October 2003

A Conscious Evolution Newsletter

 

 

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Part 3

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One Plus One (fiction)

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Book Review: Tesla: Man Out of Time

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Metamorphosis Index of All Articles

Volume 2, No. 10

Opinions presented in Metamorphosis are those of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of others associated with the newsletter.

 

A New Approach to Chart Interpretation

by Rusty Hamilton

 

Part 3: The Planets, Houses and Aspects

Previous articles
in this series:
Part 1
Part 2

Previously, we described the four elements and three qualities and how they combine to form the 12 zodiac signs. The elements are a potential force of some sort, be it airy information, fiery creativity, watery emotion, or earthy formation, while the qualities describe whether the force is applied in one, two or multiple directions, through a cardinal, fixed or mutable process. The signs, as we’ve discussed, are thus the combination of a potential energy and a mode of action, each combination creating a different pattern of energy. In the last installment of this series, these patterns of energy were described – from the focused bolt of creative energy that is Aries to the dissolving, uniting power of Pisces.

But these 12 energy patterns exist at all times, so by themselves they cannot be responsible for the many different cycles of action that go on in our lives. These cycles are the result of the motion of the nine planets (the Moon through Pluto) and of the Earth’s yearly revolution around the Sun. As the planets in the solar system move, they always appear to us to be in front of one or another of the 12 zodiac signs. The energy of each planet, then, acts through the energy of whatever sign it is traveling through.

So, when we say that someone is a Taurus, we mean that the Sun, as viewed from Earth, appeared at that person’s birth in the same section of the sky that we associate with the constellation Taurus. Keep in mind, though, that unless you’re using the sidereal zodiac, Taurus, or any other zodiac sign for that matter, will not be in exactly the location where its namesake constellation is. This is due to the precession of the equinoxes, a more advanced topic than is needed here. For more information on precession, ask any of the knowledgeable people at the Linda Goodman Astrology Forums.

But what does it mean, then, to have your Sun in Taurus? From the explanation just given we can conclude that the energy of the Sun, whatever it may be, will direct itself through the bi-directional, fixed sign Taurus, and will thus be concerned with value assessment and the growing process. But what, exactly, is the energy of the Sun? Obviously this calls for a description of each planet’s particular energy. We’ll get right to that, but first there are a few things I want to clear up about the planets.

Where my theories differ from those of most “traditional” astrology texts is the order of importance placed on the planets. In some pseudo-mystical texts from the ’70s you’ll find a lot of influence applied to big bad Pluto and little importance ascribed to the Sun. And, in a lot of the more “humanistic” texts nowadays, the Sun is considered the most important, while the outer planets are just annoyances that get in the way of our daily solar ego-trips.

What I’ve found is that neither approach is true. I think these viewpoints arise because we humans have a hard time getting our minds around a lot of the transpersonal concepts represented by the outer planets – even those only as far out (in terms of space ) as Jupiter. So in response, we either deny the importance of these concepts or blow them way out of proportion. As always, though, the middle way between these two extremes is probably at least closer to the truth. In other words, neither the inner, personal planets nor the outer ones are “more important.”

The three most recently discovered outer planets (Uranus, Neptune and Pluto) are often referred to as the “higher octaves” of three of the personal planets (Mercury, Venus and Mars). One could also see all five outer planets (Jupiter through Pluto) as the “higher octaves” of the five personal planets (Sun and Moon through Mars). There is certainly truth in the comparison, as we’ll see below, but just because the outer planets are “higher” doesn’t necessarily make them more important than the personal planets. Conversely, we can’t base everything we do around the interpersonal and transpersonal planets. Life requires a balance between the two. As we’ve seen throughout this series, no one part of a chart – the planets included – can be interpreted apart from the whole.

One more difference between my theories is the sub-groupings I make within the personal planets. We divide the outer planets into the two interpersonal (Jupiter and Saturn) and the three transpersonal (Uranus through Pluto), so, if the outer planets really are the higher octaves of the inner planets, why not subdivide the inner planets as well? I classify the Sun and Moon as “individual” rather than simply personal planets, as these two planets (luminaries, really) make up the heart of an individual. No matter what a person’s Mercury, Venus, and Mars may be, people will always act and react in some way corresponding to their individual Sun and Moon signs. Some astrologers, I’ve read, only consider aspects to the Sun and Moon to be of any value at all. I disagree with this, but I see the point. Mercury, Venus and Mars merely “fine tune” a person’s character; for example, are they combative or reclusive? Are they interested in practical things or broad, abstract concepts? Do they want security or freedom? If you somehow removed these three planets , you’d have a rather boring person, but that individual’s basic character, described by the interaction of his Sun and Moon signs, would be intact.

Finally, you will notice that I classify Mercury and Uranus as “bridge” planets. This is because that is exactly their function. The interface between who we are and what we want in life is the mind. Since Mercury and Uranus both describe aspects of the personal and global mind respectively, the bridge analogy seems apt. Both planets serve as communicators between the individual/social parts of ourselves and our personal/global desires.

The Planets

 The Sun: Active Consciousness
Planetary Type: Individual
Rules: Leo

The Sun, in a natal chart, essentially describes the basic character of an individual. We refer to it as the “active consciousness,” because it represents the basic life essence inherent within anything, be it a person, a cat, or a nation. Life on Earth depends upon the light of the Sun. Similarly in a natal chart, the life process detailed within the chart is impossible without the life energy of the Sun. Though we refer to the Sun as “active consciousness” we should not make the mistake of thinking that it is always sentient or within the grasp of our minds. The energy of the Sun is more a Fire-type energy, always seeking to create and act of its own accord. The Sun would be associated with the Will referred to in classical occult literature. The sign placement of the Sun in a chart describes how an individual will act and behave without stimuli, while the house placement shows where his or her effort will be concentrated.

 The Moon: Reactive Unconscious
Planetary Type: Individual
Rules: Cancer

The Moon is the direct opposite of the Sun in that its processes are unconscious; we cannot access them through any conscious process such as thought. Also, like our physical Moon, which only reflects the light that comes to it, the Moon in a chart cannot produce or create anything on its own; it is solely reactive. Not surprisingly, this combination often leads it to be associated with feelings, since emotions, in their purest form, do not arise from any conscious process. We feel things in response to stimuli. Where the Moon is placed in a chart will describe how an individual reacts to outside influences, as well as giving a clue to what the majority of those outside influences will be.

 Mercury: The Focus of Consciousness
Planetary Type: Bridge
Rules: Gemini and Virgo

Mercury, as described above, is a “bridge” planet; it provides a link between the desires of Venus and Mars and the identity-giving Sun and Moon. The mind, and to a lesser degree, the senses provide the only real link between ourselves and reality. Mercury takes the identity elements of the Sun and Moon (who I am, how I feel) and the personal elements of Venus and Mars (what I want, what I want to achieve) and focuses them into a coherent, logical format. The placement of Mercury in your chart symbolizes how and in what area you will find this focus.

 Venus: Passive Desire
Planetary Type: Personal
Rules: Taurus and Libra

I just know that my associating Venus, long the symbol of femininity, with anything passive is going to get me crucified, so I should probably make it clear immediately that I’m not referring to women as passive. Women can easily be more “active” than men, and there are quite a few “passive” males out there (I’m probably one of them). By “passive” I simply mean that Venus represents the things you want without having to go out and fight for them. Basically, a Venus-ruled desire is one you get by generally being sociable, pleasant, and friendly, while a Mars-ruled one is going to require you to go out there and kick some tail to get it. A more succinct analogy is that Venus in your chart represents what you want to attract to you.

 Mars: Active Desire
Planetary Type: Personal
Rules: Aries

Mars used to be known as the lesser malefic, meaning that it was previously associated with misfortune and strife. In a way this characterization is apt, because Mars symbolizes what you personally want to do. This is, of course, different from Venus, which represents what you want to come to you. Mars can cause disorder and conflict simply because others may not want you to do whatever it is you’re aiming for; your goals may conflict with theirs. Without Mars, of course, you would have no individual drive, no urge to compete, and no way to do the things in life that only you can do. You would still have goals and desires, of course, since you would still have a Sun, but the energy to fulfill them would be absent. As long as you make sure that your pursuit of happiness does not interfere with that of others, you have every right to pursue your personal Mars. The sign Mars is associated with in your chart depicts how you go about reaching your goals, while the house placement denotes which area of life you’re aiming for individuality and/or success in.

 Jupiter: Interpersonal Active Consciousness = Expansion
Planetary Type: Interpersonal
Rules: Sagittarius

Jupiter, as stated above, is traditionally associated with expansion. But as it is the higher octave of the Sun, it actually behaves in a manner similar to the Sun. While the Sun is a depiction of how you yourself are going to act and attempt to create, Jupiter shows what your general environment will create for you. Remember, though, that in a way similar to Mars, Jupiter’s reputation for being the “bringer of good fortune” isn’t entirely deserved. Jupiter brings expansion, not showers of money or whatever it is you want. You might not necessarily enjoy the ways in which you’re led to expand when Jupiter comes around. The sign and house placement Jupiter is in will describe how and in what area you will experience this expansion.

 Saturn: Interpersonal Reactive Unconscious = Limitation
Planetary Type: Interpersonal
Rules: Capricorn

Saturn has a bad reputation as a highly unpleasant planet to experience, since it is traditionally associated with setbacks and limitations of some sort. Limitations often seem to arise from other people; we want to do something and they block our progress in some way. But, in reality, most limitations stem from our fears. Saturn may be associated with limitation, but we should try to remember that it is also the higher octave of the Moon – our personal unconscious. Obviously, that would make Saturn a sort of “interpersonal unconscious.” It is important to recognize the difference between Saturn’s murky, repressed “wastebasket” of fears, hatreds, and other such unpleasant emotions, and Neptune’s “collective unconscious,” which symbolizes everything we dream about.

Saturn is considered an interpersonal planet due to the fact that the limitations it produces are necessary for daily social interactions. We have certain customs and accepted forms of behavior that are actually social structures to limit our self-expression. If someone came up to you screaming gibberish you’d probably want little to do with that person, simply because you don’t know how sane he or she is. This might be a kind, loving, and overall wonderful person, but you don’t know for sure. Our Saturnine fears, justly in this case, require us to create a standard of behavior for when we meet people. Wherever Saturn shows up in your chart is a depiction of how and where Saturn will take out whatever you’re afraid of and present it to you until you overcome your fears.

 Uranus: Transpersonal Focus of Consciousness = Liberation
Planetary Type: Bridge
Rules: Aquarius

Here we have the first of the transpersonal planets. Like Mercury, Uranus serves to bridge the two previous planets, Jupiter and Saturn, with the next two planets, Neptune and Pluto, as the latter two are rather vague and/or hidden in their action. Uranus brings the expansive nature of Jupiter and the limitations of Saturn into harmony with the dreams of Neptune and the volcanic desires of Pluto, making all four planets consciously accessible. But, while Mercury provided a conscious, intellect-based link between the planets it bridged, Uranus does so in a broad, collective way. By this I mean that if Mercury is the “personal mind” of an individual, Uranus serves as the collective mind of a small sub-generation. Uranus has an association with freedom, revolutions and liberation of all kinds, due to the fact that if enough people get together and are of the same mindset, anything can happen. Uranus’ energy is often inherently unstable, though, for the same reason.

Where you find Uranus in a chart shows how and where a possibly group-based sort of liberation will occur. Since Uranus tends to bring the other four outer planets to light, though, the events associated with it do not always stem from the conscious actions of others; Uranus may simply bring out an individual or environment’s hidden fears, desires , and so forth by way of an unexpected event.

 Neptune: Transpersonal Passive Desire = Escape/Inspiration
Planetary Type: Transpersonal
Rules: Pisces

If we look above, we see that Venus represented the things we wanted to attract to ourselves, be they wealth, relationships, food or whatever. Neptune, as the higher, transpersonal octave of Venus, represents what we as a society want to attract. Neptune is the “collective unconscious”: a vast, endless ocean of all our dreams and fantasies. So it would be partially correct to say that where you find Neptune in a chart is how the chart-holder’s dreams and imaginings will take shape and what area the chart-holder is most likely to dream about.

But Neptune, as a rather powerful transpersonal planet, doesn’t just passively sit there. If we are suppressing our imagination, or our dreams become stagnant and empty, Neptune can present circumstances that confuse us so much that we don’t know which end is up. This may seem cruel, but the ultimate purpose here is to gradually dissolve the limiting circumstances in favor of a new dream or vision. This explains Neptune’s association with inspiration as well as just plain “escapism.” So where we find Neptune in a chart is a depiction of how and where there may be confusion present as part of a larger attempt to inspire new horizons.

 Pluto: Transpersonal Active Desire = Regeneration
Planetary Type: Transpersonal
Rules: Scorpio

And finally, we have the most feared planet in the solar system (at least to astrologers). Pluto is associated with such pleasant images as nuclear devastation, the criminal underworld, sex, death, and subversion. These things may well be under Pluto’s dominion, but focusing on these exclusively is missing the point.

Pluto is the higher, transpersonal octave of Mars, a planet also known for its troublesome tendencies. Mars tends to stir things up because it represents what we want to do or achieve. When our goals clash with those of others, there’s going to be strife and conflict. Similarly, Pluto, as a representation of humankind’s buried desires, creates discord as well. While we mentioned that Saturn’s social limitations are necessary to maintain a logical order, so that we have an idea what to expect from people, Saturn’s rules can sometimes outlaw certain basic human needs and desires. When this happens, Pluto either erodes Saturn’s laws from below, or just nukes them entirely. We should remember, though, that although there is this destructive aspect to Pluto, the overall goal is to clear away the dead rules so that new things can bloom and prosper. Wherever you find Pluto in a chart is how and where the old order will erode or be obliterated, and how and where new beginnings can emerge.

The Houses

 Here’s one of the absolute biggest differences between my theories and those of traditional astrology: I do not make distinctions between houses and signs. Traditional “cookbook” astrology books will give you two different definitions – for the Sun in Aries, for example, and for the Sun in the naturally Aries-ruled 1st house. I don’t see any difference.

In a pickier, more specific sense, I do differentiate between houses and signs, but only in a very minor way. The signs, as we went over last time, are the combinations of the elements and qualities, and through these combinations the energy of the planets can manifest. The houses are the same; they also manifest the energy of the planets. The only difference is that the signs show how the planets will act while the houses show where.

One of the most important things I want to teach through this series is that astrology is a language. And, like any language, astrology has sentences. The following is an example of an “astrology sentence”:

The active consciousness expresses itself through analysis and adaptation, to or through a value assessment/growing process.

Where did I come up with this? Easy. “Active consciousness” is the keyword for the Sun in a chart, as described in this article. “Analysis and adaptation” and “value assessment/growing process” are they key phrases for Virgo and Taurus, respectively. The key phrases for the signs, and my rationale for them, are detailed in Part 2 of this series. Those same keywords will appear in a chart a little later in this lesson so you can easily apply them in the sentences. For now, you can see that the keywords in the italicized “astrology sentence” above reduce down to:

The Sun expresses itself through Virgo, to or through a Taurus.

OK, so it still doesn’t seem to make a whole lot of sense. Let’s look at the sentence again. The Sun is “expressing itself” through Virgo. Planets express themselves through signs. By substituting again, we can see that the above sentence basically says that the Sun in this case is in the sign of Virgo.

The “to or through” part refers to the house position of the planet. While doing my research last year I found that planets seemed to be rather hard to pin down in terms of exactly what they were doing in a particular house. Sometimes they seemed to be working toward the goal of that house, and sometimes they appeared to be working through it.

Take Jupiter in the 7th house, for example. We know it has to do with expansion in the area of close personal relationships. But what exactly is it doing there? As much as we’d like to nail it down to specifics, we have to admit that we really don’t know. It could be working to expand the person in question’s close personal relationships. It could also be working to expand the person through his or her close personal relations. Or, to make things more confusing, it could be doing both; in fact, this is probably the most common scenario.

So, it stands to reason that the “to or through” phrase of the above sentence represents what house the planet is in. Also remember that, since we’re referring to a house and not a sign, the word “Taurus” really refers to “the house ruled by Taurus in the natural zodiac.” Obviously, this is the 2nd house, as the natural rulership of houses begins with Aries for the 1st and continues around the circle, ending with Pisces for the 12th. If we put all this together, we get:

The Sun is in Virgo in the 2nd house.

Easy, right? Keep in mind, though, that you’ll actually be doing the reverse of what we just did when you delineate a chart. To give you some practice, I made up a few planet-sign-house placements for you to turn into astrology sentences. Just attack each placement one word at a time, using the keywords from the tables just below the exercises. Turn the planet name into its corresponding keyword first, then do the same for the sign and house.

The format is:

Planet keyword expresses itself through sign keyword, to or through (a) house keyword. Try it with these examples:

  • Mars in Gemini in the 5th
  • Jupiter in Aries in the 4th
  • Saturn in Aquarius in the 12th
  • Pluto in Taurus in the 1st
  • Sun in Gemini in the 6th

Planet

Keyword

Sun

Active Consciousness

Moon

Reactive Unconscious

Mercury

The Focus of Consciousness

Venus

Passive Desire

Mars

Active Desire

Jupiter

Interpersonal Active Consciousness = Expansion

Saturn

Interpersonal Reactive Unconscious = Limitation

Uranus

Transpersonal Focus of Consciousness = Liberation

Neptune

Transpersonal Passive Desire = Escape/Inspiration

Pluto

Transpersonal Active Desire = Regeneration

Sign / House

Keyword

 

Aries / 1st

Self, Being and Beginnings

 

Taurus / 2nd

Value Assessment/Growing Process

 

Gemini / 3rd

Communication/Information-Gathering

 

Cancer / 4th

Finding Foundations

Leo / 5th

Self-Expression

Virgo / 6th

Analysis/Adaptation

 

Libra / 7th

Dualities/Close Contacts

Scorpio / 8th

Sharing, Control Issues, and Rebirth

 

Sagittarius / 9th

Learning and Life Experience

 

Capricorn / 10th

Building Structures/Rules

 

Aquarius / 11th

Making and Breaking Rules

Pisces / 12th

Summation/Transcendence

The Aspects

There is one more factor to add into your astrology sentences: the aspects. For this section we’ll go back once again to – you guessed it – the elements and qualities. Again, the interactions between elements and qualities are, in my view, the basis of the aspects. One individual combination of an element and a quality forms a sign, as we saw in Part 2. Similarly, aspects are the interactions between two or more combinations of elements and qualities.

One common misconception about the aspects focuses on which aspects are “good” and which are “bad.” Squares are universally seen as the most difficult aspects, with oppositions a close second, while trines and sextiles are usually considered easy to deal with. As usual, this is not always the case. Squares can be a real headache to deal with, but if the sign and house placements of the planets involved in a square are generally positive, the friction involved in a square can spur the energies of those planets to spectacular heights. Likewise, if the planets involved in a trine are not in very fun or positive placements, the “ease” associated with the trine just makes whatever negativity that comes out of these planets into something seemingly unstoppable. Of course, if a square comes into play with the trining planets, this situation can be resolved a little easier.

Below is a list of all the aspects I personally consider valid. We’ll get to the “invalid” ones afterward. The summaries at the top of each aspect description compare the ingredients – the elements, qualities and polarities – of the two aspecting planets when they are in a mathematically exact version of each aspect. Because astrology allows “orbs of influence” up to about eight degrees, inexact versions of each aspect can differ from the standard. Polarity refers to whether the sign in which the planet appears is considered positive (outward moving) or negative (receptive). 

 Aspect: Conjunction
Distance Involved: 0 Degrees
Made of: Planets placed in the same element, quality and polarity
Keyword: Fusion

The conjunction acts as a sort of “powerhouse” in a chart; more energy is created here than by any other aspect, except, in a few rare cases, the square. This is because the planets involved are so close to each other that they share the same goals in terms of signs and houses. If you have two planets that fall in different signs and houses but remain within the required orb of each other, you still have a conjunction. The proximity of the planets involved “fuses” the energy of the two planets together into a kind of “energy conglomerate”; they will appear indistinguishable from each other in terms of how they act.

We’ll use Sun conjunct Jupiter as an example, and we’ll put both planets in Gemini in the 2nd house. The conjunction between the two planets inseparably links the energy of the two together. If this is an individual’s natal chart, this means that the individual’s basic characteristics, represented by the Sun, will be highly in tune with his or her opportunities for expansion.

Jupiter (expansion) in Gemini in the 2nd would signify that the individual intends to expand his or her values and/or self-worth so as to grow as a human being (the 2nd house), and that the individual will do so by communication (Gemini). Since, in this example, the individual is a Gemini Sun, communication for the purposes of building values or self -worth is already written into his or her basic ways of behaving. Even if the two planets fell outside the allowable range for a conjunction, the individual would still generally act in accordance with his or her means of expansion. The conjunction just gives it that extra “oomph.” Similarly, if someone’s Jupiter was at, say, 29 degrees Gemini and his Sun was at 3 degrees Cancer – close enough to be conjunct, but in different signs – there would still be a “push” of extra energy towards expansion even though the individual with the Cancer Sun would not generally act in as communicative a way as he would if he had a Gemini Sun conjunct the Gemini Jupiter.

 Aspect: Sextile
Distance Involved: 60 Degrees
Made of: Differing elements and qualities, same polarity
Keyword: Encouragement

When looked at this way, it might seem that the sextile is a rather discordant aspect; after all, neither the elements nor the qualities involved match up. This is actually somewhat true, but the fact that the planets involved share the same polarity makes a big difference. Essentially you have planets in two signs that look at each other and say, “Look, we’re each after different things here, but we’ll both either do it in a creative, outward way (positive polarity) or in a more evaluating, inward way (negative polarity). So, let’s work together to decide how we can each do what we do in a way that will benefit both of us.”

Take Aries and Gemini as an example. As stated in Part 2, Aries is basically a big bolt of creative energy directed towards one single target at a time, while Gemini wants to learn about everything at once. If two planets in Aries and Gemini are sextile to each other, they can help each other out. Aries can listen to Gemini’s endless stream of information and decide on a better angle to aim itself toward, and Gemini can hitch a ride on Aries and learn things along the way that it might not have been able to otherwise.

So essentially, a sextile represents cooperation between two or more planets to achieve differing goals. This is generally an easy aspect to deal with, unless of course you have two planets in positions that are pretty rough to begin with. If you have Pluto in the 2nd sextiling Uranus in the 4th, for example, you’re going to have two planets cheerfully working together to undermine whatever self-worth and emotional foundations you may think you have. As you might imagine, this would definitely not be “easy,” by any means. I just wanted to point this out to help dispel the myth that the so-called “easy” aspects are always thus.

 Aspect: Square
Distance Involved: 90 Degrees
Made of: Differing elements, same quality, differing polarities
Keyword: Challenge

Ah, the square – most people’s least favorite aspect. After looking at what constitutes a square, it shouldn’t be hard to understand why the square has a reputation for difficult circumstances. In a square we have two planets in the same quality but in different elements and polarities. Remember, a quality denotes the type of action an element will undertake in order to manifest. In English, this means that you have two (or more) planetary energies that want to do entirely different things in the same way. When one tries to get started, the other stamps its foot and says, “No! It’s MY TURN,” and tries to go off and do its own thing.

Think of the signs Virgo and Sagittarius, which naturally square each other. Both signs act in a Mutable fashion; they both send out little “sub-processes” to bring back information for further use. But Virgo prefers to sit back and send its sub-processes out to ascertain the faults and weaknesses of a target, while Sagittarius wants to have its sub-processes doing as much as possible at a time. Eventually, their processes are going to meet up and get into a fight. It would probably look something like this:

Sagittarius: I’m backpacking to Sri Lanka!

Virgo: That’s stupid. You don’t know anything about Sri Lanka. You don’t speak Sinhalese, you have no maps of Sri Lanka, you’ll get lost ... (etc.)

Sagittarius: Nevertheless! Off I go.

Virgo: No! Come back! (Clings to Sagittarius.) You don’t have your hat ... or your gloves ... or these 70 million different kinds of medications ...

As we can see, each sign is slowing the other down. Virgo is burdening Sagittarius with all kinds of very probable scenarios for the future, while Sagittarius is taking up Virgo’s time. Eventually, each is going to get very frustrated with the other. In our lives, if we let this frustration build unconsciously to a certain degree, it will explode in some sort of negative occurrence. This is largely why squares have a bad reputation. But, with conscious effort, we can get the quarreling signs to get along with each other. Using this example again, maybe Virgo could be persuaded to go along with Sagittarius. That way, Saggy won’t blunder its way into a Sri Lankan jail, while Virgo will get a chance to see the world outside its grungy little laboratory. Squares represent a potential “challenge” for a chart-holder to overcome, but if this can be done the chart-holder will be able to use the opposing energies of the square, which are often very powerful, for positive ends.

 Aspect: Trine
Distance Involved: 120 Degrees
Made of: Same element, differing qualities, same polarity
Keyword: Strengthening

Trines are the other “easy” aspect. Since a trine is composed of two planets in the same element, these planets are going to have a lot in common. Their differing qualities can mean that they will try to manifest their shared element in different ways; however, as with the sextile, they can help each other out.

If we have, for example, two planets in Aries and Leo trining each other, then by sign definition the Aries planet will be out starting things while the Leo planet will be involved with self-expression. Both planets, however, will be involved in creation, which is what their common element – Fire – is all about.

Again, like the sextile, there is a dark side to trines in that they can make already bad situations swell to larger proportions. A badly placed Mars in Pisces trine Pluto in Scorpio will magnify the already destructive tendencies of Pluto and a badly placed Mars into something monstrous. Without squares to impede the progress of these planets, they can rampage unchecked.

 Aspect: Opposition
Distance Involved: 180 Degrees
Made of: Differing elements, same quality, same polarity
Keyword: Active Stimulation

You might notice that the opposition’s components are rather similar to those of the square, with one difference. The polarities are the same in an opposition, while they are different in a square. This seemingly insignificant difference makes oppositions somewhat easier to deal with than squares.

Like squares, oppositions are concentrations of a shared quality, meaning that the planets involved can fight over who gets to do what when. But, because of their shared polarity, they have at least one thing in common: they can agree to disagree. The signs involved in squares are all fundamentally very different from each other, and they do not have the common goal between them that signs in oppositions will have. In Part 2 we talked about the difference between Virgo and Pisces, two signs in opposition to each other. Virgo wants to take things apart and re-forge them into a stronger form, while Pisces wants to dissolve things so they can be reborn into something completely different. Both signs are entirely different from each other, but they share the same “breakdown/buildup” cycle.

Thus, oppositions can be easier to deal with than squares. Rather than constantly having to mediate in the dispute between two squaring planets, all one needs to do with an opposition is find the balance between the planets involved. Often, oppositions will attract people who we feel are entirely different from us, so that we can attempt to bridge the gap and help solve the opposition. This entire process ensures that each planet in an opposition is “kept on its toes” by its opposite; thus, we say that an opposition represents “active stimulation.”

Oppositions are the final aspect in my list. You may have noticed that there are absolutely no “minor aspects” listed at all, not even the inconjunct, which I have seen described as major in some texts and minor in others.

This is because the components of all of these “minor aspects” have absolutely nothing in common. Inconjuncts, for example, have differing signs, differing qualities and differing polarities. As far as I’m concerned, planets in an inconjunct arrangement are not aspecting each other at all. If you reread the aspect descriptions, you’ll find that all of the aspects listed contain some potential for the growth of the individual. The minor aspects seem only to be present to cause discord, and I refuse to acknowledge such things!

If you absolutely have to use inconjuncts, just make a note of where they are and put a little extra emphasis on the planets involved. There probably is a degree of extra energy inherent to an inconjunct, but I personally feel that the energy produced is negligible.

As far as using aspects in an astrology sentence goes, the process is very easy. The revised format for astrology sentences is:

Planet keyword is expressed through sign keyword,
to or through (a) house keyword.

Planet keyword is aspect keyword with other planet keyword.

Describing any planet in a chart will get into more than one sentence unless a planet is unaspected. In the second sentence above, use the verb form of the aspect keyword. Obviously you wouldn’t say, “The active desire is fusion with liberation.” You would say, “The active desire is fused with liberation.”

Here, at the end of Part 3, you should know enough of the nuts and bolts of my approach to astrology to start delineating your own chart with these concepts. Even if you already knew how to interpret your chart, you might want to go back through it and turn all your planetary placements into astrology sentences, just to see if it adds any clarity to the interpretation.

Of course, you may find the output you produce by delineating a chart to be rather confusing. I always did. This will be remedied in Part 4, where I will share a technique I’ve come up with that groups planetary placements together in a logical way.

Until then, have fun!

Astrology glyph arts courtesy of Cristina C. Santos,
Copyright © 2003, Cristina C. Santos, C.C.S. Graphics Associate/CCSWebline