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Benjamin Dykes - Short Notes

Part 1 = basic periods in astrology, need to know astrologers, traditional outlo
oks on life, values theory, counselling strategies
Part 2 = special terms and practical techniques
you don't have to abandon your present methodology to use traditional techniques
, just a shift of emphasis and priority
Assumptions of Modern Astrology
1. a belief in indeterminate free will positive thinking
2. positive thinking
3. being able to create your own reality to a high degree
4. using the chart in constructive ways to show alternative and possibli
all ok with the traditional astrology perspective as long as it is not "Anything
Assumptions of Traditional Astrology
1. Moral and Spiritual Values and Concepts
(a)Sympathy for the human condition
we live in a complicated world we don't absolutely contr
ol or understand. So there is a lot of misery whose source lies within us, and i
s reinforced by denial and wishful thinking
(b) cultivation of patience
a kind of positive thinking that means we have to unders
tand how our goals fit into the ebb and flow of things around us.
We can't get what we want right away, but must rely on g
ood timing (e.g electionally predicted moments and opportune times predicted fro
m the nativity)
(c) Realistic choice, as opposed to indeterminate free will
- we all have our characters that are very diffi
cult to change or go against
- we live in a web of events - mostly not absolu
tely good or bad - which present limited or ambigous choices
Constructively *managing* who we are, vs absolute self c
reation and absolute spontaneity.
We have certain natural gifts and benefits, and certain
drawbacks to our characters and lives, and both interpretation and prediction ca
n help us manage these as per our understanding of gain and loss and our spiritu
al paths.
Traditional astrology relies on rigorous and organized methods t
hat help us train our thought and identify what is astrologicaly important at an
y point in our interpretations and predictions
Via the theory of temparements (?) T.A is connected to herbal an
d holistic medicine. Neoplatonic (?) and other metaphysical approaches to astrol
ogy emphasise not only chart reading but practical engagement with higher levels
of being.
Chapter 1
Mostly history and names of ancient/medieval astrologers and their books
The four branches of horoscopic astrology
1. Natal astrology with its annual predictive techniques
2. Elections - concerning times to choose to do or avoid doing s
omething and overlaps with "event charts"

3. Questions - the astrloger casts a chart to analyze problems o

f the moment posed to him at a specific hour (hence "horary)
There were originally two sides to this branch
(a) the interpretation of thought using special signific
ators (including the prediction of outcomes) and
(b) answering specific questions
4. Mundane - covers politics, history, weather (including disast
ers) and commodity prices
Chapter 2: A few schools of thought. Boring, skimmed.
Chapter 3:
In a sense, modern astrology is more subjective, traditional astrology is more o
In modern astrology, the chart is taken as a picture of your mind.
In traditional astrology, the chart is taken as a picture of your place in the w
hole world, only part of which is your mind.
Thus the 11th house is the house of friends and experiences of friendship, not j
ust attitudes/feelings towards friends
A key difference between Modern and Traditional astrology is that in the latter
we don't assume that the things signified by the house are all about the native'
s mental state.
To repeat, as per Traditional Astrology, most things in your chart are not in yo
ur mind. They are part of your life and you experience them but they are not you
Seventh House is (about) your partners and spouse, not your feelings about them.
Eleventh House is about your friends and friendships, not your feelings about t
hem. And so on.
This leads to something that is traditional but common sensical. We can be objec
tive about people's subjective lives.
When a friend asks us for advice she is often seeking an objective perspective a
bout a subjective life experience.
It is then irresponsible to tell her that nothing is good or bad and every appar
ently negative thing is really a positive experience.
We can *treat* a bad thing as a learning experience, but first we should recogni
ze a bad thing for what it is.
There is another problem with treating a chart as a chart of the mind. since a m
ind is something we carry around with us,
we can interpret a problem in the 11th house as a constant problem with friendsh
ips(say), because it is a feature of your mind.
But, traditionally this 11th house problem will manifest only at certain times,
which can be predicted. (by transits etc)
Technical term: Two planets are in reception when they are in aspect (by degree
and not sign) and one is in the domicile or exaltation of the other.
e.g: if Mars is aspected by Mercury and Mars is in Virgo (which is Mercury's dom
icile/exaltation) then Mars is received by Mercury and some of his normal martia
l qualities would be tamed and civilized.
B.D's client had a chart in which every planet was in detriment, but also aspect
ing each other to bring about reception.
Interpretation: The native's life would be full of events and affairs in which h
e would be successful (because of reception) but things did not last very long o
r were full of changes (because of detriments)
Advice: (1) Work hard to overcome this tendency towards change and disintegratio
n or (2) Embrace it and see it as a chance to get varied experience and do many
different things.

In either case do not blame character etc. (Trad Ast's focus on objective vs sub
concept of 'critical distance' - the ability to distance ourselves from emotiona
lly from the chart and question our assumptions.
With cd, we avoid situations where we see a difficult situation in a chart, but
we talk only about evolutionary potential etc instead of pointing out something
objectively difficult.
Likewise when we interpret an event chart without letting our political biases g
et in the way.
Chapter 4: Values - Good and Bad in Traditional Astrology.
Traditional astrologers speak of specific parts of charts indicating good and ba
d or planets being benefic or malefic, which turn off modern astrologers.
'good' and 'evil' deal with important philosophical and ethical concepts.
1. What is the nature of good and evil?
2. Are some 'goods' and 'evils' only apparent?
3. Do some 'true' goods/evils affect our ability to be happy?
4. How do we apply these notions in a counselling context?
In this chapter two broad approaches to think about good/evil, benefic/malefic
I. 'Functionally good' == something functions *well*, need not be morally good.
Any functionally good dynamic or person will be
1. Knowledgeable
2. Unified/coherent
3. Consistent
4. Present (?)
5. Balanced
A functionally bad dynamic/person will manifest the opposing qualities. - ignora
nt/incoherent/inconsistent/absent?/imbalanced etc
Thus we look to see if a planet is in good or bad *functional* condition. These
show whether the people and events (remember objective, not subjective) events t
hey indicate will be consistent, smooth and helpful, or unruly, full of extremes
and so on.
Thus astrological factors and what they indicate in terms of planetary functioni
1. Configured (= aspected?) = in communication, able to manage and be seen
(opp) aversion = out of communication, being invisible
2. Angular or succedent = being prominent or strong
Cadent = Being obscure or weak
3. Aspected by benefics - encountering balanced and growth bearing influences
Aspected by malefics - Often encountering extremes
4. Domiciled - in a state of unity, competence and control
Detriment = In a state of disintegration and disunity
5. Exaltation - being prominent and confident
Fall - Being obscured, ignored , fading away

6. Free of the Sun - being able to work on its own, visible

Combustion = being overwhelmed, destroyed
7. In any dignity = In a place of belonging, being able to depend on its own res
Peregrine = Not belonging, dependent on external influences
8. Direct = Moving forward, consistent, open
Retrograde = Repetition, detours, hiding motives
The idea is that every planet is trying to do its thing well - rule a house, sta
nd out and be prominent, have a sense of competence and ownershig, advance its a
genda and so on.
But if it is in a functionally bad situation, it is somehow hindered.
Most of the time, conventionally bad placements result in conventionally bad eve
nts, or they prevent good events.
In life we consider it good if we are confident, visible, well known, can move f
orward etc.
And we consider it bad if we are sick, unknown, weak, incompetent, insecure, bad
ly resourced etc.
The functional condition of the planets is meant to reflect this intuition.
Benefic planets are those whose natures normally show patience, kindness, helpfu
llness, balance, growth, fun and things that are easy
Malefic planets are those whose natures tend towards extremes and functionally
difficult things - hindrances, pushiness, imbalances, extremes, burdens, seriou
s things, threats
Of course a malefic planet in a good condition can perform well , show leadershi
p and authority
A benefic planet in bad condition can be lazy and erratic and so on.
The point is that this vocabulary enables us to link chart conditions to life co
Chapter 5 Happiness and Astrological Counselling
Essentially two important philosophies of happiness that can be used to understa
nd a chart and help clients.
Very important. Happiness is not primarily a mood or emotion, though it involves
moods and emotions.
Rather happiness is a state of affairs in which a person is able to flourish: li
ving well and doing well
Irrespective of the possession of conventional goods - wealth, children etc - yo
u need an excellent *state of character* to be happy, in which we demonstrate ce
rtain psychological skills as humans and in society.
The meanings of houses show some conventional goods and evils - wealth, sickness
As per Aristotle, we must maximize the goods and minimize the evils to be happy.
Homeless, anonymous, sick people are less likely to be happy than people with a
home,status and wealth.
But we don't have complete control on whether we can acquire the goods and minim
ize the evils, since we are subject to fortune.
When we look at the chart in this spirit, we can see the extent to which the cha
rt exhibits these conventional goods and evils.

e.g: Does the chart show many good friends?

Are there disruptions in the home?
We can also look at the lords of the houses. If the lord of a typically good hou
se is in a poor condition it can show a problematic area of life.
e.g: the Lord of the 10th (a conventionally good house) is in the sixth (a conve
ntionally evil house and thus in somewhat poor condition)
A possible interpretation: The native will have a stable career, but it will com
e about through obscurity, labor and little recognition.
Step 2:
Aristotle makes it clear that possession of goods and avoidance of evils is not
sufficient to make a person happy.
An additional factor - the quality of character - is also important. Happiness r
esults from managing choices and emotions about the possesion or absence of thes
e goods.
Thus, a rich person maybe unhappy because her character is chaotic and immature,
while a relatively poor person with a strong character can be happy.
A key Aristotelean notion is "mean" , a state of balance between extremes == we
must (ideally) , when confronted by a good/evil and emotions about them,
(1) use rational judgement to reach
(2) an appropriate mean (aka virtue) in our emotions
(3) and (key) do so *habitually*. It is not enough to occasionally make a good c
hoice or feel appropriate emotions.
The best state of mind wrt some emotion or situation is called a 'virtue'. Thus
there are virtues concerned with money, pleasures, anger etc
E.g: Drinking with friends. Considering another drink.
1. Having fun when drinking with friends can be considered a good, which is bein
g confronted.
2. Balance pleasure and pain = You must not be pained (excessively) if you can't
have the additional drink, and you must not be swept away be the pleasure of ha
ving it.
3. Choice of Drinking or not drinking should take place in a rational context if you are driving tomorrow don't. if you are sleeping in at a once-in-a-year r
esort stay, do.
The combination of not being swept by pleasure and pain and situating the decisi
on in rationality gives rise to the virtue of temperance, which indicates a 'mea
n' that is ideally hit wrt issues of dealing with sensual pleasures and pains.
Wrt the virtue of courage in fighting.
If you can balance fear and bravery, and fight on (in spite of fear) and retreat
(in spite of blood lust) as rationally appropriate, you have the virtue of "cou
rage", which is demonstrated by *acting skillfully* in spite of emotions pulling
you this way or that.
There are two contrasting conditions in which you do not hit the correct mean wr
t emotion and action.
1. You consistently hit one extreme. This is a 'vice'.
e.g: The soldier who is consistently foolhardy and always fights on. The soldier
who is consistently fearful and always runs away.
2. You wildly and inappropriately oscillate between one extreme and the other,
a real inconsistency, a lack of self control.
Thus occasionally you throw caution to the winds and drink more ( in spite of ha

ving good reasons not to) and pay the price the next day.
Someone who wildly swings between fear and foolhardiness is an example.
So in Aristotle's philosophy, we have stable means - virtues, stable extremes vices, and unstable oscillations.
Stoics believe
1. The Universe *is* the Divine Mind.
2. All things are connected by the Divine Mind and everything that happens is an
expression of the DM.
3. Everything happens inevitably as a result of it expressing its inner nature.
There is nothing that happens that is "not supposed to happen"
4. (key) The Universe is set up that different things expressing themselves crea
te clashes. The cloud pours forth rain. You desire not to get wet. Clash. (but m
aybe you can carry an umbrella)
5. In the human case, these clashes are particularly stark, because humans usual
ly have mental distortions about who they really are and what they are trying to
6. Therefore the Stoic's 'way to happiness' == live in alignment with who we tru
ly are, and with the Universe, without getting upset with what happens when othe
r things act according to their natures.
Contrast between Aristotelean and Stoic p.o.v
1. Aristotles says that things like wealth are goods, and we should strive to ma
ximise it, though he also says that happiness actually derives from our ability
to manage wealth (and our emotions about it) well.
Stoics take a stricter view and say *only the state of your mind and emotions is
responsible for happiness* and that external things - like wealth - are not g
ood or evil.
I.e they don't have moral value. But they do have selectional value in that in n
ormal circumstances, you *select* wealth, and in some circumstances, you deselec
t wealth.
How it works in practise
If you think Wealth is good (vs the Stoic position of 'wealth is neither good no
r evil')then you are making the possession of it a pre requisite for your happin
You want and desire it, and when you get wealth you are pleased, and when you lo
se it or don't have it, you despair.
In either case, you are assigning moral value ( ie good/evil) to things that are
not you and don't really belong to you. You become emotionally invested in them
and act as if they should belong to you.
This, besides being a false view of what belongs to you, puts you on an emotiona
l roller coaster where you have to balance opposing emotions - here happiness a
nd despair - which brings you to the Aristotelean 'mean' approcah to managing em
So if you deprive wealth of moral value and assign it only selectional value, yo
u feel more calm and centred, both when you get wealth, and when you lose it.
Beloved car as something good + discover dent in it example.
An aristotelean approach is to try to balance anger with the importance of the c
ar. The car is a good, but not a supremely important one. Likewise the dent is a
n evil, but a minor one. So he keeps his anger and sadness to minimal levels.
For a Stoic, the Aristotelean has allowed an inanimate object to control his mi
nd. The Stoic 'selects' to do what he can to keep his car safe, but does not bel
ieve this is ultimately in his power, or his success or failure to do so should
control his state of mind.
Unlike most people, Stoics don't believe that there are fully pre given emotions

like anger,fear and lust. Instead all emotions derive from value judgements.
Behind every emotion is some value judgement that makes us go for something, avo
id it, or react in our soul when we either have it or lack it.
But since value judgements can be true or false, emotions can be true or false.
Any value judgement hinging on the possession of something external to self is f
Therefore, find sources of happiness in yourself, assign selective values to oth
er things, embrace your life as something integrated with the cosmos. Thus you s
piritually rise above conventional values
Detaching from things not in your control allows you to be confident and engaged
in the world, having sympathy and generosity for other people, and not getting
thrown by what life presents.
A Stoic embraces *and tries to improve* the world we live in, selecting certain
things, while deselecting others, even if these might not be what conventional p
eople consider good or bad.
The two main differences between Aristotelean and Stoic emotions are that the fo
rmer consider emotions irrational and pre given, the latter believe emotions ari
se from value judgements, and also where Aristotle focuses on managing and balan
cing emotions, Stoics focus on transforming them.
Both aristotilean and stoic ethical systems are compatible with astrological pre
Both are able to see the same events and feelings in an astrological figure.
their understanding of human nature, values and happiness, causes them to see th
ose events on a different moral plane, and so the kind of counsel offers differs
Both (a) offer paths of action to clients (b) help clients prepare for events b
ut each do so in a different way, and with different expectations of how the cli
ents will fare.
Aristoteleans identify things that are cruical to our happiness and counsel bala
ncing of related emotions.
Stoics counsel the transformation of our values and wise selection or deselectio
n of the same things.
Dykes suggests
(1) Evaluate conventional goods and evils using normal interpretation techniques
e.g: What is the clients' social status? How will the clients children fare? How
will his relationships fare?
This includes doing electional charts for important events, so as to maximise co
nventional goods.
(2) Evaluate typical mental and emotional abilities.
NB: Both traditional and modern astrology have techniques for this, usually invo
lving the ascendant, ascendant lord, Mercury and moon.
(aristotelean) what balance exists between the clients emotions and appetites an
d his rational facilities?
(Stoic) What values does the client have and how do his or her beliefs trigger e
motional reactions and affect his or her abilities to cope with life?
(key) Here we identify the default emotional and rational responses to life and
counsel a moderation in goods and emotions (aristotelean) or switching to select
ive values or emotional transformations (Stoic)
We NEVER counsel passivity and claims of victimhood. We encourage clients to mak
e conscious choices about things, owning and strenthening their power with respe

ct to emotions, and their sense of confidence and self integrity.

Part 2.Techniques and other concepts.
Chapter 6.
Basically some old schemes of planetary assignments for politics etc. Skipped.
Dykes advises use of Uranus + planets and asteroids only when they are conjunct
key points. Otherwise use traditional planets.
Chapter 7. Signs
Differences in treatments of signs between traditional and modern astrology.
1. Signs are not treated in psychological terms
2. There is an expanded and rich array of categories for signs, for use in certa
in circumstances.
Extensive list of Capricorn signified things.
In traditional astrology, signs are primarily background structures for planets
and houses i.e it refers to the style of energy in light of which the planets a
nd houses operate.
But sometimes they also indicate a physical place - useful in horary and mundane
Dykes thinks there are 4 major traditional ways of approaching the signs
1. They act as places of dignity for certain planets
2. They indicate external qualities (fire thru Earth) and styles of those energi
es (Cardinal thru Movable). These *can*, but need not be translated into psychol
ogical characteristics in certain situations
3. They have specialized indications which are relevant only for specific circum
stances, - being four footed, royal, prolific etc
4. How they rise and set provides a structure for certain predictive techniques
such as ascensional times and primary directions
A planet in Capricorn may or may not be in one of its dignities
In a horary chart for a conflict it may be important that Capricorn is a cardina
l sign
For a (chart for a ) lost object that it is an Earthy sign and it indicates cert
ain locations
For interpreting an eclipse or comet, Capricorn's relationship to certain parts
of the world
When Capricorn is the ascendant, it resonates with personality traits
Ancient astrologers rarely used the elements, but did use the modes.
Cardinal/Active = "Movable" because they show quick changes and movement
Fixed/Stable = "Fixed" because "(planets in) fixed signs shows the firmness and
stability of matters concerning the question"
Mutable/Reactive = "Changeable" because the signs show a sharing of two qualitie
s held together in common by the sign
Ptolemy explains these via the seasons.
The first month of a season shows a dramatic change (hence Cardinal)
The second month of the season shows a solidification and intensification of the
season's weather and temperatures
The third month wobbles back and forth between indications of this season and th
e next one
So the quadruplicities were used to show a structural kind of energy within each
element and for each planet.
This was used by traditional astrologers to delineate whether the native's life

implies more changes, stability or wavering.

e.g if the primary planets of a chart (luminaries, ascendant, ascendant lord, an
d perhaps angular planets) were in mutable signs this shows someone whose life e
ncounters a lot of repetition, going back and forth, indecisiveness (perhaps be
cause they can see more than one perspective) etc
Chapter 8: Using Dignities