Tag Archives: Ascendant

Born on the cusp? No such thing!

“What does it mean if I’m born on the cusp?” This is one of the the most frequent questions asked of astrologers. So – I thought I’d revisit it for the benefit of new readers – with thanks to Rian, who asked the original question.

“Could you talk a little bit about cusps? How much does a person with their sun at 29.5 degrees take on the next sign? Or is it black and white. I think it might be a fade-out/ fade-in, but I’ve never found anything written about this. Thank you.”

Anne’s Answer: I’m glad you asked this question. It’s one astrologers are asked A LOT ! I’ll answer it in two stages.

Firstly, let’s imagine someone out there was due to give birth mid to late June 2013 in Glasgow, UK, and was wondering whether their baby would have the Sun in Gemini or Cancer.

At midnight GMT on 21st June (1.00 am UK summer time) that year, the Sun was at the very end of  Gemini:29 degrees 48 minutes. By midnight GMT on 22nd June (1.00 am UK summer time), the Sun had moved to the next sign and occupied the very beginning of Cancer: 0 degrees 45 minutes. Thus our imaginary child arriving on 21st June 2013 some time after midnight GMT  in Glasgow,  UK would have been in popular terms, ‘born on the cusp’.

However, as anyone who takes their interest in astrology ‘beyond the Sun Signs’ will very quickly realise, there is a lot more to astrology than its popular Sun Sign face would suggest. With an accurately calculated horoscope which uses the date, place and vital TIME of birth, an astrologer (or, these days, anyone with access to a reasonable computer programme ) can work out to the minute where the Sun is on that child’s birthday.

To illustrate this, look at the image below. (click on it to enlarge). Our imaginary cusp Baby X, born in Glasgow UK at 6.00 am British Summer Time(5.00 am GMT) on Friday 21st June 2013, has the Sun in Gemini – at 29 degrees 59 minutes. If this child had been born only five minutes later, however, he/she would have the Sun in Cancer – at 0 degrees 00 minutes.

Thus, strictly speaking, there is no such thing as ‘born on the cusp’. Our Baby X, horoscope accurately calculated,  is either – in Sun Sign terms – a Gemini or a Cancer.

baby-x-uk

baby-x-uk

However, Rian, your guess was quite correct. Someone born with the Sun at the very beginning of the 30 degrees of any zodiac sign has a stronger, more vivid and obvious  ‘charge’ of the sign’s energy than someone born at the very end.

Imagine you are standing in a favourite room which you have occupied for a long time. You are becoming a little bored, jaded with what that room may have to offer. Suddenly, a door you’d never noticed before opens slightly. A shaft of new light streams through from another room. You step forward, intrigued. Could this be a new adventure? Or, to conclude our analogy: the Sun in fickle, restless Gemini is becoming stale – the prospect of entry into a journey through another sign, watery mysterious Cancer, beckons….

The second stage of my answer, though, brings in a little of the more complex picture which more in-depth astrology has to offer.

Take another look at Baby X’s horoscope, featured above. (click on it to enlarge)

Even those of you with very little knowledge of astrology should be able to imagine the 360 degree zodiac circle before you as a stage. Stand in the centre, and look around the circle.

You will see various symbols, representing the planets. Humans have been standing on Earth, looking out into the night sky, plotting the planets’ positions against an imaginary 360 degree great circle, the zodiac, for more than six thousand years. That view has never changed, despite our knowledge for several centuries that the Sun, not Earth, is the centre of our solar system. We still look out from the same Earth to the same  celestial view.

On the left of the circle, just above and below the horizontal black line,  fall the sectors of Gemini and Cancer. Our Baby X may be a Sun Gemini – only just! – but very close to that Sun is Jupiter (desire to connect to the Big Picture)   and not far away is Mars (action). This gives our Baby X a very strong emphasis on the Gemini theme.

However the horizontal black line is his/her Ascendant or Rising Sign, revealing the way s/he appears to the world in general. This is in the sign of Cancer. Just below this point, squashed together on 22 degrees of Cancer, are Venus (urge to relate) and Mercury (drive toward communication, expression). Thus Baby X has five out of the ten planets (or characters on the stage), and Rising Sign, occupying only two of the twelve signs of the zodiac.

This places a very strong emphasis on the signs of Gemini and Cancer, rational air and emotional water. Thus, at a very simple level – full interpretation has to take all the characters, their locations and interactions on the zodiac stage into account – Baby X will have the gifts and pains of that classic Shakespearian clash between reason and passion, to wrestle with and reconcile, be driven by–  for as long as  s/he lives.

A long answer for a short question! But I do hope it sheds some light – and reveals in the process a deeper astrology ‘beyond the Sun Signs’. Do let me know what you think!

And you new visitors and Followers out there. Drop by with your observations….. and, of course,  your Questions….

Zodiac

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House

900 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017

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Jupiter /Uranus? Surprising extravagance? Surely not!

There I was yesterday evening, catching up on emails. Suddenly, for no good reason that I could later discern, I took a notion to type ‘astrology business cards’ into Google. After all, my business cards have been mildly out-of date for quite some time. Several sites came up. The one three down from the top sounded professional – I didn’t fancy anything bedecked with crystal balls or similar woo-woo – so on I clicked.

There it was – irresistible to both my aesthetic sense and my multiple Leo planets (all in the Twelfth House: I am NOT Mick Jagger…).  A beautiful, aesthetically pleasing, Lion-rampant card, set against the deep blue background of the starry heavens. ‘That’s the one!” I thought, setting to work to customise and order it.

The process took no time at all. I could not believe how straightforward it was. My 250 cards cost me $58. I knew the shipping from USA was going to be quite pricey. However, I almost fell off my chair when I saw HOW pricey the total bill was, including shipping: $192!!!!  

My initial reaction was “No, Anne, that’s quite ridiculous. Forget it.” But – I just loved those cards. I was born under a dominant Jupiter/Saturn square. I do not like wasting money. There followed a big Jupiter/Saturn wrestle. (I did not know until later what the planets were doing – that chart comes up shortly – but Saturn did not on this occasion stand a chance… )

“What the hell!” I said to myself, the inner wrestling match decided, “I have the money and I love those cards!” – and pressed the PAY button.

My husband’s reaction was incredulity.”You paid WHAT?” (However he, too, loved those cards.Good taste, those Aquarian men…)  It must be hell being married to an astrologer, even if you aren’t one yourself. There is never any escape. “What pIanet rules excess and extravagance?” I asked him. Quick as a flash – “Jupiter?” he replied. I whipped out my smartphone and put up a chart for the button-pressing moment about five minutes earlier. Here it is:

Leo Cards Purchase

Leo Cards Purchase (click on image to enlarge)

Truly, you could hardly have customised a more apt moment for this whole event. Jupiter Rising in Libra (which rules the colour blue) opposite Mars/Uranus turbo-charging rash Aries, trine and sextile a Tenth House Leo Moon with MC just moved into Leo. Retrograde Venus in Aries in the 6th House trine 10th House Leo Moon probably tallies with my return to the replacing of my business cards, something I have been needing to do for a while. Clearly, the moment was ripe…

Adding my chart to the moment’s chart is even more graphic and apt:

Anne W:Leo Cards

Anne W [inner wheel}/Leo Cards Purchase (click on image to enlarge)

Jupiter rising opposite Mars/Uranus falls across my Second/Eighth House money axis, sextile and trine my natal Leo stellium and the Leo Moon of the moment’s horoscope. The moment’s MC falls in my Eleventh House, denoting the business company providing the cards, and the outreach for which the cards are intended. The moment’s Part of Fortune ( not shown in the above bi-wheel) falls at 25 Taurus, conjunct my MC/North Node, in the Ninth House of which foreign connections and PR are two branches.

There are many other relevant connections, which I shall leave for my readers to comment on if they see them!

My horoscope pondering was interrupted by my husband’s question: “When you chose your Delivery option, you didn’t by any chance select Express?” Light dawned in my by now rather frazzled brain. I remembered the option had been set at Express delivery. I hadn’t changed it. “What a twit!” quoth the Aquarian.

Now, I have gone a long way in life by taking the view, ALWAYS, that I have a right to ask for anything in a civil manner, and the other party has an equal right to refuse (in similar vein, hopefully).

I looked at the Cards Purchase chart, thought “Some kind and magnanimous lady in that business company looks predisposed to be kind to me”, and dashed off an extremely nice email, explaining what I’d done, claiming full responsibility, and asking if my shipping option could be changed from Express to the ordinary version. I also complimented them on their lovely cards, and on the ease with which the whole process had been accomplished.

Then I went to bed.

The next morning, I found an email from a charming lady called Tiffany from the business card company to inform me that they had indeed changed my shipping option – and refunded $80 dollars. So, folks, if you’d like some really lovely astrology business cards, click on the ‘Leo Card’ caption below the blue card JPEG, and you can go straight to the very place where I found mine.

I’d like to dedicate this post in advance to World Astrology Day on 20th March 2017. Last year, I published a post on this site for World Astrology Day called Six things I love about astrology.  The story I have just told you, which I hope you will enjoy, especially the laugh at my expense ( literally!), illustrates very clearly for me why astrology never ceases to astonish, affirm and delight. No matter what happens, astrology’s symbols are always there, ready to comment.

We only have to ask…

Zodiac

Zodiac

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900 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

The Leo lunar eclipse: anyone else feeling restless?

I have been feeling restless, bored (despite having ongoing creative projects on the go) and very much in need of a new angle on ‘What do I do with the rest of my life?’ ever since the Aquarian New Moon at the end of January 2017, dropping in on my 6th House, heralded the new Leo/Aquarius eclipse season, starting right now – just after midnight ( GMT) on 11 February 2017 with a lunar eclipse at 22.28 Leo running right through to the last in the season, another lunar eclipse at 0.52 Leo on 21.01.2019.

Leo Lunar Eclipse 11-2-17

Leo Lunar Eclipse 11-2-17

The Nodal axis travels backwards through the zodiac at 18 months per sign, pulling twice yearly solar and lunar eclipses with it as it goes. The final eclipse of the Virgo/Pisces season is due on 26th February 2017 at 8.12 Pisces. That season began on 20.3.2015 with a solar eclipse at 29.27 Pisces.

What does it all MEAN, though? A quick trawl through google will reveal dozens and dozens of astrology sites offering all kinds of opinion. It seems that we humans still get excited by eclipses, which have been dredging up fear, excitement, anticipation and predictions since the earliest days of civilisation if not earlier.

I can still clearly recall the fuss, during the last Leo/Aquarius eclipse season, over the Big Solar Eclipse of August 1999, which picked up on a great deal of collective fear as the Millennium approached. Predictions, from the end of the world as we knew it to Paris going up in flames, ran rampant. As you may have noticed, the world is still here, and we still have Paris. If you’d like to read what I wrote about it all then, just click HERE.

Making sense of eclipses

How, then, do we make sense of eclipses and relate them to our own lives in ways which are going to be useful? There are choices to be made regarding this question. My own view, for what it’s worth, is that getting worked up about individual eclipses is all very well, but we need to put some kind of context in place for the information we extract to be of much value.

The biggest possible context is that of placing this and subsequent Leo/Aquarius eclipses over the next couple of years, in the context of the Saros Series of eclipses, which run in vast energy waves from North to South across the globe, repeating every 19 years, for varying periods of up to a thousand years or more. Each eclipse belongs to one of the Saros Series families of eclipses, each of which has a specific core meaning rooted in the very first eclipse of that particular series. If you want some in-depth research by Dr Bernadette Brady, the book to acquire is “Predictive Astrology: The Eagle and the Lark . A free 17 page download introducing the Saros Series is also available from her website HERE

If you don’t quite have the time, energy or inclination to pursue this truly fascinating context, then the next one to consider in which to set this eclipse and the upcoming Leo/Aquarius season, is the 18.6 year returning cycle of the Moon’s Nodes, which governs the appearance of both solar and lunar eclipses.

(For readers who need to be brought up to speed regarding Nodal   basics, check out Wikipedia on The Lunar Nodes for the astronomy, and Cafe Astrology for a typical explanation of the Nodes’ symbolic meanings.)

As the Nodal axis regresses through the chart, identifying via the highlighted houses the overall territory up for change, the transiting eclipses function as “battery chargers”, gradually building up the energies of our lives in preparation to receive major change.

An image  comes to mind here from the female menstrual cycle, of the egg gradually being primed and prepared until it is at its maximum point of readiness to receive the male sperm, conceive and begin new life. I think the eclipses begin their work of charging-up as soon as the relevant eclipse season begins, which may be as long as eighteen months before the turning point(s) in  life appear.

Life changing times

The really powerful “major” times in life are characterised by not just one or two, but a cluster of transits and/or progressions involving the natal, and/or progressed, and/or transiting Nodes.The outer planets, especially Pluto with its strong “fated” feel,  stand out. To read the research on which I based those conclusions, you can download my book The Moon’s Nodes in Action HERE for free.

A powerful recent example of this can be seen from the the Virgo/Pisces season, which began on 20.3.2015 with a solar eclipse at 29.27 Pisces, and ends with another solar eclipse on  26th February 2017 at 8.12 Pisces.

As the Moon’s North Node retrograded through Virgo, pulling the eclipses with it,and connecting with the Saturn/Neptune square which transited 10-15 degrees of  Sagittarius/Pisces from November 2015 to its last exact square in September 2016, those powerful, difficult energies triggered the natal Uranus conjunct Pluto in Virgo opposite Chiron in Pisces natal configurations of people born from 1963/4 right through to 1968.

Many people had a particularly difficult time during 2016 as a consequence of being ‘plugged-in’ to this energy pattern combining natal planets, Nodes, eclipses and Pluto and producing events of a life-changing nature in many cases. I saw this in a number of clients’ charts and lives, in members of my own family – and their challenges directly impacted on me, since I have 9 Virgo/Pisces as my Ascendant/Descendant degrees.

The dominant transiting pattern for 2016 was Saturn in Sagittarius, squaring Neptune in Pisces. Everyone with planets/Asc/MC/ Nodes/Chiron in the early to middle degrees of the mutable signs triggered by this Saturn/Neptune square would have found 2016 tougher than usual, with family of origin pain, loss, low energy, confusion re life direction, and often, health issues in the mix.

I’d be really interested to have feedback from any readers whose horoscopes fit this natal and transiting pattern, and whose lives were impacted accordingly. It’s been a tough year or so! However, it is to be hoped that the solar eclipse on  26th February 2017 at 8.12 Pisces will one way or another, draw a line under the particular themes of spring 2015-2017.

What lies ahead for the Leo/Aquarius eclipse season?

Leo Lunar Eclipse 11-2-17

Leo Lunar Eclipse 11-2-17

Overall, the birth chart for the starting eclipse of this season looks altogether more buoyant than the preceding Virgo/Pisces one. For starters, Nodal/eclipse energies are moving from earth and water to fire and air, lightening things up and bringing in greater potential for moving forward as a result of creative opportunities coming our way through group contacts, if we are ‘plugged-in’ to the Leo/Aquarius axis via planets in our birth charts.

For example, I’ve just had dinner with my 23 year old nephew, who has Leo rising and Jupiter conjunct his Libran IC. He is full of all kinds of  plans for his studies, and for placement and internship applications to further his future career in overseas development. He does not know at all at present which way any of several dice are going to fall.

The eclipse falls exactly on my Sun at 22 Leo, so his excitement and enthusiasm has helped to get my creative fire going. Why else would I be mad enough to be sitting writing a blog post at 10.30 on a Friday night?!

As can be seen from the above chart, there is a Grand Kite pattern draped around a Jupiter/Uranus opposition.  As the Nodes and eclipses regress through Leo/Aquarius, they will be picking up that opposition, and Uranus’ trine to Saturn, sextile Jupiter, for much of 2017.

So – a combination of restless desire to break new ground via the Jupiter/Uranus opposition, held in check by Saturn and offered fruition by the Jupiter/Saturn sextile, is the prevailing Nodal/eclipse pattern for 2017. Since the North Node always pushes us to be the best we can be, and this North Node is in Leo, have a good look at the pair of houses which will be highlighted in your horoscope by the North and South Nodes and their attendant solar and lunar eclipses. These are now about to be the areas up for major change in the year ahead.

Good luck with it all! And feel free to leave feedback. That’s how we go on learning…

Zodiac

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1350 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2017

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

Some thoughts on retro Mars, Saturn – and Muhammad Ali

Well, folks, transiting Mars is retrograding over my Scorpio IC/South Node, transiting Saturn retro squares my Ascendant/Descendant whilst transiting Neptune hovers there. Jupiter in Virgo transiting the First House, opposing one of these and squaring the other,  is persecuting me with billowings of detail and admin which I can’t be bothered doing…I have a series of posts on the Nodes lined up, waiting to be edited, but can’t seem to get around to it.

Aaaargh!!!

In short, I am being incredibly, uncharacteristically, lackadaisical. 

Anyone else out there feeling like this? Don’t all of you rush to tell me at once. On second thoughts, my  guess is, you can’t be bothered. But never mind…Mars goes direct at the end of June, catching up with himself by 22nd August 2016. Saturn goes direct on 13th August, catching up with where HE left off by 20th November 2016. That interminable Saturn/Neptune square will make its last exact point on 10th September 2016 and start to wane thereafter.

So, by December 2016 we should all be demons of frantically focused forward motion. Or maybe we will all wait until the New Year…

Anyway, I thought I’d keep you informed and entertained by a fellow astrologer who, if  affected by the above, is not in nearly as bad a state as I am! On the day of Muhammad Ali’s passing last week, I asked my husband, who is not an astrologer, what he thought was The Greatest’s Ascendant.

“Leo – absolutely!” he replied. How right he was.

Here, whilst I get around to eventually regaining my bearings ( by next week, hopefully!)  is Christina at The Oxford Astrologer‘s fine analysis of the incomparable Ali’s horoscope. I’m sure you will enjoy and appreciate it.

Muhammad Ali: Leo Rising

Zodiac

Zodiac

300 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2016
Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page

 

As Mercury goes direct…a tale of three Virgo planets, an astrologer, and a blessed cupcake…

How’s this for astrology in action, emotionally, physically and symbolically? I spent this morning in a highly Virgoan pursuit: going through all my old paper files and systematically weeding out all the masses of stuff I no longer need. So far, so Moon, Venus, Mars and Jupiter in Virgo.

Astrologers at Work

Astrologers at Work

And now it gets more dynamic. My Ascendant is 8-9 degrees Virgo. I decide to check my TimePassages astrology app ( excellent, by the way!) just before leaving the house at around 1345 BST. The Moon is exactly conjunct Mars and both are sitting right on top of my Ascendant.

Looking at the chart of the moment I think to myself “I wonder what woman is going to annoy me today?” At that PRECISE moment, folks, my phone rings: a London number. I answer it. It is a female sales person, trying to get me to report an accident ( which of course I have not had) in order to make an insurance claim. I loathe those calls. “Excuse me! “I shout into the phone, several times, trying to break through the spiel to inform the caller that we do not accept unsolicited calls and that they should remove our details forthwith. At my third attempt to break through, she hangs up, leaving me fizzing. Three attempts to call the number fail. Exasperated, I give up, then realise the precision of the astrology’s relationship to that moment. And calm down.

I take another look at the moment’s horoscope and realise that the Moon is leaving Mars and heading for Jupiter – 12 degrees Virgo conjunct my Ascendant in the First House. “Mmmm…” I think. “And what woman is going to please and cheer me up today, who is in some way connected to health and education?” Holding this thought, I exit my house, walk along the street, and stroll into our local Botanic Gardens – a few minutes’ walk from our house.

A few seconds later there is a cheery “Hello, Anne! How lovely to see you!” and one of my favourite astrology students, a nutritionist and yoga teacher, screeches to a halt, jumps off her bike, gives me a big hug, and walks with me along the riverside through the park towards my office, chatting cheerfully as we go. I tell her about the Moon/Mars/Jupiter /my Ascendant episode, and she beams. “Well, that’s astrology for you. No wonder we love it so.” We part ways, me thoroughly uplifted by the encounter.

Approaching the office, I remind myself, very happily since the last three weeks have been the most trying at every level of communication I’ve experienced for many a long year, that Mercury is about to go direct. I also realise that the transiting Virgo Moon is drawing ever closer to Jupiter in my First House.  “Wouldn’t it be great if that review book I’ve been expecting has arrived?” I think. Yes, there it was, beckoning enticingly in my in-tray.

So, Reader, I lay on the office sofa happily for the rest of the afternoon, drinking coffee, eating the chocolate cup cake recently blessed by the lama at the Buddhist centre round the corner (which I had been saving for a special occasion), and reading. What a perfect beginning to Mercury going direct!

Mercury in Action!

Mercury in Action!

Any tales from my readers demonstrating how jaw-droppingly descriptive astrological symbolism can be, are most welcome. Do share your story by leaving a comment.

Zodiac

Zodiac

600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House

Born on the cusp: which sign am I?

This is easily the most frequently read post on this blog! So – thought I’d repost it for the benefit of new readers – with thanks to Rian, who asked the original question.

Could you talk a little bit about cusps? How much does a person with their sun at 29.5 degrees take on the next sign? Or is it black and white. I think it might be a fade-out/ fade-in, but I’ve never found anything written about this. Thank you. 

Anne’s Answer: I’m glad you asked this question. It’s one astrologers are asked A LOT !I’ll answer it in two stages.

Firstly, let’s imagine someone out there is due to give birth mid to late June 2013 in Glasgow, UK, and is wondering whether their baby will have the Sun in Gemini or Cancer.

At midnight GMT on 21st June (1.00 am UK summer time), the Sun is at the very end of  Gemini:29 degrees 48 minutes. By midnight GMT on 22nd June (1.00 am UK summer time), the Sun has moved to the next sign and occupies the very beginning of Cancer: 0 degrees 45 minutes. Thus our imaginary child arriving on 21st June 2013 some time after midnight GMT  in Glasgow,  UK would be in popular terms, ‘born on the cusp’.

However, as anyone who takes their interest in astrology ‘beyond the Sun Signs will very quickly realise, there is a lot more to astrology than its popular Sun Sign face would suggest. With an accurately calculated horoscope which uses the date, place and vital TIME of birth, an astrologer (or, these days, anyone with access to a reasonable computer programme ) can work out to the minute where the Sun is on that child’s birthday.

To illustrate this, look at the image below. (click on it to enlarge). Our imaginary cusp Baby X, born in Glasgow UK at 6.00 am British Summer Time ( 5.00 am GMT ) on Friday 21st June 2013, will have the Sun in Gemini – at 29 degrees 59 minutes. If this child  is born only five minutes later, however, he/she will have the Sun in Cancer – at 0 degrees 00 minutes.

Baby X (UK)

Baby X (UK)

Thus, strictly speaking, there is no such thing as ‘born on the cusp’. Our Baby X, horoscope accurately calculated,  is either – in Sun Sign terms – a Gemini or a Cancer.

However, Rian, your guess was quite correct. Someone born with the Sun at the very beginning of the 30 degrees of any zodiac sign has a stronger, more vivid and obvious  ‘charge’ of the sign’s energy than someone born at the very end.

Imagine you are standing in a favourite room which you have occupied for a long time. You are becoming a little bored, jaded with what that room may have to offer. Suddenly, a door you’d never noticed before opens slightly. A shaft of new light streams through from another room. You step forward, intrigued. Could this be a new adventure? Or, to conclude our analogy: the Sun in fickle, restless Gemini is becoming stale – the prospect of entry into a journey through another sign, watery mysterious Cancer, beckons….

The second stage of my answer, though, brings in a little of the more complex picture which more in-depth astrology has to offer.

Take another look at Baby X’s horoscope, featured above. (click on it to enlarge)

Even those of you with very little knowledge of astrology should be able to imagine the 360 degree zodiac circle before you as a stage. Stand in the centre, and look around the circle.

You will see various symbols, representing the planets. Humans have been standing on Earth, looking out into the night sky, plotting the planets’ positions against an imaginary 360 degree great circle, the zodiac, for more than six thousand years. That view has never changed, despite our knowledge for several centuries that the Sun, not Earth, is the centre of our solar system. We still look out from the same Earth to the same  celestial view.

On the left of the circle, just above and below the horizontal black line,  fall the sectors of Gemini and Cancer. Our Baby X may be a Sun Gemini – only just! – but very close to that Sun is Jupiter (desire to connect to the Big Picture)   and not far away is Mars (action). This gives our Baby X a very strong emphasis on the Gemini theme.

However the horizontal black line is his/her Ascendant or Rising Sign, revealing the way s/he will appear to the world in general. This is in the sign of Cancer. Just below this point, squashed together on 22 degrees of Cancer, are Venus (urge to relate) and Mercury (drive toward communication, expression). Thus Baby X will have five out of the ten planets (or characters on the stage), and Rising Sign, occupying only two of the twelve signs of the zodiac.

This places a very strong emphasis on the signs of Gemini and Cancer, rational air and emotional water. Thus, at a very simple level – full interpretation has to take all the characters, their locations and interactions on the zodiac stage into account – Baby X will have the gifts and pains of that classic Shakespearian clash between reason and passion, to wrestle with and reconcile, be driven by–  for as long as  s/he lives.

A long answer for a short question! But I do hope it sheds some light – and reveals in the process a deeper astrology ‘beyond the Sun Signs’. Do let me know what you think!

And you new visitors and Followers out there. Drop by with your observations….. and, of course,  your Questions….

Zodiac

Zodiac

900 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2013/2015

Licensed under Creative Commons – for conditions see Home Page of Writing from the Twelfth House

Some thoughts on the Astrological Houses: Placidus, Equal – or what ?

Sooner or later, it dawns on the student or budding astrologer that the method of dividing the inner space in a horoscope into twelve sectors or spheres of life, known as Houses, poses some problems.

Astrological Houses

Astrological Houses

Firstly, since there are a number of different house systems – click HERE for more detail on this – which should you choose?

Secondly, to a varying degree depending on your chart, planets can move house. In my chart, for instance, by Equal House I have no less than SIX planets in the Twelfth House. When I first saw my horoscope in  Placidus houses, one planet, my ruler Mercury, had migrated to the Eleventh. O joy! I need all the help I can get here, I thought then. But, as you will soon see, it’s not as simple as that…

Then there is a further problem. In Placidus, the MC/IC axis always defines the cusp of the Tenth/ Fourth Houses. If you use Equal House, the MC/IC axis can fall through any pair of houses from the 8th/2nd to the 11th/5th. How do you deal with that?

I have worked with only two systems over the years, i.e. the most commonly used ones in the UK – Equal House and Placidus. I used Equal House from the early 1980s perfectly happily, finding that the system worked well for me. Then I changed to Placidus in 1995. I didn’t choose it for any carefully thought through philosophical or practice reasons; it was simply the system used on the Diploma course I was doing. Now, in 2015, I am moving back to using Equal again. For philosophical reasons this time, as you will see shortly.

A class experiment

Ever since a small group of my ‘old’ students persuaded me to run a refresher class for them starting last August 2014, I have really enjoyed returning to astrology teaching. Those students were all very rusty, and wanted to cover the basics again. Inevitably, the question of house division came up. Having covered the core meanings of the houses in an introductory class, we recently spent a whole tutorial looking in more detail at the issue of house division.

The methods I adopted on this occasion were twofold: firstly, I gave the class copies of their charts in Equal House to compare with their existing Placidus charts. Then I drew up a grid, of which we all had a copy. This listed all the planets, Chiron and the North Node as well as the pair of houses through which the Equal House MC/I C axis ran. Thus we could see at a glance those features which stayed the same in both systems, and which ones changed. In some charts many features changed. In others eg mine, there was very little difference.

I have always taught astrology with every student having a copy of everyone else’s horoscopes, including mine. With permissions always asked and given before the start of a course, and appropriate emphasis on confidentiality, this way of working has been very effective. It creates each class as a kind of mini qualitative research laboratory, where astrological theory can be tested out there and then, observing to what extent it manifests accurately in the nuts and bolts of the everyday lives of those present. It is a model which makes for very lively teaching…

We worked our way round everyone in the small group, including me, discussing how interpretations might change, and most importantly, how much that mattered by potentially altering the emphasis on key horoscope themes.

For instance, the Moon in one student’s horoscope changed from the Placidus Ninth house (a location she really liked for her Moon, being both a teacher and an education junkie!) to the Tenth by Equal House, which emphasised the importance of her vocational/career life but not the dimensions of teaching and learning which are both Ninth House concerns. However, we pointed out to her that this didn’t really matter in terms of overall accuracy of interpretation; she really was very well endowed with Jupiterian energy anyway, given her Moon’s trine to Jupiter in Aries, as well as her Sun’s square to Jupiter.

This was just one example in which, whatever shift we saw of planets from one house to another, there was invariably an underlying strong theme in the birth chart, so that the emphasis being slightly shifted in one context made little if any difference to the overall accuracy of interpretation of the whole horoscope. Interestingly, more than half of our small group, despite my having worked with all students with Placidus from 1995, said that they preferred the relative simplicity of the Equal House system.

In my own case, although ruling planet Mercury moved from the sociable, group-oriented Placidus 11th House to join five other planets in the reclusive Twelfth by Equal House, I have an exact semi- square from Mercury to 10th House Uranus in both systems, Uranus also strongly aspecting the Sun and Moon, so the Aquarian/Uranian/11th house ‘tone’ remains strongly emphasised. That Mercury energy also flows from the Twelfth House to an exact sextile to Neptune, and a square to Third House Jupiter in both systems. So any reclusive tendencies brought by the move are well and truly restrained by other horoscope factors!

The students could see from our small experiment something which is fundamental to the accurate reading of any horoscope: strong themes will shine through, whatever way you divide up the circle. As U.K astrologer Robin Heath so memorably observed a number of years ago: “…astrology appears more and more to behave like a hologram. You can perform almost any technique with the data, turn the chart inside out or slice it up, and still the symbolic pictures remain….” (i) Both this statement and our class experiment bore out the conclusion at which I had  arrived some time ago. It doesn’t really matter much what system you use. What you get is the same overall picture…

Horses (Houses!) for courses…

I went on to outline the way some astrologers use different house systems for different purposes. Since the Equal House system is based on the Ascendant/Descendant axis which is the axis of “… here I am in relation to you… “, this system can be used when the client in their reading wishes specifically to address matters pertaining to relationship.

Since the IC /MC axis can be seen as an arrow flowing from the person’s deepest self and origins (IC) to their future direction (MC), then issues of roots, vocation and life direction are most appropriately contemplated, some astrologers think, via the Placidus lens since that system can be seen to emphasise the MC/IC.

Also, although I have never worked with the Koch system myself, I know that some astrologers swear by the accuracy of its house cusps in plotting transits and progressions.

The Equal House MC/IC “problem”

The placing of inverted commas above gives you a clue that I do not see the shifting placement of the MC/IC axis in the Equal House system as a problem at all. Quite the opposite. I think that working with the MC/IC axis against the backdrop of either the 2nd/8th, 3rd/9th, 4th/10th, or the 5th/11th adds a layer of richness to the interpretation of the MC/IC which of course should remain just as focal and important in the Equal House system as in any other where the MC/IC  is always the cusp of the 10th/4th Houses.

For example, I have often encountered clients or students with 2nd/8th backdrops in professions involving finance and collective money, those with 4th/10th backdrops have their strong life focus on career/vocation emphasised. With 5th/11th emphasised, you often find “creative” types who work co-operatively and collaboratively in the pursuit of their careers. And in my own case, the 3rd/9th backdrop is highly appropriate since writing and higher education have been central to all the diverse vocational paths I have pursued throughout my working life.

Equal House: the return

In conclusion, the students were very keen to know why I had decided to return to working with Equal House.  For giving me the final shove in that direction I have to thank Phoebe Wyss and her excellent recent book “Inside the Cosmic Mind” . I  would urge any astrology student or practitioner to read this book if they are inclined, as I am, to perceive astrology as a ‘top down’ art whose practice and interpretation reveals us as expressing in micro form, the shifting macro patterns of the whole cosmos.

In Phoebe Wyss’ own words:

“ Archetypal astrology is an approach to astrological chart interpretation that is based on this cosmological view. The meanings of the chart factors such as  zodiac signs, houses, and planets are then seen to derive from the twelve basic categories of meaning associated with the astrological archetypes. These fundamental cosmic principles and their inter-relationships are symbolised in the geometry of the zodiac…”(ii)

Wyss’ book – which builds on the recent work of Richard Tarnas, Kieron Le Grice and other pioneers in the field of archetypal cosmology – has taken me back and re-grounded me in the basic geometry of sacred numbers, whose symbolism reflects the core shaping principles or archetypes governing the movement of energy throughout the whole cosmos. The number twelve is one of those sacred numbers.

From that symbolic, geometric perspective, dividing the inner space of the horoscope symbolically into twelve equal parts seems more appropriate than using any other house system, including Placidus, whose devising arises purely from measurements limited by the view from planet Earth in relation to the solar system in our tiny corner of space/time 

Endnotes:

(i) The Mountain Astrologer, Issue 78, April/May 1998, Letters p 11

(ii) Inside the Cosmic Mind, Phoebe Wyss, Floris Books 2014, p 93

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Zodiac

  • 1600 words copyright Anne Whitaker 2015

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