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Remediation is not asking the gods to be nice to you

One of the tricky things about a traditional revival like astrology is that so much of the context, the world of that those traditions lived in, gets overlooked. Especially since most of us are not trained as scholars or historians, we we miss things that would have been obvious to those actually living in that world. Magic and remediation are one of those things— theres this idea that outside of jyotish, astrology in the so called “west” has lost its tradition of remediation, when nothing could be further from the truth.

Remediation is a huge part of the islamicate tradition, where someone like Abu Ma’shar gives a remedy for each of lunar mansion, or 12th part of the ascendant, or rising decan of a nativity. But most of these don’t look like setting up a planetary altar or praying to Saturn to be nice to you— they are things like eating watermelon because you are prone to kidney issues, or burning peppers to ward off the evil eye. These remedies blend the magical and medical through the lens of astrology and humoral theory, and its there in the medico-magical literature that you find a sophisticated tradition of diagnosis, prescription, and treatment. Notice the language is medical, thats not an accident. Good remediation requires an accurate diagnosis of the issue and precise remedies that are in line with someone’s temperament. You need to pay attention to timing techniques and how those effect the humoral makeup of a person’s life and health. This is the mistake astrologers make when they read Ficino’s “Three Books on Life,” they skip straight to the third book about planets, missing the elemental theory and the discussions of temperament in the first two books.

Take a plant like rose— there are astrologers who might say that because rose is Venusian, you shouldn’t give it to someone struggling with Venusian issues because it will just exacerbate them. But energetically it is cold and dry, the opposite qualities of Venus. In herbalism, it’s used to cool states of heat and excitation, and to constrict states of excess relaxation. So energetically, rose is a Venusian plant that brings imbalanced Venusian states back into balance. And you see this with so many plants! But in order to find this stuff you need to go into the medical literature, the philosophical literature, the religious and mystical writings. Thats the struggle of a revival, you don’t have a tradition to slot into, so you need to actually do the work of gathering together a workable tradition.

I think there’s a trend of blending cursory knowledge of jyotish remediation practices with neopagan ideas around deity work. And while I think that devotion and relationship with the planets are important, that’s not the be all end all of remediation. Remediation is about using the diagnostic tools of astrology to see where and when hardships will occur on the elemental level, and then using astrology prescriptively to offset, address, and balance those ill effects. So instead of asking Saturn to be nice to you because your Saturn is in fall, when Saturn is your timelord you are doing things like sitting in the sunlight, intentionally spending time with good friends, having good sex, taking warm baths. By engaging with Solar Jovial, or Venusian things, you are able to correct the excess coldness and dryness of Saturn—the Sun warms, Jupiter and Venus warm and moisten, and they all work to counteract the melancholy of Saturn. This doesn't mean that you shouldn't pray to Saturn! Engaging directly with Saturn may give you a healthier outlet for some of Saturn's harshness, giving you a way to channel that in a constructive way. It can be a beautiful spiritual practice, and lead to profound experiences. But if all you're doing is Saturn things, you run the risk of making making your Saturn problems worse. Because at the heart of it, remediation is about balance to your life through careful use of astrology.

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