|Principles of Chart
by Ann Powell Groner
is a picture of the heavens as seen from a particular spot on Earth at a particular moment
in time. In the case of your birth horoscope, also called a birth chart, the horoscope is
cast for the time and place you were born. Any person, animal, thing, institution, country
or event can have a horoscope, provided that it is possible to identify a "birth
moment". Horoscopes are used by astrologers for many purposes and there are many
different kinds of astrology, ranging from pure, generalized entertainment, as in Sun-sign
columns in newspapers and magazines, to more serious applications, such as the prediction
and analysis of personal or world events, the answering of specific questions or finding
solutions to immediate problems. The branch of astrology with which this report is
concerned is called psychological astrology, where the horoscope is used as a tool to gain
insight into the psychological and spiritual forces at work inside a human being. These
motivate and color personality, behavior and life events, and express themselves on both
conscious and unconscious levels. Studying one's horoscope from this perspective can help
clarify how unconscious patterns might be standing in the way of personal growth and a
fuller enjoyment of life.
Astrology is a language, not a religion or therapeutic method. No
one really knows how or why it works, although there are many interesting theories. Unlike
French or Italian, the language of astrology is based on symbols which, although few in
number, are extremely rich and complex and confusing, like the symbols which appear in
dreams. Understanding astrology requires the use of both the left and right sides of the
brain. After learning some basic interpretations for the signs, planets, aspects and
houses that make up the astrological vocabulary, it is possible to work patiently and
intuitively with these symbols and watch them slowly come alive. AstroInsight attempts to
shed light on the fundamental principles of astrology, using your personal birth horoscope
to show examples of the ways in which the meanings of the various symbols can be combined.
Each year, the Sun appears to circle the Earth and the path it
takes is called the Ecliptic. On either side of the
Ecliptic is an imaginary band known as the Zodiac,
divided into twelve equal parts. These are the Signs of the Zodiac. The astronomical year
begins at the Spring Equinox on or about March 21st, when the Sun is at the beginning of
the sign of Aries. Just as each month of the year has its own characteristics, the Signs
have special qualities of their own. When a planet or other astrological factor falls into
a sign, it takes on the characteristics of that sign. When we say "He is an
Aries" or "She is a Capricorn", it means that the Sun was passing through
that sign at the time the person was born. Although the Sun is the most important planet,
which is why newspaper columns concentrate only on the Sun sign, all twelve signs are
important in each horoscope. The other planets fall into signs of their own and any sign
thus inhabited takes on an key role in the horoscope. Even signs without planets have a
part to play, although their influence will not be as obvious. The most important signs in
any horoscope are the Sun sign, the Moon sign and the sign on the Ascendant. If there is a sign in your horoscope with
three or more planets, this sign will also be very important. So, although the generalized
character traits given for the Sun signs are accurate as far as they go, a more
individualized portrait is obtained by looking at the entire horoscope.
The signs are intangible patterns or archetypes, and each one relates to a planet and a
house. Aries relates to Mars and the 1st house. Taurus relates to Venus and the 2nd house.
Gemini relates to Mercury and the 3rd house. Cancer relates to the Moon and the 4th house.
Leo relates to the Sun and the 5th house. Virgo relates to Mercury and the 5th house.
Libra relates to Venus and the 7th house. Scorpio relates to Pluto and the 8th house.
Sagittarius relates to Jupiter and the 9th house. Capricorn relates to Saturn and the 10th
house. Aquarius relates to Uranus and the 11th house. Pisces relates to Neptune and the
12th house. After discovering which signs are particularly important in your horoscope,
you can pay extra attention to the planets and houses related to those signs.
To help bring out the meanings of the signs, it is interesting to
group them in various ways, according to their various characteristics. One way of
grouping is by the polarity of the sign; each sign
is either feminine or masculine - Yin or Yang. Note that this does not mean male and
female; both men and women have masculine and feminine sides to their nature. Masculine or
Yang describes the principle of penetration and outward movement whereas feminine or Yin
describes the principle of reception and inward movement. The Yang signs are Aries,
Gemini, Leo, Libra, Sagittarius and Aquarius and the Yin signs are Taurus, Cancer, Virgo,
Scorpio, Capricorn and Pisces.
Another way of grouping is by the quality or modality of the sign. A modality describes the sign's
dynamics or how it seems to "move". The modalities are Cardinal, Fixed and
Mutable. Cardinal describes the dynamic principle of initiation, or the ability to start
and accelerate into action. The Cardinal signs are Aries, Cancer, Libra and Capricorn.
Fixed describes the principle of consolidation or equilibrium, where motion comes to rest
and status quo is maintained. The Fixed signs are Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius.
Mutable describes the principle of fluctuation and adaptation, or the ability to change
shape and direc-tion. The Mutable signs are Gemini, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces.
Still a third way of grouping is by the orientation of the signs, or how a sign orients
itself with respect to others. There are three orientations: Personal, Social and
Universal. Personal describes an orientation toward oneself and how one is affected by
people and ex-periences. The Personal signs are Aries, Taurus, Gemini and Cancer. Social
describes an orientation toward relating to others and how one fits in with the people one
meets. The Social signs are Leo, Virgo, Libra and Scorpio. Universal describes an
orientation toward placing oneself in a larger perspective by relating to the community,
society or the whole of the universe. The Universal signs are Sagittarius, Capri-corn,
Aquarius and Pisces.
Probably the most important and meaningful way of grouping is by
the element of the signs. Each sign belongs to one of the four elements: Fire, Earth, Air
or Water. It was once believed that everything in life was made up of these elements. Each
describes a unique approach to the world or a lens through which experience is perceived
Fire describes the life force or energy which animates all things
and its approach to life is to create, envigorate and accomplish. Fire describes what is
known as the sixth sense or intuition: a dream or vision of how things are or might
become, a belief or faith in one's own potential and the potentials in life. The Fire
signs are Aries, Leo and Sagittarius.
Earth describes a physical, sensual approach to life where
experience is registered via the senses and one evaluates situations based on what one has
experienced previously. Earth describes the process of containing experience by defining
its boundaries. Like a clay pot holds water, enabling it to be used for drinking or
cooking purposes, the element of Earth is practical and functional. The Earth signs are
Taurus, Virgo and Capricorn.
Air describes a mental approach, where experience is processed by
analyzing, thinking, reasoning and generally making sense out of a situation. Air
describes the part of us which sees ourselves as separate from our environment and seeks
to form relationships by understanding how the various pieces can fit into a logical
system or overall plan. The Air signs are Gemini, Libra and Aquarius.
Water describes an emotional approach, where experience is
registered through feelings and evaluated by the emotional responses one makes to them.
Water also describes what is known as instinct, or the part of us which is animal. This
includes the workings of the body which are outside the bounds of will-power, such as
digestion and heartbeat and the instincts of survival and procreation. The Water signs are
Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces.
Combining the element, the modality, the orientation and the
polarity gives a good picture of the sign. For example, Aries is Fire, Cardinal, Yang and
Personal. In other words, Aries wants to create, to initiate, to express outwardly for its
own sake. As the first sign in the Zodiac, it represents beginnings. People with a lot of
Aries in the horoscope are motivated to act on their spontaneous impulses without worrying
too much about what other people think. Pisces is Water, Mutable, Yin and Universal. In
other words, Pisces responds to life with sensitivity of feeling and longs to merge with
others. As the last sign in the Zodiac, it gives up the claim to a separate identity and
seeks the magical and spiritual parts of life. People with a lot of Pisces in the
horoscope pick up on the moods and emotions of others and adapt to their surroundings. The
meanings of the other signs can be expanded in the same way.
Each of the planets and the signs in which they fall will be
described below. To get a general indication of your overall temperament, however, the
planets have been grouped according to element. This often brings out major themes at work
in your psyche and describes the way you tend to respond to situations in life. Having a
lot of planets in a given element indicates a natural understanding or facility with that
particular area or way of approaching life. A lack of planets in any category indicates an
area where one is on unfamiliar and uncomfortable territory. When an area is weak, it is
as if things happen of themselves; you are less able to control your responses and that
area becomes both confusing and potentially creative. It is important to remember that
everyone has access to all twelve signs; no one is without any of these principles. Weak
categories can be strengthened, and you are likely to attract people and experiences which
seem to encourage and provoke this.
Imagine that your life is a play or an opera. On stage, there are
a number of characters, each with his or her own costume and set of lines to recite. There
might be a hero and heroine, some friends, a clown, and so on. Each character is important
to the drama and each must behave according to the nature of the role. There must also be
at least one villain, and he must be convincing, for without a dramatic conflict or
crisis, the story would be rather pointless and boring. The planets can be compared to
this cast of characters, and each one has a part to play. Some of the planets will seem
more pleasing and friendlier than others.
Each person's horoscope is unique and the costumes and dialogue
vary. The plot, of course, is your life story. Sometimes, certain characters get pushed to
the back of the stage, usually because your Ego, as the director, doesn't like what they
stand for or the conflicts they bring. The Ego is your conscious self, the "you"
that you know and recognize and it often makes a very poor director, because the Ego is
more interested in happy endings and comfortable, well-known situations than in exploring
ways to become more creative and whole. The Ego uses a lot of energy pushing away the
parts of you which it finds unpleasant or troublesome, and it fails to realize that each
so-called weakness contains a hidden strength and an opportunity to become more complete
as an individual.
Fortunately, the planets, ambitious actors that they are, refuse
to be brushed aside and manage to make themselves noticed in one way or another. A change
or crisis in life may reveal unused talents and strengths or draw attention to areas of
life which previously were unfamiliar. If repressed by the Ego, the character has no
choice but to move into the unconscious where it carries on acting, sometimes in ways that
might not be constructive or helpful. Living out one's horoscope means respecting each of
these characters or motivating principles inside oneself. To do that, it is helpful to
understand more about the planets, what they have to offer and how they tend to behave.
Each planet's essential nature and function as psychological
principle is explained below. Everyone has each of the ten planets somewhere in the
horoscope and all human beings share these fundamental psychological building blocks. It
is the unique way that the planets are positioned in your particular horoscope which
describes your individuality. For this, one must examine the sign and house in which the
planet is placed, and the aspects formed to the other planets. The signs act as costumes,
modifying and describing the way in which the planet is likely to appear. The houses are
like stage-settings, showing where the planet is likely appear. Aspects describe the
relationship one planet has with another. Like two people engaged in a life-long dialogue,
planets in aspect can either cooperate, argue, ignore or irritate one another.
Each of these factors combines to produce a highly unique and
individual portrait of personality and motivation. Left to themselves, these characters
will go about performing a drama whose purpose is to urge you toward wholeness and
balance, sometimes at the expense of comfort and pleasure. When you, as director, allow
each of the characters a fair share of the stage and can respect their various needs and
natures, life tends to become a little easier, or at least easier to understand.
The Sun represents the urge to become complete and whole and
explore one's potential as an individual. The Sun represents the figure of an Inner
Father, whose job is to provide guidance, creative inspiration and a name, or personal
identity. When functioning properly, the Sun gives a feeling of pride and pleasure in
being who you are. Life seems to make sense, one is self-confident and fulfilled, full of
vitality and creativity, and able to speak and act with conviction and authority. One can
afford to be generous without asking for thanks or praise. People gravitate naturally
toward that kind of person, so one enjoys popularity, respect and success.
It is rare that one feels this way all of the time, and indeed
the Sun seems to go behind the clouds for periods of time; in some cases, it never comes
out at all. Self-esteem is low and there seems to be no direction or meaning in the things
one does. To make up for a loss of self-confidence, a person might become overly
self-centered and egotistical, putting on a false-self or pretending to be something
better or different than he or she really is. Usually this kind of behaviour is an obvious
sign to others that the person has a problem with self-image. Authority is undermined and
a person can become dictatorial or bossy; demanding, rather than earning, the respect of
others. Alternatively, a person may project the radiance and vitality of the Sun onto
others, finding in an individual or group the leadership and motivation that is lacking
inside. Someone else's opinion becomes more important than one's own sense of self-worth,
and one willingly gives up everything in order to please or accommodate others. One
derives identity from someone or something else, instead of finding it inside. Developing
an identity is a process, like a hero's journey, full of obstacles and setbacks and
battles to be fought. Living out that journey or quest is the work of a lifetime, and the
Sun in the horoscope describes the nature of that very individual process.
The Moon represents a number of psychological principles and is,
along with the Sun, one of the most important factors in the horoscope. The Moon is both
the Inner Child and the Inner Mother, and as such represents a kind of love which is
nurturing, compassionate, and unconditional. If this figure is able to provide that kind
of love, then the Inner Child feels content and happy. On the other hand, if the Inner
Mother is too smothering, too critical or too cold and unavailable, the tender, irrational
Inner Child remains hungry and frightened, unable to truly open up to others in a secure
relationship. The Moon seeks security and safety on the physical and emotional levels, and
the position of the Moon in the horoscope shows where we look for security and comfortand
how well we are able to provide it for ourselves and those we love.
The Moon can express itself through the body, which is why we
often respond to emotional problems with physical symptoms: not only psychosomatic
illnesses but behaviour such as the desire to console ourselves with food or the loss of
sexual appetite when we are insecure. The Moon governs our inner clock just as the
physical Moon rules the tides and it therefore determines our habits and natural rhythms.
People need a certain amount of regularity to remain in balance and any unusual reliance
on routines could highlight an emotional problem of some kind. No matter what kind of
relationship exists between you and your real mother, it is the Inner Mother figure inside
you which ultimately determines the kind of love you are able to give yourself and others,
how well you feed yourself on all levels and the way you take care of your physical and
Mercury represents the desire to learn about and relate with the
environment. In mythology, Mercury was the messenger of the gods and his function is like
the nervous system which transmits messages to and from the brain. He is in charge of
cataloging, analyzing, filing, retrieving, organizing and calculating every piece of
information collected by the individual. Communication is his responsibility, and language
is his most important tool. Without speech or writing, Mercury would be unable to exchange
ideas and facts with other people, and this is something he really enjoys. Mercury wants
to learn as much as possible about the world around him, and when he is "on
stage", a person is curious and interested, talkative, open and attuned to the
Mercury is often very active in small children, and he can be
seen picking up and examining objects, tasting them and exploring new territory. Mercury
is completely amoral, in other words, he makes no Good-Bad value judgements about the
facts he learns. Mercury thinks: "I see. The dog bites when I pull his tail. How
interesting! Does he do it each time, or only once? Oh. Each time." The Moon may cry
at the pain, but Mercury goes off quite happily to record this new piece of knowledge.
While reasonably harmless and charming in children, an over-zealous Mercury can be
irritating or even destructive in adults. A person can play practical jokes, become
gossipy and nosey, invade the privacy of others, and/or stir up trouble simply to see what
will happen. Mercury may not be aware that he is misbehaving, but if he is, he doesn't
really care. Being fair, taking care of others' feelings, doing the right thing - these
are jobs for other planets. An over-active Mercury can also result in mental stress,
nervous ticks, nailbiting, chain-smoking, messy handwriting, insomnia, and other signs of
over-stimulation. An underactive Mercury brings dullness, lack of curiosity, and a
tendency to withdraw from the environment. Mercury plays games like Trivial Pursuits,
solves crossword puzzles, tells jokes and makes puns, talks on the telephone, chats with
the neighbors and engages in lively discussions for the pure pleasure of tossing ideas
back and forth. He remembers birthdays and anniversaries. He also reads, writes and
studies, balances the accounts, makes the shopping lists and keeps the house and the brain
uncluttered so that things can be found when they are needed. Mercury's placement in the
horoscope shows how a person thinks, learns and communicates.
Venus represents the principle of attraction. Known as the
goddess of love and beauty, Venus shows us what and who we love. The qualities we enjoy
and find attractive in people, works of art, home furnishings, foods, etc. are all matters
of taste. Based on these preferences, we divide the world into that which is good and
desirable and that which is not. Venus shows not only what kinds of qualities we tend to
value, but also how easily we form value judgements in the first place. Without this
ability to judge and evaluate, a person simply accepts the established values of the
family or social group, instead of following individual preferences and priorities. You
must first identify the things you value before you can desire and choose them. Sometimes
it is difficult to choose between alternatives because both options seem equally
appealing. Other times, you may not care enough to have a preference. Without Venus, a
person becomes completely indiscriminate: blue or green, peas or broccoli, George or
Frank, Margaret or Sue - it makes no difference. As a character, Venus is naturally
promiscuous and self-indulgent. She leaves worries about costs and morality to other
planets. If she sees a beautiful person or thing, she takes it. She is the goddess of
love, but not the kind of love that is self-sacrificing and spiritual. Venus' form of love
is the pure uncomplicated enjoyment of pleasure and beauty.
Mars represents the principle of self-expression. Whether
expressing by word, action or emotion, Mars is responsible for every activity that starts
inside and moves outward. Whenever we move a muscle, shed a tear, fry an egg or write a
letter, Mars is the planet performing the action. Without him, we would be paralyzed lumps
of thought, spirit, and feeling, completely unable to interact with our surroundings. Mars
pursues the goals, needs, and desires of the other planets, but he is more than a hired
mercenary. Burning with a drive to produce and reproduce, Mars represents sexual and
When Mars is at work, you feel strong, energetic, aroused, and
confident. Challenges are met and chances are taken. Armed for battle, you become capable
of protecting and standing up for yourself. Mars can certainly behave inappropriately at
times, since he pays no attention to anyone's desires but his own. He can be extremely
offensive as he rudely or carelessly knocks over anyone and anything that gets in his way.
He can be overconfident, daredevilish and downright foolhardy, and there is a risk of
accidents and injury when Mars gets out of hand. Healthy self-assertion, when blocked or
frustrated, turns to irritation, anger or even violence. Going after the wrong things,
thrashing out in several directions at once, overcommitting, and failing to finish one
thing before moving on to the next are typical ways in which Mars can express
This kind of behaviour can be very upsetting and sometimes Mars
gets asked by the Ego to leave the stage. Repressing the Mars principle may result in
passive aggressive behaviour and/or a feeling of lifelessness. Anemic, spiritless,
impotent and fearful, the individual loses a sense of vitality and courage. Mars'
qualities can be projected on others, groups as well as individuals, taking the form of
attraction to active, assertive people, even a love of uniforms and military displays.
Alternatively, martial people may be seen as crude, rude and socially unacceptable, there
may be an intense loathing of athletes, soldiers, aggressive, pushy or ambitious people.
At worst, projected Mars can take the form of an unconscious attraction to violent
situations and people. There can be serious consequences involved when Mars isn't
functioning properly in the psyche. The essential nature of Mars is volatile and exciting.
He loves a good fight, sports and competition, not just to win but also for the sheer
sweaty pleasure of battle. At heart, he is a rough but sincere figure, innocent and
optimistic, who explodes with creativity and spirit and strength.
Jupiter represents the desire to explore life's potentials and
find meaning in things. In other words, he represents one's view or philosophy of the
world. Whenever you ask "Why" questions, it is Jupiter doing the wondering. In
mythology, Jupiter is the supreme ruler, and because he has so much power, he is not
afraid of the future or of anyone else. Since Jupiter is immortal, he is able to face the
world with great optimism. Anyone with such faith in life is able to find something
positive in every experience and to take chances or gamble on a hunch or good idea.
Jupiter sees possibilities where others might overlook them or rule them out as
impractical. In this way, Jupiter is creative: turning opportunities into new ideas and
Instead of being allowed to express from within, Jupiter can be
projected onto others. When this happens, other people appear to be the talented,
exciting, adventurous and lucky ones, as if they somehow possessed a special gift which
lets them get away with murder, stepping around the pains and irritations faced by the
rest of us. This can cause a good deal of envy, because when Jupiter is projected, a
person forgets that this kind of good luck is usually the result of an inner attitude of
optimism and positive thinking. Since Jupiter is such a charming and creative figure, it
might seem strange that the Ego would want to push him away.
There are negative aspects to Jupiter that may be completely
unacceptable to a person who values seriousness, maturity and hard work. Jupiter is able
to waltz through life because it isn't his job to worry about the consequences of his
behaviour. His job is to plant the seeds of creativity, not to stay around and make sure
that things actually grow. He doesn't appreciate criticism and refuses to be tied down to
promises or obligations. It takes a lot of work to maintain a balance with Jupiter: to
find ways of being creative and playful without becoming totally irresponsible, and to
find ways to do the work necessary to achieve goals without suffocating the inspiration
which gave birth to them.
Saturn represents the urge to control and protect. He acts as a
fortress which keeps everything outside from coming in and everything inside from getting
out. Saturn is very conservative and cautious; he doesn't like changes or surprises, even
positive ones, and will struggle to maintain the status quo at all costs. This makes him
seem rather stuffy and inflexible, like a grumpy old grandfather or a prudish
spinster-librarian, and he is not likely to win any popularity contests. Still, he has an
extremely important role to play.
In childhood, Saturn takes the form of parents and teachers who
tell you what is acceptable and what is not, who point out dangers and scold or punish you
for doing something wrong or dangerous. Later, he becomes your own conscience, and his
teaching, scolding and punishing continues from within. If this doesn't work, if a person
fails to develop a strong conscience, Saturn may take the form of policemen, employers,
public officials or anyone else in a position of authority. Obviously, if a person refuses
to obey the laws or rules of society, he is likely to wind up in jail or be forced to pay
a fine or penalty. Saturn wants you to remember that everything has its price and you must
work hard for the things you want.
Some of Saturn's gifts are guilt and self-criticism, and more
positively: discipline, patience and self-control. Despite the fact that he isn't very
good at expressing his feelings, Saturn is very sensitive. He worries a lot, mostly about
issues involving security. Saturn doesn't want you to get hurt, physically or emotionally;
he worries about having enough money and time; he worries that others might reject you for
behaving too selfishly. He wants you to be knowledgeable and equipped to handle
emergencies; he's afraid you might make a fool of yourself by being ignorant or
unprepared. When Saturn goes overboard, you become too frightened to act at all. A little
voice inside keeps nagging: "You'll never be good enough". A person becomes
rigid and dried up, and life becomes all work and no play. On the other hand, when Saturn
is missing, a person loses all sense of propriety, limits and boundaries, and does
whatever he feels like, often with disastrous consequences to himself or others. A
well-functioning Saturn behaves like a firm but supportive parent who sets limits,
instructs and offers constructive, rather than paralyzing criticism.
THE OUTER PLANETS
Uranus, Neptune and Pluto are known as the outer planets because
they lie outside or beyond the orbit of Saturn, the planet representing the boundaries and
limits of the Ego's control. Inside this boundary are the parts of a person which are
recognizable and well-known: conscious goals and desires, one's tastes, interests, ideas,
morals, beliefs, etc. Outside this boundary lies the realm of unconscious goals and needs.
These motivational forces can sometimes be quite frightening or overwhelming, because they
are both unknown and very powerful. These characters tend to appear as strangers or gods
or fate itself, and whenever one has a feeling of losing control or being pushed around by
circumstances or other people, it is likely that it is in fact one's own unconscious which
is trying to make a point. The outer planets represent certain elements of the unconscious
drive to develop and expand the definitions we have of ourselves. By presenting
challenging situations, crises, radical changes and important relationships with which we
are forced to confront our limitations and look for new solutions, the unconscious pushes
us toward personal growth. Each of the outer planets goes about this in its own particular
way, bringing different types of experiences.
Uranus brings change, suddenly and
surprisingly. Shown in cartoons as the lightbulb going on over someone's head, Uranus is
the flash of inspiration or the sudden vision. Uranus brings new solutions which cut
through the boredom and staleness of routine, everyday life. He represents the Plan or
Great Design, in other words, the theory or vision of how things could be. Uranus likes
distance and solitude, and he feels most comfortable up in his head where his idealism and
brilliant clarity are untouched by practical problems and messy human emotions. Often, he
ushers in the breakup of a relationship, a move to a new home or a change in job or
circumstances. Sometimes the changes are pleasant, other times they are very painful.
Uranian experiences represent an inner urge to start fresh and try something new, because
the old ways no longer work or are keeping you from growing as a person.
Neptune urges us to expand our
limits, or even better, to lose ourselves completely and merge with the world around us.
Neptune's is a global or universal consciousness, a religious feeling or awareness that we
are part of a greater whole: one with all mankind or one with God or one with the
universe. The experience of melting into the arms of a loved one or losing inhibitions
through alcohol or drugs are ways in which Neptune weakens our boundaries and will-power.
Neptune is alive at rock concerts, football matches, political rallies and other
situations where an individual joins with the will of the crowd. Losing oneself in a book,
film or piece of music is a Neptunian experience, as are dreams. Losing one's mind is also
a Neptunian experience, when we no longer can distinguish the boundaries between fantasy
and reality. Neptune is a very paradoxical planet, representing both the most terrifying
and the most beautiful feelings and experiences known to human beings.
Pluto ushers in changes which are
irrevocable: the end of one chapter in life and the beginning of a new one. After a
Plutonian experience, it is impossible to go back to the way one was before, something has
died inside and something else has been reborn. Nature knows that the survival of a
species requires the eventual death of its individual members. Likewise, the part of the
psyche which belongs to Pluto knows that the survival of the individual demands that part
of the personality must die to allow for renewal, adaptation and growth. A typical
Plutonian crisis is the birth of a child. Any parent knows that an irrevocable change has
taken place; and one's life and self-image will never be the same. Pluto shows that there
is a death with every birth and a birth with every death, although it may not always be
obvious and Plutonian crises may by extremely painful and sometimes seem meaningless and
cruel. Another of Pluto's functions is to clean house, so to speak. He sheds light on the
hidden secrets buried deep inside and brings them to the surface, often by making life so
troublesome or painful that one has no choice but to examine the problem and make a
change. People rarely make changes unless they are forced to do so. No matter how small or
seemingly pleasant, every change is a kind of death and therefore terrifying on a
conscious or unconscious level. Surviving difficult experiences puts a person in touch
with previously unknown resources and grants a sense of inner strength and power which is
Pluto's greatest gift.
The way the outer planets are placed in the horoscope describes
how you are likely to meet and respond to these various types of experiences. It is
possible to be reasonably comfortable with the challenges brought by an outer planet and
often people feel rejuvenated and inspired by the changes they bring. Outer planets do not
always usher in life-shattering events; their experiences can be subtle, and they can be
inner experiences as well as external happenings, although the former may be just as
The Signs of the Outer Planets. Because the outer planets
take a very long time to complete a trip through the Zodiac, they remain in a particular
sign for many years. Therefore, the sign placements of these planets have more of a
generational, rather than personal meaning. They describe the Zeitgeist, or spirit of the
times: the current trends and impulses going on in the collective. These themes, brought
to the attention of your parents' generation, continue to be reflected throughout your
life in the events, concerns and attitudes of your own generation.
The house in which a planet is placed is very important and the
houses are best viewed in pairs. Each house and its opposite house share a common theme,
an issue that has two complementary sides to it which both work against each other and
together, and cannot exist without the other, like night and day. If there are planets in
one house but not in the other, there may be a tendency to concentrate too much on one
side of the issue. If there are planets in both houses, it can feel like a see-saw,
swinging from one side to the other. If there are no planets on either side, then this
particular theme will probably not be a vital source of conflict in your life's drama.
Planets in a house bring energy and focus to that house, but each
house is important with or without planets in them. To examine the way a person will
relate to the areas of life expressed by a house, an astrologer looks at the sign on the
cusp, or beginning boundary line of the house. There are two pairs of house cusps which
are extremely important. These are the first and seventh houses and the tenth and fourth
houses. Their cusps form what are known as the Angles: the Ascendant, Descendant, MC and
IC The Angles are drawn as distinctive horizontal and vertical lines on the chart and
resemble points of a compass. Whereas the planets describe the various motivating
principles inside you and how they cooperate and conflict with one another, the Angles of
the horoscope illustrate your orientation and direction in the world. Describing the
various faces or aspects of your personality that you tend to present in different
situations, the Angles show where you come from and where you are going, psychologically
speaking. If a planet sits directly on an Angle, thereby forming an aspect called a
conjunction, that planet will be a major influence in your life. You can see this by
looking at the horoscope drawing. Because the Angular house pairs are so significant, they
are presented first.
THE ASCENDANT - DESCENDANT
The Ascendant marks the point of the zodiac which was rising on
the horizon at the moment of birth. As the dawn of a new day gives an indication of the
flavour of the day to come, so the Ascendant describes the way one greets the world and
the image a person creates and expresses most easily. The first impression one is likely
to make on others, the way one begins things and the style of interraction with the
environment are shown by the Ascendant. Its opposite point, the Descendant, shows the
image one is likely to seek in another person. When we become closely involved with
somebody, it is because that person acts as a mirror, showing us the hidden qualities in
ourselves that we both admire and despise. This is why love and hate are so closely
interrelated and why relationships are wonderful and painful at the same time. Together,
these points describe the face that we present to the world and the face which greets us
in the mirror of close personal relationships.
THE MC - IC
The cusp of the tenth house is
called the MC which stands for Medium Coeli or Midheaven, and its opposite point is called
the IC for Imum Coeli or "bottom of the skies". This axis is sometimes called
the axis of heredity and can be likened to a tall tree supported by deep roots. The MC
shows the face we present to the public at large, through a job or place in society, and
it describes our greatest achievements and ambitions in the world. The IC represents the
roots that support us: our family, home and upbringing, the social culture to which we
belong, and all that is deep and private inside us. This axis shows what we have inherited
from previous generations and what we in turn seek to pass on and contribute to others.
HOUSES 2 - 8
The theme of this pair of houses is desire. The second house
deals with the resources we have and everything that we desire: money, possessions,
status, other people, inner qualities, artistic values, things we believe will bring
security and/or pleasure. Often we define ourselves by what we own or by our class, status
or set of values. The eighth house governs other people's resources and how we make use of
them. Through relationships, we are forced to change, give up parts of ourselves,
transcend our definitions of ourselves through passionate interchanges with other people.
Letting another person get close enough to affect us this deeply is risky business. Every
change is a kind of death and is met by a certain amount of conscious or unconscious fear.
Sexuality, whether for physical release or deep spiritual bonding, is affected by the way
we handle and feel about the issues relating to these houses: security and risk, desire,
pleasure, passion, power, control and trust.
HOUSES 3 - 9
The theme of this axis is knowledge. The third house deals with
the way we learn about and adapt to the immediate environment, how we relate to the people
and situations around us, how we communicate and move from place to place. The ninth house
governs our search for meaning and truth, our religious style, politics or philosophy, the
journeys we make which expand our world view, and the way we contribute our ideas to the
HOUSES 5 - 11
The theme of this pair of houses is individuality. The fifth
house deals with our urge to express creativity and pursue the activities which bring us
pleasure: play, sports, hobbies, romance and affairs of the heart. Creativity includes
producing offspring: children, ideas, works of art, or any way of bringing something new
into the world which wasn't there before. The eleventh house governs our identification
with something larger than ourselves: groups, clubs, friends, society in general, a
political cause or global awareness. As creative individuals, we feel unique and special.
As members of a collective, we connect with others and have a forum where we can
contribute and share our talents with others.
HOUSES 6 - 12
The theme of this pair of houses is limitation. The sixth house
deals with the everyday business of living our lives: the way we spend our time and make
priorities; our obligations to other people; the work we do to make a living; our daily
rituals and habits; our relationship with our bodies; dealings with colleagues, pets,
shopkeepers, doctors, and anyone else we meet in the course of a day. The twelfth house
governs the unconscious dreams and hidden motivations which bring chaos and confusion into
our well-ordered lives, anything which draws us out of the mundane affairs of ordinary
life and gives us a glimpse of eternity and immortality and a sense of connectedness with
the rest of the universe. In order to experience oneness, we must first be made aware of
our separateness and therefore, the twelfth house also deals with issues of isolation.
Institutions such as hospitals and prisons which hold an individual apart from society, or
religious retreats, meditation, sleep and other voluntary forms of isolation and privacy
are governed by the twelfth house.
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