Have you ever wondered why Golden Dawn and other esoteric Orders do not issue a book that gives every possible astrology chart and how to read them?
After all, many of our lessons provide suggestions for how to interpret a Tarot card when it falls into a certain postions in a reading and suggestions about how to read the effects of planets when they are in the astrological signs. And there must be an initiated view of how to read a horoscope, right? So why not just issue a book of all the charts that we might encounter and give us the official reading of them?
First, we want you to think. Sorry. Work and thought is a neccessary part of the system.
Second, do you realize how big of a book this would be? Seriously, have you ever pondered how many possible horoscopes there are?
Today, we are used to computerized printouts provided by astrology readers and websites. These generic readings are based on a system pioneered by Alan and Bessie Leo in the 1890s.
Alan Leo (born William Fredrick Alan) was one of the founders of The Astrologer's Magazine. One of the selling points of the magazine was that every subscriber got a free horoscope. Alan and his wife Bessie (born Ada Elizabeth Murray Phillips) needed to figure out a fast way to put a horoscope together. What they did was to write up a sheet for each aspect of a chart (rising sign, moon sign, etc.) which they assembled into a packet and mailed to the client. They made no effort to combine the effects of the aspects; such work was done by Alan, but it was more costly and involved a private consultation.
The system pioneered by the Leos was so effective that other astrologers rushed to copy their system for their own mail order businesses. In fact, it is the same system used by most modern astrologers, though a computer program does the actual compiling nowadays.
It is the figuring out how the aspects combine together that is the heart and butter of the professional astrologer's life. And their livelihood is perfectly safe because no one is going to sit down and come up with a blended horoscope, complete with interpretations for every possible situation and question that might arise, for every possible chart that might exist. When you pay for a private astrology reading, you are paying for a human being to "grok" the astrology chart and make the mental leaps necessary to blend all the aspects into a whole that actually applies to the situation at hand.
So how many horoscopes are there?
If one is only considering the seven traditional planets and the ascendent (rising degree of the chart), and is only concerned with the degree which they occupy, there are...
360 times 360 times 360 times 57 times 93 times 360 times 360 times 360
11539123163136000000 possible horoscopes.
You may have noticed that the math is not completely clean (57 and 93). The reason for this is that Mercury can never be more than 28 degrees away from the Sun, and Venus can never be more than 46 degrees from the Sun. For instance, you will never see an astrology chart where the Sun is in Virgo and Mercury is in Pisces---such a chart cannot exist.
(Some students may protest that such a chart can exist when one works with geomancy. It should be noted that geomancy charts are "randomly" or "spiritually" produced and the position of the figures bear no relation to the actual positions of the planets in the sky. In this article, I am merely talking about astrology; the number of possible geomany charts is figured the same way, but with a different set of numbers. For instance, only the house position matters in geomancy; in astrology each degree has its own symbolism.)
If you include the planets Uranus and Neptune, and the planetoid Pluto, the number of possible horoscopes increases to
538369330299273216000000000 possible horoscopes.
(It should be noted that because of the orbit times of these bodies that some of the possible horoscopes are unlikely to be encountered in one's lifetime---Uranus 84 years, Neptune 165 years, and Pluto 248 years.)
And if you want you can toss in the asteriods, comets and eclipses---but you will have to figure out the math yourself.
Even at a page per possible horoscope, that is a pretty thick book. I not going to haul it around---are you?
(I am not sure how much computer memory a pdf of such a book would take up---if you have an idea of how to figure that out, please leave a note in the comment section.)