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Brady on the Stars

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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 3510
Location: New Jersey, USA

Posted: Fri Jun 11, 2004 8:34 pm    Post subject: Brady on the Stars Reply with quote

I spent the previous weekend at a workshop given by Bernadette Brady on the fixed stars in astrology and thought I’d pass this along should anyone be thinking about attending one of her talks. A few years ago, I purchased a copy of Brady’s Book of Fixed Stars and did what a lot of people probably do; I headed straight for the delineations. I did read what she had to say about stars that are not on the ecliptic and the effects on the observers of various latitudes, but for the most part I left it alone. I should have looked harder. Ms Brady’s work is based on years of research and some first rate scholarship and she using the stars, in her view, as they way they were originally used. When I say “originally” that is what I mean for in Bernadette’s world, the Hellenistic Greeks are the new kids on the block. Whether we know it or not, by Ptolemy’s time, astrology had, in Lee Lehman’s words, “gone indoors.” It seems to be Ms Brady’s mission to get us outdoors and look at the sky. Imagine if you will, astrologers gazing at the sky in lieu of their charts. How quaint.

I can’t, in a short essay, hope to cover all that we did. I will tell you we learned the basics of using an astrolabe, (clever invention, that), we learned about the constellations, on and off the zodiac, and most importantly, and I would hope most obviously, we learned about the myths and beliefs associated with the stars of the constellations. The beauty of all this is that we do not need an accurate time of birth in order to get what we can from the stars. A date and place are sufficient. Yet the information we can gain from the stars can be used to illuminate the chart that we do require precision from in order to make it meaningful.

I’ll discuss, briefly, two areas that I think will be of interest. First off how it is determined which stars are used, and please keep in mind that to call what I’m about to write scratching the surface is probably a compliment. Knowing the birth date and place of birth, we can determine which stars touch the horizon and the MC/IC axis during the course of the day. The day is defined as sunrise to sunrise. At any time during the day if a planet or planets hits an angle at the same time as a star hit the same or any other angle, the two are said to be in paran. There are rising, culminating, and setting parans, and those that are on the nadir that are used to delineate early mid, late life and the foundations of the life respectively.

Secondly, these delineations are used in combination with the planet in the chart to deepen the meaning. For example, let’s say you have a paran with Mars in your chart. Mars may be in any of the 12 signs or be in paran with many of the stars at any time. If we first delineate Mars as we usually, do then add to that delineation what we’ve learned with the paran, we obtain a greater depth of understanding of the individual. The same can be done with mundane astrology, according to Ms Brady, but due to time constraints we didn’t get to do any mundane work.

The fascination with all this is not in the delineations, but in the fact that we can go outdoors and look at the stars and constellations, watch their motion and even watch the planets move in relation to the stars, most notably the stars on the ecliptic and deepen our understanding of where our astrology came from. Both Ms Brady and I were the guests of Dorian Greenbaum at Dorian’s home in Massachusetts. After the first lecture we were pretty excited to go outside and look at the stars, but there was a heavy cloud cover. We commiserated over a few Gin ‘n Tonics, and about 11:00 PM the clouds broke over Dorian’s house. W ran outdoors to look as Bernadette pointed out the stars and the constellations overhead. The clouds still pretty much covered the horizon. As she pointed out Draco, I leaned back and when the shapes came into focus for me I kept leaning back until I stumbled backwards as I shouted my recognition. My God look at that: stars and planets in the sky complete with horizon and ecliptic. What will they think of next? Bernadette told the class the next day that I had a Eureka moment that explained my stumbling; I blamed the gin.

There was so much more including history, myths, and the technical information regarding heliacal rising and setting stars. I take some kidding about have Regulus on my ascendant, but in fact Regulus is my heliacal setting star. The same is true for George Washington, but that balloon quickly becomes deflated when we learn that everyone born on or near a particular date will have the same heliacal rising and setting stars. George and I were born two days and many years apart. It is the parans that differentiate us as far as the stars are concerned.

There is a computer program that Bernadette sells that can do all of this for us as well as print out star maps, charts, and reports. She also sells a program on how to use and make your own astrolabe. Making one is easier than it sounds. The computer calculates it and then the astrologer prints it out on a transparency and cuts it out. It is an amazing device.

Bernadette Brady, a true blue Aussie, now lives in the UK. If she is in your neighborhood, I strongly recommend that you attend her workshop for both days unless you’re already familiar with the material. Her website is: She is an excellent teacher, and an entertaining speaker. All explanations become crystal clear in seconds as she makes clever use of anything handy to make a point. Has anyone else ever thought to use an orange and a plastic cup to make points in an astrology lecture? The true test is how fast the time goes by. The two all day lectures seemed to pass by in minutes. You won’t reget a decision to go.

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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 945
Location: Australia

Posted: Sat Jun 12, 2004 12:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Tom,

Thanks for the feedback on Bernadette's weekend. Sounds like it was well worthwhile. Like you, I went straight to the deliniations without taking much notice of the initial explanations. I will have to have a proper look. I couldn't agree more with the idea of taking astrology outside and looking up into the sky. I'm fortunate to live in a place where there is virtually no light polution and generally very little cloud cover. I have been slowly learning the positions of the stars and constellations but still have a long way to go. It's a great way to learn and probably should even be part of every astrology course, particularly for those who are interested in traditional astrology. I find it interesting to try to imagine what it would have been like for the ancients who were going purely by what they could see. Of course, they didn't have the added incumbrance of gin & tonic knocking them off their feet. Smile

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Joined: 11 Oct 2003
Posts: 4130
Location: England

Posted: Sun Jun 13, 2004 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

By the time I'd finished your post Tom, I was completely enraptured. Your enthusiam is very infectious.

Bernadette's been doing a lot of engagements in the UK and she's impressed everyone as far as I can tell. I can't be more pleased at the thought that she's opening people's minds up to the fact that astrology is more than looking at symbols on chart wheels. And I agree it does take us back to an era before the Greeks, who were keen on emphasising mathematical formula and symbolic division to the detriment of direct observation in some respects.

I'm often thinking about how astrology as a divinational craft sometimes overwhelms its core principle of the planets and stars having an influence or 'creating an energy' wthin our cosmic web. Though I'm not a siderealist I don't think we do full justice to astrology if we ignore the fixed stars and focus purely on the zodiac. I also know exactly what you mean about the excitement you get when a star group comes 'into focus' and you recognise it for the first time. I'm still struggling with most of them but for a while now I've been looking at the stars that fall behind the visible night time planets and slowly making progress in placing them into their groups. Its such a thrill and I've found that no matter who I'm with on winter evenings, if I point out a star group they are fascinated, regardless of whether they are interested in astrology.

I hope Sue doesn't mind me mentioning this, but a short time back she told me of a dream she had which was a very similar experience to the night of your gin and tonic stumble.

Anyway, thanks for this post and letting us know about BB's talk. It's a shameful thought, but I reckon that most professional astrologers would be hard pressed to identify more than the most obvious and well known constellations.
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Joined: 20 May 2004
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Location: California, USA

Posted: Wed Jun 16, 2004 7:17 pm    Post subject: just a note Reply with quote

after reading this post I went to and bought two books by brady, they have not arrived yet, but am looking forward to reading them.

I am wondering if anyone knows of any on-line sights or works worthy of looking into on this subject? it sounds fascinating? or are there any articles here in?

thanks again for posting your gin inspired experience,

Granny crying
(comment: this symbol looks more like a wise old guru with long white mustaches than like someone crying to me)
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Joined: 23 Oct 2003
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Posted: Sat Jun 19, 2004 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Granny, there's an interview I recorded with Bernadette in 2000, there's quite a bit of stuff in that about her work with stars. It was published in Mountain Astrologer. I could email you a copy if you haven't seen it?
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Joined: 20 May 2004
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Location: California, USA

Posted: Mon Jun 21, 2004 5:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you Garry I would be most interested.

I recieved my two brady books this weekend and have started to plow through them, and I do mean plow through, this woman has done a ton of research! Very itneresting reading.

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