Average Daily Motion of Planets in Horary

Horary astrologers often take note of how fast a significator in traveling per day to evaluate the outcome of horary charts.  There has been some confusion in the literature about exactly how to judge the daily speed of planets.  Do we judge speed differently if the planet is traveling direct or retrograde?  Do we use average geocentric values in which the Sun, Mercury and Venus have the same average daily motion despite the fact that from a geocentric point of view Mercury and Venus are in orbit around the Sun so that their daily motions appear to be more or less than than of the sun.

The excellent astrology program Janus, which just upgraded to version 5.1 offers the option to calculate the average planetary motion for a 1000-year period.  I selection this option and came up with the following table of planetary speeds for the period from 1500 to 2500 CE.  Here is the table:

Ave Daily Motion planets

Let’s look at Venus, for example.

During the 1000 yeas from 1500 to 2500 CE, the overall average daily motion of Venus (taking into account both direct and Rx motion) is + 00 59′ 09″, essentially identical to that of the Sun.

The most Venus will travel on any given day is + 01 15′ 36″ degrees.

The minimum value of the daily motion of Venus occurs when she travels Retrogade by an amount of – 00 37′ 59″ degrees.

The average daily motion of Venus when traveling direct is + 01 05′ 31″.

The average daily motion of Venus when traveling Rx is – 00 22′ 50″.

These figures should help the horary astrologer to judge how extremely or normally Venus is behaving in a particular chart.


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More on the Moon’s Nodes in Horary

In the last post I reviewed an article by Pepa Sanchis in which she reviews some ideas of French astrologer Denis Labouré  regarding the Moon’s Nodes.  Recently I had a chance to test her comments in a personal horary which involved the South Node.  Sanchis noted that  the Lunar South Node in horary charts could signify loss, weakness, decrease, reduction, poor quality, darkness or dark places, blockage, restriction, sluggishness, lack of effort, depletion of energy, illness, subtraction, deception (both deceiving and being deceived), criticism, and even a bit of insanity.

On September 9, 2018 I asked the horary question about whether I would be able to go on a vacation trip to Italy in October, which my wife and I had been planning for some time. What prompted the question was the recent onset of a cardiac arrhythmia (atrial fibrillation) which is now being worked up.  I wasn’t sure that I would feel physically able to do the amount of walking on hilly terrain which the tour required, so on September 9th I asked a horary about whether I would be able to go, given my recent medical problem.  Here is the chart with Regiomontanus Houses.

Go to Italy

It is a Sun day during a Moon hour.

Scorpio rises, making Mars in Capricorn in the 3rd my significator.  Uranus Rx (sudden disruption) opposite the Ascendant (the body) probably symbolizes the recent unexpected onset of an arrhythmia.

The trip abroad is signified by the Moon, ruler of the Cancer 9th house. Unfortunately, the Moon is quite debilitated by being combust the Sun.  The next aspect the Moon (the trip) makes is a conjunction with the Sun, which is associated the heart through its rulership of Leo.  It appears that the Sun may prohibit the trip (Moon) from happening.

The Moon (trip) will eventually trine Mars (me) but at the time of the chart it was not within orb of the trine.  By the time the Moon conjoins Mars by transit, Mars will have passed into the next sign Aquarius and will be totally without dignity (peregrine).  Currently Mars, exalted in Capricorn, lies in the sign of detriment of the Moon.

The chart does not look promising as far as my being able to go on this trip is concerned.

My ruler (Mars) also rules the 6th house of illness and will soon change signs into Aquarius where it will be peregrine.  Planets changing sign is often highly significant in horary.  Shortly after entering Aquarius, Mars will conjoin the South Lunar Node, which Pepa Sanchis associates with illness, sluggishness, decrease of energy, loss and restriction — all of which I’m experiencing at the time.  Over the next few days I did feel more sluggish and lacking in energy because of the ongoing arrhythmia, and I realized that I would not be able to keep up with the planned activities of the tour (lots of walking through cities and historical sites) due to the restrictions created by the medical issue.  On September 12th we decided to cancel our reservation, which will entail some loss of the money we already paid toward the trip.  The South Node symbolism makes a lot of sense in this chart.


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The Moon’s Nodes – Review of an Article by Pepa Sanchis

In this blog I’d like to briefly review an article about the moon’s nodes, written by Spanish astrologer Pepa Sanchis and published on 29 July 2018 on the site http://primaluce.es. My approach will be to summarize and paraphrase her ideas and to add some of my own. Sanchis begins by summarizing the modern view of the lunar nodes as indicators of our path in life, that is, the lessons we need to learn based on our karma from past lives — an untestable hypothesis which she says was first introduced into Western astrology by Dane Rudhyar but which is absent from the astrology of cultures in which the idea of karma plays a major role, such as India and Tibet.

Sanchis rejects this karmic formulation of Rudhyar and instead adopts the stance of French astrologer Denis Labouré who maintains that the moon’s nodes have nothing to do with karma. Labouré, whom I have not read, apparently bases his ideas about the lunar nodes in Vedic astrology and on the astronomical fact that the nodes of the moon are points on the sun’s path where eclipses take place and thus have a symbolic analogy with the manifestations of the blockage and restoration of light during eclipses in astrological chart.

North Lunar Node Keywords (Head of the Dragon)

Thus, rather than being interpreted in terms of past lives and karma, the lunar nodes have specific concrete significations which are testable in this lifetime in our horoscopes. Sanchis suggests that the North Node is the more comfortable of the pair and has connotations of exaggeration, excess, overestimation, grandness, brightness, illumination, speediness, excitement, good quality, forms of energy, augmentation and sometimes suggests matters being overblown or taken out of proportion, potentially indicating a lack of objectivity and realistic grounding. In horary charts, for example, the North Node can indicate a belief that we know more than we really do about the matter, but in reality we are lacking important information or it is being withheld from us. Lilly likened the North Node to expansive Jupiter and fun-loving Venus, but it is possible to have too much of a good thing; in this view, the North Lunar Node gives, and the South Lunar Node takes away. I often think of the North Node as the Head of the Dragon whose mouth is nibbling on “the good things in life.”

South Lunar Node Keywords (Tail of the Dragon)

The South Node is the more difficult of the two and has significations of loss, weakness, decrease, reduction, poor quality, darkness or dark places, blockage, restriction, sluggishness, lack of effort, depletion of energy, illness, subtraction, deception (both deceiving and being deceived), criticism, and even a bit of insanity. She also links the South Node to magic, places of worship, peculiar or enclosed locations, spirituality and spiritual development, diverse energies, a critical or detached nature, gaffes, faux pas, etc. The South Node, says Sanchis, can concretely indicate illness, infections, wounds, hernias, sickness, toxins, poisoning, decline, frailty, dementia, death and various forms of suffering. William Lilly likened the South Node to restrictive Saturn and aggressive Mars, the two traditional malefics of the zodiac. Lilly was aware of a tradition that the South Node could decrease the harm of a malefic, but in his practice he found that the South Node tended to double or triple the evil nature of malefic planets.  I often think of the South Node as the Tail of the Dragon under which lies its anus which is expelling bits of excrement which are an essential part of life that we often, to our spiritual disadvantage, prefer to avoid.

Sanchis gives several detailed case examples to illustrate her argument. These include:

  • In a horary chart a grand colorful house signified by Jupiter conjunct Venus in Leo is surrounded by a high wall which blocks much of the sunlight from illuminating the structure — the restrictive and darkening Moon’s South Node is also part of the Jupiter/Venus conjunction.
  • When Saturn by primary direction conjoins the South Node in a natal chart, the person signified by Saturn dies.
  • When the ruler of the 4th house (fathers) conjoins the South Node by primary direction, the client’s father develops dementia.
  • When the ruler of the 7th (partners) conjoins the South Node by secondary progression, the client’s spouse becomes seriously ill.
  • When the Moon (a natural signifier of one of the eyes) conjoined the South Node by primary direction, the client needed eye surgery by laser, but there was a complication which left the clients’ eyes bandaged, thus blocking (eclipsing) her vision and leaving her in darkness.

I recommend this article because it offers testable keywords for the lunar nodes, which will allow us to decide whether to use these ideas in our astrological practice.

To illustrate the ideas of Labouré and Sanchis about the lunar nodes, let’s look at a classic horary: Bonatti’s interpretation of a chart for the Besieging of the Luccans (Dykes translation, pages 515-516) in which the Count asks Bonatti whether he and his soldiers would be able to occupy a castle of the Luccans. Here is the chart.


Bonatti did not analyze the chart in the following way, but my point here is to illustrate the significance of the Moon’s Nodes in this chart by way of this alternate analysis.

It is notable that the South Node almost exactly conjoins Mars in detriment in Libra the 10th. Mars and the South Node are closely configured to the Ascendant by sextile but in signs of long ascension, which according to Lilly diminishes the positive nature of the sextile and gives it some properties of a square. This is a day chart, and Mars (the malefic of the nocturnal sect) is its most troublesome planet.

If we take the 10th to represent the Count’s success or victory in seizing the castle and Mars to signify his army (Mars is a natural signifier of soldiers), then we see his soldiers being blocked or diminished by the South Node in their efforts to seize the castle. Mars in Libra (its detriment) describes the soldiers as fun-loving goof-offs; they’d rather be gambling and visiting the local brothel than fighting a war.

The ruler of the 10th is Mercury, which conjoins the 12th cusp of undoing. Mars rules the unfortunate 12th (self-sabotage) and occupies the 10th of success. Thus, we might conclude that his army is so inept that the Count’s own soldiers are his worst enemy and he will never take the castle. To describe the soldiers Bonatti uses words like sluggishmess, baseness, tardiness, weakness, low quality, not applying themselves, and happy to be going home with having engaged in battle.

Bonatti writes (p. 516 of Dykes translation) of the Count’s soldiers (for reasons other than Mars conjunct the South Node) that “their low quality seemed to me to be so great, that the castle would more likely stand than be taken. In the end, they behaved so basely and so weakly, that in no way did they carry out any of those things which they had readied for …”

As least in this example from Bonatti, Pepa Sanchis’s formulation of the moon’s nodes has much merit and contributes to the accurate interpretation of the chart.


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Masha’allah’s Chart for the Epoch of Christ

In his book on mundane astrology, the 8th-century Persian Jewish astrologer Masha’allah offers a chart for the beginning of the Christian Era.  His method is to study Aries Ingresses and the cycle of the Great Saturn/Jupiter conjunctions as they pass through the four triplicites (Fire, Air, Earth and Water signs).  In the previous post I looked at the chart proposed for the Great Deluge made famous in the story of Noah’s Ark.  These charts are based on the translation by Kennedy and Pingree (Harvard University Press, 1971) of Masha’allah’s text).

Masha’allah in Horoscope 5 of his book proposes that the Christian Era began in March of 13 BCE (his choice for the year of the birth of Christ), with the Saturn/Jupiter conjunctions occurring in Earth signs.  He offers the Aries ingress chart of 13 BCE as the beginning of this period and deduces from the chart that Christ will be born in December of that year.  Here are the values Masha’allah used (assuming that he cast the chart for Baghdad):

  • Ascendant: 18 Libra
  • Sun: 0 Aries 01
  • Moon: 22 Gemini 44
  • Mercury: 4 Aries 49
  • Venus: 14 Taurus
  • Mars: 21 Gemini 22
  • Jupiter: 2 Virgo 30 Rx
  • Saturn: 16 Capricorn 28

The following is a modern reproduction of this chart for the Aries Ingress of the year of the birth of Christ with Porphyry houses, which I believe is what Masha’allah meant when he spoke of “houses by division”.  I adjusted the ayanasma to match Masha’allah’s values as closely as possible.  Only Mercury is way off, with the original chart having a position of 4 Aries 49 for Mercury and the one calculated by modern computer at 3 Pisces 53.  Perhaps the substitution of Aries for Pisces was a typo on Masha’allah’s part because the degrees of Mercury in the signs are almost identical.


Below is a key portion of Masha’allah’s interpretation of this Aries Ingress (quoted from Kennedy & Pingree, pages 45-46); italics and parenthetical […] remarks are mine:

“… he found the lord of the year to be Saturn, because of its strength and its numerous aspects, and because all the planets, … except Mars and the moon, were conferring their counsel upon it [Saturn], it being in its own house [Capricorn], and the ascendant [Libra] its exaltation and triplicity, and the lord of the ascendant [Venus] confers its counsel upon it [Saturn] from its second house [that is, from Taurus, which is the other house of Venus, ruler of the Libra ascendant].”

“That indicates that he [Christ] will be born in 10 months of this year [that is, 10 months from the Aries Ingress, which is December of 13 BCE], and because the transfer [of years at the Aries Ingress] is nocturnal [Sun below the horizon, Moon as sect ruler] and the moon [sect lord] is with Mars in the 9th [of religious figures], it indicates violence [Mars] he will meet, and fear about him of being killed in a high place [? perhaps fear of death because Moon lies in the 8th of death and also rules the 8th by exaltation?] because the two [Moon and Mars] are conjunct in the highest of signs [actually Cancer is both the 10th sign and contains the MC, so that Cancer rather than Gemini is the highest of signs in this chart, unless he means that the Moon/Mars conjunction lies in the highest of all the signs which contain a planet in this chart or perhaps that the Moon rules Cancer, the highest place in the chart].”

The “highest of signs” remark is a bit puzzling. Masha’allah may be thinking in terms of the Whole Sign houses in which the planets in Gemini are visually clearly the highest in the chart.  It appears that Masha’allah is combining the topical meanings of both the Porphyry and Whole Sign houses to deduce that Christ will be killed in a high place, perhaps as follows:

  • Moon (sect ruler) will conjoin Mars in the 9th of religious figures.
  • Moon lies in the 9th Whole Sign but the 8th (of death) Porphyry houses.
  • Moon and Mars are in the highest place in the chart, most visually obvious in the Whole Sign chart.
  • Sect light Moon is the exalted ruler of the 8th of death and signifies being held on high or placed on a pedestal, in this case a cross.  (Eighth-ruler Venus would signify and ordinary death, whereas the Moon as exalted ruler quite literally symbolizes dying while being held up high.)
  • Jupiter, a natural signifier of religous leaders, lies in the fortunate 11th Porphyry house of the Good Daemon, bringing hope to humankind, but also lies in the extremely unfortunate 12th Whole Sign house of sacrifice, mourning and secret enemies.
  • The Sun, which rejoices in the 9th house of God, lies in the angular 7th Whole Sign house but in the unfortunate cadent 6th house in the Porphyry system.
  • Saturn, extremely significant as lord of the year, squares the Sun (a god symbol), and the Sun rejoices in the 9th where the sect light Moon conjoins Mars — a combination of symbols suggesting death in a high place.

jesus 2

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Masha’allah’s Simultaneous Use of Whole Sign & Porphyry Houses

There has been much debate in recent years about the use of quadrant houses in Hellenistic times. The 8th-century Persian Jewish astrologer Masha’allah ibn Athari (740 – 815) was well versed in the writings of Dorotheus of Sidon, a 1st-century Hellenistic astrologer, and so we can look to his work to see how the Hellenistic tradition was understood and used by Persian astrologers in the 8th century. Fortunately, Masha’allah’s texts have been preserved and translated into English.


In 1971 Kennedy and Pingree published a scholarly translation of Masha’allah’s work on mundane astrology “On Conjunctions, Religions and People” in which the 8th-century astrologer presented a series of charts of Jupiter/Saturn conjunctions and Aries ingresses, with explanations of how they correlated with major world events.

What becomes clear in reading the text and reconstructing the charts in the book is that Masha’allah used both Whole Sign and Porphyry houses. Not being astrologers, Kennedy and Pingree made a mistake in stating the following: “There are two methods of reckoning the twelve places or δώδεκα τόπος. The simplest way (‘by counting’) merely counts each sign as a place; the other (‘by division’) uses equal arcs of 30 degrees along the ecliptic measured from the ascendant degree …” (The Astrological History of Masha’allah, Harvard University Press, 1971, p. 92). This statement is incorrect. If you study the charts in the text, it is clear that the method of assigning places by division is in realty the method ascribed to Porphyry in which the MC is the cusp of the 10th place and the intermediate cusps are found by dividing the angles between the horizon and meridian into equal thirds.

In other words, Masha’allah used two systems of house division simultaneously:

  1. By counting: the equivalent of Whole Sign houses in which the entire sign containing the Ascendant (horoskopos) is considered the 1st house, the next whole sign is the 2nd house, and so on around the wheel. The Midheaven (upper meridian) may appear in the 9th, 10th, or 11th house of this system.
  2. By division: (this is not the system of Equal Houses from the Ascendant, as Kennedy and Pringree mistakenly suggest).  Houses by division is the Porphyry method of assigning the degree rising (horoskopos) as the cusp of the 1st house and the degree of the Midheaven as the cusp of the 10th house. The number of degrees along the ecliptic between the Asc and the MC is divided by three to determine the size of the intermediate houses.

Here is an example. The first horoscope in the book is for the date February 11th at about the latitude of Baghdad. According the Masha’allah this chart has 19 Sagittarius rising, and has Mars Rx at 27 Libra and Jupiter Rx at 12 Libra, both planets lying in the 11th place by counting (Whole Signs) but in the 10th place by division (Porphyry). Because Libra is the 11th sign from Sagittarius, Mars and Jupiter are in the 11th place by counting as measured from Sagittarius, which is the 1st place.

If we were to use Equal Houses, as Kennedy and Pingree suggest, the the cusp of the 10th would fall at 19 Virgo (10 signs or 30-degree segments from 19 Sagittarius). Then the 10th place would go from 19 Virgo to 19 Libra, locating Jupiter in the 10th and Mars in the 11th. Clearly Kennedy and Pingree got it wrong for this and the other charts in the book. In fact, Masha’allah was using Porphyry houses in which the MC at 4 Libra begins the 10th place and the cusp of the 11th lies at 29 Libra, encompassing both Mars and Jupiter, as Masha’allah tells us in his text. This comparison of Equal and Porphyry house division for the date of February 11th illustrates this point.


Here is a list of the values Masha’allah used in the original of this chart (p. 41 of the Kennedy & Pingree text) for the “World-Year of the Shift [of the Jupiter/Saturn conjunction], being the conjunction indicating the Deluge [Noah’s ark deluge].  The original chart is allegedly cast for February of 3380 BCE when the great Jupiter/Saturn conjunction shifted from the Air triplicity into the Water triplicity in the water sign of Scorpio, with Saturn Rx in the disastrous 12th house, marking the onset of the epoch of the Great Deluge:

  • Horoskopos at 19 Sagittarius
  • IC at 7 Aries 47 (I got about 5 Aries, setting the chart for Baghdad)
  • Venus at 26 Pisces 16
  • Mercury at 3 Pisces 24
  • Sun at 0 Aries 01 (a vernal equinox chart)
  • Moon at 23 Taurus 13
  • North Node at 8 Cancer
  • Jupiter at 12 Libra 39 Rx
  • Mars at 27 Libra 17 Rx
  • Saturn at 1 Scorpio 56 Rx

Presumably, Masha’allah was using houses by counting (Whole Sign) to determine the topics which the houses and their planetary rulers and occupants signified, and the houses by division (Porphyry’s method of dividing semi-arcs into thirds) to judge the strength and business (or weakness and inactivity) of the planets. I need to study his discussion of the various charts to be sure. Interestingly, the 17th century French astrologer Morinus also used both Whole Sign and Regiomontanus houses to judge his charts; he regarded the Regiomontanus system as the true or “formal” method of house division and the Whole Sign house system by counting from the Ascendant as providing “accidental” houses — most likely an analogy to essential and accidental dignities.

A take-home lesson from Masha’allah for modern astrologers is that instead of wasting our time debating which is the single best system of houses, we should be learning how to use both Whole Sign and quadrant houses simultaneously, as did the great Persian astrologers of the Middle Ages.

Addendum (2 Sep 2018):  Astrologer Alan Annand made an interesting comment about this post on Facebook and gave permission for me to reproduce it here:

Among well-trained Jyotishi (Vedic astrologers), it is common practice to use both the whole sign house system for general analysis, and the Sripati house system (identical with Porphyry) for more specific analysis.
In applying the latter, attention also shifts from sign lords to sign and nakshatra lords, thus allowing another level of specificity different from western systems.”


All original material in this blog is copyright Anthony Louis 2018.

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Hellenistic Time Lords and Epigenetics

When I lecture about time lords to groups of astrologers, I use the analogy that the natal chart is like our DNA and the time lords are among the factors that determine how and when our “astrological DNA” will manifest. This idea is implicit in the writings of Hellenistic astrologers like Vettius Valens and has found its way into modern biology as the field of epigenetics.

We all know from high school biology that our DNA in our genes contains the instructions about how our bodies will develop and function over our lifetimes. Epigenetics is the branch of genetics which studies the factors that, without changing or modifying the instructions stored in our genes, affects how and when that information will be manifested in the real world. This is exactly analogous to Valens’ account of how and when the astrological information stored in our natal chart will manifest in the real world during the course of our lifetime.

The following public domain diagram from NIH, though a bit technical, illustrates the concept.


The NIH caption explains:  “Epigenetic mechanisms are affected by several factors and processes including development in utero and in childhood, environmental chemicals, drugs and pharmaceuticals, aging, and diet. DNA methylation is what occurs when methyl groups, an epigenetic factor found in some dietary sources, can tag DNA and activate or repress genes. Histones are proteins around which DNA can wind for compaction and gene regulation. Histone modification occurs when the binding of epigenetic factors to histone “tails” alters the extent to which DNA is wrapped around histones and the availability of genes in the DNA to be activated. All of these factors and processes can have an effect on people’s health and influence their health possibly resulting in cancer, autoimmune disease, mental disorders, or diabetes among other illnesses.”

The basic idea is that certain foods that we eat can tag parts of our DNA (see the methyl groups in the diagram), thereby activating or repressing certain genes. The outcome will be that certain genes will, or will not, be expressed at certain times in our life, affecting how our bodies develop and the state of our health over time.

Just as astrologers believe that the expression of the birth chart is modified by environmental factors, so too do geneticists believe that “epigenetic” factors modify the manifestation of the information contained in our DNA. As you can see in the diagram, these factors include what the organism is exposed to in the utero and in childhood, environmental chemicals, drugs and pharmaceuticals, ageing, diet, and so on.

To see how this works in a natal chart, let’s consider actor James Dean who died in a car accident on 30 September 1955.  His zodiacal releasing from Daemon (Spirit), which lies at 25 Cancer 23 natally, looks like this:


Note that on the day he died, the time lord steering his life switched from the Moon (ruling Cancer) to the Sun (ruling Leo), thus activating the sign Leo, any planets in Leo, and the natal Sun in Aquarius in his birth chart (Placidus houses):

James Dean  As you can see, when Leo and the Sun took over as time lords on the day of his death, the planet Mars Rx in Leo became activated.  Mars rules his natal 8th of death and opposes Mercury, ruler of his 3rd of local travel — which could symbolize death in a car accident. Mars, which got activated on 30 Sep 1955 when the time lord switched to Leo/Sun, also squares the Moon in the 8th Whole Sign house of death, with the Moon ruling the 4th of endings.

The activation of the Sun, which is peregrine and in Aquarius (the sign of its detriment) and ruler of the unfortunate Placidus 6th house, is potentially problematic. Being peregrine, the Sun relies on its dispositor Saturn, which is strong in Capricorn in the 10th.  Saturn, however, closely opposes Pluto (two planets associated with death), and Pluto lies in the 4th of final endings.

All in all, the “epigenetic” time lord pattern played itself out quite precisely on the date of the actor’s demise.

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Writer Irvine Welsh: Placidus vs Whole Sign Houses

Recently I watched a video by astrologer Patrick Watson in which he discussed the birth chart of Scottish writer Irvine Welsh from both a Whole Sign and a Placidus house perspective.  After presenting Welsh’s birth chart, Patrick maintained that his profession as a fiction writer “is not information that you would get from looking at this chart in quadrant houses — you would only see this by looking at the chart in Whole Sign houses, and it’s completely lost in a quadrant based house system.”

There is no question that Patrick is a gifted astrologer, but his claim about being unable to see Irvine Welsh’s profession with Placidus houses does not stand up to scrutiny.  To be clear, I have great respect for Patrick as an astrologer and I enjoy his videos and posts.  I simply disagree with him about his suggestion that Whole Sign houses are the single best system.

My own practice is to consider both Whole Sign and quadrant houses because they supply complementary information about a native from different perspectives.  It’s not that one house system is better than the other.  Both systems work and provide valuable information.  The great French astrologer Morinus preferred Regiomontanus houses but he also used Whole Sign houses (which he called “accidental houses”) to supplement what the Regiomontanus houses showed him.  I think this is the better path to follow.

Let’s look at the Placidus chart of Irvine Welsh to determine whether it is impossible, as Patrick claims, to see his profession as a writer with this quadrant house system.


Welsh has Sagittarius rising, with Jupiter ruling his Ascendant. We could say that he sees life as an adventure and loves to explore the world and the world of ideas in a Jupiterean fashion.  With Jupiter ruling his Placidus 12th cusp, we could say that an interest in the downtrodden, disabled, drug-addicted and/or neglected members of society is important to his sense of identity.

Where is his Ascendant ruler Jupiter?  It exactly conjoins the Placidus 9th house cusp of books, publishing, travel, higher learning, church affairs, foreign interests, etc.  Although Welsh was born in Scotland, he has lived in Dublin and now lives in Chicago, so the theme of international travel is prominent. Professionally he has made a number of book tours in which he traveled around the world.

The 9th house, according to Lilly,  gives judgments of “voyages or long journeys beyond seas; of religious men, or clergy of any kind, whether bishops or inferior ministers; dreams, visions, foreign countries; of books, learning, church livings, or benefices, advowsons; of the kindred of one’s wife, & sic e contrario.”  Welsh’s Ascendant ruler conjunct the 9th cusp is one indicator that books and publishing will play an important role in his life.

Jupiter at 10 Libra 12 lies in the terms or bounds of Mercury (writing) and is disposed by Venus (ruler of the 9th of literature and publishing).  The reason I look at the bound ruler where Jupiter lies is that Jupiter (Ascendant-ruler) signifies the life purpose of the individual.  As Charles Obert explains in his book on Dignities (p. 61), the bound ruler “is in charge of how things are done, and does them ‘on their own terms’, with their own set of rules. … The domicile ruler needs to work through the bound ruler to implement its agenda…”  In Welsh’s chart, Mercury (the bound ruler of Jupiter’s location) is in charge of fulfilling Jupiter’s agenda in his life. He fulfills his life Jupiterean purpose by doing Mercury-related things, such as writing and traveling.

Furthermore, 9th ruler Venus lies in the 10th of his career, indicating that writing and publishing may play a role in his career choice.  Venus also rules his Placidus 5th house cusp of children, fun activities and creative projects, which could include writing books. In other words, his personal creativity (Venus ruling 5th) shows up in his 10th house of career (Venus in Scorpio in 10th).

Ninth ruler Venus closely conjoins the Moon’s North Node (a fortunate and expansive point of the nature of Jupiter) very close to the Placidus 10th house cusp.  A basic interpretation would be that Welsh’s career expands and benefits greatly from doing things related to Venus (artistic pursuits) and the houses that she rules (4th, 5th and 9th, creative writing about his homeland).

The 9th ruler Venus in the 10th of career is also closely sextile Mercury (writing), dignified in Virgo in the 8th of death, its quality and nature, loss, fear an anguish of mind, the privy parts, poisons, etc. (according to Lilly).  Deborah Houlding notes that “traditional astrology relates the eighth house to crisis, hidden matters, anguish of mind, poison and deadly fears.”  Irvine writes stories about the depravity of the drug culture and gives a brutal depiction of the sordid (Venus in Scorpio, Mars in Libra) side of Ediburgh life, as you might expect with such an 8th house emphasis.

According to wikipedia: “As well as recreational drug use, Welsh’s fiction and non-fiction is dominated by the question of working class and Scottish identity in the period spanning the 1960s to the present day. Within this, explores the rise and fall of the council housing scheme, denial of opportunity, sectarianism, football, hooliganism, sex, suppressed homosexuality, dance clubs, low-paid work, freemasonry, Irish republicanism, sodomy [Lilly’s 8th house ‘privy parts’], class divisions, emigration and, perhaps most of all, the humour, prejudices and axioms of the Scots.”  (highlights mine)

Welsh’s Placidus 10th cusp (the MC) lies in Scorpio and is ruled by Mars, which conjoins Ascendant-ruler Jupiter within 8 degrees.  Mars is in detriment in Libra and also peregrine, so he must act through his dispositor Venus, ruler of the 9th of literature in the 10th of occupation.  This combination suggests that Irvine will write about depravity (Mars in detriment in the 8th) as part of his career activities (Venus in the 10th disposing Mars in Libra in the 8th).

Mars, the ruler of his 10th of career, also rules his Placidus Aries 3rd house of writing and communication.

The modern planet Neptune, associated with fantasy and imagination, in the 9th could be interpreted as the potential to write fiction.  Neptune in Scorpio is disposed by Mars, so that the way in which he expresses the Neptune archetype gets filtered into his career (Mars ruling the 10th) and also has to do with 8th house themes (Mars in 8th).

We often associate the 6th house with our day-to-day work, menial jobs, and the working classes.  Mercury rules the 6th and occupies the 8th where it sextiles Venus (ruler of the 9th) in the 10th of career.  This combination not only depicts Welsh’s daily work as a writer but also the themes he writes about.

In summary, although I greatly respect Patrick Watson as an astrologer, I believe that his claim that Irvine Welsh’s career as a writer “is not information that you would get from looking at this chart in quadrant houses” does not hold water; it is simply not true.  In the Placidus system, the ruler of the 9th lies in the 10th and each one occupies the other’s domicile, the same planet rules the 3rd and the 10th, and the ruler of the 9th also rules the 5th of creative projects and closely sextiles Mercury, a natural signifier of writing. How could this not be interpreted as a potential career as a writer? Thus, I would urge astrologers to avoid the trap of trying to settle on a single best house system. Both quadrant and whole sign houses work; they merely provide complementary information from different perspectives, as I think the chart of Irvine Welsh demonstrates.

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