We live in the cusp of our World’s arrow of time. This is the time, where our world as we knew it changed. And it keeps changing into another, unfamiliar, energetic, faster pace, connected, yet disconnected, scarier for some, an unpredictable and even uncontrollable time. Some religious people consider these “the end times”. The Mayan calendar pointed to 2012 as the end of the World. I always interpreted this as the “end of the world as we have known it”. The Harmonic Convergence in 1987 also pointed to these times as meaningful. Many today fear how the November 8th election results will bring about a change of our Nation’s destiny.
The seeds of future events are carried
within ourselves. They are implicit in us
and unfold according to the laws of
their own nature.
-- Lawrence Durrell, The Alexandria Quartet: Cleo
-- Increasing numbers of people now are using astrology to better understand themselves and their relationships, their place in the world, their deep inner self and their ancestral legacy through family dynamics. Typically, a client does want to maximize their potential and realize their goals, but most importantly, they want to know what is going to happen to them and when.
There is still no coherent answer to the ages-old inquiry into how astrology 'works' – after a long, slow, deep evolution of my own work, this wonder has “cooked” in my mind but never caused me much alarm, since I know it works, and that is what matters. On a purely intellectual level, there are some reasonable conjectures I have about how it works. It works like any integral system with a core focus and surrounding satellites.
Thus, as we have become more conscious and aware of nature and her systems, like fractals, mathematical sequences, deep cellular patterns and so forth, it slowly began to come to me that astrology is in the ‘unified theory’ search. That it is, in itself, a nuclear system, predicated on interaction, relativity and integration of a whole-system. The solar system is obviously connected with earth and its harmony or discord, and being on earth, the system is ‘personalized’ by our consciousness. The use of astrology in any form, in any genre, is always predicated not on duality, but on integrity of all systems in the work.
The solar system and its movements is an ideal metaphor for the ever-changing interactions among people, as well as the constant mediation of inner experiences and psyche/consciousness integration.
If I can have a relationship with another person, why can't a planet have a relationship with another planet? If Gaia is an organic entity, then why not Mars or Saturn? People form systems of small collectives, constellating around an idea, a family, a cause, a person -- always in motion, always in flux. Similarly planets are also constellating around a focus -- the Sun. (Focus in the Latin means “hearth fire”). So, our family of planets circles around and focuses on its hearth. All the planets, too, are in constant motion, changing their relationships relative to some fixed point -- such as the backdrop of fixed stars (as seen from our Earth perspective) or the zodiac -- and to each other.
The word 'horoscope' comes from the Greek horoskopos, - 'looking at the hour'. To divine or predict an outcome requires a beginning, an origin, a series of cycles within it, as well as a history. Ancient astrology had such an origin concept, which still prevails: the katarche.
Katarche is a Greek word that, loosely translated, means an auspicious moment or a beginning. It is from the origin of anything that its behavior and outcome can be predicted. Every second is a new beginning, and inherent in that beginning, that origin or birth, is its pattern of maturity and fruition.
A horoscope is a fixed frame of spatial and temporal experience. It is a starting-point from which a systematic and predictable set of planetary movements can be plotted. For example, if a planet is at 1 degree Leo, we know it will be at 2 degrees Leo at a specific time in the future. If it is the moon's motion we are considering, it would be at 2 degrees Leo in a couple of hours; if the Sun, in the next 24 hours; if Mars, then in a few days; if Jupiter, in about 10 days; and so on.
We can also predict when the planet will return to the same point in the future. The moon will return to the same point every 27-1/2 days; Mars, every two years and two months; Jupiter, every 12 years and one month; and so on out to the furthest known planet, Pluto, which returns to the same zodiacal degree every 245 years! On the other hand, since each planet has its own unique return period, the odds of two or more planets repeating an exact pattern are not great. Moreover the vast number of variables in this intricate planetary system means that the entire pattern in the sky never repeats itself exactly.
Our planetary system is embedded in the global and individual psyche, in the brain as receptors, in the world brain as an archetypal experience. Compartmentalizing the psyche, we can speak of the unconscious, the shadow, the imagination, the anger function, Eros, archetypes, and so on. Just as the solar system as a whole never, ever presents the same pattern twice, no individual returns to the same point exactly again in his or her own life. Things are familiar, but never the same. The components remain the same, but their arrangement is infinitely changing.
I often tell a client who is new to astrological work, that the planets didn’t screech to a halt when they were born, but for the sake of understanding the ethos of the time – horoscope as Zeitgeist – we do fix the planets in time and location, thus describing the person’s position in the centre of the horoscope wheel, and his or her view of the heavens.
Also importantly, it shows what an individual is “mediating” (since we stand in the middle of the horoscope, on earth, with the other planets all making aspects or angular relationships to earth/us). The aspects and angular relationships are like conversations between the planets and they are experienced with in each person! For example if you were born with the Sun in a square to Saturn, you are the fulcrum of this 90-degree relationship. Symbolically it is a “dialogue between your life force, vitality, purpose, solar direction AND the Saturnine effort that has to be exerted to really bring that life force into full being”.
Then, we see the horoscope for what it is: the individuation of the collective system. We individuate the solar system – as we have our natal katarche, our origin, we also have our growth. The second that the umbilicus is cut, the natal planets move to become transits to the natal chart. Every child, for example, is a walking transit of the mother’s horoscope of the day when she or he was born . . . parents find this fact fascinating, and when doing comparisons of relationship in families, it is illuminating to experience one’s relationship to one’s parent in that way – it brings to the constellation of the family a sense of self-generation and uniqueness, within the confines of god knows how many factors, such as DNA, family psychology, family mythic archetypal patterns and so on It especially it relieves the parent of being God . . . and offers children a more objective focus on their parents!
The most important point to grasp in natal or horoscope astrology is that it is a system unto itself; thus it is verifiable within its own context. We can certainly predict – to within seconds of arc – when a planet will be in a particular place in the sky. But are we able to predict exactly what will occur because of that position? The element of divination in astrology lies in the elusive quality of a moment in time. The mechanics are intricate and the magic is implicit. An astrologer employs both the magical and critical mind in his or her work.
Time is quantitative, but the experience of the time is qualitative, and no one person experiences an event, an experience, a vision and so on, in the same way . . . hence, the validation of the horoscope as being unique to every single individual – the time may be identical, the experience of that time, totally unique. That is why, when we come to prognostication or “prediction” we need, as astrologers, a vast expanse of our own experiences, and an ongoing education in the human experience . . . global, cultural, familial, personal, and deeply metaphysical.
Doing work for businesses also is deeply metaphysical and spiritual. In these times of chaos and changing world order, global evolutionary changes (natural phenomena) loss of soul in the Gaia principle, as well as just plain old astrological/global transit demands and uncertainty, it is an important work to advise people in business.
I do a lot of personnel placement (who is better to do that work than an astrologer); advising small companies on changing times, focus, working on their values, vision, product and so on, as well as electing times for incorporation.
People who are invested in the practical world of money, time and resources need to take time to soul search, examine their values and direction of their career. Helping with this vision is a responsibility. We can advise them on global trends as well as their personal growth and changes. . I tend to focus on resource management; working with training companies that train larger corporations how to become ecologically sound, thus both profit self and the world; helping small company directors/owners grow safely, and plateau appropriately; when there are signs of difficulty in resources, company policy, workers, and so on . . . all very individually tailored to the client and his or her particular area of endeavor. It is an honorable work to do this because it unites the world of form with the world of spirit . . . and it give solid, hard-core advice!
One very helpful tool involves comparing charts of people in a relationship. Once the horoscopes of the two individuals are compared, they are then blended to create a third chart called a composite. The composite chart is the meeting point – literally the midpoint of each of their planets – of the two individuals' charts, creating a unique picture of the relationship as a living, breathing third entity with its own intent, personality, needs and demands.
The alchemy of this mysterious meeting of two psyches is reflected perfectly in the composite. Not only does it illuminate the relationship, but understanding it can also reduce the stress on each person to fill all the partner's needs. The composite is alive, and by looking at its aspects and transits we see what the relationship is undergoing and how each individual might respond to its needs. Couples find this work exceptional for understanding what they are undergoing and what they are likely to encounter in the future of their relationship as it evolves.
The most important and formative relationship that we have is the crux of our incarnate being-ness: it is the Family of Origins and its Dynastic Lineage. This is one of the most interesting works that I find challenging. We are each our unique self, yes, but we are a discrete assembly of totally different arrangement of an infinite “number” of characteristics. This includes, DNA, family mythology, psychology, the unconscious collusions in families, the various patters that our families of origin create . . . when doing this particular job, I always see the individual as him or her, BUT then there is her mother and father, their mothers and fathers, and THEIR mothers and fathers.
Family Dynamics work is healing, particularly since the people who want to have it done have become acutely aware that without understanding their lineage, their family of origins and the links therein as it lead down to them, they cannot move forward in their own lives. They feel suspended in the family myth and unable to process beyond that place.
Doing this work, I employ the services of another expert – someone who will create the diagrams, graphs and planetary arrangements of entire groupings of family data, using Jig-Saw (Bernadette Brady’s computer program invention). Having this done, the themes are graphically seen, and immediately useful. Within that big picture backdrop are the natal charts of the parents and ancestors in a tree formation. My tendency is to go back only as far as the great-greats, but with a strong understanding of the cultural and class orientation within both sides of the family.
The outcome of hours of work, several incremental and thematic consultations – to keep order in the client’s mind and in my own – there are fascinating results, some of which may have been intuited but the confirmation of the astrology is profound. Ultimately, it allows my client to do various things: rites-of-passage toward their family “directives” i.e. “what am I supposed to do with this inheritance of psychological and material and bodily traits?” Also it furthers the client to know where to go to research the family theme/s; what cultures are embedded and perhaps in conflict in their soul; or to understand more peacefully and with greater harmony, why some circumstances exist in their family.
In The Astrology of Family Dynamics there is a story of a family with an autistic son. Doing the work for her and her family, we found some important tasks assigned to her, through her son, as well as his identity as a person, with a unique make-up. It is a good story and a happy story. Truth will out! Secrets are what make us sick, and healing needs light and knowledge.
Between the astrology, my visioning, seeing the patterns, and the clients’ actual life situation in perspective, the client comes to a greater understanding of his or her ‘role’ in the lineage.
As Durrell says in his quote at the beginning of this article, the seeds of our future lie implicit in us. And implicit in the natal chart is the seed of that person's future, which the transits constellate and explicate.
As was said earlier, the natal horoscope is a map of the planets at a fixed time and location, while transits reflect the planets as wee see them now, in current time. Transiting planets are an extension of the natal chart. As soon as a person is born, the planets begin to move away from their natal placements, providing an external measurement of growth and development. Just as the infant, cut from the umbilicus, begins its physical and psychological existence separate from the mother, synchronously, the planets 'separate' from the natal horoscope and begin to harmonize with the infant's experience of its new external world.
The soul/psyche knows this as well; it knows what it is to become. Rather like an orange pip knows it is to become an orange tree and not a grapefruit tree, so the soul navigates its own destiny, we then have to take responsibility for that. We are continuously in a state of becoming, of individuation, and astrology is, in many ways, the best method of divining what is constellating on the horizon and how to get there. The astrologer can lead an individual to the edge of perception, showing him or her that which was imperceptible before. It is a form of what I call cosmic shamanism . . . if we look very closely, very carefully and clarify our vision, we will see something we have never seen before. And, an astrologer can do this action for a client if the astrologer is inclined to this form of work.
In fact, as we grow older, we are made up much more of our futures than our past. We are drawn on toward what is normally considered an unknown future – though it is not unknown at all! Often what is evolving over time is cryptically evident. The future is enciphered in planetary symbolism; deciphering and rendering it in plan language is the work of the astrologer. We can see the transiting planetary positions for specific dates weeks, years, and decades ahead. An astrologer may see that in two years' time a configuration of one or several aspects in the heavens will be in intimate relationship with natal planets in a horoscope. From this knowledge he or she can articulate the quality and character of the time.
It is rather like looking forward to a journey or a special event. We unconsciously prepare for the advent of an experience. Everyone has a story about how they "knew" something would happen, and retrospect has often shown how we have unconsciously prepared for a moment in time, whether of opportunity, completion, or even tragedy.
This “knowing” reveals a deep affinity between nature and the instinctual self. Choice and volition are clearly present in an individual's life, but my experience also suggests that Fate – the fabric of our life is spun, woven, and cut by the Moirai – also is profoundly apparent, and “written in the stars”. People do find themselves in situations that are fated, but what they do with it is their own mysterious work, what may be called their vocation or destiny, is ultimately their individuation process. Becoming more of who one is, guided by the psyche, the soul, the seed person within. This is where the horoscope as an analytical and predictive tool is at its best: it can help one work through the timing and process of breaking through periods of prolonged stress or difficulty.
The horoscope does not always relinquish the information we seek. It does not show what will happen, but what is probable. If we are living in accord with what is truly innate in us, what is probable will happen whether we like it or not. There are individuals who are more "on" than others, whose transits, progressions, and directions are in perfect sync with their spontaneous self-direction. A human being is not a clock, thus changes in one's life do not always tick off as the transits occur.
When predicted probability for change, growth or movement forward is not being activated in people's lives, I have very often seen organic or psychic resistance to transformation. If they have become so isolated from their innate character that they are not "living their life". This "stuck" experience shows in the horoscope through a prolonged series of hard aspects that are at cross-purposes. This state of psychic conflict can result in a long stage of liminal transition. This experience is not always negative; such times of apparently frozen will and liminality can be a gestation period for new growth, and lingering on the threshold can mature the process of change.
On the other hand, there are times when depression or stuckness is a result of suppressing one's nature, when a person is ignoring an urgent message from the deep inner self. The suppressed urge will come out in the end, erupting into the environment as 'fate' or as an event that forces change.
Human delay is to be respected as natural and as part of the soul’s own timing. But if an individual is living in denial, is chronically depressed, or is under the regular influence of a substance that interferes with the communication between the unconscious and the conscious, like drug addiction, it can be more difficult or impossible to make a correct forecast for that person. Here the individual is not being drawn forward by his or her future, but is resisting a natural unfolding. Opportunities for change may then go underground to await another time to emerge. Sometimes this “delay at the threshold of adventure” is perfectly human and normal behavior, if perhaps in an abnormal situation.
However, if it is denial, lying, drug/alcohol addiction, there is no bridge open between the cosmos and the psyche.
Simply said: addiction to substances disengages the individual from his or her cosmos, thus I have found that transits do not “work”, nor is there a sense of affinity with the horoscope. Also, denial, or living in an “unreal” thought form, or lifestyle . . . people who live a “lie”, are unresponsive to their own deep Self’s directives –and the transits represent that inner Self directive – there is no connection, thus no recognition, of the Self as a living growing presence.
We are constantly offered the opportunity for renewal, but that emergence will never arise again in the same way, because both the planets and the psyche will be differently arrayed. Therefore, it is never too late to grow, change, emerge, as some clients ask, no, never too late, but very differently presented, so one has to be sensitive to that.
The most undesirable outcome from delaying at the threshold of change is the creativity and spontaneity of the person could wither. This inhibition of natural growth can be a result of too many shocks, tragedies, and losses, especially if they are sequential, with little time to recover, process and absorb. This can lead to cumulative stress, creating a crisis both in soul and body. At such points depression or anxiety can be too profound a barrier between the intent of the unconscious and the conscious ability to enact the soul's need. Even at such times, though, the horoscope can show how to move through these difficulties and, more importantly, can indicate when the process is likely to complete its cycle. Timing for turning points is predictable, and discussing them can help shift the blockage.
Because my practice involves a great deal of archetypal and psychological work (and also due to my background in analytic psychology and Classical Mythology) I attract a variety of people, from all walks and cultures. I have encountered a small number of people who experience psychosis or psychotic episodes. Or if not actually psychotic, then crippling complexes, which are tightly bound systems in their psyche. A complex is not always “bad”, in fact, great art, innovation, humor, social attractions and so on, would not exist without a good strong complex driving it!
However when psychic contents have constellated around a fixed, negative, characteristic and will not/can not loosen or re-organize itself, it results in varying degrees of fixation and sometimes a reactive chemical / neurotransmitter imbalance. Hence, phobias, obsessive compulsive behaviors, acute anxiety, ongoing patterns of anti-social behavior (and I don’t mean introversion or shyness or eccentricities, of which all are perfectly normal, and don’t need medicating) can be addressed in the horoscope with the client and get to the core of the complex, and work to “break” it up.
I have worked with psychotic people, and I can always tell ahead, because I vet new clients, and get a “background and focus” – a kind of “pre-existing condition” as well as what their goals and so on are. From that I can deduce many things . . . and on several occasions I knew I would be dealing with a delusional person, who may be in danger to him or herself. In which case, if I work with that person, I try to encourage him throughout the session, in various ways, to seek = professional help or go into treatment if appropriate. (Roughly speaking, I have run into this in total about 10 times in all my 40+ years of practice. In those cases, I was not prepared fully for the level of disengagement, and had to deal with it “all of a sudden” . . . this is not an ideal situation for astrology and an astrologer.
One fellow mailed me five reams of paper with detailed information including coordinates of radio wave reception towers that were sending him signals; the ‘manuscript’ of all the conspiracy theories the poor fellow had to deal with, post Vietnam, where the government had planted electrodes in his head and monitored and controlled his behavior. It included all the letters he had sent to the President, to the CIA, to FBI, to the Veteran’s Association – I sent the papers and his enclosed check back, and apologized that I could not do this work, not having the experience.
And, I cried and cried. For all the men and woman so treated and so crazy. The worst of it is that the Veteran’s Association do not deal with this situation well, nor are there any resources now, or they are diminishing, for the increasing population of seriously ill people – ex-warriors or not.
Caveat: Unless you are professionally trained, or have immediate resources to hand, and you are a seasoned astrologer, do avoid these clients for you own sake as well as theirs.
Cultural issues also can obstruct people from fulfilling their deep inner needs. For instance, an Asian client of mine living in America is intellectually Western but viscerally Asian. He wanted to be divorced and live freely, but could not do so because his wife would lose face: she too is a professional, still living in their country of origin. They have lived apart for nine years, and he wanted me to tell him what to do.
His horoscope depicted a situation in which a decision needed to be taken; his soul, if it hadn't been constricted by his deep cultural ethic, would have divorced and carried on a Western life. I could only empathize with him, saying that fate had brought him to this crux, and that the choice was his. We could work to understand it more fully, and help loosen his resistance, but ultimately it was for him to decide. But he couldn't take the step of divorcing his wife and now lives with the knowledge that he has a special path of being posed between Self and culture.
Their daughter, who lives with him in America attending university, will most likely be the one who is free to embody East and West; in her the twain shall meet. In his wisdom, he accepted this as a great outcome!
In an even larger framework, when entire cultures are in the chaos of change, individual volition is diminished, swallowed by the collective. The individual becomes either voice or victim of the collective -- or both. Having done many horoscopes for culturally disenfranchised people, I found that their charts exemplified what their culture was undergoing. The transits in their charts expressly reflected individuals whose lives were entwined in a collective experience.
We would be wise to follow the philosophy of the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, in our practice of astrology. In the Hippocratic oath, taken today by medical practitioners, the first dictum is primum non nocere:
Do no harm
For example, gratuitous predictions of death are flatly unethical. Death is so personal, mysterious, and usually so anxiety-producing that only the most self-realized individual can consciously know the time of his or her death and respond to it with any dignity or purpose. To state that an individual will die a 'violent death' or suffer 'death by drowning' or to postulate a time of death, as some astrologers have done, is violating a sacred ethic of nature. Death more often shows up in the charts of the living, which mourn and must carry on. I have, as we all have, heard some pretty dreadful stuff coming out of someone’s astrology session – the worst I have heard is, literally, “This lifetime is bad, there is no point in asking, the next lifetime will be better.” Well, at best that is, stupid, and at worst, dangerous, and in reality, we really do not know if this is true.
However, there are times when discussion of death is both helpful and healthy. I spent much time with a colleague who was dying of AIDS looking at the possible times in which he might become weakened. We both knew astrology exceptionally well, we both knew the illness, we were very close friends, and it was practical to look at timing for trips to make and work to be done. Most importantly for my friend, it was his way to process his spiritual preparation for death. The day of his death, when it came, was marked by a trigger, a powerful astrological aspect that confirmed the spiritual correctness of his passing at that time. In fact it was remarkable and thus confirmed what we both knew. It was Time. It didn’t make me much happier, but I did know I was psychopompos for him, and it was our agreement. It was a sacred duty, collusion with the Moirai.
On many occasions, I have consulted with a client about a death that has already happened. One woman found it incredibly profound to see the timing of her 21-year-old daughter's sudden death and to experience it in an astrological framework. It was part of her healing, assisting her in the grief process by helping her to see its larger meaning. Another family lost its father to a lingering topical illness; the survivors consulted about the effect it would have on each child individually so as to personalize the grief process and understand its long-term effects on their own lives. Three children lost their father, each of them lost their own father, a father unique to them, and this showed how that experience was for each child. This process helped the mother be with each child in his and her own way.
This is patently impossible to have gleaned just from the horoscope. There are many kinds of evil, none of which are located in astrological quanta. I have met evil, myself, and known it at the time . . . looking at that individual’s horoscope after the evil was loosed, yes, there was some indication of his being more inclined to narcissism, psychopathy and Machiavellianism (now called “The Dark Triad” in the latest addition to psychiatric diagnoses, one which is a unique combination of the three symptoms mentioned – Google it!).
Evil, like death, sex, love and other mysteries, comes in all shapes. Every sign, every planet, and thus every person have a dark side. And, some individuals constellate psychic darkness more readily than most people, and thus, they are said to be “evil” . . . in fact, what they are a carrier of humanities evil, and acting out a collective complex. Carl Jung once said that if a culture is sick, then everyone in the culture is sick to the degree they manifest it. There is a component of collective psychosis that comes and goes in historical waves, and in that swell of collective illness, some exponential law is increasing the numbers of individuals who play it out.
It is quite amazing how the homeostatic principle is bound into all things. The delicacy of psyche/soma balance is innate in our self. Psyche is “soul” and soma is “body” . . . a psychosomatic condition is not a neurotic state, but a true balancing act. It is an contuous 12th house/6th house dialectic. If the body is not happy with what it is doing, the soul will responds with a depression, or a rage, and various psychological/emotional symptoms. The opposite is true: if the soul is not happy with what the body is doing, it will become symptomatic, it will register in the body in ways which are peculiar to particular planetary configurations, along with DNA and heredity.
Bipolar syndrome (manic-depression) can show up as a Jupiter-Saturn aspect threading through the family; diabetes is reflected in the symbolism of Jupiter-Venus; depression or melancholy is a characteristic of Saturn, as is arthritis, spinal disk problems, joints, and so on; attention-deficit disorder may be a Mercury-Uranus theme, a Gemini/Sagittarius polarity; erotomania may have to do with Mars, Pluto and Venus. In this way, we might find motifs and themes, but we don't find absolutes. These are not rules, but are guideline indicators.
One profound tool for astrological divination that remains to be mentioned is Astro*Carto*Graphy®. An Astro*Carto*Graphy chart is made on a world map. Jim Lewis developed this technique in the early 70’s (it had been explored by Johndro and others, whom he credits) to become exceptionally useful and graphically beautiful – and stunningly accurate.
Using an individual's birth data, it shows what planetary influences are strongest in particular parts of the world for that person. Though, as the saying goes, "no matter where you go, there you are", it is also true that different aspects of the psyche are more activated in certain locations. Someone may find, for example, that on a Mercury line in his or her Astro*Carto*Graphy chart, concerns with intellect, communications and wit predominate, while love, sexuality and esthetics occupy center stage on a Venus line.
Having traveled extensively, moved a lot, lived in many cultures, I am very comfortable in working with this system, because I know the world, its people, and find A*C*G to be a form of “proof of the omnipresence of the soul” . . . that we may have been born physically in one place at a certain time (a sheer convenience for incarnation!) but we are all born on planet earth! So, we exist all over the world at the same time. That is fun to work with! But, HOW do we exist in other loci than in another! This is found by working with the natal chart, the A*C*G map and relocation horoscopes. My book, “Where in the World: ACG and Relocation Charts” explains all this very clearly, and with students’ astounding real life examples.
And, it is a difficult job! So many factors have to be taken into consideration . . . many more than in any other form of astrological work that I do, with the exception of “Family Ancestral Work”. But I love it, because it is so fascinating to see how people are in other locations with planets on angles, or in different house areas than their natal place.
We all know that travel changes perspective and awakens sleeping characteristics. So can moving to another part of the world; this is why Astro*Carto*Graphy is exceptional in helping one decide where to relocate. I have used it to advise companies where to open a franchise or new branches, where to import from and export to. It is also unique in highlighting certain aspects of relationships: more often than not, someone close to us - friend or lover - was born on a significant line on our Astro*Carto*Graphy map, and they on one of ours.
In an expert hand, astrology offers an elegant illumination of the human condition, enabling the practitioner to tease out innumerable issues in a client's life, a perspective on his or her NOW, and give a good sense of direction for the future. There may be nothing new under the Sun, but the way we perceive things is always new, every second that passes -- and this is the greatest asset astrological counsel can offer.
Southwest Contemporary Astrology
Erin Sullivan: Contemporary Archetypal Astrologer, Teacher and Author
In this essay I want to demonstrate how the traditional system of essential dignites can be used to add quite a bit of detail and nuance to the interpretation of a chart.
Traditional astrology uses five different essential dignities. There are the major dignities, rulership and exaltation, and their corresponding debilities, detriment and fall. Modern astrology still has these dignities, although they are often not widely recognized or used.
In addition, there are three minor dignities, named triplicity, term and face. Each has a different meaning and different level of control.
For our example, I want to look at the chart of Clara Barton. She is most famous as the founder of the American Red Cross, and did extensive work in field hospitals during the Civil War. In addition to that, Clara Barton also did extensive work in public education, and also became a major spokesperson for the women's suffrage movement.
As astrologers we have many tools available that allow us to interpret past, present and future planetary energies to our birth chart.
The most used technique is of course daily planetary transits with the next most used one being Secondary Progressions or more commonly just as “Progressions” even though other types of progressions are also used in astrology.