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True Grit!

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True Grit!


Rev. Pam Crane

DFAstrolS, DMSAstrol(Hon), DPCCH


Asteroids are Virgo Heaven, all 7000+ of them. Over 5000 have been named since the big one, Ceres, was discovered by Giuseppe Piazzi on January 1st 1801 ( thereby twinned forever with the infant United Kingdom). With a few potentially apocalyptic exceptions, these assorted boulders, stones, bits of gravel and maverick mountains whirl on their own crowded freeway between Mars and Jupiter. Maybe a regular planet in that orbit once suffered a cataclysm and split catastrophically into multiple personalities, or maybe this is the garbage-tip of our Solar home that takes all its debris; or maybe with loving attention to detail, God made a place for all the little things that mean a lot.

Until the early 1970's astrologers had little access to asteroid data, but a trail was blazed in the USA by Eleanor Bach who compiled the first ephemeris for Ceres, Pallas, Juno and Vesta, giving rounded positions. Others caught her enthusiasm and began investigating, notably Emma-Belle Donath who wrote several slim volumes of asteroid analysis, and Al H. Morrison who sent everything he could get his hands on across the Atlantic to his many friends in the UK and Eire. Much of this exciting new material originated with the Pottenger-Dobyns family whose collective love-affair with finely-tuned astrology and the new science of computing led to a useful collaboration with the astronomical community which thankfully continues. Mark Pottenger in particular has worked extraordinarily hard to provide us with ephemerides of thousands of these tiny bodies and incorporate them into his accurate and versatile DOS-based CCRS92 program. ( They can now also be accessed from the new Solar Fire, v.4.04!) If you subscribe to Zip Dobyns’ seasonal Mutable Dilemma, you would also enjoy Mark’s Asteroid-World Newsletter, as both include lots of valuable data and insight into natal and mundane asteroid patterns.

Further good books appeared from Demetra George and Lee Lehman, but the most useful tool for the pebble-dashed astrologer is Dr. Jacob Schwartz’ labour of love, the Asteroid Name Encyclopaedia published by Llewellyn in 1995. If you have ever (and haven’t we all?) Longed for one more iron to pull out of the fire when confronted by a Sceptic, try a hot asteroid or two. Equipped with the Pottenger collection plus Jacob’s mine of exact and heterogeneous information, you will have your sceptic branded in no time with the names of all things and people near and dear to him pinned like ID badges to the most conspicuous and sensitive parts of his chart’s anatomy. Jacob and I were at a conference in LA when the OJ Simpson story was breaking; he had OJ’s chart and the event chart up on his table with asteroids Oja, Simpson, Nicole, Nicolaia and Ronan in place, and a chalk-board scrawled with his verdict, OJ DID IT! Although you have to be careful in drawing conclusions from experiments like this, asteroids add a fascinating dimension to astrological detective work as they now makes information available to us all that is far more specific and individual than anything else in the chart.

There are rules to the use of the asteroids: if the name sounds the same, looks the same or means the same as the word that will identify the chart’s subject, then it is the same. Astronomers come in different languages with assorted cultural baggage, so the words they have contributed to our cosmic lexicon are multinational. Semantics becomes a parallel study!

It is worth investing in a first-class astronomy program like Dance of the Planets, as you can then take advantage of your Pentium to coax collections of helpful starlets back into the Middle Ages and beyond by careful simulation to find out just what Luthera, Roma, and Bishop were up to at the dawn of Protestantism, or whether Copernicus had Nicolaia,Copernicus, Helio, Spacewatch, Astronomia and Interkosmos on his Angles. They are often blindingly obvious; but if you then use your quadriwheel to combine the usual geo Tropical chart with the Draconic, Sidereal and Heliocentric, you will also find potent, descriptive asteroid “phrases” writing themselves in lines across the natal sky where one zodiac resonates with another. Combining dwad with radix positions produces the same effect (the traditional dwad that maps directly onto the Decans), and it is common to find similar phrases repeated over and over again in the chart, on the lines drawn by the Sun, Horizon and Meridian or their midpoints.

Our determined sceptic will complain that we are being wilfully selective, in only choosing to look at positions of asteroids whose names have personal significance; what about all the hundreds of inconsequential others milling about the same Sun, Ascendant and MC? OK, so why does (s)he go out into town on a hectic Saturday and pointedly ignore all worthy souls except the half-dozen (s)he knows and recognises? The important thing is that those asteroids which should be strongly placed because their names are pivotal to that life or that event, are found to be so - and this is just what one finds. Enter Micro-Astrology!... Happy fingerprinting!