What Ails Pippin?

The following case study outlines the events concerning the illness of my dog Pippin.

In January in 2021, it came to my attention that Pippin hadn’t been himself for some time. Although he seemed healthy, he had appeared lethargic, which I had been putting down to “lockdown blues”. It was when I realised that he was losing interest in activities that he normally would have enjoyed, that I knew that there must be something physically wrong with him.

Due to the strict lockdown that was in place at the time, getting an appointment was difficult, but after trying three different veterinary practices I finally got a meeting on February 6th. The day before the appointment I cast a horary chart to get an indication of what might be ailing the dog.  

Cast on the day of Venus and in the hour of the Moon, the chart, like my nativity, has Cancer on the Ascendant. I am signified in this chart by a waning, peregrine and fallen 5th house Moon, which applies to a waxing partile square with my own natal Sun. The Moon’s situation seemed to perfectly describe my feelings at the time; my growing concern about the beloved dog, his status as the ‘third child’ in the household and my secret and unspoken fear that he had cancer and that he would die.[1] Pluto, setting on the cusp of the 7th seemed to drown the chart in darkness, and I must admit, I really didn’t want to look at the horary at all.

Pippin, is well described by Sagittarius on the cusp of the 6th house and Jupiter in the sign of Aquarius. He is a large, slender and refined looking Saluki[2] or “Persian Greyhound”, a dog native to the Middle East[3]. Used by royalty since ancient times for the purpose of hunting gazelles in the desert, his long face, soft tawny fur together with the deep chest and powerful thighs of a running dog, perfectly fits Lilly’s descriptions of the corporature of Jupiter. [4] Even his name brings associations with Jupiter; named Pippin, a shortened form of Peregrine [5], which means ‘pilgrim or traveller’, he was called after a character from the book The Lord of The Rings, a story about an epic journey. In addition to this, Jupiter and four other planets in the horary chart have peregrine status.  

Pippin’s vitality and life are described by the condition of Jupiter, which is much debilitated, being peregrine, combust and lying on the cusp of the 8th house. Taurus, representing the illness (the derived 6th from 6th) has ruler Venus, angular and dignified by face, placed in the 7th house, applying in a partile conjunction with a highly dignified Saturn. Venus is oriental, under the suns beams and applying to a partile conjunction with Jupiter, while the 11th house (derived 6th) is also occupied by a debilitated Mars, peregrine, in detriment, applying to the square of Jupiter and ruling the derived 12th house. Mars also suffers the conjunction of the unfortunate fixed star Menkar.[6]  

The fact that Venus is in her mature phase, moving back towards the Sun, I deduced that whatever was wrong with him may well have been present for some time, which when I thought about it seemed correct, as Pippin had seemed ‘moody’ for much of the winter.

As well as being my significator, the debilitated Moon is also the ruler of the derived 8th house, and is placed in the derived 12th. In a chart dominated by Saturn, with all the significators in fixed signs[7], the Moons condition together with the focus around a debilitated 8th house Sun[8] strongly highlighted signatures of death. 

I judged that matters were likely to get worse, and that the illness was stronger than the dog, for as Lilly writes- “When the Lord of the sixth is stronger than the Lord of the ascendant, the Disease is likely to increase…”[9] Inside, I felt sure that I had a very sick dog, but the facts presented by the chart seemed so unbearable to contemplate that I pushed my fears aside, (for the sake of the children more than anything) in the hope that something could be done.[10] 

The vet is represented by Gemini on the 12th (the turned 7th from 6th) and Mercury, peregrine and retrograde in Aquarius in the 8th house. From the very beginning, I informed the vet of my concerns regarding cancer, for the descriptions in the horary chart matched my intuited fears. The vet ran blood tests, but found nothing unusual, explaining that the blood count did not appear to show anything untoward. She diagnosed painful joints and an ongoing heart issue, prescribing anti-inflammatory tablets for the joints, together with pain killers and a wormer.  

The Moon’s separation from the square of Mercury clearly depicts the difficulties that I experienced in finding someone to look at the dog, and its condition also reflected my uncertainty with her diagnosis- that he had hip joint issues. As Lilly states- “The seventh house represents the Physician, the tenth his Medicine; if the Lord of the seventh be unfortunate, the Physician shall not cure; if the tenth house or Lord thereof, his Physic is improper.” [11]

As the heavier, weightier and more dignified planet, Saturn’s influence over Venus through the conjunction, as well as the strong Aquarius theme, seemed to come very much to the fore in regards the diagnosis. [12]

Initially, Pippin showed a temporary improvement, but he soon relapsed and started to decline. As Mercury stationed direct on Jupiter in the radical chart, I returned to the vet, by which time Pippin’s appetite had completely gone and he was vomiting. I emphasised to the vet, that I feared that the dog may have cancer and asked them to at least x-ray him to see if there was a tumour inside him.

Although the vet took x-rays, she did not move from her initial diagnosis, reflecting the stationary position of Mercury, and even extending it further to hip dysplasia, recommending supplements, more anti inflammatory tablets and perhaps a special diet; she said that the vomiting was probably a reaction to the medication.  I went home, filled the prescription, ordered supplements and researched special diets, finally ordering one that seemed to fit the bill.

After a few days however, despite the reassurances of the vet, I just knew that there was something seriously wrong with Pippin, who although not showing obvious signs of distress, was fading away before my eyes. Venus, the significator of the disease, had just moved into exaltation in Pisces, and was also dignified by term, whilst Jupiter, the significator for Pippin had moved into the radical 8th house and was edging closer to the radical Sun. In desperation, after trying unsuccessfully to reach the vet, I drove the dog to another town, in order to get a second opinion.

Mercury, the signifier of the vet, had, by this time, moved enough to gain some dignity by face; and the man I saw could not have been more helpful, and spent a full half hour asking questions about the dog before the examination even started[13]. He repeated all the tests that the first vet had done over the previous three weeks, and in under an hour confirmed that Pippin did indeed have cancer, at such an advanced stage that he needed to be euthanized immediately; as I had feared, the poor animal was practically ‘dead on his feet’.[14]

Concurrent with the signification of Taurus, the vet explained that what had started as a small growth in his throat,[15] probably some time ago, had recently travelled, rapidly developing into a huge metastatic growth that filled his entire abdominal cavity. This process seemed well described by the applying square between Mars and Jupiter and the   fast condition of all the planets in the chart apart from Mercury, which remained so until after his death.  

Pippin was put to sleep on March 1st 2021 at 5.38pm with Venus, the original significator of the disease, setting on the 7th cusp, the gates of death as Jupiter reached cazimi with the radical Sun. The baleful fixed star Algol was culminating on the MC, conjoined with Mars, the co-significator of the disease, now in his terms. The radical Moon, ruler of the derived 8th and my significator, was now positioned on the cusp of the 4th, the end of the matter.

In the following weeks, I received all the supplements and foods that I had ordered, as well as settling both sets of medical expenses, in fact Lilly writes that “When the lord of the derived second does infortunate the Lord of the ascendant the sick shall not be cured without much expense of his money; or if he die , he spends most part or much upon his cure to no purpose.”[16]

After a few weeks, I returned to Pippins records, remembering that his only other visit to the vet had been an accident in 2018. He had run into a barbed wire fence and torn a hole in his throat that had required a large number of stitches. I wondered if this event had in some way triggered the cancer in his throat and I cast a chart for the time of the accident.

The event occurred on the day of Mars and in the hour of Mercury, with Pippin described rather accurately here, involved in a bloody accident, by Aries, on the cusp of the 6th and its ruler Mars, in Aquarius, peregrine and applying to the south node of the Moon; Mars’ position in the third house clearly reflected the fact that the accident took place in my neighbours garden!. Pippins sickness is given to Mercury, the ruler of the 11th house (derived 6th), which falls in the same degree of Taurus as Mars (co-significator of the sickness) in the radical horary chart that I cast nearly three years later.

As well as being the significator of the dog, Mars also rules Scorpio on the derived 8th and the Sun is located on the cusp of the 8th. In trying to find some understanding as to how my dog died only half way through his expected lifespan, the connections between the horary chart and the accident event chart have given a small amount of comfort.

[1] My natal Moon also falls directly on the 8th house of this chart.

[2] Saluki – Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saluki;

[3] Countries associated with Jupiter – Lilly, W. Christian Astrology (1647: hereafter CA), p.65; Countries associated with Aquarius, CA, p.99.

[4]For characteristics of Jupiter in personal appearance see CA, Jupiter, p.63.

[5] Peregrine: name meaning and origin – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peregrine;

[6] Robson, V., Fixed Stars & Constellations in Astrology, (1931); p.176. Menkar is said to cause “disease, disgrace, ruin, injury from beasts, sickness and loss of fortune” ; when conjunct Mars it is noted for “…violent death” .

[7] “…fixed signs do argue the humour not to be expulsed without much time and difficultyCA, p.248.

[8]The lord of the ascendant and of the Figure Combust, do undoubtedly declare death,” CA, p.256.

[9] CA, p.248.

[10] “In the beginning of the Diseases, ever fear the ill position and affliction of the Moon, mix the signification with the well or ill being of the Lord of the ascendant, and so judge of the good or ill attending the sick.” Aphorism 31. CA, p.285.

[11] CA, p.282.

[12] Diseases of Saturn – CA, p.246. Body Parts associated with Mercury, Venus & Jupiter in Aquarius CA, p.119.

[13]Being well dignified, he represents a man of a subtle and political brain, intellect, and cogitation; an excellent disputant or Logician…” CA, p.77.

[14] Jupiter was now cazimi with the radical Sun

[15] “Taurus rules diseases in the neck and throat, having their beginning from Melancholy…” CA, p.245.

[16] Jupiter, ruler of the derived Asc applies to Saturn, lord of the derived 2nd. The Sun, ruler of the radical 2nd is also posited in the radical 8th, suggesting that my money will go to others.




“A new age is dawning, with a need for a new wisdom, one that comes from the heart. This book is dedicated to all those who find themselves, for whatever reason, in darkness; given with love, this work, is a product of our times.”

Joanna Grant is an astrologer of some 30 years and gained her Diploma at the Faculty of Astrological Studies in 2012. Weaving her knowledge of the stars together with intuitive tarot techniques, she crafts highly personalised guidance for clients who are often navigating difficult life transitions. Lately, she has been very excited to breathe new life into her astrological practice through her study of Horary, where the traditional techniques of the ancients have helped her to interpret her knowledge in a whole new way. Having recently completed the STA Advanced Level Horary Diploma, she feels that in an uncertain world, the integrity of this tradition is an essential tool in giving clients the guidance they seek.

You can read more about her here.

4 thoughts on “What Ails Pippin?

    1. Poor Pippin indeed… I have since found incredible info on helping dogs get through cancer, I just wasn’t given the time….. how many times do we say to ourselves “I should have known”. ❤


  1. Dear Kate,

    This is beautiful and heart-breaking in equal measures. Pippin was a lovely Saluki.

    I have two Tibetan Terrier girls (our children). I dread losing them. We lost our first Tibetan in March, seven years ago, and rehoming Gertie and then Lyla mended our hearts. I can only imagine how you felt and still feel.

    Thank you, I appreciate your posts and approach to astrology.

    With love,



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