Using Astrology

The articles in this section are focused on techniques for interpretation and how those techniques are applied. This includes approaches from different types of astrological practice. It also includes questions that astrologers find themselves confronted with when they select a particular technique.

Exploring Alice Bailey’s life and work was one of the happy surprises of the “Soul” series (from E520C The Recurring and Evolving Soul), and she was the highlight of my presentation “Soul in the Twentieth Century”. She was one of the first modern astrologers who used channeling as a major method of acquiring information.

Even if you are not familiar with her, you may have heard of 7-rays astrology, which she founded. For those who explore “New Age” ideas, and to the extent that modern astrology is intertwined with New Age ideas and inclinations, one must acknowledge the influence of Alice Bailey.

Nelson Mandela

Earlier this summer Nelson Mandela was hospitalized, was repeatedly placed in critical condition, and released from his hospital to go home. No news for month. Then, as the world found out quickly, on Thursday December 5 he finally departed from this life.

International media was well prepared for his death, and the press coverage has had carpet bombing dimensions. Saying goodbye to Mandela has become a major international event and most national leaders will be on hand for his memorial service this week. Now is the perfect time to look at his life and his astrology. First a little biographical background is helpful.


Ptolemy’s Digression: Astrology’s Aspects and Musical Intervals
Statement of the Problem

This essay addresses a problem in the development and continuity of astrology: how do astrologers, past and present, account for the astrological aspects? Aspects are the means by which a planet or position (Ascendant, Lot of Fortune) has contact from another planet or other planets. Once an astrologer has designated planet or a position to answer a question posed to the astrological chart, aspects to the designated position provide information to answer a question and determine an outcome.

Wave harmonics

Ptolemy’s Harmonics

The Harmonics [12] is probably earlier than the Tetrabiblos.[13]  Although Ptolemy is well known for his astronomy and astrology, he was also one of the ancient sources for theories of harmony.
The work studies this universal field of knowledge for which music and geometry are considered subsets. Much of the material in Harmonics is exclusively concerned with music, including setting up exact number ratios for the different modes.

The Harmonics Book III applies his previous exposition of intervals, scales, and ratios to ethics and psychology, and to astronomy and astrology. Unfortunately, some of Book III has been lost to us. In Chapter 9 of Book III, Ptolemy presents the astrological aspects and their ratios to one another. Curiously, in this presentation Ptolemy does not use degree numbers for the aspects. Instead, he considers the twelve zoidia as discrete units and the whole number relationships between them that yield moriai and epimoriai. This discussion might have fit better into the Tetrabiblos Book I, within his treatment of the qualities and relationships between whole zoidia.

Rush Limbaugh's Hellenistic Chart

Here’s a chart example to demonstrate many of the major themes of the Hellenistic tradition of astrology.  In this essay I refrain from outright interpretation and simply discuss how one would see a chart according to the Hellenistic tradition. I choose a person well known to many Americans as both or either a politician and an entertainer.


Rush Limbaugh, according to some (Democrats), was the de facto leader of the Republican Party, yet he has never held elected or appointed office.  He is an influential talk-radio host and self-proclaimed spokesperson for the conservative cause.  He has been a national figure for the past twenty years.  He has helped steer many a political cause, his depictions of liberal politicians can be devastating, and he is not particularly beloved by women.  Yet even some liberals find him an entertaining guilty pleasure. 

Let’s take our time with what we have here. First of all we’re seeing his astrological chart using whole sign houses, the original house (or “place” topos) system. In the next image of his chart, to make the contrast more clear, I have deleted the Midheaven degree, which in the ancient tradition was mostly used for predictive purposes. I have included the Ascendant that always falls somewhere in the first house or place.

Rectification of a birth horoscope is the process of using the birth chart and astrological timing methods to test and clarify the true birth time of an individual. Since it might well be considered the Mount Everest or Holy Grail of astrological exercises: very challenging, fraught with errors, a low likelihood of success, and a high chance of failure - why then, attempt it? When no birth time is available or if there are multiple conflicting reports, the rectification exercise resembles the challenge of searching half the Indian Ocean for a missing jetliner. But a successful rectification opens up the possibility of a high degree of accuracy in prediction, particularly if it is based upon a timed-tested tradition.

Preview a sample lecture from our Relationships certificate. Karen McCauley presents a technique from Claudius Ptolemy to determine the influence of the mother and father, based on whether it is a day-time or night-time chart.

Relationship always implies some kind of exchange - minimally an exchange of air and in many cases emotions, fluids, and other substances. Folk traditions and wives' tales abound here, some seemingly well-grounded in reality as we know it. Regardless of the exchange involved, certain issues always merit analysis when we are asked to provide astrological input on comparisons or composites. Generally, people enter relationships because there is promise of some of their needs being met through the interaction. Any analysis must first determine each individual's needs as well as their ability to give in a relationship. To determine needs, look at the natal chart and pay special attention to the 3rd, 7th, and 11th, then the 8th, the Moon and Venus. Next compare what one offers that meets the other's needs - contacts to the Sun, Moon, North Node, ASC and DSC are the strongest indicators.

The Planets and Their Positions in the Solar Return

What is the ascendant of the solar return? Where does its ruler lie in the solar return and in the natal? Is it on an angle? If so, then there is more action concerning the year and its activities. When you look at the solar return chart is it primarily angular, succedent, or cadent? What aspects are formed between the ruler of the solar return and the other planets? More challenging aspects might suggest more challenge, and, actually more that gets done regarding that ruler. If they are supportive aspects, then things flow between the ruler of the solar return and the other planets.