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November 2002

"7th House, 6 of Swords, & Storycraft Part I"


Jacqueline Lichtenberg



 To send books for review in this column email Jacqueline Lichtenberg, jl@simegen.com for snailing instructions or send an attached RTF file.  
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To send books for review in this column to: Jacqueline Lichtenberg, email jl@simegen.com  for instructions.


Astrology: A Cosmic Science by Isabel M. Hickey, Altieri Press, Bridgeport, CT 1970 and back in print in 2002

Magick by Mary Taffs, Awe Struck E-Books, 2002

Warchild by Karin Lowachee, Warner Aspect SF, April 2002

Horoscope Symbols by Robert Hand, Para Research, 1981

This is a sprawling Two Part topic connecting Astrology, Tarot, Karma, and the art of storytelling. That is, everything we've discussed in this column since 1993 (back issues posted at lightworks.com and simegen.com)

It erupted into my consciousness with transiting Pluto (from my 12th, ruler of 4th) opposing my natal Jupiter ( from my 10th, ruler of my 5th). Under this influence we have moved from New York to Arizona, I have a deal going to reprint my largest sf series, Sime~Gen with new books forthcoming, and on this last and final station, I became a grandmother for the first time, and have been contacted and asked to involve myself in two new media projects (breaking news on simegen.com What's New page). In addition, my Lifewave novels are spinning off some stage plays.

What to do first? My new grandchild's natal chart of course. And what happened? One of those great "AHA!" moments, of course. Why? Because this child's natal chart connects into mine so many ways I couldn't count them all. And what is Pluto opp. Jupiter but deep philosophical insights into higher truths? And since my Jupiter rules my 5th, of course that's what I do for fun - philosophy.

I'd just read Mary Taffs' e-novel Magick and exchanged a couple of emails with her regarding it, and how I would have rewritten it. She's working on a sequel which I'm looking forward to. I had also read Karin Lowachee's first novel, Warchild from Warner Aspect, the winner of their novel contest this year.

From a technical standpoint, both novels have the same deep-structure problem. The main POV characters do act, and their actions and decisions do drive the plot, but they are not in the position of wielding the major amount of power in the novels.

Magick is essentially a Romance Genre novel (don't be afraid; read it anyway) - and Warchild is your basic straight young audience adventure novel. An adventure novel should center on the character who is generating the adventure by their decisions and actions, not on the victim.

But Warchild centers on the victim - a boy who is kidnapped, escapes, falls prey, makes accommodations to survive his childhood, and he does but with memories of people he knew, or loved dying because he wasn't big enough, fast enough, clever enough to save them.

Magick focuses on a woman who is developing psychic powers, and magical Power, who has attracted the attention of the leader of a sacrificial cult who wants to use her to gain power (by rape and murder). She is rescued by a young Journeyman Magician from an organization devoted to keeping "The Balance" and serving the Goddess (who actually talks to selected individuals). They are karmically drawn together because they are two halves of the same soul -- but they don't believe that.

For the student Occultist, Magick raises a number of knotty questions. There are many examples, but here's one. In Chapter 7, the young Magician has violated the woman's Free Will by using a Compulsion Spell to force her obedience so he could rescue her from certain death when she was being seduced by the villain. He is now doing a prayer vigil and some soul searching. Here's part of his meditation:

He was here because he'd violated Diana's free will. The second major tenet of the Balance was "All people are entitled to follow the dictates of their own free will, except if doing so violates the free will of others.

This early in the novel, we don't know anything about this organization called The Balance, so we're trying to figure out if they're the good guys or the bad guys.

From this paragraph I can only conclude they're the Gray Guys -- or this young man still doesn't have a grip on the Use and Abuse of Power (which I've discussed previously in this column).

What he seems to have missed is that while everyone is entitled to Free Will, no one is entitled to unfettered action just because they Will it to be so. Or is it that The Balance doesn't subscribe to that idea?

And another question is raised by this incident. If the Universe is constructed in such a way that the Divine has bestowed Free Will upon mortals, how can it be that another mortal can take that Free Will away? Is that possible at all? If not, then what really happens during a Compulsion Spell?

This novel is chuck full of questions like that, all left unanswered. Another example, Diana, the budding Power User, has a self-image/self-esteem problem based on her weight (well, it IS a Romance Novel). What legitimate occult organization would hand Power to someone who was not at least making progress on Self-Esteem toward being at peace with their body?

Someone with that much self-hatred, given Power, will invariably be vulnerable to "displacement" -- lashing out at something unrelated, displacing the self-hatred onto another (jealous of another woman's advances toward the man she wants, for example). The Balance seems to have no qualms about teaching her to access more power than any of them can wield. So are they the Good Guys? Or not? Or are they just incredibly arrogant?

This novel is so well written that you note these questions as they fly by, but they never stop you enjoying the story, racing onwards searching for clues to the answers. This is excellent writing.

Warchild, likewise, while showing that the author labored hard, is ultimately crystal clear about who the bad guys are. And the protagonist's experiences at the hands of the bad guy explains why the protagonist's attitudes are gray. His kidnapper who killed his parents trained him as a bed-slave by repeatedly raping him (which happens offstage, and is never explicitly spelled out for the innocent reader) before he was able to escape. He has to be a very advanced soul to be doing this well without serious psychotherapy!

Now, what can we learn about the 7th House, and the 6 of Swords from pondering these two novels on levels where the authors themselves aren't even working?

The authors are telling a good story to their known audience, reaching out to entertain not to enlighten, and as with all good art, the authors establish a Relationship between themselves and the Reader. Marion Zimmer Bradley used to call that Relationship, "Come play in my backyard today." Writing and reading are 5th House exercises -- fun, fulfillment, creativity, self-expression.

But all Relationships involve the 7th House, (Vampire and Victim included) and that's where there is something to be learned from both these novels. Both these novels depict the relationship of a victim to the victimizer. Relationships that involve Inferior to Superior, or vice-versa -- i.e. Relationships between non-equals, -- involve the 6th House. (See Horoscope Symbols by Robert Hand)

Magick also depicts a Relationship to a lover, to grandparents, to a chosen group membership. By the time you are finished analyzing any Relationship, you have generally touched on all the Houses in the natal chart.

I want to give you time to read these two novels, and study the 7th House and the 6 of Swords so that next month you'll be prepared to follow the synthesis.

I doubt you'll be able to find Isabel Hickey's book because it's way out of Print (she is deceased). So study your own sources. But let me give you the relevant quote here.

Her book is strewn with hidden gems like this one found under Capricorn Rising, which puts Libra on the 10th House (sans Interceptions).

Under Libra on the 10th, Hickey says, " Often he is far more tactful in dealing with the public than he is in his own family circle. Many times their families listen in puzzlement to the praises the Capricornian receives from the world at large. Venus's sign in Saturn's house is often loving for the sake of expediency. This is not true of the more evolved individual. Students often ask the question, "How can one tell the evolvement of an individual in the chart?" Character is shown by the signs in which the planets are placed. Planets in their sign of exaltation and in the signs they rule are indications of an evolved consciousness. Also the higher-octave planets -- Neptune, Uranus, Pluto, and Jupiter -- in the first, fourth, seventh, or tenth house show that the individual has had much soul experience in other lifetimes".

To study the 6 of Swords, I recommend the books by Eden Gray, and Dion Fortune's "Mystical Qabalah." which goes through each of the Minor Arcana in depth.

Next month, we'll see if Soul Level and the 6 of Swords can reveal why books as diverse as these two novels are so engrossing and so popular.

To send books for review in this column to: Jacqueline Lichtenberg, email jl@simegen.com  for instructions.



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