Thursday, July 31, 2008

August 1, 2008 - The "Trashy Novel" Eclipse

An eclipse of the Sun is a moment in time when the Moon blocks the light of the Sun. In simple terms, the Ruler of Day is impeded for a moment by the Ruler of Night. The relentless forward march of the obvious things in life (indicated by the Sun) takes a back seat, for a moment, to the persuasive power of the subtle energies in life (signified by the Moon).

This eclipse occurs in the fixed tropical sign of Leo, the sign of loyalty, stability, and a bit of self-proclaimed nobility. For this eclipse period, the Moon usurps the authority of the Sun and so a period of "high drama" ensues. The already passionate sign of Leo is inundated with the very emotional energy of the Moon. Add to this mix the spirited communication from Mercury, piping up, in the wrong time and from the wrong place, with loyalty to Moon (Mercury is passing behind the Sun and cannot be seen because of the Sun's light. The eclipse makes him visible for a moment, and his position has him siding with the Moon, even though he is in the sign of the Sun), and you have a period of misrepresented loyalties, unbridled emotions and heated passions.

Yep, sounds like a soap opera to me, and it all dances around in Leo.

However,we're not finished yet. If this scenario isn't headache enough for whichever part of your life is dominated by Leo, there is one more kicker that makes this into a trashy novel plot.

Venus has spent a long time obscured by the beams of the Sun where she has been unable to shine. When she finally emerges from behind the light of the Sun, she will be in her glorious Evening Star mode, which is her most dazzling and beautiful persona and puts her loyalties with the Moon. She is not far from emerging, and as with Mercury, this eclipse will give her an opportunity to shine early.

There is one sticky problem with this otherwise beautiful apparition. Venus is currently opposed by Neptune, the planet of obscurity, deception and ‘kidding yourself when it goes badly’.

You guessed it; there is a love interest! All is not what it seems. There is malefic power at work behind the beautiful apparition and... well, I told you it was a trashy novel!

The two villains of our trashy novel (beautiful bad-boy Mars and simply sinister Saturn) are in the adjacent sign of Virgo, messing around in Mercury's business, (but Mercury doesn't know it yet because he's busy raising an untimely ruckus in Leo). While our villains do not play much of a role in our Leo melodrama, their presence in Mercury's pragmatic residence make Mercury a little more mean spirited and somewhat crankier than his usually ambivalent self.

The ever successful and ever optimistic Jupiter, is "up to his armpits in alligators" in Saturn's nocturnal home, being kept far too busy there trying to make something good out of his journey in Capricorn to be able to give any attention to our Leo eclipse at all.

Uranus is likewise too busy in Pisces to interfere with the eclipse. Neptune, as we said, is turning the beauty of Venus into a deceptive illusion from his position in Aquarius.

Pluto is taking in the melodrama from his vantage in Sagittarius and pushing the players to come to a useful and meaningful conclusion... or kill each other... he really doesn't care.

In personal terms, our trashy novel eclipse will play out in whatever part of you life that Leo represents. Our natal Sun represents the part of us that deals with image and impressions, and our trashy novel will play out in a way that reflects the relationship between our sun sign, and the sign of Leo. Our rising sign (which we need a birth time to determine) is the part of the zodiac which makes us self-aware. When we read our rising sign, we are looking at a very general impression of how the eclipse might play out in terms of how we actually see ourselves.

For everybody

Many issues that have been hidden will be broadcast under this eclipse; secret loves will come to light and cause misunderstanding. I am expecting to see a surge in expose type scandal that is actually more hype than substance. This is the stuff on which modern media thrive, I think the rest of us will be tired of it by the time the next solar eclipse turns up.

In terms of personal development, a solar eclipse is effective until the next solar eclipse, which in this case occurs January 26, 2009.

Moon in Leo will be the times to watch. Aug 27-30, Sept 24-26, Oct 21-23, Nov 17-19, Dec 15-17, Jan 11-13.

Folks with natal Sun or Moon or Ascendant in Leo are in for a particularly challenging eclipse period.

Sun in Aries

The eclipse will be mostly entertaining from your perspective. Avoid the temptation to stir the pot by feeding the rumor mill because it may have financial repercussions you hadn't thought of. Be aware that secrets involving fun and flirtation will be hard to keep. Expect a change in the way that children, innocence, fun, and play enhance your reputation and work to your favor.

Aries Rising

It will be hard to avoid drawing attention to your inner child under this eclipse. You may find that your normally playful nature is becomes somewhat insecure. Go with it, run with it, but keep the accent on innocence and play, rather than willfulness and immaturity. Be aware that new love will not be what it appears to be, and keep in mind that your own secrets will be very hard to keep.

Sun in Taurus

Your personal priorities and your professional priorities are going to be in conflict for a while. Your values are going to be in competition, because you can't do everything. Be careful to seriously consider all the repercussions of your choices, and then settle for the choice that is most mindful of your core values, and does least harm overall.

Taurus Rising

This eclipse is going to bring a clear conflict of interest between the things that matter to you most and your sense of security, whether that is your home and family or your personal interests. Maintaining your sense of security through the next six months may draw your attention away from your long term personal and career objectives.

It is this type of tension that helps us sort out our priorities. By listening to the demands of the things that make us secure, we shore-up our career and personal objectives. Using this period to get the balance right, to pay due attention to the things that really matter, is the key to making it work for you.

Sun in Gemini

Your reputation in your local community will change under this eclipse. This is a time when comfortable values will pay bigger dividends than lofty ideals. You may be surprised by unexpected (though fleeting) prominence. You may also be the subject of a local scandal of some sort.

Gemini Rising

Your role as "communications hub" will be enhanced by this eclipse, with some recognition for the role you play in the lives of others. Beware that juicy gossip will be ripe for the picking, but it will bring you undone if you indulge under this eclipse. This is one of those times where increased popularity brings with it increased responsibility. If the two go hand in hand, you will progress to better things. If you let your popularity go to your head by repeating juicy gossip in order to increase your notoriety, it will backfire in a spectacular manner.

Cancer Sun

There is a change afoot in the way that your talents are seen by others. You have a chance to be recognized for your ideas under this eclipse. Be aware that empty flattery will have an agenda attached.

This eclipse period will help you see the difference between genuine appreciation (which most Cancer's love) and empty flattery (which less scrupulous souls will use to get you to do what they want). Try not to be too disheartened when you see the difference.

Cancer Rising.

A change in your money situation is likely under this eclipse. Some good ideas that have been "hiding in plain sight" will come to light over the eclipse season. Be careful of "get rich quick" schemes, though, because some of those will present themselves as well.

Leo Sun

Leo has the dubious honor of hosting this eclipse. Leo, a sign renowned for loyalty and stability, will undergo a change during the eclipse period. If you are prepared for a change, and are willing to accept it, you will fare better than those who resist it. Your reputation and standing with others may also change, be mindful of this and try to make the best of it. Be aware that there will be no secrets this next six months, minute details will have a way of taking center stage, and scandal is waiting in the wings, looking for an opportunity to surface.

Leo Rising

Change is the one constant in life, and the wise will be ready to embrace it rather than resist it. This eclipse will bring a change in the way you see yourself and the way you present yourself. Expect some insight into an obscure problem. Expect some deception regarding values and valuables. All financial offers and incentives need to be put to the reality test..(which is good advice anyway, but very important for Leo rising folk during this eclipse period).

Virgo Sun

Eclipse events are going to seem mostly distant to the Virgo. You are likely to be mystified about all the hoopla and drama, particularly when you have far more practical things to be concerned with. Getting involved in the drama will do more harm than good for you.

Virgo Rising

The hard-won lessons of facing the "real you" are going to bear some spiritual fruit, particularly if you are spiritually inclined. For the more pragmatic, there are some changes afoot that will affect you indirectly through large corporate, financial, or medical institutions.

Libra Sun

This eclipse will effect your reputation Libra. The fallout of the high drama will make it difficult to know who to believe. Others may find it difficult to trust you. It is best to ride out the eclipse period with as little reliance on your reputation as possible.

Libra Rising

There will be high drama amongst friends and associates which will affect your ability to make and keep effective networking opportunities open. Be prepared for an emotional roller-coaster over this eclipse period. Try to avoid meddling with the crises as they emerge. Offer dispassionate advice where it is required of you.

Scorpio Sun

Like Libra, Scorpio needs to be careful of its reputation during this eclipse period, however the stakes are higher for Scorpio, because the fallout affects career, not just contacts and friends. Scorpios who throw themselves into their careers over the next 6 months may find it to be counter-productive. It is a wiser thing to let the eclipse pass, and repair the damage later, rather than to try to invest in your reputation under this eclipse.

Scorpio Rising

Scorpio rising is going to find the demands of work and career requiring far more attention than they usually do. You need to be aware that your words may be perceived as particularly troublesome. The need to balance your priorities will be paramount over this eclipse period. You need to give the career the attention it requires, without feeding the irrational nature of the eclipse. Its a tough call, but forewarned is the first step towards forearmed.

Sagittarius Sun

Your reputation (or lack of reputation) as the "goto" person for ideals and inspiration will take a bit of pounding over the eclipse period. Your opinion will nevertheless matter. Be careful, use it wisely. Be as dispassionate as possible.

Sagittarius Rising

Sagittarius rising is going to experience a change in the academic faculty. If things have been cloudy, they will clear up. If they have been clear, they will get foggy. Either way, the Moon's dominance of the intellectual house will your mind a very emotional place to be, much of your thinking will be tied up in the "trashy novel" indicated in my opening remarks.

Capricorn Sun

Capricorn may find itself in the unfortunate position of being vilified in a situation that is completely beyond its control. A difficult period in which a "nothing to lose" approach will serve you better than panic or attempts at self-justification. Press forward with the things that really matter, Capricorn, and ride the storm.

Capricorn Rising

Other people's business will grab undue attention for Capricorn Rising over this period. There will be dramas and dilemmas affecting the way you deal with the resources of others. If you are in a sexual relationship, you can expect an uncharacteristically emotional time of it, if you are settling estates or dependent on the resources of others you can expect a more difficult time than usual for this eclipse period.

Aquarius Sun

You may find yourself in the position of "scapegoat" when high dramas and bad soap operas play out in the lives of others. With Chiron and Neptune resident in your sign, attempts at clarifying the situation in the heat of the moment will be misunderstood. All is not lost, however, there is healing for you and for the other party once the emotional heat has passed.

Aquarius Rising

Aquarius rising will feel the heat from partners and others involved in committed business relationships. The situation is made more complex by a subtle, ongoing difficulty Aquarius Rising folk have had with personal confidence. Your ability to see yourself reflected in your partner (business or personal) will allow for the level of compassion you need to make something good out of an otherwise difficult 6 months. It will take some work, but it will be well worth the effort.

Pisces Sun

Pisces will need to pay particular attention to physical appearance to avoid unwarranted criticism from others. Much like Capricorn, there's not much you can say or do, except keep your own mind on doing the best you can with what you have and let the darts of others fall where they will.

Pisces Rising

You are likely to observe the melodrama of the eclipse play out in your work-place. Keeping your nose out of the drama will be the best you can manage. you may also find yourself with mystery aches and pains that have no apparent cause and no apparent cure. Get good medical advice, it may all blow over, it may not, but the situation will be much clearer in January.

Obviously, a list like this can only cover tendencies in the broadest brush-strokes possible. The effects of the Leo eclipse on your life will be determined by many factors, the most important of those being what planets you have in Leo and what is happening with those planets in the heavens. Your age and other factors are used by any professional astrologer to asses the actual effects of the movements of the planets in your life.

For more information on astrology and how it works in your life, visit my website.

If you have a specific question relating to any aspect of Astrology, post a comment, and I'll address it.

A birth-chart can be erected for free from

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Why Astrology?

Why do I do this? Why don’t I do something else?

I was erecting an imaginary conversation in my mind’s eye with a person who is reading astrology, and in my opinion, really shouldn’t be. I think the person lacks the depth of understanding requisite to be a practicing astrologer, however there is no regulation in the field, and any buyer of astrological services has to be aware that some astrologers are not up to the task.

Anyway, in the course of my ethereal “conversation” I sat this person down and asked, sincerely, why do you do astrology?

Of course, when we ask a question like that of another soul, we have to be prepared to answer it for ourselves. This prompted some navel gazing, and now I’ll inflict it on you all.

The short answer to the question “why do you (Rod Smith) practice astrology?” is “I can’t be anything but an astrologer.” I mean, sure I can work at any number of different jobs, and I may have to do one of those for a while as I regroup and work at building a larger clientèle, however, everything I am as a human being is tied directly, or indirectly, to my astrology.

From the moment I laid eyes on astrology as an integrated mathematical system, I could not put it down.

I had seen the sun-sign columns and dismissed them as a crutch for the feeble-minded.

The astrology I was introduced to when I asked my bother Carl, “so, how do I construct a chart, and what are these squiggles all about?” had nothing to do with feeble minds. The mathematics and physics were not particularly difficult, but they are daunting if you are not a math person. The symbolism of the planets is also daunting if you are not a metaphysical person. Thankfully, I am both.

I had been observing human behavior and asking big questions for a long time before I ever erected an astrology chart, but once I erected that chart, I understood humanity in a way that I have never understood before. Its as though a thousand of my most pressing questions were answered in that one chart. The next chart I erected answered a thousand more.

When I could lay the planets on a chart, and see their interactions working in the lives of those around me, I was gone, hook-line-and-sinker.

It took about two years of obsessive work with charts and harmonics and numbers and potentials to really grok astrology as a system for understanding people. It worked for me in a way that nothing I had ever looked at before could work, and more importantly, it worked in the minds and lives of the people in my world. I could help them make a real difference in their own lives, and so I did.

So, the answer, -why am I an astrologer?.

Because I live to make a difference, and astrology is the best tool I have to accomplish that end.

Take Care


Certified? (maybe I should be...)

UPDATE: I finally received word that I passed the Level 1 exam, with a score of 94 percent, I'm not sure which questions I missed, but I am pretty happy with the score - My apologies for the silence, but one of Life's little dramas has had this Cancer boy sleeping across town - our marriage is fine but a friend needs an adolescent-sitter, and a Cancer out of his home tends to be rattled.

Anyone who knows astrology recognizes that I know my stuff. There is no question about that… and of course, a person who knows no astrology has no idea whether I know what I am talking about or not. It may come as a surprise to some that I have never taken formal training in astrology.

My brother, Carl Smith, taught me the basics of astrology in the mid 1990’s, and taught me the harmonic system he had developed over a period of 25 years using his own criteria for what works and what does not.

I had always taken a profound interest in what makes people tick, and so his astrology meshed with my human understanding quite well.

It was Carl’s philosophy that, if he taught me the very basics, my own interest would drive the understanding home and chart the course of my astrological education. He insisted that I work by hand until I had become familiar enough with the process to find and correct my own mistakes.

The first 20 charts I erected began with a set of tables, a calculator, a compass, a ruler and a few coloured pens. With practice, I could erect one in an hour or so, and then check it for errors a couple of hours later, before I plotted it on blank paper to erect the chart.

When I began using harmonics, (shortly after I started studying astrology) I created a method for calculating potential aspects by hand that took 15 hours per chart…. I think I got it down to 10 or so… I was looking at every potential aspect for every chart object that could exist for every multiple of 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9, using a proportionally decreasing orb (for the non-astrologer… lots of math and a complex procedure)

Because my handwork with arithmetic is prone to random, seemingly careless errors (though I can swear that what I do looks right when I do it) every process required an arithmetic check, which I also devised.

I was very quick to borrow a computer from another brother (an old Mac Classic) so that my hand-cast charts could have the harmonics crunched on a spreadsheet (which I designed myself) in a fraction of a second longer than it took to input the data.

I eventually began using free astrology software, and was able to cast charts in no time at all.

It turns out that the astrology I thought of as entry-level is a considered high-end specialty in the greater astrological community.

I have spent a lot of the intervening years working out what “mainstream” astrology looks like, and have sought to educate myself on the relative usefulness of the many layers of astrological interpretation that are available out there.

My specialty always was the astrology of personal development. My most recent interest has been in ancient astrology. A study I find to be fascinating because it is so different from what I already knew, and yet it has, at its foundation, the same fundamental mathematical consistency that is the trademark my modern work.

So, to the point of this post.

I sat my first ever astrology exam last Saturday, on my 49th birthday. The most important part of the exam involved the manual construction of several charts.

I had erected about twenty charts by hand in the lead-up to the exam, so that I could again become completely comfortable with the procedure involved and become aware of the types of errors I am prone to make. Finding the errors I made in the practice charts, and resolving them, made it possible to spot the errors I made in the exam and fix them.

Erecting a chart by hand ensures that the student has a working knowledge of the principles that go into chart construction. The student is introduced to time as measured by the clock, and also time as measured by the rotation of the earth. These concepts in time are essential to the accurate construction of a chart. The student is also introduced to how the shape of the earth (more specifically, one’s position on that shape) affects the shape of a chart, and how Southern Hemisphere differs from the North.

In doing the work and understanding the concepts behind the work, the student is more able to conceive the chart as a function of real space and real time. Reinforced with every chart constructed by hand, its the necessity to do accurate work, which is a great mindset with which to approach a reading: because when it comes down to it, there is a lot at stake when an astrologer is are actually reading a chart for a real person. Taking it seriously is always a good thing for a reader.

The rest of the questions were the sort of stuff that one would expect from an entry-level exam. Nothing terribly challenging though you do have to be on the ball.

All up, by my own assessment, the test was a fairly good indicator of whether a person has a basic knowledge of astrology. NCGR have done a great job in that regard and should be commended for it.

The most difficult part for me was trying to "turn on" to a chart that I 
have not placed any investment in at all, and for which there is no personal consequence, and nothing at stake beyond a multiple choice answer, proposed by someone I don’t know.

That’s difficult.

I am fairly sure I passed the exam. A friend of mine likened this turn of events to Evel Knievel taking a driving test. While I enjoy the flattery, I feel I had to work a lot harder than that to make sure I got it right… there again, I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t invest a lot in making sure I get it right when there is actually something at stake.

Take care