Sunday, 19 October 2014

A fatal kind of Synastry that resulted in Michelangelo's disfigurement!


                                                                 Michelangelo 

It is an irony that Michelangelo, the man who produced some of the finest works our world has ever seen and who glorified earth with heavenly beauty, was physically "ugly" himself! And not just ugly but actually disfigured! Not by nature but out of an act of violence inflicted upon him by one of his fellow students bearing the name Pietro Torrigiano!

Torrigiano was anything but a minor personality. In time he would become a great artist himself. He is accredited as the person who kick-started the British Renaissance (he escaped to England after injuring Michelangelo - as the latter was a protegee of the omnipotent Florentine family of the Medici)! Torrigiano was gifted alright but somehow unlucky too, as he was born at the same time and place as Michelangelo. This meant that he was condemned to live at the shadow of Michelangelo's towering geniusness. Thus, it does not surprise us at all the fact that he was very jealous of him.

Torrigiano was a tough, "macho" kind of man (he was even drafted at some point as a mercenary soldier). Obviously he was longing for any kind of pretence that would offer him the chance to unleash his smouldering grudge towards Michelangelo. And this chance was  given to him on a day when the two were copying - as apprentists - side by side some frescoes. Michelangelo made some snide remark to Torrigiano who was so much enraged by it that he punched him on the nose, breaking it.

According to Torrigiano's own testimony of the event:

"This Buonarroti (Michelangelo) and I used when we were boys to go into the Church of the Carmine to learn drawing from the chapel of Masaccio. It was Buonarroti’s habit to banter all who were drawing there; and one day, among others, when he was annoying me, I got more angry than usual, and clenching my fist, gave him such a blow on the nose, that I felt bone and cartilage go down like biscuit beneath my knuckles; and this mark of mine he will carry with him to the grave."

There is obviously too much jealousy and animosity involved in the Michelangelo - Torrigiano relationship (especially from Torrigiano's part). And since the quality of a relationship depends largely on the type of Synastry that is formed between its members it seems as though the Michelangleo - Torrigiano Synastry was not a particularly happy one. And as we will soon see, indeed it wasn't!

We do have in our disposition the complete birth data for Michelangelo (his time of birth as well) so we can cast his complete natal chart (you may see it below). He was a double Pisces (Sun and Moon in Pisces) with a Sagittarius Ascendant! His natal Moon and the ruler of his horoscope (Jupiter) are both residing in his Second House (in a very "solid", down to earth and artistic House, that is)! His Sun is conjuncted by the ultra-energetic and bellicose planet Mars. Being a double Pisces he was meek alright but he was probably exhibiting as well some sudden Martian outbursts!


We know as well Torrigiano's date of birth: November 24, 1472 (Old Style of course - Julian Calendar). As you can see below Torrigiano was a Sagitturius with a Virgonean Moon. And as in Michelangelo's case he has a bellicose Sun / Mars conjunction too (in a fiery sign this time - no coincidence he is described as a man with a rather violent temper):


Although we don't know Torrigiano's time of birth we can still conduct a decent synastric study for these two Italian Renaissance artists. You may see their Synastry below (Michelangelo's chart in the inner wheel and Torrigiano's in the outer one):


We should start with the fact that their solar signs (Pisces and Sagittarius) are inharmonious. Although they traditionally share the same ruler - Jupiter - their natures (feminine - masculine, aquatic - igneous) are quite different and it is very hard for them to find some common ground. Michelangelo's and Torrigiano's respective Marses are not helping them either in that sense, as they are forming a square aspect among them - magnifying and exacerbating even the most trivial friction in their interaction. And since both their Marses are aspecting their respective Plutos' too the slightest friction among them was producing extreme turmoil in their souls and was thus escalating into a deadly hostility - as if their very existence were in jeopardy!

If we had to associate envy with a specific planet then most probably this would be Saturn (and Saturn is particularly envious in front of accomplishments, recognition and fame). And in the current Synastry Torrigiano's Saturn is forming a harsh square aspect to both Michelangelo's Sun and Mars! This means that Torrigiano was feeling unfathomable envy for the latter's brilliance, vivacity and talents! And as he was a couple of years senior to him he probably tried to control and manipulate him. Overall, the two must have been cultivating monumental grudges in their souls against each other!

You see, although Torrigiano was too "macho", his Virgonean Moon was very sensitive to criticism.  Thus, Michelangelo's remarks seem to have upset him rather excessively and disproportionately to the occasion. And this due to the fact that Michelangelo's Mars and Pluto are forming stressful and somehow "corrosive" aspects with Torrigiano's Moon in Virgo.

This brief synastric analysis would be rather incomplete if we did not mention the fact that Torrigiano's Sun, Mars and Venus are all "falling" in Michelangelo's Twelfth House. The Twelfth House is a somehow "debilitating" area of the chart. Thus, if you are a tough guy you don't want your Sun and your Mars to fall in some other guy's Twelfth House - especially if you consider him a competitor of yours. In such an eventuality, you feel rather weak and confused when interacting with that guy. We might say that Torrigiano was somehow feeling "belittled" even by Michelangelo's mere presence! And that's a very discomforting sensation to someone who has not worked with himself and has not experienced the transcendental "Ego dissolution" state as a potentially "elevating" thing...The only alternative left then to the "raw" kind of people - in order for them to jump out of the numbing and humiliating limbo of the Twelfth House - is to resort to spasmodic acts and to an apparently unmotivated aggression...

Thomas Gazis
Copyright: Thomas D. Gazis

Saturday, 4 October 2014

The (erected by Cardanus) horoscope of the top Byzantine/ Renaissance astrologer Trapezuntius!

                            (Portrait of the top Byzantine/ Renaissance astrologer George Trapezuntius)

Many historians nowadays are beginning to realize that the contribution of the Byzantine scholars to the Italian Renaissance - although much praised  - in reality has been underestimated! I could share my own testimony here - for the little it counts for - since I am researching Byzantine astrology for many years and I have come to the conclusion that the Byzantines Astrologers have substantially influenced their European colleagues - and the Renaissance Astrology in general!

A leading figure of the Byzantine and Renaissance Astrology - a figure that directly and indirectly influenced many European astrologers - is George of Trebizond (or George Trapezuntios)! He was born in 1396 in the island of Crete. His family originated from Trebizond in Pontus (now Trabzon in Turkey but back then a major Greek-Byzantine city and an important astronomical and astrological center). Trapezuntius was a true cultured Astrologer (we might call him today an "omniscient" as he was an astronomer, a mathematician, a translator, orator, philosopher, physician etc.).

People know next to nothing about Byzantium and the Byzantines. So, to make you realize - in the blink of an eye  - how important Trapezuntius has been to the European astrology I am inviting you to take a look at the photo below. It shows a list of the books that the famous English astrologer William Lilly had in his possession (he enlists them himself at the end of his book "Christian Astrology"). In this list we can clearly see that Lilly was studying the Georgius Trapezuntius' book "In centum Ptolomei Aphorismos"!


In those times Crete was under Venetian rule. Thus, in 1496 Trapezuntius - having already distinguished himself in literature, philosophy and science - moved to Venice in order to work as a secretary at the powerful politician and humanist Francesco Barbaro. Alongside his work he began teaching Greek (which was becoming "fashionable" back then in Italy) and probably astrology too! His fame spread rapidly throughout Italy and he was soon receiving invitations to teach at various universities (he taught at the ones of Vincenza, Florence and Rome). A few years after, an even greater recognition came for him by the hand of the very Pope Gregory IV (a great lover of literature and the arts) who appointed him an apostolic secretary!

In all those years Trapezuntius (apart from teaching letters, phisosophy, oratory and eventually translating greek texts into latin) was most probably practicing and teaching astrology too! We have a testimony on this from the famous Italian astrologer Lucas Gauricus. In his popular book "Tractatus astrologicus" Gauricus collected/ computed the horoscopes of the most illustrious scholars of his era and among them he displays the one of Trapezuntius! You may see it below in its square form that was very popular up to a couple of centuries ago. Gauricus is "tagging" Trapezuntius as an astronomer (a term that in the language of that era means mostly an astrologer!)


Below this horoscope Gauricus is adding some info on Trapezuntius (in Latin): "He was born in the island of Crete, whose latitude is 36 degrees. He has been a professor of letters in many Italian cities and a distinguished astronomer. He himself recorded all his relative birthday events (Gauricus means here the specific date and time of every Trapezuntius' Solar Return) and he computed this particular natal chart, in various Greek and Latin forms"!

The above horoscope looks neat and well calculated but in reality it is somehow inconsistent! First of all, it indicates as Trapezuntius birth year the one of 1395. In his biographies though Trapezuntius is reported as been born in 1396. To make things more complicated, the planetary positions in this horoscope do not correspond to the very year indicated on it (1395) but to the year 1396! Furthemore, the indicated time of birth is 12:20 "An. Mer." (meaning "Ante meridiem"), resulting to 00:20 AM. Thus Trapezuntius' full data of birth should be April 4, 1396, 00:20 in Iraklion - Crete. By providing these data to the overall infallible astrology program "Solar Fire Gold" we get the chart you see below (I am using the Porphyry house system that was the most popular in that period - Gauricus is using another house system that is none of the ones we are familiar with. I think it is the obsolete by now "Bianchinus").


What strikes us immediately is the fact that the Moon is in Aquarius and not in Pisces. Actually it is in the 16th degree of Aquarius, almost half a sign away from the position indicated by Gauricus (1 degree of Pisces). In fact, on that specific date the Moon would enter the sign of Pisces at 22:18 - almost 22 hours after the time indicated on Gauricus chart! For the rest, the other planetary positions are almost coinciding!

There is though another major Italian Renaissance astrologer who somehow paid tribute to Trapezuntius by publishing his horoscope as well: Hieronymus Cardanus!  In his book "Liber de exemplis centum geniturarum" ("A Book of a hundred nativities' examples", in which Caedanus is analyzing many horoscopes that were already present in Gauricus "Tractatus Astrologicus" - plagiarizing thus Gauricus, a common practice back then - he includes as well the horoscope of our brilliant Byzantine scholar. Cardanus was a "Ptolemaic" astrologer and that was an additional reason for him to honor the "par excellence: Ptolemaic Trapezuntius - whose books most probably had thoroughly read! Actually, he is presenting the horoscope of Trapezuntius on the very first pages of his book - second only to the horoscope of Petrarch!
Cardanus is using the Equal House planetary system and certain planetary positions in his chart are identical to the Gauricus ones - to the minute! (Venus', Saturn's and the North Node's)! But we find again here a wrong natal Moon for Trapezuntius: 2 degrees and 20 minutes of Pisces - instead of the 16 degrees and 52 minutes of Aquarius). So, either the birth data of Trapezuntius is wrong and he indeed has a Pisces Moon or his data is right and his Moon is in Aquarius (it was miscalulated by both Gauricus and Cardanus - or simply Cardanus blatantly copied Gauricus, changing slightly the positions of some planets so that they do not all match the ones provided by Gauricus...). 

In any case, we are rather perplexed by the apparent miscalculation of the Moon from the part of both Gauricus and Cardanus. Especially Cardanus - apart from being an excellent astrologer / astronomer - is considered one of the greatest mathematical minds in the history of mankind! And even if this Trapezuntius' horoscope was casually found by Gauricus and Cardanus in some manuscript and was merely copied to their books, they should have accurately verified every single planetary position on it before publishing it.

We should add a precious piece of information here: John Monfasani - a major Trapezuntius'  modern biographer -  is arguing that this great personality was born on April 3, 1395 (if this is the case then his Moon is in Virgo - and that Moon reflects very well the fact that he was very productive, that he worked for a long time as a secretary and that he was attracted by young girls). Apparently though Monfasani is not a great astrology connoisseur, because he draws the conclusion that Trapezuntius was born on the 3rd of April out of a personal note the latter wrote, stating that on the 3rd of April 1453 he was having his 58th Solar Revolution. Every astrologer knows though that a solar revolution may occur a day before our calendric birthday - so Trapezuntius might very well have had his 58th Solar Return on the 3rd of April 1453 while actually his birthday was on the 4th of April.

Of course, if Trapezuntius in 1453 was celebrating  his 58th (and not his 57th) Solar Return  then he must have been born in 1395 and not in 1396! There is though an elemenet capable of causing a certain confusion: a byzantine year was starting on the 1st of September! The byzantines that is were celebrating the first day of their new year 4 whole months before the Italians! This sort of discrepancy might have brought a certain difficulty in the conversion of the byzantine years into the corresponding Italian ones.

In 1447 the patron of Trapezuntius Pope Eugene died and Nicholas V took his place. Nicholas maintained Trapezuntius as an apostolic secretary - and as a translator of Greek secular and religious texts! At about this time Trebizond translated into Latin the "Almagest" of Ptolemy adding to it a commentary of his own in Latin - a commentary that would become very popular throughout Europe for the next four centuries!

                                   (A commentary of Trapezuntius on Ptolemy's "Almagest")

In the new papal entourage though another scholar figure was becoming the center of attention: Poggio Bracciolini. Perhaps in order to differentiate himself from Trapezuntius - or to advance a "fellow patriot" of his in front of the unstoppable stream of Greek culture that was ever more sweeping Italy - Bracciolini imposed the rather minor (as we know today) Latin orator Quintilianus as the supreme intellectual figure of the day! Trapezuntius - who obviously felt unfairly sidelined by this meteoric rise of Bracciolini - began to feverishly shatter Quintilianus in his speeches and letters. Thus he inevitably came into conflict with Bracciolini himself - and obviously with the circle of Bracciolini's "supporters". That was a big mistake, because no matter how just Trapezuntius was (and how unfair Bracciolini) ultimately Trapezuntius was all alone in this fight - while Bracciolini as a typical Aquarius (and as an Italian of course) had numerous and powerful allies.

The pretence for dismissing Trapezuntius was given to the Bracciolini's entourage at a meeting of the apostolic secretaries. There, Bracciolini made ​​an ironic comment to Trapezuntius who got up and  threw a powerful punch in his face (we shouldn't forget that Trapezuntius was as Aries - and if he was born in 1396 he had his Mars in Aries too!). By committing this explicitly violent act against the vain reviver of Quintilianus he fell completely out of favour and eventually was forced to leave Rome in 1452 and move with his family to the - ruled by the Spaniards' back then - city of Naples.

In Naples George of Trebizond worked as a secretary to the King Alfonso of Aragon. This was one of the his most flourishing periods, as he wrote then his two major astrological essays: the "A Short essay on Antiscia" ("Brevis de antisciis tractatus") and "Why the judgements (predictions) of the astrologers are failing in our times" ("Cur his temporibus astrologorum judicia fallant "). At the same time, he translated into Latin the astrological work of pseudo-Ptolemy "Centiloquium", which became as well a mega hit throughout Europe. Furthermore, he continued teaching and one of his disciples - in this dominated by Vesuvius city - was Giovanni Pontano, who would later on become a major humanist and astrologer! And while his Naples sojourn started pretty well, after a few years Trapezuntius began experiencing problems there too...

At a certain point Pope Nicholas V summoned Trapezuntius back to Rome. There he met (and probably even taught) Regiomontanus, who around the year 1462 was living  at the Roman villa of the Byzantine cardinal Bessarion - who had turned his house into a cradle of hellenism and humanism). But the environment in Rome was still "toxic" to this Greek emigre and he consequently fell victim to new adversities and intrigues. He left Rome and travelled to his fatherland Constantinople - which had fallen by then to the Ottoman Turks. Apparently the Turks were not very much thrilled by the Trapezuntius' literary and astrological virtues, so he returned to Rome. But he was again treated in a hostile manner (as he had sought to establish relations with the arch enemies of Christendom the Turks). He finally died around 1473, destitute and suffering from dementia (he was wandering like a fool through the streets of Rome), without ever been acknowledged for the pivotal role he played in the revival of the ancient Greek-knowledge (and of astrology in particular) in the renascent Europe...

Thomas Gazis
Copyright: Thomas D. Gazis

Sunday, 28 September 2014

Clooney - Alamuddin: a rather incompatible couple!


Α glamorous marriage is taking place as I am writing this article (under the spell of the Libra Sun, which is urging people to form "unions" of all kinds) in what is probably the most romantic city of the world, Venice! Actually, the George Clooney - Amal Alamuddin marriage is one of the most spotlighted and discussed in recent years and under this point of view it ranks second only to the the Prince William - Kate Middleton royal marriage in 2010!

A hollywood superstar that used to be a die hard bachelor has fallen in love to a rather "mortal" woman and is displaying towards her the ultimate proof  of his love, by officially marrying her in magical Venice! What more? There are some fairy-tale ingredients here (too much Neptune obviously!). Certainly it's not a coincidence that this relationship and the ensuing marriage has fascinated the public world wide.

It comes thus as a surprise the fact that this much celebrated couple seems to be - astrologically speaking - rather incompatible! I don't have in my hands Amal's complete data - nobody seems to know her birth time - so I am a little bit cautious here. Still, I cannot overlook the fact that in their "Synastry" (in the comparison of Clooney's chart to Alamuddin's) some key elements are highly conflicting and disharmonious!

George Clooney is a rather introverted, conservative, down to earth, resilient Taurus. His Ascendant is in the ethereal sign of Pisces. That Ascendant - combined with his strong Taurean energies and with his Venus in the First House - are the main astrology elements entailing his much praised handsomeness and allure. But what strikes me the most in his chart is his very stern and austere Moon, residing in the sign of Capricorn and forming a rather tight conjunction to Saturn!



Since the ancient times the sign of Capricorn and the planet Saturn are considered two elements that are somehow lacking warmth and spontaneity and here we have Clooney bearing both of them in his chart! That's a rather pivotal configuration - but not necesarily a "bad" one. On the one hand, it is making him very disciplined, ambitious and cold blooded and thus it is an excellent configuration professionally (he might very well have been a distinct doctor - no doubt that the doctor's role suited him perfectly in the "ER" TV series). But on the other hand, this is a rather "hindering" configuration on a personal level. Our Moon is related to our "inner world", to our feelings and soul's energies. So, in George Clooney's case we unexpectedly disclose a largely harsh and frigid inner world of his!

What an irony! The love idol - to millions of women worldwide - did not receive  probably much love in his early years and apparently is harboring in his soul major emotional gaps, insecurities and even grudges - rooted in his childhood and propably stemming out of his relation to his mother. For this reason he is ever seeking to "square" things up and control any eventual intimate interaction of his with women, obsessively establishing terms, clauses and boundaries between him and them! He generally seems to be having awkward moments when co-existing with a woman! The very thing of expressing his inner feelings, warmth and spontaneity might turn to be a particularly hard task to him! Don't get me wrong though! Clooney might function very efficiently sexually  - as a Taurus - but for the rest he might have remained in the memory of many women as a rather cold, calculated and distant partner. In any case, he seems to be a very practical and "earthy" man, a man who understands the "necessity" of life and who thus is not particularly reluctant in engaging in eventual relationships or marriages of convenience!

Let's take a look of their Synastry. Their solar signs are quite incompatible (he is a Taurus and she is an Aquarius. Their "core" energies are somehow clashing). In addition, their respective Suns are forming a tough square aspect between them - while Amal's Venus is squaring Clooney's Sun as well! These are quintessentially disharmonious configurations! Of course, there is a mitigating factor here: Clooney's Moon is in his Eleventh House - the House archetypically corresponding to the sign of Aquarius. So, we are getting some assistance out of this "latent synastric element" of theirs (see my relative "Sasstrology" article:  Latent synastric elements - the secret fuel of love ), as George Clooney's Moon is harboring certain elements pertinent to the Aquarian Sun of Amal! But even this assistive latent element cannot compensate their otherwise blatant incompatibily!


Amal's Moon is forming as well a hard aspect to Clooney's Sun (a Quincunx), denoting a sort of alienation and a deep inner conflict between the two. Fortunately, there is another "latent synastric element"saving the scene here (Amal's Sagittarian Moon is falling in Clooney's Ninth House. This means that the two know very well the value of opening up, of trusting each other and having fun together - Amal seems to have taught him big time this - of "playing", joking and loughing. As a couple they are orientated towards self-improvement and culture in general. They are good companions and forgiving to each other).

Both Amal's Sun and Venus fall in the secretive and somehow "sacred" Twelfth House of George Clooney. The Twelfth House is a rather strange and unusual area of a chart, full of mystical, transcendental and sometimes disabling energies. We often tend to idealize an individual putting planets in our Twelfth House. On the other hand, no other individual might dissilusion us and disappoint us more than the one putting his "Lights" (Sun or Moon) or any major planetary configurations in our Twelfth House!

With Amal's Pluto in Clooney's Seventh House and simultaneously in opposition to his Venus the Lebanese descent lawyer is often acting as a sort of therapist for him, pinpointing his complexes and traumas and deliberately mining his rigid rules. We might say that she has a very soothing effect to his soul - as her natal Jupiter is falling in Clooney's Fourth House (a House harboring our most personal soul energies, our feelings, deep rooted habits etc.).

All in all, this is a difficult Synastry. There are some chances that it might get a little better: if Amal's Ascendant is either in Scorpio or in Capricorn. With Amal having a Scorpio Ascendant, Clooney's Sun would fall in Amal's ultra harmonious Seventh House - while his Moon would probably fall in her Fourth House (that would provide his starving Moon a lot of feelings and tenderness). If Amal had a Capricorn Ascendant then her Sun and Venus would probably fall in her Second House - somehow turning her into a Taurus! Adding to that the fact of her Ascendant being in the same sign as Clooney's Moon - and Clooney's Sun falling in her Fourth House - then things would be much better between the two. Still though not an excellent Synastry, just a viable one..

Thomas Gazis
Copyright: Thomas D. Gazis

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Constantinople's inauguration horoscope


In the 4th century CE the Roman empire was entering a phase of decline that would ultimately lead it to its demise. Thus it's not very suprising the fact that in 324 CE the emperor Constantine the Great took the radical (and somehow heretic) action to transfer the capital of his empire from Rome to Constantinople - almost fifteen hundred kilometres to the east! The location that was about to become the future Constantinople was back then just a small citadel named (by its greek founders) "Byzantium". But thanks to a construction frenzy that lasted 6 years Constantine built magnificent buildings, fora, baths and an hippodrome and managed to metamorphose the humble citadel into a cosmopolitan city that would rival Rome itself!


And then, the day of the inauguration of the city came! Which actually had to be determined by an astrologer (astrology was rife in the Roman empire and was about to become rife in the Byzantine empire too)! There are two major byzantine historians (Zonaras and Kedrinos) specifically mentioning the inauguration date of the new capital Constantinople: on the 11th of May 330 (Old Style)! It was a date established by the emperor's personal astrologer Valens who - as the historians are detailing - worked very hard and for a long time in order to find a uniquely propitious date.

Fortunately, we have a byzantine source reporting the time of the inauguration too (see Magdalino's "The occult sciences in Byzantium", page 168). It is "at two hours and 26 minutes". The phrase "at two hours" does not mean "at two o' clock". The byzantines counted their day from dawn on. Thus, "at two hours and 26 minutes" means "two hours and 26 minutes after the sunrise". But there is another catch here. These byzantine hours and minutes are not exactly like the ones we are familiar with. A byzantine daily "hour" for example is the result of the division of the natural day in 12 equal parts. Thus, a byzantine daily "hour" might very well range  from 45 to 75 minutes (depending on the season and on the latitude of the location)! To spare the computations, "two daily hours and 26 minutes" for the latitude of Constantinople on the 11 of May equal 2  hours and 53 of our modern time! And since the Sun rose at 5:51 on the 11th of May 330 CE the time of the inauguration is approx. 8:44 am. (and I say approximately because the byzantines did not possess precision clocks and they relied upon raw sundials and water clepsydras).

Having in our hands the exact date and time of Constantinople's inauguration we can now erect its inauguration horoscope! It is the one you see below (rendered somehow "hellenistically" - no moderns planets in it):


So, Constantinople is a Taurus with Moon in Leo and the Ascendant in Cancer. Back in 330 CE  the astrologers were using the "Whole Sign Houses" system of domification. They were computing the Ascendant alright (19 degrees of Cancer in this case) but the sign of the Ascendant was becoming (in its entirety) the "First House" (or to be more precise "The First Place"), the following sign was becoming the "Second Place" and so on. In the above chart, the First Place corresponds to the entire sign of Cancer! And without doubt, having the two benefics in the First Place (that is Venus and Jupiter, with Venus being the dispositor of the Sun and Jupiter being in Sect) seems to be an excellent election!

Moon and Saturn are in the Second Place of "material posessions" (and the new empire had to have a lot of them!). I would like to add a peculiar note here. The 11th century byzantine emperor Manuel Komnenos was an excellent astrologer. I was reading a long letter he wrote defending astrology against an important theologian - monk who was refutating it (letter preserved in CCAG V.1, 108). To give more credit to astrology Manuel mentions that Constantine the Great inaugurated Constantinople in accordance to the election made by his astrologer Valens. And Manuel Komnenos draws a rather bitter innuendo here when he goes: "Valens who was a monk himself elected the Saturn of Contantinople to be in the Second Place, so that the money of the citizens go to the monks - as we can see happening in our times!" Voila! Saturn in the Second Place! Here I had a testimony that the above inauguration chart for Constantinople is the right one!

In hindsight Valens' election was a good one. After all Constantinople endured for more than a thousand years, till she fell to the ferocious ottoman army. The Turks had made an epic decend from central Asia to the Byzantine land (corresponding roughly to today's Turkey) and in 1453 managed to breach the walls of Constantinople, occupying the city and renaming it Istanbul.

Of course we have to have at least an elementary knowledge of hellenistic astrology in order to realize whether this a nicely elected chart or not. The Sun is "in Sect" and in the Eleventh Place of "Good Spirit"! The "daemon" (known as well as "Part of Spirit" - a part that the byzantines were using a lot) most probably is in the Eleventh Place of "Good Spirit" (the Φ symbol you see at the first degree of Taurus) and that is an ideal domification because it means that the new capital would be a brilliant city protected and "guided" by good spirits (I am saying "most probably" because if Valens had miscalculated the positions of the Sun and the Moon even by some degree then the "daemon" might very well be in the Ninth Place of "God" - and that would be a jolly domicafication too)! The benefic North Node of the Moon stands in the Tenth Place and that's a sign that the city will excel in everything and will become renowned!

And for those who are knowledgeable in hellenistic/traditional astrology (or who would like to learn more about it) it would be proper to include here an excellent traditional analysis of the inauguration chart of Constantinople from the part of the distinguished Serbian astrologer Goran Konchar:

"What stands out for me in short is this: both benefics are in the First Place in the fertile sign of Cancer, culminating from an angular Point of Fortune (Venus in her triplicity/decan rules it, while Jupiter is the exalted lord of the ascendant and receives her!) in the 4th Place. This is an excellent indicator of the city's growth, fame and wealth. The Moon as the ascendant lord and the 'natural' ruler of the Point of Fortune is in a partile, sextile with it from it's 11th sign - again, very good, especially for acquisition of wealth. At the same time, the Moon is waxing in a diurnal chart but is placed under the earth in its halb and in mutual reception with the chart luminary, the Sun in the excellent 11th Place - both lights as sources of life in fixed signs (durability) their mutual agreement/sympathy still made more firm by the placements in antiscia signs - the attempt to ensure harmony/good will between rulers and the populace. Moreover, both lights are also in the terms of the benefics! The Moon is additionally over the imperial star Regulus. The malefics rule the 7th Place of enemies in Capricorn and both are afflicted/weakened. Saturn is in the turned 8th, not beholding its domicile and impeding himself (detriment) in the bounds of Mars while the Sun is in a superior square to it, and applying - death and destruction of the enemies, even though they may prove to be a very tough nut to crack (a superior malefic in a fixed sign). Mars is applying to him as well by superior sextile, providing for more damage. Mars is made even more impotent than Saturn by its position in Gemini in the 12th , the house of its sadness (Ibn Ezra). The chart has the ascendant of Thema mundi, an attempt to create a world - ruling city?"

As Goran is pointing out, I think that indeed Constantine's the Great intention was to build from scratch a world ruling cosmopolis! Under this point of view, the election that his astrologer Valens made for the inaguaration of the city was a good one! Certainly this is not the most perfect election ever made (some byzantine historians purport the story that Valens was postponing the inauguaration for 14 whole years because he could not find the proper - perfect - planetary configurations!). But ultimately nothing is perfect. Constantinople started its life as a Roman city, it was soon turned into a predominately Greek one and finally in 1453 CE ceased to exist - as the Turks militarily occupied it and altered its essence...

Thomas Gazis
Copyright: Thomas D. Gazis   

Thursday, 14 August 2014

The feminine aggressiveness (what has astrology taught me)!

(photo courtesy: "Psychology Today" magazine -  "Bullying in the female world" by Ditta M. Oliker)

Feminine aggressiveness! Probably you have never heard this term ... First of all, how can one characterize aggressive the energy that we all know as maternal, receptive, tender? How can the feminine energy manifest - under certain circumstances - in a "bad"and aggressive way? And so "badly" and aggressively as the masculine one? Personally I was ignoring this kind of "feminine aggressiveness" (note that I am not using here the term "female aggression". There is a pivotal distinction between it and the term "feminine aggressiveness" as you will see later on.) Until - to my surprise - I discovered its existence through Astrology!

Some 10 years ago I was writing an article on the six zodiacal "Pairs" (which was published in 2004 on the historical "American Astrology" magazine. You may read it here). As I was conceptualizing this specific article I realized that there is in nature a particular "feminine selfishness" that is equivalent - but not identical - to the masculine one. And there is too a feminine kind of aggressiveness very much corresponding to the masculine one! The two are of the same intensity but of differents "phases"!

To realize what I mean we have to go back for an instant to the basics. We all know that the zodiac is symmetrically composed of six masculine and six feminine signs. Aries is a masculine sign, Taurus is a feminine one, Gemini is masculine sign, Cancer is a feminine one and so on. On my "American Astrology" article I was depicting the masculine signs as "mountains" and the feminine ones as sort of gorges or "ravines". Thus, we might say that the masculine kind of aggressiveness is a "mountain" kind of aggressiveness!


If you are travelling in a varied landscape you can easily perceive the mountains around you because they are so prominent, obvious and explicit! Similarly we can all perceive easily and IMMEDIATELY the masculine type of aggressiveness! Just picture a person shouting loud at you or violently pushing you in front of other people. That's masculine aggressiveness! What about the feminine aggressiveness though? What would there be its key characteristics?

I began my quest on this subject by considering the feminine aggressiveness as a "ravine" kind of aggressiveness. When you travel you don't see the eventual ravines in your landscape. And if you are careless you might even fall in one before realizing that there was a ravine in front of you! This means that the feminine aggressiveness is somehow invisible to our social environments. And although it is quantitatively equal to the masculine one (they are both equally aggressive but they don't seem so because their "phases" are distinct and their "polarities" are opposite) it is not easily perceived and evaluated as an acutely aggressive energy! In reality the feminine aggressiveness (some people call it "passive aggression") works in IMPLICIT ways and is mainly moving through hidden,behind the curtains, "feminine" paths. Thus it is not easily observed externally.

We need though to clarify something here: when we talk about the "feminine energy" we do not refer exclusively to women. Many men (even the allegedly "macho" ones) have prominent "feminine" energies in theirs charts and thus may resort to feminine aggressiveness!

For each person and situation in the Universe it is imperative to be special, unique, self-sufficient and secure, to have stamina and momentum, to impose its own interests and to dominate as much as it can the people and the situations around it. If the average Joe lacked an elementary strong "Ego" then he would be "crashed" by the multiple external pressures he is constantly receiving in his life. This process of strengthening the "Ego" of a human being, of achieving its individualization and "diversification" is supervised by the first two signs of the zodiac: by Aries (which is a "masculine" sign) and by Taurus (which is a "feminine" sign). The secret now is that the aforementioned process is handled by the signs of Aries and Taurus as a "pair" - by splitting that is the process in half and by assigning to Aries its masculine "phase" and to Taurus its feminine phase! The signs of Aries and Taurus (and all the other consecutive adjacent signs) are in reality an astrological "Pair", a small "wholeness", two equal but opposite and complementary "polarities".

Regarding Aries we can easily understand why it is considered the sign of "Ego", the sign impersonating the overt aggression: it is a masculine sign ruled by the belligerent planet Mars. What about Taurus though? How can a "low key" feminine sign - ruled by the planet Venus - be so selfish and eventually belligerent? Is there indeed a feminine ego? Astrology is telling us that there is - and that it is as acute and corrosive as the masculine one! If the masculine Ego is manifested through overt aggressiveness - being occasionally a crystal clear "bully" - the female selfishness is mostly manifested through INERTIA and self-protection, through hidden and "manipulative" movements and actions! Feminine aggressiveness entails the art of invisibly acting, of not participating in those situations that are not yielding a (emotional, financial etc.) gain to the person! Under this point of view we might say that the feminine "Ego" is more readily fudging things up, while every time it faces non convenient situations it resorts to a skillful "absenting" and "withdrawal"!

Actually, the sign of Taurus is representing in the most archetypal way this kind of "feminine Ego" (but don't get me wrong here, not all Tauruses are femininely aggresive). The feminine "Ego" is urging the person to act "behind the curtains", to perform his/her own "plan" - that will satisfy his/her own needs - while keeping at a minimum level the expenditure of any kind of energies (sentimental, financial etc.) especially when participating in any unprofitable to himself/herself activities.

An individual partaking to the "raw Taurean type" is usually avoiding to employ any overt acts of selfishness and aggression. If there isn't a crucial reason s/he will religiously abstain from any action that might overtly upset the energies in his/her environment (not that much out of goodness but because s/he is aware that s/he will be immediately targeted by the people around him/her - and that means a lot of hostility and aversion and a huge expenditure of energies from his/her part. The feminine energy is "ever self-protecting, ever preserving itself" - meaning that it is aware of how important it is to move behind the curtains and not overtly provoke the others). Thus the "raw Taurus type of individual" is generally displaying a meek and polite appearance. But if it comes down to a situation that ultimately jeopardizes his/her own personal interests (i.e. if s/he must financially assist someone or house any distressed and needy people) then most probably this type of individual will attempt to withdraw him/herself from the "stage" without being noticed  though  - so that s/he ultimately protects his/her own interests and does not suffer the slightet loss or "damage". And s/he will do this without overtly squabbling nor displaying any explicit aggressiveness or violence towards anyone. S/he will just skillfully withdraw from any perilous to his/her own interests scene...

This kind of withdrawal though, this "silent refusal" to partake i.e. in a charitable activity is a sign of strong selfishness - and therefore of aggressiveness towards the people involved in that activity. Of course the "raw Taurean type of individual" did not swear at someone, nor s/he violently pushed anybody. Indirectly, however, s/he behaved as if s/he had sworn at them or as if s/he had violently pushed them away! Actually s/he did behave aggressively towards them but without giving them any "handle" to immediately recognize how aggressively s/he behaved! That's the "feminine aggression" in a nutshell !

The fact now that the "feminine" selfishness is of an implicit kind - of a kind that it cannot be easily perceived by the others - is not making it less "mean"... In fact, it is equally powerful and "mean" to the masculine, "raw Ariettid type" of selfishness, who under similar conditions might have started shouting loud, behaving violently etc. But in such an instance the prominently masculine individual would have totally exposed himself, disclosed his intentions and attracted a lot of hostility! How convenient would that be? Instead the prominently feminine individual would have more carefully arranged his personal interests - without overexposing himself/herself and without attracting much aversion or hostility. Only in time and just by those delving deeper into things the full extent of the incident would have been revealed and only then the participants would have realized how selfishly the "raw Taurus type of person" behaved!

Thus, if the masculine kind of egotism is manifesting itself through overt and explicit aggression the feminine kind of egotism is "manifesting" itself through hidden, "behind the curtains" and passive (passive-aggressive we might say) paths, eschewing any situation that is not in full favour of the "prominently feminine" person! That kind of person will be methodically "absenting" - even if physically present - any situation not yielding a meaningful benefit to himself/herself  - no matter how critical this situation might be to other people. Therefore, selfish and aggressive people are not just the ones who are overtly behaving in an aggressive manner but those individuals too who are intentionally "absent" in any critical to their "neighbours" situation, all those who are not there when the people around them need them the most. Any individual not helping his/her fellow humans - in the name of not minimally jeopardizing his/her own personal interests - is actually selfish and aggressive...

Whenever someone remains silent and uninvolved is front of a critical situation, of an emergency, of an injustice commited in his/her own presence then that person is employing a "feminine aggressiveness"! Whenever i.e. a wealthy person is not assisting the needy people around him/her - for example the unemployed ones who cannot afford even their daily bread - then this wealthy person is employing a "feminine aggressiveness" towards his/her needy fellow humans and towards society in general. The feminine aggression is not easily spotted by third parties as it might employ hypocritical and "manipulative" behaviors.

How many times i.e. have you been confronted with a person who has (directly or indirectly) wronged you (or wronged somebody else), with a person who has behaved in a very selfish manner (although in a secretive manner, so that nobody notices it) and who not only is stubbornly refusing to acknowledge his/her wrong doing but is additionally trying skillfully to put you into an aggravated position... With such a person you might lose your temper - in front of such a humongous hypocrisy - and you might start yelling and gesturing. And then you will be the one looking aggressive in the eyes of the other people! In such a way the "prominently feminine" person will have managed to doubly victimize you - while thanks to his/her own "manipulative" skills s/he will be projecting a "goody two shoes" civilized image to the people around! This kind of behaviour is immensely aggressive but in a rather feminine manner! Meaning that it might not look aggressive in the eyes of the third parties - who may ultimately target you as the aggressive person! And this would be unfair enough to drive you crazy!

To put it in the words of the clinical psychologist and "Psychology Today" author Ditta M.Oliker: "What struck me as I was watching the film "The Help" is how it also dramatically and effectively captures the emotional and psychological violence of social aggression, including the sting and cruelty of the verbal "weapons" women use. The words now associated with female aggressive behavior include: excluding, ignoring, teasing, gossiping, secrets, backstabbing, rumor spreading and hostile body language (i.e., eye-rolling and smirking).  Most damaging is turning the victim into a social "undesirable". The behavior and associated anger is hidden, often wrapped in a package seen as somewhat harmless or just a "girl thing". The covert nature of the aggression leaves the victim with no forum to refute the accusations and, in fact, attempts to defend oneself leads to an escalation of the aggression.  What the film doesn't show though is that the effects of social aggression can be longer lasting and more damaging than physical aggression. Since the "weapons" have a stealth nature to them, there is less possibility of anticipating the specifics of an attack and fewer actions to defend against an attack."

I totally agree with Ditta M. Oliker but I would add the fact that the feminine aggression is not limited to women but it extends to the "astrologically feminine" men too. That might be aga8in a new term to you so here is my definition of it: An "astrologically feminine" person is the one having in his/her chart as many as possible of the preconditions described below (the more such preconditions s/he has in his/her chart the more "astrologically feminine s/he is. Points 1 and 2 are more critical though):
  1. A predominance of feminine signs. 
  2. A feminine houses emphasis
  3. Many "feminine planets" in the angles of  their charts
  4. A feminine "supremacy" in the planetary aspects of his/her chart etc.
(Note: the term "astrologically feminine" does not coincide with the term "effeminated". There are many "astrologically feminine" macho men out there...)

More or less, we are all familiar with the bitter "taste" of feminine aggression - which we are rather often experiencing in our everyday lives. It is a perticular kind of methodically structured and veiled aggression that is not easily perceived externally but still is an extremely sharp and corrosive type of aggression! Ultimately, the feminine aggression is more directly linked to the sign of Taurus (but as I said before not all Tauruses are femininely aggresive) and to the feminine signs in general (think i.e. of a Cancer or Scorpio. They might become femininely aggressive themselves)! And as I have already pointed out, the "feminine aggression" is not limited just to women but it extents to all men having predominant "feminine" energies in their charts.

Thomas Gazis
Copyright: Thomas D. Gazis

P.S You may read Ditta M. Oliker's article "Bullying in the female world" here

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

An astrological analysis of Robin Williams' death


Popular actor Robin Williams was found dead on August 11th, 2014. This came as a surprise to many because Robin Williams - as far as we know - was not suffering  from any fatal illness... And the surprise got even bigger when we read that the "Jumanji" man commited suicide! Well, he was fighting a long battle against depresion and substances addiction but apparently he was doing well with rehab. In any case, there are out there millions of people living under similar conditions - or much much worse under a financial point of view - and most of them DO NOT commit suicide! What went wrong then with Robin Williams? His natal chart (and the transits/progresions in it) might offer us some clues.


To begin with, Robin Williams has a very "watery" chart. Apart from being a Cancer and having a Scorpio Ascendant he has a PISCES Moon too in the FOURTH House! This watery over-emphasis endowed him with an "audience charisma" (he had a very special way of "touching" emotionally the audience)! On the other hand, with so much water in his chart he was way too sensitive! And this sensitivity of his has been exacerbated recently by transiting Neptune touching his over-sensitive Pisces Moon in the Fourth House!


Meanwhile, his progressed Moon was currently moving in his Eighth House and was about to form a square aspect to his natal Saturn! His progressed Sun too was still forming a conjunction to his natal Saturn! So we are getting here a particular configuartion that denotes very well his pre-mortem state of mind: both his progressed Luminaries are forming a major aspect with Saturn - that we might call a "double-whammy" configuration! Add to this transiting Saturn on his Ascendant/ in his First House and you see "restriction" coming out big time in Robin's life! And a sense of "heaviness" as well, of aging rapidly and not getting much satisfaction out of life...

Apparently, Robin was an ultra sensitive person going now through an ultra Saturnian period (and as Saturn in Psychological astrology is considered a major depresion agent we get a better picture now of what Robin Williams was experiencing in these last days of his life)! He was a "Puer" that all of the sudden had to become a "Senex"... But as he was an eternal "Peter-Pan" symbol a "Senex" could never become! You see he endeared himself to the audiences for being the "Anti-Senex" symbol par excellence! And with so much "water: in his chart that kind of "endearment" he could not afford to lose...

Thomas Gazis

Monday, 28 July 2014

Jupiter in Leo (an "unhyped" interpretation...)

                                                        (Courtesy: Bill Attride)

There has been too much hype over the entrance of planet Jupiter in the sign of Leo - a few days ago. Supposedly all things are going to get better now and the optimism will sky-rocket among the people! But how can this be? According to the astrological tradition Jupiter was in a far better position in the previous sign, in Cancer where it is EXALTED! This means that from the moment Jupiter left Cancer and passed in the sign of Leo it was somehow "demoted" energetically - since Jupiter neither rules Leo nor is exalted in this fiery sign!

Undoubtedly Jupiter is not in its most privileged position when in Leo. On the other hand it is not in its most inopportune position either ... You see, according to the Hellenistic astrology (and to the Medieval / Renaissance one) Jupiter is the nocturnal ruler of the fiery triplicity (Aries, Leo, Sagittarius). Consequently, it acquires in Leo certain titles and offices. Not though the ones most astrologers are thinking of. If you noticed before, I wrote that Jupiter is the nocturnal ruler of the fiery triplicity. Which means that in the sign of Leo it exhibits somehow distinctively its properties but ultimately in a different - "esoteric" I would dare to say - manner. And in any case not so exuberantly and visibly as many would expect. This is pointed out by the law of "Tao" as well: The extreme "Yang" energies (the combined ones of Jupiter and Leo) are converted - from some point on - into "Yin"ones!

The main "obstacle" for Jupiter in Leo to manifest its exuberant side stems out of its most archetypal / fundamental property: the one of "opening up" and "expanding", the ever going on process of "dilatation and expansion". Such a property though is not particularly compatible with the sign of Leo, which generally works in favor of the "centrality" (Leo is ever promoting the "centralization" of all things). Therefore, there can never be a true"expansion" in the essentially "centripetal" sign of Leo, which is pushing the energies from the periphery to the center - and not from the center outwards, as  the expansive planet Jupiter desires. The often narrow minded, stubborn and inflexible nature of Leo offers anything but a breeding ground for the spiritual and idealistic Jupiter, which needs a lot of dialogue, movement, freedom and open-mindness in order to flourish!

Jupiter somehow stands for the "complexity" while Leo opts for the "simplicity" (Jupiter ever interrelates isolated ideas, composing out of them complex and advanced concepts - and this mecchanism lies at the foundations of philosophy). On the other hand Leo is removing the more complex layers in order to get to the very core of a situation. Thus the two work at crosses purposes here. In addition, Leo (together with Virgo) is the sign of "purification". It wants to purify things out of any "spurious" element. But it is imperative to define first here what is a "spurious" element according to the Leonian perspective - because what exacly is "spurious" is often debatable. And what might seem spurious to the sign of Leo might seem quite indispensable to Jupiter so that it makes a "conceptual interconnection" and extrapolate something "higher" out of various randomly lying and apparently unrelated ideas.

On a "mundane" level Jupiter has to do with goals, belief systems and ideals (the ideals of a certain society, of a state, country etc). With the presence of Jupiter in Leo the social / national ideals might fluctuate and become more rigid and authoritarian - permitting thus extreme ideologies to surface. And as Leo is a conservative sign (remember that in the zodiac it is diametrically opposed to the "radical" sign of Aquarius) it is now likely to trigger a more rigid spirit worldwide. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the first "tsunami" of conservatism / monetarism in the Western world appeared in 1979 - when Jupiter was in Leo again - with the election of Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister of England.

Despite the fanfare of many astrologers the periods of Jupiter's presence in Leo have not been the brightest in human history! In March 2003 we had the American-British invasion of Iraq (who can really forget the hysterical Bush's and Blair's cries / calls to war?). In January 1991 we had the war in the Persian Gulf, with the Americans leading both the liberation of Kuwait and the invasion of Iraq. While in June 1967 we had the "six days of war" between Israel and Egypt that almost sparked an international armaggedon. All these major wars were conducted in periods when Jupiter was in Leo! And the two wars in Iraq were apparently "justified" by the pretense that the Americans had to impose their own "democracy" upon Iraq (how much "Jupiter in Leo" is this thing - enforcing my own "democracy" upon others? No true democracy is ever enforcing anything to any one!)

On another level, perhaps it is not so surprising that the unusual and deadly heat wave that swept Europe in 2003 (that has allegedly caused more than 70,000 deaths) took place under the dominion of Jupiter in Leo (representing the somehow excessive manifestation of the "fiery element", of the "heat").

Clearly therefore, a lot of energy is released globally when Jupiter is "transiting" in Leo. But the question is how to manage all this exuberant energy, because if it is diverted in warfares - like in the periods mentioned above - no creative results can be obtained. Obviously all this "excess energy" is better channeled  in activities like sports (which are consistent with the spirit of Leo), in recreational purposes and in "games". Also, with Jupiter in the sign of "spectacles" there will be a "booming" in film industry, fashion and in "spectacles" in general.

However, with Jupiter in Leo ​​some historical peace efforts were made too (such as the famous "Camp David" treaty  in 1978 between the Egyptian President Sadat and the Israeli Begin, the nuclear disarmament agreement of 1979 between the U.S. President Carter and the Russian Brezhnev and the historic west/east Germany unification in 1990). Perhaps this unifying trend stems from what I mentioned before as the "esoteric" aspect of Jupiter in Leo.

Ultimately that may be the best gift Jupiter in Leo will bestow upon us: the ability to work "esoterically" with ourselves and find our true inner core, our "center" so that in all purity we follow our hearts!

Thomas Gazis