Lesson 8) Planetary Predictions
This week’s class has been given special permission to meet at night, due to the topic of the class and the desire to have authentic visual aides. The doors to the balcony have been left open tonight, and the curtains that cover the windows have been pulled back to facilitate a stunning look at the twinkling night sky. Thankfully, a Warming Charm has been placed on the classroom and balcony, as the brisk spring air isn’t exactly what one would call balmy.
The professor ushers her students in, directing them outside to take their seats on the balcony overlooking the grounds. The clock strikes eleven -- though not the morning hour, as it usually does before a Divination lesson -- and Professor Cattercorn finishes rounding up the last student and joins the rest of the class.
Good evening, students! Isn’t it exciting to be up and about at this hour, privy to a secret side of the castle few know? Those are not the only secrets you will be uncovering tonight, though. We will be peeling back the veil to see just what the planets mean. You have talked about the planets and their magical influences last year in both Second Year Alchemy and in First Year Astronomy. As you know, they are celestial bodies that have their own magical strengths and limitations, just like Earth. However, our concern today is not about their inherent magical properties, but also their divinatory meanings. These things may often be intertwined, but don’t forget that it is not just about what magical effects that planet has but what that planet means in terms of divination and the mysteries of the future.
But What Does It Mean?
An example of this duality can be found in everyday things, such as a staff. Its properties (though not magical) are obvious. It is made of wood, and is long and thin. More, it is sturdy and can bear a man’s weight. However, its meaning is different. A staff can represent a traveler, a warrior, the aged and infirm, or a leader. Certainly its properties influence these meanings. A warrior would not hit someone with a flower, because it is not sturdy. A person would not use a rock to steady their steps because it is too short. Therefore, it is a more natural thing to associate a warrior with a staff than a flower. However, these two things are not one and the same, and sometimes the meanings have developed over years and, at some point, departed from the properties little by little until they seem unrecognizable at first glance.
Back to divinatory meanings, though. The meanings of the stars have been recorded for millennia, and it has taken a long time and rigorous study to unlock the secrets of the cosmos and just what each celestial body means. Indeed, I would be lying if I said we knew all there was to know about astrology. Our recent shift away from trying to find minute details and answers to specific questions is proof of this. Only time will tell if this is just a trend, but for the last twenty to thirty years (and for the recent future) our focus has shifted to broader strokes.
Recent improved relations with the centaurs may be partially responsible for this, as they are a secretive bunch and rarely engage in sharing the knowledge they have accumulated over centuries of individual and collective study. Whatever the case may be -- I believe it to be a direct influence of Mercury -- we have picked up new practices that seem to be serving us well.
You’ve Got a Heavenly Body
For the next segment of class we will jump right in and start talking about these meanings before going on to talk about how these meanings may interact with each other and how you can determine if they are emphasized or de-emphasized. As I go over each planet, I will attempt to point out to you where each planet is in the sky, if applicable. Unfortunately, Peeves has gotten into the school’s von Rheticus models and there are none to spare at the moment, so some of them are invisible to the naked eye and some won’t be properly visible until earlier tomorrow morning. Still, I’m sure you’ve noted all these planets and their placements in Astronomy class, so I am not too worried!
The first of five planets that we are able to see with our naked eye. Mercury, when emphasized, foretells magical prosperity and improvements. Trade, communication, and cooperation are also heralded by this planet, hence my earlier quip about centaur-human collaboration requiring an enormous planetary shift. I do love a good divination joke from time to time! Back to the topic at hand, however. It is commonly thought that such historical accomplishments such as the growth of the Silk Road and inaugural Triwizard Tournament can be attributed to the influence of Mercury. Similarly, the Great Clustering is believed to have been all the more prominent do to a few crucially-timed de-emphasises of the planet.
Another of the easily visible planets, this body’s focus is on feelings. Passion as well as leaving behind reason and logic in favor of emotion are the key meanings of Venus. It is said that the Trojan War was caused by an emphasis of this planet combined with that of Mars, though certainly a few potent Beautification Potions helped as well!
Yes, as just mentioned, this planet’s appearance is noted to have played a part in the Trojan War… and likely, that is not the only one. Mars, much like its namesake god, is a harbinger of battles and bloodshed. It was no coincidence that Mars was emphasized on various critical points throughout 1991 to 1995, during the time that He Who Must Not Be Named regained his strength and form, as these events directly led to the Second Wizarding War. It is also a planet of survival, though whose is not always clear.
When we see Jupiter plainly in the night sky, it foretells the power of nature coming into play. Natural disasters are often foretold, and while it is impossible to know for sure, it is highly theorized that a syzygy between Jupiter and Uranus or Pluto was present before the mass extinction events during prehistoric times. Jupiter’s signs are not always of destruction however. They simply emphasize that the power of nature and natural forces will be an important factor, and can also signify growth (of many kinds).
The last of the visible planets, this gas giant predicts much more pleasant things. Or, well, usually. Everything has a negative aspect, after all. In any case, this planet is the indicator of peace, liberation, and the passage of large amounts of time. The famed Pax Romana was heralded by this planet more than once. The planet can also signify long-awaited plans coming to fruition, like a painstakingly-planned peace treaty, or the end of a centuries-long rivalry.
This blue outer planet is the herald of rebellion, individuality, and tumultuous change. Uprisings, coups, and upsets in the status quo are all normal interpretations for this celestial body. At least five of the major pieces of the goblin rebellions were preceded by an emphasis of Uranus, as well as the Yellow Turban Rebellion of China. A de-emphasis of this planet is common before or during reigns of long-lived dynasties and dictatorships.
Though a very ambiguous planet to interpret, Neptune is still a key player in world events. Generally, the emphasis of the planet indicates a sacrifice, though this has many deeper interpretations such as concessions made, and doing things for the greater good. The traditional conception of a sacrifice is also a valid interpretation as well, but is not for small concessions made, such as agreeing to go to see a Celestina Warbeck concert. Instead, this signifies a sacrifice that drastically alters the events of history, or better, the future.
More, when Neptune is emphasized, keep a wary eye out for a rise in your divinatory abilities. This is particularly apparent in the case of true dreams and clairvoyance, and there is a widely-accepted correlation between the appearance of Neptune and prophecy. However, particularly when Neptune is in retrograde, your Inner Eye may be particularly hard to interpret, even though your divinatory episodes are more frequent.
While Pluto’s presence among these celestial bodies is controversial, its magical influence is not. As we will discuss next week, it is not just planets that exert astrological influence. However, regardless of whether or not it is a planet, it certainly does have a divinatory impact simply because it is a large celestial body and it orbits the sun in a way that is similar to the eight planets. Pluto’s significance is that of a double-edged sword. It foretells either endings or beginnings, and occasionally even both at the same time. It is an indicator of change.
Emphasis on the Wrong Syllable
You may have been a little confused as we discussed the planets, as I frequently talked about emphasis or de-emphasis of a planet changing its effect. It is now time to explain. The planets (or planet-like objects in the case of Pluto) all have their own importance, but these meanings are not constantly applicable. When a planet (or, in truth any celestial body, as we will discuss next week) is emphasized, so are its meanings, when a planet is de-emphasized, its meanings are not as crucial to the interpretation of the world’s future. A body can be emphasized in a number of ways, such as planetary movements bringing them closer to Earth, being particularly bright (during retrograde motion), or aligning with other bodies (which, again, we will touch on next week!). A planet and its meanings are de-emphasized when it is moving away from or in its farthest position from Earth, and its position to other celestial bodies can also influence this.
You can see how trying to read and interpret all of these meanings may start to get very complex. To do a proper reading, you need to be aware of the positions of multiple heavenly bodies at any given time, as they not only influence the world separately, but can be more powerful or nuanced in conjunction with each other. If the section on emphasis is not entirely clear, it is because there is one more topic that needs to be explained in conjunction with it, but rest assured that it will all come clear next week when we talk about syzygies. Additionally, we will briefly discuss other important celestial bodies and eclipses before reviewing the topics we covered this year.
Original lesson written by Professor Venita Wessex
Image credits here