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Some sample charts will offer suggestions for analysis and interpretation. Commonly associated with confusion and delusion, can we discover more positive aspects of Neptune, as in an attunement with nature, gifts of creativity and heightened intuition, and a profound love of the Divine? After looking at the astrological world view, we will explore the journey of the soul into incarnation and the finding of a spiritual path.

Buy tickets. In this seminar we will explore the water houses as realms of the soul. Planets in the water houses and their planetary rulers describe the nature of our personal, ancestral and collective inheritance.


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They describe our psychic vocation, where and how we are affected by the residues of the past, find ourselves blamed and scapegoated, or become catalysts for change. The essence of all these petitions is that you should not seek anything from any planet unless it belongs to his dominion…. Similar, ask him concerning infirmities of the body from the groin downwards, and also for phlebotomy, accumulation of gas, and the like. In these latter petitions you may also help yourself with Venus, for the nature of Venus dissolves what is closed up by Mars, and repairs what he damages….

The same is true of the hierarchies of Mars and Venus. I believe that this system of substitutions using planets of oppositional nature but mutual amity goes even further than what Picatrix states explicitly. It says that Jupiter can substitute for Saturn but not the reverse; it may be a somewhat reasonable assumption, however. To learn more about planetary substitution, we must look elsewhere. Combustion a close conjunction of a planet with the Sun is deemed to be the worst planetary affliction according to William Lilly and is generally accepted as such in traditional astrology, with some uncommon exceptions.

The combustion of the Moon is especially dire; it often signifies death and destruction in elections, and a variety of challenging health concerns in natal charts.

Here the suggestion is to double-down on the influence of the Sun. Indications that this is the case between the Sun and Moon are scattered throughout Picatrix. Everything is connected. In the same way, according to their opinion, all their effects are primarily rooted in the Sun, and the other six planets help him by their effects. One of the ways Picatrix conceals secrets of talismanic magic is by describing electional considerations and the composition of talismans and suffumigations in what superficially appear to be abstract cosmological relationships.

To a person immersed in the worldview espoused by the author, ultimately there is no difference between these things; or at least there is a profound sympathy. While most talismanic and petitional elections depend strongly upon the condition of the Moon and to some extent the planet on or ruling the Ascendant, if a major significator in the election is the Sun the role of every other planet is greatly diminished.

The manifestation might be subtler with a weak Moon, however. In theory, one could create a benevolent Solar talisman even if the Moon was afflicted catastrophically. It is because of Picatrix that I felt this was inconsequential. This is a special case regarding the Sun and the Sun only. Tropical astrology is not heliocentric; it is geocentric.

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But it is what I call heliophilic. It gives a very special significance to the role of the Sun, and it has powers unique among all the planets. It is not merely the strongest planet—something seldom stated in canonical texts because it really is taken for granted—but it has a central role in the cosmos as the bringer of order, the primary source of visible and astral light, the liminal mediator between the world of Forms and the Sublunar sphere, and of the four seasons that sustain all life.

Thus, through the Sun, the equinoxes and solstices define the positions and properties of the Zodiacal Signs and the essential architecture of the universe and time itself. Traditional celestial magic conceals a lot of secrets of both a practical and spiritual nature, and as we solve the puzzles it sets before us in the canonical sources, the aspiration is that our own personal disjointedness is transformed into a more coherent spiritual being.

No one can perfect any of the works of traditional astrological magic without passing on some of the illumination that one receives, much like the Sun illuminates each of the planets and they transmit their light and fill all of their hierarchies with vitality and power. Tolkien based this artifact and plot device on several legends of magical rings from different cultures, but there is some circumstantial evidence that a hitherto undiscovered influence comes from the canon of Scholastic Image Magic which Tolkien would have been familiar with; directly or indirectly, through close colleagues.

It has been an ambition of mine to create a series of rings using the formula that probably inspired Tolkien, and this is the first of a sequence of blog entries which will cover my creation of two sets of rings of this type and a third which is closely related and was created along with the second and arguably superior election.

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It evolved from a simple ring of invisibility to an intelligent shapeshifting talismanic repository of the spirit of the dark lord Sauron; capable of making the wearer mighty and swaying nations, extending life in a variety of unnatural manners, and revealing a shadow plane where monsters dwelt.

It is clear that he drew from numerous mythic and fictional sources for its powers and origins, two of which deserve some special attention. While tending his flock, the anonymous shepherd discovered a tomb in a mountainside after a violent thunderstorm had opened a chasm. In it he found a bronze sarcophagus in the shape of a horse, which when opened revealed a body of a giant with a golden ring on its finger. He took the ring as a prize, and later discovered that when he turned the collet towards his palm he became unseen, and when facing it outward he became visible again. In short order, he exploited this power to seduce the queen and usurp the king and establish a great dynasty of his own.

In this cycle of music dramas, a villainous dwarf named Alberich steals gold from the Rhine maidens and crafts it into a magic ring with the power to rule the world. Gods, giants and heroes fight over the possession of the ring for the rest of the story leading to epic tragedies, until escalating mayhem finally leads to the destruction of Valhalla and the death of all of the gods. The conflict on a cosmic scale definitely echoes The Lord of the Rings.

The ring itself does not have the power of invisibility, but the cycle is based somewhat loosely on the Middle High German text the Nibelungenleid where a cloak of great might and invisibility is a plot element and the fate of an unenchanted ring leads to the tragic death of many heroes. Mystical inscriptions are important; in Plato they are absent. There are surely additional sources which inspired the fictional ring which I do not know about or do not have the time to cover here. One reason why it has been overlooked is that the widespread translation from Latin into English by the anonymous J.

These vertues doth Albertus Magnus, and William of Paris confirm in their writings. A few years ago, my friend Eric Purdue completed a new translation of Agrippa from Latin to remedy the shortcomings of the J.

Here is the new, clearer version of the relevant passage:. These virtues are confirmed in the writings of Albertus Magnus and William of Auvergne.

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In the new translation of Agrippa, it is far clearer that this recipe for a talisman endows three powers which seldom coincide in any literature; the power of rulership, longevity, and invisibility. The associations with it preserving health and youth come from Damigeron in his De Virtutibus Lapidum. It all comes together in Agrippa. If made into a magical ring, the band would naturally be made of gold; the metal with the greatest sympathy to the Sun. The next question is whether J. Tolkien would have been familiar with the writings of Cornelius Agrippa.


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  • He probably was, but he may not have needed to. He was a member of a prestigious Oxford literary society called the Inklings, devoted to the popularization of fantasy literature. What made this group interesting in our context is that at least three of its prominent members were either practicing magicians or were deeply invested in the literature of Neoplatonic magic. Charles Williams, C. Lewis, and Evelyn Underhill would all have been familiar with Agrippa—possibly even the Latin version— and probably would have cited the passage to Tolkien if he had not already found it himself.

    It has been a long-standing fascination of mine to attempt to reconstruct magics from ancient times which have spectacular, even miraculous effects. I believe that there are many reasons why modern magic seldom produces radical transformations and manifestations, like turning lead into gold, flying carpets, monstrous apparitions, and changes of form.