My latest book, Astrology for Writers, is hot off the presses — and to celebrate, I’ve put together a companion workbook for novel writers. What’s more, the companion workbook is free for the next 30 days!
The Astrology for Writers Thirty-Day Novel Workbook is for you if you’d like to harness the power of astrology to write a novel in 30 days — whether you’re taking part in a month-long writing challenge, or you’d simply like to craft the first draft of a novel in four short weeks.
The workbook includes a timeline for writing a 50,000-word novel, as well as worksheets to help you develop characters and storylines. You can use the worksheets to plan your novel before you start writing — but if you prefer to write by the seat of your pants, you can also use the worksheets to shape your story along the way. Later, you can refer back to your completed worksheets as a sort of “story bible,” to help you edit and revise your work.
The worksheets are designed to be used with my latest book, Astrology for Writers: Spark your Creativity Using the Zodiac. It’s available from book sellers, online retailers, or from the publisher at www.llewellyn.com.
The other night, I was packing for a trip to Canada, where my sister lives — but I couldn’t find my passport. That’s not a problem for traveling into the great white north, but it can be an issue if you want to get back into the U.S.
I didn’t want to stay up all night looking for it, so I decided to try my hand at horary astrology — an ancient branch of the art that focuses on finding lost objects. The result was kind of astounding.
Now, I only know the simplest of rules for horary astrology, so those are the ones I practiced.
The lost item has to be important, and finding it should be somewhat urgent. Check and double-check. My passport is an important document, and I didn’t have time to wait for it to turn up on its own, or waste on a fruitless search — especially if it wasn’t in my house.
A horary chart should be cast for the moment the astrologer hears and understands the question. No problem. I asked myself, “Where is my passport?” and pressed the instant-chart button on my computer.
At that point, an astrologer simply studies the chart for relevant clues. In horary, the Moon typically symbolizes the lost object. In this case, the Moon was in the second house of values and possessions. At first, that just reaffirmed the fact that my passport was an important possession, but it didn’t exactly tell me where to look.
A horary astrologer also looks at the rising sign — which was Aquarius — as well as that sign’s ruler. Because horary astrology is ancient, it uses traditional planetary rulerships. That meant I needed to find Saturn. Ah, there it was, in the eighth house of shared resources.
Horary also relies on the symbolism of the other planets. Mercury, the travelling messenger of the gods, flew around the world with important dispatches and communications, so I knew that Mercury’s position in the chart would be an important symbol of my passport. I found the ‘lil guy in the sixth house of work and service.
I was still kind of stumped. The Moon and Saturn were on opposite sides of the chart, but they were both pointing at Mercury. I knew that was probably a good thing, but I had already searched my home office, where I manage most of my routine duties that revolve around work, service, and responsibility.
Both the Moon and Mercury were in fire signs, which made me think that the passport might be in a “hot” place — but it wasn’t in the fire safe where I usually keep all of our important papers.
I started rifling through my briefcases and purses all around our house — and even my husband’s briefcase — since I still thought I would find it with our work papers.
When that didn’t turn up my passport, I shifted my attention to another place of business … and there it was.
My passport was buried in the basket we use to collect our important mail. In our house, that means bills and bank statements. I must have stashed my passport there last month, after an earlier trip that took me close to the Canadian border.
But how perfect was this chart?
The second house of values and possessions, where I found the Moon, usually relates to one’s own money and income. My bank statements are a record of my personal finances. As an added bonus, the Moon was in Aries, a sign that’s often linked to business and administration.
The eighth house of shared resources, where I found Saturn, describes joint finances, which also describes the bills and bank statements we keep in our important mail basket. Did you notice, too, that Saturn was in Libra, the sign of partnership? As it happens, Saturn is exalted in Libra. In hindsight, that was a good clue that I’d be able to find my passport readily, because the ruler of the chart was positioned so well.
And my Mercurian passport was buried, literally and figuratively, between those two significators, the Moon and Saturn — just like it was buried in all that paperwork. Of course Mercury, as a messenger, is closely linked with mail, and the fact that Mercury was in the sixth house was telling. Ask any astrologer, and you’ll learn that paying bills and reconciling bank statements is a textbook example of sixth-house duty and responsibility. What’s more, Mercury rules the sixth house, so he and my passport were right at home.
One other note: because horary astrology is ancient and traditional, sometimes the symbolism of a fiery, hot place can suggest a woodpile. Our bill basket happens to be woven of wood-like reeds. The bills are piled in it. I love it when astrology is literal.
The planet Neptune, as seen from above its largest moon, Triton. Illustration by Paul Hudson, National Geographic.
Today marks the 165th anniversary of Neptune’s discovery in 1846. The beautiful blue planet was mathematically predicted long before it was spotted visually.
These days, Neptune has a prominent position in the study of tarot and astrology. Here’s what I wrote about it in my latest book, Tarot and Astrology:
The Hanged Man spends hours—or even days—suspended in a trancelike alternate reality. He is in perfect synch with Neptune, the planet of spiritual and psychic enlightenment.
The Hanged Man’s consciousness transcends the physical, just as Neptune itself seems to escape the ordinary bounds of physics. After all, the planet is composed mostly of ethereal mist and gasses. It’s a planet of dreamlike illusion, as well as an existence removed from the limitations of physical concerns.
From that vantage point, mystical experiences come easily. Both Neptune and the Hanged Man are associated with fantasy, imagination, and visionary art. They are idealistic, sensitive, and exceptionally psychic.
Neither one is very good at establishing boundaries. The real world can be a dark and dangerous place, and both the Hanged Man and the Neptunian spirit quickly learn to escape through meditation, prayer, sleep, and dreams.
Occasionally, they seek refuge through alcohol and drugs. Sometimes, those substances are a form of self-medication, in an effort to block the unsolicited psychic messages that flood the Neptunian soul.
In a tarot reading, the Hanged Man card often represents a period of willing self-sacrifice and the suspension of everyday cares and concerns. It could suggest a retreat or a change in perspective.
While most versions of the card show the Hanged Man upside-down, he rarely seems to be in any pain or discomfort. Instead, he seems to be tuned in to a higher consciousness—and it’s a reward, not a punishment.
In Roman mythology, Neptune was the god of the sea. He ruled the tides and the tide pools, as well as the dark, mysterious world of the ocean’s depths. Seas would rise and fall at his command, and he could drown his opponents in an uncontrollable swell of unfathomably violent emotion.
Neptune rules Pisces and the twelfth house of the zodiac, where astrologers look for secrets. It also rules the places where those secrets are confined and locked away: hospitals, prisons, and mental institutions. In medicine, Neptune is associated with mysterious illnesses and neuroses.
The Hanged Man corresponds to the element of water.
The Hanged Man illustration is from the Wizards Tarot by Corrine Kenner and John Blumen.
Vesta, one of the goddess asteroids, is full of bumps and bulges — especially at her equator. I wonder if that’s why I feel such an affinity for her!
From NASA:A new video from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft takes us on a flyover journey above the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta. The data obtained by Dawn’s framing camera, used to produce the visualizations, will help scientists determine the processes that formed Vesta’s striking features. It will also help Dawn mission fans all over the world visualize this mysterious world, which is the second most massive object in the main asteroid belt.
You’ll notice in the video that Vesta is not entirely lit up. There is no light in the high northern latitudes because, like Earth, Vesta has seasons. Currently it is northern winter on Vesta, and the northern polar region is in perpetual darkness. When we view Vesta’s rotation from above the south pole, half is in darkness simply because half of Vesta is in daylight and half is in the darkness of night .
Another distinct feature seen in the video is a massive circular structure in the south pole region. Scientists were particularly eager to see this area close-up, since NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope first detected it years ago. The circular structure, or depression, is several hundreds of miles, or kilometers, wide, with cliffs that are also several miles high. One impressive mountain in the center of the depression rises approximately 9 miles (15 kilometers) above the base of this depression, making it one of the highest elevations on all known bodies with solid surfaces in the solar system.
The collection of images, obtained when Dawn was about 1,700 miles (2,700 kilometers) above Vesta’s surface, was used to determine its rotational axis and a system of latitude and longitude coordinates. One of the first tasks tackled by the Dawn science team was to determine the precise orientation of Vesta’s rotation axis relative to the celestial sphere.
The zero-longitude, or prime meridian, of Vesta was defined by the science team using a tiny crater about 1,640 feet (500 meters) in diameter, which they named “Claudia,” after a Roman woman during the second century B.C. Dawn’s craters will be named after the vestal virgins-the priestesses of the goddess Vesta, and famous Roman women, while other features will be named for festivals and towns of that era.
I’ve been searching and searching for a simple explanation of traditional planetary rulerships in astrology. Most of the charts I’ve seen are confusing, and it seems that we’re expected to rely on rote memorization to master them.
This morning, it hit me: most explanations — and the charts that accompany them — are confusing because they focus on the signs. That makes the planetary placements seem random and arbitrary.
When I re-did the charts with the planets in the first column, though, the whole system started to make sense.
Would you like to see it? Here’s a PDF version of the chart, along with the explanations that make sense to me.