Astrology is a bitch (and we love it)

It was an innocent walk in the park. Luís and I were just trying to relax after a long and exhausting week. We were not expecting what happened next. As we were strolling along, something heavy and compact bumped into our legs. A small black dog, friendly and jumpy, just came out of nowhere and stood for a moment in front of us, smiling like dogs do, before going off running again after another dog. Cute, we thought, and we continued our walk. After a while we noticed that the dog was following us. The other dog had gone home, but this one had stayed. He is not really following us, we said to each other, he’s just going home, and it happens to be in this direction. Could be – but in the back of our minds we noticed that he had no collar. A few more steps and we reached the end of the park. Further ahead there were busy streets full of cars. We turned back to return home, hoping the dog would finally go his way. No – he kept following us, this time in the opposite direction. We stopped. He stopped in front of us, waiting. There was no doubt: he had adopted us.

We are both animal lovers, Luís and I, but truth be said, we are most definitely cat-persons. We have cats at home. Cats – not dogs.

So, there we were, the two of us and the black dog, in the middle of the park, on a Sunday afternoon. Now what do we do? A horary question, of course! Luís had his iPhone and there is an app for that!

Here is the chart: 31st January 2010, 16:16 UT, Lisbon, Portugal (ASC 22ª08’)

Quite surprisingly, the dog is represented by dignified Jupiter in Pisces; it is posited in the 8th house, which is the 3rd derived from the 6th (small animals). It was therefore in good conditions (dignified benefic) and possibly close to his home. We concluded that the dog was OK and that it would be just a matter of time before his owner would take him home. We walked around the park. We asked some people passing by. We waited for the dog to tire of us and go home. All in vain.

So, how could this be? How could the chart say one thing, and reality, another? Another quick look at the iPhone, just to confirm if the chart was radical – and it was: the ruler of the hour was the Moon, and the Ascendant was Cancer. Definitely, a valid chart – and still, so different from reality. How could this be? And then we finally realized: the dog was OK because he was with us! No owner was about to appear, we were the ones who were going to take care of him! In the chart, the Moon, ruler of the Ascendant (and therefore representing us) applies to the opposition of Jupiter (the dog). So, we were taking the dog in. It was an opposition because it was complicated for us, because of the cats. Another thing: Jupiter was in the 3rd not because the dog’s home was nearby, but because we live in the neighborhood.

So, it was not the Astrology that was wrong. It was our understanding of the chart that was incorrect.

Ok, then. The dog’s fate was up to us. We started to make phone calls to everyone we could think of, to get the dog a temporary home, while we found him a permanent home. A nice old lady passing by produced a piece of rope, and we manage to improvise a leash. We could not risk crossing a busy road with the dog without some kind of restraint. We took him to the vet (there is one open on Sundays near our home) and we confirmed that he had no chip implanted. Then we took him home (just into the hall, because of the cats), to give him water. And we waited for a miracle.

And the miracle came: Luís’ father has a friend who keeps his dogs in a private kennel. He accepted to lodge this one for a few days, just to give us time to get him a proper home. Halleluiah!

So off he went to the kennel. The dog didn’t wanted to stay there, and it broke our hearts to leave him in a box. We just had to do it, for his own good. He is now protected from cars, warm and well fed; and he has a future, something he would not have if he had stayed in the street – but we cannot explain this to him.

We are now publicising the case, trying to find it a home. Does anyone want a nice friendly dog?

And by the way: it is a bitch!

Helena Avelar


Filed under Event

Murder, She Wrote: the strange case of the medieval sniper

Being an enthusiastic student of history and having the habit of scrutining ancient chronicles in search of the birth data of historical figures, I am always thrilled when I eventually find such data. This is the case of the Portuguese Duke Dom Pedro, whose birth data can be found in the Chronicle of Fernão Lopes [1] . Dom Pedro was the second son of King João I and Queen Philippa of Lancaster (herself the first child of duke John of Gaunt and Blanche, Duchess of Lancaster). Here is his natal chart, calculated for the 9th December 1392, 01:00 am LAT (Local Apparent Time), Lisbon, Portugal.

The most evident feature of this chart is of course the Moon conjunct the Ascendant, suggesting movement, adaptability and popularity; the latter is further emphasised because the Moon rules the MC. The Moon is in airy and sanguine Libra, another strong sign of sociability and politeness. The Moon in 4th quarter adds a phlegmatic note to his behaviour, thus making him somewhat shy and introverted. “He was graceful in speech – the chronicler says – and his sentences were grave and substantiated”.

Saturn in the 1st house also contributes to the reserved side of his nature, but as it is strongly dignified by exaltation, triplicity and face, results in a courteous and somewhat sophisticated manner. “He was liberal in the right measure (…) and he delighted in study”. Indeed, he was exceptionally intelligent and cultured, having translated into Portuguese some of the classical Latin works. Saturn is also the almutem of this chart, which confers upon him a pronounced sense of individuality. Among his brothers and sisters, he was called ‘the English one’, that is, the one closest to the English style and character of his mother, Phillipa.

As to his physical appearance, it was also determined by Saturn as all the chroniclers describe him as having a “long face… thick nose…and coarse hair”. As to the Moon, it can be detected in his ‘dull eyes’ – definitely an accurate description, although not a very pleasant one.

He had a great devotion to the Archangel Michael, and because of that the adopted the archangel’s symbol of the Scales in his coat of arms. Could it be just a coincidence that is Ascendant is Libra, the scales?

He travelled widely, visiting the courts of London, Bruges, Venice, Rome, Germany, Hungary and Spain. All these travelling brought him the nickname of ‘prince of the seven corners of the world’. Travels are suggested by the angularity of the Moon and Mars which is still conjunct to the MC, although debilitated, in moveable signs. Also the ruler of the 9th house, Mercury is in the 3rd, closely aspecting the Ascendant and the Moon, therefore promising several journeys, both short and long. The main motivation for his travels was definitely mercurial; he wanted to learn and to experience new places and new people. For him, the words ‘prince’ and ‘wise’ “should be one and the same thing”.

But as both Mars and Mercury are debilitated and retrograde, there is some difficulty or discomfort related to travel and learning. In fact, the other reason for his travels was that he felt undervalued.

As the second son of the king, Dom Pedro was not meant to reign, however, his natal chart says otherwise, as it places the ruler of the MC in the Ascendant. In fact, a complex set of circumstances led him to a position of great power.

His older brother, Dom Duarte[2], died in 1338 at the age of 47, a victim of the plague. He left his six year old son, Afonso, as heir to the throne. The obvious regent for the kingdom was the dowager queen, but she was rejected by some because of her Spanish ascent, and eventually ‘invited’ to return to her natal Castille. Being Afonso’s paternal uncle, Dom Pedro was the next logical choice as regent. Life at court was not what he had planned. He had intended to retire to his duchy near Coimbra, to study and work in translations, but he decided to accept. He ruled wisely and capably, for an entire decade. During that time, he developed a good relationship with his nephew, and even after the young king’s coronation he maintained his position as political adviser and favourite uncle. He also arranged Dom Afonso’s marriage with a suitable bride – which coincidentally happened to be his daughter. Wise man, indeed.

But during all the time of Dom Pedro’s rulership some factions at court had been undermining his work and poisoning his relationship with his nephew. In Dom Pedro’s chart Mercury rules the 12th house of secret enemies, thus pointing to intellectual, argumentative and crafty enemies, and because the planet is debilitated, also disloyal, prone to gossip and intrigue. Mars is also debilitated, rules the 7th of opponents, and is conjunct the 10th house, therefore pointing to strong opposition; the debility of Mars suggests resentful and covertly aggressive opponents. The Moon, ruler of the MC, aspects the two malefics, Mars by square and Saturn by conjunction; all the planets are in angles making the situation impossible to hide. And though technically the Moon is not besieged because Mercury interposes[3], it is still in a very difficult position; and besides, Mercury is the ruler of the 12th house, being therefore of little help in this matter. With all these conditions, difficulties and oppositions, both in personal and in public life, are to be expected.

The young king soon came under the influence of Dom Pedro’s enemies, and believed that his uncle was hindering his plans. By the spring of 1449, things at court were so tense that Dom Pedro decided to withdraw to his duchy, hoping that this would help to calm down his opponents. It was a wrong move. His enemies took advantage of the situation and set a trap for him. The Duke of Bragança (who was his half-brother[4] and main opponent), accompanied by a heavily armed escort, demanded permission to cross Dom Pedro’s lands, pretending that they were in a rush to get to Lisbon. Dom Pedro took this demand as a personal offence and sent his own army to intercept him. Again it was a wrong move: this was the excuse his enemies needed to provoke a conflict. The news soon spread to Lisbon and the Portuguese nobility immediately began to take sides. The king supported the Duke of Bragança, and a large faction of the nobility did likewise.

In spite of his fall from grace, Dom Pedro still had some powerful allies. His 11th house ruler is the Sun, a clear symbol of power, dignified by triplicity, thus ‘among his own’ and in the 3rd house of close relatives. One of his supporters was his younger brother Henrique (Henry the Navigator), who tried to intercede.

But it was already too late to achieve any agreement: incited by the Duke of Bragança and other noblemen opposite to Dom Pedro, the young king sent his army to engage his ‘rebel’ uncle. Meanwhile, Dom Pedro and his men moved towards Lisbon – yet another bad move. The two armies clashed in Alfarrobeira, on the 20th of May, 1449.

Now here is the mysterious part: Dom Pedro died in this battle, but the circumstances of his death were never clear. He was shot in the heart by a single arrow, but his body presented no other wounds, nor any sign of a fight – definitely not the classic case of death in battle. Actually, it would be very difficult for an enemy to get close enough to attack him, even in the heat of battle, because he would have been at some distance, overseeing the battle, and surrounded by his escort at all times. As it would be expected of a 57 year old man and a member of the royal family, only on occasion would he have engage in combat.

The circumstances of his death are described in his natal chart: Venus rules both the Ascendant and the 8th house, identifying the individual and death – he contributes to his own downfall. But this possibility of danger would not by itself be enough to predict certain death, if it was not aggravated by the poor condition of Venus, combust and cadent in the 3rd, and afflicted by the opposition of Mars in Cancer – an arrow (Mars) through the chest (Cancer).

Some of his allies at court were not convinced that he died in battle; there were rumours that he had been assassinated by a cross-bowman – the medieval equivalent of a sniper. If so, his death was murder, not a casualty of battle.

The chronicler, Fernão Lopes, seems to have no doubts about this, as he clearly says “the bowman who shot him was well known and very skilful in the craft”, and “he was chosen [by Dom Pedro’s enemies] to hasten his death”.

So, he says it was murder, and the solar return for that year agrees with him:

– The Moon is again conjoining the Ascendant in a airy sign, and this time it rules the 3rd house of brothers and short travels. Once again it is afflicted by the malefics, as it separates from a dissociate square of Mars and applies to a square of Saturn. In fact, he was confronted by his nephew (another 3rd house signification) and his half-brother while travelling to Lisbon;

– The ruler of the return’s Ascendant is Mercury which is afflicted by combustion in the 8th house of death, thus suggesting a dangerous, if not fatal, situation. Furthermore, Saturn, ruler of the 10th in the return, is peregrine (therefore having no support) and is conjunct the South Node (loss, depletion), pointing to a possible loss of status;

– Allies are of little help this year, as they in the return are signified by Jupiter, ruler of the 11th, which is peregrine and cadent in the 6th house; it also rules the 7th and 8th houses, therefore identifying the allies with the opponents and death.

– On the other hand, the enemies are strong: Mars, the ruler of the return’s 12th house of secret enemies and conspirators, is strongly angular in the 10th house. (It is worth noting that Mars rules the natal 7th of opponents.)

Everything in Dom Pedro’s solar return speaks of betrayal and death. Shot by a sniper? Most probably. The astrological chart also confirms the chronicler’s theory.

So, murder it was. Even with 600 years of delay, it is good to come to a conclusion.

Note: this stet conflict between uncle and nephew has a wider context, as it symbolises the conflicts between two forms of government: the medieval, exemplified by the king and feudal lords, and the modern principles of government, incarnated by Dom Pedro, a forerunner of the Modern Age. Things were changing rapidly in the 15th century, and in astrological terms, this corresponds to a major change, as the Jupiter-Saturn conjunctions were shifting from the Air signs to the Water signs. The conjunction before the battle occurred on 17th July 1444, at 9º Cancer – right on Dom Pedro’s MC!

Helena Avelar


[1] Crónica de D. João I, written by Fernão Lopes (reprinted in 1983 by Livraria Civilização). The chronicler says “he was born in the city of Lisbon, one hour past midnight, nine days of the month of December of 432 years” (Era of Caesar); although the medieval chronicles are often wrong when it comes to dates (as this one is), there are several other documents which confirm the year of 1392.

[2] The name “Duarte” is a Portuguese version of the English name “Edward” (another version is “Eduardo”); although not a common name for a Portuguese king, it was taken from his maternal great grand-father, King Edward III of England (the father of John of Gaunt).

[3] Technically, besiegement occurs only when a planet separates from an hard aspect with one of the malefics and applies to hard aspect of the other; in this case, the Moon separates form the square of Mars, but then it applies to the sextile of Mercury (which is not a malefic), before perfecting the conjunction of Saturn.

[4] Afonso Duke of Bragança (1377-1461) was the bastard son of King João I and Inês Pires, a commoner.


Filed under Historical event, Historical Figure

The cat eclipse – a horary tale

This is another cat story, one of a long stream of animals we have rescued throughout the years.

Some time ago I was working at the office, in our 3rd floor flat, and because the windows were wide open I could hear the neighbours talking in the backyard. I was only vaguely aware of their presence, because my focus was on work, but somehow one of the sentences captured my immediate and total attention: “the cat is going to die”.

My immediate reaction was to rush to the window and try to find out what that was about. I saw a man and two children in the backyard of the next building. The children, two girls of about 10 and 12 years old, seemed distressed, and the man, a builder, seemed totally indifferent to them. As he moved way to the farthest corner of the yard, I called the children and asked them what the problem was. The problem was, obviously, a cat – or more correctly – a kitten.

According to the girls, a stray kitten had “inexplicably” jumped into the sewage pit, which had being open for repairs (later I found out that the kitten was trying to escape the children’s unwanted attentions). The girls thought they could pull him out, but they soon found out it was impossible, as the hole was too deep and too narrow; the kitten could not climb out and the children could not reach to pull him out. As they had been warned not to disturb the kittens, they knew they would be chastised for their actions. So, their first reaction was to hide the fact and hope the kitten could miraculously escape, which of course did not happen.

After some time, the builder appeared and started to put back the final section of the drain and its cover – therefore, unknowingly, burying the kitten alive. By then, the girls were so distraught they were willing to risk a reprimand, as long as the kitten could be rescued. So they told the man what was happening, hoping he would help. But, shockingly, the man showed no compassion either for the animal or for the children. It seems he had warned the girls earlier that day not to chase the kittens, so he thought it was only logical (and, in fact, educational) that the cat should die a horrible death, just to prove his point! His reply to the children’s request, “the cat is going to die” was the sentence I had overheard.

As soon as I realized the gravity of the situation, I called Luis for help. During all this time he was at the computer, totally unaware of the situation, but it took only two words – “cat emergency” – to prompt him. We rushed to the neighbouring backyard with a transporter box, and we got there just in time: in that brief interval the builder had sealed the drain, and the kitten was now imprisoned inside the pit. Trying to remain calm, we asked him politely to remove the cover, but he replied he had to go, because he had finished work for the day. And so he did, totally indifferent to the fact that a living being was choking inside the pit.

We promptly removed the tube to allow some air and light into the drain, but the problem remained, as the hole was too small to allow rescue. Fortunately, Luís found an alternative: the main junction of the sewer was just a few centimetres away, and if we could remove the lid, perhaps the cat could be retrieved through the opening, which was considerably larger. It took great effort and co-ordination to remove it, as it was stuck fast, but Luís did it, and the sewer was finally open.

The kitten was at the bottom of the pit, facing the opening, in deep shock, and no longer reacting. It was a pitiful little thing, cold, wet and dirty. He didn’t try to escape, and didn’t even move when Luís reached in and grabbed him. We showed him to the children, who were extremely relieved, and hurried to bring him home. We cleaned him and tried to raise his body temperature, as hypothermia is an extremely serious (sometimes fatal) condition in a cat. He reacted eventually, but remained inert and somewhat vacant. By then we realized we had a previous commitment, an astrology class, and students should be arriving at any moment. So we left him in a warm room, with a bed, food, water, a litter box and an electric heater, and went to the class. Because so many of our students are animal lovers, we talked about the situation after the class, and asked them to help us find a good home for the kitten.

The kitten just after being rescued
The kitten just after being rescued

Back from the class, later that evening, we found the kitten a bit better, but still not reacting; he had not touched the food or used the litter box, in fact, he hand’t even moved from his previous position. We were not certain that he would recover from his horrifying experience.

So, we asked the question: How is the cat?
Here is the answer.

The chart is very clear: the cat is great! The Sun, ruler of the 6th house, has just entered Leo, therefore becoming dignified. The previous situation is also clearly represented: the Sun (kitten) is just separating from the South Node (diminishment, damage); so the kitten is just moving away from a potentially damaging situation. Furthermore, this Sun-Node conjunction was a solar eclipse, which occurred in the last degree of Cancer. This is very descriptive of the situation: the cat (Sun) has disappeared into a drain (eclipse in Cancer, a water sign). But right after that terrible event, the kitten enters a new and much better condition (represented by the sign of Leo, which it rules). The kitten was therefore very well, or it would be well soon.

This proved to be right, as the kitten fully recovered within a few days, and we found him a new home, a week later. He is now being properly cared for and loved, and we hope the terrible experience in the sewer will eventually fade from his memory.

Kitten a few days after

Kitten a few days after

Helena Avelar


Filed under Event

The Tradition News!

Dear friends,

The Tradition NEWS is an occasional update on the proceedings of The Tradition journal proper. It is free of charge and enables us to bring information to you that would otherwise have to wait for the next issue of the journal. This time we bring you the results of the House System Poll. Please download you copy here!

We hope you enjoy it!

The editors,
Helena Avelar, Luís Ribeiro and Sue Ward

Leave a comment

Filed under Announcement

William Lilly’s nativity by himself

Sue Ward has just made available on her blog William Lilly’s true nativity.

This a very important information. So far the only source for the chart of this great astrologer came from his rival John Gadbury – which is know for his errors in chart data. Now we finally have a chance to look at the real thing, from Lilly himself.

Read the complete post at:

Leave a comment

Filed under Announcement, Historical Figure

Sue Ward in Lisbon

Workshop: Temperamentos e Aparência física

Sue Ward was in Lisbon last Saturday to present a workshop on The Temperaments and Physical Appearance. Sue also explained the correlation between the natal charts and marks, moles and scars, using the charts of the participants as examples.
Here are some photos of the event:

Workshop: Temperamentos e Aparência física

The participants

Workshop: Temperamentos e Aparência física

Sue Ward with her usual sense of humor

Workshop: Temperamentos e Aparência física

Applying the technique

Leave a comment

Filed under Announcement

Anna Kingsford: a warrior for her beliefs

Since we are talking about animals in The Tradition web log, it seemed appropriate to evoke the life and work of Anna Kingsford, one of the most prominent, and yet relatively unknown, British women of the 19th century.

Anna Kingsford was born at 5:00, 16th September 1846 in Stratford, Essex, England (the chart was corrected trough the primary directions to 4:53 pm) [1].

In her natal chart Saturn, the ruler of the Ascendant, is strongly placed in Aquarius (a fixed sign) in the 1st first house, clearly describing her strong will and firm sense of individuality. But the harsh, saturnine traits of her personality were somewhat softened by her sanguine temperament, which conferred her sociability and versatility.

While conducting a busy practice as a physician, she could still find the time to pursue many other activities in the areas of spiritualism, literature and charity. She was a writer, a feminist, a lecturer, a spiritualist and – above all – a devoted supporter of animal rights.
Her 9th house of beliefs and religion starts in Scorpio, a fixed watery sign, which associates stubbornness and emotional intensity to these matters. The 9th house ruler, Mars, is combust and therefore distempered by the Sun; this configuration adds impatience, boldness and excessive zeal to her beliefs, sometimes to the point of obsession. In fact, she could go to extremes, devoting all her time and energy to what she believed it was right.

In order to continue the animal rights and anti-vivissection campaign from a position of authority, she decided to study Medicine in Paris. She left for France with the blessing of her husband, but at the university she was confronted with aggressive rejection from some of her teachers, who could not accept a female student.
At the university she witnessed some horrific situations of cruelty against animals in the vivisection laboratories, and these visions would haunt her for the rest of her life. Again, the Sun-Mars conjunction can be linked to this ‘haunting’, as it is placed very close to the cusp of the 8th house, of fears and death.

In spite of all the odds, she managed to obtain her degree in Medicine – and she achieved it without ever performing a single experiment in animals, something unheard of at that time. Her final thesis, later turned into a book, endorsed the benefits of vegetarianism.

She was also active in the spiritualist movement in England, and became president of the Theosophical Society in 1883. Most of her works in this field are now available in digital format.

At heart Anna Kingsford was a writer and a communicator as Mercury, dignified and angular, stands as her main vocational significator. The participation of Venus, which is conjunct to Mercury and in mutual reception with it by term, makes her also a poet and a storyteller. She started writing poetry and stories at a very early age, published countless articles in the field of medicine (especially about vegetarian nutrition) and was for a brief period director of an avant-garde magazine.

Throughout her life she suffered from poor health, and her passionate campaigning efforts in favour of her causes ultimately contributed to her premature death at the age of 42.
In 1886 she travelled to Paris to visit Louis Pasteur, a well-know vivisectionist, trying to collect evidences of cruelty towards the animals in his laboratory, in order to publicly expose him. In November 17th, while waiting in front of Pasteur’s laboratory, she was caught in heavy rain; she stood there for several hours, her clothes soaked and exposed to cold wind. Her already fragile health suffered terribly because of this episode: what could be a simple cold developed into pneumonia and later into consumption. She never recovered, and died 15 months later, on 22nd February 1888.

Helena Avelar


1) Among other indicators: Ascendant in primary directons squaring her natal Moon, ruler of the 6th house of illness, by the time of her death. The differences between the two charts are minimal, although important. For the 5:00 pm chart: Ascendant: 17º00’ Aquarius; MC: 11º47’ Sagittarius; P. Fortune: 03º58’ Capricorn. For the 4:53 pm chart: Ascendant: 13º53’ Aquarius; MC: 1 0º08’ Sagittarius; P. Fortune: 00º48’ Capricorn.

1 Comment

Filed under Historical Figure