Real Time Astrology: New Moon Solar Eclipse Supermoon in Pisces March 8, 2016

Pic by Matty Smith

What lurks beneath quiet waters? Pic by Matty Smith.


The Walt Whitman line “I am large, I contain multitudes” is fitting for this potent and complex New Moon Solar Eclipse at 18 degrees Pisces on Tuesday, March 8th at 7:54 PM CST. It occurs at perigee and thus is a Supermoon as well as a complete total eclipse, meaning that the typical large appearance of a Supermoon will instead be replaced by utter blackness, except [Read more…]

Does God Approve Of Astrology?

Stained glass zodiac images, St. Denis Basilica, France

Stained glass zodiac images, St. Denis Basilica, France


Hi Clarissa thank you for answering our questions.  I have one that I hope is OK to ask. My family is not strictly religious but they do like to go to church sometimes. And read the Bible. I think astrology is Ok with God and religions and I still do it but I don’t bring it up with people anymore because as I’m sure you know people think it is demonic or occult or whatever and goes against some religious beliefs. How do you look at it? Can a person be a Christian or whatever other and still look at astro stuff? I would like to have a response ready to tell others when they ask so I am hoping you can write something on it! – Suzy


This question was posted in the comments section of this post, an open call for questions from my readers. There is no easy answer to this one, and I won’t pretend my answer is the only or right one. This is just my two cents on the subject, take it or leave it.


As the stained glass image shows, astrology was once kinda cozy with religion. The biggest Christian holiday, Easter Sunday, is itself an attempt to blend the solar and lunar cycles, occuring every year on the Sunday following the first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox, when the Sun moves into Aries and kicks off spring in the northern hemisphere. Astrology was a common motif in those early Christian churches, even seen today at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It is a common argument that the reason astrology, indigenous holidays and other beliefs predating Christianity were used in the early days by Christians and eventually co-opted was to appease the immoral heathens and make Christianity into something they’d take to, identify with. I find that a basically lazy argument, honestly. The roots of Christianity are a bit more mystical and synthesized existing beliefs more than some modern day believers would think. Throughout history, religions tended to be quite sympathetic to mysticism before turning on it at a later point.


One Bible verse I hear thrown around a lot is 2 Kings 21:6, which warns against fortune tellers, necromancers, and mediums. On the other hand, astrologers like to point out the story of the Nativity in which the travelling Magi (derivative of Greek word for “magical”) followed a star in the sky over Bethlehem that lead them to baby Jesus. The Bible doesn’t actually say there were three Magi, but that’s the number of men who came bearing gifts so I guess they were the only ones that counted. Like most people who only care about who brings them stuff on Christmas. Anyway, back in the day Magi were priests of Zoroastrianism, and were well versed in astronomy and astrology, at the time regarded as a high science. Zoroastrianism was actually quite opposed to sorcery and dark arts; while in modern times astrology became lumped in with witchcraft, Tarot, the New Age movement, and so on, this is actually not close to the origins of astrology, which was practiced and seriously studied by very religious scholars and used by the rulers and priests of the land.


I, personally, see the Bible’s warning against fortune telling and necromancy as an important one. Your chart may be set in stone, but what you do with it is not, and your fate largely hinges on your actions. A bad fortune teller can ruin your life if you let them, if you believe that whatever they are telling you is beyond your control and even beyond God’s control. In my previous post, What Does Astrology Know About Death And The Afterlife?, I wrote that I’ve known astrologers who’ve told people they’d commit suicide or be murdered based on their natal chart. Which is utter bullshit. Bull. Shit. A good number of people claiming to know such things really are ego tripping on “playing God”.


As for mediumship and necromancy, any belief system that believes there are benevolent spirits/enitites/forces at work in the world also believes there are opposing darker ones, and one thing the Bible does really well is explain that evil often masquerades as benevolence. When actively attempting to contact such spirits/entities/whatever, how would you know what you’ve actually contacted? It’s a sensible question.


My opinion is that the Bible (and the other religions, from what I’ve seen of them) don’t explicitly prevent a person from studying or practicing astrology; the evil is in how it is being used in your life. Anything can come between a person and their relationship with the Divine Whoever/Whatever/Wherever. Astrology itself never has been, and still isn’t, a religion and so treating it like one could potentially be problematic.


Essentially, astrology is a primitive study, in the literal sense of the word: the first, the earliest, the most ancient. The oldest form of technology we have. Christianity was once primitive too, as were all religions, and in those early stages we find more common ground than degrees of separation. I actually read the Bible in its entirety when I was 14, at the same time I started learning astrology. I was a strange kid, what can I say… I also had a lot of Jupiter, Neptune and Uranus stuff hitting my chart in a big way and my head was just exploding with concepts. I had a dream about Tarot potent enough to put me off it for life, even still I do not use cards. (Nothing against those who do, apparently it’s just not meant for me). I did very quickly after that discover the Bible could be used in similar fashion; I’d meditate on something and open or flip the Bible to see where it opened to. Since I was a kid and an idiot, I thought I had invented something new. It wasn’t until well into adulthood that I learned bibliomancy is actually a thing. It found me first.


Not surprising to me, actually having read the Bible. The whole thing is full of prediction and prophecy and dream interpretations and channeling. That’s one sticking point I have with people who tell me astrology isn’t compatible with Christianity: the Scriptures are chock full of mysticism, but everyday mysticism and mystery is seen as divine sin.


I recently read and loved a book called The Color Of Christ: The Son Of God And The Saga Of Race In AmericaIt is recommended reading for anyone regardless of religious persuasion or lack thereof. It details how much what we perceive to be Biblical interpretation morphs and bends depending on the races, cultures, languages, and other factors it encounters along the way. In it, the book very briefly details an exchange between  a Jesuit priest keen on converting a native American :


“For some, Christ was a problem because he had never appeared in North America. ‘Your God has not come to our country, and that is why we do not believe in him’, one native told Father Le June. Le June responded that Jesus could be seen with ‘spiritual’ sight, but this did not satisfy the native. ‘I see nothing except with the eyes of the body, save for sleeping, and you do not approve of our dreams.’ Perhaps pointing out Le June’s hypocrisy in trusting his own stories and dreams but not those of the natives, the native believed any reasonable God would appear to all, not just some.”


I see where the guy was coming from. It is odd to dismiss dreams, visions, and spiritual interpretations with a belief system born out of the same. It is common throughout the rest of that particular book, and throughout historical records, and our own oral history, to see indigenous, primitive (a compliment) peoples on every continent embrace theology and be temporarily embraced back before being told mutual understanding is impossible.


Personally, it never has been anything I’ve lost sleep over. My intentions are not keeping me from God or interfering with divine will. If ever once I thought it was, I’d drop it that day and never look back; I don’t play around. But I’ve had no reason to yet, other than the external social stigma and judgement coming from others who refuse mutual understanding. I’m not sure how much, if any, of this will help you in convincing people you’re not evil, but hopefully at least that is clearer in your own mind.



What Does Astrology Know About Death And The Afterlife?

Pic by Paul Koudounaris

Bejeweled catacomb remains. Pic by Paul Koudounaris.


I haven’t been able to find much astrological information (over the years) on the subject of death (yes, that taboo subject)… I would like to have a better understanding. The subject is simply a very interesting one for me… We all will face this territory one day, so the indications must be in all charts, and I would like to shine some light on the subject. – Crystal


Is there any way to incorporate past life aspects into the readings even though they are not person specific? – dweezer19


When I wrote this post asking readers to submit ideas for articles they’d like to see on Viva Combusta! pertaining to astrological perspectives they wonder about, these were among the first ones submitted. Death is the inevitable conclusion for all of our lives and yet curiosity on the subject tends to be shunned, and the existence or non-existence of life after death is something we all wonder and speculate about. I’m far from an expert on either subject, but I’ve obviously myself asked and continue to ask the same questions as everyone else and through the years I’ve picked up some interesting astrological perspectives on both subjects that I can leave here for anyone to use if its their thing.


So, here’s some stuff I’ve come across so far and my two cents worth thrown in…


In traditional/medieval astrology, they definitely tried to find issues of life and death in a birth chart. Life span and medical breakthroughs were not what they are now; thousands of years ago fifty was considered old age and people were dropping like flies from simple infections, tetanus, etc. Not to mention wars, crusades, pillaging and plundering, assassinations of leaders… Given the times, attempting to gain insight into a person’s life span was crucial.


The traditional method of determination involved identifying planets in the chart to fulfill certain roles: the hyleg, or “giver of life”; the alcoccoden, or “giver of years”; and the anareta or killing planet. The hyleg was the planet fulfilling the role of life in the chart, generally the Sun or Moon, sometimes the Part of Fortune. Some astrologers used other planets for the hyleg, some didn’t. The alcoccoden was the planet that would indicate the years a person had. Generally speaking, if there was no hyleg pinpointed in the chart, then no alcoccoden, either.


Over the years I have seen some ancient astrologers who would use other planets for the hyleg, and some who said no hyleg was needed for an alcoccoden at all. A lot of other factors were considered too, such as whether the chart was nocturnal or diurnal; dignities and debilities; whether the planets involved were malefic or benefic, and so on. (The ancients really considered this technique to be a literal life-and-death thing and didn’t shy from using malefic or benefic to describe things, like the don’t-worry-be-happy, New Age-y, politically correct modern astrologers do.) Determining when the alcoccoden would expire or bump up against the anareta was complicated, too, and again I’ve seen various techniques of determining this, usually involving progressions or primary directions.


Somewhere along the way, using the hyleg/alcoccoden/anareta fell by the wayside, like a lot of other traditional techniques. Certain houses started being associated with death: the 4th house became associated with conditions surrounding a person at the hour of their death; the 8th was both seen as showing how the person died and if anyone was involved; the 12th was associated with death in more ethereal terms. There was never total consensus on using the houses, either, and less consensus on what had to be happening in the house for death to occur, rather than the usual activity of those houses. A lot was being attributed to the planets, too, particularly after the discovery of certain outer planets. Mars became known as violent death, and Pluto too after its discovery in 1930. Saturn was thought to bring death from illness of old age; Uranus was unusual death; Neptune involved poisons, drowning, and shady unknowable circumstances. Interestingly, in more modern times Jupiter -traditionally the greater benefic, jolly big giant of good times- is being more and more frequently associated with death, as Jupiter brings “expansion” to whatever it does and in some astrologers eyes this plays a part in one’s passing.


I’ve also seen some fairly modern astrologers using complicated techniques to predict death using the lunar cycle and eclipses in particular. There may be other techniques that I haven’t come across yet.


I wouldn’t have a moral or ethical problem with these -or any other- predictive death techniques if they really worked, but therein lies the problem for me and why my initial morbid curiosity led me to abandon the idea of finding death in a chart altogether. They just don’t work very well. True, there are examples online of certain deaths that match a certain technique quite well, any person curious could find these. What they’re not showing, of course, are the bigger majority of deaths that do not fit any criteria at all. People regurlarly outlive these doom-and-gloom transits, and they do not die the awful death allegedly promised by their chart. Some things are easier to catch in hindsight, and I think these online examples of fitting a death to the astrology are doing just that. Retrofitting the outcome to the alleged cause. Meaning: not a prediction. That was my personal experience with looking at post mortem charts in examples where I knew or knew of the person; nothing at the time of their death was obvious or fit any criteria.


Now, astrology does have many, many quite accurate ways of looking at a person’s health throughout their life and pinpointing what in a person’s body is most likely to cause major issues. And indeed there are a number of things -transits, solar returns, progressions and so on- that can and do act as the “trigger” for health issues to pop up. It is possible, given the person’s age, overall health, lifestyle factors etc. to be concerned about the possibility of death by looking at a chart at a particular moment in time. Sometimes, as in the case of David Bowie, death is the conclusion to an organic process that was started with no other outcome. In his case, there was one astrologer whe predicted his death beforehand. Still, people can and do come back from the brink and recover from quite dire circumstances, so while I think it’s very important to look for and point out health issues and potential triggers, I call bullshit on anyone using those things as predictors of death.


Depression and anxiety are also things that can show easily in a birth chart. And depression and anxiety can lead to death via suicide, alcoholism, or careless and reckless behavior. Again, while the tendency to depression can show in a chart, death from it cannot, and even people who fight their whole lives with mental health issues can live very long lives, learn coping techniques, and pass away on natural and unrelated terms.


At least the ancient astrologers would acknowledge that their predictions weren’t foolproof, generally looking for a somewhat natural death, and allowed for any number of variables to interfere. I’ve talked to people who have had astrologers tell them their chart showed early death or that they would commit suicide or be murdered or some other outlandish bullshit claim. Modern astrologers claiming to know the hour of death or cause of death is fundamentally stupid at best and incredibly irresponsible most of the time. For one, if the time and cause is known, theoretically it can be avoided or cheated somehow. “Cheating death” can and does happen, such as a person miraculously surviving an accident they logically shouldn’t have, and to some extent astrology can help with this when it is able to warn of such a thing in advance and therefore preparing a person for that possibility.


However, so many of those flukes cannot be seen at all. Think of the number of people who pass away as a result of mass shootings, terrorist attacks, natural disasters… those people could not have had such a thing ever written in their chart and also shared it with so many others, nor could so many people with different and complex charts be experiencing transits to indicate such events. So many people die as a result of being in the wrong time at the wrong place, and by definition that cannot be predicted!


And as for suicide… as someone pointed out in the comments on the David Bowie post, suicide statistics dramatically increase in correlation to economic downturns, so if anything astrologers should be looking at the much larger view of what’s going on in the world rather than individual natal charts when dealing with this topic.


After looking at such things through the years, not only did I find that looking for death indicators in a chart (but separate from health indicators, which are far more accurate) is hit-and-miss in its results, I feel it’s a far better use of time to use astrology as a tool for living rather than dying. As the saying goes, “Men plan, God laughs”.


On that note, the experience of death as felt by the living can be shown by both the natal chart and by transits. A person experiencing a heavy Saturn transit may come face to face with their own mortality. A person who loses someone during a meaningful Neptune transit may see the loss of someone close to them as a very spiritual passage. People who lose a loved one in a Jupiterian way may experience the death as a “laughing through the tears” sort of thing, even throwing a party. Uranus can see a loss of someone quite suddenly and unexpectedly. Pluto transits are more renowned for bringing a person experiencing the transit into contact with death and loss in profoundly transformative and potentially scarring ways.


Since starting this blog, people have let me know of their loss of loved ones that took place at New and Full Moons. It’s not been possible as of yet for me to discern if the loss was due to the New/Full Moon making a particular aspect to the deceased ones chart, or if it mattered more to the survivor.


I personally nearly lost my mother during a Pluto transit to my Moon (mother/women). She survived. I did lose a coworker who had become a sort of surrogate father figure  (as I grew up without my own father) during an otherwise exciting Uranus transit; the last thing he told me was how he still felt like a “young son of a bitch” who could do more in a day than most men half his age do in a year. He died only a few hours later of a heart attack. The first time I had to face the reality of my own death was at my Saturn Return, when a health issue cropped up that potentially could have been bad but thankfully wasn’t. Celestial timekeeper Saturn just slapping me upside the head, letting me know I’ll reach that place too.


As a result of my own Pluto-Moon transit and my experiences with my mother (I won’t elaborate, so don’t ask), one area of astrological research I haven’t seen a lot of but that I feel is needed is in regards to near death experiences. That’s a fairly recent development, since before the middle of the last century if you were near death or clinically dead you, er, well you just died… The ability to resuscitate and directly stop the death process in its tracks is a very interesting recent achievement, very Aquarian Age as a matter of fact, and I’m not sure why astrologers haven’t jumped on it.



If you’ve been through a near death experience or witnessed it in someone else firsthand and know the astrology behind it, I’d be interested in hearing it, either in the comments for others to learn from or via my email


People with heavy Pluto/Scorpio/8th house signatures or Saturn/Capricorn in their charts do seem to experience the realities of death more frequently than others; again, this says less about their own ending and more about lessons they’re here to learn and eventually share with others. People with emphasized 4th, 8th, and/or 12th houses are also going to be more strongly impacted than others by death in their family. These houses are houses that are concerned in different ways with family legacies, heritage, ancestors.


Pertaining to the question about past lives… sorry if this disappoints but I don’t believe in past lives, at least not any of the ways I’ve seen it explained. I don’t believe I have ever been anything or anyone other than me, and I don’t believe if I don’t “get it right” in this go around I’ll get a second chance or be punished in a next life, or rewarded for doing the opposite. I’m not completely against the idea, I just find most explanations insufficient for me. There’s something like more than seven billion people on Earth alive at the moment; that’s got to be more than the population has ever been, too many people alive now to be vessels for the much smaller ancestor pool. I do somewhat believe in the concept of “soul age” or the maturity and wisdom level inherent in a person at the soul level, and I’ve contemplated the possibility that the reason for so many “young souls” on Earth now could indeed correlate to the booming population that is rapidly outpacing any previous reproduction rates; not enough “old soul” wisdom to go around.


Here’s a crap quality but very interesting clip on soul age:



Now, I do believe we go somewhere when we die; pretty much every culture and civilization throughout history had an understanding of an afterlife. Lots of those understandings intersect in ways they possibly couldn’t have done through direct communication of such ideas. My personal feeling is that we somehow merge into the larger ocean of human experience in the afterlife and serve as a resource to be drawn upon like water from a deep well by the living. In that sense, the 4th, 8th, and 12th houses is where I would look for that in a chart. Firstly by drawing directly on our direct family lineage and history/heritage, their legacy, then in ever widening concentric circles in the larger ocean of community, cultural history, country, then humanity as experienced through our intuition and psychic “knowing”.


(That’s a shoddy attempt at articulating a big concept, sorry if it isn’t clear but the best I could do…)


A lot of astrologers use the North and South Nodes of the Moon as past life indicators; I explained in The North Node in Virgo Manifesto that the nodes are extremely useful in our lives but I personally do not look to them for past life explanation.



Real Time Astrology: March 2016


Remember how last month I said the astrology wouldn’t suck and to enjoy it while it lasts? Hope you did! Now, prepare for the ever changing month of March to wash you out and throw curveballs your way! Seriously, though, the astrology in March presents short lived and fluctuating challenges and stressors that require us to bend without breaking.  [Read more…]

Real Time Astrology: Full Moon in Virgo February 22, 2016


Time to get our act together! The Full Moon at 3 degrees Virgo takes place on Monday, February 22nd [Read more…]

The Viva Combusta! Request Lines Are Open…


Collage by Eugenia Loli

Spacy romance. Collage by Eugenia Loli.


Happy Valentine’s Day! Love in Aquarian season has a different feel to it; less gushy sappy romance, more intellectual rapport and fellowship. Aquarius is a sign focused on friendship, and can love friends as much as family or lovers. While Valentine’s is often portrayed as a day g or purely romantic love, astrologically speaking it falls in the season of love for human race.  [Read more…]