Free webinar on Solar Returns

On Monday May 20, 2019, I’ll be participating in a free webinar about solar returns.  Here is the information if you are interested.

SR podcast

To sign up, click on this link:

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Some interesting synastry

On June 15, 2019 I’ll be giving a presentation about solar returns at a conference in San Sebastián, Spain.  It occurred to me to compare my secondary progressed natal chart for my birth place on that date to my birth chart relocated for that city.  Here is the comparison with the birth chart relocated to San Sebastián in the center and the progressions for the birthplace for June 15th in the outer wheel.

Donostia synastry

The first thing that struck me is that relocating my natal chart to San Sebastián puts my natal Ascendant at 6 Sag 41 in that city in close conjunction to my secondary progressed ascendant at my birthplace in June of this year.

My natal Sun moves to the 9th house which rules astrology and conferences (higher education).  Progressed Jupiter in the relocated 10th house trines natal Uranus, a modern planet associated with astrology.  The progressed Part of Fortune closely trines the relocated Placidus 9th house cusp (astrology, conferences, long-distance travel).  The progressed lunar nodes favorably aspect the relocated natal Part of Fortune.  There is a strong emphasis on the 8th house, which among other things rules esoteric and occult subjects.  In addition, a large part of my talk has to do with the astrological factors in effect at the death (an 8th house matter) of a significant historical figure.

There are several other connections which I leave it to the reader to examine.  All in all, it is a fascinating exercise to observe the synastry between the relocated natal chart and the secondary progressions for this event.

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Morin’s use of Whole Sign Houses

The great 17th century French astrologer Jean-Baptiste Morin de Villefranche used both whole sign and quadrant house systems. He regarded Regiomontanus as “formal” houses and whole sign houses as “accidental ones.” For example, in his delineation of the chart of King Gustav Adolf of Sweden who has Sagittarius rising and Saturn in Leo in the 8th Regiomontanus house but the 9th whole sign house, he interpreted that the king would die (8th house) in a foreign land (9th house).  Here is a page from the original text of Morin where he discusses his approach.

Morin use of two house systems

The paragraph which begins at the red arrow reads (my translation): “Similarly in the nativity of King Gustav Adolf of Sweden, Saturn is formally in the 8th house and accidentally in the 9th, is exiled in the fire sign Leo and is damaged by a square from Mars in the 12th house …”

This is the king’s chart with Regiomontanus houses:

Gustav natal terms

Morin was, of course, correct in his delineation.  With Mars in the 12th square Saturn debilitated in Leo in the 8th Regiomontanus house but 9th Whole Sign house, the king was shot to death in 1632 in a battle in Germany, a foreign land.  Morin was not aware of the planet Neptune (a god of moisture) in Leo in the 8th together with Saturn.  It turns out that part of the reason for the king’s demise was a heavy fog on the day of the battle.  The king got separated from his troops in the fog and was shot to death by enemy soldiers.


All original material in this blog is copyright Anthony Louis 2019.

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A Compelling Observation about the Moon’s True Nodes in Solar Returns

In June of 2019 I’ll be speaking on Solar Returns at the 36th Congreso Ibérico de Astrología in San Sebastián, Spain.  In preparation for this talk, I examined dozens of solar returns of prominent figures for years when dramatic events occurred in their lives.

In studying these many charts, I noticed a correlation which I believe has not been previously reported in the astrological literature.  Specifically, in years of dramatic, life-altering and often disruptive events such as accidents, illness, hospitalization, surgery, falls from power, political losses, exile, turmoil, arrests, conflicts with authorities, relocation to another country, the loss of an important loved one or even the death of the native, it occurred in the solar return for that year that the Moon’s true nodes were either stationary or had made a station and changed direction within 24 hours of the moment the Sun returned to its natal position.

From the geocentric perspective of astrology, the Moon’s nodes are simply the points of intersection between the Moon’s orbit and the Sun’s orbit (the ecliptic).  In traditional astrology, the custom was to use the Moon’s mean node which is always retrograde because the Moon’s nodes makes a cycle backwards through the zodiac about every 18.6 years.  Modern science is able to measure more precisely the exact position of Moon’s nodes, which generally run retrograde but which can “stop” and go direct from time to time because of slight perturbations in the Moon’s orbit due to gravitational forces as it travels around the Earth.  For those who wish more information about the difference between the Moon’s true and mean nodes, I recommend the YouTube video by David Cochrane.

To illustrate this phenomenon, let me pick a couple events at random: the arrest of actor Jusse Smollet and the death of Eva Perón from the point of view of the solar return of her husband.

“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett made national headlines this year for a scandal in which he told the Chicago police in January that two men had attacked him and yelled racial and homophobic slurs. Apparently the whole incident turned out to be a publicity stunt.  Smollet was born June 21, 1982 in Santa Rosa, CA, time unknown, so I used sunrise to calculate his natal chart.  His solar return for this year (based on a sunrise birth) looks like this:

Note that his true lunar nodes are stationary (S) in the solar return for this year.

The next example is the solar return of Juan Perón (born 8 October 8 1895), president of Argentina, for the year when his wife Eva died (26 July 1952).  President Perón was born at 7:47 AM in Lobos, Argentina.  Here is the solar return in effect for the year his wife passed away:

As you can see, the true nodes in this solar return are very recently direct in motion.  Looking in the ephemeris, the true nodes had been stationary just two hours before the exact moment of the return.

It should not be surprising that the Moon’s nodes making a station or being very recently stationary should correlate symbolically with such dramatic and life-changing events.  Traditionally the moon’s nodes were always associated with eclipses, which were ominous portents since Babylonian times.  The Babylonians also regarded stationary planets are being extremely powerful.

In Vedic mythology the Nodes resulted from Lord Vishnu hurling his disk to sever the head of Rahu-Ketu for having secretly imbibed the nectar of immortality.  In vengeance the two nodes (Rahu and Ketu) periodically swallow the light of the Sun and the Moon, causing eclipses and terrifying humans on earth.


All original material on this page is copyright Anthony Louis 2019.

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Putting astrology to the test

Recently I read an article by Edu Sotos, a Spanish journalist who was skeptical about astrology and decided, at the urging of his boss at Código Nuevo, to put his prejudices against astrology to the test by consulting a professional astrologer in Barcelona. Almost immediately the astrologer, Aleix Mercadé, nailed a self-admitted key feature of Mr. Sotos’ personality with the comment: “you have the Moon in Taurus and Venus in Cancer, you’re a bloody hedonist.” 

The astrologer went on to point out to Mr. Sotos from his chart how much he enjoyed the study of history,  how fond he was of traveling abroad and how much he liked spending time with his dog in the mountains, as well as the fact that he had a talent for communication and the use of words, and many other things which proved to be accurate. Overall the journalist found the consultation useful and ended up being less of a skeptic. In fact, he subtitled his article: “Astrology is an extremely useful tool for self-knowledge if you are able to open your mind.”

Fortunately Edu Sotos provided his birth data and a copy of his natal chart in the article, so I thought it would be of interest to look at it in a little more detail. Mr. Sotos says that he was born on 25 June 1984 with Aquarius rising, Sagittarius on the MC, the Sun in Cancer and the Moon in Taurus. He did not mention his exact time or place of birth, but eyeballing the natal chart which he provided, I would guess that he was born around 11:45 pm near Valencia, Spain on a Moon day during a Moon hour.   Here is a close approximation of his birth chart:

edu sotos

My own practice is to first try to verify the timing of the birth chart by identifying a significant past event.  In this chart, Uranus lies in the Placidus 10th house not far from the MC. When Uranus crosses the MC by primary direction, one can expect a notable event of the nature of Uranus (surprising, unusual, novel, unexpected, disruptive, etc.) involving the 10th and the opposite 4th Placidus houses — perhaps a change of residence, a new home, something affecting his parents or their jobs, a family matter, a sick grandparent, the birth of a sibling, etc.  Because Uranus lies almost exactly 9 equatorial degrees away from the MC, this event should occur when he is about age 9, that is, in the year 1993.  If the client can identify such an occurrence, I would take it as evidence that the birth time is reasonably accurate.  Mr. Soto does not mention anything about his early life, so I have no idea whether this observation about his chart is valid.

Next I might look at the broad implications of his time lords, as shown by zodiacal releasing. Edu Sotos has the Part of Fortune in Pisces and the corresponding Daimon or Part of Spirit in Aquarius.  (These two Parts, Fortune and Spirit, are equidistant from the horizon; the Ascendant lies at their midpoint.) To get a sense of the flow of his professional life, we study the Part of Spirit. Here is a table of the zodiacal releasing from the Part of Spirit, generated by Solar Fire.


From the above table we see that, on Level 1, he spent the period from birth through January of 2011 with the Part of Spirit traversing Capricorn, the “negative,” inner-directed nocturnal sign of Saturn, which is also the ruler of his Aquarius ascendant. With his natal Saturn Rx in Scorpio in the 9th Placidus house (the 10th whole sign house), we might expect that he spent the first 27 years of his life in a kind of preparatory stage, with a deep interest in philosophy, religion, publishing, writing, investigating matters in depth, foreign cultures, long distance travel and higher education (all 9th house issues).

Not shown in the above table is that during the period from October of 2001 to November of 2003 (roughly ages 17 – 19), Mr. Sotos was passing through a “Loosing of the Bond” on Level 2 during which the Part of Spirit jumped from Sagittarius into Cancer instead of entering Capricorn.  Such “Loosing of the Bond” periods usually coincide with events that have a strong influence on the choice of career and one’s path in life.  It is likely, however, that Mr. Sotos had already formed a strong opinion about what he would like to do with his life around age 15 when the Part of Spirit passed through Scorpio, where the Daimon met face-to-face with its dispositor Saturn, during the period from August of 1999 to October of 2000.

In February of 2011 the Part of Spirit shifted on Level 1 into Aquarius, which is his rising sign and the “positive,” outer-directed diurnal home of Saturn, where Spirit will remain for the next 29 years! There is the same emphasis on 9th house matters as when Spirit traversed Capricorn, but now there is added oomph or zest, especially because Spirit in Aquarius lies in a square configuration with its ruler Saturn in Scorpio.  Squares are aspects of manifestation in the real world.

On Level 2, the Part of Spirit moves from Aquarius to Pisces in July of 2013.  This is important because Pisces contains the Part of Fortune, so we would expect July 2013 – July 2014 to hold significant developments in career matters.  On Level 2, Spirit continues to advance at a rate of roughly one zodiacal sign per year.  The next significant period is June 2016 to January 2018 when Spirit traverses Gemini, the sign in square aspect to Pisces, which contains the Part of Fortune.  This Gemini period, which squares the Part of Fortune in Pisces, should again be related to a significant career change or development.

If all of the above appears reasonably accurate to the client, I would assume that we are working with a fairly well-timed chart. For example, Mr. Sotos tells us that he worked for 4 years as a correspondent in Brazil.  I would inquire whether his time in Brazil corresponds with the dates indicated by the zodiacal releasing from Spirit.

If we tried to guess his profession from the chart, we might take into account the following:

  • He is born on a Moon day during a Moon hour. His natal moon is exalted in Taurus and occupies the 3rd Placidus house of communication.
  • His Ascendant lies in the Jupiter term/bound of Aquarius, and in the Mercury Chaldean decan and Gemini Hindu decan of Aquarius. Mercury is a god of travel, writing and communication.  Jupiter/Zeus, king of the gods, is an expansive, hedonistic and adventurous deity.
  • His MC (career symbol) in Sagittarius is ruled by expansive Jupiter, which is closely linked to Mercury (messenger of the gods) and to Venus (goddess of love and ruler of the Placidus 3rd of communication) by opposition. With Venus in the mix perhaps he will enjoy exploring and writing about making love.
  • Jupiter is also closely linked by sextile to Mars and Saturn in Scorpio in the 9th house of publishing, disseminating information, long-distance travel and foreign cultures.
  • His lunar North Node is making a powerful station in Gemini, indicating a talent for using words to communicate his ideas to others.

Jupiter/Zeus is a prominent archetype in this natal chart.

I am grateful to Mr. Sotos for publishing his very interesting natal chart and for making some of his personal history available for us to learn from.



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In June I’ll be speaking on solar returns at the 36 Congreso Ibérico de Astrología in San Sebastian, Spain.  My plan is to briefly review the history of the technique in Western astrology, especially that of the 9th century Persian astrologer Abu Ma’Shar, and to discuss in detail an example from Morin’s book on solar revolutions.

Here is a clip from the lecture program at their website:
Ponencia ME

I’m looking forward to the conference and to meeting and learning from a new group of astrologers.  It should be a lot of fun.

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The sidereal zodiac in Hellenistic and Persian astrology

In reading the texts of Hellenistic and Persian astrologers, like Vettius Valens and Abu Ma’Shar, it becomes clear that in their case examples they are using the sidereal zodiac, which they inherited from the Babylonians. Even though Hellenistic astrologers around the time of Christ were aware of the findings of Hipparchus regarding the precession of the equinoxes, they persisted in using the sidereal zodiac.

For example, in the 1st century text De re rustica by Roman author Lucius Columella (4 – 70 CE), who wrote about agricultural topics, we find the following comment:

“Winter begins around 8 days before the first day of January, when the Sun is in the 8th degree of Capricorn.  I am not persuaded by the argument of Hipparchus who teaches that the solstices and equinoxes do not occur in the 8th degree of the zodiacal signs but rather in the very 1st degree”  (my translation into English).

Here we see a first century Roman agriculturalist, well acquainted with the seasons of the year, who rejects the tropical zodiac of Hipparchus and instead states his preference for a sidereal zodiac which locates the vernal equinox in the 8th degree of Aries (that is, between 7 and 8 degrees of Aries).

The ayanamsa of Usha-Shashi takes into account this difference postulated by Columella between the tropical and sidereal zodiacs. To illustrate this difference, I cast the vernal equinox for 50 CE in NYC in the tropical zodiac (on the left) and in the sidereal zodiac with the ayanamsa of Usha-Shashi (on the right) in the figure below.

As you can see, in the year 50 CE (at the time when Columella lived), in the tropical zodiac the Sun lies at 0 Aries 0 in the 1st degree of Aries, whereas in the sidereal zodiac the Sun lies at 7 Aries 03 at the beginning of the 8th degree of Aries.

Interestingly, in his book on annual revolutions, the Persian astrologer Abu Ma’Shar describes his own birth chart, which appears to be cast in the sidereal zodiac with what we would now call the ayanamsa of Raman.  Here is what the vernal equinox of the year 50 CE would look like with the ayanamsa of Raman:

The above chart places the vernal equinox in the 5th degree of Aries of the sidereal zodiac in the year 50 CE rather than the 8th degree of Aries, which was in common use by Hellenistic astrologers of the first century CE.

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