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Traditional Astrology: Cosmos, Interpretation & Prediction


Ben Dykes

A unique Workshop in the exquisite town of Ubud in
mystical Bali, Indonesia

November 15th – 22nd, 2013

We live in exciting times for traditional astrology. As more ancient material is made available, the options for learning it expand, and our understanding becomes richer and more rewarding. Traditional astrology contains two broad groups of assumptions and values which make it attractive. First, there are moral and intellectual values of patience and sympathy for the human condition, and the cultivation of responsible choice, especially once we understand what the chart says about our position in the universe. Second, there are practical benefits from its use of learnable and teachable rules and procedures, which are meant to aid and enhance our efforts, not hinder them.

This intensive will introduce modern practitioners to ideas and techniques which animated our Art for many centuries, from the Hellenistic and Persian Empires through the Arab conquests and the Latin West. It is suitable both for professional astrologers and astrology students, and does not assume any prior knowledge of traditional astrology. However, we will quickly move beyond basic concepts and introduce “bread and “butter” techniques as well as advanced topics (including some mundane astrology). The intensive will involve lecturing and a discussion of many concepts, but the primary focus will be on practical chart work—primarily on the nativities of the attendees—and how we can understand traditional notions in the modern world. By the end of this intensive, you should be:  

  • Conversant with some philosophical positions on fate and choice, spirituality, and counseling strategies.
  • Competent at applying basic and concepts to any chart in a traditional manner, such as: sect, special configurations, bodyguarding, angularity, aspects and aversion.
  • Able to interpret houses, planets, and Lots, according to nature, place, and rulership, and in combination with each other, to yield accurate and concrete information about many areas of life, such as eminence, identity and purpose, relationships, and family members.
  • Able to apply several predictive techniques to charts, especially profections, distributions, solar revolutions, and transits.

At the end, attendees will receive a certificate in recognition of accomplishing this rewarding and enriching material from our forebears.


Why an immersion-based intensive?

Intensives can be useful for many topics, but they are especially ideal for learning traditional astrology. There are several reasons for this:

First, the instruction can be more thorough and consistent than other venues. Many conferences do not have many traditional options, or students are not sure where to start or where to go once they have begun.

Second, a traditional intensive allows for constant practice with like-minded people. This is especially important in traditional astrology, because the view of the cosmos and life can be different from some modern ones. Attendees will be able to discuss and debate a number of issues within a traditional context, and develop cameraderie with each other.

Third, the commitment of an intensive leads to a deeper experience. If attendees have an open mind and heart, this experience will allow for a better appreciation of traditional standpoints, rather than remaining unchanged and viewing them as just so many additional “techniques.” Part of this immersion experience will involve using only the seven traditional planets, so as to re-learn the richness of astrology when we don’t have outer planets or asteroids to fall back on.


Expected topics (subject to minor alteration):

  • Introduction to People, Places, Things: a short history of astrology and major figures, some basic concepts such as sect and malefic-benefic distinctions, the Thema Mundi (the Chart of the World), astrological cosmologies, how to read traditional texts.
  • Chart configurations and basic chart appraisal. Learn to identify a number of planetary conditions and configurations that show how planets will stand out and interact with each other, for better or worse.
  • House interpretation. Learn to interpret houses and other topics, paying special attention to rulership and aversion. 
  • Essential predictive techniques: profections, transits, solar revolutions (“returns”), perhaps other time-lord techniques.
  • Lots (so-called “Arabic Parts”) and how to interpret them. Learn effective ways of interpreting and using predictive techniques with Lots, especially those of Fortune, Spirit, Marriage, Parents, and Children.  
  • Advanced interpretation: eminence and prosperity. Apply combinations of other concepts to charts in order to identify signs of eminence and prosperity, or difficult and lowly social status.
  • Advanced prediction: distributions (and directions). Learn  an important and widely-used technique, sometimes called “directing through the bounds/terms.” Distributions  are a time-lord technique that covers longer periods of life, but can also be adapted in solar revolutions for shorter periods of time.
  • A discussion of philosophical issues, in two parts. In the first part we will look at several complicated issues pertaining to astrology, such as determinism and fate, choice, freedom and responsibility, and how astrology works. In the second part, we will look at philosophical schools or viewpoints, and see how their value systems can be used to develop counseling strategies and outlooks on life and spirituality.
  • Mundane astrology: basic concepts. As time permits, we will take a short excursion through mundane techniques, looking at weather prediction, eclipses, and astrological theories of history.


Course requirements:

  • Some basic knowledge of astrology: basic meanings of planets, houses, aspects, etc. No previous knowledge of traditional astrology is needed, nor expertise in modern chart reading.
  • Two required texts: Traditional Astrology for Today: An Introduction, and Introductions to Traditional Astrology: Abu Ma’shar & al-Qabisi. These may be purchased at www.bendykes.com, and there will probably be a few copies available at the venue. It would be helpful to familiarize yourself with the texts, but studying them beforehand is not required.
  • Multiple copies of your natal chart, in “whole sign” houses (not a quadrant system such as Placidus or Regiomontanus). They should have the Lot of Fortune in it (switching the calculation for night/day), but no outer planets or asteroids. Use of chart information and personal information will be confined to the course, and participants are asked to preserve each other’s confidentiality.

Helpful to have:

  • A calculator which can use degrees, minutes, and seconds.
  • An ephemeris. It is fine to to bring laptops into the hall, but try to bring them fully charged as we have limited electrical outlets.


The workshop will be held at Melati Cottages, Penestanan, Ubud, Bali.

For more information check the links: Accommodations & About Bali


Daily Schedule

***The course schedule may be subject to slight alteration.

7:00 am - 8:45 am - Buffet Breakfast for hotel residents.

9:00 am - 12:00 pm - Morning Session
10:30 - 10:45 am - Coffee and Coconut break

12:15 pm - 3:00 pm - Lunch/Relaxation Break - Buffet Lunch for hotel residents.

3:00 pm -6:00 pm
- Afternoon Session.
4:30 - 4:45 pm - Coffee and Coconut break

Evenings Free

Arrival Day:

Friday, November 15th, 2013 - Everyone is required to arrive by this date so there will be time for acclimating and recovering from jet-lag (this night's accommodation are part of the Melati package).

Once everyone has arrived we will have a short introductory orientation in the hall. This will be scheduled once we have itineraries for everyone.

Starting Day:

Saturday, November 16th - Our 1st official morning will begin with a very simple Balinese offering ceremony, please be on time. Chart

Full Moon Ceremony:


Our day off, Monday, November 18th, is a Full Moon, at 6:00 am in the morning we will head for an ancient Balinese temple in a town called Tampak Siring. Here we will join the local people in a ritual bathing/purification ceremony followed by a temple blessing. We will be in the temple as the full moon occurs. The actual Full Moon is the evening before:see here.

We will return from the ceremony at around 9:30 am, have a late, light breakfast and then the rest of the day is free.

We will again meet in Melati parking lot at 6:30 pm and be taken to the Arma Museum for the dance performance.

These are course optional events, and women during their cycle do not participate in the morning temple visit.



On November 18th there will be breakfast but not lunch for Melati residents.


Friday, November 22nd - 6:00 pm, our official closing.

Saturday, November 23rd - Departure day.


Registration, Information and Prices

*Full Accommodation Package will include*

  • Ground transfers in Bali if arrival is within 3 days before or after the actual workshop dates
  • 8 nights accommodation at Melati Cottages
  • Buffet Breakfast for 8 days, and Lunch for 6 days
  • Massage treatment - in the privacy of your room
  • A visit to the Holy Springs on the morning of the New Moon
  • Fire dance on the night of the Full Moon
  • Full Tuition
  • Class Materials
  • Diploma of Completion

**All inclusive activities are optional, for Evelyn's sanity and other logistical reasons, all activities are non-transferable and there will be no substitutions or refunds for non-participation. Thank you for understanding.**

*Tuition Only Package will include*

  • Full Tuition
  • Class Materials
  • Diploma of Completion

Tuition only participants are most welcome to purchase meals at Melati; also to participate in all or any activities, and we will happily arrange your Bali transportation. There will be an additional per activity/service cost.




Prices are in US Dollars - Currency Conversion

$1,950 - single occupancy
$1,750 - shared occupancy (2 or more to a room)
$1,500 - tuition only

Please note: prices subject to change without prior notice. If you have made a deposit we will honour the price you signed up for.

The following penalties will apply to all cancellations:
Minimum fee $500 per person
31-75 days prior to workshop - 50% of package price
0-30 days prior to workshop - 100% of package price




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