The Art of Memorizing

I decided to take a few days break from my Indian astrology studies, and since I can not live my days without reading something related to astrology, I decided to re-read some of the aphorisms which Abū Bakr offers in his book On Nativities.

It is really interesting to get back to Perso-Arabian astrology after my intense Jyotish studies, and the wider dimension these studies give, offer me the opportunity to be able to connect some things and create more precise deducting reasoning. My deeply innate curiosity, I hope, is starting to pay off, and I feel more assured in the practical side of astrology.

It is not an easy thing to read the aphorisms of the sages. After reading a few, your mind starts becoming dizzy and you feel the need either to stop reading or to get back to the aphorisms you already read and re-read them again carefully. My teacher in Jyotish advised me to develop a habit of memorizing the charts in my mind, something which is very useful, in that case you always have anything you need in the store of your mind, no need for notebooks or stored charts on your computer, or even paper. I mean, you will still need all that for further calculations, but the point is that you will develop a habit of training your mind to recall the charts you already examined in the past, this is called photographic memory. India – although I have never been there, but I was told stories about – is full with astrologers who memorize the whole books from the old classical sages like Parashara or Saravali. This is not useless! In India, the young astrologers are trained in that way, to memorize many slokas [aphorism-like astrological rules] from the classics, and even though they do not understand some of the principles yet, they can easily recall them later in life when they’ll meet with a chart containing the slokas said by the sages. I remember in one occasion, on some private astrological group, I was posting aphorisms and certain person was making fun of how the aphorisms are sure way to stop thinking on your own, and the wise astrologer Steven Birchfield, to whose teachings I owe much my self, replied that  aphorisms really may not always be true, but that they contain a valuable experience of some very great astrologer from the past and certainly it is not wise to be neglected.

The Bible, Koran, Bhagavad Gita, Talmud scholars, etc., are famous for their memorization of the whole scripture. In an instance, they can start reciting you from any place or passage of the book. I think, we the Westerners, need to develop the art of memorizing our ‘scriptures’. An easy way to do this is to search for charts where you may find this particular aphorism already applied. Once you found a chart which contains, at least partially the aphorism, you will remember it almost instantaneously. This is why it is said that the picture is worth thousand words. This will not be always easy though. There are many aphorisms, and great amount of time doing this would need to pass, many charts examined, in order to be able to find greater deal of aphorisms which correspond with the charts you already have in your mind. But you can make a fun out of this. You can make it exciting thing, like putting certain goals in front of you: to find at least one aphorism in a chart per day, or weak, according to your schedule. Astrology need to be fun, exciting and to be done out of enjoyment, not to be a bag of burden on your back.

The aphorism I found for today, as fulfilling my scheduled goal is this one:

“If Mercury were direct in the Midheaven, and appearing in one of his own dignities, [and] aspected the Moon, by the square or opposite aspect, and the Moon were in her own domicile or exaltation, the native will be wise, sensible, and an examiner of the stars”.
[Abū Bakr, On Nativities, trans. Benjamin N. Dykes PhD, p.151]

While I was reading, I remembered that I saw this kind of opposition at Paul Faster Case’s chart of which I already spoke here:

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Paul Foster Case was a famous occultist, tarot and astrology writer from the early 20th century. He was known for participating in many back then famous esoteric [occult] societies and later on formed his own (B.O.T.A. ). In his younger days he was very good musician, his mother was piano player and teacher, and thought him to play. He was considered as very gifted musician, but the curiosity toward the secret knowledge, forced him to decide to move his life in that direction.

In his chart we have Mercury on MC in its own sign and direct, just as the aphorism of Abū Bakr requires. Moon is in opposition though not in her own sign or exaltation, which doesn’t fulfill the requirement of the aphorism 100%, but we have pretty good matching here. At least, Moon is not peregrine or debilitated.

The point after we found this matching, is to try to find logical explanation as to why Abū Bakr would consider this configuration as to bring: wisdom, sensitivity, and person who examines the stars.

Now, Mercury alone, direct and in its own dignities, on MC, is capable of giving wisdom, intelligence and being recognized for those qualities, by the world. In this case, Mercury rules the actions (MC) which lead to choosing certain career. Having Mercury’s qualities accentuated, not being debilitated, and in this case, not being harmed by malefics (Mercury receives Saturn, so the tension is somewhat meliorated), would give success in everything that Mercury signifies, and he signifies wisdom, intelligence, curiosity, skillfulness with words, etc.
Moon is the planet which rules our sensitive nature, or sensitive part of the mind, while Mercury rules the rational, logical part of our mind. Moon/Mercury opposition would give sensitivity, which he certainly had (as every mystic and musician after all has). Mercury is the planet of astrology and astronomy, while Moon in 4th would give a mystic (according to both Valens and Ptolemy: the one who investigates the hidden things, mysteries), so this is a perfect combination for occultist.
Furthermore, in this case, Moon is in the mystical sign of Pisces, accentuating his mystical nature even more. The tension which this opposition (just as the square would do) is I think channeled through his overwhelming curiosity toward these hidden subjects.

As a side note, even though this is one of the most important things in this charts (but not a part or requirement of the aphorism), I would add that this Mercury as powerful as he is, made an appearance [get out of the Sun’s rays] in the 7 days prior the birth, which makes him really the most powerful  and most visible planet in his horoscope. Mercury is in the bound of Mars which means that some of the significations he owns will be channeled through Mars in 12th in his own sign. 12th is another house of secrets, so his mystical-mystery nature is furthermore noted through this configuration. Moon is also in the bounds of Mars.

So, the next time you will find this configuration, in full or partially fulfilled, you would recall this aphorism I am sure. I think this is great way of practicing the astrology as was transferred to us through the practice and wisdom of the old sages. I do not think that we should follow them blindly, instead, to think with our own heads, but not to neglect their extremely valuable experience!

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