Astrology and Anthroposophy

22 December 2007

Winter Solstice and Standing Stones

Three Stones Approach

There are numerous ancient monuments in the vicinity of Dingle that are well visited by tourists and locals alike. Not so well known is Log na nGallán (place of the standing stones) on a hilltop called Arda Mór about 10 kilometers from our house.

Three Stones with Peader for perspective

Three standing stones close together in a straight line are aligned to the setting sun at Winter Solstice. There is a fourth stone that was a puzzle to me when I first visited the place several years ago. None of the locals that I spoke to knew its purpose.

Fourth Stone

After pacing over and back several times I discovered that the fourth stone indicates where to stand in order to see the setting Sun aligned with the three stones. If you put your back to the three stones and walk in their alignment, away from the setting Sun, until the fourth stone is at right angles to your path, this is the spot to view the setting Sun over the three stones.

Cup and Saucer pattern on 4th

Fourth stone has a cup and saucer pattern often found on these stones.

Moon nearly full opposite Sunset 1

Today I arrived there with my friend Peader about a half hour before sunset and we were joined by just five other people. The place is however fairly remote and there are no sign posts to get there. The Moon was up on the far side of the sky.

Sunset over standing stones

Peader read a poem in Irish that he had written describing this place and this event. One of the other people called John Ahern read a piece he had written that lead over into Christianity and to the Trinity.

Ireland is not known for its clear skies and such events can
sometimes meet with disappointment. Today we had some cloud that added suspense and drama to the event but we had a clear view of the sun for most of the time. There was no wind which is unusual for here and there was a very delicate peaceful atmosphere.

As soon as the Sun disappeared, Peader pulled out a penny whistle and played a soulful slow air. The event was simple and at the same time sublime.

Back at our cars, John provided us all with hot tea and raisin bread. Sin é(that’s it)

6 October 2007

Zodiac Signs for Anthroposophists

Rudolf Steiner, founder of anthroposophy with its daughter movements of biodynamic agriculture, anthroposophical medicine, Eurythmy and Waldorf education, was born with the Sun in the sign of Pisces. His wife Marie was also born with Sun in Pisces and so was his close collaborator in anthroposophical medicine, Ita Wegman, so was Ehrenfried Pfieffer, a leading figure in biodynamics and so was Emil Leinhas, a prominent figure in Steiner’s Threefold Social Order. I wondered if Pisces birth sign was dominant in these Steiner-connected movements.

Anthroposophists, followers of Steiner’s philosophy are often said to be walking around with their feet not quite on the ground and this may well fit with the image of the Pisces person. However an analysis of the birth charts of 306 anthroposophists shows that the most frequently occurring birth sign for both Sun and Moon was Taurus, the most earth-bound sign. I am building up a database of birth charts of people who were historically involved with anthroposophy and will continue to monitor this as the database grows.

Sun Signs-click on bar graph for a larger clearer image

Moon Signs-click on bar graph for larger clear image

The data was processed and bar graphs produced with the astrology research program JigSaw.

28 September 2007

Sun and Moon

Recently, a local sailor and fisherman came to see me to ask about the Moon. He said he really couldn’t understand the movement of the Moon in the sky.

We are given to understand that the earth moves around the Sun and the Moon moves around the earth. Interestingly, when you observe them carefully you notice that they seem to follow the same pattern in the sky. Let us take a look at the four seasons.

Spring: At the spring equinox the Sun rises due east at 0 degrees Aries sign and in the constellation of Pisces (see chart—Inner circle shows Zodiac Signs, outer circle Zodiac Constellations) The Sun goes medium high in the sky and then sets exactly in the west. Equinox means that the day and the night are the same length of twelve hours.

Summer: At high summer, when the sun is just going into constellation of Gemini, it rises in the northeast, goes high up in the sky and sets in the northwest. At that time we have a very long day and a short night.

Autumn: At the autumnal equinox when the Sun is in constellation of Virgo it behaves the same as in spring, rising due east and setting in the west. Once again, we have equal day and night.

Winter: In the middle of winter, when the Sun is in the constellations of Sagittarius it rises in the southeast, stays relatively low in the sky even at noon and then sets in the southwest. At that time of year we get a very short period of daylight and a long period of darkness.

Moon Pattern: The Moon follows a similar pattern but what the Sun does in a year the Moon does in a month. Once every month, when the Moon is in the constellation of Pisces it too rises in the east and sets in the west just like the Sun at Spring-time. When the Moon is in the constellation of Gemini it behaves like the Sun in the summer; when it is in Virgo it behaves like the Sun in autumn and when it is in Sagittarius it follows the winter pattern. The Moon goes through all of the constellations each month, whereas the Sun takes a whole year to go through them all.

Moon Phases: At new Moon, the Sun and the Moon are together in the sky so that if the Sun is in Sagittarius, then so is the Moon and they will follow the same pattern in the sky. Of course you won’t then be able to see the Moon because it is overwhelmed by the light of the Sun.

The Moon and the Sun are opposite each other at full Moon. If it is winter and the Sun is in Sagittarius then the moon will be opposite in Gemini. So you can see that if there is a full Moon in the winter then the Sun will stay low all day whereas the Moon will follow the pattern of the summer Sun rising high in the sky and spend a long time in the night sky.

This year we should be able to see a beautiful full Moon at Christmas time. It is exact on Christmas Eve morning at 1:15 AM--see chart.

15 August 2007

Moon Phase at Birth

In an earlier post A Vision - The Phases of the Moon I promised that I would present some data to see how the system works in relation to the birth chart. Yeats has 28 phases of the Moon, one for each day of the lunar cycle, He points out in his book A Vision that people with an early Moon phase are learning about the world and that people born at full-Moon know how to function in the public domain. For people born in the last quarter, there is a wish to leave worldly matters behind and to turn inward.
Here is a small study using the birth charts of 300 people involved in Rudolf Steiner’s anthroposophy.

The study showed:
62 people born during 1st quarter Moon,
89 during 2nd quarter,
70 during 3rd quarter and
79 during 4th quarter.

I wondered if there would be a tendency for people involved in a lifestyle encompassing a spiritual perspective to be born during a late moon phase. The results however show that the largest segment is the second quarter which would indicate a striving outward into the world. It is of course true that most of these people were actively involved in the world, caring for sick and the needy, active in business, teaching or the arts.

This bar graph shows the number of people born at each of the 28 phases of the Moon.
Click on the graph for a larger, clearer image.

Below is a list showing how many people were born at each phase together with the Yeats' descriptions for each phase of what he called the Will.

10 people at Phase 1-Complete Objectivity
12 people at Phase 2-Beginning of Energy
2 person at Phase 3-Beginning of Ambition
10 people at Phase 4-Desire for Exterior World
7 people at Phase 5-Separation from Innocence
11 people at Phase 6-Artificial Individuality
10 people at Phase 7-Assertion of Individuality
14 people at Phase 8-War Between Individual and Race
7 people at Phase 9-Belief Instead of Individual
14 people at Phase 10-The Image-Breaker
14 people at phase 11-The Consumer, Pyre Builder
11 people at Phase 12-The Forerunner
15 people at phase 13-The Sensuous Man
14 people at Phase 14-The Obsessed Man
10 people at Phase 15-Complete Beauty
11 people at Phase 16-The Positive Man
10 people at Phase 17-The Daimonic Man
6 people at Phase 18-The Emotional Man
11 people at Phase 19-The Assertive Man
11 people at Phase 20-The Concrete Man
11 people at Phase 21-The Acquisitive Man
8 people at Phase 22-Balance of Ambition/Contemplation
12 people at Phase 23-The Receptive Man
16 people at Phase 24-The End of Ambition
11 people at Phase 25-The Conditional Man
9 people at Phase 26-The Hunchback
11 people at Phase 27-The Saint
12 people at Phase 28-The Fool

Only two people showed up in Phase 3 and this Yeats calls a phase of self sacrifice.

He who bends to himself a joy
Doth the winged life destroy,
But he who kisses the joy as it flies
Lives in eternity’s sunrise.

The sample is relatively small, taken from the birth charts of 300 people. The time-of-birth was available for about 50% of the people which means that the phase could be off by ‘one’ in some instances. However, since my objective was to look for larger trends, I felt that this would not unduly distort the results.

29 May 2007

Zodiac Signs and Constellations

The chart on the left was cast for 1:40 pm today in Dingle. You can click on image to enlarge it. I am happy that the astrology program that I use, Solar Fire, is able to produce a chart with both signs and constellations. The outer ring shows zodiac constellations and the inner ring shows zodiac signs.

Every time I make a presentation on the stars the question of signs and constellations comes up. There is the impression on the part of the more scientifically minded people that only the constellations are real. They posit that since, in our time, the Sun rises in the constellation of Pisces at the spring equinox, the claim- that the Sun goes into Aries at that time- is untrue. I would like to suggest that both viewpoints are true, just the perspective is different.

Zodiac Constellations are twelve unequal segments along the ecliptic (apparent path of the Sun as viewed from the earth.) The dividing points between the constellations were decided by a scientific convention in the early 1930’s. Once a year, at the spring equinox, the Sun returns to the same point on the ecliptic, but not quite; after 72 years, an average human lifespan, the Sun slips back about 10 in relation to the constellations of the zodiac. This is known as the precession of the equinox. The average size of one constellation is 300 and therefore it would take about 2,160 years (72x30) before the spring Sun rises in the next constellation back. In ancient India the Sun rose in Cancer at the spring equinox, ancient Persia in Gemini, ancient Egypt in Taurus, Greco/Roman times in Aries and now it occurs in Pisces. The amount of time that the Sun takes to traverse all 12 constellations is called a platonic year (2,160x12= 25,920 years)

Zodiac Signs are twelve equal divisions of the stars along the ecliptic or apparent path of the Sun as viewed from the earth. The signs come about through the relationship of the earth and Sun. As you know, the seasons are brought about by the tilt of the earth’s axis and the rotation of the earth around the Sun. For those of us located north of the equator, summer solstice comes about when the northern hemisphere is tilted towards the Sun and the winter solstice when it is tilted away from the Sun. The spring and autumn equinox both occur half way between these two points. One could say that the zodiac signs exist in time rather than in space. The first sign, Aries begins at the spring equinox followed by Taurus and Gemini. Cancer begins at the summer solstice and then you have Leo and Virgo. At the autumnal equinox Libra begins followed by Scorpio and Sagittarius. At the winter solstice Capricorn begins followed by Aquarius and Pisces. Then we are back to spring and to Aries.

Most Western astrologers work with the zodiac signs and in India, where astrology is widely practiced, they use the zodiac constellations. The latter approach is becoming more popular in the West and is known as Vedic Astrology. Anthroposophically extended astrology takes both signs and constellations into consideration. In general you could say that the signs in a birth chart have to do with this life, with the here and now whereas the constellations have to do with the life before birth (the other world.) Another way to express this in anthroposophic terms would be to say that the signs have to do more with the physical and etheric bodies and the constellations with the more spiritual parts, the astral body and the ego (I.)

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19 May 2007

Esoteric Astrology

There is very little information on anthroposophically extended astrology in the English language. However, in German, there is a vast body of knowledge; even on my own bookshelf there are 40 books on the subject. This therefore is a first attempt on my part to make some of this information available to those who have not yet mastered the German language.

There is a little book by Dr. Heinz Herbert Schoeffler Gibt Es Eine Anthroposophische Astrologie? (Is There Such a Thing As Anthroposophical Astrology?) The book has just 47 pages but is packed with information about his topic. Schoeffler points out that, in his early works, Steiner intimated that astrology would not be understood until the long distant future. However, this view changed over his lifetime. In January, 1914 he spoke of how the astrology of the third post-atlantean epoch (Egyptian/Babylonian times) was coming up again and that we would need to study it, taking into consideration the Christ event that occurred in the meantime. Subsequently Steiner wove man’s relationship with the stars into almost every aspect of his work, agriculture, medicine, eurythmy, education, special needs education and so on.

Towards the end of his life, in 1924, Steiner spoke about specific birth charts for the first time in public. This was in the lecture series Education for Special Needs:Curative Education Course. At that time he also formulated the relationship between the various bodies of the human being and the planets as follows:

Spirit Man--------------Neptune

Life Spirit---------------Uranus

Spirit Self --------------Saturn

Consciousness Soul----Jupiter

Intellectual Soul--------Mars

Sentient Soul-----------Venus

Sentient Body----------Mercury

Etheric Body------------Moon

Physical Body-----------Sun

A description of the various bodies mentioned above can be found in Steiner's book Theosophy.

Schoeffler goes on to show how Steiner, over time, touched on just about every consideration of astrology:planets, the ascendant, mid-heaven, zodiac signs and
beneficial and hindering aspects, the whole of Thema Mundi in all its details; but he never spoke of the twelve houses. Schoeffler gives a historical perspective of the houses and then proceeds to draw out of Steiner’s works a description of them. He concludes with the following descriptions:

House Astrology Anthroposophy
1 Own personality Time of birth, physical body, own personality
2 Earnings through own abilities Etheric body, above/below
3 Education, small journeys, siblings Astral body, thinking/feeling/willing
4 House, home, heredity Individuality (ego), opposition, essence of being
5 Children, art, lovers Encounter, threefolding
6 Work, troubles, small animals, acute illnesses Above and below, stars and the earth
7 Personality of partners Reincarnation, warmth, time. Stepping over the threshold.
8 Chronic illness, dying, death, acquisition through marriage. Dying, death, culmination
9 Science, books, publishing, large journeys, in-laws Rising up to the starry world
10 Deeds, profession, position, power, victory. The human being at the highest periphery
11 Friends, social gatherings, house of luck Sojourn in cosmic heights and beginning descent
12 Enemies, prisons, hospitals, physical illness, large animals. Adversity in confinement

In case you are not familiar with Thema mundi: Firmicus Maternus an astrologer and a christian from the fourth century wrote of the Thema Mundi. It is a 'birth chart' for the world with each planet in the 15th degree of the sign that it rules. The origin of Thema mundi goes back to a much earlier time.

Steiner spoke also of the planetary rulerships on 8 January 1918 in the lecture cycle Ancient Myths:" Every constellation of the Zodiac is related to a particular planet and must be regarded as belonging to that planet".

Dr. Heinz Herbert Schoeffler (1921-2003) was born in Leipzig, Germany. He was a medical doctor specializing in pedriatrics and anthroposophically extended medicine. He lectured on anthroposophical medicine and on astrology and wrote several books on these subjects in addition to the one referred to above. He saw it as one of his life’s tasks to reconcile astrology and anthroposophy.

22 February 2007

Mercury Retrograde

Mercury Retrograde (14 February to 8 March)

Viewed from the earth, all of the planets move around the zodiac in the same direction and following more or less the same pathway as the Sun. This pathway is known as the ecliptic. Strangely enough the apparent path of the Moon also follows this pattern. The planets Mercury and Venus move through the zodiac signs with the Sun, sometimes a little in front of it and sometimes a little behind it.

Sometimes the planets appear to move in the opposite direction to the Sun for a while and then they resume their forward movement. At the beginning of February, Mercury in the sign of Pisces was running ahead of the Sun which was in Aquarius. It was then visible as an evening star. On 14 February it came to a stand-still at about 15 degrees ahead of the Sun and began a retrograde movement. On 23 February Mercury will have moved back level with the Sun to a position known as inferior conjunction and will not be visible being too close to the Sun. A few days later it will appear as a morning star. It will continue to move backwards until 8 March when it will come to a stop again at about 22 degrees behind the Sun. Mercury will then have moved back into Aquarius and the Sun will have moved forward to Pisces. Mercury will then resume its forward movement once again and will disappear from view when it makes a superior conjunction with the Sun.

When Mercury is retrograde it is often hard to get new things started and travel arrangements can get confused or delayed. Communication, especially of a technical nature, often gets fouled up. Technical devices such as computers or telephone equipment are more likely to break down during Mercury retrograde. It is however a very good time to do things that begin with “re” such as revise, repair, renew and relax.

In her book Anthroposophy and Astrology, Elisabeth Vreede writes as follows: “In terms of the horoscope, the essential relationship of the inner planets to the Sun must be considered. The position of Mercury and of Venus in relationship to the Sun-whether a conjunction of elongation, whether as morning star or as evening star-determines a soul’s national and family feelings.” And further “For Mercury and Venus, the constellations in which they are situated are not as important as for the outer planets. The greater or lesser distance they have from the Sun in the birth horoscope essentially reflects the experience the soul had in passing through the spheres in question (before birth).”

Astrological literature does not usually deal with the issue of Mercury as morning or as evening star but I did find an interesting article on the web by Michael R. Meyer called The Four Faces of Mercury. He describes four types in relation to the birth chart: Mercury as evening star-retrograde, Mercury as evening star-direct, Mercury as morning star-direct and Mercury as morning star-retrograde.

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