Here is the completely unedited initial sketch of the Introduction to my next book on astrology, The Great Big Crystal Ball in the Sky Part II!
Astrology — like math, like music — is a language.
What are the “words” in the language called Astrology? There are nine nouns, twelve verbs and twelve adjectives.
Parts of Speech
The nine nouns are the nine things that move through the heavens, the planets. They are nouns (“persons, places, things”) because they move through the heavens like people moving through a landscape. Technically there are more than nine, but very few people speak the language with a level of sophistication that involves more than nine, and I strongly advise limiting yourself to the nine primary planets, at least until you have become very proficient and intimate with their subtleties.
The twelve verbs are the twelve zones of the sky, the twelve “houses.” They are verbs (action words) because they define the different areas of life in which the planets will be active.
The twelve adjectives are the twelve divisions of the ecliptic, the “zodiac signs.” The are adjectives (descriptors of nouns) because they modify the nature of the planets (the nouns).
Reading Astrological Sentences
When you put nouns, verbs, and adjectives together you get sentences, the fundamental structure of language communicating sophisticated ideas. Similarly, when you consider a planet in a sign and house you can understand a complete astrological “sentence” giving you information about the universe and destiny. A planet representing marriage for example (like Venus), in a sign that makes is prosperous and generous (like Pisces), and a house that indicates foreigners (like the 12th), forms a sentence that communicates the idea of a good marriage to a foreigner, or at least prosperous relationships in foreign lands.
Just as there are many ways to understand a word and a sentence, there are many ways to understand any combination of planet, sign and house. If you can enjoy sussing out the subtleties of the communications you receive through astrology, you can enjoy playing the role of an astrologer (even if only for yourself) and can derive benefit from astrology. If you want concrete black and white answers delivered at the snap of your fingers, get in line with the rest of the long faces. Everyone wants that, and no one gets it. You can get clear, definite answers from astrology, but not without sitting with it patiently and carefully sussing out the most appropriate meaning out of all the possible meanings.
Grammar defines how the nouns, verbs and adjectives can combine. Its always a bit of a complex subject in any language.
In astrology, the simplest grammar is a “conjunction.” It occurs when planets, signs, and houses literally link with one another by physical proximity. For example if Venus is in Pisces and the twelfth house, the grammar in that forms an easily recognizable sentence.
The conjunction grammar works in less obvious ways, too. If Venus is in Pisces with the planet in charge of the twelfth house, it forms a sentence that sounds a lot like “Venus in Pisces, the twelfth house.
Another venue for covert conjunctive grammar involves the natural house association of the planets. For example the Moon, as you will learn, has a lot in common with the fourth house. So let’s say Venus and the Moon are together in Pisces — it could be in any house, but because the Moon naturally has a lot to do with the fourth house, there is a bit of “fourth house” unspoken in the sentence, “Venus with the Moon in Pisces.” Since the fourth house has to do with the mother, maybe the sentence means that a good marriage will result by following mom’s advice, or emulating mom, or allowing mom to help you select a good partner, etc.
A still more obscure way the conjunctive grammar can operate is through subdivisions of the zodiac. Most people are not familiar with what these are, so it may not make sense right now. We will explain it in its own chapter, but to just give an illustration here, Venus might be in Scorpio in the 3rd house, but at a particular degree of Scorpio that places it in Pisces, in the 12th house, when you divide the zodiac into certain fractions.
Now we start to see that a single planet in a single sign and house writes a whole lot of sentences!
Another astrological grammar is the “aspect.” This is a way planets can “be somewhere” without physically being there, a lot like you can influence a person by deliberately looking at them from a distance. So, for example, we can get a similar sentence as “Venus in Pisces, the twelfth house” if Venus in Pisces strongly aspects the sensitive point of the 12th house, or even if Venus in Pisces strongly aspects whatever planet is in charge of the 12th house.
The aspect grammar can exploit the same subtleties we noted for the conjunction grammar.
Yet other astrological grammars are transit and periodic. These grammars allow planets to form different variations of their sentences at different points in time!
Paragraphs and Chapters
Sentences form paragraphs and paragraphs form chapters. Similarly the ability to read combinations of planets, signs and houses is just the beginning of what it takes to deeply decipher astrological information. But it is the most essential beginning. Paragraphs, after all, are just collections of sentences on a similar topic. And chapters are just paragraphs groups meaningfully together.
If you really become comfortable and expert at reading the combinations of planets, signs and houses, it will be pretty easy for you to comprehend and utilize any other astrological technique that may wait for you as a more advanced student.
In the Book
Stick with me patiently in this book, and I will first explain the definitions of every noun, verb, and adjective (planet, house and sign) in astrology. I would like to ask you if its possible that you try to “forget” most of what you already know about these things, and try to start from scratch with me. The lexicon of astrology is extremely sophisticated and its just easiest to start studying it from scratch, with a clean slate.
[nak]:This leaves out the fixed stars (nakṣatra). I’ve given their definitions in another book, called “27 Stars, 27 Gods.”
Besides the definitions I will also explain how the grammars of aspects, conjunctions, transit, and period work, and explain the subtle ways each one can operate through house lordship and zodiac subdivisions.