An Astrological Technique for Practical Intelligence and Efficiency in Daily Life
Astrology is above all a study of effectiveness in life, and I’ll discuss one way to achieve that, through a technique we can use to guide our daily actions and sharpen our responsiveness to evolutionary lessons. Simplified Daily Horary is a method I’ve developed over the past 32 years that doesn’t follow traditional rules but is my own formulation. At any moment, when I have the luxury of reflection, I stop and look at the chart of the moment, observing, in a contemplative frame of mind, the rising, culmination, setting, and anti-culmination of transiting planets, posing a series of evolutionary lessons or “microscripts.” I plan my next move during the day or evening as I set my attention on specific tasks and activities signified by angular planets and also lunar aspects at that moment—I always watch the lunar aspects. This practice has the capacity to make our use of time efficient and productive, leading to a multiplicity of satisfying outcomes. You accomplish every task in its own time, deploying attention effectively in multiple life domains. This is the astrology of the present time and how to maximize its potentials. Couples, friends, families, and groups of people can follow the energy of the moment to harmonize and evolve together.
The main thing I look for in this method is transiting planets near any of the four angles, cardinal points, or Moon’s nodes; and the transiting Moon aspects to other transiting planets, which we’ll get to momentarily. This method is based on the principle of angularity, an essential phenomenon in astrology first elucidated by Cyril Fagan and Michel Gauquelin. Near the angles, planets capture our attention. Planets within 10-15 degrees of the angles are accentuated. The key is not just to observe the rising and setting and culmination of planets, but to move with it, to resonate with the energy of whatever planets are foreground at that moment.
What I’m doing isn’t horary because there isn’t a specific question, but more a broad question, what am I supposed to be doing right now? I don’t follow horary rules at all. I just read the chart of the moment. So I don’t worry about if the first three degrees of a sign or last three degrees are rising, or if the Moon is in the Via Combustiva, or other traditional horary rules.
Simplified daily horary is related to electional astrology because we can choose to wait for an auspicious time for certain experiences. Want to ask someone out on a date? Don’t do it when transiting Pluto is conjunct the Descendant. Do it at the moment when Venus is on an angle, or better yet, during a Moon-Venus conjunction as it reaches a diurnal angle. But what I’m talking about tonight isn’t traditional electional astrology either, because it involves a very open ended inquiry about the space of the moment. I’m not electing a time for a specific event. You could say we’re considering what event(s) the universe is electing to happen now. You ask, What does this moment call forth? What does life want now? What is life presenting to me at this moment? And what do I intend now? And to answer these questions I look at what planets are accentuated and where the energy is.
When Venus is on an angle, often a friend calls, or I reach out to someone, I have a pleasant interaction with my sweetheart, I play music, or I appreciate the beauty of the moment, something I try to do several times each day. Or I get cleaned up, put on nice clothes, wash my hair, and try to enhance my appearance. Similarly, when Moon aspects Venus we feel serene, loving, affectionate; emotional needs are well satisfied through friendship, relationships, beauty, art, music; love can be expressed through tender physical touch, caressing our existence. Venus signifies a harmonious moment.
Contrast this to moments when Mars is on an angle, when there may be an energy or atmosphere of anger, stress, discord. One evening I did a chart of the moment and a Moon-Mars conjunction in Sagittarius was setting, conjunct the Descendant, and my wife suddenly got furious at me about some small infraction regarding how the laundry was sorted or put on the wrong temperature in the dryer, or not folded properly. I wasn’t in the mood to get yelled at so I took some reading matter and hurriedly left the house in my flip- flop sandals and parked my butt on the curb about a half a block away. Right at that moment, a bird sitting on a wire crapped on me, all over my shirt. I looked up at him, and thought why is everybody against me at this moment? But knowing about Mars I felt at peace. I could have a sense of humor as I went inside and put on a clean shirt.
I learn a tremendous amount about the little clashes and irritations of life just by watching the rising, culmination, and setting of Mars, which flashes and flares up for a moment, and then the energy is discharged and the storm passes.
There is a similar energy when Moon aspects Mars. We feel more energy, anger, annoyance, impatience, and sexual fire. We can be emotionally excitable, reactive, irritable, or volatile; angry if needs aren’t being met. Our mood is a little testy. We express fiery emotions.
When Mars is on an angle it’s often a good moment for some physical activity. This is when I feel like working out, exerting myself physically, working up a sweat. But if I try working out when Neptune is on an angle and I usually find myself tired, fatigued, with no energy and drive to climb the hills. I just end up strolling, not accelerating and burning.
Simplified Daily Horary gets you outside the perspective of your own chart and into the flow of the moment, the background energy that everyone is feeling at the same moment. It describes my interface in time with others, in this place and time. So it’s part of the astrology of collective events, things that happen in our community. For example, recently I went to a restaurant during another Moon-Mars conjunction in Gemini, and just as it culminated, two people’s cars collided in the parking lot outside REI and voices were raised, a few choice epithets were used. Everyone in the busy parking lot and a crowd seated outdoors at a nearby restaurant had their eyebrows raised while we witnessed this altercation. What I remember was the sickening sound of metal on metal. So under the angular ray of Mars there are clashes, crashes, mishaps, and dustups. You break a glass or stub your toe or cut yourself shaving or strain a muscle. That’s life.
This method reduces our fear of certain supposedly dreadful influences, such as Mars, Saturn, and Pluto. This teaches us to go beyond traditional horary interpretations of Mars, Saturn, and Pluto as malefics. We discover that we can relate to these planetary energies in daily life in a constructive way so we work with each of these energies effectively and masterfully. The principle is that everything in your life goes better if you’re doing what you’re supposed to be doing at that moment.
So, for example, when Saturn is rising, culminating or setting, it’s time for practical matters, getting chores done, organizing, getting things accomplished, and straightening up. One day recently, when Saturn was rising and moon was square Saturn, I went to my mom’s house and did errands, vacuumed her apartment, filed paperwork, watered the planets, and took out the garbage. This attitude towards the daily rising, culmination and setting of Saturn teaches us not to be afraid of Saturn energy but to use it constructively. We’ve all got a thousand and one little things that have to get done. The discipline of relating to Saturn in this way day after day takes away my fear of Saturn transits. It’s an organizing energy that I relate to all the time.
Similarly, during Moon-Saturn aspects we’re focused, task-oriented. We have to stay on schedule, create order, do our chores, get organized, and follow through to finish and accomplish things. Sometimes during Moon- Saturn aspects we feel sad, depressed, and are aware of unsatisfied needs. We need a serious attitude and emotional strength; we have to take responsibility.
When Saturn is the archetypal dominant we operate within form and structure. Trying to meditate when Saturn is angular is a struggle for me because at that moment I really should be getting things done, doing chores, straightening up. Similarly, trying to do a linear task like balancing my checkbook or keeping other financial records while Neptune is angular is also a work against nature! I can’t concentrate, make stupid calculation errors, get hopelessly lost and confused and befuddled when the numbers don’t add up correctly at all, the accounts don’t balance, or I end up falling asleep and face-plant straight onto my desktop calculator!
When Neptune is angular, I like to take a break; it’s time to take a bath, meditate, take a nap, or veg out in front of the TV. I allow myself to do this. Don’t fight it. You could even take a nap— assuming you’re not driving or in a business meeting. But maybe you need to pull off the road into a rest stop and take a snooze. Similarly, during Moon-Neptune aspects we feel like spacing out, meditating, reading fiction or mysticism. We need to let our boundaries melt, become an amorphous jellyfish, and feel how we’re part of everything. Our boundaries feel fluid, enmeshed, symbiotic, or fused; we feel empathy, selflessness, or we feel weak, indecisive, vague, or engage in rescuing or caretaking of others. During Moon-Neptune aspects we can extend compassion toward self and others who are suffering. Moon-Neptune aspects to evoke a wide, expansive feeling, or an ecstatic, expanded, blissful mood. Since Moon is conjunct Neptune tonight, let’s take a moment to do this, extend compassion to people you know who are suffering, and also towards yourself.
In contrast to these spacey Neptune moments and phases, when Mercury is on an angle, or conjunct the Moon, we feel wired, we’re busy, nervous, high strung, talkative, focused on thinking, writing, communication, documents, and traveling from place to place. It’s time to be on the move, in transit from place to place. This is when I get tons of writing done, write correspondence, talk to someone, or exchange some information. Also, I may need to get in the car and go someplace, get on the road. Trying to sleep when Mercury is setting or anti- culminating is counterintuitive as you will probably just lay there awake thinking and worrying. At the very least, use this time to read in bed or write in a journal before going to sleep.
I always watch when Moon is angular as it defines the mood of the moment; When Moon is angular in a diurnal chart it alerts me to attend to cooking, homecare, finding emotional and physical comfort and nourishment. For me it signifies hanging out in the yard or the breakfast nook or the front porch. It’s a moment to enjoy our little habitats. I remember to call my mother. I cook something and eat it. I pick up my clothes and do the dishes. I express my feelings and needs. I create a secure base inside me and around me in my environment. This is the moment for care for home, care for the self, care for others. Sometimes just listening to someone shows support, shows that you care. Moon: resting against our experience, settling into it, feeling it. This is why we constantly focus on lunar aspects.
Tracking the transiting Moon’s aspects is important because Moon represents our embodied felt experience in the present moment. Our natal lunar aspects condition us to respond emotionally in consistent patterns. We also learn to fluidly move through a spectrum of emotional states, shown by transiting Moon’s conjunction, opposition, and square with other transiting planets. We can expand beyond the range of our habituated emotional responses, becoming more flexible and evolved. In the same manner, we track the progressed Moon’s aspects, except progressed Moon’s aspects typically influence us for months, not just a day. A concerned mother consulted me about her teenager daughter, who had progressed Moon conjunct natal and progressed Mars in Scorpio in the second house, for a year. During this phase, the daughter was ferociously angry, willful, selfish, emotionally volatile and difficult; she was very sexual, seductive, and magnetic; also quite acquisitive and materialistic (Mars in second house). She was waking up her Mars energy. Her mother said, “Now I guess I can relax, it’s just going to be that way this year.” The Moon’s natal, transiting, and progressed aspects give astrologers a precise formula for developing emotional intelligence, allowing ourselves to experience various emotional states.
When Uranus is foreground, something unexpected occurs, a sudden reversal, or something funny or incongruous. There’s excitement and controversy; we feel a tendency to chase whatever storm is brewing at that moment. You feel like doing something your own way, breaking a pattern. You become aware of surprising and unexpected events in the social-political sphere.
Transiting aspects of Moon and Uranus signify emotional excitability or an urge for freedom and independence. While Moon-Venus contacts show a need for closeness, Moon-Uranus shows a need for distance or emotional separation, a restless urge for change, or breaking out of ruts. One seeks more emotional freedom, separation or differentiation from others.
Pluto foreground is one of the most interesting phenomena to observe. It is a moment for elimination and completions, getting rid of things, throwing out the garbage, disinfecting wounds, fighting rodents and pests, stripping things clean, flushing things out, and bringing things out in the open to air out. Moon-Pluto aspects mark emotional upsets. Buried feelings or memories erupt and resurface; bitterness, resentment or negativity may build up or need to be released. Impurities of body, speech, mind, and action can be flushed out now. Experiences bring emotional catharsis and release, emotional closure and completion, and intensification of feeling capacities. Power struggles, unpleasantness, eruption of negativity and resentment, and issues of control or domination come forward. We feel our emotional agonies and work them through to completion.
One afternoon, I set the chart with Uranus exactly setting, square Pluto, which was exactly at the IC. What could it be, what changes and unruly energies, how will the serpentine evolutionary energy? I can feel the energy forming. I went and turned over the compost pile and took out the recycling and pruned rose bushes and did a bunch of weeding and clipping and cleanup, clearing, pruning to start over, to initiate new growth. We sifted the compost and spread it on our fruit trees.
Another daily horary chart featured Uranus conjunct MC, Pluto setting. I turned on TV to hear news of Hurricane Sandy pummeling east coast, leaving a swath of destruction; other news reports described bombings in Iraq, a broken truce in Syria, and possible skullduggery involving U. S. voting machines.
When Sun is foreground I have consciousness of an objective, and strive to embody a specific zodiacal energy. Sun angular validates my attention to the evolutionary mission of whatever sign the Sun is passing through. Sun in Sag: a learning objective, wants to be the educated one. Sun in Cancer: to be the nurturing, feeling, caring one. Sun in Aries: to be the willful and determined one.
Transits and Aspects of the Moon
We can gain crucial insights from attunement to the monthly lunar phases, as well as the progressed lunation cycle; we follow the rhythms of nature. We feel the inception of a cycle at New Moon. At the beginning of a new cycle, we can relax if our efforts haven’t born fruit. Things are just getting started; something is set in motion. But we need to energize and sustain our efforts during the cycle’s formative waxing phases, overcoming inertia. Cycles culminate at the Full Moon’s moment of peak intensity and luminosity as the meaning of this cycle of life is clarified. The Moon’s reorganizing waning phases reorient consciousness as we reconsider our goals and attitudes, and dismantle structures. Lots of success coaches teach people to energize the waxing phase of initiative, heroic effort, and motivation. In waxing phases of a cycle, we need to strive and get out there. But wise astrologers also honor the waning phases of cycles, the need to bring things to a close, to consciously deconstruct something, to let go and allow forms to change. Astrologers also embrace the balsamic phase of endings, the silences, lulls, periods of waiting and gestation. Maybe it’s a waning Moon or transiting Moon is conjunct Neptune and you’re vegetating in front of the TV in your preferred pose of the lounge lizard. You could start to get down on yourself for feeling so unmotivated and like such an inert slug and get all depressed about that. I know people who thrash themselves, or their partners, for laying around a bit. You can say it’s a waning Moon, or a void of course Moon, or the Moon is conjunct Neptune and it’s okay to relax and do nothing. It’s not a great time to launch a major initiative. There isn’t any energy. By the same token, when the waxing phase comes you’re ready to get activated. That’s no problem because you allowed yourself a moment of stillness, you got your time to rest. You relaxed and recharged.
This is the essence of astrology: alignment to the rhythmic movement of consciousness, to the natural movement of energy. We realize sometimes it’s best to wait, or to gestate an idea. When the auspicious moment arrives we act. We understand the important of sustaining effort and persevering. We recognize that in waning phases of cycles, we learn to let go, to look forward to the future with consciousness. We know that cycles of nature are ever-flowing, ever replenishing. There’s always another cycle, another chance to begin again, to try again.
Simplified daily horary teaches malleability, flexibility of attitude, and conscious and intentional shape-shifting through various archetypal moments and situations. Traditional horary astrology answers specific questions, simplified daily horary considers the broader question: what am I supposed to be doing right now, and how can I activate all of my circuits in alignment with this present local sky? This approach transcends the individual chart and gets you outside the perspective of your own chart into the flow of the moment — the background energy that everyone is feeling at the same time. It can unify couples and families who learn to flow together in accordance with celestial order.
Greg Bogart, Ph.D, MFT is the author of Planets in Therapy; Astrology and Spiritual Awakening; and Astrology and Meditation: The Fearless Contemplation of Change. He is a psychotherapist and astrological counselor in the San Francisco Bay Area and teaches at Sonoma State University and the California Institute of Integral Studies.