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Llewellyn Journal Articles
Wouldn't you agree that not a day goes by that each and every one of us isn't forced to rely on that one thing everyone says we were born with—good old common sense? Well, I believe that we were all born with something even more important, something each and every one of us should be relying on a lot more than we do—our twice as good, and even older, cosmic sense.
It's true. While common sense is the good judgment we've learned to develop by living in this practical world, cosmic sense is the incredible insight our soul couldn't help but develop while struggling to evolve in the spiritual one. Think of it as that remarkable sense of deeper understanding that only comes to us through our higher awareness. When we use it, we're able to make sense of the cosmos and our place in it because when we apply it, we're actually taking our common sensibilities to the next level. The highest level. Our spiritual level. The only level that gives us direct human access to all the universal know-how that we could possibly need to fulfill our earthly destiny. Why? Because it's the same level of hard-earned spiritual savvy that's now available to our soul for fulfilling its own chosen universal purpose. Yes, chosen, because based on the wisdom of our ancient astrologers (who, fortunately for us, had enough cosmic sense of their own) "by choice" is exactly how we humans come into this earthly existence. What's more, because our soul does the actual choosing before we do, that's exactly why those choices are celestially reflected in the astrological energies of our own natal sky once we get here. This is to remind our unconscious soul of its earthly purpose by bringing every one of those choices into our conscious awareness. Not a moment too soon, either, because with our very first human breath they become our earthly promises, the ones that we were literally born under so that our soul could be physically born into. Good to know, especially since, in this particular lifetime, we're the ones who have to live up to them.
Is it any wonder then why the ancients proclaimed that our destiny was "written in the stars"? Universally speaking it is, but only because astrologically speaking (or, by applying your cosmic sense) that's precisely what the energies in our natal sky reflect: our very own universal endorsement to be great and shine bright in this lifetime. Really. But that's only if our soul keeps its cosmic commitment to aim higher and do better than it did in the last one. So, yes, of course, our birth energies reveal just how and where we're destined to succeed down here in the material world. What they're really up there illuminating is our soul's promise to evolve in the spiritual one. If our soul makes good on its commitment, the universe makes good on its endorsement. Evidently, our fate here on terra firma is a lot less predetermined than we've been led to believe because when we view our natal sky from this perspective it's a lot more than just a celestial reflection of our earthly destiny. It's a universal documentation of the agreement we made to live up to it. An agreement the ancients called a horoscope, but based on their scientific principles I prefer to call our very own "contract with the universe."
Now before you start thinking you're not ready to embrace the science of our first astrologers, think again. These ancient stargazers had cosmic game. After all, they were not only our very first astronomers, they were the very first scholars to achieve that lofty status. That's because they were also the first scientists to devote their dreary lives to the selfless study and mind-numbing observation of the even drearier universe in which they lived. Unlike our astronomers today, they practiced astronomy and astrology as one comprehensive science because, while they knew our existence on this planet was designed to be depressingly physical, after years spent doing the medieval math, they were equally convinced that the universe we inhabited was more than just one-dimensional. In their primitive world, how could they know? In their line of work, how could they not? As professional astronomers they not only studied the heavens to discover how celestial objects moved and the universe worked as a whole; as equally professional astrologers (a job that was in many ways more difficult and in every way more mathematical) they analyzed those findings to determine how those movements affected all of us down below. "All of us" meaning our minds, bodies, and souls. In fact, for that reason (and despite the political correctness and religious pressures of their time—and there were many) these seasoned sky watchers were among the first to adopt the principle that ours was a multi-leveled universe made up of nothing but well-ordered energy. Talk about impressive! But, while this kind of thinking puts them clearly ahead of their own time, it's not what puts them ahead of ours. This does: in their professional opinion, in this particular universe, all of that well-ordered energy was divine, and (wait for it) one of the levels it operated on was spiritual.
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Throughout history, eclipses have been considered to be very powerful phenomena. This was especially so in ancient times when they fell on important places in the horoscopes of kings and countries. In those days, astronomy and astrology were not divided, and because religious and other ceremonies were set to take place in accordance with the stars, priests were the acting astrologers. In fact, it was only the very influential who were privy to the services of an astrologer. Leaders ran their countries according to the information provided; eclipses were thought to be of special significance and to precede famine, prosperity, disease, war, and other broad-scale events affecting the multitudes. If an eclipse occurred within a few degrees of the Sun, Moon, or Midheaven of a leader or a country, they were regarded with much anticipation and as being reflective of coming events well into the future.
Drawing on information provided them by their astrologers, some leaders used this private knowledge to manipulate their subjects, instilling fear in the common people by promising that a dragon would come to devour the Sun on a certain day and at a certain time. Although impressed by his accurate vision of the future, people came to be terrified of eclipses. Noisy ceremonies were performed, complete with beating drums and shooting arrows, to chase away the evil dragon they believed was trying to consume the Sun.
Eclipses occur when the Sun, Moon, and Earth come into a straight line. With a Solar Eclipse, the Moon casts a shadow upon the Sun as the Moon passes directly between the Earth and Sun. The Moon eventually becomes contained within the Sun's disk and, with a Total Solar Eclipse, there's a narrow rim of sunlight that is visible around the Moon during the totality of the eclipse. A Solar Eclipse occurs when the New Moon forms within eighteen and a half degrees of one of the Lunar Nodes; the motion of the nodes is about nineteen degrees per year backward through the zodiac. Conditions are just right for Solar Eclipses to occur during two time periods each year. Most years we have only two Solar Eclipses, as the Sun moves into the zodiac sign occupied by either the North or South Node; some years, however, there are more. A Solar Eclipse lasts on average between three and four hours from the beginning to the end of the shadow phases. These eclipses are considered to foreshadow events affecting nobility, leaders, and countries.
A Lunar Eclipse occurs when the Full Moon forms within roughly twelve degrees of the North or South Lunar Node, and results from the Earth coming directly between the Sun and Moon. The Moon loses its reflected light from the Sun as the Earth interrupts it, and often the Moon appears to turn dark red while in the Earth's shadow. A Lunar Eclipse usually occurs two weeks before or two weeks after a Solar Eclipse, though it is possible to have a Lunar Eclipse both before and after a Solar Eclipse. In those instances we have a series of three eclipses in a row, each two weeks apart. A Lunar Eclipse lasts an average of four to five hours from beginning to end of the shadow phases. These eclipses have long been believed to foreshadow events affecting the common people.
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Llewellyn's Complete Book of Astrology
You've probably read your horoscope online, in newspapers or magazines, or in publications that focus on the year ahead. These forecasts are based on your Sun sign, which is easily determined by your birth month and day. You might even know some of the characteristics associated with your Sun sign and those of family and friends. Sun sign descriptions are amazingly accurate, even though there's no rational explanation why astrology should work. After all, the Sun, Moon, and planets are millions of miles away from Earth. How can a body in outer space realistically affect a person on Earth?
A Sun sign is just a Sun sign. It's important, yes, because it's the essence of you. It's your ego at work. But from an astrological viewpoint, there's so much more that defines you—your character, talents, strengths, and challenges.
The ancient Babylonians were as perplexed by this astrological phenomenon as we are today. In the four thousand or so years since they invented astrology, no one has discovered an explanation for why it works. But work it does.
Around the sixteenth century BC, the Babylonians began to observe that events on Earth could be correlated to celestial phenomena. Their brand of astrology is what is today called mundane astrology, or the astrology of countries, wars, coups, economic conditions, and weather, to name a few. It eventually evolved into what is now known as electional astrology, the branch in which the planetary positions are used to select a favorable time to launch an event, such as a wedding, business opening, meeting, or job application. Babylonian astrologers used the 360° circle (a zodiac of twelve signs similar to what is used today) and also developed ephemeredes (tables of astrological data) that listed the planetary positions and eclipses. At that point in time, no connection had been made between astrology and the individual.
It wasn't until more than a thousand years later, sometime between the seventh and fourth centuries BC, that the Babylonians developed the concept of natal astrology. The natal horoscopes of the time, which probably were limited to royalty and wealthy people, were inscribed on cuneiform tablets and listed the planetary positions along with comments referring to wealth potential, longevity, family, and status. The natal horoscope was seen as a predictor of the person's life, much as it is today, the difference being that twenty-first-century astrologers and people recognize that everyone has free will; the Babylonians considered the chart fateful.
The Babylonian knowledge was passed to the Persians, Egyptians, and Indians. It was readily adopted in India, where today it is considered not only valid but necessary to a successful life. Great advances in astrology were made in Alexandria, Egypt, in the second and third centuries AD, partly as a result of King Ptolemy I Soter, who ordered the construction of a great library that attracted scholars. During this period, the following concepts were developed: the Ascendant (rising sign) and Midheaven, astrological houses, planetary rulers, aspects, and predictive techniques. Astrology was considered a science and spread to western Europe, where educated people knew Greek and Latin.
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Astro Update - Issue 21 - July 2007
In Issue 21 of the Astro Update published on July 10, 2007, the author of Cosmic Karma: Understanding Your Contract with the Universe was listed incorrectly in the new release section.
The correct author of this excellent and very insightful book is Marguerite Manning.
Llewellyn's Complete Book of Astrology
by Kris Brant Riske, M.A.
by Joann Hampar
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by Martin Lass
by Celeste Teal
by Gwyneth Bryan
by Stephanie Clement
by Robin Antepara
by Don McBroom
by Anne Massey
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