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Claus Stauffenberg: A Hellenistic Perspective

This week we present an article by astrologer and researcher Maria J. Mateus – Claus Stauffenberg revisited by Hellenistic astrology.

Helena and Luís


Claus Stauffenberg: A Hellenistic Perspective

by Maria J. Mateus

Birth Data: November 15, 1907, 1:00 AM, Jettingen, Germany (source: Astrodatabank, citing birth certificate in Astrolog.)

Hellenistic astrology is event-based (apotelesmatika). It does not concern itself with a study of the individual character of a native, but rather with the kinds of events that will occur in the native’s life. It is easy to interpret the relative impact, fortune, and success of a famous person’s life events when we know in retrospect what that event is. This is not so when we are looking at a chart blindly or at the chart of a young person who has not yet left their imprint on the world. Thus, Hellenistic astrology first establishes the entire life as a single event whose good or bad fortune must be assessed as a type of overall signature. Only then can the individual life’s events be placed within the broader backdrop of this life’s general signature.

If we did not know anything about Claus Stauffenberg’s life, we would first want to consider how generally fortunate this man’s life as a whole will be. Will his life be filled with unrest, fear, grief or with success, prominence, abundance or renown? The assessment comes from an examination of the condition of the sect light and its trigon lords (1), or what has been translated from the Medieval tradition as triplicities. Valens says of the 3 trigon lords: “If the ruler of the preeminence [the first in the sequence] by day or by night should fall amiss upon badly situated zoidia, while the ruler by proxy [the second in the sequence], should be found upon a pivot point and well figured, then after the native has had his ups and downs in his early years until the ascension of the zoidion or until the return of the circular period, he will later be active, except that he will spend his life without stability and in fear.”(2) The criteria he uses to assess the condition of the trigon lords are as follows: whether they are at a pivot (angle), post-ascension (succedent) or decline (cadent) house, whether they are rising or setting, or in their own signs, and whether they are witnessed by benefics or malefics. Of the two authors who write about this technique, Valens places heavier weight on the sect condition of the trigon lords, while Dorotheus places a greater emphasis on their house placement.

Let us then look at Stauffenberg’s sect light and its trigon lords. Stauffenberg was born at night, therefore his sect light is the Moon. The Moon is in Pisces, the sign of the water trigon, whose rulers in the nocturnal order are Mars, Venus, and the Moon. The Moon is in a partile conjunction to Saturn, an indication that the life as a whole has difficulties “shining forth”.

The first trigon lord in the nocturnal sequence, Mars, is said to rule over the first part of his life.(3) Mars is located in Aquarius, the 6th house, a declining place, and does not see the sect light. Valens says Mars in sect will “entrust leadership and generalship and popular rank in public affairs,” particularly since it is also witnessed by Jupiter. However, the poor condition of Mars as trigon lord of the sect light indicates that even while Claus might attain military prominence and rank, the first part of his life is generally expected to be difficult, with “ups and downs” as Valens notes and “without stability and in fear”. We know from his biography that Claus was a frail boy and prone to illness in his youth, which is consistent with a 6th house Mars placement.(4) Dorotheus says that if the lord of the trigon does not see either the sect light or the Ascendant, “this indicates also that he will not long survive, especially if Saturn or Mars be in this place.”(5) The second part of Stauffenberg’s life is ruled over by Venus, the second trigon lord of the nocturnal sect light. Venus is located in Sagittarius, the 4th house (a pivot), is witnessed by a benefic, Jupiter, and does itself see the Moon, the sect light. Additionally, Venus is in sect in a nocturnal chart. This indicates that the second part of his life should generally be more supportive with benefits coming from his family and/or homeland.

The question then becomes when does the 1st part of the life give way to the second part? Using the method Valens gives to calculate the activation times of the trigon lords,(6) we find that Mars is located in Aquarius and becomes activated at his birth latitude just before his 20th year of life (when he is 19 years old). This means that the Mars period in his life activates sometime in 1926. It is that very year that Stauffenberg joins the military, becoming a member of the family’s traditional regiment, the Bamberger Reiter-und Kavallerieregiment 17 (17th Cavalry Regiment) in Bamberg. It is not clear from the traditional texts what the exact role of the participating trigon lord is. We are only told that it “participates” with the other two trigon lords. Interestingly, the Moon rules the 11th place, which relates to alliances and patronage and its ascensional time activates it in 1922. It is during this time at school that Claus and his two elder brothers join the Neupfadfinder, a youth movement where they develop a number of friendships that will ally him with the nationalistic ideas of poet George Stefan and his circle. Many of the members of this circle would later become active participators in the resistance movement. Thus, the Moon appears to participate in the circle of friendships that will play a part in his failed coup.

Venus, the second trigon lord activates by ascensional time during his 37th year of life, that is, just before he turns 37 in November of 1944. From his biography on Wikipedia, we read that in 1943, Claus was promoted to lieutenant-colonel of the general staff and sent to North Africa to fight the Allies. His vehicle was hit by British forces and he was severely wounded losing his hand and left eye. During a slow recovery back home, he participated with conspirators of the resistance movement and actively developed a plan to assassinate Hitler from September 1943 to July 20, 1944. The plan was unsuccessful and on July 21, of 1944, Stauffenberg was executed for high treason. Interestingly, another central figure in the assassination plot was Claus’ eldest brother, Berthold, who was executed by slow strangulation. We note that Mars rules both the 8th house of death as well as the 3rd house of siblings. To put it in Hellenistic terms, it seems then, that Mars was handing over the times to Venus at just about the time when he died. Had he been successful, one might have expected a very fortunate remaining life with benefits coming from the homeland coming from the Venus activation. But other time lords interfered with the transition.

The Divisions of the Times

Having established a general signature for the life as a whole and identified a problematic governing of Mars as trigon lord for the first part of it, we may now turn more closely to dividing up the life into smaller segments. A full exposure of these time lord techniques is not possible. Instead, we’ll simply examine the Hellenistic version of Primary Directions translated as circumambulations (7) since quite a few of the Hellenistic authors spend a great deal of time discussing them. In contrast to the Medieval method of directing, the circumambulations establish periods of influence corresponding to the ascensional time (in a 1 degree per year correspondence) that it takes the prorogated point (Dorotheus’ haylaj) to traverse a particular bound (term) at the birth latitude. The planet ruling over the bounds of this period becomes a time lord that governs over the nature and quality of the events pertaining to matters of that hyleg.

We’ll examine the prorogated Ascendant in Stauffenberg’s chart, since it has to do with matters affecting the body, travel and changes in residence. The circumambulating Ascendant entered the 7th degree of Libra – the bounds of Mercury – in February of 1935 and would remain within Mercury’s bounds until it reached the 14th degree of Libra in July of 1944. Thus, with regard to matters affecting the body, travel and changes in residence, Mercury had primary rulership during this period (Abu Mas’shar calls this the distributor of the years or the Zamoktar, according to the Persians). We find that Mercury is particularly important with regard to the body and physical life since it also rules the Ascendant in Stauffenberg’s natal chart. It is natally located in Scorpio in the 3rd house in a superior square to Mars. Mercury is not in good condition: it is retrograde, in none of its rulerships, in a declining house, and combust. Therefore, during this time we might expect setbacks and difficulties relating to communications, documents, travel, vehicles, and ideas that may have repercussions on his body and occupation (also rules the 10th). Because of Mercury’s testimony to Mars, we would also expect these endeavors to relate to the war and his military duties. Hephaistio says that when Hermes (Mercury) distributes the years and it is located in the signs ruled by Mars, it “causes clamor and business intrigues, and accusations and oppressions and slanders and insurrections of enemies and slaves and pain and treachery in dealings.”(8) We’ve already seen that it is at the end of this period that he is wounded in a military attack on his vehicle and certainly intrigues and insurrections abounded.

Abu Ma’shar says that if Mercury distributes the years but is in a corrupted state “the native will be unwell with terrible ailments”. During this 9 year period, Mercury’s distribution has a participating influence from Jupiter, since Jupiter casts a sextile ray into its bounds. According to Abu Ma’shar, “it indicates an increase of knowledge and education, through which the native will be benefited, and he will acquire benefits and wealth from kings and rulers.” In his biography, we read that in June 1944, Stauffenberg was promoted to Colonel and appointed Chief of Staff to Home Army Commander General Friedrich Fromm, the only man able to implement operation Valkyrie.(9) This gave him direct access to Hitler’s briefing sessions and  set the stage for his downfall.

Abu Ma’shar also tells us that the period when a bounds ruler hands over the distribution of the times to another time lord, this is the most intensified period during the planet’s governance.(10) We find this to be the case here, since it was precisely at the change-over in July 1944 that Stauffenberg’s plan to assassinate Hitler was implemented. In itself, the handing over of the distribution from the bounds of Mercury to those of Jupiter would not have been interpreted as a particularly difficult one. But in Stauffenberg’s chart, Jupiter has several problems associated with it. First, it is located in the 12th place, a declining house related to imprisonment and secrets, it is out of sect, and it forms a superior square to Mercury and witnesses the malefic Mars through opposition. Thus, the transition could bring strife or imprisonment through enemies in high rank, particularly from enemies who govern the homeland (Jupiter rules the 4th and 7th).

1943, A Closer look at a terrible year

Having identified the period between 1943 and 1944 as particularly problematic, we will use the Hellenistic method of profecting from the Ascendant to find the lord who is said to hold the ‘time-lordship’ over that year, (11) which we know in retrospect was Stauffenberg’s fateful final year. On Stauffenberg’s 36th birthday (his 37th year of life), the Profection had come to Virgo, the rising sign of his nativity. A profection through any of the angles always marks a significant time. Thus, with a Virgo profection, we also have Mercury activated as time lord for the year running from November 15, 1943 to November 15, 1944. Therefore, the handing over of the distribution becomes activated under this very profection.

The Hellenistic authors all tell us that the planet ruling the annual profection needs to be checked in the nativity as well as in the Solar Revolution and by transit. We’ve already seen that Mercury is configured with Mars in the nativity, as well as being opposite the Part of Fortune, both universal significators for this life as a whole.(12)

In the Solar Return (the Solar Revolution) for this year, we find Mercury has once more returned to its natal sign of Scorpio, is combust, and in a declining house (the 6th) that does not see the Ascendant, nor any of the planets it disposits in Gemini (Moon, Mars and Saturn). Dorotheus says that if the year lord is in the western part of the sky it indicates misfortune. Interestingly, as ruler of the Ascendant of the Solar Revolution it receives a superior square from Jupiter in Leo, echoing its 12th house placement in Leo in the nativity. Therefore, this solar return also marks a return of Mercury and Jupiter to their natal signs, yet another sign – given what we already know about the division of the times – of a particularly significant year.

In the transits for the day of the plot, July 20, 1944 we would also be interested in what Mercury was doing. We find that on this day, Mercury has come to within a 3 degree opposition to natal Mars and a superior square to its own natal position. Thus it is setting off the potential that has been signaled by the larger time frames mentioned earlier. Although Mars is not the year lord, it is, as was mentioned earlier, a participator in the distribution of Jupiter, which occurs during this year. In the transits for July 20th,1944, Mars is in partile square to the Midheaven, both disposed by Mercury. Thus, all of the danger associated with Mars is triggered through his public occupation (the MC).

We can see from this abbreviated examination how a Hellenistic astrologer would have followed a thread that begins with the most important universal chart element (the trigon lords of the sect light) and traced it down through a series of time-lord techniques to a particular year and day containing a high degree of danger to the life.


Endnotes:

(1) This technique is outlined in The Anthology, Book II, Chapter 2. Vettius Valens. as well as in Carmen Astrologicum Book I, Chapter 22. Dorotheus of Sidon.

(2) The Anthology, Book II, Chapter 2.

(3) The Anthology, Book VII, Chapter 3. Although it is not the case here, it is possible for the ascensional times of the signs in which the trigon lords are found to activate them in a sequence different from that dictated by the trigon. Thus, had Mars been in Sagittarius and Venus in Aquarius, Venus would have activated before Mars.

(4) Hoffmann, Peter. Stauffenberg. A Family History, 1905-1944. Second Edition (Revised). (Montreal & Kingston, London, Ithaca:  McGill-Queen´s University Press) 2003.

(5) Carmen Astrologicum Book I, Chapter 25.

(6) The method consists of calculating the Ascensional times of the sign in which the planet under consideration is located or the planetary period of that planet. See The Anthology, Book VII, Chapter 3 for details.

(7) This seems to be a commonly used technique in the Hellenistic tradition, although there are variations in its use and calculation. Here, I follow Ptolemy who is unique in using the directed significators topically, rather than selecting a universal significator, as in Valens IV, 11; Hephaistio II, 26; and Dorotheus III, 2.  See Ptolemy’s, Tetrabiblos. Book IV, Chapter 10.

(8) Book II, Chapter 35

(9) Hoffmann, Peter. Stauffenberg. A Family History, 1905-1944. Second Edition (Revised). (Montreal & Kingston, London, Ithaca:  McGill-Queen´s University Press) 2003.

(10) On Solar Revolutions. Book II, Treatise III.

(11) See the technique as it is outlined by Paulus Alexandrinus. Late Classical Astrology: Paulus Alexandrinus and Olympiodorus with Scholia by Later Commentarors. Dorian Greenbaum trans.ARHAT. pp.130-133. See also Apotelesmatics. Hephaistio of Thebes. Book II. Chapter 27; and The Anthology, Vettius Valens, Book IV, Chapter 17.

(12) We will not treat this here. Further discussion of the role of the Part of Fortune in assessing the overall good or bad fortune of the life as a whole can be found in The Anthology. Vettius Valens Book II, Chapter 3.

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Old habits die hard: a practical guide to the contemporary traditionalist

Old habits die hard – this is certainly true for astrology students who try to ‘go Traditional’ after several years of contemporary practice. As an increasing number of students reach intellectual maturity, they choose to study the Tradition, in order to expand and deepen their astrological knowledge. But this study, although simple at first glance, is in reality quite difficult. It requires a complete mind set change, discarding the old habits and allowing new ways to ‘think astrology’. It is a major change, for it implies modifying the very core of astrological perception.

This change has proven to be as difficult and challenging as, say, learning to write with the non-dominant hand – no simple thing, as can be easily confirmed by anyone who tries it. The difficulty resides in the long-established habits of thinking (the more physiologically-inclined would refer to the neurological pathways of the brain) which prevent, or at the very least make it very hard, to have new thoughts regarding ‘old’ topics. In other words: it is difficult to learn a new astrological approach (in this case the Traditional one) because of old, deeply embedded astrological habits, which in most cases were learned and practised for years.

In this article we will present some suggestions on how to bypass these old habits, in order to establish a solid foundation to the leaning and practising of the Tradition.

Pride and prejudice

First of all, let us talk about the most difficult factor of them all: pure and simple pride.

Those who studied contemporary astrology enthusiastically and whole-heartedly for years, no doubt take some pride in their technical knowledge and delineation skills. It is therefore understandable that they respond with raised eyebrows to any suggestion that they might be partially wrong. How can they be wrong? Well, it happens. Everybody is wrong on occasion, but only a few will openly admit it. It surely happened to the contemporary renowned traditional astrologers as they, just as everybody else, started by learning contemporary astrology, and at a certain point they had to admit they were wrong, in order to expand their astrological knowledge. So, if they did, why don’t we?

Those who surpass this first obstacle soon find themselves in new and exciting territory, full of possibilities. Some see it as an alternative to the more contemporary approaches of astrology – and here we find our first prejudice. Traditional astrology is not just another alternative; it is not another way to look at it, or a new trend born out of the dusty mind of some eccentric traditionalist, and soon to be forgotten. Traditional astrology is ‘the real thing’. It is astrology as it has been practised interruptedly throughout the centuries, without major reformulations or additions.

Traditional astrology sets the rules for reliable delineation and it offers the possibility to accurately predict future events. ‘To predict’ – here is another prejudice related to Traditional astrology, the recurrent accusations of determinism. It is out of the scope of this article to discuss this matter in depth, so we will only state that astrology (whether Traditional or Contemporary) is not fatalistic, although some astrologers (again, Traditional or Contemporary) are. This concept emerged around the beginning of the 20th century, and it has ever since been used as an excuse to dismiss the Tradition, it came forth from the ignorance of some astrologers, who simply could not understand the Traditional rules (or go to the trouble of study them) and so decided they had to be reformed, to adjust to their own and simplified view of the Universe.

Yes, it is possible to predict with Traditional astrology, as long as the Traditional rules are correctly understood and applied. And by the way, the long-term dispute between fate and free will is, in fact, pointless as they both have their place in Traditional astrology.

Less is more

The first practical step towards the Tradition is to ‘clean’ the chart, to make it work better. Simple and clear charts work better, cluttered charts confuse the mind. So, what should we take away? Well, modern astrology, of course, and all that pertains to it!

– Planets

Let us start by taking of the modern planets – all three of them, Uranus, Neptune and dwarf Pluto. And since we are at it, let us also remove the asteroids, planetoids, midpoints, etc. Every celestial body that cannot be seen by the naked eye has to go. For some astrologers this is a bold step and a frightening one too. Facing an almost empty chart is almost like looking into the abyss, but as Nietzsche would say “it also looks back at you” (1), and in this case it reveals the very essence of the chart. By clearing the chart, we allow the mind to quiet and to focus; only then can we perceive the perfect balance of the spheres, without the ‘white noise’ of all the extra planetary bodies. From the apparent emptiness surfaces a complete and deep delineation.

– Aspects

Since we are talking of ‘empty’ charts, we might as well know that there is yet another level of emptiness to achieve that is, the removal of the aspect lines in the centre of the chart. This avoids distractions, and keeps the students from jumping into the aspects right away, even before weighing the planets and determining significators. Although removed from the chart, the aspects will not be lost; they can be listed on the side, or simply calculated when needed during the delineation (and yes, this is perfectly possible, as any of our 1st degree students would confirm). Another important change: only the conjunction and the major aspects – opposition, trine, square and sextile – are considered in the Traditional system; all the minor aspects disappear (2).

– Orbs

Since we are at it, we might as well reset the orbs of the aspects according to the Traditional rules. That means that instead of orbs by aspect, we will have orbs by planet – a totally new concept. In practice, we gain some aspects, and we lose some too; the results are sometimes surprising.

So we now have an empty, almost ‘zen’ chart, with ‘only’ the seven classical planets, and ‘only’ the classical aspects, with no aspects lines in the centre, and with a completely different concept of orbs.

After all these changes, are we ready to go traditional?

Not quite yet. There are a few more technical adjustments to do.

– House System

The other main technical point is the choice of a house system. We will not go into much detail here, as this topic has been widely discussed among the main experts of this field. Some astrologers choose a house system appropriate to the period he/she intends to study, while others prefer to apply different systems for different purposes (for instance: one for natal, another for horary), and others look for a ‘universal’ system, suitable for all purposes and periods.

In any case, astrologers should understand, at least in general terms, the mathematical and philosophical principles of the system of their choice. And we don’t mean just to know that a give system divides time, or another divides space, we mean the mathematics! Again in any case, they should not choose randomly, nor use a system just because it is the default of the computer, or because everyone else uses it.

So finally, we have attained the technical basis for a Traditional chart – a simple, clean and functional chart. But there is something still missing. The Traditional chart is just the starting point, not the goal in itself. We still have to learn to interpret according to the Traditional rules, and for that we need to shift from a Contemporary mind set to a Traditional one – and that is the real task.

No artificial additives, please

Here is the really difficult part: even when we understand the technicalities and have the ability to ‘read’ the chart in the appropriate language, we can still feel the need to add something more to the reading. For some astrologers this means adding some ‘extras’, like tarot, chakras, crystal-therapy or reiki (or everything together). While all these topics can be valid ways to express one’s spirituality, they can also be a distraction to our main goal: astrology, and the ability to deal with it efficiently. And for some astrologers this habit of adding extras is so embedded they cannot read a chart without them.

Among the most common additives to astrology today we find mythology, psychology (in some cases, psycho-babble) and all sorts of therapeutic approaches. Although it is appealing to combine astrology to all these things, the fact is that the majority of practitioners replace astrological knowledge and technique with them. Therefore, their replacements are used as ‘patches’ to compensate for technical inconsistencies and to cover for pure and simple ignorance of the astrological system.

To put it crudely: if astrology doesn’t work without ‘extras’, it is because the astrologer didn’t learn it properly, and so it is the astrologer who cannot ‘work’ properly. This should not be taken personally, for it is not that big a deal. The great majority of today’s astrologers have learned astrology the ‘bad’ way (that is incorrectly, incompletely and mixed with other subjects), simply because that was the only astrology available at the time. Only afterwards were some of them able to un-learn the bad habits and begin to move towards a better astrology – as so many students are trying to do now.

When we understand the main astrological techniques and achieve some proficiency, we perceive astrology as an autonomous and proficient knowledge, able to function by itself, so no additives are necessary to make it work.

Learn it properly – from the start!

If we study the Traditional system thoroughly, with dedication and commitment, we soon find out that it works. Astrology describes reality as it is, and if we learn to read a chart (whether natal, horary or other) according to the Traditional rules, we can attain that ability. We fail eventually, of course, but it will be by our misunderstanding of the system, not by astrology’s fault.

Unfortunately, some prefer to attribute their own mistakes to any other cause but to themselves. Therefore, some say the ‘malfunction of astrology’ results from the loss of ‘ancient knowledge’; although part of this is possible, we have nonetheless a significant amount of knowledge retrieved from ancient sources, more than enough to provide complete and accurate readings. Others prefer to attribute their astrological faux pas to the gap between ‘old’ astrology and ‘human evolution’, arguing that humanity has reached a state where the ‘old’ techniques no longer apply. To those it must be pointed out that astrological knowledge is perennial and therefore appropriate for all stages of evolution; cultural or technological change should not be confused with the transcendence of the human condition; all things considered, in essence we are really not that different from our ancestors. In fact, the so-called malfunction of astrology is due to a simple fact: students don’t learn it properly. They should allow themselves enough time to learn, to practice, to fail, to understand the mistakes and to correct them.

Our suggestion is to keep astrology as a separate field, at least during the learning process. This will give it room to develop as an independent field of knowledge and allow the student to apprehend its specificity. If we don’t do it, we will never be able to learn astrology properly, by itself, and we will go on insisting that it does not work.

No shortcuts

This process of learning astrology in its purest state – that is, according to the Traditional rules and without mixture – requires two things: patience and trust. It takes a while to learn the basic concepts, and a while longer when we have to un-learn the contemporary theories and then re-learn everything according to the rules. It takes a bit more to re-gain proficiency in interpretation and prediction, and much more to achieve a deep, intuitive (often a misused word) understanding of the astrological principles. Only deep study and commitment can bring depth and solidity to astrological knowledge. But patience is only a part of the requirements to get rid of old habits and re-learn astrology; trust is the other, and no lesser, part.

As we all know, trust does not come easy; trust grows in us – slowly and tentatively. This is so for any situation, and it is particularly true for astrology students, as they are trying to make sense of a singular and somewhat marginal knowledge, very different form the present-day Cartesian-based thought. In astrology, trust must come from study, deep thought and experience – and all this requires a long period of development, which brings us back to the patience topic. So this is the knot we have to untie: on one hand patient study which requires an a-priori trust in the astrological system, on the other, the ability to trust the system even before it has proved itself reliable. Unlike the proverbial Gordian knot (3), this one cannot be impatiently severed by a stroke; the only way to do it is the patient way. There are no shortcuts in astrology.

Here and now

Still talking about ‘extras’, it is worth mentioning that some astrologers feel the need to refer to the native’s past lives while reading the chart. This is a rather common practice, and in fact it is regarded as a ‘must’ by some. Nowadays it is almost compulsory for the beginners to bring the subject into their readings. This distracts the native from the most important moment of his/her life: the present. In short: while reading a chart, keep the past lives in the past and the evolution in the future; focus on the present. Describe the native’s here and now, enhancing his/her skills and possibilities, goals and challenges. A good, solid reading, delivered in a clear and realistic manner, is much more impressive – and more useful, in both the material and the spiritual planes – than any speculative interpretation of past or future lives.

Thou shall not preach

Personal beliefs are not part of astrology. Some astrologers are deeply religious, others are not. They both can be good astrologers, or they can be bad ones – it all depends on their astrological skills, that is, their capacity to interpret an astrological chart. Personal beliefs do not necessarily enhance the astrologer’s abilities; in fact they can even diminish them, as they hinder the astrologer’s neutrality and clarity of mind.

So, astrologers should suspend their pre-judgements when it comes to this matter. Spirituality is – we must keep in mind – a very personal and private matter, totally independent of the astrological practice. Opinions and experiences regarding spiritual matters can of course be addressed on many occasions, as they constitute an important part of life for many people; they should not however be mingled with the astrological reading, nor should they be imposed in any way (directly or indirectly) through astrological means. Astrology is a language, and it is meant to be clear and reliable, it should not be a means to impose on others our own personal views.

Becoming an astrologer

So here it is, a general overview of the ‘old habits’ that any student must bypass in the transitions between Contemporary and Traditional astrology. To get over these habits is the task of all serious astrologers, as they stand in the way of astrological maturity.

Paraphrasing Simone de Beauvoir, we could state that one is not born an astrologer, but becomes one (4) – and we may add that the quality of what the astrologer we will become depends largely on our effort and commitment to overcome our flawed education, eradicate old habits and finally reconnect to the source of astrological knowledge – the Tradition.

Helena Avelar

Endnotes:

(1) From his book, Beyond Good and Evil; the exact quotation is “… if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you”.

(2) Except in primary directions, as exemplified by William Lilly in his delineation of the Merchant’s chart, Lilly, William, Christian Astrology, pg. 765.

(3) Gordian knot: a metaphor for a intricate problem where the only solution would be a sudden stroke; the name comes from a legend related to Alexander the Great.

(4) The correct quotation form Simone the Beauvoir (1908-1986), is “one is not born a woman, one becomes one”, or alternatively “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman” (alluding to the pressure forced upon women to act and behave only in the ways approved by the patriarchal society).

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Autopsy of a bomb attempt

In a previous post we had a brief look into Claus Stauffenberg’s nativity and predictions for the time of the bomb attempt; let’s now study the day of the event, 20th July 1944. The bomb attempt took place inside the Wolfsschanze (Wolf’s Lair), Hitler’s military headquarters near Rastenburg, East Prussia (present day Poland).

From the astrological point of view, the day of the event is extremely interesting. The day started with a solar annular eclipse at 27º 22’ Cancer, which occurred at 7:43 AM, Berlin, local time. It falls very close to Hitler’s natal MC (1), which could be a sign of loss of power, but its effects are not strong enough to overthrow him, because it is not visible in Northern Europe.

Stauffenberg took a plane from Berlin to the Wolfsschanze, having arrived around 10 AM, to attend a military conference. In his briefcase he carried a bomb intended to kill Hitler. The device had a detonator that would take approximately ten minutes to activate the explosive. The conference started at 12:30 PM, some minutes before the Sun reached the MC; the Ascendant was 18º Libra, curiously enough, very close to Hitler’s Ascendant (2). A few minutes later Stauffenberg made an excuse to leave the conference, entered an empty room and armed the bomb. From that moment, he had ten minutes to place the bomb again inside the briefcase, re-enter the conference room, place the briefcase close to Hitler, in order to kill him, make another excuse to leave the room, and finally reach a safe distance to escape the explosion – a sequence of actions that only someone with nerves of steel could perform. In astrological terms, this ‘ten-minute window’ is exactly the time the Sun-Node conjunction takes to reach the MC. Claus Stauffenberg managed to do all this without raising suspicions, and then he waited at some distance, for he wanted to be sure that Hitler would die in the explosion.

The explosion: 20th July 1944, 12:42 PM (CEDT -2:00), Wolfsschanze (Wolf’s Lair), 54ºN04’46’’, 21ºE29’37’’, East Prussia (present-day Poland)

The bomb detonated at 12:42, right when the Sun-Node conjunction reached the MC. This configuration can easily be correlated with the concentrated power of a bomb and to its ‘public’ nature. It is quite appropriate that the conjunction occurs in a watery sign, because the bomb had a ‘liquid’ detonator (the detonating process was activated by the crushing of a copper tube and the consequent release of the acid contained within; it would take about ten minutes for the acid to corrode the metal blocking the firing pin to hit the percussion cap; once released, the pin would hit the cap and the bomb would explode).

The chart has 20° Libra rising and the ruler, Venus, is in fiery Leo, a feral sign, in the 10th house of public actions, suggesting a high profile and uncontrollable event. The Moon is also in the 10th, and applying to the conjunction of Venus which rules both the Ascendant and the 8th house of death.

The explosion destroyed the conference room and mortally wounded three officers and the stenographer; Hitler survived, having suffered only minor injuries. But outside the building, at a distance, Stauffenberg heard the explosion and assumed the Fuehrer was dead. He immediately decided to drive to Rastenburg airfield, and from there take the plane back to Berlin. During the trip to Rastenburg two major changes occurred in the astrological configurations. At 12:49 PM the Moon entered Leo; as the Moon rules the MC in the chart of the explosion it can be seen as the leader (Hitler) moving away from danger (combustion, the explosion); between them is the North Node, a benefic, which can be interpreted as a protection. Two minutes later, at 12:51 PM, the MC moved from Cancer to Leo; this also suggests a change of scene. These two occurred right after the detonation when the military managed to rescue Hitler (only slightly wounded, but considerably shaken) from the debris and move him into a more secure place – therefore we have the leader, signified by the Moon, moving away from the explosion (the Sun) and going into another room (new sign).

Stauffenberg’s aeroplane took about two hours to reach Berlin, and during that time the Ascendant changed from Libra to Scorpio (at 01:38). So now Mars rules the Ascendant and Venus rules the Descendant, which is the opposite of the chart of the explosion. This suggests a significant shift in the balance of power; it corresponds to the period when the Nazi leaders at Wolfsschanze regrouped for the counter-attack.

The plane landed in Berlin around 3 PM, and Stauffenberg immediately phoned to the Bendlerblock, the centre of the military resistance. He victoriously announced that Hitler was dead, but in turn was confronted with contradictory reports, saying that the Fuehrer had survived. By that time Mars, the ruler of the new Ascendant, is culminating, pointing to the rise of a new, aggressive power. From that moment on, the plot follows a hesitant and disruptive path, with some conspiritors implementing Operation Valkyrie in certain parts of the country, and others demanding a clear confirmation of Hitler’s death, and eventually changing sides; this lack of cohesion ultimately led to the failure of the plan.

By 7 PM the situation reached another critical point: Hitler had already recovered enough to talk on the telephone, confirming that he was alive. He ordered his troops to surround and seal off (but not to invade) the Bendlerblock, in order to regain control of the situation in Berlin. The corresponding astrological movement occurs in the MC, as it changes from Libra into Scorpio, (at 7:05 PM), thus placing Mars again in control.

Inside the Bendlerblock the situation had completely gone out of Stauffenberg’s control. He and three other conspiritors were rushed to the courtyard outside the Bendlerblock and executed by a firing squad at 00:10 AM of the 21st. The execution was hastily ordered by General Friedrich Fromm, which was intended to cover his participation in the plot (a vain effort, as he was exposed and executed a few months later).

The execution: 21st July 1944, 00:10 AM (CEDT -2:00), Berlin, Germany

At the moment of the execution, the Ascendant was at the beginning of Taurus, which is remarkable, because in the attempt chart this sign is on the 8th cusp. The situation set in motion by the bomb, is now coming to a conclusion; the possibility of death (the 8th cusp in the attempt chart) is now emerging (the Ascendant in the execution chart). In addition, all the planets that culminated by the time of the explosion are now in the 4th house, the lowest point of the chart, signifying the end of things.

The opportunity to overthrow Hitler was gone; he was to remain in power for another ten months, until his defeat by the Allied troops.

Helena Avelar

(1) Adolph Hitler’s chart was originally set for 18:30, according to the time given in his birth certificate, and it was later rectified for 17h58, by Wilhelm Wulff; in any case, the MC would vary between 04º Leo and 26º Cancer, therefore not very far from the eclipse.

(2) According to the time registered on his birth certificate, Hitler has 26º Libra Ascendant; Wulff’s rectification pointed to 20º Libra.

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A close call with death

Last Sunday a 14 year old boy was seriously hurt by an electrical discharge on Faro’s Train Station in Algarve, Portugal. Apparently the boy was practicing a “sport” called parkour; when he went over one of the carriages of a parked train he was hit by an electrical discharge, which throw him on to the ground and burnt his clothes and body. He suffered 70% burns on his body and is now recovering in the hospital.

The incident occurred on 29th March at 20:10 at Faro, Algarve, Portugal.
This is the chart for the event:

The ruler of the Ascendant, representing the boy is in very bad condition: detrimented, retrograde, combust and falling from the angle. This not only indicates his serious injure but also describes the event itself. Venus also rules the 8th House, which brings serious danger and the possibility of death.
The boy was practicing an extreme sport, which requires great stamina and involves going through obstacles, something which falls under detrimented Venus in a fire sign; his behavior was reckless (Aries) as it is forbidden to go on top of the train carriages, and he placed himself in danger of death by his own actions (Venus rules both the 1st and the 8th houses).
The electrical discharge itself is signified by the combustion (burns and energy surge) of Venus in a sign of Mars (a hot and dry planet), and its conjunction to fixed star Algenib, of the nature of Mars and Mercury.

He probably escaped death due to the trine of Jupiter to the Ascendant. Venus is in its own term and in mixed mutual reception to Mars, which also helped.
The Moon is in the 8th, but exalted and void of course, it also receiving a square of Jupiter, which is elevated above her, so he survived.

Luís Ribeiro

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Claus Stauffenberg: the man behind the hero

The Hollywood mega-production Valkyrie called the public’s attention to the failed attempt of 20th of July 1944 to assassinate Adolf Hitler, and to one of its protagonists, Count Claus Stauffenberg.

The attempt was meant to trigger Operation Valkyrie, an emergency plan approved by Hitler and intended to come into force in the event of the Fuehrer´s death or physical incapacity. This plot was the last of a series of attempts of the German Resistance to overthrow the Nazi regime. Its uncovering, and the subsequent execution of thousands of suspects, ultimately destroyed the resistance movement in Germany. (learn more)

Although Stauffenberg had no previous personal contact with Hitler, his military rank and functions granted him direct access to the Fuehrer, as well as first-hand knowledge of all his schedules and itineraries; thus he became a key element in the plot.

The birthchart

Claus Stauffenberg was born on 15 November 1907 at 1:00 AM, Jettingen, Germany (source: Astrodatabank, quotes birth certificate in Astrolog).

Claus Stauffenberg’s chart has a predominantly Melancholic temperament, which is prone to solitude and caution, rigorous, spartan in his habits, and a bit withdrawn. These traits are further stressed by the Moon-Saturn conjunction which emphasises and distempers the Melancholic temperament by adding to it a depressive tone. He also has some Choleric traits, which confer on him energetic and imposing qualities; these are also distempered by the two Choleric afflictions of the lord of the Ascendant: the combustion and the square of Mars.

The Melancholic-Choleric combination enhances the dry quality of the temperament (1), thus conferring strong will and a distinct trace of harshness, which is further intensified by the distempered conditions of Mercury (combustion and square to Mars) and the Moon (conjunct to Saturn), often turning into an oscillating behaviour, alternating between periods of solitary introversion and sudden outbursts of impatience (2).

His significator of mentality is Mars, which is in Aquarius, denoting a stubborn mind, determined to have things its own way and at its own pace, not easy to persuade and prone to arguing (due to the square to Mercury). Venus participates with Mars and because it is angular and aspects    the Ascendant, it adds a more polite and agreeable demeanour.

He had a difficult temper, but in social situations he was able to control it, enhancing his better side and deflecting the more aggressive traits of his nature to his military career. He was very determined (due to the emphasis of the Dry quality) and persistent, able to go to extremes to accomplish what he thought to be correct.

His military vocation is shown by the exact square of Mercury, the main significator of vocation, to Mars, its dispositor; note that Mercury rules both the Ascendant and the MC and Mars is in its house of joy. They are therefore strong significators of military vocation. This is further enhanced by the conjunction of Aldebaran, a star of the nature of Mars, to the MC.

In this chart there are clear indications of violent death:

– the ruler of the Ascendant, Mercury, is afflicted by the ruler of the 8th house, Mars, which is in a human sign (3), which points to death by the hands of men;

– the main significators related to death in this chart are placed in violent signs (4): Mercury is in Scorpio, Mars in Aquarius and the 8th house cusp in Aries;

– both luminaries are afflicted by the malefics: the Sun (which is also in Scorpio) has a square to Mars and the Moon is conjunct to Saturn, also suggesting active enemies and possible violence.

The chart also presents several configurations which suggest difficulties and struggle:

– the ruler of the Ascendant is combust and retrograde, and the Sun, which combusts (subdues, obliterates) Mercury, is the ruler of the 12th house, thus bringing into play some hidden or uncontrollable factors (12th house) into his life;

– Mercury squares Jupiter, the ruler of the 7th house of enemies (posited in Leo, a feral sign, in the 12th of secrets and limitations);

– the Moon-Saturn partile conjunction in Pisces, a strong significator for enemies and opposition.

The bomb attempt

Let us now see how these configurations where activated by the time of plot. We will use Primary Directions, Profections and his Solar Return of 1943, which was still active by the time of the bomb attempt, 20th July 1944.

Stauffenberg’s directed Ascendant was at 9º Libra, conjoining the antiscium of his natal Moon-Saturn conjunction in the 7th house (5). This configuration is a ‘red flag’ by itself, as it activates the potential for strong opposors signified by the natal Moon-Saturn conjunction. The Moon is also quite probably the hyleg of this chart, thus having determination over life. Additionally, he was in a planetary period (firdaria) ruled by Mars and the Moon, which due to the significations of these planets in this chart, also reinforces the possibilities of life-threatening situations.

As if these testimonies were not worrying enough, the solar revolution chart presents striking signs of danger.

In the revolution chart we find the Moon, Mars and Saturn conjunct the Ascendant – a configuration which speaks for itself. The Moon and Saturn are significators of enemies in his natal chart, and are activated by the directed Ascendant; furthermore, Saturn is the ruler of the 8th in the revolution chart. As to Mars (6), it is the natal ruler of the natal 8th house. It is therefore a clear configuration of grave and immediate danger, with the possibility of death. The Ascendant and the planets are in Gemini, which in the natal chart corresponds to the 10th house of public image, which emphasises the visibility of the event. Therefore some dangerous (Mars) enemies (Moon-Saturn in the natal 7th) which would come to him in this period (conjunct the Ascendant in the revolution).

The ruler of the Ascendant in the revolution is Mercury, the same as in the natal chart, and again it is combust, only this time in the 6th house, a weak and debilitated place. It receives a square from Jupiter, which rules the 7th house of enemies both in the natal and in the revolution charts. He was in a weak position before his enemies and too debilitated to overcome them – as we can see clearly in the revolution chart.

Helena Avelar

Notes:

(1) As the Melancholic is Cold and Dry, and the Choleric, Hot and Dry.

(2) For a complete calculation on the Temperament refer to Luís Ribeiro’s article “Judging Temperament: a study of the method”, published in The Tradition journal, 1st and 2nd issues (Autumn 08).

(3) William Lilly, Christian Astrology, page 646: “human signs, denote death by a man, as by arms or violence”.

(4) The violent signs are: Aries, Scorpio, Capricorn, Aquarius and Libra, according to William Lilly, C.A. page 644. For the complete delineation for violent death refer to C.A. page 644, chapter CLVI (of death, whether violent or natural).

(5) This event helped the rectification of this chart; the original time given by Astrodatabank from the birth certificate was 01:00 AM, which corresponds to 10º32’ Virgo rising; the chart was rectified in 6 minutes, which changes the Ascendant into 11º38’ Virgo rising.

(6) To be precise: Mars is in the 12th house, as it does not comply to the 5 degree rule, but its orb still reaches the Ascendant and it is conjunct the Moon and Saturn, which are conjunct to the Ascendant.

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Lulin’s effects – follow-up

In the current issue (Spring 2009) of The Tradition journal is Luís’ the article  “Comet Lulin: nasty little green thing”. This post is an addendum to that article.

The African country of Guinea-Bissau was shaken to its foundations last week, when two of its leaders – João Bernando ‘Nino’ Vieira, the country’s president, and General Batista Tagmé Na Waié, his political rival – were brutally murdered. Both men died within a short period of time. General Waié was assassinated on 1st of March late at night when a bomb exploded in his office; president Vieira met a violent end a few hours later when armed men invaded his house and hacked him to death with machetes. Besides the obvious political motivation of these murders, there is also an underlying motive of personal revenge, as the two men were long-term rivals. (more details here)

This violent crime can be linked directly to the comet’s traditional significations which are: “death of kings and Grandees, Nobles such as chief rulers”, as mentioned in the article published in The Tradition journal. It was also pointed that: “a comet in Scorpio indicates ‘abundance of war and rebellion’, ‘detriment and damage to soldiers’, ‘contemptions among great men’, ‘death of some eminent men’. (…) Its effects should be noticeable quite quickly because it is oriental of the Sun.”

In this case the “contention” between two powerful men ended with the assassination of one of them, the top military chief, General Waié, and the subsequent revenge taken by his soldiers on his rival, President Nino Vieira. This fits the description of the comet’s significations accurately.

The article also referred to areas where its effects might be felt:

“Its declination ranged from approximately 15ºS to 18ºN, thus in geographical terms its effects will have more emphasis on the equatorial and tropical areas of the planet which have around the same value of latitude. This would suggest Africa (particularly the North) as the place where its effects will be felt most strongly and because that is an area ruled by Scorpio and the rest of the Water triplicity.” As comet Lulin was first spotted in this sign, it is no wonder that its effects were felt in this area of the globe. As we can see on the map, Guinea-Bissau is situated just south of Mauritania, and therefore in an area ruled by Scorpio according to Ptolemy and with a range of latitudes between 11ºN and 12ºN40’.

The comet’s path, during its period of visibility, period crossed the Zodiac from Scorpio to Leo and on the day of the murders it was moving away from a conjunction of Regulus, a star usually related to kings and chiefs.

Let’s now take a quick look to the event chart. According to diplomatic sources quoted on the news, the murder of President Vieira, occurred on the 2nd March at around 5:30 AM:

The human sign of Aquarius rises, and its ruler Saturn is placed in the house of death in the human sign of Virgo. Mercury, ruler of the 8th house, is on the 1st in exact conjunction with Mars, showing a violent death by “human hands” (see William Lilly, Christian Astrology, p.646: “Humaine Signes, denote death by a Man, as by Armes or Violence”), in this case by soldiers (Mars). Mars also signifies the President (as ruler of the MC/10th house) meeting his death, because Mercury is the ruler of the 8th house from the 10th.

The Mercury-Mars conjunction seems to be the key element in this event, and the nature of the comet Lulin is also Mercury-Mars (see full article in the The Tradition for details). At this time the comet would have been opposing the conjunction and squaring the Moon. In fact, the murders occurred within a few hours of the exact Mercury-Mars conjunction, as we can see in the timeline:

– 1st March late night (exact time not found), general Waié is murdered in a bomb attack;
– 2nd March, 03:05 am, the Mercury-Mars conjunction perfects (this was the third conjunction of a series of three, due to Mercury’s recent retrogradation from Aquarius to Capricorn);
– 2nd March, around 05:30 am: President Vieira is hacked and shot to death in his mother-in-law’s house, after a siege which lasted at least one hour.

There is also a possible interaction with the Presidents nativity – Nino Vieira was born on 27th April 1939 (time unknown). Despite the unfortunate lack of a birth time, the natal Moon would be posited between 9º and 23º of Leo, therefore close to the opposition of the Mercury-Mars conjunction degree. This area of the Zodiac was also the place of the two last eclipses (a solar eclipse at 6º Aquarius, and a lunar at 20º Aquarius-Leo).

These were the almost immediate effects of comet Lulin – a shocking and violent crime, as it would be expected judging by its nature. Let us hope this was Lulin’s darker side and from here on its effects become dimmer.

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