In the Solstice Lunar Eclipse Stuff post, I passed on some astrological information about the Eclipse, and Patrick Dunn brought up some really interesting points in response.
Astrology is the art and science of reading the relative positions of the stars and planets to determine what forces are at play in general, and specifically at any given place and time on the Earth. It's a method of reading the signs so you know where you're at.
For Hermetic Magicians, astrology is a way for us to look around at the tools we have to work with at any given time to accomplish our magical aims. A chart of a given place and time will tell the trained eye which influences are strongest and which are weakest. Historic observations can tell us what kinds of things generally manifest when the planets are arranged in similar patterns. It lets us know what the tendency of things that manifest under these conditions has been according to astrologers who were paying attention throughout history.
When Patrick did his ritual, he did it exactly the way a Hermetic Magician should do it.
The first point Patrick makes in his post is that he conjured intelligences and didn't just make a talisman. His point that they might be in a certain mood because of the weather is insightful and true. When working with the intelligences, you're moving beyond the forces of manifestation and into the pre-manifest realms, sort of. And he did it the right way, asking questions and seeking a favor. He didn't say, "Take now thy powers manifesting in the Earth and direct them to manifest my desires, forsooth!" By performing his magic the way he did, he became a co-creator, a worker with the forces. He did it exactly the way a Hermetic Magician is supposed to, and mitigated any deleterious effects.
I agree with his point two, that no chart is an unmitigated disaster, and I have no comment on his point three. Ice cream comes in chocolate and vanilla flavors because people have different tastes.
In point four, he brings up some awesomeness. "Those who have attained any degree of Henosis are free of the “twelve governors of fate” described in the Hermetica." It is the manifest realm that lies under the governors of fate, and as Patrick says, we are free from that realm when we go into their spheres and talk to them. When the favors he's requested come down to the material realm to manifest, they are going to be subject to the forces of the Fates that rule the material realm, just like any other Idea that gets projected into space-time, but he's gone to the Intelligence and focused the way the forces will manifest as they come down relative to his intent. He's right, the Henosis-endowed magician is not subject to the tides and forces of the fates, he is the co-worker with the fates.
I was disappointed with Patrick's point five, that he's unimpressed by magic that tells us to sit still. I completely agree with him, but my last paragraph of the previous post was supposed to address that. I take my goal, look at what's going on astrologically, and see how I can tweak the general forces to work towards my specific goal. Health is obviously Mercury and Jupiter, but it's also Venus, and also Luna, and the Sun, and Mars can be used, and so can Saturn. Finding one of the planets that is powerful in the current astrological weather is easy enough, you just have to be creative, tweak your approach.
In his first post on the eclipse magic, Patrick points out that he's used eclipses to burn through obstacles. This is a perfect example of what I'm talking about. Eclipses are bad news. The light is obscured, both physically and spiritually. Yet he directed the forces of the eclipse, the negative bad news towards burning through the obstacles. His statement of intent, "I will that America and its people immediately develop greater freedom and prosperity," is great. Using the eclipse's negative forces to burn through obstacles that keep people from freedom and prosperity is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about.
Add to that that he went Above and talked directly to the Intelligences, and you've got a perfect example of how to incorporate astrological weather into a rite. Patrick said he's gotten positive indications through his divinations on the results, and I personally think he's going to have great results.
But for folks who just wanted to absorb the forces that were manifesting and point them towards good things without going up to the highest heavens, without working in harmony with the forces, there's going to be shit to clean up. Just because a moment is full of power doesn't mean that power is going to automatically translate into what you want. It takes effort and insight.