Beyond Planet and Aspect: Astrological Alchemy Part One

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I remember very distinctly the day I discovered what was to be the central ‘key’ to my own chart. It wasn’t very early in my studies, I was somewhere in my late twenties, trying to figure out why it was only disasters in love that took me down the rabbit hole of spiritual awareness and awakening. All of the good and all of the bad in the drama of relationships became meaningful in a spiritual sense. I would pick myself up, dust myself off, and march to the next disaster full of newly earned wisdom, my head held high. Until the next rabbit hole came and swallowed me up. I had tried studying in a more traditional way, but nothing gelled. I could only learn through personal loss. And it was bloody confusing.

So I would stare at my chart in a mantra-like way. Or I would pick it apart, as we all do when we’re up against a wall of confusion. And then one day, it was as if something shifted in my perception of the chart. I understood the Sun as the center of the spiritual quest, and for the first time I could see it bisecting my 10th house Venus, 2nd house Neptune square from the 12th house. I have a Sun/Jupiter conjunction in the 12th house at the center of a Venus/Neptune square. And before that moment, I had never paid attention to what that meant. Sure, I had a Sun/Jupiter conjunction in the 12th. I understood that. But not the way it manifested in my life. The reality was the totality of the energy pattern involved—the two semi-squares from Sun/Jupiter to Venus and Neptune were barely visible to me. I had been taught that semi-squares were weaker versions of squares. I will teach you something else, now. I’m still living this energy every day. It is still the central theme of my life, but I live it in a different way.

The purpose for putting this course out is two-fold.  One, I would like to correct a flaw that develops in almost all students at some point. After a while, as a student starts getting comfortable with reading charts, the deeper unification of aspect, sign and house gets dismissed. We see Sun/Saturn in a chart and go, “Oh…Ah…Of course…” assuming that, well, Sun/Saturn is Sun/Saturn. That isn’t the case, of course. Sun square Saturn is completely different from Sun opposite Saturn. Sun semi-square Saturn is different from Sun Square Saturn. And then there is house placement. Is a Sun/Saturn opposition from the first to the seventh house the same as one from the 3rd to the 9th or the 12th to the 6th? Of course not, and yet how often is the house position ignored when we interpret a chart?

Analyzing aspects in depth is where we often get lazy and sloppy in chart interpretation. Everyone worries whether or not they can synthesize a chart, but the first step to true chart synthesis is learning how to interpret aspects properly, and then weigh them against one another. Which are the heavyweights, which are the lightweights? Which planet will hold more influence?  This will also put an end to the student habit of focusing on whatever he or she obsessed with at the time–you may not be Plutonian at all, but if I’m a novice in love with Pluto I may interpret your entire chart through its lens.

In addition to working on in-depth analysis of aspects and aspect configurations, this course has another motive.  We will be focusing on the possibility of transformation in the chart, using the natal chart as a guide to spiritual growth and change.  Later on this year, I will be teaching a course in Astrology and Alchemy which focuses on the stages of alchemical transformation (Nigredo, Calcinatio, Solutio, etc.) as seen through the natal planets.  This course, while not an introduction, prepares a student for the more esoteric astrological realms.  This course will not be a pre-requisite for the Alchemy course, but is an introduction to the kind of in-depth chart work that will be required of that course.

This course, part chart work, part spiritual discourse and part quest, begins with understanding why the aspects behave the way they do.  We will delve into sacred number and Pythagorean numbers theory. The course will introduce you to the importance of semi-squares, semi-sextiles, and sesquiquadrates. We will learn why conjunctions are erratic and unpredictable and why squares are so focused. Later in the course we will be discussing the larger aspect patterns and what they indicate in both a sacred and mundane sense.

We will then move into chart analysis, with a lesson focusing exclusively on the Sun, another on the Moon, and another on Mars. Mercury and Venus will share a lesson, as will Jupiter and Saturn. The outer planets and their influence will be discussed throughout , as will the influence of planets on angles. Course material will include an overview of the planets in a more esoteric light, and will show the meaning of planetary position and order. (If you think it’s an accident that the four major asteroids are in the belt between Jupiter and Saturn, you will think again.) As a special bonus, will spend one class introducing the esoteric aspects the quintile, the novile and the septile.

Be assured that we are not going to analyze aspects and planets in a mundane, cookbook way.  We will be unearthing a deeper level of meaning in the chart.  By doing so, the course becomes focused on astrological synthesis. We will be diving into the deep end of chart interpretation, and while this class will be good for honing basic skills it is not an entry-level or beginning class. You need to have some familiarity with the working of the planets in their houses in order to get the most from the class.

ASTROLOGICAL ALCHEMY:  PART ONE  The Tools of Growth and Transformation

Class One: An overview of aspects via Pythagorean Numbers theory. The Sun as the Heart of Spirit. Focus on the Sun, the conjunction and the higher path.

Class Two: The Moon, Memory and Relating. Focus on the opposition and our conflicted relationship our relationship with the outside/dualistic world. The IC’s role in anchoring the chart.

Class Three: Reaching out. Mercury, Venus and the Connecting Principle. The ‘other’ opposition and the sextile/trine. How opportunity presents itself. The principle of attraction.

Class Four: Breathing Out and Breathing In. Jupiter/Saturn and expansion and contraction in the chart. What constitutes intake vs. output in the chart? The Possible vs. the Real. The comparison of Mercury/Jupiter and Moon/Saturn in a chart and how it relates to transcendent energy (Saturn’s little secret). The two faces of Jupiter/Janus—God of the threshold. Saturn—triumph and release through the MC or the Fall back through the permanent ending of the IC? How and what do we build? Is Saturn a measure of our success?

Class Five:  Sacred or Profane? An exercise in using planets from the esoteric point of view.  Why, in esoteric astrology, is Virgo represented by the Moon, for example, and what impact does that have in chart interpretation? What is the difference between so called ‘sacred’ and ‘non-sacred’ planets? What are some of the spiritual underpinnings of the chart? We will review and cover whatever we haven’t covered up to this point regarding the outer planets in the chart—what does the universe want us to learn? What happens to us and our spiritual path if we don’t get the message? How do the esoteric rulers of the signs assist us in finding our path?

Class Six: All Hands of God. Interpreting larger aspect patterns in the chart, including the T-Square , the Grand Cross, the Grand Trine, the Kite, Thor’s Hammer, The Mystic Rectangle and one or two you haven’t heard of–yet. Flow, stasis, and the importance of examining the inherent energy of the chart in an organic way.

Class Seven: An introduction to esoteric aspects. Sorting out the possible from the probable. The meaning of quintiles, septiles, noviles and their ‘bi’ counterparts. Finding the seeker in the chart.

In the effort to streamline and focus on what is essential in this course, we will use the Nodes and its rulers but will bypass the four major asteroids and the Black Moon. This class is considered a preparation for the Alchemical Astrology coming up later in the year, but is not a pre-requisite to that class. However, Alchemical Astrology will only be open to students who demonstrate a lively knowledge of chart interpretation and its spiritual implications. While we are entering into the more spiritual realm of chart interpretation, I’m hoping this class will be both fun and surprising. We will use charts I will provided and, from time to time, your own charts. Each of the seven classes will last for approximately an hour and fifteen minutes. The fee for the course is $295, payable in full or in two installments of $150 at signing and $145  on October 20th.  Only payment guarantees a place in the class. Please send me an email with the subject matter, “Alchemy” if you are interested. Classes will begin the week of October 13h and will be given every day but Friday and Sunday in time slots between noon and 4:30 pm Eastern time.  Classes are one on one and given over the phone or via Skype (audio only). All sessions will be recorded and a link to an mp3 sent to you afterward. Please choose a time when you know you will be consistently available. If a class is missed for any reason, you will receive a recording of another student’s session. There has already been a great deal of interest in this class, so if you would like to join please let me know as soon as possible. As always, spaced are limited.

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