The only way we can advance in this ancient practice of astrology is through constant examination of birth charts. We should also read a lot, everything possible from these ancient masters of the art, and try to understand what they wrote and then to implement those approaches in practical cases.
Very useful method for advancement in our practice is what we call ‘hindsight’, where we draw connection between the rules as implemented in a given chart and event that happened in the past for that particular native. We are happy today to have astro databank as a very useful resource for a lot of accurate charts. In this regard, we can say that we are in advantage to our predecessors and can exercise the principles and their application into many, many charts.
Examination of the Principles Applied
For the cases of suicide we would want to see a connection between the Lord of ascendant and the 8th house [Lord of Asc in 8th for example], or the Lord of the 8th house to be in the ascendant. Furthermore, some connection between the Lord of the Ascendant and the Lord of the 8th can show suicide, or at least, self-inflicted death (for example, a driver who dies in a car accident where he is the cause of the incident. This is not suicide though, because it is not intentional act, but it is death in which the native has great part creating circumstances for it). Lord of Ascendant on Lot of Death (in the same sign, or very close conjunction with it) argues for similar cases. All these are factors I have examined in charts of people who commit a suicide.
Let us examine some practical examples right away.
Consider this nativity.
The first thing we notice is the Lord of Ascendant (Saturn) in 8th house by division.
This is not enough for any kind of prediction, remember, we never base our judgments on one factor only, but many pointing out in same direction:
“In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established” (2 Corinthians, 13, 1)
Notice the Moon, she is in the 8th division, but she is in the 8th sign too, applying to conjunct Lot of Death (Saturn + House Cusp of 8th – Moon) in 25° Vi 55’ 22”. Moon is important in this particular chart not only because she is natural ruler of the irrational, sensitive, natural, imaginative part of our mind, but because in this chart she is ruler of the hour. The ruler of the hour was very important factor for the ancients, and Abu Ali (basing his judgment on Hermes) says that it has an equal importance to the Lord of the Ascendant:
“Hermes said, the Lord of the hour, in all nativities has all common significations with the Lord of the Ascendant: wherefore, seek the Lord of the natal hour diligently.” [p.317, Dykes’ translation]
In which cases the Lord of the hour will take the equal role to that of the Lord of the Ascendant, I do not know at this time, but I doubt that such will be the case when the Lord of the Ascendant doesn’t regard the ascending sign, while the Lord of the hour regards it. However, the importance of the Lord of the hour would not be less even when the Lord of the Ascendant is able to govern the affairs of the ascendant. I think that we should carefully note the Lord of the hour and investigate many charts to note its importance and role, and how both Lords can be implemented in the analysis. I think that Moon being in the 8th here, gives double signification (with the Lord of the ascendant) that the native possess inclination toward self-inflicted death. We will come back to the Moon a bit later.
The Lord of the 8th house would give us indications for the cause or the type of the death. Notice here that Mercury as L8 and also Lord of the Lot of Death, is in the 6th house in watery sign. The man commit suicide by drowning. Notice that Moon after the conjunction with the Lot of Death, applies sextile to Mercury where they are in mutual reception. We will come back to this mutual reception too.
Let us consider this quote from Dorotheus [Carmen, IV.1]:
“The first triplicity Lord of the 4th signifies death, the second one chronic illness. If both are in a place with no good, the native will die a difficult death.”
Which are the places of no good? I would think of 6th, 8th and 12th above all other. Notice who are triplicity lords of the 4th house: the first one [because the chart is nocturnal] is Moon, and the second one is Venus. Moon is in 8th place of no good, and Venus is in 6th place of no good, combust by the Sun. So the native died a difficult death, a self-inflicted one.
Now knowing that the Moon as having significations to death by being first triplicity lord of 4th, and having some significations for the native, by being Lord of hour, posited in the 8th with the Lot of death, gives us indications for death that may be self-inflicted and connected to water (because of the Moon’s nature). And what about the mutual reception between Moon and Mercury? Notice that they are in places of no good (8th and 6th respectively). Also, if we take Moon as having something to do with the native (as per the analogy with the Lord of the Ascendant) and Mercury having to do with the cause and type of death, the mutual reception through sextile at best can show success in fulfilling the actions as a result of the bad thoughts afflicting the native by the presence of these two planets in such a bad places.
If we go further and take the finding of Robert Schmidt that the planet in particular bound (his latest translation of ‘term’, and ‘bound’, is confine) is kind of confined inside the territory of the planet that rules that bound. So its expression and manifestation will be channeled through that planet (its bound Lord). In our case, we have Mercury as L8 in the bound of Saturn, and Saturn is Lord of Ascendant in 8th house. We can interpret this as the death of this native found ‘its expression’ through native’s actions (Saturn as Lord of Ascendant).
So we have more than one witness in our examination here, everything revolves around the 8th house and pointing out to death related to water, self-inflicted death and bad death.
The second example.
We notice that the Lord of the Ascendant (Saturn) is in a place of no good (6th sign).
It is in 5th by division though.
Lot of Death falls in 28°Cancer 48’ 51”. Moon is in very close conjunction (applying again) to the Lot while being its lord. Notice that in the two cases of drowning, the Moon is in conjunction with the Lot of death! Moon is also first triplicity lord of the 4th house (again!). Here it is what Dorotheus says about the first triplicity lord being in 7th house:
“If the first one [trip. Lord of 4th house] is in the 4th or 7th, he will die alone and unknown…”
We again have repetition of Lord of hour (in this case Jupiter) being in 8th sign.
When you examine such cases, examine one type of death in several charts, to find repetitions. You already noted here, in this examination of ours, that repetitions are non-avoidable. Astrology works by repetition, we note for the factors that repeat themselves in different charts and similar cases. Every chart is different, and this is why the repetitions are so important. You notice it in one chart, in second, third, etc., and this becomes a very serious factor in your delineation process. For example, we would always note from now on when Moon is conjunct Lot of death, if all other factors remain equal (the other witnesses!), the native may die a type of death related to water, such as drowning (whether self-inflicted or by an accident, the other factors will show).