Astrology – A Guide to Self-Awareness

If you’ve read my previous blog posts, you’ve no doubt figured out my bias lies toward a psychological understanding of the birth chart. Astrology is a great tool for understanding people — their strengths, their weaknesses, and their hang-ups.

You’ve also probably figured out that my bias goes against blaming the planets. I agree with the late Donna Cunningham that “. . . our lives are not controlled by things out there, but are shaped by our own thought patterns.”

The planets don’t cause bad things to happen to us. Bad things tend to happen to us because of the self-defeating, neurotic choices we make. Sun in Pisces doesn’t make you an addict. Abusing substances makes you an addict.

When you lose your job or get divorced, it’s easy to blame your horoscope. That’s just a cosmic version of passing the buck.

On the flip side, the planets don’t cause good things to happen to us, either.

The planets represent potential. Drives. Inclination. That makes astrology a great tool for self-analysis. It can point out the ways we cause our own self-fulfillment or self-defeat.

For example, the placement of Mars and the aspects Mars makes to other planets can, in some cases, incline a native to be hyper-aggressive. This can cause problems in group dynamics when they attempt to dominate. Periodic outbursts of rage can adversely affect their relationships. Etc.

Once a pattern of self-defeating behavior is identified, the birth chart can help understand what’s behind it, and that’s the first step to go about changing it.

The Unaspected Planet

Aspects are an important component of any chart synthesis. Each link provides an additional influence on a given planet (aside from sign and dignity). Sometimes, the planets work well together.  Sometimes, they don’t.

It sometimes happens that one planet in the natal chart makes no major aspects to any of the other planets. These planets stand alone. They’re unintegrated with the rest of the chart. Untied to the rest of the chart, they’re free to have extreme effects or little to no effect at all.

Noel Tyl notes that the unaspected planet “. . .  can run away with the horoscope, if conditions of talent, energy, and plan are poised for action.” Simply said, unaspected planets can be quite singular in their effect.

This article takes a careful look at the unaspected planet. When and how they play an active role in our psyche.

Continue reading “The Unaspected Planet”

Astrologers Who Scare People

I make the rounds of astrology FaceBook forums, and I see more than a few posts that purposely try to scare people.

Some of the worse offenders are trying to drive people to their sites. They hope to build an audience addicted to their histrionics.

It appears that others are just seeking attention.

They prey on people who know little or no astrology.

As example from tonight should suffice. “The Moon is going to enter Pisces in 9 hours. Are YOU ready for this???”

Several were frightened by this announcement. Unnecessarily. Excuse me for pointing out the obvious to experienced astrologers. The Moon moves through the entire Zodiac in a little over 28 days. That’s 13 times a years (and a fraction). The Sun spends 2-3 days in each sign at a time. In other words, the Moon entering Pisces is a common celestial event.

Ethical astrologers try their best not to frighten people.

Not only is fearmongering an objectionable practice for drumming up business, but the astrology behind these apocalyptic announcements is almost always bad.

The announcement above gives readers the impression that isolated transits are something to fear. Experienced astrologers know that isolated transits are not to be feared. They often pass unnoticed. Transits need to activate progressions, solar arcs, or natal configurations in the individual birth chart before  we should expect a significant effect.

We need to consider the entire birth chart to determine the effect of any transit on an individual. I also look at Solar Arcs and the Secondary Progressed (SP) Moon when forecasting the effects of transits.

As a humanistic astrologer, my biggest complaint is that these “roosters” of the astrology world peddle the idea of blaming the planets for what happens to us here on Earth.

The configuration of the planets in a birth chart expresses potential. It does not, in and of itself, determine what happens to us. Human decisions are a mix of birth chart, environment, heredity, free will, and other influences. With free will being the critical determinant for the humanistic astrologer.

The August 21st Solar Eclipse

There will be a total solar eclipse on August 21st. It will occur at 28 Leo 53, conjunct with the fixed star Regulus.

There’s a certain amount of hysteria on the Internet right now about this eclipse. My best advice. Keep a level head. In a typical year, there will be two lunar and two solar eclipses. An eclipse is not an event to be feared.

What makes this eclipse different? The path of the total eclipse crosses the United States.

Eclipses do signal a time for change, and change frightens some people. Trust in the idea that the change any eclipse brings to you is what is needed at the moment. Resistance will likely bring hardship.

Significant mundane events occur in every century that coincide with eclipses. That’s why eclipses are a particular interest of mundane astrologers.

Two reasons for all the hype about this particular eclipse is its strong aspects to the famous “Sibley” chart of the United States Declaration of Independence and to the birth chart of President Donald Trump. There is plenty of Internet speculation about possible effects on the United States and President Trump. Depending on the astrologer making the predictions, the expected changes range from positive to catastrophic.

The effect of an eclipse on you depends on a number of astrological factors, some of which including the following:

  • whether you have any planets, points, or angles that aspect the eclipse;
  • the orb of influence for those aspects;
  • the houses for the Leo-Aquarius axis in your birth chart; and
  • how you relate to areas of the chart affected by the eclipse.

More on Context

I wrote a blog entry on why context matters. (Context is Everything)

Most of the cookbook interpretations you’re likely to read online, in books, etc. assume that the client is an adult somewhere in their 20’s to 50’s. That’s a good “golden mean” to aim at for age when you need to write a  general-purpose interpretation.

The problem is, not every client is in their 20’s to 50’s. Some are younger. Many are older. These clients deserve a consultation that focuses on their special needs.

Consider a young child. Her parents want a consultation. She’s 5. The context is simply wrong to talk about sexual matters. Yes, there is the occasional child who ends up later marrying someone from their childhood who is eighteen years their senior.

Consider a senior. Someone in their 80’s. Discussions of career should assume less prominence.

Women face an ever-changing, ever more demanding world. While there is overlap between the concerns of men and women, there are also important differences. Our consultations – to be really effective – need to address those differences in a positive, constructive way.

When we adopt a one interpretation “fits all” approach, we force the individual to fit the horoscope. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. Our role as humanistic astrologers is to fit the horoscope to the individual.

A Neat Trick

I figured out a neat trick with Solar Fire and the Microsoft Windows Paint program that makes it easy to superimpose a Local Space (LS) map onto Google Map.

I used it to make LS maps for my city and for my home.

Consulting astrologers will likely find this a popular addition to give their client during a consultation.

Once you get familiar with the steps, it only takes a couple of minutes to produce a professional LS map.

Continue reading “A Neat Trick”

Stretching the Truth

It’s understandable that we astrologers want to demonstrate that our techniques provide accurate results. Astrology is castigated by the more respectable sciences as a pseudo-science, a quasi-science, or worse.

However well-intentioned, we do astrology a disservice when we “stretch the truth” in the evidence we marshal to support a particular technique.

I’ve been studying for the Astro*Carto*Graphy Certification Exam. There are two case studies that are very common in the written literature on Astro*Carto*Graphy. The first is the assassination of U.S. President John F. Kennedy (JFK) in Dallas, TX on 22 November 1963. The other is UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Both cases contain misstatements.

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The Aries Point

The Aries Point (AP) is an indicator of our potential for public presentation. Our claim to fame. What we’ll be remembered for.

Most of what has been written on the AP comes from my mentor, Noel Tyl, and from his student, Don McBroom.

The AP is more than a single point. There are four of them around the horoscope. 00 degrees of any cardinal sign is an AP. That’s 00 Aries, Cancer,  Libra, or Capricorn.

We typically apply a 2 degree orb.

The result is that 4 1/2 percent of the zodiac is covered by an AP. (The image to the left comes from Don McBroom’s book, “Midpoints.”)

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Sun – Moon Blends (and the Ascendant, Too)

Grant Lewi wrote a book way back in 1935 that enabled the reader to “interpret” a horoscope in just 10 or 15 minutes. “Heaven Knows What” was an early example of cook book astrology. It relied upon a simple, yet profound piece of chart synthesis – the Sun-Moon blend. Lewi walks the reader through the interpretations for all 144 combinations of Sun and Moon.

My mentor, Noel Tyl, modernized the interpretations of Lewi (and made them more compact) in his book, “Synthesis and Counseling in Astrology.” He argues that the Sun-Moon blend establishes “a basis for synthesis that is all-pervasive within analysis of a particular horoscope.”

Like hemisphere analysis, the blend of the Sun and Moon is one of those pieces of analysis that an experienced astrologer can interpret with just a glance at any horoscope.

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What Hemisphere Are You?

There are so many factors to consider, when reviewing a horoscope. The beginning astrologer can peer at one for hours, even days, trying to make sense of all the information.

Chart synthesis is the skill that separates the professional from the amateur astrologer. The professional astrologer learns to be efficient. We can’t afford to spend hours peering at a chart before a consultation.

Professionals can learn a lot, just from a glance at a birth chart. Consider the chart above.  A professional would notice — in an instant — that all of the planets except one are in the northern hemisphere. The one planet in the southern hemisphere is very close to the northern hemisphere. This would definitely qualify as a chart with a Northern hemisphere emphasis.

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