Wednesday, December 21, 2011

I want a Curmudgeon for Christmas

John Lennon: His Inconvenient Truths

If you, the reader, have not yet read my previous blog entry, “Lovely Lori (Reta Gene),” it would be best that you set this article aside, go back and read the other first.

As I pointed out in that earlier article, my late wife really did know the Beatles. She had to contend with a lot of prejudice on the part of astrological snobs who felt that since she (and I) were not part of the elitist subset of the astrological community, that we had no right to discuss celebrities as if we knew them. I'll admit that I did not know John Lennon; Georgie was the only one who did.
When the Beatles traveled to India to visit the Maharishi, it was the beginning of a great metaphysical experience for them. They all gained a lot knowledge and some wisdom, in varying degrees in accordance with their own needs. Before the trip to India, John did not have much interest in astrology to speak of. He blithely accepted the birth data that his aunt thought she reembered for him: October 9, 1940 at 6:30 p.m. GMD in Liverpool. At that stage in John's life, astrology was no great concern.
After the Beatles returned to England, they were changed men in many ways. John thought that astrology might help him to get a better handle on the meaning of life. After some personal investigation and in-depth research, John found a more satisfactory birth time and abandoned the prior one. The 6:30 chart gave him an Aries ascendant and an Aquarius Moon. Neither of those placements really fit John. Physically, the only Aries trait that John exhibited was his prominent adam's apple. If John really did have Aries rising, he would have probably gone bald before the age of 30. Other astrologers think that an Aquarius Moon was a good fit because John was eccentric and because his wife, Yoko Ono, had the Sun in Aquarius. Believe me, limiting the study of synastry to Sun signs is much too shallow to dignify here.
The data that John was able to ascertain was October 9, 1940 at 7:14 a.m. in Manchester, U.K.. Perhaps the location in Manchester may be incorrect, but the time is most believable. This chart gives John a Libra ascendant and a Capricorn Moon. In my analysis of this chart, I realized that if I tweaked this time by a scant 4 minutes to 7:18 a.m., Neptune would have arced exactly to his ascendant on July 15, 1958, the date that John's mother was killed when a drunken driver ran over her. The conjunction of his Nodal axis with his ascendant-descendant axis reflected John's closeness to his mother. John was devastated by the his mother's death, and he never did recover from the emotional blow..
John's Capricorn Moon illustrated John's need to have an older woman serve as a mother substitute, and Yoko was 7 years older than John. Likewise, as Capricorn is ruled by Saturn, Yoko's darker complexion also fit the physical description provided by the Capricorn Moon. In the words of Noel Tyl, a person with Capricorn Moon needs “to administrate (sic) progress and to make things happen. In John Lennon's case, it reflects the battles he had with Paul McCartney over the course they each wanted the Beatles to take. John was looking for a venue for his highly personalized self-expression in music, prose and art. But Paul wanted the Beatles to be crassly commercial, reflective of the career of Paul's father, a British music hall entertainer.
Looking again at the death of John's mother, we must remember that solar arcs do provide the background framework for any event. But still, transits are necessary for these events that are called the “big bells”. The most revealing transits are Venus and Mars both squaring the Moon—and sopposing each other. Most likely, she died a few minutes later when the transiting ascendant was conjunct his Moon..
John's midpointology is also significant. The morning chart shows VE = AS / MC = SU / MC = NO / MO. The evening chart cannot possible come close to anything resembling those midpoint pictures. Although some people feel that John got his outrageous side from an Aquarius Moon, I submit that his midpoint picture, AP = UR / PL applicable to anyone born October 9, 1940, would suffice. Former major league baseball player, Joe Pepitone, was an astro-twin of John, and his own outrageous side was documented in Ball Four by Jim Bouton.

There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that John Lennon was born in the morning and is a double Libra with a Capricorn Moon.

Don “Donbee” Borkowski

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Lovely Lori (Reta Gene)

If I could remember the exact date that I met the woman I was to marry, the presentation of the astrology behind it would be even more dramatic. I do know I met the woman I'll always remember as Georgie in June of 1975. I'll just have to approximate the date for the middle of the month, using June 15th to check for the solar arc positions. I had SA Moon = Neptune, as well as SA Saturn and SA Mercury both = my MC.

This is a very difficult story to start at the beginning. As it stands now, there are so many factors that have to be weighed with the perspective of the lapse of many years between then and now.

I met Georgie at Press and Ima Roberts' Arcane Book Store in Portland, Oregon. Once after visiting his store one Saturday, Press suggested that I give her a ride home. I did and the next week I asked her out to dinner. On our first date, just to make conversation, I asked her if she knew any famous people. When she started stammering, I should have suspected something. Since she, herself, was extremely psychic, she probably just assumed that I was equally psychic, and suspected something. In reality, I am as psychic as the legendary bag of hammers. Later when I discovered her to be a compulsive chatterbox, I concluded that my simple, innoocent question must have really shaken her if it made her clam up so tightly. Later, it took a lot of work on both her part and mine, but we eventually got to know each other, somewhat. After experiencing a number of supernatural occurrences, it came out that not only had Georgie met the Beatles, she was friends with some of them. In fact she had even changed her name in a court of law to Georgeanne Veronica Harrison to honor her favorite one (and one of her favorite saints, as well.)
As the months went by, and I got to know her and her relatives, I became rather puzzled why her 17-year-younger half-brother always called her “Sister” and never by her name. I was later told that it was to make it easier on him having to deal with her name change. But it turned out that she had a number of names floating around in the ether for her. Officially, her given name was Loreta Gene McClearen. Since Loreta has only one “T”, the “E” is lengthened, as compared with “Loretta”. Add to this the fact that since her mother's name was also Loreta, my future wife was called “Reta Gene” by her family members. She didn't like that because she wanted her own identity. So she had her friends and peers call her “Lori”. Keeping in mind that because she was a compulsive chatterbox, she gave this background to most of her friends--including Paul McCartney. When she told Paul that in the United States, traffic wardens were called “meter maids”, he thought that was the funniest thing he had ever heard. So what started out as gentle teasing, “Reta Gene the Meter Maid” morphed into the hook on which “Lovely Rita” of the Sgt. Pepper album was based. In fact the term “meter maid” was not used in England until the Beatles popularized it.

Here is a link to read about her in the Astrologers' Memorial web page:

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Birth of An Arabic Part

In the 40-1/2 years since I began my study of astrology, many cultural and attitudinal changes have taken place. Some are good; others are not as good. One aspect of of an astrological study that I truly miss is the willingness to share new ideas with others. Back in the day, people shared new ideas most willingly. If a new idea had merit, it skyrocketed. If a new idea was bunk, it would peter out and just fade away. The marketplace of ideas would separate the wheat from the chaff. Nowadays, astrologers look on new ideas as ways to make money, and people are reluctant to share lest they get lost in the lurch, especially if they have put some substantial time and effort to introduce a new technique to the astrological community.
Now, more than ever, astrologers have become obsessed with mathematical rigor. I suppose that is necessary, but I truly hate to see how such stilted formality is stifling creativity. I think new ideas should be pursued with enthusiasm and joie de vivre at the outset. Once the new idea starts to take root only then should it be formalized. In the meantime, astrological creativity should not be stifled.
Nowadays, if some object has some astronomical significance, astrologers will assume that it must have some astrological significance, whether it does or not. Some astrologers will toss anything into a chart, even the kitchen sink. (I don't know for sure, but I am tempted to bet money that someone has probably gone so far as to name an asteroid “Kitchen Sink” by now.) In fact, Pluto had been known for 40 years when I took up our craft, and yet even then, many astrologers were afraid of committing themselves to adding Pluto to their astrological pallette. Pluto was generally ignored until Sakoian and Acker first published The Astrologer's Handbook in 1973.
Back in the early 1970's, I was a lonely, unloved man, and I truly envied all the people in my life who were sexually fulfilled. I spent far too much time and effort trying to ascertain when I would join the ranks of the sexually active. I noticed that my most fulfilled peers tended to have Pluto and Venus in a harmonious aspect—usually a trine where Pluto was 4 signs ahead of Venus. My choices of Venus, as the planet of romantic love and sensuality and of Pluto, as the planet of pure sex were fairly straightforward. Then I experimented with how to combine Venus and Pluto in a meaningful manner. If I went with Venus and Pluto in the other direction, my new Arabic Part would show up in the 9th house, tather than the 5th for those fulfilled people. By Jove, I then realized that I was onto a brilliant idea. When I computed this new Arabic Part for my own chart, I found it to fall in my first house. Oh well, it was plenty obvious what that meant.
I promoted my finding in the letters column of the March, 1974 issue of American Astrology magazine. I kept on promoting it every chance I got. When Press and Ima and I wrote Signs and Parts in Plain English, I included the Part of Sex Drive along with all the other Arabic Parts that had been known and used for centuries. Then when Astro Computing Services offered lists of all the possible Arabic Parts, I suggested to them that the formula of Asc. + Pluto – Venus be called the Part of Sex Drive, they adopted that name for it. Now my work is an official part of the astrological literarure. It figures that I have not been given the recognition that I deserve. But the right people do know from whence it comes.
Don Borkowski

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Where I'm Coming From

I started my study of astrology on June 7, 1971. I had been curious about astrology since 1960 when I read an article in Parade magazine by an astrologer that predicted that John F. Kennedy would defeat Richard Nixon in that November's presidential election. I felt that Nixon, as the sitting Vice-President, who “pinch-hit” for Eisenhower dring Ike's illnesses, was more qualified than Senator Kennedy.  Nixon lost, much to my disappointment, but I was now motivated to learn astrology so that I could make accurate forecasts. This was not just about elections, I wanted to make all kinds of predictions about the future and to be accurate about it.

Before I began my studies, I would buy any book that talked about astrology, but all I seemed to be able to find were books that said how wonderful astrology is. Heck, I always considered astrology to be wonderful, but I couldn't seem to find anything to show me what I really wanted to know—how to calculate a horoscope. Then in 1970, I acquired a roommate named Craig Fox who loaned me copy of My World of Astrology by Sydney Omarr. That book taught me a little bit more, but still left me hungry. I did not have to be convinced that astrology was valid and worthwhile. Then, finally, in 1971, I discovered a metaphysical bookstore in Portland, the Arcane Book Store, that had what I needed.

The Arcane Book Store was owned by Press Roberts and his wife Ima. If I may borrow a phrase from the Readers' Digest, Press was the most unforgettable character I ever met. I follows logically that many of my astrological beliefs are wither the same as I learned from Press or they are somewhat inspired by what I learned from him. One of Press's habits that I've adopted is to refer to people by their ascendants, rather than their Sun signs.  Since 2000, I have absorbed a great deal of knowledge from Noel Tyl and his books, with a particular focus on solar arcs and midpoints.

Press's classes were mostly learning by doing. In each class, a person was chosen arbitrarily to write his or her chart on the blackboard, and Press would read it to teach the principles of delineation. We were expected to have a basic knowledge of what the planets in the signs or houses would suggest to us. Press taught about hemisphere emphasis, element and quality stress, chart patterns a la Marc Edmund Jones—those topics that are more intermediate than the absolute basics. Then about halfway through most class sessions, Press would get bored and revert his focus to his favorite topic—medical astrology. Press was a retired licensed practical nurse, and Ima a was a active registered nurse. Every class contained so much off-the-cuff medical astology that I couldn't help learning it—and learning it well. I must say that although I am neither a physician nor a nurse, I can read a chart medically, even better than many of the “big names” out there.

Press took up astrology in January 1946. Interestingly, Zipporah Dobyns also began her studies in 1946. And they did have a number of similarities in their styles. Press got a lot of value by equating signs and houses. Zip did also, but she would also equate the natural ruler of the sign in question.  Press did his forecasting based strongly on transits and progressions, with quite a bit on emphasis on lunations.

Press was born roughly 11 hours before Queen Elizabeth of England, and coincidentally, her daughter,  Princess Anne and I share the same date of birth.  Press's eldest son was also a 1950 Leo, born July 29, 1950.  What's more, my second co-author, Joan McEvers, also had a son born July 29, 1950.

Don Borkowski
Feel free to write me at:

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hubert Humphrey and Bladder Cancer

This blog is adapted from my post on Noel Tyl's public forum of May 9, 2010.  I have no complaint with either Lauren Delsack’s discussion of how emotional upheavals can trigger critical illness, nor of Noel’s dynamic and seminal textbook, The Astrological Timing of Critical Illness, save for the exception of some somatic rulerships.  Although I applaud original thought, one cannot abandon hundreds of years of astrological knowledge without good cause.  I disagree emphatically with Noel and Lauren about the rulership of the bladder.  The bladder is ruled by Scorpio and Pluto, (historically by Mars), not by Libra and Venus.  Libra and Venus have some influence upon the urinary system because they do rule the kidneys.

So why, pray tell, am I writing about Hubert Humphrey?  Former Vice-President and Senator Hubert Humphrey was the only public figure I could find who had had bladder cancer.  Furthermore, bladder cancer is the disease that killed him.  (Later I found that former NBA basketball star, Maurice Lucas, had also died of bladder cancer.)  So although I had once submitted the horoscope of a woman who had survived bladder cancer through early detection and prompt medical care, the results were inconclusive because that woman had both a Scorpio ascendant and a Libra Sun in the 12th house.  Now the difficulty with using Hubert Humphrey as an example for anything is that his birth time is not known conclusively.  Astro Databank offers three potential birth times.  Making the assumption that one is more correct than the others, I will attempt to ascertain which of Mr. Humphrey’s birth times support the other facts of his life.

We know for a fact that Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr. was born May 27, 1911 in Wallace, South Dakota.  The three possible birth times are 4:43 a.m., 5:13 a.m. and 8:40 p.m. all CST.  All three times are attributed to his father, a small-town pharmacist, who provided the start to young Hubert’s career.  The ascendants for the three times are:  1:12 Gemini, 10:12 Gemini and 13:54 Sagittarius, respectively.

When astrology offers multiple ways to interpret a horoscope or offers conflicting birth data for a horoscope, the astrologer must test the various alternatives, keeping in mind that assumptions are being made.  Charts #1 and #2 are not that much different, aside from three planets being in different houses and in that chart #1 has 2 quindecile aspects that chart #2 lacks.  Humphrey’s energy and focus would suggest chart #1 to be more likely than chart #2.  The vocational profile for chart #1 has MC Aquarius...UR10•SA9•VE6,12<>MO3. Humphrey’s ebullience and loquaciousness do not really correlate with the Moon tenanting the 12th house. Chart #1’s reigning need would be represented by that Taurus Moon in the 12th house, which suggests working behind the scenes to keep things as they are or are supposed to be, possibly by teaching or writing as the Moon is oriental and the ruler of the 3rd house.

The vocational profile for chart #3 has MC Libra?VE5,6,10•MO8•ME7,9•VE.  When dispositor dynamics end in a loop, the middle planet of the loop gains importance.  Since the Moon rules the 8th house, Humphrey was drawn to respect and value other people’s strengths.  And as the 8th house is the natural house of Scorpio, we look to Pluto for more corroboration.  PL11,12•ME7,9•VE, etc.  Humphrey’s Moon tenants the 6th house, suggesting a workaholic.  The Libra MC is a double-bodied sign (in my opinion), suggesting more than one vocation, either sequentially or concurrently.  Humphrey trained under his pharmacist father and earned a pharmacist’s licensure of his own at a trade school when finances forced him to drop out of college prematurely.  In Chart #2, the conjunction of ME and SA figures into the vocational profile, adding the inclination to turn to politics to effect his desire to take things to where they are supposed to be.

Based on vocational profiling, I conclude, therefore, that Chart #3, with 13:54 Sagittarius rising is the most correct of the three.  But I should test this chart with some important dates.  Hubert Humphrey was inaugurated as Vice-President of the United States under Lyndon B. Johnson on January 20, 1965 just before noon.  So I would test this date with a diurnal chart for 9:40 p.m., January 19, 1965 in Washington, D.C.  Fourth harmonic aspects within one degree are:  Sun conjunct natal Uranus, Saturn square natal Moon, Moon square natal Sun, Mars square natal Pluto and finally, diurnal Midheaven opposition natal ascendant.  I am convinced of the validity of Chart #3.

Hubert Humphrey announced to the world that he had terminal bladder cancer on August 16, 1977.  Few people may remember that incident because Elvis Presley died later that same day!  The diurnal chart for Humphrey’s cancer announcement had the ascendant, midheaven and vertex all at the Aries point, 0ยบ of Aries, Capricorn and Libra, respectively.  The Node was conjunct natal midheaven and Uranus was opposite the natal Node.

Now that I have established which chart for Vice-President Hubert Humphrey is correct, I would like to evaluate it from the perspective of critical illness.  The ascendant is the health center of the horoscope.  Ruling Jupiter is in Scorpio in the 11th house, but the sign of Scorpio is on the 11th and 12th house cusps.  Pluto is in Gemini, disposed of Mercury conjunct Saturn.

Humphrey died January 13, 1978.  When someone passes away from a major illness the transits are seldom spectacular.  Diurnal Mars was conjunct natal Vertex.  Diurnal vertex was square natal Jupiter.  And the transiting ascendant was square the natal Sun.

In conclusion, I have ascertained which of Hubert Humphrey’s published natal charts is the most likely to be correct.  In doing so, I have also found no indication whatsoever that the human bladder, and the diseases thereof, have any correlation whatsoever to the sign of Libra or the planet Venus.  The correct rulerships are Scorpio and Pluto.

Don Borkowski

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Highly Successful Brushstroke!

Over the years. I discovered a non-atrological technique that has a success rate of just under 100%. I have found that it is extrememely easy to tell if client has siblings or not. All you have to do is to engage your client in a conversation. Nearly always, the client will mention a sister or brother in fairly short order. The only time this technique ever failed, the client had a brother that she refused to talk about. But she was so angry at me for introducing this technique that I found out while she was in the process of berating me.

This technique works, and it is non-atrological!

Don Borkowski

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The "Why" and "How" of My Own Rectified Chart

After I took up astrology, the third book I bought was Llewellyn George's venerable A to Z Horoscope Maker and Delineator. I started working my way through that book. First I read about natal delineations and then about progressions. Insofar as the next section was about rectification, I naturally presumed that all astrologers used rectified charts. After all, birth certifcates were a great place to start, but as the old saying goes, “there's many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.” The cynic in me would like to call a birth certifcate a conspiracy between a doctor and the government.

So, I set out to rectify my chart. Unfortunately, the progression-based rectifcation method in the A to Z was the only tool I had in my toolbox at the time. I actually deduced my birthtime to be 4:15 p.m. and used it for a number of years. It did work better than the time on my birth certifcate (4:34 p.m.), but it wasn't quite right, either.

The best events to use in rectifying horoscopes are those events that are life-changing, particularly if they are beyond one's control. Usually, deaths fit those criteria all too well. In May, 1971, I had just graduated from college and returned to my home town, when I got the news that one of my friends from high school had been killed when his private plane crashed into a high-voltage powerline and exploded on May 31, 1971. His was the first death among my peers, and it affected me greatly. I was so upset, that I was moved to find out more about the meaning of life, and I gravitated to take up the study of astrology. I had been curious about astrology for many years, but I had no idea where to turn to slake my curiosity. I soon discovered a new metaphysical bookshop and bought my first astology books on June 7, 1971.

Looking at both the violent death of a friend and my beginning of what has proven to be a life-long study, it was very clear to me that this double event is the obvious key to my rectification of my own horoscope. All my earlier rectification work was keyed only on the death of a friend. Clearly, my Mars in the 10th house represented my friend. Mars is in Scorpio, and its dispositor, Pluto, is in the 8th, thereby suggesting that the death of a friend would figure prominently in my life. Furthermore since Mars is the historical ruler of Scorpio, Mars in the 10th house represents the 12th dynamic of the 11th house. Once again, Mars is key. But why did I take up astrology? While I was checking out various techniques to link my Mars with my midheaven at the time my friend died, I found that solar arcs would move my descendant close to my Uranus. Then I realized that it would be possible to find the right solar arc that could move the midheaven to my Mars and move the ascendant to oppose my Uranus simultaneously. I then had to decide what date to use. My friend died on May 31st, but I began my studies on June 7th 8 days later. In order to accommodate both days, I found the average date since both events were really part of the same process. So I used June 3rd 1971 to represent both events. The solar arc for June 3, 1971 was 20:04°. I don't quibble about rectifying to the second; the nearest minute is good enough. Unlike astronomers, astrologers understand orbs. This lead me to deduce 4:24 p.m. PDT to be my birthtime.

I was born in Portland, Oregon at St. Vincent's Hospital. Although my Win*Star software does supply the coordinates for the various hospitals around the country, it does not acknowledge that St. Vincent's was demolished and relocated to the suburbs in the early 1970s. Win*Star does, however, list coordinates for the various postal stations in bigger cities, and the closest post office in Portland to my birthplace is the Forest Park station. So I use its latitude and longitude.

Don Borkowski

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Fate and Free Will—a Mathematical Overview

I have been exposed to the world of metaphysics for most of my life now. I don't accept the premise that we are all tools of fate. But I have seen too much of the real world to believe that we have 100% free will, either. Fate and free will both make up important parts of our lives. However, the portion of life that is strictly fated and that portion that is under our control can never be known on an individual basis. However, I have developed a speculation for evaluating humanity as a whole. It is said that the fixed signs, Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius are the most fated. This means that the cardinal and mutable signs, are, therefore, imbued with the most free will. Every planet in every chart is going to have both a sign and a house. There is an equation of signs and houses that has long been promoted by such astrologers as Press Roberts and Zipporah Dobyns. This equation likens the 1st house to Aries, the 2nd house to Taurus, an so on around the chart. Under this methodology, the succeedent houses would be just as fated as the fixed signs, whereas the angular and cadent houses would have the free will of the cardinal and mutable signs.

So looking at humanity as a whole, and assuming that a planet has a 1/12 probability of being in any given sign and a 1/12 probability of being in any given house, then the probability that a planet is in a fixed sign is 4/12 or 1/3. Likewise the probability that a planet is in a succeedent house is also 1/3. So the probability that a planet is both fixed and succeedent is 1/3 x 1/3 or 1/9 or 11.1%. It follows then that other events in the life will be made up of some combination of both fate and free will. Pure free will is represented by 44.4%, as are those events that are combinations of both.  In consulting with a reliable local psychic, she concurred that the 11% figure was very credible. 

Keep in mind that my calculations are just approximations for humanity as a whole. We all have 10 planets in our charts. Of my own 10 planets, only the Sun and Pluto are both a fixed sign and a succeedent house. So I would say that my life is roughly 20% fated.

Keep in mind that my ideas are strictly theoretical. But it is a place to start.

Don Borkowski

Saturday, May 21, 2011

An Introduction to Rectification

I’ve been fascinated by the topic of astrological rectification ever since I took up astrology.  I was motivated by a combination of facts:  my father was an immigrant, whose birth certificate was written in not one, but two languages other than English.  His birth certificate did not contain a birthtime, and his birthplace had still not adopted the Gregorian calendar.  I created a successful rectification of my father’s horoscope, and my enthusiasm has never waned.

The “detective” work behind the process of astrological rectification continues to hold my interest.
As a child, I once bought a paperback book about Ripley’s Believe it or Not®!?, and I was totally excited when my mother told me that we had a family member who worked for Ripley—as an exhibit!  Thanks to the Internet, I’ve been able to find out much about my distant cousin and add published information to family lore to endeavor to discover a horoscope for him.  Here is a listing about him on the internet:

My grandfather’s cousin, Roy Bard, was born in Bryan, Ohio on April 1, 1884.  He lived an uneventful life until the age of 24, when he was hit by a car while riding his bicycle.  As with many other sufferers of fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva (FOP), his genetic disability was triggered by a small injury.  In Roy’s case, he developed stiffness in his left hip that just kept worsening until he was almost totally rigid.
Astrologically, there were many factors that can be fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.  Paralysis, stiffness and the bones are all ruled by Saturn and Capricorn.  The hips are ruled by Jupiter and Sagittarius.  Roy’s disease began to manifest at age 24.  Roy’s Saturn is 6:09 Gemini, 23:51 degrees from the Aries point.  Curiously, Roy’s Jupiter is 24:44 Cancer, which would mean that Roy’s JU/SA midpoint would be 0:26 Cancer, just 26 minutes past the Aries point.  Without knowing an exact date for the bike accident, I had to base all the solar arc work on the time-midpoint of age 24, namely October 1, 1908.

Getting back to Roy’s natal chart, I concluded quickly that Roy would have to have Capricorn on the ascendant because the ascendant is not only the health center of the horoscope, but it illustrates outward behavior and attitudes.  Furthermore, it would put Sagittarius on the 12th cusp of critical illness.  When the only thing that can be speculated definitively is the ascendant, I start with 15:00 of the sign in question and then work back and forth to find the best fit.  After several tries, I concluded that Roy was born at 1:53 a.m. LMT, giving 15:28 Capricorn rising.  The SA Moon on October 1, 1908 was 15:24 Cancer.  Repeated iterations of my thought process might move the time a minute or two one way or the other.

Now that I was satisfied with the technical side of the chart, it was imperative to observe the psychological side of the horoscope.  Certainly, with the midpoint of R1/R12 at the Aries point, Roy’s health issues would be brought forward.  Yet a Capricorn ascendant would suggest that Roy’s dignity would also be of paramount concern.  Nowadays, people would feel that being a sideshow freak is a very demeaning thing to do.  Yet Roy had the Sun in Aries, and his energy to lead fueled his Capricornian ambition to earn a living, even though he was a quadriplegic living in the midst of the Great Depression.
Roy’s vocational profile shows several interesting points.  Although his Sun is 11:59 Aries, his oriental planet is Uranus, way back at 25:25 Virgo, quindecile to the Sun.  Roy’s chosen work was certainly uncommon.  Moreover, before he became ill, he worked as a telephone lineman, which Roy’s vocational profile shows in several interesting ways.  Although his Sun is 11:59 Aries, his oriental planet is Uranus, way back at 25:25 Virgo, quindecile to the Sun.  Roy’s chosen work was certainly uncommon.  Moreover, before he became ill, he worked as a telephone lineman, which reflected the modern technology of the early 20th Century.  Trying the Midheaven Extension Process, I see the Scorpio Midheaven keying Pluto, then Pluto.Venus*(4,9).  Venus contacts Sun, Mars, Jupiter, Uranus and Pluto.  Venus rules the 4th house and disposes of a Taurean stellium therein and rules the 9th house as well.  Although Roy was confined to an exhibit, he was moved around to various exhibitions and fairs, such as Chicago in 1933 and San Diego in 1935.
Don Borkowski

Thursday, May 19, 2011

When Life Gives You Lemons, Write an Astrology Article.

(I bet you thought I was going say, make lemonade.)

On Saturday morning, May 7, 2011, I was getting ready to go out for breakfast, when my right leg gave out on me. I wound up sitting on the floor of my kitchen. I called my son to come from work. He tried to get me on my feet, but he could not succeed. So the EMTs took me to the emergency room. I had thought that I might have dislocated my right hip, but x-rays proved that my upper femur was, indeed, broken in 5 places. I was very fotunate to escape needng a hip replacement because I had been concerned about the possibility thereof for a couple of weeks. Actually, my right hip had been weak and achy for a while. I readily diagnosed the weakness as pertaining to transiting Neptune conjunct my Jupiter. Basically, I had been preparing myself for dealing with the possibility of a hip replacement when transiting Neptune got closer to a conjunction with my Jupiter at 3:49 Pisces. In fact, the surgeon pinned three of the fractures and left the other two to heal naturally.

My collapse, fall and hip fracture on the 7th did prove interesting from an astrological point of view! As Jurpiter rules my Sagittarius ascendant, I felt sure that transit Neptune's approach to Jupiter would suggest hip problem(s) because Jupiter and Sagittarius rule the liver, hips, blood and thighs. I fell at 9:45 a.m. May 7, 2011 in Salem, Oregon. But my fall and fracture seem more closely related to transit Pluto at 7:18 Capricorn opposing natal Uranus at 7:57 Cancer as transit Moon conjoined natal Uranus from 7:37 Cancer. Because of the surgery, it stood to reason that Mars was involved. And transit Mars* did square natal Venus (r 6,8) at that time. I should add that falls have a lot of affinity to Aquarius and both its modern and traditional rulers, Uranus and Saturn, respectively. Noel Tyl likes to use the tertiary progressed Moon to indicate issues of timing. He feels that it works best for “lunar” people, such as himself, as evidenced by his Cancer ascendant. I am not lunar in any sense of the word, but I have seen the TP Moon work for issues relating to the house(s) ruled by Cancer. In my chart, that's the 8th house, which covers surgery! At the time I fell, my TP Moon was 17:26 Gemini, within orb of a close opposition to my ascendant, 17:41 Sagittarius. The effect of the TP Moon, both supported Noel's premise and the rectificed chart that I use.

The orthopedic surgeon that the E/R assigned to me suspected that I might have low testosterone because recent tesearch has suggested that low testosterone can cause weak bones in ordinarily healthy men of my age.  He had my blood tested for it when I was in the hospital, and he was correct.  I do have low testosterone.  Low testoterone levels can also manifest in depression and obesity, both of which have been life-long issues for me.  When I have my follow-up appointment with the surgeon, I will have him report to my primary care physician, so that I can get testosterone prescribed for me.  Astrologically, I do have SA SA=PL at this time, which could symbolize this hormonic condition.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

If I'm a Leo, Why Don't I Feel Like One?

When I began my study of astrology back in 1971, I was extremely lucky to buy my first books from a man who could not relate to his Sun-sign, either. Press Roberts would always say, “Boy, Sun-signs are kindergarten stuff."  And from the very outset, I was exposed to a foundation of learning how the planets, houses, signs and aspects worked for real people, rather than for some theoretical cases in a textbook. The third book I bought from Press was Llewellyn George's venerable A to Z Horoscope Maker and Delineator. I started working my way through that book, and I would highlight the parts that described me and leave the rest alone. This was not just for my Leo Sun, but for my Virgo Moon, my 8th house Sun, my 10th house Mars, my Moon-Saturn conjunction, etc. Rather than reject the entirety of astrology, I was motivated to learn astrology more in depth. I knew there had to be reasons why I never felt like a Leo. Some 33 years later, when I signed up for Noel Tyl's Master's Class, he warned me that I must fit the astrology to the client. I chuckled and said that I've never done anything else.

Over the years, I will always review a new book with the criterion that if a book has some trite mechanistic description of any of the parts of my chart, then I would neither buy nor recommend that book to others.

On the other hand, if an author can explain why I don't feel like a Leo, then I know that the author knows what they are writing about.

Press Roberts told me there were a combination of reasons. He never felt like his Sun sign, either. Press's Sun was 29:48 Aries. He used to say, “I ain't no Aries, and I ain't no Taurus, neither. I'm actually a little bit of both, and if you really want to understand me, look at my Cancer ascendant.” Press would always call people by their ascendants for that reason. He went on to show me that my Sun's influence was internalized even further by being intercepted. Interestingly, I have a terrible time, even now, at seeing people's Sun signs, but I am very, very good at spotting rising signs. In fact, I even like to go to Chinese restaurants and try to spot ascendants in a way that does not depend on the blatantly racial physical characteristics of the descriptions in the old-line textbooks.

Noel Tyl doesn't give interceptions as much credence as Press and I do, but his methods identify several factors that explain why I listen to him, as well. In no particular order, Noel says that if a person has a grand trine that excludes the Sun and Moon, then they might not respond to the Sun-Moon blend. Planets that are tenanted in the 8th or 12th houses act “locked away”. Unaspected planets, which Noel calls “peregrine” do have a tendency to run away with the horoscope. A cluster of planets that has no aspects to any others is called a “peregrine island cluster”, and it, too, can run away with the horoscope. My triple conjunction of Moon, Mercury and Saturn in Virgo has no aspects to any other planets, but it does square the ascendant and descendant. Yes, it does run away with my horoscope, and I feel more like a Virgo than anything else. And I always have.

On a side note, in an earlier entry on this blog, I wrote that “I'm an astrologer, not an astronomer”. Al H. Morrison once chided me for using the term, “triple conjunction”. Although that condition is not possible from an astronomical point of view, any astrologer should know exactly what it means. Astronomers don't understand orbs; astrologers do.

Astrology works, but we, as astrologers must make it fit the client and the client's circumstances.

Don Borkowski

Friday, April 29, 2011

Gone Fishin'

Here's a simple, little astrological tidbit that can be used as an ice-breaker if you want to get a client's attention and make him or her smile.
Wherever you find Pisces in a horoscope you will get a clue regarding the client's attitude about fishing.
I once had a couple of friends that had known each other in high school. One liked to fish, but the other couldn't stand to go fishing. These men were generally at the same level culturally. Astrologically, the deduction was truly simple. Ernie, who loved fishing had Pisces on his 5th house cusp of fun and pleasure. Lonnie, who could not tolerate the boredom of fishing had Pisces on his 12th house cusp.
This is not rocket science; this is just a highly simplified illustration of how astrology is everywhere in our lives. Embrace it!
As far as I'm concerned, I have Pisces on my 3rd house cusp. Rather than do any fishing myself, I'd rather read about it in a book or column by Patrick F. McManus or William G. Tapply.

Don Borkowski

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Blood Types – Astrology Types

I was in my late 50s when I finally found out what my blood type is. After going in for blood work for yet another routine doctor's appointment, I stood up to say that unless you tell me what my blood type is, I will no longer let you stick any more God-damned needles in me. Then they capitulated. I had to pay extra, but I was terribly relieved to finally know the answer to a question that perplexed me for over 40 years.

I have A+ blood, as did my mother and both of my sisters. My son has O+ blood like his mother. This means that my son could save my life if I needed a transfusion from him. Conversely, if he needed a transfusion, he could not get one from me without assuming some serious health risks. We all need blood to function as living human beings. No one blood type is intrinsically better than any other, and we all have the blood that we need to live, and everyone has his or her own blood type. But there are legitimate differences.
Ever since I took up the study of astrology, I felt lucky and blessed that most of the techniques, in which I was trained by my teachers, proved to work for me. And I couldn't understand why all astrologers didn't use these techniques. Then I was exposed to some other forms of house division. Some made sense to me, but others appeared to be utterly preposterous. Still, as well as Placidus houses work for me, I nevertheless found an abundance of intelligent, thoughtful, reasonable astrologers who are fulfilled with such methods as Koch houses, equal houses and whole sign houses. Looking at my horoscope from a vocational perspective, such as Noel Tyl's Midheaven Extension Process, it is clear that the work I did for over a quarter century, backroom technical support in banks and insurance companies, was what I needed to do. I have a heavy 8th house. I have the Sun in the 8th, intercepted. I also have Venus, which rules both my 6th and 10th houses in the 8th. Likewise, and this is a topic for another blog, I have never, ever felt like a Leo. My first teacher, Press Roberts, said it was because I had Leo, which includes my Sun and Pluto intercepted. Interceptions do create an impediment for actualization.
At one point in time in my youth, I wanted to be a college professor. But I completely choked in graduate school, which put an end to that. The interruption in my college education shows clearly because Mercury both rules my 9th house and is tenanted there, with Saturn conjunct Mercury. Funny thing, if Koch houses worked for me, my Virgo stellium in the 9th house would be intercepted and therefore suppressed. I would have probably become a college professor, for at least a little while. But I did not.
A survey of other house systems shows that Porphyry, Regiomontanus and Topocentric houses all contain the same scheme of interceptions that Placidus does for me. The differences among these methods relate strictly to the number of degrees on the cusps, which is probably not important on a macrocosmic level.
My conclusion is simple. The reason that people respond to one system of house division or another is not unlike everyone having a particular blood type. I presented this notion on Noel Tyl's Discussion Forum about five years ago. Apparent this idea resonated with Noel's world-wide audience.  Then about three months ago, at a meeting of my local astrological association. I told a man about it, and he said he had heard this idea from a lady outside the U.S. who had read it on the net.  I don't have proof, but I'd like to believe it was my doing.
Another point of debate is whether tenancy or rulership is the correct way to read a house. Press told us that tenancy was 4 times as important as rulership. Noel tells us that rulership is 5 times as important as tenancy. The only way the astrologer will know for sure is to see what is working for any given chart. Test what dominant tenancy would mean, and then test what dominant rulership would mean. After testing both types of desriptions, ask your client which method is operative in that instance. Sometimes both types of houses can be found in the same chart. Press was born April 20, 1926 at 9:45 a.m. CST in Wagoner, Oklahoma. When his 5th house is analyzed in terms of tenancy, it is doubtful that he would ever have any children. Yet he had 7 children.  He felt that having his Saturn intercepted increased the number of children.  When his 5th house is analyzed in terms of rulership, it makes perfect sense.
No astrological technique is a “one-size-fits-all” method. As we are tasked to make the astrology fit the client, we must check out all alternatives to see what works.

Don Borkowski

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Sarah Palin Revisited

Like many others, I tried to speculate on Palin's chart.  However it seems to me that much critical thought and analysis flew out the window when someone found a newspaper story with a birthtime rounded to the nearest hour.  That just inspired me to refine my speculation.

Sarah Palin burst onto the national scene when John McCain named her as his running mate on August 29, 2008.  Her birthtime was unknown.  What was known was that she was born February 11, 1964 in Sandpoint, Idaho.  Since August 29th was important as both McCain's birthday and Palin's wedding anniversary, it would figure that the Sun's degree on August 29th should figure prominently in Palin's chart.  Every year, the Sun is at 6 degrees Virgo on August 29.  I then constructed 4 charts that would put 6:30 Virgo (the middle of that degree) on each of the 4 angles.  Before the 6:00 pm birthtime surfaced, I preferred the chart with 6 Virgo on the MC because it gave her a Scorpio ascendant with Neptune conjunct the ascendant--the best fit for her physical appearance.  But physical appearance is overrated for ascertaining ascendants. 

Then a newspaper report appeared giving an obviously approximate birthtime of 6:00 p.m. PST.  Putting 6 Virgo on the ascendant seemed to be the notion most consistent with newspaper article because it gave a birthtime of either 6:12 or 6:13 p.m.  Amazingly, that was not the slam dunk it could have been.  Both of those potential times have different signs on the Midheaven, Taurus and Gemini respectively.  To split hairs like that, the best methodology to use would be Noel Tyl's Midheaven Extension Process.  In that technique, the sign on the Midheaven is traced through the chart using dispositor dynamics.  The Taurus MC adds both Saturn and Pluto to the trace, which is found to occur commonly for politicians.  The Gemini MC does not.  So, based on my analysis, I will be using 6:12 pm for Sarah Palin for now, until I am proven incorrect.

Don Borkowski

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Practical Karma

Many astrologers have opinions on what constitutes one’s karma regarding prior incarnations. Many theorize that certain planets and points in the horoscope offer the key. Still others, myself included, associate different houses with different attributes of karma. Despite what some popular astrologers currently expound upon, full, detailed descriptions of prior incarnations simply cannot be proven. I feel that the best way to judge one’s past lives and the wisdom brought forward from them is through meditation or contemplation, whatever you wish to call it.

Practical karma comes from the realization that you have had some form of dealings with another person in another incarnation or incarnations. Often relationships from a previous incarnation are illustrated by the synastry of two charts. There will often be some aspect or combination of aspects with very close orbs between those charts. The most common type is a conjunction. Oppositions are the next most common. Even quincunxes and semi-sextiles can be seen, but the orbs are always extremely tight, usually less than 2 degrees.

I can give some good examples from my own circle. I was born August 15, 1950 at 4:24 p.m. PDT in the Forest Park neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. The only long-term relationship I ever had was with my wife, Georgie, who was born January 13, 1950 at 7:23 p.m. PST in Medford, Oregon. My Sun is 22:32 Leo, and her ascendant was 21:53 Leo. There was an attraction there, but in the long run, there was also a high amount of competition between us. We had yet another karmic point as well. My Mercury is 19:18 Virgo, ruling the 7th house. And Georgie's Saturn was 19:14 Virgo, ruling (historically) her own 7th house. By my estimation, most, but not all, interpersonal karma is shown by the Sun in at least one person's chart.

My father was born in Tsarist Russia in 1909, and my mother was born in the Midwest in 1919. They were a couple who would have probably never even met, much less married and had children were it not for World War II. They found each other in Washington, D.C. It should be noted that her Sun was 26:35 Gemini. His Pluto was 26:50 Gemini. Often Sun-Pluto aspects are seen in cases of inter-cultural attraction. Was their relationship karmic? Of course it was! When my father and mother were 50 and 40, respectively, they had their third child. My father's ascendant was 10:56 Libra, and my 2nd sister's Sun is 10:28 Libra. It is apparent that my sister's very existence is karmic. Interestingly, when I ascertained my father's birth chart by the process of rectification, I deduced his birth time from some other events, and I just plain forgot to look at the births of my sisters.

My sister has found that many of the relationships that she feels are the most karmic are with people and places with charts that have planets or points at 10 degrees of any sign. Recently, she moved into an apartment when three different transits were 10 or 11 degrees.

In conclusion, I cannot tell you what the content of your past lives have been, but I can be pretty sure who was with you then.

Don Borkowski

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Transits beyond the Ephemeris

Have you ever wished that your ephemeris had more than just the planets listed?  No, I am not referring to Chiron or the asteroids.  I am postulating about listings for the transiting ascendant and midheaven.  All right, you may wonder, how could that be possible?  The planets apply to everyone, but the angles, for any given moment depend on where you are.  Yes, that is true, but that is not an insurmountable objection.
The answer can be found in the easily calculated diurnal chart.  The diurnal (which means daily) chart recapitulates a person’s birth data for the date and place in question.  A glance at a diurnal chart will show whether a transiting planet is aspecting an angle or whether a transiting angle is aspecting a planet.  The use of diurnal charts has truly amplified my understanding and usage of transits, and the technique is so powerfully easy to learn.
Let’s use an example of a well-known person.  President Barack Obama was born August 4, 1961 at 7:24 p.m. AHT in Honolulu, Hawaii.  If we wanted to look at the president’s diurnal chart for July 4, 2011 in Washington, D.C., for example, we would first need to convert his birthtime to the reflect the time zone for the new location.  We must always be cognizant of the time of year, too.  7:24 p.m. AHT is the same as 5:24 a.m. GMT the next day.  It is 12:24 a.m. EST or 1:24 a.m. EDT.  Then the diurnal chart is simply cast for 1:24 a.m.  But we must be careful here.  If we wanted to ascertain the president’s activity for July 4th, when we cast the chart for July 4th, we must remember that it is still July 3rd back in Honolulu.
So the president’s transiting ascendant for Washington, D.C. will be 25:56 Aries on July 4, 2011 and 27:27 Aries on July 5th.  The transiting midheaven will be 14:36 Capricorn on the 4th and 15:31 Capricorn on the 5th.  This demonstrates that the transiting midheaven will normally move just under a degree a day.  The transiting ascendant will move more than a degree a day for signs of short ascension and less than a degree a day for signs of long ascension.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

29 Degrees

In my first book, Signs and Parts in Plain English by Press & Ima Roberts and myself, there is a good discussion of Sun-signs on the cusp.  Following that discussion, it is also worthwhile to study other placements at the cusp between two signs.  In researching charts of family members for astrological purposes, I was inspired to pursue some ideas in more depth.

Construct, if you will, the chart of “Baby Hazel” for November 26, 1930 at 6:15 p.m. PST in Medford, Oregon.  Her ascendant was 29:28 Gemini.
Baby Hazel starved to death after living just a few days.  She was able to nurse, but spit the milk up.  An autopsy revealed that she was born with an imperforate esophagus.  In 1930, the technology that could have saved this child simply did not exist.  With modern advances in microsurgery, nowadays children born with this condition are saved routinely.  Since I believe in astrology, it seemed to me that her condition could have been deduced astrologically.
According to Rex Bills’ The Rulership Book, the esophagus is ruled by Cancer and the Moon.  The stomach shares these rulerships, but the throat is assigned to Taurus.  Since the purpose of the esophagus is to convey chewed food from the throat to the stomach, I was prompted to ponder if the esophagus might actually carry a Geminian influence as Gemini is the sign between Taurus and Cancer.  Looking at Baby Hazel’s horoscope in particular, 29 Gemini would seem to symbolize the dark side of Cancer, not unlike the contrast between the 12th house and the ascendant.
Another case of a 29 degree ascendant is equally illustrative.  “Tad” was the son of a private client.  Tad’s ascendant was 29:01 Taurus, which would suggest the dark side of Gemini.  To exacerbate matters, Tad had Neptune in close opposition to the ascendant.  These factors spelled out that Tad should have been discouraged from operating a motor vehicle.  In early 1996, Tad, while driving with just a learner’s permit, collided with a tree, thereby killing himself and one of his passengers.
The implication here is clear.  When a planet is in the last degree of a given sign, it takes on the negative, challenging attributes of the next sign.

Why I am Blogging

I am currently enrolled in Noel Tyl’s Masters’ Class.  The main thrust of Mr. Tyl’s philosophy is that people have psychological needs, and that astrology can illustrate how people can meet their needs.  I have a need to express myself by stating how I feel about life and my relationship to it.
I've been trying to organize my life and my thoughts for some time.  Several people have tried to encourage me to write, and I think that’s a good idea.  Recently, I've been trying to rewrite the book I co-wrote with my first astrology teacher in 1975.  The book offered some new and unique material, but it never sold very well.  And I really needed to do something on my own.  I have wanted to have a website, but the people I tried to hire to build one were never able to do so.  I have had blogging suggested to me, but I really didn't know how to do it.  Then when I tried to research the topic, I quickly created a blog before I knew what I was doing.  I retrieved some essays from my notes, posted them, and here we are.

It was suggested to me that my willingness to attempt a blog seemed to relate to transit Uranus leaving Pisces and bearing down on the Aries point.  That transit seems to correlate with the turmoil in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.  In the perspective of the world as a whole, I am an insignificant player, but on a personal level there is a lot more than just Uranus transiting the Aries point.  I've been hoping that the Uranus transit would open the doors of employment for me.  I've been dealing with age discrimination, enormous competition and many preconceived opinions about my skills and abilities.  Insofar as Noel feels that the Node has much to do with job hunting and because my Node is 0:06 Aries, I'm deriving my hope from that.  Natally, my Node is trine to Venus, the ruler of my 10th and 6th houses.  When I started my blog, transiting Jupiter and Pluto were @ 7 Aries and Capricorn, respectively making powerful aspects to my natal Uranus at 7:57 Cancer.  Natally, my Jupiter is very important, as it rules my ascendant and makes a bucket handle.  At the inception of the blog, transit Mars was closely conjunct that Jupiter.

The inception data for this blog is February 26, 2011 @ PST in Vista (Salem), Oregon with an ascendant of 10:46 Libra. The synastric connections between by new blog and my natal chart are thought-provoking.  Two of the three planets in my water grand trine were activated.  A top local psychic has told me repeatedly that I need to write and must do so.  So blogging appeared to be the most efficacious way to get my innermost feelings out to the public.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Fresh View of Solar Returns

Here are my opinions about solar return charts.  I do want to make it known that I was never trained to do anything with solar return charts.  My first astrology teacher, Press Roberts, felt that all prediction could be garnered through a combination of progressions and transits.  He dismissed solar returns as being a waste of time, as they were just transits anyway.  My current teacher, Noel Tyl, doesn’t like solar returns because he had some unfortunate experiences that resulted from too much stock being placed on a solar return that was predicated on an erroneous assumption.  He is also uncomfortable about some previously unaddressed issues of solar return calculations.

Timing is perhaps the biggest shortcoming of solar return charts.  Basically, they seem to represent a summary of the year taken as a whole.  In the experience of people in my circle, the most significant time is three (3) months after the solar return.  In fact, a couple years ago, my son asked me why everything seems to happen in November—for both himself and me.  Significantly, both my son and I have August birthdays.

When Noel Tyl invited Mary K. Shea to write an essay on solar returns, Mary claimed that solar returns manifest 3 months before they happen.  Although I have seen it happen to a much smaller degree, those events that happen three months are generally the more benign manifestations of the solar return.  My observation, that solar returns are felt most strongly 3 months after they happen, corresponds best with the “opening square” in Grant Lewi’s transit theory, as those are the most traumatic manifestations. 

Much of what I believe about solar returns has been derived from my own experimentation.  First, of course they really are just transits.  But solar returns do provide a lens through which we can focus our look at those transits.  They give us a guideline to help us narrow the scope of the operative progressions, arcs and transits.  Second, there is a question about which zodiac to use.  The zodiac that you choose for natal astrology should be the one to use for solar returns.  I am firmly committed to the tropical zodiac.  Some tropicalists want to use something called the precession-corrected tropical zodiac.  To me, the word “correction” implies that there is an error.  I prefer to call that method, “precession-adjusted”, but, nevertheless, I do not use it.  Likewise, the precession-adjusted zodiac is really just apologia by the closet astronomers whose belief in astrology is more reluctant than they care to admit.  If a person believes in sidereal astrology, s/he should stick with it all the way.  So, I recommend the tropical zodiac in solar returns, just as I recommend it in natal astrology.

The major previously unaddressed issue about solar returns is the choice of location where to cast the chart.  There are two strongly held beliefs.  One prefers to use the current location.  The other favors the birthplace.  I submit that both definitions may be correct at times.  I have found that a third alternative works best for me.  I view the solar return chart as being very dynamic, so dynamic, that if the client moves during the course of the year, the previous solar return chart must be recalculated for the new location.

Consider, if you will, my own horoscope.  I was born August 15, 1950 at 4:24 p.m. PDT in the Forest Park neighborhood of Portland, Oregon.  I have Aries on the 4th cusp, and the ruler Mars is in the 10th house at 3:12 Scorpio.  Every major move I have ever made was made for the reason of career advancement, usually within a financial industry.

In 2003, I was living in Salem, Oregon.  In early 2004, I was offered a job at a bank in Nampa, Idaho.  I had not been to any part of Idaho since 1974, when I passed through on an interstate bus.  I moved to Nampa March 11, 2004.  My 2003 solar return for Salem, Oregon had 27:54 Libra rising.  Just for fun, I wondered what my re-cast solar return for Nampa would show.  Amazingly, the re-cast chart had 3:15 Scorpio rising—just a scant 3 minutes from my natal Mars.  And I had moved to Nampa to work in a bank!

This observation explained a lot for me.  Regardless of where you were living when your solar return came around, you will need to recalculate your solar return to your new location when you move.

As long as we are talking about calculations, now is the time to mention to be sure to calculate your favorite Arabic parts at this time, too.  I will discuss them later.

Now that you have calculated the solar return chart, the next (and most obvious) problem is how to read it.

I have seen and heard several theories about how to read return charts, and I feel they should all be kept in mind, but only in the back of your mind.

First and foremost, it must be remembered that a solar return chart represents the summary of a year.  Second, it must also be remembered that nothing can really happen in a yearly preview, unless the natal chart says that it can happen.  Third, as return charts are defined when a transit makes a precise conjunction to its own place in the natal chart, conjunctions, and to a lesser extent, oppositions, between the return chart and the natal chart provide the major clues about how to read the solar return chart.

Go back, if you will, to my natal horoscope.  Then calculate my solar return for August 15, 2001, also for Forest Park.  I was working in Portland’s Forest Park neighborhood and dividing my off‑time between my home in Salem, Oregon and my mother’s home in Portland’s Kenton neighborhood.  As Salem is 50 miles south of Portland, the differences among the solar returns for any of these locations are negligible.

Two items caught my eye immediately.  First was the tight opposition between the Sun and Uranus, with only 20 minutes of orb.  The Sun was both in and ruling the 4th house, and Uranus was both in and ruling the 10th house.  This combination suggested that age 51 would bring changes and issues involving home, career and status.  I was also intrigued by the other massive opposition—that between Saturn in the first house, ruling the 8th and the Mars-Pluto conjunction in the 7th, sharing rulership of the 6th with Mars ruling the 12th.  (The notion that Pluto is the true ruler of Aries was rather popular in the early 1970s.  I believe that concept is one whose time has passed.)

It has been my personal preference to take a look at my solar returns about 6 months before they happen.  If they, as Mary Shea thinks, do register 3 months before they happen, then I’ll have some preparation.  Otherwise, the long lead time will give my subconscious mind some food for thought.  As my marriage had been barely tolerable for several years, I kept wondering if I would have the fortitude to terminate it.  The horary astrology technique of counting houses, which is just as valid in natal astrology, gives us the definition that the 10th house represents the end of the marriage.  So the “big bells” in this solar return chart all suggested that my marriage would come to a screeching halt.  Other indications of marital issues in the solar return chart include Jupiter, ruling my natal ascendant conjunct my natal Uranus in the 7th and Mercury, ruling my natal 7th, opposing my natal Jupiter.

There are really only two ways for a marriage to end:  divorce and death.  Then there are subsidiary considerations within those.  Who would leave whom, or who would die?  On the surface, I could not rightly tell.  I decided to examine the appropriate Arabic Parts, which I often find to be a useful tool.  Apparently, some astrologers have never considered the idea of adding Arabic Parts to a return chart.  Go ahead, you have my permission.  (Parenthetically, I believe that the most common definition of the Part of Divorce is wrong.  Some people believe that if the Part of Marriage equals ascendant + descendant – Venus, then the Part of Divorce should reverse the order of the descendant and Venus.  That opinion is weak because such a point will always be opposite to one’s Venus.  Cosmobiological theory equates conjunctions, oppositions and squares; so that formula for the Part of Divorce will add nothing to a horoscope.  For the Part of Divorce, I favor ascendant + descendant – Saturn, as Saturn is the natural ruler of the 10th house.)  The Part of Death is almost universally agreed to be ascendant + 8th house cusp – Moon.  There is an alternative Part of Death, which I really can’t say much about.  It is Saturn + Mars – MC.

I calculated those Arabic Parts.  The Part of Divorce was 4:18 Sagittarius, conjunct the descendant from the 6th house with an orb of 4½ degrees.  The Part of Death was 9:38 Sagittarius, conjunct the descendant from the 7th house with an orb of 48 minutes.  (That other Part of Death was 22:21 Aries.  That one is just within the 12th house, trine to the Sun and sextile Uranus.  It also suggested a death, but did not suggest whose.)  I remember saying, “Oh my God, I wonder if Georgie is going to die.”  I banished the thoughts because I didn’t have the self-confidence in my skills and because my teachers felt so lukewarm about solar returns.  On November 12, 2001, my wife, Georgie, had a fatal heart attack.  I hated being right in that manner, but the points are that I was right, the solar return worked, and it manifested 3 months after my birthday.

I don’t purport to know everything about solar returns.  There is a huge amount of room for learning new things about them.  I just want to encourage all who read this monograph to keep observing and experimenting with return charts and not to be cowed or browbeaten by the pseudo-intellectuals and self-anointed experts.

I'm an Astrologer, not an Astronomer

I began my study of astrology in 1971.  Over the course of the last 40 years, I have seen many notions come and go in the world of astrology.  I have seen the rise in personal computing transform our craft in ways both good and ill.  During these 40 years, I have seen some lame concepts crash and burn.  And I have seen other ridiculous ideas continue to persevere.

To me the greatest modern failing of astrology is the capitulation to astronomy.  I contend that astronomical significance does not guarantee astrological significance.  Simply put, if some celestial body rotates around the Sun, it is presumptuous to assume that an astrological meaning is automatic.  To give a concrete example, let me raise the topic of the asteroids.  The number of known asteroids exceeds 10,000, but how do we know what they mean?  Typically, someone will try to correlate the name of an asteroid with the known mythology associated with the name.  Perhaps, they will study observances of that asteroid through the different signs of the zodiac or through the houses in many sample charts.  But I've rarely seen that done at all. 

I earned my bachelor's degree at Drake University.  According to Jacob Schwartz, there are two asteroids named after Drake, Draconia and Ekard.  One could easily think that one or the other of those two asteroids could suggest a clue why I opted to leave Oregon to go to college in the Midwest.  But those two asteroids in my chart tell me nothing.  Looking at my college education, I have my degree in statistics.  My mindset is colored by statistical analysis.  Hence my aforementioned attitudes about significance.

Much of the capitulation to the realm of astronomy can be laid squarely on the shoulders of the San Diego astrological community.  The late Neil Michelsen was a brilliant, brilliant man.  Neil was the cornerstone of the San Diego astrologers.  He was a wonderful mathematician, a skilled astronomer, an intelligent computer scientist and a powerful businessman.  He loved astrology.  Yet despite his brilliance, he never really understood the artistic/symbolic side of astrology.  Some wags have suggested that Neil could not read a chart even if Zipporah Dobyns sat on his lap and whispered the answers in his ear.  Astrology is a lot like both economics and jurisprudence.  Often there is no consistently right answer.  Varying opinions are weighed and argued.  Neil felt that any and all astronomical views could be converted to astrology.  And I disagree.

The "true" node was one of Neil Michelsen's ideas.  When I took up astrology in 1971, the mean node was all we had to use.  The "true" node was released to the world with the publication of Neil's American Ephemeris in 1979.  I liked the concept and converted to using it.  Then in 1982, I acquired my first computer and astrological software.  But this program was capable of only using the mean node.  So I quit using the true node, and my readings got better.  In the horoscopes of many people, the difference between the mean and true nodes is scant, but in my horoscope, the difference is profound.  The two are a degree and a half apart--and in different signs. 

My advice to all astrologers is to think for yourself.  If you are faced with a choice of alternatives, try them all.  Use the one that works best for you.  Then you will attract clients whose horoscopes resonate with your chosen methods.