The Way of the Stars, Issue no.22

This time, right on schedule :-)

In this issue of my weekly column at The Daily Spell: How to create quick-reference cards of keywords and correspondences.

Take a look ;-)

The Way of the Stars

An Introduction to Astrology

By Pablo Dotro(*) – The Mage of the Many Shadows.

“Lady of the Azure Mantle,
to you we call in the clear, dark Night.
To read our Destiny in your Heart,
these words I offer thee,
in perfect love and perfect trust.”

Merry Meet, my dear friends! In this issue I want to depart a little from our planetary tour in order to propose to you a small personal project. Today I will teach you a simple technique for creating your own set of quick reference cards for storing keywords and correspondences. This is an important first step that needs to be taken before making your own astrological interpretations.

There are many different techniques. The one I am going to detail here is, perhaps, one of the easiest and practical. If you complete the project, you will have in your hands a very valuable resource: a searchable personal database of keywords (in paper… no computers involved ;-) ). Let’s take a look…

 Putting keywords to work: how to create quick reference cards.

Last week(1), I rambled about the keyword system, and how it helps us to make sense of the symbols we work with in astrology. Today, I want to show you how to create a practical “dictionary” of keywords for your personal use.

You will need(2):

  • A stack of blank filing cards (like those used as reference cards in libraries).
  • A pair of colored pens (I use black and red).
  • A straightedge or ruler.
  • Past issues of this column and/or any good quality astrology handbook.

The basic idea is that each card will have a “header” with the symbol, name and usual correspondences, and then a main body containing the keyword list. As an example, I will show you how to create a “reference card” for Taurus.

Step 1: Header and basic correspondences.

On the top left of the card, I usually draw the astrological symbol prominently. Followed by the name (“Taurus”) and since this is a sign, the conventional “start and end dates” (in this case, April 20th to May 20th). These dates are not absolute, but the essential idea here is that the top row serves as an “index tab” for easy and quick searching.

After a separating line, I note the basic elemental, rhythm and polarity correspondences (Earth – Fixed – Negative). The next line details the regent planet (Venus) and the planet that exalts in this sign (Luna, The Moon).

The next one or two lines detail some other general correspondences that seem relevant to you. I like detailing colors and crystals. These are not strictly astrological, but suited to personal traditions and uses.

Below this line I draw a double line, separating correspondences from the keyword section. This(3) is how it looks so far. The data needed to complete this header can be extracted from past issues from this column, from my reference table(4) or from any basic western astrology manual.

Step 2: Extract and note down the keywords.

Now begins the real hard work… well, not that hard, but the most important part of the process ;-). With your sources at hand, begin noting down the relevant keywords for the symbol. You may choose whatever order you feel right (alphabetical, by source, by subject, etc.). My personal recommendation is not to restrict yourself to one particular source (i.e. this column, or a particular book), but explore many different approaches and note down the words that you feel relevant.

The harder you look and bigger your effort here, more useful the card will be later. Try not to constrain yourself to a single meaning, try to think “outside the box” and note it all down.

If you are like me, a mild control freak, you may want to keep track of where each keyword came from. I usually do this by adding a numbered reference and listing them on the reverse of the card. This is how it looks like for me in the front(5) and reverse(6) sides. Note that each keyword is referenced (the black numbers).

 My recommendation is that you create, for yourselves and for personal use, a complete set of reference cards for the signs, and later for the planets. I know it is a slow process that takes time, but…

  • It’s a great method for study. Writing the words helps us remember them.
  • It will be a great resource for interpretation later on.
  • It gives you the opportunity to “personalize” your relationship with the astrological symbols.

Do not worry if the cards seem incomplete at first. With time and experience, you will be constantly adding information to your files.

 Sign versus planetary keywords.

Since signs and planets fulfill different roles in astrology, it is only natural that the keywords associated with them be somewhat different from each other. This tends to translate in grammatical terms.

There is a tendency in astrological literature to “personalize” signs, and so most sign keywords are often adjectives. Following the lead of one of the best Argentine astrologers, Jerry Brignone(7), I will advise you against this tendency.

Since signs represent the motivations for action and background, it is best to characterize them by substantives and in some times by verbs in infinitive. That way, if the need arises to describe someone using the keywords, it is easy to convert the words to an adjective, and we avoid the temptation to narrow our interpretation in terms of solar signs alone. Remember, no one is 100% one sign. Each chart has the twelve signs in it.

When you create your personal keyword reference, keep this in mind, and accordingly convert any adjective you find into a substantive or infinitive verb.

Now planets are different. Planets are energy focused and in motion, so their keywords are verbs. Often personalized verbs and substantives. If Aries is action, then Mars is the one who acts. Planetary keywords should reflect this. Of all the astrological symbols, planets are the ones more likely to be personalized.

 Other uses of the keyword system.

Keywords are used in many divinatory systems. They are at the heart of our use of the principle of correspondence(8), so they are used in many esoteric texts and fields. That means that this technique for creating reference cards can also be applied to other systems. Divination disciplines like, the Tarot and the Runes; symbolic systems like the Quabalah and its Tree of Life; Color and musical scales used in ritual design… the list of applications is countless. And all it takes is a sharp mind, some time and a few office supplies. This is a very powerful technique, deceptively simple… but deep in potential. Have fun making good use of it :-).

 Coming up next week:

Next week I return to our scheduled tasks, and our featured planet will be Mercury. I will also talk a little about the two planets we already saw: the Sun and the Moon, and how they relate to each other. Remember you can read this one and all past columns in my blog(9).



(*) Pablo is an advanced astrology student at the Centro Astrológico de Buenos Aires (, a First Degree student at Witchschool, and has extensive experience in Wicca, ceremonial magick, computer science, the Internet, physics and chemistry.










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