Suite Charlie

Suite Charlie

I recently read an article in The Mountain Astrologer by Kenneth Johnson in which the author claimed Hellenistic astrologers considered the 11th house to be the place of the good daimon while the 12th house was the place of the evil daimon. For Johnson, daimones are described as guides prompting you to follow your individual destiny, even if, in the case of the evil daimon, it pits you against the mores of society. I think if you are going to consider ancient terms, it’s fair to reinterpret them according to modern sensibilities as we are reading the charts of modern people afterall, but it is also fruitful to consider the context in which they were originally used.

The term daimon has a number of translations and it’s important to recognize that it was not a technical term because the ancient Greeks did not have a technical theological system in the way that Christianity has. In addition to watchers or guardians, daimones could be conceived of as “lots” in life, or as the souls of men of the Golden Age, or a way of happiness (eudaimonia). So daimones, as the ancient Greeks would have conceived of them, are not simply guides, as Johnson describes. Daimones are also more closely linked to fortune than the MA article suggests. Good daimones are about flourishing in life, having a good social standing or successful children or robust health; bad daimones are about misfortunes such as your wife dying in childbirth or becoming a slave or being poor.

Now, if we are to firstly, continue with the MA article that states the 5th and 6th houses were about good and bad fortune respectively, and secondly, accept the premise that houses on the same axis are inextricably linked with one pole representing personal aspects and the other pole representing social aspects, then perhaps we can interpret the 11th and 12th houses as group fortune or group misfortune.

I have half of my planets in the 11th and 12th house, including both luminaries.

Outwardly, my life is incredibly stable, affluent and blessed due to circumstances that have nothing to do with me. I was born into a fortunate family living within a society full of good fortune. But there is another part of my life operating on an entirely different plane that couldn’t give a shit about any of that: the 12th house, the house of misfortune.

The daimons that have guided me all my life have always led me to misfortune, and those who suffer from misfortune. And not everyone is welcome where the unfortunate dwell, particularly those who have been granted the great fortunes and privileges in life as I have. Yet since I left home, and therefore could choose to associate with whomever I please, there has been a very marked and distinct downward trajectory in my life.

These days, I prefer to spend my time with the edges and the dredges of society: ex-cons, addicts/dealers, depressives, victims of torture, battered spouses, the homeless, starving artists, you name it. And if my personal safety is not an issue, I’ll have no problem shooting the shit with racists, misogynists, serial rapists. This is not, by the way, conducted through some kind of charitable role – although that’s often how I get my foot in the door.

Is this unfortunate? Perhaps. Because I chose to spend my time in marginalized spaces, I have severely compromised my earning potential, my upward social mobility and at times, my physical health – one of the greatest privileges that can be bestowed upon a person and something that is intricately linked with socioeconomic status. But when it comes to 12th house affairs, I have always been welcomed without judgement. To be shown kindness, consideration and hospitality from people who have so little and are consistently treated with pity, scorn and contempt, is something special. To be granted trust from those who are so vulnerable, is something precious. To romanticize (or demonize) any group of people is a dangerous exercise, but I have learned many things from seeking out the places no one else cares to visit, to get to know persons that society would prefer to eliminate outright. Things that you could never learn anywhere else. I have experienced much abundance in seeking out places of extreme deprivation. Are any of these abundances things society will recognize and praise me for? No. In fact, much of my 11th house-esque activity provides me a cover, a story of successes and awards that I cultivate to protect the more profound and painful abundances that I rarely speak of.

Today, I exist in a kind of liminal space between worlds of fortune and misfortune and oscillate between extremes. My social network reaches into the Canadian Business Rich 100 List and people on welfare. I drift from luxury 5 star hotels to bedbug haven hostels. It’s a strange and curious life when it is governed by both good and evil daimons. But at the end of the day, no matter where I am, all I receive is abundance.