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Essay - The Houses of the Magicians
Traditional astrology considers magic to be a function of Saturn and Mercury. It is a form of applied philosophy requiring the concentration of Saturn and the ingenuity of Mercury. Saturn represents the whole mind, knowledge and concentration and the threshold between the visible and invisible worlds with Mercury representing reason, cleverness, intuition, and flexibility as well as all of those conditions that show the edges or boundaries. These planets are always important in considerations of magic but the kinds of magic and those that practice it seem better described by the houses. The invisible planets discovered since 1700 make their contributions as well.  
  Not surprisingly, Saturn generally functions as the greater malefic and Mercury tends to amplify planets with which he is associated. This is the likely basis for the doctrine of sympathetic magic and the reputation of magic as a dark and dangerous art. The invisibles don’t help much as their natures tend to bring universal principles or Ideas into the manifest world. This is often a double edged sword as can be seen in the applications of science in general (Uranus), chemistry (Neptune) and radioactive materials (Pluto). These influences are often malefic although they do have their beneficial aspect.

Indicated houses

Traditionally the 6th,8th and 12th houses are considered unfortunate and associated with the main kinds of magic. Depending on the planets ruling and in them, these houses may show an aptitude, a sympathy , or an antipathy.

The 6th pertains to practical magic and corresponds to the sign Virgo in the natural order of the signs and is ruled by Mercury where he also finds his exaltation. Neptune is in its quadruplicity here and adds an air of mystery. Traditionally Virgo is earthy, cold, melancholy, barren, feminine, nocturnal, and mutable (according to Lilly). This house is also associated with illness and servants or in more modern terms employees and with small animals kept for gain. It also has some affinity with house cats. The sign is associated with mechanics and technical artisans, herbalists and agriculturalists, and under some conditions very good healers and doctors. The practical magician is therefore a technician and a scholar. One who is concerned with application and instruction. He or she is likely also a perfectionist, possessed of a mystical streak, and detail oriented. Both the magician and the artisan have signatures associated with this house. Generally malefics ruling or in this house if ill dignified or afflicted show difficulties with detail and small aptitude and possibly an antipathy for practical magic. Benefics or perhaps better, well dignified malefics tend to show an aptitude for these practical arts. The tendency will be stronger with a bright star connected especially if its nature shows an interest in these arts or is compatible with the planets connected with the house. Peregrine and unstarred planets tend to leave the matters of the house neutral. Peregrine and afflicted tend to show antipathy. .

The 8th pertains to sorcery and psychism and corresponds to Scorpio in the natural order of the signs and is ruled by Mars with the modern coruler of Pluto who is also exalted in that sign. Uranus adds a note of eccentricity and unpredictability for his quadruplicity here. Traditionally Scorpio is cold, watery, phlegmatic, feminine, and fixed. This house is associated with death, legacies, estates of the deceased, dowries, fear and anguish of mind, and more modernly, credit and taxes. It also has some affinity with vultures and birds of prey. The sorcerer then is often obsessed with ancient and hidden things (Uranus, Scorpio, and Pluto). Likely psychic, and a law unto himself. One who seeks to understand the foundations of the world and himself. He is one addicted to power and though scrupulous, operates by his own rules. As the 8th house suggests he may be a necromancer or one who seeks the hidden legacies of long vanished principalities. Generally malefics ruling or in this house if ill dignified or afflicted show difficulties with sorcery and small aptitude with possible antipathy to sorcery and psychism. Benefics or perhaps better, well dignified malefics tend to show an aptitude for these arts. The tendency will be stronger with a bright star connected especially if its nature shows an interest in these arts or is compatible with the planets connected with the house. Peregrine and unstarred planets tend to leave the matters of the house neutral. Peregrine and afflicted tend to show antipathy. .

The 12th pertains to witchcraft, mysticism and spiritualism and corresponds to the sign Pisces in the natural order of the signs and is ruled by Jupiter. The modern planet Neptune also has corule here and Venus is in her exaltation. Neptune has a bit of added strength for its quadruplicity here. Traditionally Pisces is cold, moist, phlegmatic, feminine, nocturnal. and mutable. The house is associated with large animals, private enemies, witches, sorrow, tribulation, malicious gossips and informers. It is also the house of large institutions such as hospitals, government agencies, and prisons, and of their inmates. Deception, celebrity, glamour, and illusion are hallmarks of the sign and the house. Yet, very fine artists, seers, and mystics also have been known to emerge. Mystics and spiritualists then can be a direct spiritual link but they are unreliable in general and will have a tendency to be prey to rumor, gossip, and various spirits. Monks and certain solitaries as well as confidence tricksters, inmates of prisons and hospitals, and spiritualists, witches, artists, and scriers all express the nature of this house. What they share is the power of glamour and an attraction to the invisible world. Generally malefics ruling or in this house if ill dignified or afflicted show many difficulties and usually unpleasant results. There is sometimes small aptitude and possibly an antipathy for witchcraft and mysticism. Benefics or perhaps better, well dignified malefics tend to show aptitudes in these arts and a tendency to mediumship. The tendency will be stronger with a bright star connected especially if its nature shows an interest in these arts or is compatible with the planets connected with the house. Peregrine and unstarred planets tend to leave the matters of the house neutral. Peregrine and afflicted tend to show antipathy.

The house in which the ruler is found will tend to focus the aims of the art on that area of life and activity.

Contrasting houses

Practitioners of the healing arts, foreigners, and paid advisors and representatives such as doctors and lawyers are associated with the 9th corresponding to Jupiter and Sagittarius, partners and adversaries by the 7th corresponding to Libra ruled by Venus with Saturn exalted there. The 9th also has significance for those who have fallen from position and is important for visions, professional positions and prophecy. The 7th is particularly important in representing the spouse and to a certain extent familiar spirits.

Note on Dignities of the Invisibles

Modern astrologers give Uranus to Aquarius, Pluto to Scorpio and Neptune to Pisces, and while traditional astrologers do not entirely ignore the outer planets, they would never give them rulerships. From a fusion perspective, the outer planets do not rule in the traditional sense but are corulers of these signs with dignity equivalent to the visible ruler but only taking its place under rare circumstances. Their exaltations, following modern experience in light of traditional principles are Leo for Uranus (opposed his domicile), Aquarius for Neptune (the glitter of the celebrity), and Scorpio for Pluto (where else). The equivalent dignity to triplicity for the invisibles is quadruplicity. Pluto has it in the cardinal signs, Uranus in the fixed, and Neptune in the mutable. Thus the invisibles have no dignity by term or face (the minor dignities) nor do they rule days or hours. If these are used for magical purposes, take the dispositor’s minor and temporal dignities.

A note on the via

It has been noted that the Moon in the via combusta and also Venus and Moon when poorly dignified, are yet strong and magically potent although one does need to take care. The results can be quite different than expected or quite difficult. The via has been likened to the cosmic menses of the lunar cycle, analogous to pms. This appears reasonable yet the Moon in the via in question charts suggests an airy influence that is also to be noted with the Moon in other Air signs but to a lesser extent. It is probably safe to adopt the cosmic menstrual cycle view but to also place it in the perspective of dignity (which is also a cyclical context). The via extends from mid Libra to mid Scorpio and the Moon here is Peregrine in the sign of Saturn's exaltation and then in Fall in the dark sign of Mars after entering Scorpio. The Moon normally watery is prickly in the Air signs and of the waters does poorly only in Scorpio. She does very well in Taurus (exalted), Cancer (rule), Sagittarius (perhaps due to Jupiter's exaltation in Cancer), and Pisces (very watery and Jupiter ruled again as well as holding the exaltation of Venus). Some traditional astrologers (Lilly for example) say that the Moon in these, her best, signs performs even when void of aspect to the other planets.

The phases of Venus, Mercury and the Moon with the Sun are also of importance. These short cycles are instances of longer cycles giving linkages to longer term, higher order phenomena. The Moon's 28 day cycle is the second hand to Saturn's 28 year cycle, the Eclipse cycle of about 20 years suggests the Jupiter/Saturn cycle. Jupiter and Saturn conjunctions form a triangle over a period of about 60 years and spend about 10 cycles (a little under 200 years ) making their conjunctions in the same element. Venus forms the pentagram with her solar conjunctions about every 40 months and gives a pair of complete rising and setting pentagram about every 8 years. In the tree of life cosmological design, Venus is the foundation of the pillar of Mercy and given the number 7 while the Moon is placed between the Earth and Sun at number 9. Added these values give 16 which is the number of alchemical combinations obtained by pairs of the 4 elements - apt for the feminine principle of generation, and for the feminine nature of these planets. Mercury forms a hexagram by its conjunctions with the Sun about every 18 months. Mercury is the counterpoint to Venus as rationality is to sensuality. Mercury’s number is 8 and when summed with Venus’ 7 or the Moon’s 9 gives numbers associated with magical essences of the Moon, the 15 kalas and a number associated with the fixed star, 17. Together the figures given by the conjunction cycles of Mercuty and Venus with the Sun give 11 which by some is the number of magical expansion and a more appropriate number for Saturn.

This digression on salient points of the feminine and inner planets is for perspective. There are modern schools and some old school practitioners that use the feminine planets in their debilities and with the resurgence of religious veneration of the goddess or feminine aspect of deity one should be clear about the fact that there are two sides to the energy. This is particularly important in considering the nature and magical employment of the feminine energies and for appropriate perspective in worship of the goddess. It is emphasized due to the mundanely unfortunate nature of the houses connected with magic and mysticism. Note that Venus and Moon have debility in the 6th and 8th and tend to have excessive tendencies in the 12th. This is all the more important in consideration with sex magic, neopaganism, and tantra. It may also indicate that magicians may make beneficial use of these 'debilities' if they proceed with requisite caution and understanding. We may also find the critical points of these cycles tied up with important factors of the signatures we consider here.

Descriptive notes on the houses

Now let us return to the houses of the magicians. The 6th is the house of the practical magician, the artisan and technician but being also the house of illness and mutable, it is unfortunate generally. This is the house of chronic illness; slaves, servants, or employees; small animals, especially those kept for gain; prison, lies, and slander. According to Ibn Ezra, the first triplicity (the planet ruling the first triplicity of the sign on the cusp of that house) shows the illness and defects of the native; the second, his slaves, servants or employees; and the third whether these servitors be useful or harmful. This second triplicity remark could also be applied to spirits, agents, and tools; and by moderns is extended even to the employment of the native and his moods (his current thought forms). It remains in horaries, the house of servants and employees and of small animals kept for gain as well as illness; but also of aunts and uncles on the father's side, and is useful in vocational and labor questions. . As noted above it is also connected with Virgo and Mercury and is a cadent house. Thus we expect the practical aspects of magic to require study and the application of labor and to be of benefit as a service, though not likely a free one, to others. We also expect the practical magician to have to deal with illness and to be educated and detail oriented but not particularly or necessarily fortunate or wealthy except insofar as magic has been applied or the benefics be strong. We also expect his projects to progress by fits and starts and that not all of them reach completion though few are abandoned. We would expect the practical magician to be somewhat interested in herbs and healing for Virgo and to be well read and rather pedantic with perhaps a few secret pleasures and possibly a conventional or perhaps academic appearance.

Using a technique best known from horary astrology we can ‘turn the wheel’ viewing the 6th house as the first (actually we can do this with any house for more detail). Doing so for this house (6th), we find the practical magician to receive his income from friends and contracts (7th as 2nd) and to have contact with spirits and ancient knowledge (8th as 3rd). The rest of the pattern is as follows; (9th as 4th) (10th as 5th) (11th as 6th) (12th as 7th). (1st as 8th) (2nd as 9th) (3rd as 10th)(4th as 11th).(5th as 12th). Note that his wealth is his knowledge and that pleasure may be his downfall. The aspect here is an inconjunct or quincunx (not traditionally considered unless in signs mirroring the dignity relationship such as Aries and Scorpio or Libra and Pisces) to the normal houses showing a condition of being forced to deal with someone or something. This mirrors the dignity relation to the signs ruled by Mars and Venus which together are passion. This suggests a passion for the work and sometimes a compulsive streak. With the Mercury emphasis and Neptune in the background we might have a slightly absent minded academic type but for this type of magician it is more often a focus on the Work which lets other concerns slip from awareness. In fact, I’ve been so accused and often have been guilty.

Of course, exactly how this plays out depends on the linkage of the houses by where their rulers are placed and what aspects they have to other planets and contacts with fixed stars. In some cases a particularly bright and lasting portent (comet or nova) can also be a major influence. His most significant planets, in terms of his practice will be Mercury (ruler of Virgo and the Lord of practical detail), the Moon for the nocturnal nature of the house and sign, and the ruler of his 6th house.

Note that the natural signs of the 6th and 12th houses are mutable which, by quadruplicity, gives Neptune dignity and some influence in these houses.

The 8th is the house of the sorcerer and the psychic. According to Ibn Ezra this is the house of death, inheritance, loans, separation, fear, grief, and loss. The first triplicity shows death, the second shows the wisdom and property of the ancestors and anything ancient, the third shows inheritance. Note the connection to ancient wisdom and antiquities. In horaries this is the house of privy or secret counselors (here familiar spirits), death, taxes, credit, and inheritance, dowry of the spouse, the adversary's second in a duel, the defendant's friends in lawsuits, dreams and anxiety and poisons (and magical potions or elixirs as well). It also is connected with the personal cycles of sexual and psychic energy. Its natural sign is Scorpio with Saturn consignificator (according to Lilly). The planets Mars and Pluto also relate. Note that there are also connections with research and work with the statistical sciences – chemistry and nuclear science, as well as with psychism; all these concepts are directly linked to Pluto. It is a succeedant house so its influence is lasting but takes time to accumulate, and it is traditionally considered unfortunate. This is partly why sorcerers practice daily ritual - they need to 'build up a charge' for their work. Thus we expect both the sorcerer and the psychic to be variable in their intensity and in their personal energy and to have great curiosity, perhaps a fascination, with sex and death. They are usually secretive (possibly paranoid), sometimes even with their intimates, and may have familiar spirits. Often one finds that they benefit from the misfortune or demise of others and rarely can maintain their own good fortune. Their schemes, for good or ill are usually long term and subtle acting like an advanced and cumulative form of poison. They tend not to be fortunate except due to their use of power or the misfortune of others and to seek power first and foremost. If they work for others it is usually in secret and with a great measure of independence. They live by their own principles rather than convention and their ethics are their own. They are intensely loyal but vindictive if betrayed (betrayal is based on their assessment alone) and exhibit either superhuman control of their emotions and powers or are highly volatile and sometimes by turns. Frequently they fall prey to hubris or arrogance, typical strong Scorpio difficulties.

Looking at the turned houses we find the following pattern (8th for the 1st) (9th as 2nd) their wealth is knowledge (10th as 3rd) (11th as 4th) (12th as 5th) (1st as 6th) (2nd as 7th) ( 3rd as 8th) they definitely have contact with spirits (4th as 9th) and delve after secret knowledge (5th as 10th) (6th as 11th) (7th as 12th) personal relationships are a problem. This suggests that pleasure and relationships may be problematic and a potential liability to the sorcerer. The aspect mirrors that of Mars and Venus in their ruling signs which is again not considered a true aspect in the traditional sense except when the signs involved mirror dignity connections. This is an aspect of being forced to deal with someone or something. Combined with the nature of Mars and Venus together which is passionate and Pluto which is an all or nothing approach, we can well expect the sorcerer and the accomplished psychic to have an obsessive streak.

Their most significant planets will be Mars as the sign ruler with Pluto, its coruler, the Moon for the nocturnal nature of the sign and house, and the ruler of their 8th house.

Note that Uranus has dignity here by quadruplicity in fixed signs. This gives an added tendency of sorcerers to appear unpredictable and sometimes manic. The mad scientist archetype also comes to mind with a bit of paranoia.

The 12th house is the home of the mystic and the witch. This is also a cadent house and mutable with Pisces and Venus as consignificators. According to Ibn Ezra this is the house of grief, poverty, jealousy, hatred, fear, fraud, vigilance, prison, captivity, all disgrace and affliction, and of animals used for riding or to pull vehicles (i.e. large animals). Later astrologers generalized some what to include large animals period and the reactive emotions to apply to self undoing and affliction generally. Through the emotions of hatred and jealousy it now also applies to those who maliciously undermine others or secretly inform against them, and it has come to apply to large institutions generally such as hospitals, prisons and government agencies. The first triplicity shows grief and malicious gossips, the second shows prisons and other confinements as well as temporary workers, and the third shows secret enemies as well as large beasts and cattle. Although Saturn delights here as the author of mischief, the factors associated are Pisces, Neptune and Jupiter, so we get divines and mystics as well as confidence tricksters, betrayers, neurotics, and the afflicted. . We would then expect the mystic and shaman and witch, all of whom have a share in the nature of this house, to be somewhat unstable and to have come to their path by the Buddhist conviction that existence is suffering; though some will also exhibit a more transcendent opposite Jovian attitude. These sometimes view the world through rose colored glasses. They can be expected to intrigue against their peers and to be their own worst enemies. They are not always inclined to honesty and often have dealings with or have themselves been inmates of prisons, hospitals, and asylums. They also tend to have addictions or, the reverse, to be fastidious purists. The public record shows that prominent mystics and divines often experience scandal and sometimes legal action and include a broad spectrum stretching from the sublime to the tawdry, fraudulent and pathetic. The Neptune influence connects them with celebrity and quite often they have high visibility, despite their numerous detractors. It is also to be noted that they are often highly critical or dismissive of more established and reliable sources of advice and have a marked tendency to socialism and sedition.

Looking at the turned houses the pattern is as follows (12th as 1st) (1st as 2nd) (2nd as 3rd) (3rd as 4th ) (4th as 5th ) (5th as 6th) (6th as 7th) (7th as 8th) (8th as 9th) (9th as 10th) (10th as 11th) (11th as 12th). Notice that the income of this type is based on their personality and derives from their neighbors. This is common for celebrities. Note the houses are shifted by one for this type. Tradition says that this is an aspect which is no aspect but there are some special relationships between some of the signs and their houses. The 30 degree aspect is an aspect of preparation and so we might expect that these folks are in a state of perpetual preparation, not quite ready to do. And it mirrors the aspect between the corule and exaltation of Neptune suggesting some confusion and disarray.

Their most significant planets will be Jupiter and Venus (ruling and exalted in the sign), again the Moon for the nocturnal nature of the sign and house and also Neptune as the coruler of the sign with the actual ruler of their 12th house.

In contrast to this, the 9th house shows professional representatives of more established and conventional wisdom. The philosophers, astrologers, clerics, doctors, lawyers, scientists, and purveyors of financial services are found here. According to Ibn Ezra this is the house of travel and the distant road; of those removed from high office (as the house 'falling away' from the 10th), and of philosophy, religion, and spiritual attitude; of emissaries (traditional horary astrologers more often assign agents and emissaries to the 5th), rumors (most traditional astrologers assign rumors to the 3rd) and dreams; oaths, divination (and so astrology and cartomancy), laws, and judgment. The roots of later traditional and the modern associations with lawyers, doctors and other professionals and with foreigners and the exotic should be obvious. The first triplicity ruler shows distant travel, the second shows faith, and the third shows wisdom and education. During Neptune's transit of Sagittarius and when Jupiter is debilitated, the professional classes and large businesses share many of the difficulties of the mystic. According to Lilly, this house shows overseas travel, professional representation of faith and wisdom, dreams, visions, (therefore also prophecy) and foreign contacts, as well as corporations and other large private enterprise (note that the 12th house shows large public institutions). It also shows the kindred of the spouse. This house has Jupiter and Sagittarius as consignificators. Note that cosmobiology has found that Mars/Jupiter combinations often indicate the founders of large enterprises. Infortunes here incline to skepticism or fanaticism and to difficulties with foreigners, overseas travel, and large scale business and investment ventures. Fortunes here incline to a strong but temperate faith, success in large scale business, and successful overseas journeys and contacts. Yet, it is to be noted that the house is cadent and mutable so matters are likely to proceed by fits and starts and not all projects will be completed. There will also likely be many turns of fortune along the road - consider that many of the most wealthy experienced bankruptcy more than once on the path to riches.
For the more conventional professional the turned houses (9th as 1st) the identity is with the profession (10th as 2nd) income from the profession and public life itself the rest of the pattern is as follows (11th as 3rd) (12th as 4th) (1st as 5th) (2nd as 6th) (3rd as 7th) (4th as 8th) (5th as 9th) (6th as 10th) (7th as 11th) (8th as 12th). The aspect from the normal houses is 120 degrees or a trine making for ease or an effortlessness. It suggests that much just falls into their laps. This is an aspect of Jupiter and Saturn reflecting the trines from their ruling signs to their exaltations in Water and Air. There are also other relations in the dignities of Jupiter and Saturn but that most exemplified in the professions is the trine.

The most significant planets for the more conventional professionals are Jupiter (ruler of the house and of the professions), the Dragons Head which is exalted there and makes them lucky, the Sun for the diurnal sign, and the ruler of their 9th.

Note that there are also powerful fixed stars that incline to these paths and though the indicative house may not show it, the presence of one of these stars conjunct the ruler of the house or on one of the angles can be an equivalent indication.

Conclusion

In conclusion it would appear that magicians are produced by a forge of adversity, and overcome it, when they do, by using their abilities. It reminds me strongly of the Tibetan Buddhist list of "The Ten Things Not To Be Avoided". Obviously from a purely mundane point of view, the path of the magician or mystic is not chosen for it's ease or stability although these may be achieved by transcendence (usually shown by a fortunate direction) or application of the knowledge (usually shown by a series of potentially constructive transits and directions) or now and then by dumb luck (usually a fortunate comet or nova or very well placed Jupiter). Though there is such a thing as luck, few magicians possess it and usually learn to make it or not to count on it.
In the examples that follow, we will explore these factors in a handful of prominent cases.

September 25th, 2002
(revised and extended October 2009 and January 2011)

Jonathan Flanery
 
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