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Strategic Astrology

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Annual Patterns: Tactics of Daily Battles

By A. Leo, Jr.

Continuing our metaphor of martial arts as a model for strategic astrology, we shift to the question of tactics. Strategy generally involves an overview of the larger picture.

Strategies and Tactics

For an individual, the first two parts involve both generational aspects (aspects that affect entire generations, such as the Saturn/Pluto conjunction of the mid-1980’s) as well as the classical lifespan patterns that usually affect everyone. But, distinct from the first two approaches are the latter two. Parts III and IV of this series deal with the rapid pace of astrological tactics.

In our lives, the tactics can be found by two sources: analysis of the annual cycle and what, in this system, is called SUMO (Strategic Use of Multiple Oracles).

Tactics are the lifeblood of any action or adventure movie. Typically, the excitement in those movies doesn’t come from Darth Vader’s “Death Star” being completed on time. That morsel of information is a crucial backdrop, but it is just that: a backdrop. The real action occurs when the rebels invade the “Death Star,” and intensity emerges when the rebels’ “hyper drive” fails. The responses to these events are the quick, short-term fix that some call “tactics.”

Part III examines the annual cycle, and applications; Part IV will review SUMO.

THE ANNUAL CYCLES:  Annual Analysis Must be Done Empirically

Before attacking the question of how the annual cycle works, it is necessary to make something clear: The universe, and our system of analysis known as astrology, is a bit cunning in the way that it hides secrets. We must be willing to realize that this science (along with all the others) has had to embrace the inexact. Only by doing this have we been able to develop theories such as the chaos theory, quantum mechanics and so forth (more on this in the next article).

Annual analysis must be done the way the ancients did it

Said a different way, annual analysis must be done the way the ancients did it. By this, I do not mean that we’re considering treatises of the Middle Ages. Actually, we regress much further, to the times that Indiana Jones might have been interested in… …the times when the ancients knew that Spring had arrived because the Sun had cast its shadow a certain way on a stone that the group had erected.

Elegance in Simplicity

Certainly, more sophisticated calendars have been created since then, but this method requires a shedding of that layer of sophistication and the embracing of some of the most refined areas of modern science: meta-data and empiricism.


Meta-data, in its simplest and most rudimentary form, is a description of the tools and methods used to capture and record data (in any form). On web pages, meta-tags are a form of meta-data used to inform search engines about the web site being indexed. In this technique, consider HOW you record the data of your daily life, and how you review it. Do you look to the position of the sun on a rock to provide a sophisticated group astrological analysis? Do you use a supercomputer to balance your checkbook? One tool or the other isn’t necessarily wrong; misuse of a tool may give misleading results, however.

Empiricism is a sophisticated word for observing or recording

Empiricism is a sophisticated word for observing or recording WITHOUT attempting any particularly sophisticated analysis or transformation of data. Certainly such analyses can be useful, but sometimes one uses a supercomputer to balance one’s checkbook.

One Way to Do It

So then, what to do? Well, the point of the preceding paragraphs is that many methods may be used. One particularly useful methodology is to record SOLAR aspects (only) into a Daily Meditation Guide. These guides are inexpensive and readily available and cover a number of topics. The key though is to pick one that is NOT locked into a particular year. January 1st should always be January 1st regardless of what year or what day of the week.

Solar Returns

If your birthday is January 1st, then your solar return is ABOUT that date (plus or minus a day) each year. The demi-return (an important time for completion of successful projects or release of failed projects) will be about July 13th (EVERY year). Any of several sources can pinpoint the hour and minute of this event. However, beware of requiring such precision for the reasons mentioned above. Certainly much can be learned from a Solar Return analysis (at least some believe so), but realize that critical day to day operations often are affected by other actions.

Planet by Planet Analysis of Your Annual Cycle

Continue your analysis planet by planet for each planet in your natal chart, starting with the outermost planets and moving inward. Certainly you can do the reverse, but the outer planet aspects seem to give more “visible” (easily observed) “punctuation marks” to one’s life.

Thus, the Pluto squares often show the culmination of power struggles in one’s life. Neptune squares may be associated with a bout with illness. Uranus squares might be associated with accidents, brilliant ideas, or meeting “interesting” people. Saturn squares can highlight points of depression; Mars squares fights or athletic activities. The daily discipline of recording your OBSERVATIONS on these days, and the days immediately before and after, can reveal remarkable patterns that you might otherwise miss completely. Consider, also, that UNLIKE almost any other approach in astrology, THIS approach can yield results even for those who are skeptical of astrology, because the facts that are revealed are so recognizable and easily grasped.


That’s the basics. Certainly, a useful map can be computer produced fairly rapidly, and a meditation book (of your choice) can be “marked up” in a weekend or so. (I recommend using the Ptolemaic aspects (conjunction, sextile, square trine and opposition) and adding inconjuncts (quincunx). Of course you may add any other aspects that you think are relevant, (sesquiquadrate, for example, is excellent for predicting “busy” times).) But, to get a good record of how these aspects work for YOU requires several years of effort. Three years appears to be sufficient. So, if you’ve had the flu the SAME day each year for three years, or a death in your life, or a lottery win… …well, you get the picture.

Other Cycles

SOMETIMES, looking at other cycles (Mars, Venus, Mercury) can be useful BUT be wary of cluttering your annual analysis with too much information. If you must include a large number of other analyses, consider storing those in a separate location. Make it EASY to wake up in the morning and flip the book open and say Oh, Boy! Sun Trine Sun is today (or tomorrow, or this weekend). (Hint: For most people, the two periods when the transiting Sun Trines the natal Sun are the BEST of the year).

Realize that, unless you are a professional astrologer, you may not have time for detailed analysis every day. The annual cycle recorded in the meditation or date book is a quick and easy way to keep up with certain key aspects with very little work.

 That said, ALWAYS temper the annual cycle against the “background” of the relevant outer planetary aspects that have been discussed in the previous two articles.

 Next: SUMO: The Tactics of Daily Living.

 © A. Leo, Jr., 2003 


Copyright © 2004 Grand Trines
Last modified: 08/18/05