I’m on vacation in Sweden where I often come when autumn turns sublime. Today I walked up through heavy woods near Knäred to an abandoned house. I’ve been there before. I’m fascinated with the house, as it looks as if the ones who left it, left it in a hurry never to return. The curtains are still hanging on the windows. A chair here, another there, and a strange oil lamp that looks as if polished by the ghosts, complete the décor. But there is no mistake about the house. It’s dead. A ruin.
While roaming on its premise, and thinking about how even the trees around it are rotting, as if in a cosmic rhyme with the decaying house, it occurred to me that I never asked the cards about the house. Although I always carry a pack in my pocket, today I had none. But I had my phone with me. And on it I have installed all sorts of astro calculating gadgets. After all, the sole reason why I’m into divination is because I’m a storyteller in love with numbers and permutations. I ask the cards or the stars to give me some variables, and off I go computing. There’s no pastime like it.
So today I went for my other passion: horary astrology. With my back turned away from the house, I asked: ‘What happened here?’
Here’s what the planets and the stars said: A love story that went bad. I suppose that’s a classic.
But first to some mechanics. My method follows 17th c. astrologer William Lilly, though my readings are often idiosyncratic in relation to his teachings. In charts I only use the 7 planets. No asteroids. I keep it simple and to the point. I take the outer planets into consideration if I have to look at the weather, global events, or moronic politicians.
The significators are as follow: My Ascendant is in Aquarius ruled by Saturn, so I’m Saturn. The dead house is signified by the cusp of the 8th House in Libra ruled by Venus, so the significator here is Venus. From the interpretation below, you will see that I have also taken the abandoned house on par with Venus as a woman. So what we’re dealing with here then is a split significator with a bent function: a juridical body (the house), and a personal body, or the soul that embodies the house (the woman). This choice also has to do with the fact that I haven’t asked for a yes/no answer, as is common practice in horary astrology, but for a narrative. In principle, I should have assigned the abandoned house the significator which is derived from the reading of the turned chart, that is, the 4th house from the 7th house (indicating the house of the other). But as I’m more interested in death itself as it’s associated with the soul of this personified house, I have elected to bend the rule. Hence, the 8th house cusp as the significator, rather than the 10th of the radical chart.
The planet in the 8th House is Saturn in Scorpio (surprise, surprise, I’m here…), along the part of fortune (me finding a treasure, eh?) My co-significator, the Moon, applies to Saturn by trine, emphasizing my interest, while squaring off Venus, thus possibly transferring light. That I’m interested in this house is clear by the mutual reception here. Venus is in exaltation triplicity of Saturn, while Saturn is in face detriment of Venus. While these are minor dignities of mutual reception, they emphasise the following: while it’s clear that I hold this house in my fascination, the house doesn’t care about me.
Now, since the question was about the dead house, we want to know what happened to it. What happened to Venus? From the chart we can see that she is in her own sign Libra, at home, and in applying sextile aspect to Mars in Sagittarius (in detriment ruled by Jupiter) and Jupiter in Leo (ruled by the Sun). Mars is separating from a trine with Jupiter on the cusp of 7th, perhaps suggesting that a love triangle is not his thing. This tells me quite straightforwardly that Venus, while at home chasing after Mars, has created an uncomfortable situation: If Mars is a lover who is received in his detriment, and Jupiter the husband, who, although in the same house is also in a different sign than Venus, then we get the impression that although there’s some dynamics here, there’s also the question of the agents not being on the same page. It is as if Mars is waiting for Venus to perfect an aspect with him, and perhaps saying, ‘Let’s get out of here quickly, leave your house fast and join me in the place of my exaltation, where I’m heading, Capricorn. But for her it’s not so simple. In order to get to Mars she would have to leave her lovely house where she rules (Libra), and then enter Scorpio, the place of her detriment, and death. Is the promise of sex worth it? Perhaps it is.
We know that the house is quite dead, so Venus must have followed her heart. She must have eloped with Mars in spite of the ensuing downfall. On this note, I can say that I could just as well have assigned agency to the house through the Ascendant. As I’m not implicated in its affairs, I could have determined that the house is represented by Saturn, the cusp of the first house, and from there simply locate where I find the significator. As we find Saturn in the 8th house, the house of death, I could have simply concluded what I already know: The significator for the dead house is dead.
But let us have a word about the Moon – always a most important body in horary astrology. As the Moon was void of course at the time of asking this question, this indicates that the judgement may take a while to deliberate on. Now, Lilly would say, with a moon void of course, you’d probably want to abort concluding on this matter, as you don’t want to wander in the woods aimlessly and foolishly without a guide. With one exception. If the Moon is in her own sign or exalted, then you can proceed. So I did. The Moon is in Cancer, her own sign, and the natural house of hearth and concern for the wellbeing of others. I take this as a sign of an excellent opportunity to pass judgment. What happened here is what I already suggested: A love interest gone disastrous. The Ascendant is on the fixed star Alcyone, in the Pleiades, or the Weeping Sisters. This suggests tears and regret.
My initial remark, ‘surprise, surprise’, about finding my own significator in the house of interest about the dead house (when I take my perspective into consideration as the querent in this matter) tells me the following: Although this is not about me, I have a strange interest in the matter. Scorpio makes excellent detectives who are always digging out secrets. But what saves me from committing the fallacy of inserting myself into a matter that’s none of my business is ultimately my co-significator, the Moon. The Moon applies to Venus, the house, and they are both dignified by being in their own sign. I’m here to sense and see on my own premise, one of fascination in this case, while Venus is there to stand as she is, abandoned, but still at home, her own premise.
There is a strange sense of comfort and mutual recognition here, with the house acknowledging my presence in her situation, as it were, and mirroring this ghost visitor that I am, witnessing from beyond time, the Saturnian order of things and temporality.
As Venus also trines the Ascendant, it seems as if I get a nod of approval for my work here in terms of trying to find something out about her life. Venus also trines the IC, the cusp of my 4th house in Gemini ruled by Mercury in 7th, which confirms my interest in knowing not only what happened here, and hence communicate it, but also how it all ended. As the the Moon transfers light from Venus to Saturn, my significator, she seems to whisper to me that that making up stories about this house is a good idea.
As I was leaving the place and its secret stories, I asked the house to give me a gift. She did. A most magnificent heart. A perfect-size stone with a heart full of crystals grown into it. What more can an astrologer ask for? Perhaps more storytelling.
I think I’m going to say a prayer for Venus and her lover. I hope their elopement was a happy one.
Chart calculation using Flat Angle.