Antiscia are reflections around the solstice and equinox points. The word scia comes from the Greek meaning shadow. Points that are in antiscia (i.e., they reflect or mirror one another across the seasonal axis) share the same amount of daylight. (Points in contra-antiscia share the same ascensional "rising" time.) So thinking of these points as reflections makes good sense.
Antiscia are relevant for everyone because these symmetries fall about the cardinal axis, and the cardinal axis is a point (axis) we all share. It is made up of the zero-degree point of each of the four cardinal signs: 0 Aries, Cancer, Libra, Capricorn. These points mark the beginning of each season, at the summer and winter solstice, and the spring and fall equinox. (Though these points are midseason in some cultures.) Antiscia are perfectly symmetrical openings equidistant to each cardinal point. When planets or points are in antiscia, they precisely reflect one another across the cardinal axis (I use a one to two degree orb of influence).
Everyone and everything on the planet is affected by the changing seasons, the turning of the earth, and the sun's path from our perspective. Therefore, planets in antiscia and contra-antiscia are thought to be felt or experienced by all.
While antiscia has been known about and used since ancient time, it has been fairly neglected for the last few centuries. Ancient astrologers referred to the points as having 'sympathy.' Certainly these symmetries connect two seemingly unconnected or un-aspected points. But really, antiscia are quite basic. Because they are based on something so real, the sun's movement and actual sunlight and days, their value has likely been underestimated.
Antiscia connections sometimes show up strongly in synastry (across charts). And I find transits by antiscia also to be potent. When people have these connections in their own chart, the two or more planets combined are usually pretty obvious in some way. This is because they are tied strongly to the cardinal axis.
For a more historical perspective, I recommend an article by Deborah Houlding on Skyscript.
While my monthly list of antiscia highlights what is on the cardinal axis right now; meaning- in a mundane sense, as an aspect for the world, you may also want to note transiting points (to natal planets) in your own birth chart. I am available for mentoring if that is of interest.
With the example images above, Venus and Saturn are in antiscia (wheel on left) and in contra-antiscia (wheel on right). We might consider what Venus with Saturn means: love, creativity, beauty, desires, and relationship needs meet with a requirement for structure, discipline, truth, practicality, distance, or endurance. Saturn cools Venus; it solidifies or constricts Venus' significations. Maybe there's a preference for a minimalist aesthetic, or an ideal form, or an enjoyment of abstracted or conceptual ideas and designs, or maybe functionality is paramount. With an antiscion, we would want to consider how it might play out in world events. Or, if it's a personal transit, ask ourselves if it's time to get more serious about something we love, make a stronger commitment, or move into a more contemplative space, even let something go. How much do we need? What is truly important?
I think working proactively with planetary antiscia combinations can be a good way to harness the energy of the day. They can also be a great way to learn, both about astrology and life in general.
In addition to the list of antiscia I post, I will periodically delineate planetary pairs. But even without my delineation, you can use the list by simply considering what the two planets in connection mean. Some good reference books for help with planetary pairs and keywords include:
Rules for Planetary Pictures by Alfred Witte
+ Online resource for midpoints
It takes some practice to begin seeing planets in antiscia easily in a regular chart, like the one below. Because antiscia and contra-antiscia are reflections across the cardinal axis, we count degree openings from the zero cardinal points in order to find connections. For instance, 25 degrees Cancer is the reflection of 5 degrees Gemini, 12 degrees Aries is the reflection of 18 degrees Virgo, and so on. As you can imagine, this is sometimes tricky to discern right away. Note that it is always a cardinal sign that connects to a mutable sign, and the fixed signs link to fixed. Also note that the sum is always 30 (above, 12 Aries + 18 Virgo = 30 degrees). The easiest, error-proof way to find antiscia is to utilize software. Morinus offers a free open-source program which does the calculations for you. I will show you here how to find points in antiscia and contra-antiscia using two other programs: Solar Fire and Nova Chartwheels.
Using Jimi Hendrix as an example, let's examine planets in antiscia and contra-antiscia.
As you can see in the chart to the left, planets in antiscia don't necessarily pop out at you. With repetition though it does become faster, I promise. Also, make use of the diagram on my worksheet page.
Pay the most attention to degree-based connections, and use small orbs. But do take note of whole sign connections too!
In the case of Hendrix, we see early degrees of mutable Gemini and Sagittarius occupied, as well as late degrees of cardinal Cancer. This draws my attention immediately, since I know that Gemini and Cancer are connected by antiscia, and Cancer and Sagittarius by contra-antiscia. Next we would need to figure out if these are close enough connections to be very strong. The closer the orb the better!
(I recommend less than three degrees, and I prefer one degree! :)
My favorite program for working with charts in a symmetrical way (midpoints, aspects, antiscia, planetary pictures, etc.) is Nova Chartwheels (below). Here, the connections are so clearly visible they nearly leap out at you. Nova also offers a list of antiscia by sign and degree for every planet and sensitive point in the chart (below right). This is very helpful when considering transits or connections across charts in synastry, etc.
When we examine Hendrix's chart we see the Sun is posited at 4 degrees 50 minutes Sagittarius, and Jupiter sits at 24 deg 51 min Cancer; this is roughly 5 Sagittarius and 25 Cancer. Looking at the list of antiscia (above) we see the reflection for the Sun is 25+ Capricorn (an opposition to Jupiter in Cancer), and Jupiter's reflection is 5+ Gemini (opposite the natal Sun position in Sagittarius). Oppositions in the list reflect contra-antiscia. With the case of his Moon Uranus connection, we see the antiscion points are conjunct the natal placements - roughly 2 degrees Gemini and 28 Cancer respectively.
Antiscia with Solar Fire
The software Solar Fire is shown to the right and below. With this program you can make antiscia charts, then utilize an outer wheel to examine antiscia and contra-antiscia around the natal chart - just as you would when looking at transits or synastry charts. Here, antiscia/contra-antiscia connections look like conjunctions (highlighted in pink).
Summary for Hendrix
- Moon antiscia Uranus
- Sun contra-antiscia Jupiter
- Moon contra-antiscia Mercury
Another way to find antiscia in Solar Fire is to use the Aries Point in the chart. (See the image below.) You will then search under Reports in the side panel and look under Midpoint Trees. There you'll find all of the symmetrical openings (i.e. midpoints) or antiscia around the Aries Point. Make sure to change your Modulus to 90'00.
Have fun - and share your findings on the Symmetrical Astrology Facebook page!