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will live. This is not good. Any reputable palmist will tell you that the lines in your hand will change as you grow and make changes in your life. Therefore, your future will look different as your hand changes. This is noticeable in the differences between the left and right hands. The hand used the least will show traits present since childhood while the dominant hand, the one used most, will show the changes since then. A palm reading, therefore, is really about the present and a good palmist will help a client understand his or her strengths and weakness and help point out where work is needed to improve one's life.

Modern palmists realize it is helpful to discuss the separate parts of the hand, but they maintain that the art depends on putting it all together and looking at the hand as a whole. For example, when someone smiles it is not something that just happens with the mouth; the whole face is involved. Good palmists will look at the hand like a face and see if it is smiling or frowning.

Figure 4.4 The principal mounds of the palm. (Robert M. Place)

numbers as omens

Have you ever wondered what your lucky number is? In the modern world numbers are one of the most popular places to look for omens. This is called numerology.

Numbers are everywhere, but the most popular place to look for significant numbers is one's birth date or name. Birth dates already exist in numbers, if a number is substituted for the month instead of the word, but to use a name, the letters must be converted into numbers. In ancient Greek and Hebrew this was easy because people commonly used the letters of the alphabet for writing numbers. In the modern world, however, a number must be assigned to each letter. The most common way is to simply assign the numbers one through 26 to the 26 letters of the alphabet and then add up all of the numbers for each letter in the name. But, to find meaning in the number, it must be reduced to one of the first 10 numbers. This is accomplished by adding all of the numbers together until you have one of the first 10.

For example, the letters in Robert are assigned R-18, O-15, B-2, E-5, R-18, and T-20. These numbers add up to 78 (18+15+2+5+18+20=78). Now to get a simpler number, add the 7 and 8 together to get 15. Then add the 1 and 5 to get 6. The numerical omen for Robert is six.

Okay, but what does six mean? There is disagreement as to what each number signifies, but most Western numerologists (there is also a Chinese system) trace this form of divination back to the famous Greek philosopher and mathematician Pythagoras (582-507 bce) and try to base their interpretations on his teachings about the quality of numbers. Pythagoras is said to have studied with the Babylonians and Egyptians. His numerical symbolism was adopted by most Western mystics, such as alchemists (people who, while trying to make lead into gold, developed chemistry), and kabbalists (Jewish mystics and magicians). Here is a list of common meanings for the first 10 numbers that are related to Pythagorean ideas.

• One: The primary symbol of unity, one is independent, creative, original, ambitious, determined, and self-assured.

• Two: The number of duality, two symbolizes both harmony and opposition, a peacemaker and one who gives an argument.

• Three: The creative result to the interaction of one and two, three is a creative solution, an expression of personality, sociable, friendly, outgoing, kind, positive, and optimistic.

• Four: The completion of the physical world with its four directions, seasons, and elements, four is a worker, practical, trustworthy, helpful, steady, logical, and self-disciplined.

• Five: The number of the spiritual essence beyond the physical four, five is a an agent for change, adaptable, intelligent, freedom-loving, romantic, resourceful, witty, curious, flexible, and accommodating.

• Six: The result of two threes added together, six is the number of relationships, harmony, love, peace, and beauty.

• Seven: Everybody's favorite lucky number and the number of known planets in the ancient world, seven is mystical, introspective, intuitive, psychic, wise, and reserved.

• Eight: A doubling of four turning a square, with four points, into a cube, with eight; eight is ambitious, business-minded, practical, leading, authoritative, successful, courageous, accomplished, organized, and materialistic.

• Nine: The last of the single digit numbers and the number associated with heaven by ancient mystics, nine is humanitarian, sympathetic, helpful, emotional, tolerant, active, and determined.

• Ten: The return to unity after the completion of the series, 10 is a number of completion, perfection, and achievement.

To these 10, modern numerologists have added zero, which symbolizes the unconscious and untapped potential, the power number 11, a humanitarian innovator, and the power number 22, the visionary master builder who is idealistic and yet practical.

Astrology t was 44 bce and Octavian's adopted father Julius Caesar (10044 bce) had made himself the sole ruler of Rome, and then on March 15, the ill-fated Ides of March, he was assassinated on the floor of the senate, stabbed 32 times by a group of senators. Octavian knew that as Caesar's heir he would have to avenge his father's death, and there would be a war between him and Brutus, Cassius, and the other assassins. This war would decide the fate of Rome, but it would also decide his fate. Understandably, Octavian was worried about his future.

Octavian's friend Agrippa took him to see Theogenes, one of the most famous astrologers in Rome. Early in the afternoon Octavian and Agrippa visited the astrologer in his open-air office on the roof of one of Rome's tall buildings. Agrippa went first. He provided Theogenes with the exact time and date of his birth,

Figure 5.1 Augustus, the first Roman emperor. (Araldo de Luca/ Corbis)
Figure 5.2 The Capricorn coin of Augustus.

and Theogenes began drawing up an astrological chart with symbols depicting the position of the seven planets known at that time in relation to the constellations or signs of the zodiac on that date. Then Theogenes began to interpret the chart. He had such grand things to say about Agrippa's personality and fate that when it was time for Octavian to tell the astrologer his birth information he refused for fear that his chart could not compare to Agrippa's.

Luckily, Agrippa was able to bolster his friend's courage and Octavian did tell Theogenes what he needed to know to make the chart. Octavian sat patiently while Theogenes worked, but once the chart was complete, to his surprise the astrologer knelt before him and kissed his hand.

"You have the chart of a great ruler," Theogenes said. "You will be one of greatest rulers that Rome has ever known. Your sun is in Libra, which is the sign that rules Rome, but more importantly the sign coming over the horizon at the moment of your birth, called the rising sign, is Capricorn, which is ruled by the planet Saturn, the god who presided over the golden-age when he was on Earth. You will bring a new golden-age to Rome."

Octavian was overjoyed. He wanted to let everyone know about such an impressive chart, so he had a copy carved into a slab of marble and set in the center of the city for everyone to read. Years later, after he was victorious at the pivotal battles of Philippi and Actium, he became the emperor of Rome and changed his name to Caesar Augustus (63 bce-14 ce). He ruled for 41 years and started an area of peace and prosperity that lasted 200 years, called the Pax Romana. To remind people that it was his destiny to be a great emperor he had a silver coin struck that depicted his rising sign Capricorn, the sea-goat, holding the world (see Figure 5.2).21

from omens to star charts

The ancient Sumerians and Babylonians of Mesopotamia, like people for thousands of years before them, looked to the sky for omens from their gods, particularly in the night sky. Viewed from Earth the stars in the night sky keep their positions the same in relation to each other, which is why people can always see the recognizable star patterns, called constellations. People have named these the constellations after people, animals, and things from mythology, like Hercules or Pegasus the winged horse. All of the constellations move together as a unit through the night sky, rising in the east and setting in the west.

Against this pattern of lights there are other, brighter objects that move at a different pace. Some of these wanderers even occasionally move west to east against the current. These objects were called planets, which is based on the Greek word for wanderer, planetes. Although the planets seem to wander, they do stay on a path in the sky. This path is called the ecliptic by astronomers, and the circle of 12 constellations that this path cuts through is called the zodiac, a term derived from the Greek word zoidiakos, meaning a circle of animal figures. Without a telescope only seven heavenly objects considered planets by the ancients are visible from Earth. They are the Sun, the Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.

Astronomers like Nicolaus Copernicus (1473-1543) later determined that the sun and the moon are not planets, but are a star and a satellite, respectively, and that there are actually eight planets not seven. Ancient people could not see Uranus or Neptune because they did not have telescopes. Until people like Copernicus made more accurate observations of the solar system, most people assumed that the stars and planets moved around Earth. Ancient astronomers figured that Earth was standing still in the center with the planets and the stars rotating around it. To them, therefore, the sun and moon were wanderers like the other planets and Earth was not a planet because it was standing still. Also, those seven unassailable bright wandering bodies seemed really important. To ancient people they seemed like the rulers of the skies. By the time the earliest cultures were writing about these things, these wanderers were considered gods.

From 1795 to 1750 bce, Mesopotamia was united under the rule of the Babylonian king Hammurabi (1810-1750 bce). Although people were tracking the movement of the planets and looking to them for predictions before this, it was during this period that the first astrological texts were written. At first astrology was just concerned with the welfare of the king and the kingdom, but by 600 bce astrologers began to make charts for individuals. To accomplish this, astrologers standardized the 12 constellations of the zodiac, now called signs, by assigning each 30 degrees on the giant circle of the ecliptic so that the 12 signs filled all 360 degrees of the circle. Then charts could be drawn to show exactly where each planetary god was at the moment of a person's birth. Individual charts could be used to show a person's character and predict the challenges that he or she would face in life. This is called a natal chart or a horoscope. From Mesopotamia astrology spread to India and Egypt and later spread north to Persia and west to the Greek and Roman world.

The ancient Greeks made some significant contributions to astrology. Although some Greek philosophers wondered if Earth actually circled around the sun, most Greeks still believed that Earth was in the center of the universe. In their theory, Earth was a sphere floating motionless in the center of the universe with the seven planets circling it. Each planet was thought to be connected to a giant, hollow, crystal ball that rotated around Earth, with each planet's ball nested inside the next and the Earth in the center. The arrangement was similar to Russian nesting dolls, where each one opens like a box to reveal another, smaller one inside, then another, and so on. Encasing the outermost crystal was the eighth sphere of the constellations and beyond that was the home of the gods. The Greeks believed that the soul of each person emerged from this heavenly home at birth. The new soul began its descent into the physical world by departing heaven through one of the constellations in the zodiac, like a doorway, and then the soul used the planets as a ladder or stairway to Earth. At each rung or step, the god of that planet clothed the soul in qualities that would become its body and its personality on Earth. This is the origin of the traditional lists of seven virtues and seven vices. The astrological natal chart was designed to map this journey.

In the second century the astronomer and mathematician Claudius Ptolemy (90-168 ce), who lived in Alexandria, Egypt, which at that time was part of the Greek or Hellenized world, created a neat model of this cosmos. He also wrote four texts, called the Tetrabiblios, which are the basis of modern astrology. In Greek tetra means four, and this title means four books. Ptolemy measured the speed at which

Figure 5.3 Ptolemy's ladder of the planets from the fastest to the slowest, with the time it takes each planet to complete one trip through the zodiac. (Robert M. Place)

each planet seemed to move through the ecliptic and organized them with the fastest closest to Earth and the slowest closest to the sphere of the zodiac (See Figure 5.3). Ptolemy's model was the standard used in education throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance until it was replaced by Co-pernicus's model, which was introduced in 1543 but did not reach full acceptance until the seventeenth century. Although astrologers no longer believe in this theory of the universe and have added the influence of Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto (which until recently was considered a planet) to their charts, modern astrological charts are not that different than the ancient Greek ones.

the parts of a horoscope

In the past, to draw up a horoscope or natal chart required some skill at mathematics and an ephemeris, which is a book listing the positions of the planets for each day of the year for each year covered. Today computer programs are available to provide this information. Astrologers may plug in the hour, day, month, year, and place of a client's birth and the computer produces a horoscope without mistakes in the math. But the astrologer still has to interpret the chart. Interpreting a chart requires much more information than can be

Figure 5.4 Horoscope by Erhard S. Schon, Nürnberg 1515.

^^ 68 astrology and divination discussed here, but good books on astrology that cover the topic in-depth are available. What this book will do is help you to understand what you are looking at and explain each part of the chart.

A horoscope chart looks like a circle with a smaller circle inside forming a ring like a doughnut that has been cut into 12 equal parts. These 12 slices are the houses, which will be explained later. On this diagram an astrologer or a computer program will write symbols for the 12 houses of the zodiac and the 10 planets (once Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto have been added to the seven ancient ones), showing their positions at the moment of their client's birth. Then connecting lines are drawn describing the relationships among the planets, which are noted with other symbols.

Figure 5.4 is an elaborate horoscope drawn by German artist Erhard S. Schon in 1515. Because Schon placed the planets, the signs, and the houses each in their own circle and fully illustrated each subject instead of just using symbols, he has provided a good tool for discussing the parts of the chart. Notice that the innermost circle has a picture of a landscape on Earth. The inner circle of all charts represents Earth and the outer circles represent the sky. Beyond the circles, Schon has depicted the four winds and God in heaven. In the second ring outside of Earth Schon has depicted the ancient gods who ruled the planets, and over the shoulder of each he has drawn the symbol that astrologers use for each planet. Because this was drawn in 1515 there are only the ancient seven. The figure near the top with the sword and the circle with an arrow coming out of it is Mars. Continuing clockwise the planets are Saturn, Jupiter, Mercury, the Moon, Venus, and the Sun. To this list modern astrologers add Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Each planet represents certain qualities, which are derived from the ancient gods after whom they are named. You can see the symbols for each planet and a list of some of its qualities in Table 5.1.

Each planet is interpreted in the horoscope by how it interacts with the sign that it inhabits. The 12 signs can be seen in the next


table 5.1: The Planets

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