage in favor of the Russian side. There are some major indications which show that Putin's efforts will experience major stumbling blocks.
Overall though, the chart shows that the Russian side still holds some key advantages. Despite suffering major setbacks, it's probable that Putin will achieve at least some of his goals. Maybe the takeover of Donetsk and Luhansk provinces in the Eastern parts of Ukraine, but not before much blood will be shed and mass destruction will ensue.

In term of the unfolding events, the motion of the Moon is our guide here, since the Moon is the general indicator of timing. The Moon’s most recent aspect was a square to the Sun, and if we take Putin as the Sun figure in this course of events then his fiery and vindictive speech just before the invasion was a good fit.

The next Moon aspect is a sextile aspect to Mercury, in two or three time-units (probably months). This shows that the Ukrainian side was still trying, in the first months of the war, to reach a diplomatic solution through talks which were ongoing in Belarus, and through Turkey.

The next Moon aspect is a square aspect to Jupiter, which would be completed in five time-units (again, probably months). This leads us to July 2022. Since Jupiter is the ruler of the 12th house in the chart, this may show that casualties and destruction would increase in a logarithmic scale for both parties till this point in time, with the summer being especially unfortunate.

Lastly, the Moon would aspect the significator of the Russian side, Saturn, by a friendly aspect of a sextile. This would happen in about ten or eleven time-units, and this is important as it shows that Ukraine will probably sign a ceasefire agreement or some other treaty with Russia in about ten or eleven months. That would happen, sometime during the beginning of 2023, around January or February. 

Let's hope this is indeed the case, for the only other possible way to judge the invasion chart is for the time units which separate the Moon and Saturn are years instead of months. Judging the chart in such a manner produces the unsavory result that a decade or 11 years would pass until this conflict would be resolved.  

All of the above becomes more conspicuous when we examine the national charts of Ukraine and Russia at this moment. By transit both experience their Saturn return, and this makes perfect sense as the post Soviet world is redefining itself, albeit sadly through the aggressive actions of the Russian president. As it is widely recognized, Putin considers the fall of the Soviet Union as the biggest geopolitical disaster of the 20th century. Thus, his view and aim is 'integrating rogue post-soviet republics, such as Belarus, Kazakhstan and Ukraine, into the Russian sphere of influence'. As in both Ukraine's and Russia's charts Saturn is positioned in Aquarius, we would probably have to wait till it would ingress into Pisces for the full scale of current events to become clearer. This will happen at the beginning of March 2023. This may also mean that a more complete ending of hostilities will only happen around the first to second quarters of 2023.

In the meantime, we have to note that in the Russian national chart, the 6th house of 'service to your country' is heavily emphasized with both malefics inhabiting it. Russia at the moment feels like a conscripted and militarized society with censorship, rallies, propaganda and a very real danger presented to its servicemen. This brings us to the second point, which is an additional emphasis on its 8th house. As it's reported daily, the Russian army suffers great losses, both in terms of men and in terms of equipment. Mars' recent conjunction to Russia's natal Saturn shows this in a clear manner. Please note that Mars rules the 9th house of foreign countries (their military equipment) while Saturn rules the 6th of Russia's armed forces.

Through Ukraine's national chart we can find some additional testimony to possible outcomes which are shown by the invasion chart. The strongest evidence shown by transits is that both Mars and Saturn are creating a conjunction to Ukraine's Moon, which of course symbolizes the home and the people of the country. Saturn's rays would cease to hurt Ukraine's Moon, at the 22nd degree of Aquarius, only at the beginning of 2023. This of course is a bad sign, which may show that the war would continue in one sense or another till January or February of 2023. Even after Mars will leave Aquarius, in the middle of April 2022, he would still need some time to separate from the opposition it would make to Ukraine's Sun and later to its Mars. Thus Mars would be in the clear only around the end of April to the middle of May, which is probably the time Ukraine would see some major victories of her own (Update: the Russians retreated from Kiev).

With mars out of the picture, Saturn stationing retrograde, and Jupiter leaving Pisces and Russia's 8th house, the most concerning part of the war would probably be over for Ukraine around May 2022. Another round of hard fighting may be at hand, a bit later though. From November 2022 to January 2023, as Jupiter would retrograde back to oppose Ukraine's Mars, Saturn would again conjunct Ukraine's Moon, and Mars would station retrograde to square Ukraine's natal Mars. This would probably be the last phase of the war, as the invasion charts hints at an end before its 1-year mark. 

My hopes and wishes are with the people of Ukraine. Let us pray for a quick and less bloody solution to this awful geopolitical situation, if at all possible.

Disclaimer: mundane astrology is not my specialty, but despite this fact I’ve tried my best to employ the tools at my disposal and stay objective all the while. My methodology for the first part of this article was to borrow rules and concepts from sports and contest horary astrology, and apply them to mundane material.

This article was updated, for the second time, on the 29th of October 2022 

Saturday 25 December 2021

Dexter Aspects vs Dominating Planets - A Proposed Solution

This article is an attempted solution to the long-lasting dilemma over the following question: which planet is stronger, dominant or in control? The one which casts a dexter aspect or the one which is in the dominant position? The attempted solution will use the concept of slow and heavy planets exerting influence over light and fast planets.

First though, here’s an introduction to the subject and the terms:
A dexter aspect is when a faster planet hurls its rays to a slower one in the direction of diurnal motion of the planets (against the order of the signs). For example, the Moon in Aries by square aspect to Saturn in Capricorn. Such an aspect is considered to be direct, forceful and powerful. Moreso than the opposite, which is called a sinister aspect. This means that the Moon would exert its influence upon Saturn in the example just given.

Sinister aspects refer to a faster planet hurling its rays to a slower planet, against the direction of diurnal motion of the planets (in the order of the signs). Sinister aspects are considered to be weak, distorted, unnatural, and maybe even sneaky. An example of a sinister aspect would be the Moon in Aries casting a square to Mercury in Cancer.

On the topic of dexter and sinister aspects, we could draw a vital parallel. One reason that dexter aspects are considered stronger than sinister aspects, is that dexter aspect are akin to the waxing stage of any two planets which behold each other. Just like the first quarter moon, on its way to become a full moon. This stage represents ‘increase’ and thus strength. The opposite is the sinister aspect which is akin to the waning stage of any aspect, or to the last quarter moon. During the last quarter Moon, the Moon is on its way to disappear and start a new cycle. This ‘decrease’ represents weakness.

The other notion is that of the dominant or overcoming planet, which would be the one placed first, in the direction of diurnal motion of the planets (against the order of the signs). This planet is the dominant partner in the aspect, so to speak. The logic is that the planet which rises first, leads or is in charge in some way. In the example above Saturn in Capricorn would dominate the Moon in Aries, or the Moon in Aries would dominate Mercury in Cancer.

One intuitive way to explain the effect of the dominant or overcoming planet is the following parallel, which employs the square aspect. If a planet which is dominated is metaphorically placed in the 1st house, then the planet which dominates it will be placed in the 10th house. The tenth is the proverbial place of authority, rulership and power in an astrological chart. This relationship shows the dependency of an individual person (the 1st) on the authorities, state, kingdom or country (the 10th).

It’s also important to consider that slower and heavier planets, according to traditional astrology, exert influence over lighter and faster planets. This is another reason why in the first example above Saturn should exert its influence over the Moon. This, by the way, would still be the case if the Moon was in the dominant position over Saturn, in the direction of diurnal motion.

Here’s a diagram, made by the amazing Deborah Houlding, from
Deborah’s diagram illustrates all of the terms which have been discussed, and I’ve added to it some planetary speed annotations:

On the surface of things, it seems that the above two notions are contradictory. When we consider dexter aspects, the faster and lighter planet casts the stronger-dexter ray to the slower and heavier planet. Moreover, the slower and heavier planet is located in the dominant or overcoming position. This appears to be a contradiction. Either they neutralize each other, or something here is amiss. In the first example above, the Moon casts the stronger dexter ray, while Saturn is in the dominant position. Please note that Saturn is the slower and heavier planet, which is in accord with this scenario.

This remains a problem with the sinister aspect as well. In which, the faster and lighter planet casts its weaker and sinister ray, from the dominant position to the slower and heavier planet. Another apparent contradiction. Why should the light and fast planet in the dominant position cast a weaker ray to its planetary superior, which is heavier and slower? In the example above the Moon casts the weak sinister ray, while being in the dominant position over Mercury. Please note that Mercury is the slower and heavier planet, which should give it the advantage.


All the above leads me to my proposed solution:
As we’ve established, the dexter aspect will always be formed when a faster-lighter planet applies to a heavier planet, in the direction of diurnal motion. This means that when a dexter aspect is formed, the heavier-slower planet would always be placed in the dominant-overcoming position. This shows a state of affairs under which the minor partner in the relationship (the lighter planet) is appealing directly, with a head held high and “through the proper channels” to the senior partner (the heavier planet). The relationship roles, in such a case, are simple and straightforward. The minor partner appeals directly, if it wants or needs something, to the senior partner. It’s important to stress that a faster planet which creates a dexter aspect would always be overcome-by, or dominated-by, the slower planet.

The sinister aspect, on the other hand, will always be formed when a faster-lighter planet would apply by an aspect to a heavier planet, against the direction of diurnal motion. In such a scenario the natural order is, in a way, reversed. The lighter-faster planet, which is the minor partner, is in the dominant-overcoming position, relative to the heavier-slower planet, which is the senior partner. In such a scenario a sinister aspect would make sense, since the lighter-faster planet can’t appeal or ask the heavier-slower planet directly and “through the proper channels”. Thus, the lighter planet’s appeal or request is deemed to be weaker, indirect, unnatural, or even sneaky and using subterfuge. The lighter planet still wants to receive help, or assistance, but he’s aware of its precarious position. That is, its unnatural location in the dominant-overcoming end of an aspect. Notice that a faster planet, which creates a sinister aspect, would always be in the dominant or overcoming position relative to the slower and heavier planet.

Thus, it seems that there’s no contradiction, and the question of which term is more descriptive of reality is obsolete. From the suggested solution we’re able to see that the two conditions are complimentary, rather than in conflict. Each of the conditions just describes things from a different point of view.

It’s worthwhile to note that traditional authorities seemed to have applied the notions of dexter, sinister and dominating or overcoming to only three aspect types: the square, the trine and the sextile. When we apply the above notions to conjunctions and oppositions, a peculiar logic arises. The faster planet would apply by a sinister conjunction (not a ray this time) to the slower planet, from the dominant position. While with the opposition, the faster planet would apply by a dexter ray to the slower planet in the dominant position. Unlike the square, trine or sextile though, the relationship dynamic here is ephemeral. Both in the conjunction and the opposition, once the aspect is perfected the planetary roles switch from dominant to dominated, as their location relative to diurnal motion is switched. In a way, this may be illustrative of the nature of those aspects, as the opposition is sometimes considered as unstable or fragile. The conjunction on the other hand has a melding effect, and a clear relationship of dominant and dominated isn’t easily established. I would suggest to keep applying these principles to squares, trines and sextiles, for simplicities sake.

If you’d like to learn more about the subject and be exposed to additional points of view, feel free to follow the following links:

Anthony Louis tried to reconcile the two notions, in an insightful article of his, and came to a different conclusion than my own. His conclusion seems to prioritize the planet which casts the dexter ray over the planet which is in the dominant position. The prior planet sets the tone, while the latter planet is in charge of execution. Please see his attempt at reconciliation towards the end of his article:

Deborah Houlding’s masterful introduction article on aspect doctrine, including explanations for many of the terms discussed in this article:

If you’ll google the terms Dexter and Sinister, there are a couple of forum threads and facebook group discussions on the topic at hand. Feel free to gorge your eyes there, for extra information and additional points of view.
Here’s one such forum thread:

Sunday 10 October 2021

Neptune as a Benefic

In pages 308-9 of Chris Brennan's Hellenistic Astrology, the chapter on aspects, there's a discussion on domicile assignments of planets. The main point is that by drawing the zodiac wheel, combined with planetary sign rulers, an interesting conclusion emerges. In such a scheme we would be able to see that aspects drawn from the luminaries to adjacent signs would create a symmetrical and harmonic arrangement. 

The following observations would be made plain: 
Both Sun and Moon would cast a sextile to Venus ruled signs, a square to Mars ruled signs, a trine to Jupiter ruled signs, and an opposition to Saturn ruled signs. Each of the luminaries would cast those rays in its appropriate side of the zodiac, as if the wheel was subdivided through the luminaries and Saturn ruled Aquarius and Capricorn. 

The idea is that the Venus, the small benefic is equivalent to the minor harmonious aspect of a sextile. Jupiter, the great benefic, is equivalent to the major harmonious aspect of a trine. On the other side of the spectrum we have the small malefic, Mars, who is equivalent to the minor disharmonious aspect of a square. Lastly we have the great malefic, Saturn, who is equivalent to the major disharmonious aspect of an opposition.

Here's the scheme, in my own rendition using Solar Fire:   

So far so good.
Now, I've had an interesting idea recently, while teaching an astrology class. 
I've asked myself 'what would happen if we'd switch to modern rulerships'? As a thought experiment. I've did just that, as you can see in the following scheme:

As expected some interesting conclusions have emerged.

[1.] First of all, we can observe that Pluto has taken up Mars' spot in being square the Sun. Since the square is often considered to be an aspect of inner tension, and Pluto in its meaning has many psychological and subconscious overtones, this actually makes much sense. 

[2.] Second of all, Uranus has taken Saturn's spot, being in opposition to the Sun. This also makes a lot of sense, since the opposition has the quality of characterizing relationships (especially difficult ones), and Uranus with its symbolism of protest, rebellion and individualism tells the story. 

[3.] Most interesting of all, Neptune has taken Jupiter's place in Pisces, drawing a trine aspect from the Moon. This is potentially remarkable cause it may hint that Neptune acts like a benefic in this traditional aspect-ruler scheme. Additionally, compared to the socially active sextile, the trine has more to do with our inner abilities, talents and gifts. Since Neptune is highly creative, subjective and intuitive in many of its meanings, this also makes sense. The trine is also said to have the qualities of laziness, idleness and lack of self awareness. Interestingly, those qualities are a good fit for the Neptune archetype, or parts of it.   

Additional arguments for Neptune being a benefic are more familiar, but I'll repeat those anyway: 

[A.] Neptune is widely considered to be the higher octave of Venus, which is itself a benefic. 

[B.] Out of Neptune's many archetypes, a substantial amount is arguably positive. For example art, beauty, spirituality, compassion, wholeness, connectedness, intuition and some others. 

[C.] I would also think that there's no debate concerning which of the outer planets is the best candidate for being a benefic. Uranus and Pluto are out of the question in the minds of most astrologers, as their negative manifestations are unforgiving. No doubt, Neptune has many pitfalls of its own but relative to his outer planet counterparts he seems like the best candidate. On the same topic, a simple google search of the words "Neptune" and "benefic" yields many results which question Neptune's essential nature, and usually ascribing it with the qualified title of a possible benefic. 

As far as impersonal outer planets go, Neptune seems to be the safest pick, although we don't have the luxury of knowing for sure. At least till the time a new modern astrological model would emerge, which would be coherent and would rival the traditional model. This is no mean feat, since the traditional model is steeped in symmetry, balance and consistency.

I'll end with a contradictory quote by Liz Greene, taken from her 1996 Neptune book: 

"In astrological texts Neptune is rarely presented as wholly benefic; deception, illusion, and addiction are usually mentioned, as are the themes of karmic obligation and renunciation"


Friday 6 November 2020

The Astrology of Plagues in the Shadow of the Coronavirus Outbreak

Time will tell if the 2020 coronavirus (COVID-19) will enter the pages of history as one of the worst pandemics on record. A pandemic which wrecked entire economies and changed the trajectory of nations. At the moment of writing (April 2020) this seems to be the case but like many other historical events true understanding only comes with hindsight.

Let's assume for a moment that the Mars-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius is a pivotal moment in the occurrence of the current coronavirus outbreak. If this is true we should note the position of the heavenly bodies on the 31st of March 2020, the date of the exact conjunction. These included: the latter conjunction between the two malefics, Jupiter conjunct Pluto in Capricorn, the nodes in the Capricorn-Cancer axis, Chiron in Aries, Uranus in Taurus, and a time frame which is less than a year short of the Jupiter-Saturn conjunction in Aquarius. This dry list of planetary placements would prove vital for this short article, since the primary objective is to try and understand which combination of astrological influences is capable of producing a large scale, and at times global, pandemic.

As far as plagues are concerned in world history, the largest and most deadly in the history of the west were the 14th century outbreak of bubonic plague in Europe, the Spanish flu which burst into the scene towards the end of the First World War, and the Plague of Justinian which erupted in the Byzantine Empire during the 6th century CE. The 14th century bubonic plague took the lives of between a quarter to half of the population, the Spanish flu reduced the world's population by a figure of between 20 million to 50 million men, and the Plague of Justinian inflicted a similar death toll to the 14th century bubonic plague in the eastern part of the Mediterranean basin[1]. An astrological and historical review will help us understand whether a unique astrological signature exists for such outbreaks of mass death caused by tiny microorganisms.

The Astrology of the Black Death in Europe

The 14th century outbreak of bubonic plague in Europe is more widely known as the Black Death. That particular outbreak started its way in central Asia in the fourth decade of the 14th century, from which it spread to the Crimean peninsula in 1346, and then to Italy in 1347, from which it spread to the rest of Europe. According to one estimate, the first wave of plague caused the death of no less than half of the continent's population as it gradually advanced inside mainland Europe between the years 1347 to 1352. The Black Death was carried by rat fleas and its fastest spread routes were commercial shipping lanes[2]. The Black Death outbreak in the 14th century is easily one of the most terrible pandemics humanity has ever witnessed.

Already during the days of the Black Death notable contemporary astrologers found blame with particular planetary patterns, which aren't so different from the ones we're witnessing today with coronavirus. The Paris medical faculty issued an official report which hanged the blame for the plague's creation on the triple conjunction of Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, which happened in Aquarius during the month of March in the year 1345[3]. This is not very different than what we've recently experienced with the near conjunction of these three planets in another Saturn domicile, in Capricorn during February to March 2020. A further look into the 1345 placements reveals another important similarity to the contemporary coronavirus placements. In both cases the asteroid Chiron was placed in Aries, and it shouldn't escape us that the simple symbolism of such a combination is "new diseases". Additional comparison shows that just like today the nodal axis in 1345 was transiting a cardinal modality, then it was in the Libra-Aries axis. Moreover the troublesome south node was positioned in the same sign such as Pluto. Please note that 1345 is approximately two years before the Black Death has reached the shores of Europe, but according to the Paris medical faculty it was necessary to look back in order to trace the origin of the disease. From a historical viewpoint this of course makes sense, since the plague began its course in central Asia before it advanced westward into Europe. Concerning some of the period's later planetary positions, 1347 was the year in which Jupiter perfected a conjunction to Pluto. A major symbolism in a context such as this is "death on a mass scale", and of course we have a Jupiter-Pluto conjunction in our time as well. Lastly, I may throw into the mix a less obvious but a persistently recurring pattern of Mars retrograde in Leo, which occurred during the time of December 1347, a short time before the plague continued its spread from Italy to the rest of Europe. This may be an opportune time to mention that in Greek myth Apollo, the Sun god, was also associated with the outbreak of diseases, while the Sun of course is the planetary ruler of the sign Leo.
The Black Death in Florence, 1348


The Astrology of the Spanish Flu

The Spanish flu is probably the first global pandemic, it raged between the years 1918 to 1920, following the tragedy of the First World War. According to estimates, about one quarter of the world's population back then contracted the flu, and the mortality rate has reached a figure of 5%, that is one out of twenty cases. Unlike many other diseases in the history of medicine which tended to kill off the very young and the elderly, the Spanish flu proved most fatal to people who were in the prime of their years, ages 20-40. Additionally it's important to point out that while the first and less fatal wave of the flu hit in the spring of 1918, the second more potent wave hit in the summer of 1918, bringing with it an influx in the fatality rate. The sudden transformation in severity was possibly due to a mutation in this particular variant of influenza virus, and the name Spanish flu originated due to contemporaneous publication which wrongly pointed to Spain as especially infected[4].

From the point of view of Astrology, we can find similar patterns in the chart placements of the coronavirus, the Black Death and the Spanish flu years. There are some dissimilarities too, and I'll address those as well. First and foremost it's important to point out that also in the case of the Spanish flu the conjunction between Jupiter and Pluto appears, and it perfects side by side with the deadly second wave of August 1918. Another point of resemblance is Chiron's ingress into Aries in the spring of 1918. Similarly to its present position, it spent the years of the Spanish flu in the first degrees of Aries. Again, much like today, in January 1918 the nodes were positioned in the first degrees of the Capricorn-Cancer axis. Also it's revealing that the Spanish flu outbreak occurred about a year or two before the great conjunction of Jupiter-Saturn in Virgo during the year 2021. Not unlike our own time, it seems that the short sequence of years before the great conjunction coincides with much turmoil, as if the world is in a "balsamic moon" phase. Back to the list of indicators, it might be worthwhile to point out that Pluto transited through a cardinal sign again, that time it was in Cancer. It's one of the main indicators, as we'll later see. More on Pluto, it should be noted that Pluto was in the same sign as the North Node in the early stages of 1918. Lastly, it's important to point out Mars' retrograde motion in Leo, two years before the outbreak of the Spanish flu, during March 1916. The retrograde motion of Mars in Leo is mentioned here for the second but not the last time. As far as differences are concerned, we can find outer planets placements in Capricorn or Aquarius during both the coronavirus crisis and the Black Death years but not during the Spanish flu period. Also in the case of the Spanish flu we cannot find many planetary placements in air signs, despite the contagiousness of that influenza strand.

Red Cross nurses tend to Spanish
patients in California, 1918

The Astrology of the Justinianic Plague

The Justinianic Plague is named after the Byzantine emperor Justinian I, and it occurred during one of the empire's golden epochs. The capital of the byzantine empire was Constantinople, which was probably the world's biggest metropolis during that time period, but the bubonic plague which hit the city during the year 541 CE changed the course of history by relegating a minor role for the Byzantine empire henceforth. The plague itself was similar to the later 14th century outbreak of Black Death in Europe. Behind the borders of the Byzantine empire the plague reached many port cities in the mediterranean, the Persian Sasanian empire, and many towns in the eastern half of the Mediterranean Basin. Much like the the Black Death which occurred eight centuries later, the death toll was between one third to half of the population[5].      

Astrologically speaking, the Plague of Justinian was characterized by a few very specific patterns, much like the later Black Death in Europe and somewhat like the Spanish influenza virus of the early 20th century. But first, on the origin of the plague, historians agree that the plague came to Constantinople through Egypt, but there's no consensus on whether the plague reached Egypt from India, Africa or from a different location[6]. This is also the reason why we examine the transits of September 539, two years before the plague reached the Byzantine capital. If so, the main similarities in terms of planetary positions are Pluto in Capricorn, the nodes in Capricorn-Cancer axis, a Mars conjunction to Saturn in Libra, Jupiter in Aquarius, and Uranus in the earth sign Virgo. This short list is comprised of many parallels to the current astrological placements, experienced throughout the coronavirus. Notice the similar position of Pluto, the similar although reversed placement of the nodal axis, the Mars-Saturn conjunction in an air sign, the position of Jupiter in a sign whose ruler is Saturn, and lastly the placement of Uranus in an earth sign. It's also worthwhile to mention Mars' retrograde motion in the sign of Leo during the month of December 542, at the zenith of the plague and its utmost spread along the Mediterranean Basin. In the category of dissimilarity to other plagues which were surveyed, the Justinianic Plague didn't occur prior to the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn and the Jupiter-Pluto conjunction perfects too early relative to the plague, in December of 537. It would also be interesting to examine Chiron's placement during those years, but sadly ephemeris data on Chiron during the first millennium is incomplete. 

Byzantine emperor Justinian
during whose time the plague 
raged in Constantinople.

The Plague Which Never Was

For fairness' sake we must point out that in the year 846 CE a similar planetary pattern, to the ones which were described in this article, was present. However, there is no historical record of a contemporaneous plague. To be more precise, September 846 included the following planetary placements: Jupiter in Capricorn, Saturn in Aquarius, Uranus in Taurus, the nodes in the Cancer-Capricorn axis, Chiron in Aries and Pluto in Aries as well, a cardinal sign mind you. Furthermore, we are dealing with a period of about two years before the great conjunction, which occurred in the month of May 848, and a Jupiter-Pluto conjunction which occurred in January 849. All things considered, this bears a major likeness to planetary positions during the Black Death, the Spanish flu, the Justinianic Plague, and the the current coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, besides natural disasters and wars which occurred during the middle of the 9th century, there is no mention of a major plague in the historical chronicles of that time. This anomaly is difficult to explain, but one possible solution is that in this same critical month of September 846 there was a Jupiter-Neptune conjunction which had a mitigating effect on this otherwise corrupting planetary mixture. Another argument, which may explain this exception to the rule, is the nodal axis that year which wasn't aligned with either Saturn or Pluto, rather it was aligned to the arguably benefic conjunction of Jupiter and Neptune. 

A Summary of the Astrological Characteristics of Plagues   

We have become acquainted with a number of planetary configurations which tend to repeat themselves during times of mass sickness and plague. For the sake of convenience, and based on the findings of this small research, a list of such planetary factors is brought before you:

* A conjunction between Jupiter and Pluto
* Pluto in the same sign or conjunct the nodal axis, that is Pluto's involvement in the eclipse cycle
* A time period of around one to two years ahead of the great conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn
* A conjunction between Mars and Saturn just prior to or at the beginning of the pandemic
* Chiron in Aries
* Pluto in a cardinal sign
* Uranus in an earth sign
* Jupiter in an earth or air sign
* Saturn in an earth or air sign
* Numerous planetary placements in either earth or air signs
* A retrograde Mars in the sign of Leo

Side by side, we must not forget the curious case of 846 CE, which shows that the presence of such planetary positions is not a sufficient condition for the outbreak of plague. The astrological branch of forecasting future events remains, as ever, an elusive prospect. Our friends, the scientists, know best that complex systems tend to surprise and frustrate the expectations of the researcher. Maybe Aristotle described it best when he said that "the whole is greater than the sum of its parts".  


[1] Aberth 22-28, 36-53, 117-123.
[2] Ibid 36-53.
[3] Horrox 158-173.
[4] Aberth 117-123.
[5] Ibid 22-28.
[6] Rosen 193-197


Aberth, John. 
Plagues in World History. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2011.

Horrox, Rosemary. The Black Death. Manchester University Press, 1994.

Rosen, William. 
Justinian's Flea: Plague, Empire and the Birth of Europe. Random House, 2010. 

This article was first published in Hebrew in the astrological magazine, on the 5th of May 2020. 
To access the original version of the article please use the following URL:האסטרולוגיה-של-מגפות-בצל-התפרצות-וירו

Tuesday 17 March 2020

Saturn in Aquarius – Forecast, Historical Overview, and Contemporary Events (2020-2023)

Saturn will enter Aquarius for the first time in our generation on the 22nd of March 2020, he will spend a period of a bit more than three months in Aquarius till he will return to Capricorn amidst a retrograde motion on the 1st of July 2020. He will later return to Aquarius a week short of Christmas, on the 17th of December 2020, after which he will leave Aquarius in favor of Pisces on the 7th of March 2023.

Preliminary Notes on the Nature and Significators of Both Saturn and Aquarius

Amongst the significations of Saturn we can find time, old-age, work, labor, planning, strategy, borders, limitations, reality, agriculture, heavy industry, coldness, fear, winter, history, tradition, scholars, physical laborers, maturity, discipline, harshness, depression, et cetera.

Amongst Aquarius’ sign representations we can find friendship, groups, genius, socialites, freedom, rebellions, alternative currents, reversals, followers (unlike leaders), the nobility (unlike the king), committees and boards, detachment, objectivity, progressive ideas, humanism, high culture and more.

From previous cycles, when Saturn was in Aquarius, we can learn a lot about what expects us in the coming three years. It takes Saturn about 29 years to complete a full revolution around the Sun, and we know that in the early 90s, early 60s, early 30s and during the early years of the first decade of the 20th  century Saturn was in Aquarius.

Saturn’s Spheres of Influence in Aquarius, by Categories

* Dissolution of previously existing power structures
Here we need to comment on the egalitarian nature of Aquarius as a sign, and also concerning the fact that it is the sign of freedom and revolutions. One example is the dissolution of the Soviet Union and its reversal back to the nation state of Russia during Saturn’s Aquarius sojourn in 1991-1994. The end of Apartheid in South Africa, during the same years, is another good case in point. Another example is the Nazis rise to power and the disbandment of the fragile Weimar Republic in the early 30s. One more example can be found in the creation of the Russian parliament in the time of the last tsar, Nicholas II, in 1905. It’s important since Russia was an old-fashioned autocratic state and a creation of a state parliament was a symbolic move towards a more progressive position and a proto-modern state (even though it was virtually without powers).    

* Scientific and intellectual achievement
Saturn’s stay in Aquarius during the early 90s brought with it the early golden age of the internet. The early 60s on the other hand were an age when the space race between the USA and the Soviet Union was in full swing, shortly after communist Russia have successfully launched the first man into space, Yuri Gagarin. Even earlier, during the early to mid 1930s Europe was entangled in an arms race, after it became apparent that Germany wasn’t demilitarizing after the first world war (science can be implemented for good or for ill). Likewise, in 1905 Saturn was once again in Aquarius. During that time Albert Einstein had what biographers call his “extraordinary year”, when he published four major papers in physics and changed modern science forever. Also the Wright brothers’ first successful flight attempt happened in the year 1903.   

* Breaks in the status qua or trying to do things differently
This is another major manifestation of Saturn in Aquarius, and here are a few examples. The Oslo Accords, which were signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority in the early 90s, have tried to end a long conflict between the two sides. In the previous Saturn cycle, during the early 60s, the Cuban Missile Crisis was a failed attempt by the Soviet Union to place nuclear missiles within range of the US. If such an attempt was successful the status qua of America’s national defense interest would have been violated. A last example is from quite a while before. in the early 30s, the United States has ended a decade or so of prohibition after it became evident that alcohol consumption did not decline and that organized crime was at its height.

* Civic causes, betterment of people’s lives, society becomes more free
These are the final ingredients on this list of categories. We can find examples from virtually all Saturn’s cycles in Aquarius during this last century. In the order of newest to oldest we can mention the 1990s as a decade of growth, prosperity, peacemaking and generally a mini-golden age after the end of the cold war. Things became less rosy as time progressed but the first half of the 90s, when Saturn was in Aquarius and then in Pisces were ‘as good as they come’. Earlier in 62 till 64 we witnessed the height of the African American civil rights movement, spearheaded by Martin Luther King Junior. Also during those years Alcatraz Prison was closed, in a symbolic and factual gesture of expanded freedoms. The Saturn cycle before that, in the early 30s was the time of FDR’s New Deal. The newly elected American president attempted to deal with the aftermath of the 1929 stock market crash, he did so successfully and raising the standard of living for millions of Americans was a side effect of the New Deal’s many measures. In the earliest years of the 20th century we can witness Saturn in Aquarius’ social effects in the opening of women admission to colleges and universities worldwide. Additionally, In the tail end of that Saturn in Aquarius transit, Finland was the first European country which gave women the right to vote.  

Saturn in Aquarius and the Coronavirus
In terms of current events, this lines are being written simultaneously with the coronavirus outbreak. Here too, Saturn in Aquarius provides some interesting insights for things to come.
First of all, the literal symbolism of Saturn in Aquarius can be interpreted as limitations on social contact, group meetings, public gathering and the social sphere, which is so vital for the air signs. Classic Aquarius like locations have already been hit, in the form of museums and galleries, music festivals, cultural events, sports outings, pubs and bar, and so forth.
On a more close and personal level, the Saturn Aquarius symbolism has a strong tinge of anti-social behavior, simply because people are afraid of contracting  coronavirus. Moreover, Saturn is closely tied with governments, rules and regulations, all of which are responsible with contracting the social sphere at the moment.
Lastly we mustn’t forget that Aquarius is an air sign, and one of the industries which has been hit the most is the airline industry.

Saturn’s Transits 2018-2025
Another valid point of view on the Saturn in Aquarius transit is examining Saturn’s transits on a continuum. This is also important since no transit appears out of thin air, rather they are preceded and followed by transits in adjacent signs.
Adopting such a frame of reference, the 2018-2020 Saturn in Capricorn transit seemed to have characterized a timespan when governments worldwide became more authoritarian and human rights began to be reduced, global warming began to seem undeniable (or at least, hard to deny), the world became less united and hard borders began to spring up everywhere (Trump’s wall, Europe’s legislation against refugees, Brexit, China’s crackdown on HK and the Uighurs, Russia’s effort to deny Ukraine entering the EU and other such unwelcome developments). Maybe it is also the place to point out that Saturn’s night domicile is Capricorn, but as events have shown worldly manifestations were less then ideal, albeit they remained true to the Capricorn symbolism of authority, bureaucracy, conservatism and regulation.  

Adjacent signs are often very much unlike each other, this can be seen in their differences by element and mode. Likewise, we can expect the Saturn in Aquarius period to differ significantly from the current Saturn in Capricorn period. We’ve already seen from the historical examples above that a few major counter trends might be on the way in. Namely, dissolution of current power structures, gradual expansion of social freedoms and civic rights, breaks in the status quo and scientific advancement. On a different note, technology might notch up the sharing economy to new heights. Likewise, peer to peer money transfer technology (like Bitcoin) will definitely claim a larger market share and begin to replace the old model of banks. Also on the topic of technology the internet giants; Amazon, Google, Facebook and Apple may finally start to be regulated and taxed, as befitting Saturn's restricting nature. 

Saturn in Pisces might be too far away and too weird and unexpected to be foretold as easily, but we might as well try. Again with the climate crisis theme, nations might find themselves dealing with faster and more volatile rises in sea levels, there might be a fresh water shortage in different areas around the globe, and floods could prove to be a problem as well. Why so negative? Saturn is related to challenges and karma after all. If this will prove to be the case, we would need to do a good job in the coming three years in terms of developing green solutions, green technology and becoming more united. That is, If we want to face the third millennium successfully and survive. Moreover, religion and spirituality will probably make a big comeback, as some people will undoubtedly become disillusioned with the all-pervading scientific world view. No doubt some will search for an alternative. This may also be a reaction to society’s growing reliance, and dependence, on science during the Saturn in Aquarius period. Also on the topic of science, the Saturn in Pisces timespan may be characterized by big advancements in biology, genetics, chemistry and maybe cloning. All the soft and “watery” sciences, so to speak. Politically speaking, we can be fairly certain that after Saturn’s five years sojourn in Saturn-ruled signs, some people will become disillusioned by politics and governments all together, thus a period of socio-political experimentation will ensue. Maybe anarchism will come in vague, maybe there will be a phase of new nations building, and maybe other forms of organization will become prominent. Concerning this final point we must remember that Pisces is a sign which marches to the beat of one’s own drum.

Pluto in Aquarius, A Disclaimer and Maybe a Word About Politics
From the point of view of March 2020, it’s a bit hard to believe that Saturn in Aquarius will fulfill all of its promises. Even when we consider that Jupiter will join Saturn in Aquarius for the vast majority of 2021 and will continue to his domicile in Pisces in 2022, it’s still somewhat hard to believe. At the current moment the “Saturn in Capricorn machine” which relies on thinly disguised oligarchic and plutocratic forms of authority seems to be invincible, and there are plenty of examples. From Trump’s America and what seems like an upcoming loss for the progressive candidate, Bernie Sanders, to autocratic heads of state in China, Brazil, Eastern Europe, Turkey, Israel, India, Russia and many other nations.

The words above seem reason enough to postulate that the real solution may only hide in Pluto’s revolution around the sun, rather than Saturn’s. Pluto is much smaller, but in a way it’s a far but an influential planetoid (dwarf planet). On its current transit it will spend three last years in the critical and final degrees of Capricorn, and those tend to pile up difficulties most often than not.
If this is truly the case, we would need to wait for March 2023 for Pluto’s first ingress into the sign of the water bearer for some real good news to arrive.

Photo credit: NASA

Monday 30 December 2019

The Capricorn Glyph Explained

The Capricorn glyph is often misunderstood. And there are many variant representations of it, here are some, in the apparent order of most simple to most complex:

In all of them we can see the head of the sea-goat, where the horns are visible. 
Even in the topmost Capricorn glyph, the Aries horns are visible in the 1-2 o'clock position of the image.

* If you're not familiar with it, please use as reference the
 Aries glyph shown below

Other than the horns, which aren't necessarily the horns of a sheep (like in the Aries glyph) but rather the horns of any hoofed mammal, we also have the body and tail since Capricorn isn't a goat but rather a sea-goat (a mythological animal)!

As it can be 
clearly seen in the top three images, the body and/or the tail continue from one of the horns, after which there's a tail twist which finishes the glyph. 
There are three main differences between the glyphs.

1. The orientation of the horns, which makes the top most glyph distinct.
2. The angle of the body and/or tail, which takes a different orientation in each glyph variation.
3. Finally, it can also be argued that the rounded section of the topmost glyph can be considered as the body of the sea-goat, while the same thing can't be said for the other two glyphs. As it's also visible, the topmost sea-goat is well fed.

What are our conclusions? That we can jokingly consider Cap to constitute an advanced version of Aries. With Aries being the earlier zodiac version of the later developed cardinal-sign modality of Cap. As far as hoofed mammals go, the goat seems to be superior to the sheep.

Personally, I like to consider Cap to be related to Chinese astrology's Dragon sign. Now, in no shape or form am I an expert in Chinese astrology, and for that reason I'll copy-paste a typical Dragon sign description:

"As the symbol of [the] Chinese nation, dragon represents authority and good fortune. People born in the year of the Dragon are powerful, kind-hearted, successful, innovative, brave, healthy courageous and enterprising. However, they tend to be conceited, scrutinizing, tactless, quick-tempered and over-confident" 
What do you think? It seems to me that many similarities exist between the two, and I'd further suggest you'd do more research on dragons in our eastern astrological counterpart.

Since this is a western astrology blog through and through, I want to bring home my point.
Consider the possibility that your good old sea-goat is actually a great sea serpent. Caps act it out all the time, rivaling Leos in the competition for being the fiercest and most authoritarian sign. Also consider that goats and 
Chinese dragons, in many depictions, have horns and a beard. We can also consider that in Chinese myths dragons are great sea serpents, which is another peculiar similarity. In terms of traits, dragons are depicted as old, wise, stubborn and cunning. Sounds familiar?

Finally, I want to use this platform and opportunity to suggest a much needed simplification and revision in the Cap glyph. A fourth version, if you may. 
In the following version, which I use profusely in my astrology practice, you have the three important elements fashioned in an orderly and straightforward manner, from left to right.
The 'Aries horns' come first, then comes the body and/or tail, with the familiar twist.
Unlike the presently used glyphs though, no eccentric geometry is employed since I see no need in turning our beloved sea-goat on it's head or twisting its body-tail combination in exorbitant ways. 

Alas, if you dislike tail twists and you prefer to emphasize the body of our magnificent sea-creature. I.e. a full-body sea-goat, like a good wine. I'd suggest that you'd use the following variation of the new and revised Cap glyph:

After all, sea-goats need to glut, for we shall not allow their population to thin down and dwindle away... 


* Chinese dragon description is taken from website

Tuesday 4 June 2019

A New Take on the Eight Lunar Phases – Moon Types Reconfigured

This article is my take on the lunation cycle or the eight lunar phases.
It is based on primarily two sources and on some insights of my own. Those sources being Dane Rudhyar’s pioneering work in this field (his 1967 “The Lunation Cycle”) and the writings of an astrologer whom I consider one of my mentors, the late great, Kelly Lee Phipps.

One of my innovations in discussing the eight lunar phases (as far as I’m aware) is the notion that individuality and the personal are represented by moonlight, while the collective and society are represented by darkness. Also light can be seen as representing rationality and reason, while darkness subjectivity, emotionality and intuition. Taking note of these premises while contemplating the eight phases provides some new insights on this underdiscussed topic.
To be more clear and provide some examples; the new moon phase is a phase of 100% darkness, the crescent a phase of 75% darkness, the first quarter a phase of 50% darkness and decreasing, and so on and so forth.

Another simple but illuminating insight, which can be gained, are the different relationships between personality types who were born under different moon phases. Especially the insights one receives when contemplating opposite moon phases, and the phases before and after any given lunation, representing past and future karma appropriately .
On a somewhat similar note, it’s also worthwhile to contemplate possible meanings of the moon’s astronomical position relative to the sun at each of the phases.
Lastly, in my research some interesting parallels were found between the eight phases and the signs. The parallels were nicely fitted within a symmetrical scheme, which will be presented as well.

A technical note before we begin. Usually the lunations are divided on a 45o segment basis, but if one uses whole sign houses logic they can interpreted in the following manner.
Say a person has his moon at 10o Libra and his sun in 20o Libra, classically this is a balsamic moon phase but since both the moon and the sun are in Libra this can easily be interpreted as a new moon type of energy. Apply this logic in other cases to test this new ‘whole sign’ way of interpreting lunations.


New moon

* Moon is 0 to 45 degrees before the sun in the order of signs.

Practically all of the sources claim that the new moon phase is the most subjective, intuitive and at times irrational of the eight lunar phases (also can be childish).
Unlike the balsamic phase, which is characterized by the same amount of bright-dark ratio, new moon natives prefer to initiate, begin ventures and to be in the driver’s rather than the passenger’s seat. Unlike the opposing full moon phase, which describes relationship challenges, new moon people excel with people and in romantic relationships. This is also evident from the symbolic significance of the moon and the sun being in conjunction to one another.
General symbolic meanings of this lunation revolve around embarking on new journey, making a fresh start and other such forward looking initiatives. Obviously, the unknown outweighs the known in the native’s life and new moon people are usually fine with that.
After writing horoscopes for a while, it became obvious that new moon times usually go more smoothly than full moon times. Thus, stress and pressure are usually not a major factor in the native’s life. Rather the focus is on finding one’s calling, being happy, and reaching flow states (mundane or mystical).
On a social-individual axis, social convention or group belonging take a far larger role in the life of these natives, and often they identify themselves with the values of their peer group. Still this is a waxing moon (light increases), meaning that individual assertions are also vital. Notice that the balsamic moon phase was just completed so self-sacrifice and selfless giving are at an end, this phase is very much about the self-actualization (albeit through social integration).

Zodiacal analogy: Cancer. both for its cardinal qualities, subjective nature, and slow to act mode of operation. Cancers are goofy and aloof but also they possess firm ideas about what they want.
Celebrity examples: Kyle Minogue (singer), Giorgio Armani (designer), Prince William (royalty).
Keyword: I want.

Crescent moon

* Moon is 45 to 90 degrees before the sun in the order of signs.

People who were born under a crescent moon are past the initiation of the new moon phase, rather they walk the path of curiosity and exploration. They get to try all kinds of things throughout their lives, mingle with different people, and try on a variety of vocations and ways of life. On the challenging side of things the world looks looming large and the possibilities seem endless, to the point of fear and confusion. It’s vital to overcome inertia though, to go out there and make the first move. Astrologically speaking, this is the case because the light-dark ration of this moon phase is in favor of the dark, while the movement forward is a waxing movement towards more and more light. In a way, the new moon darkness pulls these natives backwards while the first quarter light-darkness equilibrium establishes an aim as far as asserting individual personality and ego driven goals are concerned. Considering the latter, it becomes clear why being assertive and overcoming fear are much desired qualities for crescent moons.
One astronomical fact is that during this stage the small moon is stepping away from the large sun. Metaphorically or symbolically speaking, this is a “leaving home for the first time” kind of movement.
The opposite disseminating phase types are experts proselytizers and presenters, specializing in big picture ideas and large movements. Crescent moons on the other hand are highly adept when creativity, finesse and adjustment come into play. Especially in social settings.

Zodiacal analogy: Gemini. for the nervousness, the curiosity, for trying on different life paths, for exploration and the centrality of other people in these natives’ lives.  
Celebrity examples: Pope Francis (pope), Penelope Cruz (actress), Julius Erving (NBA hall of famer).

Keyword: I engage.

First quarter moon

* Moon is 90 to 135 degrees before the sun in the order of signs.

People who were born under the first quarter moon are natural fighters, waging battles against unjust causes, outdated traditions and malfunctioning systems.
The dark - bright ratio of this moon phase is important, for this is the exact phase in which the light overcomes the darkness. Symbolically speaking this can represent the triumph of individual will over others’ expectations or any social forces. Moreover this tipping point of exactly half darkness and half light is laden with a hefty amount of tension, under which circumstances assertive action is needed to break the deadlock.
First quarter people place a high premium on individual skill and ability, and although it usually doesn’t come without tiresome hard-work, they should strive and develop these traits regardless. It is also important for these natives not to get too embroiled in the thick of battle, and always to be able to differentiate which parts of an existing system are to be targeted and which other parts are benign. Moreover, it’s important to stress humility after each successful engagement.
Some lessons are apparent when we examine the opposite moon phase, the last quarter. While the last quarter is much about rebellion and changing the status qua in a way which isn’t aimed at meriting the self, the first quarter is unabashedly about proving yourself, proving other wrong, and claiming a reward or social status through meritorious action.
The previous crescent phase is much about exploration and finding one’s calling, the next gibbous phase is about perfecting one’s character, while the lunation phase between those two is the main act of the play, which without a doubt is accompanied by some drama.   

Zodiacal analogy: Leo. For this “Lion King” like saga of a talented and virtuous individual who’s out to prove himself and claim his rightful place in the world.  
Celebrity examples: George W. Bush (former president), Michael Douglas (actor), Nicholas Culpeper (astrologer).

Keyword: I overcome.

Gibbous Moon

* Moon is 135 to 180 degrees before the sun in the order of signs.

Gibbous moon natives were born at the phase, under which the moon was waxing towards the fully luminated state. This modality of perfecting, training, gaining skills or working towards some final state or goal was surely imprinted on some vital aspects of their lives.
The light-dark ratio comes to show that rationality and reason prevail here, as progress is perceived as a one way ticket towards what we are able to see, understand, quantify and measure. For the same reason mystery is often perceived as superstition, and subjectivity as confusion or lack of standards. Additionally the elimination of the final vestiges of darkness comes to show that these natives actively try to ‘sculpt’ reality around them, in a process of elimination almost, so that outside influences would be limited to favorable ones. Some gibbous moons can be easily influenced by others and for the same reason they need to keep the lid on people they have around for company. That also explains why a critical streak runs strong with people who were born under this lunation.  
The opposite balsamic phase is the stage where the ego is purposefully shed in order for natives to better integrate with some social or universal cause. Using a logic of negation, we come to understand that social conventions, traditions and old ways of living are abandoned in order for the self to reach fruition, and a unique individual way of life to take form.
For the reasons we’ve just discussed this is also the ‘workaholic’ lunation phase, an energy which can also be manifested as a higher calling to become a disciple, a spiritual servant, or a follower in one shape or form.
Adjacent lunar phases are the feisty first quarter phase and the self-contained full moon phase. Concerning the first, gibbous moons seem to have abandoned actual fighting as a thing of the past, their struggle is rather an inner one (like the true meaning of the word Jihad in the Quran). Relating to the second, full moon phase, the goal of self-actualization is definitely the aim of all this and the reason gibbous types put themselves through all these hoops. 

Zodiacal analogy: Virgo. For obvious, and fairly stereotypical, reasons. Namely perfectionism, hard work, propensity to train and to practice, less of a leader and more of a follower quality, and so on and so forth.       
Celebrity examples: James Franco (actor), Silvio Berlusconi (former head of state), Sid Vicious (singer).

Keyword: I perfect.

Full Moon

* Moon is 180 to 135 degrees behind the sun in the order of signs.

The full moon phase contains a curious contradiction at its center. On the one hand, it’s the completion of a cycle and the final step of the bright phase, while on the other hand it’s the polarity lunation with the sun and moon opposing each other. The first principle refers to the “whole package” kind of energy, manifested as self-assurance, responsibility, clear objectives, and solid outlook and values. The second principle refers to relationships obviously, with an emphasis on the ups and downs, the pulls and pushes. The challenges of relationships in other words. In fact this contradiction is fairly clear when you think about it. Since full moon natives are all about their goals and objectives, clear outlooks on life and well defined personalities there’s ample opportunity for conflict when they get involve with other people who do not share convictions similar to theirs. Quite expectedly, this is especially common when romantic relationships are at stake.
One theoretical conclusion is that this lunation is the most bright, which carries implications of maximum individual development, but minimal capacity to be in-tune with society or with groups. This also shows itself as people who like to do the talking but dislike doing the listening.
The preceding moon phase, the gibbous, is completed with this one. The gibbous is much about self-perfection, which by the way isn’t an issue by the time the full moon comes around. Using the same logic we can see that the ensuing moon phase, the disseminating, is much about ‘spreading the word’. A natural state of affairs after individual understanding and clarity were achieved. In fact, disseminating types are good at what full moon types don’t excel at, reaching out to people and making connections. This is also the reason why full moons can learn a lesson or two from disseminating moons.
The opposite, new moon phase, demonstrates by negation that full-mooners need facts, figures and evidence to guide their decision making process, in contrast to new moons’ reliance on gut-feeling and intuition. An additional contrast is that while new moon times are relatively quiet, full moon times are usually stressful and at times not without drama. As such, full moon natives learn to master stormy weather during the course of their lives.

Zodiacal analogy: Capricorn. For their confidence, vision, future-orientedness and for the challenge these natives experience when trying to relate to others and play the social game.  
Celebrity examples: Cristiano Ronaldo (soccer star), Liv Tyler (actress), LL Cool J (rapper).

Keyword: I am.

Disseminating Moon

* Moon is 135 to 90 degrees behind the sun in the order of signs.

Disseminating moons possess characteristics which highly resemble Sagittarian personality traits, having achieved personal insight at the full moon stage and wishing to inseminate (disseminate) everyone else with their flowering. The keynote is bringing the light of the moon (individuality) towards everything which is not the self (society, significant others, people in general). The final aim is to prove themselves to others and to achieve a sense of identity with those others, as if by the end of this phase. Once there, at the last quarter phase, they are more integrated with society, and more importantly they are more accepted by other people. This only happens after a mutual process of affecting others and being affected by them occurs, akin to a teacher who also learns from his students. This balance is represented by the half bright - half dark stage the moon is at during the beginning of the last quarter phase. By the last quarter phase the light is visibly waning, and it represents that disseminating moons ultimately wish to mix with other individuals and groups, or create such groups and organizations if none existed. The one-on-one full moon characterized relationships doesn’t do it for them anymore, rather they are about the merits and challenges of groups.
By logic of negation we can see the opposing crescent moon phase is characterized by worlds-apart traits such as quiet exploration, shyness and an eye for detail. This brings us to the understanding that disseminating moons can at times be overconfident, out-there and prone to generalizations.

Zodiacal analogy: Sagittarius. For the ability to be dynamic, to inspire and move ideas around.
Celebrity examples: Drake (rapper), Carla Bruni (model), Marilyn Monroe (actress).

Keyword: I show.

Last quarter moon

* Moon is 90 to 45 degrees behind the sun in the order of signs.

The last quarter is a point where the moon’s dark part overcomes its bright side. This bears several important implications for those born under its rays. With light representing individuality and darkness representing the collective or larger causes it’s foreseeable that these natives will try to go beyond the self. Not in a mystical surrendering way like balsamic moon types but in a very down to earth goal oriented way, maybe as humanitarians.
This may be a good time to contrast the last quarter type to the previous disseminating lunation type. While disseminating moons have a proclivity to proselytize and spread the word, last quarters are past that stage. Instead they look forward to change the rules of the game altogether, as the pendulum has swung too far. Back to the balsamic moons for a second though, last quarters are jealous of their quiet ways and demeanor, as the last quarter stage is a tension filled ‘breaking point stage’, at which the dark-light ratio is equal.
The opposite first quarter phase teaches an important lesson by logic of negation. While first quarters fight to gain the recognition they deserves as individuals, last quarters fight to break chains, overturn the tide or to bring about some forgotten ideology or sidelined belief system. Regardless, the focus is not on the self, rather on ideas, ideologies, social movements and group consciousness acts and revisions. Rebels, reformists, future oriented individuals and pessimistic but deep thinking figures are all associated with this lunation.   

Zodiacal analogy: Aquarius. For the slight revolutionary tinge, the unorthodox way of doing things, and for self-denying combined with social work. From a less positive viewpoint these natives tend to be inflexible.
Celebrity examples: Barack Obama (former president), Jon Bon Jovi (singer), Michael Jordan (NBA star).

Keyword: I overturn.

Balsamic Moon

* Moon is 45 to 0 degrees behind the sun in the order of signs.

Balsamic moon natives were born at the end of the lunation cycle, at the darkest phase. Thus they are highly in tune with society, with others, with cross cultural causes and the like. The reminders of individuality and self (represented by the light of the moon) are to be done away with, but care should be taken while engaging in this process.
The light - dark ratio of this phase points towards an objective of spirituality, giving, selfless action, and ultimately integration and acceptance.
The critical streak of the previous last quarter stage is left behind, as this stage is less about self vs. society tension and more about the next new moon lunation, which symbolizes new beginnings, the here and the now, and flow-like intuitive existence. Since this is the case, the prevailing mood of balsamic moons is easygoing, soft, yielding and seemingly irrational when judged from a materialistic viewpoint. On the flip side, some authors warn of giving away too much, too soon, and this is a valid point since balsamic moons require wisdom and learning as solid foundations for any inspired action.
As the opposite gibbous lunation can be symbolized by an artisan, who constantly adds to and perfects his craft, this lunation is much about subtracting, surrendering and letting go.  

Zodiacal analogy: Pisces. For it is the final lunation phase, and also in terms of many trait similarities.
Celebrity examples: Theresa May (politician), Rafael Nadal (tennis player), Redfoo (artist).

Keyword: I accept.

Diagram of the eight phases and their accorded signs

Please notice how cardinal signs begin the waxing new moon semi-cycle and the waning full moon semi-cycle, how the middle of each cycle is represented by a fixed sign and how the hinges or transition phases are represented by mutable signs.
I do want to point out that I have had some second thoughts about the first quarter zodiacal equivalent. Aries seems to fit this lunation characteristics just as well as Leo, though using it interferes with the symmetrical scheme. The same can be said about Libra instead of Capricorn for the full moon phase.