The Astrology Podcast
Transcript of Episode 346, titled:
With Chris Brennan and Marcos Patchet
Episode originally released on April 8, 2022
Note: This is a transcript of a spoken word podcast. If possible, we encourage you to listen to the audio or video version, since they include inflections that may not translate well when written out. Our transcripts are created by human transcribers, and the text may contain errors and differences from the spoken audio. If you find any errors then please send them to us by email: email@example.com
Transcribed by Mary Sharon
Transcription released April 11, 2022
Copyright © 2022 TheAstrologyPodcast.com
CHRIS BRENNAN: Hey, my name is Chris Brennan and you’re listening to The Astrology Podcast. In this episode, I’m talking with Marcos Patchett about medical astrology, consultation charts, and prognosis and prediction in the context of astrology. So hey, welcome to the show.
MARCOS PATCHETT: Thanks, Chris. Hi.
CB: Yeah. Thanks for joining me today. I’m excited about this episode, this is going to be a good discussion. So let’s talk first and introduce you to my audience. You have a background and specialize in Western herbal medicine and medical astrology with a focus on Horary astrology in particular, right?
MP: Yeah, exactly. Yes. [laughs]
CB: And you come partially from the lineage of the Olivia Barclay School of the Qualifying Horary Practitioner course, right?
MP: Yes, although I’m kind of partly self-taught. I started off with sort of modern astrology with the LSA, London School of Astrology who are great. I began with them. And then I sort of got interested in traditional astrology sort of around 2005-6. I really got into Horary first really through reading John Frawley’s books which, you know, they’re great. A very controversial figure, John Foley, but a brilliant astrologer. And so I sort of went in traditional astrology really just sort of self-taught for a while. And that was just a number of different factors like the class times weren’t really- I couldn’t really do the classes because I was working and whatever. So officially school taught with my beginning in modern astrology, and then the traditional astrology was sort of self-taught really.
CB: Cool. And that you were able to combine that in some ways also with your interest and focus on herbalism.
MP: Yes, exactly. And that was the major incentive for me actually learning astrology in the first place because I was doing a degree in western herbal medicine at Middlesex University. And in 2004, I came across a book by Graeme Tobyn, who is a brilliant astrologer and also brilliant herbalist called Culpeper’s Medicine. I would recommend it to everybody. It’s a brilliant book and it’s just sort of gives the life history of Nicholas Culpeper, the sort of Maverick apothecary of the 16th century, who’s also an astrologer. And sort of reading that book just opened my eyes to how pivotal astrology is in the history of medicine in the West, particularly of course, traditional forms of medicine like herbal medicine. So that really inspired me to learn astrology in the first place.
CB: Okay, brilliant. And so since that time you’ve been using it in your work and incorporating it. And one of the uses that we’re going to talk about today and focus on is consultation charts, which is sort of like a subset of either; inceptional astrology or Horary astrology depending on how you look at it, where you cast a chart for the moment that a client comes to you for a consultation or to ask you a question about some specific thing. And the chart will describe not just the nature and focus of their inquiry at that time but also potentially the outcome, right?
MP: Yes, exactly. And I think you discussed this in a podcast you did with Dr. Lee Lehman a while ago, the sort of hierarchy of charts in traditional medical astrology where, you know, you’d have the birth chart, which is for a whole lifetime. And then you’d have a Decumbiture chart, which is the chart for the time a person first gets sick. And then you’d have a consultation chart. Really, a Decumbiture and a consultation chart can be used interchangeably because they’re both charts that describe a moment in time that’s sort of a pivotal moment in story of a person’s relationship with a disease [laughs] if that makes any sense. So, the issue with Decumbiture charts, if you can get the Decumbiture chart– the time a person first falls sick– then that’s great. But in most cases, it’s not available because people don’t happen to sort of fall over and look at the clock most of the time. I mean, there are substitute charts you can use. For example, if somebody gets given a significant diagnosis during a doctor’s appointment, you might have the time of that appointment. Or if somebody gets admitted to hospital, then the time of admission to hospital can serve as a Decumbiture. But the chart that you, as a practitioner, always have is the consultation chart. And so there’s a distinct practical advantage there. The other practical advantage being that you can always look at that chart for your own r&d as a practitioner. So because I’m primarily a herbalist, some of my clients come to me and because they know I do astrology, they want me to look into the astrology specifically, in which case I can use their birth chart and any other charts. But a lot of the time they just want the herbal medicine. But I’ll often look at the consultation chart just to get a bit of context and see how that unfolds. Obviously, that’s a chart that you don’t need to- There’s no privacy issue there, you don’t need to ask for those details.
CB: Right, that makes sense. And that’s interesting in terms of it makes me think of the origins of Horary, and one of the things that became clear about it in some of the earliest references to it in Dorotheus that they were always dealing with trying to use the greatest moment of symbolic significance or importance. But that sometimes if you don’t have your ideal moment of importance that you can use, there’s a series of lesser charts that are somewhat more far removed from- The primary one is sort of a backup. So in Dorotheus and Hephaestus, I think they said if a client comes to you when something has happened, ideally cast the chart for the moment that the event occurred, and that’ll be the inception chart for that moment and you’ll use that. And then they say, “If you don’t have that and you don’t have the time for that moment, then use the time for when the client first found out about it, when they first learned about the event that had happened. But if that isn’t present, then use the chart for when the client comes to you asking the question.” So I guess we’re kind of dealing with a similar hierarchy here in terms of how you’re approaching this as well with medical events.
MP: Yeah, a hundred percent. And I think what’s interesting to me about astrology in general is that these things, although astrology can be compartmentalized into all these different specialisms like medical and electional and whatever, the principles, the guiding principles are the same throughout. So I kind of as a herbalist, I visualize it as a plant in a way. Literally, we call the original chart, the radical chart. And that’s often used to refer to birth charts but a radical chart could be like a [00:07:18], the first chart in a sequence. And then following charts are almost like nodes on a stem or something, it’s like the root is the radix and then as it sort of growing, you’ve got these other points, these significant junctures and events which you can sort of do a little cross-section of and analyze. So that’s what all those charts are there. They’re cross-sections of the same process or sequence or different times. That’s how I think of it.
CB: Yeah, I love that. That’s really smart. And so the consultation chart- I mean, the Decumbiture is when the person first gets sick or you said to take to their bed ill and I want to ask you a little bit about that, because there’s always been some ambiguity for me about what to focus on with that. But I like how you’re framing that because then the client coming to you as the astrologer is one of those important junctures when they’ve come to you to seek counsel and advice, basically at that point, that is an important symbolic moment of juncture for them.
MP: Exactly. And I think you can really take any significant moment in a timeline and make a chart from it. In the same way that say, in a relationship between two people, you could take the chart of the first contact between those people; the chart of their first date, the chart of their wedding, the chart of the birth of a child, you know? Ideally if you can get the first meeting chart, going back to what you were saying about Dorotheus and Hephaestus and those original sources, obviously that’s going to give you the whole, you know, the whole thing will telescope out from there. That radical chart will tell you the story of the whole thing. But any of those charts at those different junctures will give you a snapshot of what’s going on at that point and from that point also. The planets will be in different positions, the symbols will be slightly the same, but it will tell you the story nevertheless. That’s what I find anyway but…
CB: That makes sense. So there is a primacy that’s given to things that are chronologically earlier first and they have sort of primacy– I’m trying to think of a better word for that– for anything that follows after, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that subsequent moments of importance cannot act as their own sort of root charts in some way for everything that follows subsequent to them.
MP: That’s a really lovely, succinct way of putting it. Yes, I think so. And I think each chart will have its own things to say, because they’ll talk about the context of that moment as well. So, yeah. Yes. [laughs]
CB: Yeah. Cool. All right. I love this. So we’re talking about nexuses and moments in time and those important nexuses and the chart for that moment being able to speak to that moment as well as potentially to a little bit about the past and what led to it and a lot about the future and what comes subsequent to that. That then leads into our discussion, which is, traditionally one of the ways that astrology was used especially in the medieval period in the Renaissance was, it was integrated as a diagnostic tool sometimes in medicine. And many medical doctors, astrology was sometimes used in medicine as a diagnostic tool to figure out what was going on with the patient. Especially, you know, because they didn’t have things like X-rays or other sort of diagnostic tools back at that time.
MP: Yeah. Yeah. It’s funny you used that because I do often think of medical astrology as the sort of medieval X-ray. I think, in fact, that Dr. Lehman may have said that. So I love that analogy, the medieval X-ray. But it’s a bit more than that, isn’t it? Because I think astrology is fantastic for giving context. So modern medicine zooms in on the details and astrology sort of gives a broader context but with less granularity, perhaps. But this maybe, I don’t know, this is just the way I think of it. You know, if Mercury is the planet of astrology and the planet of the human mind, the sort of the connector planet, the “as above, so below,” planet, I think of modern medicine, Biomedicine as being Mercury in Virgo and its exultation and rulership domicile, because it’s really strong in Virgo because Virgo is the sign of the analysis of small things. You know, the cold, dry nature of it, the sort of coldness, the sort of sticking with it and the dryness of pulling things apart, it’s the ultimate sort of analytical dissecting mind. And then astrology is like Mercury and Sagittarius. It’s sort of in its detriment in the sense that you can’t be sure always that the prediction or information you’ve got is right, because it’s kind of like trying to look at a tundra– a vast landscape– through a microscope. The human mind can’t really encompass all of the possibilities that one can see in a chart. But it’s still nevertheless got utility. Because I’m not among those who believe the planets in detriment are useless, I just believe they’re harder to work with. So [laughs]
CB: True. Yeah, it’s giving a much bigger picture view because it’s also incorporating things like timing that may not be in an X-ray, let’s say, but the astrology chart while also maybe describing something about the situation as we’ll get into later, may also be telling you some things about the sequence of what’s happening to the native or what will happen to them at that time. So it has a temporal component, which is one of the things that makes astrology really unique even as a form of divination, which if it is a form of divination– which is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately is I’ve been suddenly for some reason, becoming more interested in tarot and how that works in its own terms, but understanding the ways in which astrology may be similar to tarot especially in applications like Horary but also is very different because it has that temporal component that is sort of objectively occurring out there and showing the sequence of events sometimes in a very weird way.
MP: Yeah. This could be a whole massive tangent, Chris because I think about this sort of divinity like, “What is divination?” a lot. In fact, I snuck a little bit of that into my book on Chocolate, there’s a little chapter in there where I talk about divination. This is not a fully formed grand unified theory of divination but it’s just some thoughts I have. It’s kind of like I think if you look at all the different methods of divination be they sort of Tarot or I Ching or astrology or whatever, astrology being, I would agree, the sort of apogee, the sort of most elaborated and sophisticated method arguably, they all combine this abstracting of chaotic in the chaos theory kind of random sense, inflammation from nature into a more organized system. So it’s kind of like you’ve got to have some sort of chaotic element, and then the organizing system is the human mind. This is circular logic, but like I said, if Mercury is the symbol of the human mind and the As Above, So Below, it’s kind of like the actual mechanism of divination is this mind machine, this mental structure that you create. And the ingredient, it has to include some sort of chaotic element from nature that is then abstracted and put into a system. So that’s one element of it.
CB: Yeah. the fortune component of chance that it’s taking a natural phenomenon that looks chance-like or random or chaotic, and is like the shuffling of the cards or the throwing of the coins, which is a random chance-like outcome. But then from that part of the premise is that the outcome and what happens at that moment, the way the cards are pulled or the coins fall is actually contrary to what we would expect and it being chance-like. The outcome is actually purposeful and meaningful.
MP: Yes, I’m sort of saying that. But I’m also saying that the- So with astrology, for example, we know that the Zodiac isn’t actually made of– for example, the signs really they don’t exist in a literal sense. Do you know what I mean? In the sense that the sky isn’t- So if you’re talking about the sidereal zodiac, the sky isn’t divided into constellations of exactly 30 degrees each. You’re talking about the tropical zodiac. You’ve sliced up the sky into those 12 segments. So what I’m saying is you’ve taken that natural information and then you’ve codified it, so the actual lens through which divination occurs is sort of like a mind machine that you’ve made in your mind. [laughs] Does that make sense?
CB: Yeah, potentially. I mean, it gets tricky at least with the tropical zodiac because I don’t want to touch on the sidereal since that’s outside of my own focus. But at least with the tropical zodiac, you have some objective astronomical phenomenon of the solstices and the equinoxes and then it’s being divided equally into 12 segments so it’s something-
MP: I’d say you do with both, you do with the sidereal zodiac. I mean, it’s roughly positioned pinned onto the constellations. Be they have different dimensions, it’s still penned on to them. But there’s still an abstraction on the houses for goodness sake that’s literally just slicing the sky into 12 segments whatever method you use. I mean, you can come up with a metaphysical rationale for that but at the end of the day what you’re doing is you’re imposing a structure on that. Now, you can make the argument that structure is divinely ordained or that it’s been channeled in some way, but I would say that all forms of divination have that sort of random chaotic information– ‘random’ in quotes– that is then codified, and I think it’s the codifying structure. It’s like a mental Antikythera, it’s a mind machine that you make. And one of the big arguments that I have often is that– one of my bugbears as an astrologer is don’t mix the methods too much. Like, if you’re using sidereal astrology, use that toolbox. If you’re using Western astrology, use that toolbox. It not to say that you can’t necessarily pick tools from different boxes. But in my mind, you’re using these different laboriously constructed mind machines that have been created over 1000s of years, and those are the prism through which that divination works. It’s really hard to articulate this stuff. I wrote a whole chapter on it in my book and I spent ages trying to get the thoughts down because it’s sort of like trying to nail down water a little bit. It’s slightly above my paygrade in terms of my cognitive capacity, all of this stuff, but…
CB: Sure. But yeah, I understand what you’re saying though in terms of you create a system and then once that system itself has been established, then within the context or the boundaries set by that system once established, the divination can take place and the answer can arise through that just within the context of the internal structure and logic of whatever system has been created.
MP: Yes, and there also seems to be some- There has to be that combo of slightly chaotic, and that includes things like diviners getting fizzy depending on methodology. I always think of the Mesoamerican calendrical systems of divination, which are still sort of in use in various Maya regions in Central America now where they’ve kind of got this really codified 260-day ritual calendar, and they’ve got this sort of divinatory systems of sort of counting beans or seeds out to represent days on that calendar. And then the diviner selects those with a feeling, they call it the lightning in the blood. They’ll get a feeling that’s like, “Oh, that’s the right answer.” The same as a tarot reader does when they pick a card, “Oh, that’s the card.” Anyway… And I guess astrology has that to some extent, but far less than the others, arguably which is what makes it very interesting.
CB: Yeah. Well, and maybe going back to your point about astrology being associated with Mercury that’s one of the problems is that it always has one foot on either side of almost every issue and I’ve always thought about that as that might be one of the issues that sets astrology apart because it does have the divinatory component, but it may have some other naturalistic or quasi-objective components as well. Anyway, that’s a whole topic in itself. Let’s get back to our main focus, which is consultation charts and medical astrology. So one of the points that you made is that consultation charts then are one of the most accessible because if somebody comes to you and they don’t know their birth time, or let’s say they don’t even know their birthday or birth year, you can always cast a consultation chart the moment that a client comes to you. And that’s going to speak to and say something about that moment, what the client is focused on, and in some instances, what the outcome of that situation will be.
MP: Yeah, exactly. All of the above. I think you’ve summed it up there, Chris. [laughs] I like them, as I say, just because they’re always accessible and they’re interpreted in basically the same way as you would interpret a Horary chart where the Ascendant ruler represents the querent or the sick person. But there is a little, I don’t know if you want me to get into that now, but there is some controversy there because different traditional sources have had different rules for that. Shall I go ahead with that now? Because there’s…
CB: Sure. Or one question I had was to clarify the Decumbiture thing if you want to first or we can come back to that later of like, what is the moment of quote-unquote “Decumbiture” of taking, you know, the traditional sources [crosstalk]
MP: Yes. Now that’s a great question cuz everyone’s like, “When? When does it happen?” Culpeper talked about this in his amazing medical astrology book, which I’d recommend anyone interested in medical astrology gets because it’s a very slim book which takes a lifetime to understand because it’s so information-dense. It’s snappily titled, Astrological Judgement of Diseases from the Decumbiture of the Sick. It’s great. And one of the things he said about the Decumbiture, and I’m paraphrasing because I don’t have the book in front of me, was it’s not the time when the person feels the first smirch of illness or the first mild little headache, it’s the time when the person first gets so sick they have to lie down. So for that you can take if you have it– and many people don’t– if somebody is at home like the time when they first go to bed or whatever, but what often serves more practically for most people is the time of a hospital admission, or the time when an ambulance is called, or something like that. So you don’t need to think about being so, “Oh god, when was the very first moment that I got really sick?” It’s more about when was a really important, no dull moment in the beginning of this sickness. So as I said, you can use the time when you get test results as well. So say you’ve just had some tests done. Or the time of the test themselves. If you have the time of an important scan, you can use the time that you had the scan if you have that, or the time that you got the test result. So the traditional meaning is when you lie down, when you get so well you have to lie down. But practically speaking, you can use any of those significant moments as inceptional times.
CB: Okay, got it. And that goes back really far. I mean, I remember there’s a very short chapter in it in book nine of Vettius Valens all the way back in the 2nd century where I think it’s in chapter six and it’s titled horoscopes for illness, the initiatives. And it starts by saying, “The determination of forecasts when a patient takes to his bed must be made in the following way.” So this is a pretty old sort of approach in terms of casting Decumbiture charts.
MP: That’s really interesting. I’m slowly ploughing my way through Valens. I have to say I got stuck on book two. [laughs] Just like read, reread, reread. So, yeah.
CB: Yeah. Well, it’s tricky because the translation that’s really out there right now doesn’t have charts. There’s diagrams and images in it. And when he describes a chart, you’re supposed to have a blank chart and draw it up or ideally in the book, have it right there. So that’s something I hope to have fix in the near future, but it’s one of the things that makes it harder to read that translation of Valens right now. Okay, so that’s Decumbiture charts. But in a Decumbiture chart if you’re casting a Decumbiture chart going back to the first-house issue, in most forms of electrical astrology, the one that initiates the action is assigned to the first house or whatever is initiated or born in that moment, in the same way that in a birth chart the first house represents you, primarily the native that was born at that time, and the other houses represent other people in your life in relation to you. In a Decumbiture chart, is the first house the person who falls sick at that time?
MP: Yes, although asterisk. There’s a little caveat there. So yes, for the most part in a Decumbiture chart or a consultation chart I’d say for the most part you interpret them the same. The ascendant or the first house and its ruler represent the patient. But there are a couple of little quotes here, I’ve got them on a little bit of paper. One was, this is from the [unintelligible 00:26:10] of Hermes, so it’s a traditional collection of traditional astrology aphorisms. It says, “When thou shalt be interrogated for father behold the fourth house or brother the third or the son the fifth wife or the seventh. But if for a sick person, behold, the ascendant only.” So that’s Hermes, that’s an old old sort of text. I don’t know what century is that, Chris, you’d probably know that one.
CB: The [unintelligible 00:26:37] of Hermes not have told me. I mean, it’s probably like medieval so it’s 9-10th Century, let’s say.
MP: Okay. Okay. The next quote, though, is somewhat in sort of counterpoint to that. It will be from William Lily’s Christian Astrology, I think Book Two in that sort of Horary book and in the chapter on the sixth house obviously. “When a urine is brought,” so this goes back to the Renaissance thing of they cast a chart for when the physician received the patient’s urine, which if you think about it is exactly like when you receive test results today, medical test results, or when the doctor opens the patient’s file or something. “When a Urine is brought, let the ascendant represent the sick Party whether the Querent come with consent or no, for the urine was sometimes of the essence of the sick.” So what you’re saying there is if you’ve got something from the patient, then the ascendant represents the patient.
CB: The person that it’s about?
MP: Yes, exactly.
MP: I’ll boil this down because I think there’s a really key point in here. “If no Urine or consent of the sick party come to the Physician, then the Ascendant represents the Querent; but the person and sickness must be required according to the relation the Querent has to the sick party: A man for his servant, the 6th shall shew his person, not his disease, that must be from the 6th to the 6th, which is the 11th, et cetera, where no consent is.” What he’s saying there is, if the patient has given consent, like you know that they’ve said yes to you looking at their medical details, then they are always the first house. If there’s no consent, so if somebody has come on behalf of their friend or in William Lily’s example, on behalf of an employee of theirs or servant, then you can’t use the Ascendant as the sick person, because the Ascendant will be the person asking the question.
This happens most often in practice, I find nowadays, when a parent comes with their child and the child is not able to give consent because they’re too young. You know, children generally can’t give consent. So you have to look at the chart carefully because if the child is old enough and knows what’s going on, then they might be represented by the first house. But usually the first house will be the parent who’s brought the kid to the consultation, and the kid will be the fifth house and the ruler of the fifth. And the chart should make that plane because you can sort of see which one is having difficulty.
CB: So it really just goes down that whole issue of the first house representing the one initiating the action and going exactly the whole framework. And either the patient themself is coming to you and asking and initiating the action by posing the question or, in some instances, if there’s somebody that is just acting as a representative of the client and they’re passing the message along on their path and-
MP: Well, here’s where it gets tricky though. Because if the person they’re passing the message along from knows that they’re coming in their stead, like if it’s some person with Lily’s example coming for his servant for an employee, if that employee has given his boss a mandate to go and see the physician, then they would still be the first house because they are the ones that are actually asking about their own health. They’re doing it by proxy, but they would still get the first house. It’s only when there is no– the keyword here is consent– when there’s no consent. It’s a combination of the two factors; the point that you flagged up, Chris, about the initiator of the action, plus consent. Does that make sense?
CB: Yeah. Where I was going with that was just it’s the difference between somebody asking on behalf of their, let’s say, boss with consent versus somebody asking about their boss like, “Will my boss die?” In which case they are the querent and they’re not conveying an action on behalf of the boss who initiated the question. They are as their own interested in subjective party asking a question, and therefore become the first house and their 10th house or what have you ends up representing their boss or their employer.
MP: Exactly. Right. I cut you off prematurely, Chris, sorry about that. Yes.
CB: That’s okay. Sounds like we’re on the same page, though and it really has to do with just who’s initiating the question? Do they have consent? Or are they acting as a representative of the person directly and deliberately in that chain of sequence of things? Versus are they just acting as their own interested party from their own subjective perspective?
MP: And obviously, that doesn’t happen that often. You have to be a bit careful about that ethically and perhaps even legally because, you know, why are they bringing you some medical question about someone they know without consent? I mean, you’ve got to be a bit careful about that.
CB: Yeah. Or let’s just say, a non-sketchy context they’re asking about. Like, their girlfriend or their partner or boyfriend is sick and they are wondering, not asking on their behalf, but they’re just worried about them and they ask like, “Will they get better from this?” In that context, they’re the first house and they’re asking about their seventh house party, let’s say.
MP: Yeah, exactly. And that happens sometimes if you’ve got somebody whose friend is in hospital or whatever that does. That does happen.
CB: Okay. All right. I think that sets up the framework pretty well. One of the questions, and I don’t know if it’s time to get into this now or if we should circle around to it later, but the whole very easy and simple discussion of fate versus free will. [Marcos laughs] You know, when you’re doing medical type consultations or medical astrology, two of the questions you want to address is how much is the prognosis set in stone and how much to share with patients and clients. Is this good to get into that or is that…?
MP: Yeah, cuz it’s kind of like that we’ve got a few charts to show and these walls sort of come at those questions from slightly different angles really. So the first one was sort of how much is it set in stone and that my supposition at this point in time is that fate is kind of like an elasticated five-dimensional web so we’re all in meshed within it. But as you pull on it, it pulls on you and so there’s some movement, some freedom of movement. There’s some you can change the way I think things show up and you can change the timeframe, but nevertheless there is fate going on. You know, sometimes it’s going to be difficult and it’s going to be difficult but perhaps the way that it shows up and something of the timeframe can be altered. So I think there’s an elasticated element to fate which may be partly dependent on– I can’t remember all the traditional Greek terms but, you know, there’s agnoia. Was agnoia the term for ignorance? And then was it [00:34:38] or am I getting that wrong? You’re good on these terms, I tend to fall out my head but basically if you’re not ignorant, which is that that sort of ancient understanding of astrology, was a way of antidoting ignorance and sort of if you applied it. I mean, obviously, the stoics they thought fate was very set and the astrology was there as a kind of remedy to help you sort of adjust yourself to it or acclimate to it so that you’re not as shocked or carried away by it. But I personally think in a more, I suppose broadly Neoplatonic way that, yes there’s fate, but it’s somewhat adjustable. And we are playing an active role in the co-creation of that fate. But my thoughts on this are evolving all the time in practice and the more sort of charts I do and clients I see and so on. And then the second element to that was- Sorry, Chris, it’s getting late here so my brain’s slowly turning to sweet pause, what was the second question?
CB: The other one was just in terms of how, you know, sharing with clients and patients, and how maybe one of the questions that I see astrologers sometimes debating and there being tensions over and different practitioners come to different places about how blunt to be with a client in terms of what the outcome will be.
MP: Yes, correct. Thank you. Yeah, this is a really tricky one because there’s a sort of moral dilemma here for the astrologer, I think, in the sense that say you do a chart– and you’ll see there are some of these charts coming up which were, you know, very tricky situations to say the least– and a client has asked you to sort of look at the astrology of a really difficult situation. And maybe sometimes it’s not great, it doesn’t it doesn’t say great things. So what do you do? I think my approach broadly would be to tell the truth but always to, without sort of being Pollyanna about it without lying, give them the most sort of positive inflection or spin on it but again, without lying. So if there’s a chart, say somebody who has a very difficult perhaps potentially terminal illness, and you’ve done a consultation chart or Decumbiture or whatever and the chart suggests a worsening of the situation, you might then look at what other factors in the chart could mitigate that, and you might look at what possible timeline that might be over and what might be the upper limit of that timeline from the elasticated window perspective. But then you’ve got to also consider, “Will it help this patient being told that?” Because that is a huge consideration. Because I’ve had patients or clients or friends even who have massively benefited from astrology. Like there’s this one later on in the charts we’re going to be looking at today who emailed me later on, a cancer diagnosis, a very difficult situation, and who credits the astrology with saving her life. She said this was so useful, because she was in such a dire situation the astrology sort of gave her a framework and said, “No, this could be going. You could survive this for longer than you think and it could go.” But there are other patients who I’ve done astrological readings on in the past who have felt really worried by them. And you’ve got to be careful that what you’re saying, particularly if it is negative, isn’t taken as a curse and that you’re not putting things into people’s heads which could act as a nocebo, you know, to induce a bad medical reaction. So, I have no easy answer to that but what I try to do or what I usually aim to do in practice is be honest with what I see, but also just skew it towards the most constructive interpretation possible. And I can do that without being a faker because I am a Neoplatonist basically. I do think that we participate in how our faith shows up. So this fate, I believe, is at least somewhat modifiable and certainly experientially, it’s maximizable. Like, you can certainly experience things. Things always look different on the ground than they do from the air. And it’s always the same with astrology. You can look at some upcoming directions or transits or whatever and think, “Oh my God, it’s gonna be terrible.” But then when you’re on the ground maybe it is terrible, but it’s terrible in a whole different way than you thought. And it’s very different. It always looks and feels different when you’re inhabiting the map so to speak. So it’s sort of like you don’t want to inject any existential dread into a client, you want to be doing your best to remove it. So that often, there’s a mixture. It’s like I think Lily said, mixed discretion with art. That’s the best way to put that I think. I think it was Lily who said that. I might be misquoting but I think it was Lily.
CB: Yeah. Well, he’s full of good quotes like that so I’m sure there’s something close to that. But so on one hand, I do want to say this. So it’s good to at least, you know, this is something you’re conscious of and in being conscious of it and trying to exercise as much caution and in trying to not do any harm to the client, you know, it’s not something where somebody let’s say, some sceptics might accuse the astrologers of, you know, if they’re being really uncharitable, the worst case scenario, not considering those things. Or not taking into account the possibilities of inducing, like you said, a nocebo– the opposite of a positive placebo effect. So that’s something that’s really important and just in terms of being conscientious as a practitioner. And then with respect to the other thing you were saying, I guess, since you’re working with a symbol system, there is a certain amount of flexibility or malleability in terms of the potential outcome. That you have a range of potential outcomes once you’ve read the symbolism of the chart, but that there’s probably a worst-case scenario in interpreting that symbol. And then there’s probably a moderate scenario and a best-case scenario. So one of the things you’re saying is just that, while still interpreting the placements within the context and the constraints of the symbolism, you’re still wanting to lean a little bit more towards at least saying what some of your best-case scenarios are, given what’s shown up in the charts.
MP: That’s beautifully put, Chris. Yes, thank you. Yeah, that’s exactly right. And I think we see that in life all the time. I often say that water finds its own level, and that’s for both good and bad. What I mean by that is we see this as astrologers, with clients all the time. You might be sort of saying, “Your chart has this aspect, why don’t you do this thing?” And they’re like, “Oh, I’m already doing that.” You know? Like water, people find their own niches, but they also find their own vices and ruts, you know? Ruts and niches. Water finds its own level. You tend to find that the astrological symbolism will show up in both difficult and constructive ways. And our jobs, as astrologers, I believe is to maximize the constructive manifestation by signposting those potentials and directing clients towards them.
CB: That makes sense. Okay. I think that approach goes all the way back to Ptolemy because while some of the other astrologers during that time period in the first couple centuries CE in the Roman Empire had more of a stoic approach that the purpose of astrology was just to find out what your future is so you knew what to accept ahead of time, Ptolemy, who had more sort of [unintelligible] tendencies used explicitly a medical analogy, and he said that, you know, sometimes with astrology if the person isn’t conscious of the indication and does nothing, then yeah, the astrologically expected outcome will be what manifests. However, if the person becomes conscious of the possibilities and makes an effort to either counteract or counterbalance them or change things in some way, then they may be able to change the trajectory of things even if only slightly. And that counts for something. So part of your philosophy I feel like goes all the way back and has that lineage going all the way back to the second century.
MP: I’ve probably absorbed it by osmosis. I don’t think I’m quite as diligent a cataloger of these things as you, Chris. I sort of magpie them together over time, I think. Native Jupiter in Gemini, so… [laughs]
CB: Yeah. Well, will that influence so much of the subsequent astrological tradition through Ptolemy that, you know, that is the brief of which there have been branches and hundreds of branches of different astrologers and practitioners, the medieval and Renaissance and modern periods, that have grown and expanded on that philosophy. I was just sort of tracing it back to something I have reference to in the area that I specialize in more, whereas others might-
MP: No, it’s fantastic. It’s really good. You’re absolutely right, it probably does originate from there. Yeah, it goes back to that sort of thing about the antidoting ignorance thing, you know? So, yeah.
CB: Yeah. As well as our earlier discussion about nexuses and routes and, you know, going back and everything. Doing the same thing, but just in terms of the history of astrology. Okay, so timeframes and severity. Those are part of really what the potential is that’s important here to be able to identify and what’s unique, potentially and to be able to identify some times in addition to outcomes with the astrology and with things like consultation or Decumbiture charts, but those are potentially modifiable factors is one of the important take-home lessons for you here.
MP: Yes, definitely. Well, sometimes. [laughs] Probably more accurate.
CB: Okay. All right. So shall we get into example charts at this point or are there any other preliminary matters that-
MP: No. I think that’s great, Chris, because I think other things will certainly come up as we do the charts. So, yeah.
CB: Okay. All right. I’ll share on the screen now the first example chart that you sent me. Just to describe a little bit what we’re looking at for our audio listeners– we don’t have to describe the whole chart but just the relevant pieces. One of the things we’re looking at, so we’re looking at a chart with 26 degrees of Taurus rising and 25 degrees of Capricorn on the midheaven, and you’re using a quadrant house system, you’re using Regiomontanus. Is that your preferred house system, it’s Regio?
MP: Yes, for the medical stuff. Absolutely. And I can say a bit about why in a moment, if you like.
CB: Sure, go ahead.
MP: Okay. It’s because I try to have a reason for using the quadrant houses that I do. I do use the whole sign system as a background in my thinking, in other words, whether something’s visible from the ascendant or not, and if something’s in the 10th sign or say something about career or a medical context about medicine in general. But I like the quadrant houses for this because they shift the co-rulers of different houses around a bit more, which which is really important for prediction. I like that. In terms of why I use Reggio– and this is just my own thinking on it– is because it divides firstly, it’s from tradition. So Lily used it in the English Renaissance astrological boards or use that system. So okay, that’s that’s one reason. But the second reason I like it for medical is because it’s dividing the sky based on projecting the Equator onto the sky. Sort of like slices up the Equator into 12 segments and projects it onto the ecliptic. That’s like projecting the body of the Earth onto the sky. So for medical astrology, particularly if you’re using it for looking at physical stuff to do with the body, that conceptually makes more sense than using Placidus or some of the other systems which are dividing up time, you know, their arcs of time. So I use Placidus, for example, with natal charts for some timing techniques. There’s a technique from, I think Lily used it for Horary but it works perfectly well in birth charts where you use five years per house and counting anti-clockwise from the Ascendant. And that works better with placidus houses. Because it’s the timing, it’s in Placidus’s division of time. So in terms of the way that I like that to be a sort of metaphysical rationale as well as just a historical precedent for why a particular quadrant house system might be used. Those are my two reasons.
CB: That makes sense. All right, so let’s go back to the chart. What are the other, just in terms of relevant pieces for the audio listeners, that we have to mention upfront when it comes to this chart?
MP: Right. Yeah, just because this chart was the chart of a child. So going back to what we were saying earlier, the Ascendant with the sort of 26 Taurus was the mother. We’re looking at the fifth house and its ruler in this chart.
CB: So what was the question? What was the setup?
MP: Okay, it’s good point. So this was a consultation chart, and this was just a consultation at the university clinic. I used to teach at Middlesex University. And the mother had brought brought her child in and the child was the patient. But obviously, the child was very young and couldn’t therefore give consent so the Ascendant represents the parent and the fifth house, and the fifth house ruler in this chart represents the child.
CB: So the child wasn’t like, “Hey Mom, let’s go see an astrologer. I’ve got a Horary question to ask.”
MP: [laughs] Surprisingly, not.
CB: Surprisingly, yeah. But it was more that the mother came in and happened to have the child with and the question was about the child, but it wasn’t being asked.
MP: Well, this wasn’t even a question. This was literally the consultation chart. This was the time that consultation began. And this was this was at a university clinic so I wasn’t doing astrology at the clinic, they’d have had me burned at the stake or something. I was literally just teaching herbal medicine. So I would usually note down the start times of consultations and just have a quick look at the chart on my phone or whatever for my own r&d and just sort of get a little bit of astrological insight into the situation when I could, because I was there to teach herbal medicine and to serve as a clinical supervisor, not as an astrologer. So this was the chart of a consultation in which the mother brought the child.
CB: Yeah. I’m constantly reading down times and meeting times, and taking a screenshot of like charts for when a consultation or some sort of thing like that happens. So I know what you mean here. Was this scheduled ahead of time or was it was like a walk-in client?
MP: That’s an interesting side point you’re getting onto there, Chris, because most of the consultations are scheduled ahead of time. A couple of questions I’ve got is like, “Does that not invalidate the charts?” And like, “Well, no. Because it’s that patient who’s booked in at that moment.” And very often patients will turn up 10 minutes late or 20 minutes late or five minutes early, and you get a different chart. It’s really crazy how it works out. People get the right charts sort of thing.
CB: And you can see that constantly with just like a meeting charts of like, you’re supposed to meet up with somebody and it’s scheduled for this but then it gets delayed, and the rising sign changes and it ends up putting a malefic-like angular, and then like a terrible meeting or it doesn’t go well or the opposite of it. You’re supposed to meet, it’s scheduled and like Mars is going to be right on the ascendant in the day chart and it looks like a terrible chart. But then they end up being 30 minutes late, and it switches signs and all of a sudden Jupiter [crosstalk]
CB: Yeah, with our chart. I’m going to share. Well, what happened is our chart, we had scheduled this and I scheduled it for just due to different time constraints and we were going to do Cancer rising today. And what I was shooting for was just putting Jupiter on the midheaven based on some other things I was going for– Jupiter on the midheaven at about 19 Pisces here with Cancer rising. Because somebody might otherwise initially look at this chart and think, you know, it’s Cancer rising and the Moon is in Scorpio-
MP: Scorpio with the south node. Yeah, yeah, yeah.
CB: -Which is not really a great place for the Moon even though it is in the fifth, let’s say whole sign house, which is a good house. But due to daylight savings time which of course is like the bane of astrologers many locations, we ended up being an hour late. And what happened is it switched. The Moon changed signs. And so we still ended up with Cancer rising but the Moon moved into Sagittarius in the sixth whole sign house which arguably, if this is a Horary type of a question, is more descriptive of what we’re actually talking about which is medical astrology. And sometimes when medical questions come up, finding the ruler of the Ascendant in the sixth house is not surprising necessarily, because the focus of the question of the inquiry is on health and illness matters.
MP: Yeah, fully. It may even be a little better in a way because the Moon’s applying to Trine of the Sun in Aries or something. It’s interesting. It’s just like we were saying beforehand, if Mercury’s applying to conjunct Neptune, what’s going to go wrong? [laughs]
CB: Yeah, you kind of warned me a few days ago. You were like, “Well, we’ll see how it goes.”
MP: There’ll be some tech issues or something, something, something. But it’s fine, it’s the way it goes. But it is funny, you do end up getting the charts that you’re quote-unquote “supposed to get”. I’ve had that where I’ve carefully constructed an election and then it’s just like things go wonky and you end up with a different star or something so to say.
CB: Yeah. But that’s a really important point though that sometimes even in scheduling things, if the schedules allow for the two of you for your trajectories to intersect at that moment, and they’re not set off course by either having to go early or go late or sometimes being cancelled all together, sometimes the best laid plans get completely cancelled for reasons outside of your control. But if your paths are able to actually intersect at that time, then that was the moment you were supposed to meet, and there will be something about the chart of that moment that will accurately describe the nature.
MP: It’s like it never stops working, we’re all inside the belly of the beast. Or for a slightly less ominous metaphor, sort of inside the body of the universe or something something. But it’s like we’re never outside of it. So it’s like that old astrological argument about the fact that there are more induced births now– invalidate birth charts. And my money is on No. Because we’re all inside this system that everything’s corresponding to everything else constantly. If astrological doctrine is in any way valid, then those links don’t stop working. It’s really interesting. It’s an interesting discussion, for sure.
CB: Yeah, and that just brings up the last point, which is just that one of the things that’s so startling about Horary and also about consultation charts is that the chart when you cast it for that moment, will describe that moment and what’s going on at that time in sometimes startling ways. And that’s one of the things, again not to dwell on too much but to bring it back to the tarot thing recently that as I’ve been paying attention that over the past few months, I’ve been startled at the extent to which it actually has described things that I’ve been thinking about or questions that I’ve had in that moment. But that just reminds me of a phenomenon that often happens in Horary that I would see over and over again, where the ruler of the Ascendant would end up being in the house that was under question. And that was often an easy confirmation that the chart was accurately describing things and it wouldn’t be good to rely on is when the chart itself is describing what was happening in that moment.
MP: Definitely. And the other factor that I often belabour a bit when I’m teaching is, is context is everything. And that context is internal and external. So internal means within the chart itself as you’re just describing. The chart will often really tell you if it’s talking about, you know– I don’t think astrology ever stops working, but for those issues that are really plugged in, that are really important. Or even minor Horary questions about where’s my missing handbag? But if it really matters to the person at the time and it’s gonna show up, the chart will describe it really. It’s not going to be internal context, but then there’s the external context about at any given moment, there are a billion different things happening. There’s a dog being born, a toaster being plugged in, somebody’s lost their shoe, someone else is moving into a new flat and other babies, you know, whatever. Loads of things happening. And all of those events will have, if they’re in the same location, will have the same chart. So the context means you read the chart differently for each of those contexts, which is one of the reasons I think why many of these sort of statistical studies of astrology, which I think are very useful actually but fall rather flat and say, “Oh, there’s nothing to it,” because when you read a chart cold without context, you don’t know what level you’re plugging into it. It’s only when you plug a chart into a particular real life set of concerns that it becomes animated, because only then can you sort of pull focus and zoom in on particular levels of the symbolism and know what you’re looking at, if that makes sense.
CB: Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. I mean, it does bring up– and not to get on a whole side debate but I do feel like when it comes to that debate sometimes about Horary, that if there is a really important question that has a lot of emotional charge for the person, there is often a greater likelihood of that chart really vividly describing the situation as well as its outcome. Whereas, I feel like sometimes if a person was not invested in a question or was just asking something repeatedly over and over again to different astrologers or something, that there might be less of a charge behind it and less likelihood for that chart to very vividly describe both the question and the outcome.
MP: Definitely. Yeah.
CB: I mean, I don’t know. Different practitioners fall on different places-
MP: No. No, I agree, Chris. I call that the perished elastic effect, you know? Like, you just keep asking the same thing. It sort of gets baggy. John Frawley wrote about this in one of his books on Horary, which as I say, I think are excellent. I am aware that he is somewhat controversial but I think he’s brilliant. And as an astrologer, he’s wonderful and his teaching is very, very didactic sometimes but very precise. And he talks about that phenomenon; if you keep asking the same question over and over, eventually the charts will still show you something but they’ll just start showing you like, you know, when your grandma’s coming to tea or something. It’ll stop really giving you the question because it’s no longer a significant time. Something along those lines. It’s fascinating though. It’s really interesting how it works.
CB: Maybe an analogy could be like watered it down or something, like if you had a glass of let’s say red wine versus if you keep putting water and putting half water and watering it down and then you put another half of a cup of water in it, eventually it’s like there’s a little bit of wine in there but it’s mostly water.
MP: Are you arguing against homeopathy, Chris? [laughter] No, I think it’s a good analogy. I know what you mean. It’s something like that for sure. Anyway, it’s a fascinating question.
CB: All right, “Homeopathy Twitter” do not cancel me for this. [laughter]
MP: I was just being facetious, he’s not arguing against anything at all.
CB: Okay, all right. So back to the example chart. So here it is. So she came to you, and what was the consultation about?
MP: This was really, I mean, it’s kind of a dark chart to open with, but basically her child, very young child, had a terminal diagnosis, a very rare kind of cancer. So this was a client, a herbal medicine client. So they were coming obviously with the knowledge of their doctors and the medical team and the oncologist just for some support for the child who was going through yet another round of chemo just to make them less nauseous and able to handle it bit better and just improve their general health and quality of life and everything. So I had a look at this chart and I was looking at the fifth house because that’s the house of children. And I say children can’t give consent, so they can’t be the Ascendant. And the fifth house in this Regiomontanus quadrant system has, has 14 degrees Leo on the cusp, and so it’s ruler would be the Sun in Sagittarius right on the cusp of the eighth house. And also the 26 degree Taurus rising at 26 degrees Taurus is where Algol is this fixed star that implies sort of losing your head. It’s a very difficult star. It’s a star of Mars and some sort of inflammation and potential death. Now it also symbolized the mother’s state of mind I would think, because this is her child who is very sick. So obviously she was very unhappy about that. Anyway, so just in terms of prognosis from this chart, I would look at the Sun as being the child and the Moon as the general [significantrix] of events. And for sort of general prognosis, I tend to use this system from Masha’allah, his book On Reception, which is translated I think twice to my knowledge so far into English. You’ve got Robert Hand’s translation and also Ben Dykes has done a brilliant job translating it in his works of Sahl and Masha’allah. But the point about this book On Reception is it gives a really clear and helpful way of sort of seeing how things are likely to move forward. It says take the significator, so the ruler of the Ascendant or in this case the Sun, the ruler of the fifth, and does that planet behold the Ascendant? Is it in a sign which is in any aspect to the rising sign? In this case, the Sun’s in Sagitarius and the rising sign is in Taurus. So in terms of the traditional whole sign aspect, it’s not aspecting the Ascendant, it’s not beholding the Ascendant. So in that case, Masha’allah says you would go on to prefer the Moon, assuming that was beholding the rising sign. So in this chart, the Moon is in Leo and the rising sign is Taurus, so the Moon does see the rising sign because it’s in sort of square by sign to the rising sign.
CB: And just to describe the placements for the audio people. So 26 Taurus rising, the Sun is at 25 Sagittarius and it’s actually right on the cusp of the eighth quadrant house in Regiomontanus. The ruler of the Ascendant Venus is at 10 Aquarius in the 10th house. And the Moon is at zero Leo in the fourth quadrant house.
MP: Brilliant. Thanks, Chris. Yeah, fantastic. So I would look for what happened to the child in terms of the child’s general experience to the Sun because that’s the ruler of the fifth. So I would just see where the Sun went from here, but I would look at the Moon as what’s going to happen overall because the Moon has more power in this chart in the sense that it sees the Ascendant whereas the Sun doesn’t just based on that Masha’allah technique. So I’d actually take the timing of sort of improvement or deterioration from the Moon. So what happened looking at the Sun first, the Sun is at 25 Sagittarius and it moves, it actually moves on into Capricorn and then it casts a sextile to Mars, which by then in this chart Mars is just at the end of Aquarius. But by the time the Sun actually sextiled Mars, Mars was in Pisces. So the Sun moves into Capricorn, sextiles Mars, and then Mars in Pisces crossed the south node and then eventually went on to square Saturn. So that to me showed an initial improvement because the Sun’s sextiling Mars from Capricorn, and this is why Masha’allah’s work is called On Reception. In Capricorn, Capricorn is the sign of Mars’s exaltation. So he would’ve said Mars received the Sun from Capricorn. So that would negate any harm that Mars might cause. And then Mars went onto square Saturn from Pisces without a reception, which would indicate a more difficult, sort of more difficult developments. So from that, I would think that the child would get some improvement in their condition perhaps through martial means that might be through surgery or radiation or drugs. Mars in this chart ruled the seventh house and is in the 10th sign in the 11th quadrant house but the 10th sign. Soo the seventh house is the house of physicians or in this chart it would be me, but it’s also doctors in general. And the 10th house and sign are related to medicine. Mars also has some rulership of Capricorn on the 10th cusp. I think it’s a co-Almuten of Capricorn, which means that both Saturn and Mars have a lot of strength in Capricorn. Anyway, so the Sun went to Mars with reception, and then Mars went onto square Saturn without reception. So that showed an initial improvement perhaps through drugs or treatment, and then Mars goes over the south node, which is a bit weakening and then squares Saturn, which could indicate difficult things. And then in terms of the specific timing, the Moon in Leo is going to oppose Venus, which I take to be a temporary improvement. Temporary because it’s an opposition, improvement because it’s Venus. And Venus here wasn’t the main ruler of any of the difficult houses. She is a co-ruler of the sixth house because Libra is intercepted in the sixth. But here Venus is in the 10th and ruling the first. So I would say that would be a temporary improvement rather than anything else. And then I think Venus went on to, was it trine Jupiter? Which you might think, “Oh, that’s great,” but in this chart, Jupiter rules the eighth house. So I thought that might, given that we’ve already seen or that I’d already suggested that the Sun went to Mars and then Mars went to Saturn, I thought that might indicate potential death in this circumstance for around 10 months. And I remember at the time this wasn’t an astrological client, this was just a mother who brought her child and gave herbal advice and whatnot. I remember writing this down on little piece of paper and just thinking, and 10 months later the child unfortunately did pass away. And what actually happened was that they got some treatment, herbal treatment from us, which she reported helped the child’s symptoms a bit, made them feel a bit better. And then they went to see… Because I said at the university, it was a student training clinic. We didn’t have all the time necessary to research. The amount of research that’s required for cancer patients is huge. So I suggested a couple of other herbalists who specialize in complementary oncology, and I think she took the child to see them, and they did pretty well in terms of sort of getting some improvement. But eventually, things took a turn. And this was a child with initially a terminal diagnosis so it was really sad. But just looking, the chart was so eloquent. And things in this case did just unfold as predicted, which is not fortunate, but it was interesting to see that happen.
CB: Yeah. So you didn’t end up giving her astrological advice, you just noted the time of the consultation and your only input was herbalism but were fascinated by the extent to which the chart was able to time things. And were you getting the 10 months from the number of degrees between the Moon and Venus? The Moon’s application of Venus is 10 degrees away.
MP: Yes. I’ve sort of got the digested this on the slide, because I couldn’t remember it. So it was, I think, the Moon opposed Venus within sort of 10 degrees and then I think Venus moved an additional 10 degrees to trine Jupiter. So the Moon was in a fixed house and sign, so that might have been sort of 10 months to some improvement. And then Venus was in, I think, another fixed house and sign, so that’d be another 10 months to possible death. So I think that’s where… Well, I think, yeah, it was just Venus moving 10 degrees in a fixed house and sign 10 months to possible death. That was what I thought. I obviously hoped I was wrong, but it turned out that in this case that’s what happened. And as I say, in this chart, I preferred Moon to Venus, Venus to Jupiter, Jupiter ruling the eighth house to the Sun, because the Moon can see, it beholds the Ascendant. So according to Masha’allah’s rules from On Reception, the significator that sees the Ascendant will give the timing more accurately than the one that doesn’t, if that makes sense.
CB: Sure. Yeah, that makes sense. Going back to our discussion previously in divinatory system, setting up your rules and then following your rules, I think usually it’s like whatever rules the horary practitioner goes into the consultation with will be the rules that work. And so I don’t want to second guess or reanalyze your thing here, but something I noticed was just when I first looked at this, I thought the cusp of what’s actually the sixth quadrant house was the fifth, but that’s partially because I’m also looking at the whole sign framework and just noting that Virgo is the fifth sign relative to Taurus the rising sign. And then the ruler of the fifth sign is Mercury, which is not just conjunct Pluto in the chart within two degrees at 14 Capricorn to 16 Capricorn, but Mercury is actually also stationing, it’s two days away from stationing retrograde in this chart, which is another really not good indication.
MP: Yeah, oh, no, no. There’s loads of indications in this chart whichever way you slice it. So you’ve got the Sun on the cusp of the eighth which goes to Mars which then goes to Saturn, the ruler of the sixth house, as you say, conjunct Pluto stationing retrograde, the Moon going to Venus and then Venus going to the ruler of the eighth house. It’s fascinating, because all of it shows sort of, maybe not the Mercury, they all seem to show some temporary improvement and then a turn for the worst or something along those lines. Well, at least that’s how I interpreted it.
CB: So sometimes there can be just multiple indications that are all pushing in a certain direction or sort of saying, or in some instances like screaming the same thing perhaps in a single chart.
MP: Yeah, I’d agree with that for sure.
CB: Okay. Here’s the animated, so I just had moved it forward two days and then saw Mercury stationary there.
MP: Right, yeah. I mean, the ruler of the sixth house stationary often means a disease that isn’t shifting and retrograde means relapsing or reverting, so absolutely.
CB: That makes sense. I just noticed that we need to switch your laptop to battery power right about now.
MP: Ah, thank you, Chris. That’s great. Yeah, done.
CB: Okay. How much battery life does it have at this point just to give me-
MP: Loads. I don’t know how long, but-
CB: Because we’ve only got one chart down, so I’m just trying to get a sense of how many if we should try to hurry or how many we can get through before the battery dies. Does it have a battery indicator?
MP: Oh, I can plug it back in, I’ll plug it back in in about half an hour or something. So it wouldn’t matter.
CB: We good, sounds good. All right. Let’s go to our second example chart then. So here it is. Can you see that?
MP: Yes. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So this was a client much less severe. And this was a client who came to see me privately and was interested in looking at the astrology. So I had a much stronger sort of mandate from this client to discuss the astrology with them. And this is a client from 2013 who had ongoing sinus problems, chronic sinus problems. So we’ve got 12 degrees Cancer rising the ruler and I should say nine degrees Pisces on the MC. The ruler of the Ascendant is the Moon at 13 degrees of Libra. And the Moon is actually void, of course, in this chart. She’s not making any further aspects in Libra. And then when she changes sign into Scorpio, trines Venus at three degrees Pisces in the ninth house, and then Venus goes on to square Jupiter at seven degrees Gemini on the cusp of the 12th. So, again, I was sort of just looking at the relay in terms of prognosis. So there’s an interesting side note here about the… So this was just another example of a chart where things played out as predicted. And looking at this chart when the client came, I was able to tell her that probably things wouldn’t improve for a while just because the Moon is void. And there were some indications of problems with medicine, which I’ll go onto in a second, but then eventually, and I gave her some timing for this, they would be an improvement perhaps through her daughter or perhaps through a really good nurse who might introduce her to some treatment which would help for a while, but that help would not be permanent. And the basis of that is the Moon is void, not going anywhere for a while. When the Moon changed sign, it trined Venus in the ninth and Venus rules the fifth house, which could be a daughter or a child or something, but Venus in the ninth could also be a nurse, a knowledgeable medical person, probably female because Venus in a water sign, so it’s a feminine planet in a feminine sign. So that might be a sort of… And also Venus is conjunct Neptune in this chart. So I even thought, is this an anesthesiologist or some person knowledgeable about drugs or something like that? And then Venus went to square Jupiter on the cusp of the 12th with reception, that usually shows improvement because Jupiter in a day chart particularly, but Jupiter’s here in Gemini, so in detriment and on the cusp of the 12th house, which is a cadent house, it’s a bit weaker, so the benefits may not last. The 12th house is also the house of hospitals I would say in medical charts, so I thought that this chain of events suggested those kind of things. The treatment I gave her didn’t work very well at all at the time. I mean, just looking at the chart, we’ve got the sixth house has Sagittarius on the cusp and the 10th house has Pisces on the cusp. So immediately that ties together the sixth and the 10th, which I never like to see, because it suggests that the medicines may produce side effects. It often suggests medicines may contribute to symptoms in a way, which is okay if you’re looking at the chart of something that you might expect to produce side effects like chemotherapy, for example, but not hopefully when you’re prescribing milder medicines. And also there was Mars in the 10th house and Mercury and Pisces retrograde in the 10th. So there were a couple of indications that there might be problems with medicine, but with eventual help. And what she relayed to me, I think she said in the end that she found it really spooky, that was her word, because what ended up happening is a few months later it was her daughter told her about this nurse she’d found. And she went to see this nurse, and this nurse referred her to a hospital specialist who gave her this treatment that improved her sinuses. And then a couple of years later, she communicated with me by email that some of the issues had come back. But I think the biggest value to her from this was just experiencing the astrology working was the most useful thing. I wasn’t in this instance able to get much from the chart that enabled me to turn things round constructively or positively, so it was frustrating on one level as a herbalist, but quite sort of uplifting on another level as an astrologer.
CB: Right. So part of what this chart brings up is an old framework. And let me know if I have this right, where the first house represents the client, the seventh house represents the astrologer, the 10th house represents the treatment, and the fourth house indicates the outcome. Is that right?
MP: Yes, that’s absolutely right, Chris. And in medical charts just generally, the 10th house, as you say, represents the medicine and six disease. So you look at the movement of the first ruler and the Moon, but in this case, it’s the same planet because we’ve got Cancer rising, to see what will happen, where does that go? So it’s like a little relay race of planets to see where it ends up, yeah.
CB: Right. So this is why, in some instance, for example, like in the Considerations Before Judgment, Lilly tells people to be like a little bit careful if there’s something wrong with the seventh house or the ruler of the seventh house, because that’s representing you, the astrologer, if there’s a client who’s approached you.
MP: Yes, faulty judgment or in this case as the practitioner, so seventh house not great in this chart. We’ve got Saturn retrograding, Scorpio ruling the seventh. I mean, the Sun is like trining the Ascendant, okay, and it’s with the north node, but I would not choose that as the ruler of the seventh. What’s an interesting consideration is that in consultation charts, the seventh house does represent in this case because it was a client coming see me, it represented me as the astrologer and in this case as the herbalist. It also often speaks about the other seventh house things like it can say something about the client’s partner or it can say something about the client’s other doctors, because I’ve seen charts where I’ve thought, “Oh God, the seventh house ruler is really messed up. I hope I’m not going to do a bad job for this client.” But then it turns out the client’s having a really hard time with their partner or it turns out that this other doctor they’re currently in a lawsuit with or something. So again, the context is really important. Here I don’t think I did a great job. So unfortunately I think that retrograde Sun probably was me, particularly as it’s sitting exactly on my Ascendant, which is 11 degrees Scorpio. So it’s almost certainly me unfortunately, but [crosstalk]
CB: Sometimes if the question or the focus or they’re tied up in other seventh house matters that sometimes it can be relating to that rather than you necessarily as the astrologer.
MP: Yeah. But I mean, so it just comes back to that sort of context thing. So this chart just showed the unfolding of events as predicted really, same as the previous, but with this one the client was aware of the astrology and was sort of really, I think, helped by it not materially, but in terms of, I think, it just gave her a bit of a new perspective on things. She enjoyed it. She wrote back to me and said how stunned she was by it, which was great. And then I just wanted to show a couple of crisis charts based on that, which is an old sort of timing technique which you use to sort of… So you can always get the timing in a consultation chart from the original chart, from the radical chart just by how many degrees is there between this planet and the next one and how many degrees is there between that planet and the next one. So that’s symbolic, the degrees equals weeks or months or years in some cases, but then you could Zoom in on different chunks of that time by using crisis charts. So they are basically calculated in the same way that solar or lunar return charts are. So for a fast developing illness, you’d use the Moon and you’d do a chart for when the Moon was 90 degrees away and then 180 degrees away and then 275 degrees away and then back where it started. And divisions in between there if you wanted more charts like the condition was moving much more swiftly. For chronic or longstanding conditions, you just use the Sun. So you cast another chart, another crisis chart typically for when the Sun was 90 degrees away from its original position, then when it was in opposition to its original position, and then sort of 275 degrees and then back where it was at its original position. Does that make sense? So you create charts for each of those times. Same principle as a solar return chart, but they’re like a solar quarter return and a solar half return chart for a consultation chart or a [unintelligible 24.53] And what I find interesting about this technique is it is actually generalizable to other charts in astrology. It’s used for medical astrology, it’s sort of fallen into that niche, but you can use this tech to sort of get a little zoom in on different quadrants of your year. If you’ve done a solar return chart, you could do another chart in three months time for when the Sun was 90 degrees away from your birth Sun to sort of have a little zoom in on that quadrant of the year and so on, anyway.
CB: And you have an example of a solar crisis chart, and is that related to the previous one?
MP: This is related to this client. So I won’t spend along on these charts, and the next one is a bi-wheel, which just puts this one on top of the original consultation chart. So just looking at this chart on its own, I think… Thanks Chris. I think it was somewhat… I thought there might be some improvement. We’ve got 22 degrees Sagittarius rising and 26 Libra on the Midheaven. And in this chart, the Moon, which was the Ascendant ruler from the original chart, is in the 12th, but it’s separating from a trine of Jupiter and applying to a trine of Venus. So I would say that’s sort of contained by the rays of Venus and Jupiter. So that’s maybe somewhat helped at this point in time. And that was, I think, I can’t remember whether that was six months, I think, from the initial consultation or perhaps even a bit longer. No, it’s more than that. It’s six plus four, 10 months, something like that. I think it’s about 10 months from the initial consultation. You can see there was some improvement at that time. And then if we look at the bi-wheel, I hope this isn’t bad for the people listening only on audio, but I’ll try and be clear about the principles here. All we’re doing is putting the crisis chart, the solar crisis chart, around the initial consultation chart, so in a bi-wheel, and the key point here is how do the angles of that crisis chart relate to the angles of the initial consultation chart? And I think the Ascendant of this crisis chart was in the sixth house of the initial consultation chart, which I don’t like very much. And the Moon was also in the sixth house of the initial consultation chart. And I think the MC at 26 Libra where sort of in whole sign square to the initial rising sign of Cancer. So it’s like, yes, there’s some improvement, but this person is still ill at this time, that’s how I’d interpret that, but maybe stabilizing a bit because the Moon is being trined by Jupiter and Venus. Does that make sense? So it’s just really basic.
CB: Yeah, and then so there’s another one after that?
MP: This is just the final crisis chart, which I thought showed this corresponded roughly with the prediction for eventual temporary improvement. And this crisis chart was, I think, for maybe two years on from the initial consultation with the Sun back at 10 Pisces where it was at the initial consultation. It’s a chart with 16 Scorpio rising and four Virgo MC, and the Ascendant ruler of this chart is Mars in Aries, and Mars is applying to a trine of Jupiter in Leo, but Jupiter is retrograde. So that was interesting. But then when you do the bi-wheel using this chart as a transit chart to the initial consultation chart, it’s really interesting because the Moon is in Cancer in the rising sign. So it’s like the Ascendant ruler of the initial consultation chart is really strong in its own sign. The Ascendant of the crisis chart is trining the Ascendant of the consultation chart, and the MC of the consultation chart is in sextile to the Ascendant of the… The MC of the crisis chart is in sextile to the Ascendant of the consultation chart. It’s not all good because the Ascendant of the crisis is on Saturn and as well as the north node. So this chart to me suggested the most positive sort of indications so far in terms of… And also very significantly, by this time the north node was transiting over the consultation chart’s Moon. So there were two indications of that initial Ascendant ruler, the Moon, being really helped by this crisis.
The fact that the Moon was in her own sign of Cancer in the Ascendant and that the north node was transiting over the initial consultation charts, Moon in Libra, and as well as the other bits of the angles being friendly to the natal Ascendant, but the Ascendant of the crisis picking up that Saturn. I’m not going to go into any more crisis charts, Chris, because obviously these are a bit complicated, but I just wanted to show how those were used traditionally and still can be used to sort of zoom in on the timing of improvements, but you can and get the basic information always from the initial chart.
CB: Perfect. Okay. I’m going to pause for a moment just to grab some more water just because I’ve run out and I know we have a little bit longer to go, and I’ll edit this out afterwards. But yeah, and if you need to grab anything, go ahead.
MP: I might stretch my legs while you’re doing that.
CB: Okay, sounds good.
MP: Thanks, Chris. Hey Chris, I just wanted to say by the way, my surname is Patchett not Pratchett.
CB: Sorry about that. I keep accidentally adding an R to your name, I’m not sure why.
MP: It’s because this is a famous author, Terry Pratchett. So I don’t mind being conflated with the famous author, that’s not a bad thing.
CB: No, I apologize. I only realized this morning that I was accidentally writing it out wrong in the outline and realized-
MP: Don’t worry, everybody does it. It’s just because he wrote all those amazing books, so whatever. I’m a big fan.
CB: Okay. All right. So I know you’ve got another example chart next, let me put that up on the screen here. Okay, so what was this chart of?
MP: Right. So I wanted to show this one because this was a really positive example of how I think astrology really helped someone in a very difficult situation, and possibly of how I can’t say for sure, because we can’t like Sliding Doors that old film from the nineties, Sliding Doors, where you have different possibilities playing out. You can’t split screen reality in that way. But I think the astrology sort of timing here really improved the prognosis. But anyway, so this is a horary chart for a client who was one time my manager at work, sort of clinic manager, and also is a friend who was diagnosed with colon cancer that had sort of metastasized and spread to the liver, and the prognosis was really not good. So I’d done horaries for them before and they asked me to do a horary on the situation, which obviously wasn’t great. So there are a few things. It’s a chart with 25 degrees Cancer rising, the Midheaven is 28 degrees Pisces, and the Moon, the ruler of the Ascendant, is at one degree of Aquarius in the seventh quadrant house. Of course, it’s the eighth whole sign and the seventh quadrant house.
CB: What was the question? Was the question-
MP: So the question, I have it written down here, I can’t remember. But I think it was something along the lines of, what will happen? But I can’t actually remember what the specific question was.
CB: Was it specifically about mortality and like will I die or was it…
MP: I think I’m telling a lie, Chris, I think this was actually a consultation chart. I thought it was a horary, but looking at the initial original chart here, written it down as a horary, it was actually a consultation chart. Because I did it as a… When they were telling me about it, I wrote everything down and sort of like took notes like a consultation, but I didn’t end up doing herbal treatment because they were being treated by a fellow practitioner, another practitioner at the clinic. So they ended up just coming to me for the astrology. Yeah, so actually that’s a mistake. I’ve said it’s a horary, and it’s not. It’s a consultation chart. Effectively, they’re interpreted the same way. So it doesn’t make a huge deal difference practically speaking, but I apologize for that.
CB: Sure. I was just curious, in terms of… Yeah, that is interesting. Here’s the recalculated chart, there it is. Just the difference between being in the seventh by quadrant and the eighth by sign, and I was just curious if the specter of like their own mortality was part of the focus.
MP: Yeah. I’m sure for sure like the fact that their planet is in the eighth whole sign is significant. I mean, there are a few little extra details that I didn’t even see at the time that now I would immediately notice, for example, the Midheaven being at that late degree of Pisces. It’s right next to Scheat the fixed star, Scheat, which I always say is what it sounds like, it’s not a great star.
CB: Do you know the combination? I can’t remember them-
MP: It might just be Mars or it’s Mars, Saturn. I can’t remember off the top of my head. But it’s a really, it’s a star that often indicates sort of poison, drowning. It’s a bit grim. So having that on the Midheaven, which is the bit of medicine, indicates difficulties. And also, again, in this chart, we’ve got Pisces on the MC and Sagittarius on the cusp of the six. So we’ve got the same planet ruling the medicine and the illness. In this context though, because this was a patient with a serious cancer diagnosis who was going to be going for chemotherapy, I thought it was absolutely apt. Because you don’t get chemotherapy without serious side effects. So the fact that medicines and sickness are linked makes absolute sense in terms of chemo. So just in terms of the general chart interpretation, got the Moon in Aquarius, it applies to sextile Saturn, and that in this is a moderately good thing because it’s received. Saturn receives the Moon, but then Saturn is retrograde. So I saw that as being there would be an improvement, but then there may be some relapse. And I think sort of the timing if I’ve written it down here, the Moon moves three or four degrees in a fixed sign and in an angle which indicates three or four slow units. So that could be three or four months or years to achieve a kind of remission because Saturn receives the Moon. But then, and I’ve made a little note here on the screen that Ibn Ezra, one of the sort of medieval astrologers, I think his book was translated by Meira Epstein, defines application to a retrograde planet as returning of light. So Masha’allah’s On Reception technique just says, go to the final dispositor, which in this case, the Moon goes to Saturn, and then if it’s retrograde, whatever the planet represents will sort of come undone or go backwards. But I wanted to go past that and get more timing. So, okay, there’ll be a recovery and then possibly some kind of relapse. So what happens after that? So Ibn Ezra said that’s a returning of light, Saturn will return the light to the Moon because Saturn’s retrograde. So then I went on, moved the Moon to the next aspect, which was an opposition to Jupiter, the ruler of the sixth, which was also retrograde, and the ruler of the 10th, which I thought would be return of disease. And the Moon moved another 12 units in a fixed sign and in the seventh house, which I thought would be another 12 months or years. I’m hedging my bets here because I don’t know, initially, I can’t tell whether those long units of time are going to be months or years. And this is the point I’m getting to that you shoot for the longer unit of time. So if you can regard this as a potentially elasticated window, you could go, “Okay, so there’ll be recurrent, there’ll be some improvement. And then at some point there may be a relapse and a return to the disease.” But if you could think, 12 units of time could be 12 months or 12 years. Now, obviously, you could go in with crisis charts and you can look at the birth chart and transit to the birth chart and take a more than educated guess at when that relapse might be, because if the transits or the progressions or the whatever are looking much worse in 12 years, then it’s more likely that relapse will be in 12 years. If they’re looking a lot worse in a year’s time, then might be the relapses is in 12 months if you are being really Stoically predictive about it. But my aim would be to share that information with the client. And in this case, this client, as I say, was somebody who knew me quite well, had been a manager. She’s also a fellow Aries with a Capricorn Moon as I am, so I don’t mind being really direct with her because we are really, really direct with each other, like blunt as anything. And they actually appreciate that, whereas other clients might be sort of a bit wobbly if you discussed potential relapse with them when they had such serious diagnosis. But I was able to say, “Look, it suggests there may be some relapse. So don’t panic if after some initial improvement there’s a bit of return.” And we’re going to try and shoot for that to maximize that window up to 12 years and even beyond, because I don’t believe this timing is fixed. Could I have a look at the chart again, Chris? Is that okay?
CB: Oh, sure, yeah.
MP: Thank you.
CB: So that was one of the issues though with timing with horary and things is just sometimes looking at the number of degrees between significators and looking at the modality or quadruplicity of the signs involved cardinal, fixed, mutable, and then trying to convert that to days or months or years, but there being some ambiguity always in that timing technique about which for sure it’s going to end up being.
MP: Absolutely. I mean, you can tighten that up and make, as I say, a pretty good guesstimation by looking at say, if you have the client’s birth chart, you can look at the transits to the birth chart or you could look at the solar returns for particular years or directions if they’re having any heavy primary directions or whatever. And even within the horary without looking at the natal chart, you can sometimes look at transits to the horary, and there are other timing techniques you can use in horary that can help to tighten things up. But it’s still I tend to, particularly with the issues like this, I tend to say it could be that or it could be that. In this situation, let’s aim for the longer timing, let’s aim to make it indefinite. Because what this chart doesn’t show is that it’s all doom and gloom. There is that initial reception by Saturn, and there were some other hopeful elements, for example, that very dignified Mars in the 10th house showing some help from surgery or from aggressive treatment. I say it’s help because Mars is very dignified. There’s some problems with it because it’s Mars in the day chart. So this out of sect malefic could be a bit over aggressive, a bit over inflammatory, and Mars is squaring the Ascendant. So that sort of Cancer Ascendant getting beat up Mars a bit there, but it’s still a strong dignified planet in the tenth. So it’s like surgery or aggressive treatment can actually do some good, but will also, as you might expect, cause some inflammation. So I think in, in the end, I mean, I think I wrote down what I actually emailed.
CB: There’s another slide here.
MP: Oh, thank you, Chris. Okay. Yes, great. I’ve typed it all on the slide in really tiny writing. So I’ve got sort of on the timing, the time, because this was a conversation that we had in March, 2015. I predicted there would be remission from July 2015 if they’re shorter units of time or October 2018-ish. I think possible relapse from February, March 2016 if we’re using the shorter units time or in 12 years’ time, which would make it 2027. I only use basic techniques in horary, so these timings aren’t tight. Bear in mind this is an email that I sent to the client. Bear in mind that astrology illustrates the current direction of events, not the inevitable. Your actions can modify the outcomes and fully alter the timeframes involved if not the nature of the events, i.e. a difficult period will still be difficult, but you have control over how it manifests. And then I just put something about how surgery might be more profitable than drugs because of that strong Mars in the 10th, but the watery Pisces on Midheaven with Scheat there sort of I was like I’m not so keen on sort of particularly liquid medicines, but I quite like maybe surgery. Although it will cause some inflammation and some harm, it will improve the prognosis. Drugs will help, but will make you sick and have diminishing returns. And that’s just because the 10th and the sixth having the same rulership by that retrograde Jupiter, which is quite usual for chemo. So the fascinating thing here was the patient said that they had a major operation in July 2015 which was very successful. And the doc said they’d test every six months for the next three years until October, November 2018, after which I could be considered to be in remission, which was kind of hilarious. And the patient said they had a gut feeling that they would live another 12 years because that was the age their mom died, which is fascinating. But then in July, 2016, the nodules were seen again in the lungs on the scan. So that was the shorter timeframe showing some potential return of disease. But I’m happy to say this client and also friend of mine is still in good health with regular monitoring. So they’re kind of like living with in good health rather than dying from. So despite events following the predicted shorter timeframe, the longer timeframe is the narrative being aimed for and past that ideally. So because we’re able to discuss this chart, this client was fully interested in the astrology, and we discussed sort of the idea of non-inevitability and this sort of fractal timing, the idea that you can maximize the windows of these things and optimize outcomes. And so the medical chart was used to sort of maximize possibilities. And as I’ve mentioned, this kind of discussion is not always appropriate with all patients or all clients because some clients might feel cursed by being given any timeframe at all, particularly when you say, “Oh, this might relapse.” But in this case, this particular person emailed me and said they credited the astrology with saving their life because they said that the herbs that they got from the other practitioner, who was one of my clinical trainers at the time, and the astrology they got from me, they said, “Between those two, you saved my life,” because it’s something that helped her reframe everything and sort of really get through it. So it was a net positive, but still it is always tricky what to share and how to frame it. So yeah, anyway, that was that.
CB: Yeah. And sometimes astrologers are just doing these things for themselves sometimes in order to get peace of mind or some perspective on things. And sometimes that in and of itself can be helpful knowing the pros and cons.
MP: Yeah, definitely. Although I had a really interesting discussion with Sharon Knight, who’s an amazing astrologer, amazing traditional astrologer. And we talked about how sometimes when you are really ill, you looking at the astrology can also be a bit scary if you’re a traditional astrologer, because there are certain things you don’t want to see. So I think that for me is just another really pragmatic reason to adopt a Neoplatonic mindset. Because it’s all very well saying I’m a philosophical Stoic, but when your back’s against the wall and if you’ve just had a really horrible diagnosis and you’re actually Stoic and you believe that your fate is fixed, and then you look at a horrible chart, I mean, I suppose it’s a real test of your faith if you have an ability under those circumstances to be what Valens called a soldier of faith, then great. But I think it might be more constructive to take the sort of Neoplatonic view and go, “Okay, we know this astrological fate is going to play out somehow, but how can I manifest that more positively or in the most positive way?” Does that make sense? I mean, that’s-
CB: Yeah. I think no matter what the astrology says, that the person should always try to do the best that they can to fight through things that are difficult and hope for the best and shoot for the best and most optimistic scenario.
MP: Yeah, that’s exactly it. You always shoot for the best. You want to maximize the highest sort of possibility. And Sharon and I talked about… Because Sharon had been through a very difficult diagnosis at one time, and I can talk about this because we did a little video on my tiny little YouTube channel about it. So she’s been very open about this. And then Sharon’s written articles about it. When she had a very difficult diagnosis a few years back, she did some astrology, but she did very, very basic minimal astrology because what she didn’t want to do is go in with a horary or with a really specific laser-focused, detailed astrology and really feel like she was narrowing her options. And I thought that was really smart actually. She did some really basic astrology. She looked at one planet in her direction at the time, said, “Okay, when Mars changes sign, I’ve got to be better by then.” I thought as an astrology it’s really smart, because it’s a lot easier to be objective with other people than it is to be with yourself. Do you know what I mean? Because you can sort of be a bit more ruthless and then make the decision to be constructive with them. But if it’s yourself, you might freak out. So I don’t know, it’s an interesting one for sure.
CB: Yeah. I mean, I think different astrologers have different tolerance levels, not tolerance levels but what feels appropriate to one astrologer might not feel appropriate to others. And there’s such a huge range of things that that’s one of the things that becomes hard when some of these things are discussed publicly. Because that comes up in all sorts of different areas of what feels like appropriate to talk about or when there’s like an event in the news or there’s a celebrity death or something and what feels helpful or healing or part of processing, let’s say, some astrologer is processing, let’s say, a death in their own life versus what feels not, something that feels cheap or tacky or inappropriate. There’s such a wide range that it’s really hard to sometimes establish community standards or different things because of that wide range.
MP: Sure, sure. I think the point here is more about in a really tricky medical situation I think astrology has enormous value in terms of its ability to predict and navigate through that. But when you have a really tricky medical situation, there’s always if you get a prediction that looks really negative, it’s a lot easier to be objective and helpful if it’s not you in that situation. So it’s just something that each astrologer has to decide. Because I know that when I’ve got sick, I mean, I’ve nearly died twice. I mean, once as a child and once as an adult, but not since I’ve learned astrology. So nowadays if or when I get sick, I would almost certainly look at it in detail, but I think that may not necessarily always be the right thing to do. It might be better for an astrologer to look at things with a wider focus in order to leave their sense of possibility more open to sort of focus it a little bit. Some things are better looked at from the corner of your eye, I think, sometimes, do you know what I mean? It’s an interesting one.
CB: I go back and forth because I think sometimes that’s true, and I think astrologers sometimes, especially traditional astrologers, because we’ve seen so many charts and we’ve seen the worst case scenarios play out, sometimes our mind can tend to, when we see something coming up in our own chart that looks difficult, our mind can tend to drift towards thinking or assuming or worrying that it’ll be the worst case scenario when that transit hits or that timeline period starts or whatever it is. And then you get there and sometimes it’s difficult and challenging or it’s something bad, but it’s not quite as bad as you-
MP: No, it’s never exactly the same as what you thought. I think it’s just the Saturn rulership of traditional astrology and traditional astrologers. I’ve not met many traditional astrologists who don’t have some kind of prominent Saturn in their chart. So I think it’s probably a little bit of that going on.
CB: So that’s definitely an issue and it’s definitely something to be conscious of because you can worry or put yourself in a situation where it’s not as helpful or you can freak yourself out about the worst case scenarios, that can be counterproductive, but then there’s also something that is helpful as a processing tool or as a coping mechanism, I think, sometimes when astrologers do want to look at charts when difficult things, including illness are happening in their lives. And I know when I got sick a couple of years ago with COVID and it turned into a longer thing, just being aware of what the transits were. And some of it was just kind of interesting intellectually and I was purely looking at it from that standpoint of knowing exactly what was going on in my life and what the manifestation was in the astrology and in my physical body at that time and getting some sense of the timeframes involved and that I have Aquarius rising and Saturn had just moved into my first house, and different things like that were both a little bit intellectually helpful for me but also a little bit personally reassuring to some extent in getting some sense of the timing involved and what was going on. So I think it just varies really wildly. So that’s one of the reasons I bring it up is just because I know-
MP: Yeah, no, that’s fantastic. I mean, that’s a wonderful example, Chris, actually, just because… Did you find that sort of the timing gave you a light at the end of the tunnel in a way because you could sort of see where things might be improving from, sort of the point where things might improve from?
CB: Yeah, a little bit, because some of it was short-term like Mars transits that were showing the short-term, most intense phases of transiting. When I first got sick, I was in a 12th house profection year and transiting Mars conjoined my natal Mars in the 12th house in a day chart, which is the most difficult planet for me. So it made perfect sense that that event ended up being getting sick and then having what became a really acute, well intense month or two being super… Yeah, yeah. And then that sort of didn’t help when Mars and Saturn then both conjoined each other in Aquarius the following month, and it actually got worse. But then eventually knowing that Mars would get out of Aquarius after a couple of months, and then there was like starting to come back into not being in super emergency room type situation anymore.
MP: Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, because I just want to say that what you’ve brought up, what you’ve described, is I think one of… Because I haven’t really mentioned this at all yet, one of the major values of astrology in medical situations is just the timing, is knowing when is this crap going to be over with, having a sense of there’s a light at the end of tunnel. Because when you are ill, you can’t really imagine being well in the same way that when you are well, you can’t really imagine being ill. Obviously, I don’t mean that literally. We can all imagine it. But when you are actually in it, we very quickly lose perspectives. The walls close in very rapidly on any… It’s like humans we have a really short-term memory for emotions in a way, do you know what I mean? It’s like any miracle quickly becomes mundane. So when you’re sick… So it’s just really helpful having that kind of, “Okay, so this all kicked in when that began. So just going by the logic of following that process, just following the astrology, then it’s likely to be ending or at least getting better by this point.” Just having that in your mind is such a powerful thing that has remedial value in and of itself I think. And that’s aside from using astrology to generate ideas for therapies or potentially to select different people who might help you. I’ve got clients who use astrology to help them find the right doctor or find whatever. So there’s other practical, but just that on its own is huge, I think.
CB: Yeah. And it can give some of that short-term benefit when you’re talking about things that are short-term or also being somewhat realistic about the long-term. Because early on during that first month, I didn’t have any immediate reason to think that I would be sick for more than like a week or two, but then also realizing the Mars transit would be going on for a couple of months, at least through my rising sign and then noticing that Saturn had just moved into a three-year-long transit through my first house and knowing what that had been like for other clients and that can coincide with long-term sort of health issues and not having any in those early days of the pandemic, for when we thought people were either getting sick and recovering or they were dying from it and there wasn’t anything else. But then seeing that astrology and then it turning into a much longer term health issue through long haul COVID, things that I’ve been dealing with over the past couple of years, which also gives me some perspective on it, but also hopefully at least some timing thing in terms of Saturn finally getting out of Aquarius next year, and we’ll see how that goes.
MP: Yeah, definitely. I mean, it’s fascinating. And I think in a sense, just having that, you were prepped in a good way I would think and hope by just you’re given some advanced warning because you saw that actually Mars is going to linger a bit in the Ascendant and Saturn’s just gone in there. So maybe this won’t be such a quick process. So you might have taken that in a really negative way and gone, “Oh no, I’m going to be dealing… But it’s also you’re kind of forewarned is forearmed, right? It’s like, “Okay, I’m not going to freak out if this takes longer than I initially thought it would for me to get over.” I think that’s a really positive sort of potential to take from that. But this stuff is so context-dependent, it’s so context-dependent. You know what I mean by that? So really depends what’s going on in the world and also with your own health as to how much… So if it’s a self-limiting condition and you are in reasonably good health and you can see that this is something that can… It’s a lot less scary. [laughs] Do you know what I mean? It’s something that at the time was really a bit scary because COVID– it was 2020, so what the hell? Nobody really knew what the long-term ramifications were.
MP: But at the same time you could use the astrology to say, “Okay, this might be going on longer than I’d like, but I can see that there’s an end to this process.”
CB: Yeah. And I think it just gives people some perspective and some maybe patience with the process sometimes which can be helpful. All right, so you’ve got one more example chart, I think, right?
MP: Yes. I think so, just the last one, which is another more positive one. I sort of started on kind of a bit of a downbeat grim one, and I sort of wanted to end on a more positive one.
CB: I start all of my podcast episodes with child mortality topics.
MP: Oh my God. I’m Scorpio rising, Saturn in my 10th sign, what can I say? I mean, it’s just kind of the path or the course, ey? But all right. So this was a consultation chart for… And I’ll just briefly describe the chart. We’ve got 15 Virgo rising, there’s a 10 degree Gemini in Midheaven with Jupiter in the 10th at 13 degrees conjunct the Midheaven. And Mercury, the Ascendant ruler is at 26 degrees Pisces in the seventh house. The other salient bit of this chart, I would say, is the Moon is at six degrees Taurus in the ninth house applying to oppose Saturn retrograde in Scorpio, nine degrees Scorpio. So I think there might be one more chart after this. No, this is the last one, isn’t it? So yeah, I wanted to just make the point with this chart, that sort of dignity-
CB: Is it a consultation chart or a horary chart?
MP: Beg your pardon, this was a consultation chart, Chris. Yes, thank you. So this was a chart for consultation. So this was a client who came to see me a few years ago who had a sort of chronic urticaria, which is like this crazy whole body itching. The story was really interesting. They lived abroad and they were bitten by ant, and they had a minor sort of reaction to the ant bite. And then their whole body just flared up, and it just wouldn’t stop. They’d had steroids and antihistamines and all sorts, and it just wasn’t stopping. So the point I wanted to make in this chart, you can do the prognosis and the timing. So I looked at Mercury, the Ascendant ruler, and that was changing sign into Aries. And then it was applying by sextile to Jupiter in the Midheaven. So that was, “Oh, there’s going to be some relief from medicine.” But the Moon, the secondary significator, and I would use Mercury here as the primary significator because Mercury, the Ascendant ruler, did behold the Ascendant. It was in a sign which using traditional aspects can see the Ascendant is in Pisces, which is the seventh sign. So it’s not in the eighth sign or the sixth sign or the second or the 12th sign, it can see the Ascendant. So I use Mercury as the primary significator of the timing, and Mercury was moving out of Pisces into Aries and then going on to sextile Jupiter. So that was a good outcome. But the Moon was applying to that opposition of Saturn. So I was like, “Well, okay, there’ll be some initial worsening or problems followed by alleviation just looking at the basics or prognosis of it.” But what was interesting about this chart to me was that Mercury is in its detriment and fall in the seventh house, and Jupiter, the rule of the seventh, is in its detriment. But they have what’s called a generosity in traditional astrology, which is to say they have what’s sometimes called a mutual reception. Although I’m going to be pedantic here, technically it isn’t because a reception is only a reception when there’s an applying aspect. And I got this from Barbara Dunn’s amazing book on horary astrology, where she really defines all those terms used in horary. And she also said generosity is the term when two planets are in each other’s major dignities, but they’re not actually an aspect to each other. They’re not an applying aspect. So in this case, you’d say Mercury and Jupiter were in generosity with each other. But the way I interpreted that is that the practitioner and the patient and the patient and the medicine will be beneficial to each other, but there’s going to be some confusion and changes of course and some sort of… It’s going to take a bit of working out because both of those planets are in their detriment and Mercury’s detriment and fall, but the issue here is that it’s the dignity of those planets being weak. Both those planets being in their detriment is going to indicate some problems, but the fact that they’re in a generosity with each other and that Jupiter is the final dispositor is going to resolve things. And this followed the prognosis exactly, basically. So the outcomes were that all the symptoms gradually resolve with the treatment, which was a sort of herbal tea which is very effective. But just after the first follow up a month later, the client emailed me. I remember the Moon was going to oppose that Saturn, and Saturn was the sixth ruler in this chart. But obviously the Moon opposing Saturn retrograde in Scorpio in the third is not great in any chart. The client emailed me and said, “The week after I spoke to you, I had a bit of a crash. No energy, itching, like crazy, ended up taking antihistamines every day. Even with the tea, it wasn’t settling. Majorly depressed, still couldn’t sleep, ended up in tears one day at work and got sent home, my manager has been really supportive.” And that was the Moon applying to the opposed Saturn. But the manager being really supportive was fascinating because we have that Jupiter in the 10th. And it also fit with another timing element, which was Mercury in Pisces moving on to the fixed star Scheat at the end of Pisces, sort of just as Mercury moved a couple of degrees and then it was on Scheat. So there were sort of two… You could see there was upcoming issues. And then gradually after that, I think things just improved. So we kept sort of adapting the tea formula, the tea formula was sort of shifted about a couple of times, and then it just improved from there. So basically, the predicted events happened. But the treatment was based on the chart. So I used lots of herbs of Mercury, I think I used herbs of Saturn because the skin was involved. And using the sort of chart helped to maximize the benefits, I think. So yeah. I mean, just a side note on that not using this chart, there was another chart, and I did debate about whether to use this chart or another one. Oh no, it’s here. I thought I did stick it in there. There was one more chart, which is this one, this is another example of a consultation chart where you have… So the previous one I talked about, you’ve got Mercury and Jupiter. Okay, well they’re neutral to good planets. Here you’ve got, in this consultation chart, you’ve got Mars and Saturn as significators. But I was still able to use them very constructively. So just to describe the chart, this is another consultation chart for a different client who I’d seen them a few years previously, and then they came back. And what had happened was they’d had a major health episode while I was away on sabbatical, which they were really cross about, “Where were you? You were away when I needed you.” Sorry, but they’d had a major health episode, and they’d had to go to hospital and take a load of steroids. And ever since they’d had these steroids and this health episode, they’d kept having panic attacks. And these panic attacks, they kept recurring. So this chart has four degrees Capricorn rising, 10 degrees Scorpio MC, the Ascendant ruler is Saturn at 16 degrees Scorpio in the quadrant 10th, it’s the 11th whole sign but the quadrant 10th house. And we’ve got Mars, the MC ruler, at 25 degrees Libra. The major point I wanted to make about this chart was, I mean, I could go into the timing, which, again, the timing worked from the chart, but the major point I wanted to make here is that you’ve got Saturn retrograde in the 10th house of medicine, and the 10th ruler is Mars in Libra, this sort of debilitated Mars. So using sort of Culpeper’s rules for myself as a herbalist for selecting treatment, he said, “You use the ruler of the 10th to make your medicines if the rule of the 10th is strong.” Well, in this case, the rule of the 10th is Mars in a daytime chart in its detriment in Libra, it’s in a horrible state. But the key thing here is that Mars and Saturn, the Ascendant ruler, have a really strong generosity. Because Mars is in Libra, which is Saturn’s exaltation. And Saturn is in Scorpio, which is ruled by Mars. So no matter how messed up either of them are, they kind of like each other, and they’ll help each other out. I mean, there’s loads I could say about this chart, but basically it’s interesting that it was the medical treatment, the very strong doses of steroids that this patient had been given, that had kicked off these panic attacks probably by two means, flooding them with cortisol in very stressful circumstances. So you can see from the chart that the medicines, the stress induced by the medicines was a cause of problems, but it also gave me a clue as to how to treat it. I used herbs of Saturn and of Mars that were appropriate to the signification. The prescription worked so well, it worked amazingly, sort of like the panic attacks just went away almost immediately. And they did get a few more episodes, but the prescription worked amazingly. And it was wholly based on plants that were traditionally ruled by Mars and Saturn. The prognosis from the chart was I used the sort of the Moon in Aries went to square the Sun in Cancer. So that’s a square, but with a mutual reception because the Moon is in Aries, which is the exaltation of the Sun. The Sun in Cancer is ruled by the Moon. But then the Sun changed sign and immediately squared Mars, I think. Oh no, beg pardon. The Sun squared Mars from Cancer. So this Mars is in Libra. So it went Moon to square Sun with mutual reception, so initial good things with a bit of effort. Then the Sun squared Mars with what I call mutual rejection because Mars is in Libra, which is the Sun’s fall and the Sun is in Cancer, which is Mars’s fall. So that would be an increase in stress or some kind of increase in inflammation, and then Mars changed sign and went to square Jupiter, which would indicate a good outcome because Jupiter… Although Jupiter ruled the 12th house, it was positioned in the seventh house. So I thought that would be a moderate to good outcome. So what happened pretty much followed that trajectory, but what was remarkable about this is that the prescription worked so well. From the first dose, their symptoms just went. And it was just based on the sort of Mars, Saturn symbolism which I find… So my point with this is that the astrology helped me find the best treatment. And also perhaps rather counterintuitively, that treatment was based around the two malefics and the ruler of the 10th being really debilitated. So this goes back to the earlier point about context, particularly sort of the internal context of the chart in this case, the fact that, yes, Mars in Libra in a day chart is a planet, and it will indicate some difficulties. This person’s work involved educating groups of people. And it was in the context of this teaching that they would get these panic attacks. So that’s Mars in the whole sign 10th, quadrant ninth house debilitated. But it also gave me a clue as to how to treat the thing. So it’s sort of like when used knowledgeably or with intention, difficult planets can have positive effects in a really practical way.
CB: Right. And so you’re combining the indications from the charts and sometimes the indication of the natal chart and also incorporating things like the temperament and the humors of the native or that are indicated in the charts themselves in order to find sometimes counterbalancing or soothing herbal remedies that can help to alleviate some of the indications or some of what the person struggling with.
MP: Yes, I mean, absolutely. Just to make a quick point though because it’s like a Venn diagram. So I’m not just picking herbs out on the basis of the astrology alone, also I mean, four-year, five-year BSC in herbal medicine and whatnot. So I tend to make a biomedical diagnosis and come to sort of like some diagnostic sort of conclusions, and then I’ll have a short list of potential remedies and then I’ll do the astrology, and it’s whatever is in the overlap that I’ll prescribe. So for skeptics of astrology, I think the worst thing that could be said is that I’m excluding some potential remedies on the basis of the astrology. What I’m not doing is generating remedies wholly and entirely from the astrology or wholly and entirely from sort of a biomedical standard approach. Do you know what I mean? It’s like what’s in the middle. And obviously I’m using herbs because I’m, hello, a herbalist.
CB: Yeah, so with most things, it’s not just sufficient to do just astrology or just be knowledgeable about the astrology, but as with all crossover fields like financial astrology, you also have to be good at doing finances and trading in order to be able to use the astrology productively. And if you come in just thinking you’re an astrologer and you can pick up financial trading the next day and be super successful, you’re going to be disappointed. And in the same way, you have a very strong background and your primary focus initially is the herbalism, but you’re just using the astrology to supplement that to give you a little bit of additional information to sometimes fine-tune things.
MP: Yes, exactly. Exactly that, Chris. Thank you, very well put.
CB: Okay, cool. All right. Well, that’s a really good introduction to consultation charts, to medical astrology, to some of the overlaps with herbalism, to some timing techniques and horary and consultation charts and medical astrology. We’ve covered a surprising amount of ground today. And we opened up with like a large philosophical discussion at the same time. So yeah, so that was great.
MP: Good, thank you. Thank you. I hope it wasn’t too sort of all over the shop, but I’ve enjoyed it. And I really like those sort of philosophical tangents at the beginning. So could have gone down a few more rabbit holes there, but yeah, it’s been great. Thank you.
CB: Yeah, me too. I really do appreciate that as well and grounding everything in that philosophical and technical and historical context, and then getting in into the details of the charts themselves. And it’s a nice supplement to, you had mentioned earlier, some of the earlier episodes I did like episode 71 with Lee Lehman that was on medical astrology that was kind of a broad, big picture sort of approach. And here we’ve kind of focused a little bit more specifically on looking at charts and the process of how some of that goes, at least when it comes to consultation charts. So this is really good and a nice additional step in terms of some of those previous discussions.
MP: Awesome, thank you.
CB: Yeah. So where can people find out more about your work? Your website is nocturnalherbalist.com, right?
MP: Yeah, that’s sort of my… There’s a little bit of info that’s really basic, sort of booking site with a few bits and bobs there. So yeah, that’s probably the best place to sort of look for me. I mean, there’s also… This is very off-topic, but I’ve written my book about chocolate. There’s a little bit of stuff about astrology in it, but it’s like sidebar.
CB: Yeah, a little tiny book about chocolate that I got called The Secret Life of Chocolate, which is surprisingly comprehensive. It’s a 700-page book, and it’s really impressive and really interesting actually. And in terms of synchronicity, weirdly like showed up randomly. You sent it to me, but it took… Publishers sometimes it comes quick and sometimes it shows up like months later. And it just randomly showed up the same day that I was learning the hard way how to melt chocolate or as I learned how not to melt chocolate. Turns out it’s very delicate and takes some finessing in order to do it properly.
MP: It’s really tricky. No, I loved it. You said that to me in email, I was like, “That’s amazing, I love it.” Those little moments of universal synchronicity where, yeah, amazing.
CB: The universe likes to mess with [crosstalk 18.00] So you worked on this for over a decade though, and it’s super interesting and comprehensive. Was it through herbalism that he originally got into that or through something else?
MP: Yes, really. I mean, I’m a massive chocaholic so that was a factor. And yeah, I kind of had the idea of maybe writing it while I was at uni. I kind of wanted sort of to Trojan horse in some ideas about traditional medicine and metaphysics in a book about chocolate. So it’s all about the ancient history of it more so than the modern confection. I mean, there’s a bit of detail about how the confection’s made and some of its origins, but most of the book focuses on sort of the pre-Columbian origins of chocolate and how cacao was used in those societies and so on. And a lot about the pharmacology and the medicinal uses of it and stuff. So I really got into it because I was studying herbs, big chocolate head, so it’s sort of a natural topic. And also I thought, “Well, people like chocolate. So if I call a book The Secret Life of Chocolate, maybe people will be incentivized to buy it.” So yeah, all of those things.
CB: Yeah. So it took you over a decade to write it. What are you working on next or what are some of your next projects coming up?
MP: Oh, well, I’m sort of… That’s a very good question. At the moment, there’s a few things coming up. So in terms of writing, I’m giving it another year before I even think about writing anything else. So I’m just like still in sort of recovery phase after finishing that. But in terms of upcoming stuff, thank you, Chris, the big thing I want to mention is that myself and two other astrologers are putting together a medical astrology course at Kepler. So we’ve got an introduction to medical astrology. We ran this module, sort of pilot version of it, I think last year, and we are relaunching it and hopefully, it’ll run regularly from September this year. So from September, October fall or autumn this year. And that’s myself and Judith Hill and William Morris. Will and myself are more sort of traditional, Judith is a bit more contemporary. There’s a really good balance of astrologers doing that. So that’s called introduction to medical astrology or MD 100. And you can find that I hope on the keplercollege.org site. And I’ll be doing a set of modules after that, MD 101, from winter sort of either late this year or early next year, which is going to be focusing on consultation charts. So I really wanted to plug those because we’re hoping to get the whole medical astrology module like a whole course on medical astrology put together at Kepler over time. And then just one event coming up, Chris, which is on Saturday the 23rd of April in the UK. There’s the Bolton Astrological Society’s conference. So I’m just going to be speaking at that. So if anyone’s interested in that, the best way to find out about it is to email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. They’re a really good little group, and I’m going to be speaking there. They don’t have a page for the event, so just email them.
CB: Cool. Well, that’s the Bolton Astrological Society, so people can search for that. And your website once again is nocturnalherbalist.com. So thanks a lot for joining me today, this was great.
MP: Well thank you very much for having me, Chris. It’s been a real pleasure, so thank you.
CB: Yeah. We met actually, I meant to say at the beginning, at the Astrological Association Conference in 2019 when I went out there to give a talk in June of 2019 and had been planning on doing something for a while. So I’m glad that it finally came together.
MP: Yeah, me too. Yeah, eventually happened. So great.
CB: Brilliant. All right. Well, I guess that’s it for this episode of The Astrology Podcast. Thanks, everyone for watching or listening, and we’ll see you again next time.